Since the age of 19 Deanna Duncan knew she wanted to be an educator. She felt it was her calling. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Geoscience and a life-time science teaching certificate. She returned to school in order to get her masters in Secondary Science education. She has taught middle and high school science in New Jersey, Georgia and North Carolina.
As a teacher, Ms. Duncan focused on making learning meaningful and relevant for all children and used environmental focuses to accomplish just that. She has served as a planetarium director and director of an environmental resource center for a school system in North Carolina where she also wrote curriculum and provided professional development throughout the state.
Ms. Duncan wrote the curriculum for her first school in North Carolina. She was then asked to serve as the educational leader. Since then, she has been an administrator and has started three schools, all with an environmental focus. She recently completed her 13th year as an educational leader.
Ms. Duncan has had many accomplishments throughout her 27 years in education. She was one of the first to receive her Environmental Educator’s Certificate in North Carolina and has received many awards for her efforts as an environmental and science educator. She is most proud of her opportunity to serve as an educator in Uganda to facilitate Conservation education for teachers of Uganda.
Ms. Duncan is committed to a learning community that provides a rigorous and engaging curriculum that not only teaches skills but also develops critical thinkers and connections to the natural world.
HR/Finance Manager: Ms. Giselle Pellerano-Monserratt Tel. Ext. 106
During the summer of 2010, our opening year, I joined The Greene School to help bring the dream of the founding Board of Directors to become a reality. I was very excited to be a part of this amazing school, and couldn’t wait for opening day and to meet our founding students. Our founding year was a wonderful experience, and I was amazed by all the things we accomplished and all the incredible experiences we had as a school community. Now we are in our second year and many things are the same, but many things have changes as new families have joined our growing community and new opportunities have developed.
After graduating from Rhode Island College with my bachelor’s degree in Business Management, I was searching for "my dream job". With a few years under my belt, I can't help but feel proud of the journey that brought me to The Greene School. I can't wait to continue my professional journey with this amazing learning community. Cheers to many more years of The Greene School!!!
Office Manager : Monika Nixon Tel. Ext. 100
I have worked as an Administrative Assistant/Office Manager for over 15 years, ten in the Boston Public Schools. As a teenager going to an urban high school in Boston, I always had a desire to go to college and get a job working with young people. I left the school department in 2007 to work in a hospital as a Patient Care Coordinator, where I was able to continue caring for people from all aspects of life. I am so thankful to be part of a high school that is just beginning; it allows you to grow with the staff and the students. When you are able to help pioneer and be a part of something that is in its beginning stages, it shows that you have a lot of endurance. I am a person of endurance and strength with so much to teach to young people. My passion in life is to encourage young people to find what they are passionate about and to help guide that passion into the people they want to become in life. I’m looking forward to all the great things ahead for the staff and students at the Greene School.
Guidance Counselor: Ms. Lori Suher
I am very excited to be joining such an enthusiastic and professional staff here at The Greene School. I graduated from Boston University with an M.A. in Political Science and a B.A. in Political Science and Psychology. I moved to California and worked at a large middle school with students reading at least three years below grade level. I also worked part-time at a juvenile detention center. I then worked at the Office of the Attorney General, but after a few years. I went on to get my M.Ed. in School Counseling at UMASS Boston because I knew I wanted to be a counselor. I have been a counselor at both the middle and high school levels. I most recently worked in the Providence Public School system. Outside of school, I have an infant and enjoy running, reading and spending time with my family.
Science: Mr. Brendan
Born and raised in a rural area of eastern Connecticut, I moved to Prescott to attend Prescott College in 2001. The diversity and beauty of the Southwest’s ecosystems and landscapes inspired me to pursue a degree in Environmental Studies and Education. My passion for learning about the Earth’s history and its biological diversity has inspired me to do two things. First, it has led me to travel extensively to places such as Ireland, France, New Zealand, Fiji, Thailand, Cambodia, and Myanmar. In addition, it has motivated me to become a teacher so that I may share my passion and inspire others. I hold a deep belief that critical thought is the most indispensable quality of a self-governing society, and therefore public education must be recognized as the heart of a functioning democracy. After teaching at an Expeditionary Learning School in Prescott, Arizona, for three years, I recently moved back to New England to work at The Greene School. I am honored by the opportunity to serve the students of this community.
Science : Lara Haggerty
As a New England native born and raised on Cape Cod, the natural world became my playground at an early age. I always knew that my future career would involve the sciences based upon my motivation to always ask, “Why?” when exploring nature. I pursued a career in wildlife biology earning my Bachelor of Science at the University of Massachusetts. After college I managed 332 acre Washburn Island, a part of the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, and also worked for the Massachusetts Audubon Coastal Waterbird Program. I then moved to Arizona to experience the unique environments of the southwestern United States. After exploring the creeks and canyons of Arizona, and working as a zookeeper, I decided to earn my Master of Science degree in conservation biology at Antioch University New England. Upon the completion of my MS studying pronghorn antelope, and after working for the Nature Conservancy Verde River Program I took a job teaching chemistry at an Expeditionary Learning School. I soon realized that Expeditionary Learning and teaching was an ideal fit. As an educator of the sciences I now have the opportunity to share my enthusiasm for the natural world with young adults while helping them to ask, “Why?” I am happy to have the opportunity to be a part of the Greene School Community and I look forward to working with you!
Humanities Department Chair: Ms. Alex
Greetings! I am so pleased to be returning to The Greene School for its second year. Prior to coming here, I had many big adventures – from working as a flat-water and rock climbing guide in Minnesota to volunteering with an adaptive ski program in California to working as a tech in an emergency room in Colorado. I completed my undergraduate at Lesley University in History with a minor in Literature and my M.ED at Northern Arizona University, combining my passion for both the humanities and teaching into a clear career path. For several wonderful years I taught in Arizona at a small expeditionary learning school, taught part-time at Prescott College, and lived on the kind of horse and cattle ranch where you would expect to see John Wayne. I am jazzed to be in these New England woods on John Potter, to be back in the land of stonewalls, water, and early American history. Strong community has always been the constant in my life, and I am thrilled to be beginning another year here at The Greene School.
English/Language Arts: Mr. Adam Litvinoff
It was clear to me, even in my initial discovery of The Greene School, that this would be a place where a rich and unique type of learning would occur. As I became more aware of the commitment to sustainability, civic mindedness, the use of technology and authentic student work, I was sure that I would want to become a part of this idea called “The Greene School.” And now, as a result of the hard work of so many, The Greene School is real, and I am fortunate enough to be a part of it. Before earning my Masters in Education in 2008 at SUNY Albany, I studied Comparative Literature at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. This degree program combined my penchant for literature and writing with a curiosity for film studies and world cultures. Soon after, I decided that the best way to continue to feed my passion was to educate teenagers and help them to discover the best parts of English/Language Arts. And this sense of discovery is an integral part of my teaching philosophy. The Greene School students in English/Language Arts will explore the process of writing and reading various texts at professional levels, all while having time for self-reflection and inquiry. My hope is that this reflection elicits a passion for literature and writing that lasts a lifetime. Beyond my work in the classroom, I have a variety of interests that have shaped – and continue to be a part of – who I am as a person. Especially after studying and producing films in college, I enjoy watching all types of films and TV programs that I find to be creative and engaging. (I know that at The Greene School we will be creating some of this media ourselves.) Every day I am cooking something, as I have been interested in food for as long as I can remember. I try to keep up to date on the latest food knowledge, and I make an effort to cook and eat food that is good for my body and the planet. And no matter what kind of sporting event or game is taking place – especially running or golf – I want in! Each of these qualities, and many more, are a part of who I am. What things make you who you are?
Humanities Grade Nine: Bryan Duarte
Mr. Duarte became a teacher so he could follow in the footsteps of some great engaging and fun educators he had in middle and high school. He always enjoyed History because he had teachers that made it interesting. He graduated from Elms College in 2010 with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Secondary Education and a minor concentration in Music. He began his teaching career in the Fall of 2010 at The Springfield Renaissance School, also an Expeditionary Learning High School in Springfield, Massachusetts. There, he fell in love with the EL model, and when the opportunity presented itself to stay within the network at a startup school, he immediately joined the fun! He is excited to join The Greene School staff and to learn more about sustainable practices with students. Mr. Duarte enjoys reading, taking long bike rides, playing piano, listening to music, and traveling.
Math: Mr. Josh Schatz
I bring to The Greene School over five years of experience in education. I earned both a B.S. in Mathematics and a B.A. in Psychology in undergraduate work, and then received my Secondary Education Teaching Certificate from Providence College. After spending two years at the Eleanor Briggs School in Warwick working with students with behavioral disorders, I spent the last three years at St. Andrews School in Barrington. Both of these experiences have helped me to develop an understanding of the skills and practices necessary to work with a diverse and differentiated student population. I am a strong believer in the importance of conceptual learning, and have worked to develop a teaching style that is both effective and dynamic. I am excited to be a part of the foundation for a brand new school, particularly one with such a progressive educational philosophy and environmentally aware ideology. Outside of teaching, I enjoy both playing and coaching sports, particularly soccer. In 2006, I coached the Cole Middle School soccer team that won the State Championship. I am also an avid reader, and enjoy hiking and kayaking.
Math:Mr. Adam Cherko
Originally from New Rochelle New York, I received my undergraduate degree in Architectural Engineering from the University of Miami. I practiced structural engineering for 2 years in Miami and 2 years in Manhattan before making my way into secondary education by way of the Rhode Island Teaching Fellows. After teaching for two years in the urban Public education sector, I am thrilled to be able to teach in an environment that fosters critical thinking and reasoning, teamwork and hands on experiences through a strong sense of shared community. Recently I have been involved in Vegetable oil alternative fuel conversions for my personal vehicles and plan on helping The Greene School harness some of this technology in the near future, while also teaching our students about it. When there is spare time to be found I am renovating houses, repairing vehicles or enjoying life navigating local water.
Special Education: Ms.
As the special education teacher at The Greene School, I will work to ensure the general education curriculum is accessible to all students. I have worked in the field of special education for ten years, both in public schools and in residential settings. I have experience with the inclusion model, teaching in a self-contained room, working in a resource room, and with tutoring a diverse population of students. I hold degrees in both elementary education and secondary special education. I am certified to teach secondary special education, elementary education, and early childhood education. Prior to becoming a special education teacher, I taught kindergarten while also working as a veterinary technician. When not teaching, I enjoy backpacking, gardening, traveling, and anything that involves the natural world. I could not be more thrilled to be part of this innovative school with a philosophy that meshes so perfectly with my own thoughts on teaching, learning, and life. In the future, I plan to finish classes to acquire my English as a Second Language endorsement, followed by becoming certified as a reading specialist. I look forward to the opportunity to work with the staff, students, and families of The Greene School community!
Special Ed:Mr. Jeff Johnson
Growing up in a military family, I had the opportunity to travel extensively most of my life. Eventually, I settled in Rhode Island and attended Rhode Island College, pursuing degrees in History/education. I later attended Providence College for graduate studies in special education. In college I began working with adjudicated youth and found that I really enjoyed the challenge of working with at risk students. After graduation I worked with severe emotional/behavioral students at the Providence Center School for three years. I went on to teach special education in Providence at The Met High School in Providence’s south side. I am very pleased to be moving to The Greene School where I can practice the principles I believe so much in, namely the environment and sustainability. I am a National Park Ranger in Washington’s Mt. Rainier National Park in the summer and have led initiatives in recycling at my old high school in Providence. I hope to continue the same type of programs at The Greene School while working to make the learning here even more accessible to all students.
PE/Health: Derek Gustafson
Since my high school years I knew I wanted to be a Health and Physical education teacher. I felt a strong desire and passion to teach in an area that I felt can impact a person’s everyday life. I received my undergrad from Rhode Island College in Health Education, Physical Education and Adaptive Physical Education where I was able to grow from several valuable experiences in the field of education. I strongly believe that every student has the right to learn and I carry that philosophy with me through all my lessons, making sure every day is an opportunity for a student to learn and succeed. I hold an American Canoe Association Level III Open Coastal Kayaking Instructor certification. I enjoy teaching people of all ages the many aspects of that sport as well as enjoying the waterways of Rhode Island and other areas on my free time.
Visual Arts: Mr. Kurt Van Dexter
Kurt Van Dexter, the Visual Art and Design instructor for The Greene School, teaches visual art and design, and landscape design. Mr. Van Dexter is a Rhode Island certified K-12 visual arts teacher and a registered Landscape Architect. He has undergraduate degrees in both art and landscape architecture, and a graduate degree in art education, (MAT), from RISD. Since 1994, Mr. Van Dexter has been assisting schools in Rhode Island and elsewhere, helping them develop educational schoolyard landscapes and schoolyard gardens. In 2005, he co-founded the Children’s Garden Network, an organization dedicated to assisting schools involved with school gardens and educational landscape and advancing the educational schoolyard landscape movement. As a landscape architect, Mr. Van Dexter directs his practice toward both educational schoolyards and the design of therapeutic garden spaces.
A practicing artist as well, over the years Mr. Van Dexter’s artwork has been on exhibit around the country, and in Japan and Australia, at one point represented by galleries in Washington, DC, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
He also has a strong background in product design and development, and architecture. When not involved with art, design, or education, Mr. Van Dexter enjoys gardening, farming, hiking, and playing the button accordion. As a dancer for most of his life, he helps direct a performance Bavarian/Austrian folk-dance troupe he co-founded many years ago.
Music:Ms. Sue Hougland
My professional career has finally brought me “home!” I spent the first few years of my life and all summers thereafter in South Kingstown. Having taught at several private schools in the USA, as well as in Germany, I bring almost 30 years of music directing and teaching experience to The Greene School. I was trained as a classical violist, and I am a graduate of BU. I also have advanced degrees in German (Goethe Institute) and English (Penn). I come to The Greene School after 15 years at The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, PA, where I was head of the music department and taught strings, general music and German to grades 3-12. A published poet, I have many interests beyond music. I am a member of Save the Bay, worked for Philadelphia Reads as a literacy tutor, and play an active role in adoption support and family groups. My husband is also a musician, and we will both be active in community music programs here in RI. We have two young daughters and parenting them is my greatest joy in life. I am very excited to start a music program for The Greene School, and I want to involve as many students as possible in creating diverse musical experiences and performances.
Chinese: Ms. Diejun Xu
Mandarin Chinese is my primary language. English is my third language. What is my second language? I was born in Shanghai, China. After five years I graduated from college, left Shanghai and went to Kobe, Japan. I studied and worked there for almost eight years. Then, I came to the United States. I graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a BA in Secondary Education and Mathematics. I love students and enjoy teaching them. Although I was born and raised in cities, I love the natural environment. I like water related activities such as going to the beach, boating, fishing, and swimming.
Spanish:Ms. Maura Cousins Daley
I am incredibly excited and proud to be a member of the Greene School community. Prior to my teaching career, I held various Management positions in banking and specialty finance. During those years, it was always my secret dream to teach at some point in the future. Because my parents were both teachers, I grew up in a rich environment that valued education, discovery via new experiences and, even more importantly, lifelong learning. As a family, we spent each summer on our boat in the Great Salt Pond, on Block Island. These summer experiences made an enormous contribution to my appreciation and now sacred view of our environment. Having researched the Greene School, I knew that this was the place for me!
My undergraduate studies were at Salve Regina University, in Newport, RI, where I earned a Bachelors of Arts and Science in Spanish and Business Management. After recently substitute teaching at the Block Island School, I knew that my true vocation was calling and I returned to Providence College to obtain my teaching certification. My travels as a child to Spain with my Grandmother and later to Mexico and Costa Rica only served to reinforce my passion for Spanish. I am fortunate to be able to travel to Mexico City frequently to visit my brother who is the Director of Program Management in Latin America for a large U.S. based corporation. Those visits are a constant source of invaluable cultural knowledge that I will tap to make my total classroom experience interesting, relevant and truly vibrant for my students.
My career experience in business, banking and language training combined with my passion for different cultures and the responsible stewardship of our environment have prepared me well for this new expeditionary learning experience!