Faculty & Staff

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Becky Beth Benedict

ARTS DEPARTMENT CHAIR; THEATER TEACHER

B.A., University of North Dakota
M.A., University of North Dakota

Becky Beth Benedict grew up as a farmer’s daughter but always knew that her tribe was in the theater.  She studied theater at the Unversity of North Dakota, where she graduated magna cum laude. Known to her students and colleagues as “Ms. B3”, Becky Beth Benedict has worked as an actor, a director, a radio announcer, improvisational artist, and a voiceover artist in the entertainment and media industries. In addition to teaching theater at MacDuffie, she directs and produces Fall Play, Winter Musical, and Spring Play.  Some of her favorite musicals and plays include Rent, Metamorphoses, Cabaret, Hairspray, Hamilton, The Addams Family, and Mamma Mia. When not at school, she relishes attending Broadway shows in New York City, cosplaying at Renaissance Faires, and tinkering outdoors in her garden.

Bre Benoit

EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TO THE HEAD OF SCHOOL

Bre joined The MacDuffie School as the Executive Assistant to the Head of School in March 2022. Bre is the parent of Gabby class of '24. She currently holds her Massachusetts Real Estate License since 2012. In her free time, she loves spending time with her family, traveling, and volunteering.

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Barak Blackburn

LIBRARIAN; CREATIVE WRITING TEACHER; RESIDENTIAL POINT PERSON; RESIDENTIAL ASSISTANT

B.A., Binghamton University

Barak Blackburn joined the MacDuffie residential program in the spring of 2021, and now is all-in on MacDuffie, continuing to be part of the residential community as a point-person, but also serving as the librarian, creative writing teacher, advisor for the literary magazine and newspaper, and helping out in the technology department. He comes to MacDuffie after significant tenures at The Bement School and Rectory School, having experience in teaching, coaching, residential life, administration, development, and technology. Prior to working in independent boarding schools, Barak worked in the tech field, and was profiled in the Boston Globe. He’s been a zine publisher for over 25 years, his work having been featured at the alt.youth.media show at the New Museum in New York City. He is also a tabletop game designer, having written numerous roleplaying and story games. He graduated from Binghamton University with a degree in Creative Writing, where he was an award-winning and published poet, and is currently enrolled at Chicago State University in the Library and Information Science program. He serves on the board of Artspace in Greenfield, and The Bodhana Group, who advocate for therapeutic gaming. In his spare time, he loves fantasy football, tabletop gaming, sequential art, and writing and publishing.

Pat Boudreau

ADMISSIONS ASSISTANT

Pat Boudreau joined the MacDuffie School, Springfield campus, in August 2000. After 20 years Pat retired as the Registrar at the end of June 2020. In September 2023 she came back to MacDuffie as an Admissions Assistant. She is very happy to be back on a part time basis. This new role is a very interesting challenge and she is thoroughly enjoying the new position and is very happy to be back at MacDuffie.

During her time away from MacDuffie Pat enjoys working in her yard, reading, walking, having lunch with old and new friends and of course spending time with her young kitty, Maggie. Whenever possible she travels to Florida, Ohio and Enfield CT to see her children and grandchildren. Pat also loves listening to music and enjoys attending concerts whenever she can.

Haley Brault

BIOLOGY & ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE TEACHER

B.S., Westfield State University

Haley Brault completed a teacher preparatory program at Westfield State University, obtaining secondary education licensure. Ms. Brault holds a BS in Biology from Westfield State University. Ms. Brault has an interest in cooking, baking, and hiking. She and her fiancé, Jermaine, share a home in Chicopee with their beloved dog, Odin. She is absolutely thrilled to share her love of biology with her students. 

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Don Buda

ENGLISH TEACHER

B.A., Boston College
M.A., University of Connecticut

Don Buda joined our English department for the 2021-22 school year, working with Upper School students and as the advisor to The Magnolia, our yearbook. He has over ten years of experience teaching literature and writing at the college level in northern Connecticut. Don earned a B.A. in English and philosophy from Boston College and an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Connecticut, and he is working toward completing an M.A. in American Studies from Trinity College. In his spare time, Don can be found on the golf course, attending live music, and passionately cheering on the New York Yankees and Giants.

Katie Charbonneau

DIRECTOR OF COLLEGE COUNSELING

BA in English and Journalism from UMass Amherst
Master of Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh

Katie's experience includes academic counseling, working with students transitioning to college, and directing recruitment efforts at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) .

Giridhar "Gid" Clark

RESIDENTIAL ASSISTANT & ENGLISH TEACHER

BA in English from Connecticut College
MSc in Communications from Boston University.

Gid has a rich history of working in schools as an English teacher (9th to AP and IB) dorm parent, coach, and advisor to many clubs and activities. He has worked in prep and public environments, both here and in Korea. Gid also worked for many years in the banking industry; he was also the Assistant Women's tennis coach at Boston University, and has been an Assistant Director at the Harvard and Williams summer tennis camps.

Michelle Cruz

SPANISH TEACHER

B.A., Interamerican University of Puetro Rico

Michelle Cruz has vast experience teaching students from all grade levels and backgrounds. She is looking forward to doing her Masters Degree in Neuroscience next year. She loves differentiating instruction to meet all learning styles and applying diverse teaching techniques to help students acquire a new language. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and going to the beach. She also loves the outdoors, going hiking, and learning about different cultures.

Kenneth Cusson

DIRECTOR OF FACILITIES AND MAINTENANCE

Ken Cusson has managed MacDuffie’s physical plant operations for over twenty years. He and his wife enjoy camping, going to the beach, and motorcycle riding.

Dave Denno

HISTORY TEACHER

B.A., University of Massachusetts
M.A., Brown University

Dave Denno works to balance his role as a teacher at MacDuffie with his most important roles in life: father to Elena, Penelope, and Moxie, and husband to Heather. In addition to his academic interests relating to history and philosophy, Dave is especially fond of working on old cars and listening to heavy metal music. In the classroom, Dave emphasizes relationship building with his students and helping them to develop strong writing and critical thinking skills. These will remain with them even after the content-specific details have evaporated from their memories.

Neil Domer-Shank

DEAN OF STUDENTS; ASSITANT ATHLETIC DIRECTOR; HEAD BASEBALL COACH, PHYSICAL EDUCATION TEACHER

B.A., The College of Wooster
M.S., Ohio University

Neil Domer-Shank joined the MacDuffie athletic department staff in 2019, serving as the Assistant Athletic Director and Head Baseball Coach, teaching physical education classes, and working with student leadership development. “Coach D” spent the last 6 years in a similar role at The Master’s School, and before that was a Youth and Family Services/Camps Director in the Greater Hartford YMCA. Coach D is the president of the Northeast Dragons Baseball Club, and coaches for Connecticut Diamonds softball. In his rare spare time, he writes novels, plays banana-grams with his kids and raucously cheers on the Ohio State Buckeyes. Neil and his wife Laura – an educational psychologist – live in East Granby, Conn., with their three children, Cameron, Larkyn and Ella.

Dawn Faber

DIRECTOR OF ACADEMIC SUPPORT

B.S., Calvin College
M.A., Temple University

Dawn Faber joined MacDuffie in 2016 as the Director of Academic Support. Dawn brought to MacDuffie 35 years of experience in special education, including 25 years with our good friends at Pioneer Valley Christian School. Dawn holds a B.A. in Elementary Education from Calvin College and an M.A. in Psychology of Reading from Temple University.

Nicole Focosi

SENIOR ADMISSIONS ASSOCIATE

Associate Degrees in Pre-health & Liberal Arts from Springfield Technical Community College

Nicole has overseen admissions for 3 large campuses for the past 4 years. She recently departed to try her expertise at our smaller, more close-knit campus. Nicole thrives on personal relations, and is excited to support admissions through her passion and love for student success.

Nicole has a love for nature, and making memories with friends and family a priority for her. You can find her hiking, kayaking or exploring new areas during her spare time. Nicole is currently completing her BA in leadership and business management. She is an extremely proud mother to her son, Jacob, who also shares the dream of traveling to Australia with her one day. Nicole brings a welcoming approach to her role, which has created many student success stories.

Dr. Kerin Gould

ELL TEACHER

BSc from Clayton College of Natural Health
MA and PhD in Native American Studies from the University of California, Davis

Kerin has a fascinating background, working with indigenous and immigrant communities and supporting farming initiatives throughout most of her career. She has most recently worked as the founder of Produce with a Purpose (http://producewithapurpose.net), promoting wellness through healthy eating. Previously, Dr. Gould has worked in schools, creating curriculum and standards for a high school magnet program about food systems, farming, health, gardening, and cooking.

Edward Gray

DIRECTOR OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY & TECHNOLOGY INSTRUCTOR

B.A., Flagler College

Ed Gray joined MacDuffie in June 2013 after eight years at the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College. Before that, he worked at Yankee Candle and Sony Electronics. He has lived in Maryland, Florida, North Carolina, and now Granby, Massachusetts. In addition to managing the network, computers, phones, projectors, and printers on campus, Ed has been a mentor to the robotics team, taught programming classes, led an after-school and summer chess program, managed the e-sports team, taught 3D printing during the summer camp program, and has been seen playing the ukulele in the annual Magneto Fantastico talent show.

Elizabeth Griffin

ADMISSIONS ASSOCIATE AND SOCIAL MEDIA CONTRIBUTOR

Bachelor of Arts, University of Waterloo
Master of Education, University of Toronto

Elizabeth has had many roles at MacDuffie, from Parent Association Treasurer to Manager of Duff’s Stuff. She officially joined the Admissions Team in February 2023. She taught French for 14 years in girls’ independent schools in Toronto, and has coached volleyball and cross country. She lives in South Hadley with her husband, Steve and can be found on FaceTime with her two children, currently studying back in Canada. Elizabeth enjoys running, traveling, and documenting her family’s adventures in scrapbooks.

Steve Griffin P’21, P’23

HEAD OF SCHOOL

B.Math., Waterloo
B.E., University of Western Ontario
M.E., OISE University of Toronto

Steve Griffin is entering his tenth year as Head of School at The MacDuffie School in Granby, MA, where he has overseen considerable growth in both student population and program offerings.

He spent the previous 15 years in boys’ education in Toronto, Canada, with roles of teacher, coach, department chair, International Baccalaureate Coordinator, Head of Upper School, and Head of School.

Steve brings a “hands on” approach to his roles; at MacDuffie, he has acted in school musicals, performed at talent nights, initiated the “classic vinyl LP club”, and introduced students to the wonders of ball hockey in the winter.

His particular interests in education are faculty growth, assessment and evaluation, and educational technology. Steve is married to Elizabeth and they have two daughters: Sophie, a current MacDuffie junior, and Lily, a college freshman and MacDuffie Class of 2021 alumna. Steve maintains an active interest in a variety of sports, including basketball, golf, cycling, and distance running.

Kevin Hillman

ELL TEACHER

BA in French and English from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh
French Language study abroad at the Université de Caen--Basse Normandie, France

Before his year away, Kevin was at The MacDuffie School for nearly 10 years. Mr. Hillman will be teaching in the ELL department, helping Ms. Katz to coordinate world languages, coordinating our homestay operation, coaching cross country, and running the international festival.

Ruth Hutton

ELL TEACHER

B.A., Williams College
M.A., Cambridge University, England

Ruth Hutton is teaching ELL Humanities 1, not only helping non-native English speakers build on their language skills but exploring American culture. Ms. Hutton attended schools in 3 states and two countries by the time she was in high school—an experience that is invaluable for making new students feel welcome, particularly when they are navigating a new language. She has lived in Ohio, NYC, England, Boston, and Chicago. For the past ten years, she has lived in Amherst, MA, teaching ESL to adult immigrants and refugees. Ms. Hutton has a B.A. in Theatre from Williams College, an M.A. in English from Cambridge University, England, and a certification in Teaching ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) from the International Language Institute. She loves street photography, exploring new cities, audiobooks, and playing geography and world soccer trivia with her two college-aged boys.

Dr. Qibo (Robert) Jing

MATH & SCIENCE TEACHER, RESIDENTIAL ASSISTANT, MATH DEPARTMENT CHAIR

BS from Huazhong University of Science and Technology
MS in Applied Mathematics from UC-Riverside
PHd from Brigham Young University

Dr. Jing has many years of experience teaching Math and Science, most recently at Berkshire School in Sheffield MA.

Steve Kaminski

MUSIC TEACHER

B.Mus., Southern Methodist University

Steve Kaminski spent 26 years in Los Angeles working in the TV entertainment industry. He is happy to be back in New England teaching the importance the musical arts play in a student’s journey and growth. He is thrilled to be teaching music at The MacDuffie school where the arts are a valued part of the curriculum.

Dana Katz

ELL DEPARTMENT COORDINATOR; ELL TEACHER

B.A., Smith College
M.A., San Francisco State University

Dana Katz joined MacDuffie in 2018 as an ELL teacher and Department Coordinator.  Ms. Katz was most recently at Darrow School in New York.  She has already had a career that spans the globe, from placements in private industry and the college setting to teaching English in Japan and Israel. Ms. Katz has a B.A. in Anthropology from Smith College and an M.A. in English from San Francisco State University.

Berton K’Chung

MATH TEACHER

B.S., University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Mr. Berton K’Chung joins the staff in the mathematics department this year. He holds a B.S. with a dual concentration in applied mathematics and math teaching from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Mr. K’Chung is a western Mass native and loves the area due to its competitive soccer scene. He plays as a left-back/center-back and sometimes plays right-mid in futsal (indoor soccer). Mr. K’Chung is also a passionate Arsenal fan and watches every game. Outside of math and sports, he has many other hobbies, such as cooking, buying shoes, composing music, video editing, playing Rocket League or FIFA, watching anime/movies, and listening to various music genres.

Natalie Kelley

SCIENCE TEACHER

B.S., The College of Saint Rose

Ms. Natalie Kelley joins us as the middle school science, AP environmental and forensic science teacher. She has her undergraduate degree in cell/molecular biology as well as a minor in Spanish from The College of Saint Rose. Natalie lives on campus as an RA in the Caswell dorm. Ms. Kelley is native to the area and is excited to bring her knowledge to the diverse student body at the MacDuffie School. In her free time she enjoys being with friends and family.

Deanne Klingensmith

SCHOOL COUNSELOR

B.A., University of Massachusetts, Amherst
M.E., Springfield College

Alex Kravchuk

RESIDENTIAL ASSISTANT & ATHLETIC ADMIN ASSISTANT

BSc in Sports Management and Recreation, University of New England

Alex has camp experience, and his most recent role was that of Athletic Admin Assistant, Basketball Coach, Dorm Parent, and Substitute Teacher at Berwick Academy. Alex has a special interest in basketball; he was a 3-year all Conference player at the University of New England. Mr. Kravchuk is currently enrolled in a MSc program in applied nutrition at UNE, as well.

Michele Landry

STUDY HALL SUPERVISOR

Business owner, cosmetologist, dance instructor, choreographer. Michele has been associated with MacDuffie since 1998 when her son Evan attended. She has been involved with fundraising and choreography for many school musicals in the past. She has worked as Resident Assistant in many capacities and is currently proctor for Evening Study Hall for the boarding program.

Ray Larrow

VISUAL ARTS TEACHER

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting/Drawing, Boston University's College of Fine Arts
Master of Fine Arts in Painting, Southern Methodist University

Ray has a rich and varied experience as a working artist and an educator at Colleges, Universities, and Museums. Ray's studio work focuses primarily on observational landscape painting; you can see his work at http://www.artroams.com. A tinkerer at heart, he is married to Sandra and has two boys, Gus and Alfie. He is excited about the interdisciplinary possibilities of working with the MacDuffie Theater around set builds.

Dina Lyman ‘66, P’03

DEAN OF BOARDING LIFE AND ALUMNI RELATIONS

A.A., Centenary University

Dina (Waters) Lyman ‘66 returned to MacDuffie at the start of the 1979-80 school year and has served in numerous capacities in the Boarding Department and the school ever since. A fixture on the MacDuffie campus, Dina has seen drastic changes in the school – from its roots as an all-girls’ school in an urban setting to a co-educational, boarding/day school on a 250-acre campus in Granby.

As the Dean of Boarding Life, Dina is responsible for dormitory operations, evening and weekend events and program planning and student support. She takes a particular interest in planning and executing day and weekend trips and in ensuring that students receive the supports they need to apply to and visit colleges and universities. In her role in Alumni Relations, Dina plans the annual reunion event and connects with alumni young and old to bring them the magic of MacDuffie, alive and well in Granby. Dina also serves on the Human Resources committee.

Originally from the Springfield area, Dina lives with her husband Ted, a long-time theatre volunteer and trip chaperone. They are proud grandparents to their son Tadd’s ‘03 two children with his wife, Lauren.

Daniel Maak

MATH TEACHER

B.A., Western New England University
B.S., UMASS Lowell
M.E., Westfield State University

Mr. Daniel Maak joins the staff as a mathematics teacher after more than a baker’s dozen years at Saint Mary’s Parish School in Westfield, MA. He has also served as a remote educator with the Lowell district in Lowell, MA. Mr. Maak has a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematical Science from Western New England University, a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from UMASS Lowell, and a Master of Education with a concentration in Secondary Mathematics from Westfield State University. He is ABD (i.e., all but dissertation) for a Doctorate of Education in Teaching and Learning from American International College. Mr. Maak enjoys spending time with friends and family playing tabletop games (D&D or anything else), attempting not to lose at Mario Kart on the Nintendo Switch, and eating delicious salads. He also enjoys trying his hand at ketogenic cooking.

Aubrey Malanowski

DIRECTOR OF INTERNATIONAL ADMISSIONS

BSc in Business Administration and Marketing, Baypath College

Aubrey has experienced the full admissions life cycle at the college level at Regis College, where she served as an admission counselor and senior assistant director and also has worked on the technology systems side of admissions. Aubrey also has worked in retail, and runs her own business in designer and high end clothing resale.

Darcie Mavlouganes P’23, P’28

REGISTRAR; PDSO

A.A., Springfield Technical Community College

 Darcie Mavlouganes joined the MacDuffie family in 2013. After many years both in and out of the classroom in public and private schools in Springfield, MA, she is happy to be back on the administrative side where there is always a new and interesting challenge to take on.

When she isn’t in the office, Darcie enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons, especially at the boys’ various sports and scouting events. Much of her spare time is spent volunteering with the Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout Pack to which her sons belong. Traveling is a favorite pastime for the Mavlouganes family. Some of their favorite places are Disney World, Key West, and York Beach Maine. Darcie loves listening to live music and you may often hear her talking about the next concert she is planning to attend.

Claire McClain

RESIDENTIAL ASSISTANT

BA in English, Mount Holyoke College

 Darcie Mavlouganes joined the MacDuffie family in 2013. After many years both in and out of the classroom in public and private schools in Springfield, MA, she is happy to be back on the administrative side where there is always a new and interesting challenge to take on.

She has previously worked as an academic support tutor, office manager, and in various roles in the elder care field. Her roles have taken her to Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, and Ohio.

Fabian Mendez

RESIDENTIAL ASSISTANT

BSc in Criminal Justice, American International College

 Fabian has been working with youth for the past three years as a program coordinator at the South End Community Center in Springfield.

Kathleen Minahan

ASSISTANT HEAD OF SCHOOL

B.A., Indiana University
M.A., Yale University
M.E., Columbia University

 Ms. Kathleen Minahan joined the MacDuffie community as Assistant Head in the summer of 2022. She has taught at schools both domestically and in Warsaw, Poland, and most recently served as the History Department Chair and dorm head at The Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, Connecticut. Kathleen has a B.A. in History and Slavic Languages & Literatures from Indiana University, an M.A. in European & Russian Studies from Yale University, and is currently completing an M.Ed. in Education Leadership from the Klingenstein Center for Independent School Leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University. Kathleen lives on campus in Rutenber House with her dog and cat and enjoys reading, needle crafts, and skiing in her spare time.

Erick Montanez

SKILLED MAINTAINER

Erick Montanez joined The MacDuffie School as a Skilled Maintainer. His previous experience is in the property management industry, where he has worked in maintaining vacant single-family homes prior to and during the sale process, and for property management companies in maintaining and turning over apartment homes. In addition to his experience in property management, he also has extensive experience in landscaping and plumbing and holds a refrigeration technician’s license.

Mrs. Melissa (Missy) O’Grady

DANCE TEACHER

B.F.A., University of the Arts

Mrs. Melissa (Missy) O’Grady holds a B.F.A. in Modern Dance from the University of the Arts. She worked at Wilbraham and Monson Academy for the last eleven years while working at various dance studios in the Western Mass Area. Mrs. O’Grady enjoyed performing professionally with different dance companies. She enjoys hiking, being outdoors, especially near water, reading, cooking, and doing puzzles. Mrs O’Grady and her husband, Matthew share a home in Wilbraham with their three daughters and two puppies. She truly loves teaching and collaborating with students.

R. Andrew Parker

BUSINESS OFFICE MANAGER

A.S. Asnuntuck Community College
B.A. Franklin Pierce College
B.S. Southern New Hampshire University
M.L.S. Simmons College
PHR, SPHR, SHRM-CP

Andrew Parker has been at MacDuffie since the 2015-16 school year, having previously worked in public schools and libraries. At MacDuffie, he has overseen the campus master planning process; the installation of turf and grass fields; the acquisition of additional land parcels; and the in-sourcing of cleaning and janitorial services.

In addition to his role in operations and finance, Andrew has chaperoned numerous boarding and day field trips and campus events, served as club advisor for the MIT LaunchX and Finance & Economics clubs, and volunteered in other campus activities. He and his wife, Megan, have also been short- and long-term MacDuffie homestay parents.

His interests in education are in maximizing value and efficiency and the intersection of technology and liberal arts. He is an avid vintage car and antique enthusiast (which has been, on occasion, a help to the theatre department). When they aren’t road-tripping, camping, or traveling internationally, Andrew, his family, and their two cats, two Goldendoodles, and miniature poodle split their time between Holyoke, Mass., and Windham Center, Conn.

Erica Piwcio

HEALTH SERVICES COORDINATOR; SCHOOL NURSE

A.D.N., Holyoke Community College
A.A., Holyoke Community College

After a long career as a cosmetologist, co-owning a salon/day spa, and raising her family, Erica earned her nursing degree and is proud to be working full time as a head nurse. Originally from Western Mass, she enjoys the different seasons throughout the year and the fresh look they bring. When not caring for the medical needs of students, Erica enjoys social time with her husband and two young teenage children. They enjoy their time being on the boat, traveling, and exploring new adventures such as rope courses, hang gliding, and go-cart racing. In her alone time Erica also enjoys reading and researching projects for her house and best deals on new vacation spots.

Rachel Robinson

RESIDENTIAL ASSISTANT

B.A., Bay Path University

Rachel holds a degree in elementary education from Bay Path University. She is currently working as a lead child care teacher at a child care center in Easthampton.

Glendaliz Rodriguez

HOUSEKEEPING

José Rodriguez

HOUSEKEEPING

Lou Roy

MIDDLE SCHOOL COORDINATOR & TEACHER

B.A., Keene State College
MEd, Columbia University

Ms. Roy has had a career in both education and social services and has done other jobs like home restoration, adventure experiences (including dog sledding), directing summer camps, being in several bands, and being both a short order cook and camp cook. She is the mum to two incredible daughters and grandmother to two super incredible children. She truly believes herself to be incredibly blessed and that helping others is her true calling.

Jill Serafino

ATHLETIC DIRECTOR

BA in Sports Management, Psychology, and Exercise Science, UMASS Amherst
MEd in Psychology and Counseling (Athletic Counseling), Springfield College.

Jill has experience in league management and in high schools. Her most recent role was as the Director of Operations and Registrar at United Women's Soccer. She has also worked as a guidance counselor for Northampton High School, and served on retention and student concern committees as part of her college coaching experience.

Betty Shaw

ASSISTANT BUSINESS MANAGER

A.A., Springfield Technical Community College
B.S., Western New England University
M.B.A., Western Governors University

Betty Shaw started her career at The MacDuffie School in May 2000 as the Assistant Business Manager.

Jonathan Sicard

HISTORY TEACHER

BA in History from Springfield College
BA Education from Westfield State University

Jonathan has an extensive background at schools, both at Hadley Public and, most recently, in Canada. Mr. Sicard is also an accomplished soccer player and coach.

Jill Skibel P’18, P’21

ATTENDANCE ADMINISTRATOR; COMMUNITY SERVICE COORDINATOR

As a parent of two alumni, Jill has been part of the MacDuffie Granby community since the doors opened in 2011 when her daughter began in sixth grade. She was an active member of the Parent Association for six years and volunteered for many Arts Department and other school activities. Before starting a family, she was an office manager for a local orthodontist and currently manages her husband’s family plumbing business. She enjoys scrapbooking and spending time with her family and friends in her spare time.

Gino Sorcinelli

ACADEMIC SUPPORT TEACHER

B.A., Clark University
M.Ed., University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Gino Sorcinelli enjoys working with middle and upper school students as a teacher in the Academic Support department. He spends his free time working as a freelance music journalist. When he isn’t teaching or writing, Gino enjoys hanging out with his wife, biking, cooking, reading, listening to music, watching the Celtics, and a variety of other fun activities.

Kurt Steiner

RESIDENTIAL ASSISTANT; BOYS’ PREP BASKETBALL COACH

B.A., University of New England

Kurt Steiner joins MacDuffie as a Residential Assistant and the Assistant Coach of our Boys’ Prep Basketball team. Coach Kurt has worked as a commercial real estate broker, but his passion is coaching.  He has worked with many AAU programs. Mr. Steiner holds a degree in Business Administration and Biology from the University of New England.

Nancy Swol

MATHEMATICS TEACHER

B.S., North Adams State College

Nancy Swol was born and raised in Western Massachusetts and has a rich history of teaching in both the Chicopee and Ludlow school districts. Along with being a mathematics teacher, she was also a pet shop owner for many years. Nancy enjoys reading, attending concerts, trying new restaurants, and vacationing with her husband Ron. She also spends time going on walks with her puppy Tyler. Nancy holds a B.S. in Elementary Education, with a minor in Mathematics, from the former North Adams State College (now the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts).

Daniel Taravella

LATIN TEACHER; HISTORY TEACHER

B.A., Allegheny College
M.A., University of Chicago

Daniel Taravella enjoys teaching the Classics at MacDuffie with both the History and World Language departments. On the Latin side, his current professional interests are the history and archaeology of early Rome (especially Roman historical myths), Roman social history, Roman imperialism, and the art and literature of the Augustan Age.  On the History side, his current professional interests are comparative world history (especially empires), imperialism and gender, and the relationship between historical developments and environmental and climatic factors.

He feels particularly suited to teaching Latin and History because he spends an inordinate amount of time living in the past.  Despite this, he bases his personal outlook on the words of Nick Charles in the 1934 film The Thin Man: “Don’t kid yourself. THESE are the good old days.”

Art Thomas

GIRLS VARSITY BASKETBALL COACH

Coach Thomas is entering another season as head coach of the Mustangs Girls Basketball Program. The Mustangs played the second toughest schedule out of all the Class D programs for six years and moved up to the most competitive NEPSAC Class AA before the 2022-2023 season. Coach Thomas believes hard work, defense, leadership, and teamwork are crucial to success. The Basketball program focuses on team and individual skill development.

The opponents on the Mustangs schedule include, but are not limited to: Northfield Mount Hermon, Tabor Academy, Worcester Academy, Nobles, Dexter Southfield, Rivers, Marianapolis, New Hampton, Winchendon, Tilton, Storm King, Hoosac, and St. Andrew’s. We strive for an exciting, thriving, competitive, and fun season. We are always looking to build upon the prior seasons.

Carol Tomkiel

ENGLISH DEPARTMENT CHAIR; ENGLISH DEPARTMENT

B.A., Dartmouth College
M.A., Georgetown University

Carol Tomkiel has been a teacher and member of the MacDuffie community since 1984. In addition to her duties as chairperson and teacher, she is an ongoing member of the Western Massachusetts Writing Project and the Thoreau Institute. She is a recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities for Secondary School Teachers and the National Writing Project for study in the areas of philosophical approaches to the teaching of history and the reading and writing of the Holocaust, respectively. A board member of Umoja Now, a non-profit fostering gender equity and justice in Burundi, Carol is an avid traveler, Africa being one continent where she has visited in addition to South America, Europe, and the Caribbean. Among her school-sponsored trips have been a student trip to the UK and an alumni trip to Paris.

Melissa Valentine

SCIENCE DEPARTMENT CHAIR; ENGLISH DEPARTMENT

B.S. Biology and Environmental Science from Gettysburg College
Masters of Education from Marymount University

In her free time, Ms. Valentine enjoys baking, singing, hiking, and traveling with her family.

Greg Vennell

PEACE STUDIES TEACHER

B.S., Springfield College
M.S.T., Antioch College

Xiaomeng “Sammi” Yuan

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF ADMISSIONS

Diploma in Business from Christchurch Polytechnic Institution of Technology (CPIT), NZ

Sammi serves as The MacDuffie School’s Assistant Director of Admissions based out of her hometown of Tianjin, China.

Sammi worked in an overseas study program for twelve years.  This company specializes in providing professional consultation to students who are interested in studying at secondary schools in both the United States and the United Kingdom.  She lived in the United States for several years while working in Seattle, Washington.

In her free time, Sammi enjoys reading, classical music, and spending time with her family and super energetic little boy.