Scott Barksdale

Head of School

Scott came to HCA after 14 years as a teacher and administrator in school districts from South Portland up to RSU 2.  After graduating with a BA in Leadership Studies from the University of Richmond back in the mid 90’s, he moved up to New York City (“chasing the dream!”) to continue a career as a musician (drummer).  It was as a band member and business manager that Scott developed his love of figuring how to “just get it done” – whether it was getting a major label recording contract (A&M/Interscope), getting a squirly bunch of Brooklyn musicians across the country and back in a 15 passenger van-and-trailer three to four times a year (not easy!), or finally realizing after 5 years that life on the road was not for him (no regrets!).

After becoming a teacher, Scott attended Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, where he connected with the folks who would go on to found Critical Explorers, Inc.  This nonprofit’s goal continues to be helping students, teachers and schools recognize and engage with the true potential of children’s minds and hearts.  Scott served on their Board of Directors and as a workshop developer and facilitator for 8 years, where he dug deep with his colleagues into inquiry-driven learning and teaching in the humanities.  Scott still loves to just get stuff done, and is equally happy listening to John Coltrane or Tim McGraw these days.

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Ext. 103

Angelina Simmons

Division 1 Faculty, Health Educator & Health Aid 

It was her deep desire to create a middle school with a strong sense of community, where every student felt valued and had the opportunity to grow, which led Angelina to become a member of HCA’s founding faculty. In addition to her ten years of teaching experience in the classroom and special education at Woodside Elementary, Angelina’s experience in crisis intervention and grief support sparked her passion for social-emotional learning and restorative practices in schools. Angelina is a certified Red Cross CPR/First Aid instructor and has trained extensively with Planned Parenthood, Maine Family Planning, and New Beginnings to hone her skills in teaching health to adolescents.  Over the years, Angelina has deeply enjoyed the challenges and opportunities unique to the creation and sustaining of an organization. Angelina has balanced various administrative elements of managing a charter school with teaching Health and Sex Education, training faculty in a range of skills from technology use to CPR/First Aid skills, all while cultivating a culture of community and social justice. 

A native of Boothbay, Angelina graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication. She lives on Great Island in Harpswell with her husband, dog, cat, ferrets, and the odd snake. When Angelina isn’t at school, she enjoys camping, hiking, gardening, and dancing.

Email Angelina
Ext. 107

Andrew Smaha

Business & Finance Director

Andrew joins HCA having spent over 18 years in program and event development. After receiving his B.A. in Political Science and Drama from Tufts University, he worked in Boston as a producer on a number of television series, conferences, non-profit fundraising campaigns, community events, and live entertainment productions. He then spent s even years in theme park entertainment production and operations at Paramount Park Santa Clara, Paramount Charlotte, Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Sea World Orlando. All-told, he has produced over 750 events in 48 cities globally.


It was when rigging lights high above a shark-infested tank at midnight in the Orlando heat that Andrew realized how much he missed Maine, so he returned to home in 2008 to continue as a producer and executive director here locally. He was Assistant Dean of Business & Community Partnerships with SMCC, Conference Director at a local conference group, and most recently the Executive Director of a local Chamber of Commerce. Andrew is back home to support and help celebrate what makes Maine such an incredible place to live, work and play.

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Ext. 604

Angie Arndt

Administrative Assistant

Since completing her Masters Degree in Human Resource Development, Angie has worked for 35 years as a teacher, facilitator and administrator in a variety of settings and programs. As a Parent Educator she has taught Connection Parenting in community; at the Maine State Correctional Center and Center for Grieving Children in Portland.For the past ten years Angie served as Administrator and then Dean of Students at the Chaplaincy Institute of Maine, in Portland.

Angie moved to Maine 30 years ago (having cruised on a 32’ Westsail to Turkey and back) to be close to family ties on Orr’s Island.  She loves spending time with her family, sailing, gardening, reading, skiing and taking long walks with her husband Peter and dog Lucca.

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Susan Prince

Special Education Director

A Maine native, Susan graduated from UMO with a degree in early childhood/special education and got her master’s degree at USM. She spent her Junior year in high school as an exchange student in Sweden and caught the bug to travel. Susan has been a Special Educator for 36 years, teaching all grade levels and all disabilities. The last ten years she has been a Special Education Administrator in RSU 16, RSU 57, Wiscasset and most recently Windham/Raymond. She is passionate about supporting all students on their educational journeys.

Susan and her husband have 3 adult children and reside in Gorham. They spend a lot of time at the lake in the summer and on mountains skiing in the winter. They also love to travel and try new cuisines.

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Mae Applegate

Dean of Studies and Students

Mae comes to HCA after 8 years of being a classroom teacher, completing her Masters degree in Education and Certificate in School Administration. Her search for a collaborative learning environment in which all stakeholders are heard, respected and valued led her to explore private, independent and public schools before being drawn to HCA. Her passion for education has deep roots in her childhood. From helping her five brothers and sisters with their classwork and being a founding student of an independent school at 13 years old, she has always held optimism in her heart for the places our schools have the potential to be. She is excited to bring her passions for mentoring, empathy based problem solving practices, big picture organization, and active listening skills to the HCA community.
Mae has spent her life in Maine, growing up in Cape Neddick, going to college in Orono and moving all over the state in between. Now, she comes to us from Vinalhaven island, off the coast of Rockland. Her love for costal communities keeps her close to the shore. She brings with her a daughter and son who will be joining the HCA community. In her free time, Mae is an avid reader, baker, writer, snake catcher and coffee drinker.

Mike Woods

Division 2/3 Special Educator 

Mike is excited to bring his experiences and knowledge to the community at HCA. Mike was born and raised in the Oxford Hills region of Maine, and attended Lycoming College, where he earned a BA in History. Feeling a bit disillusioned, directionless and depressed after college, he floundered a bit and decided to leap out into the world to try some different things.  After brief stints as a piano mover, hotel clerk, house painter, barista, and finally dropping out of nursing school, he found himself as an ed tech at The Collaborative School in New Gloucester, Maine. Working at a day treatment school with a close knit group of teachers and an exceptional population of struggling students was an eye-opening experience that gave him the opportunity to learn how to teach and meet everyone where they are. It also planted the seed of working in Special Education. Feeling some wanderlust, Mike set out to get some hands-on experience. He worked with Americorps and other NGOs to lead volunteer construction teams in Florida, West Virginia, Louisiana, and Haiti. Eventually he found himself back in Maine and unfulfilled in the brewing industry. He didn’t want to work in a factory, he wanted to teach. He returned to The Collaborative School, where he worked with amazing people that fueled his passion for hands-on learning and having fun in the classroom. Most recently he has taught Special Education at Greely High School, while earning his certification through the SPARC program at University of Maine at Farmington.

Mike tends to spend his free time balancing hedonistic and service pursuits. He loves cooking, writing, playing guitar, and exercising. He volunteers with local Habitat for Humanity chapters, and likes to introduce people to plogging on sunny weekends. He also enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and trying new things. He loves using his passport to visit old friends and make new ones. He hopes to encourage curiosity and understanding in students. Mike does his best to live by Tracy Morgan’s maxim: “Keep learning, and keep laughing.”

email Mike

Amanda Wogaman

Division 1 Guidance Counselor

Hailing from the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Amanda came to Maine to complete her undergraduate degree in Adventure Therapy at Unity College. She had the privilege of hiking, sea kayaking, and canoeing in the woods of Maine while pursuing her college education and understanding of the relationship between discomfort and risk with change and growth. After college, Amanda focused her professional career on work with strong social justice commitments. This included mentoring students at risk of not completing high school at a restorative-justice based residential school and helping to run a summer program for girls from low income and foster families in Maine, New England and New York City. 

Amanda began her work at HCA in 2016 after completing her graduate degree at The University of Southern Maine. Her passion for social change and the healing properties of the natural world have found fertile ground here. In her position as Division I guidance counselor Amanda has the great privilege of supporting students as they discover themselves and their power to change the world around them. When she’s not at school she is likely to be found romping around the beaches and woods of Maine with her dog and daughter.

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Mel Christensen Fletcher

Division 2 Science Faculty

Mel came to HCA in 2015 after working with students in Mt. Blue schools, Skowhegan Middle School, and Westbrook Middle School.  She is a graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) with a major in Secondary Education Earth and Space Science and a minor in English.  At UMF she was a student leader of the Sustainable Campus Coalition and worked with a team of faculty and students to reduce the environmental impact of life on campus.  Outside of school life, Mel has been a member of the board of directors at Cathance River Education Alliance and continues to serve on their program committee. She grew up in Harpswell and Brunswick, and loves sharing her experiences in our community with students.

Mel is passionate about outdoor education, citizen science, and project based learning.  Teaching was always going to be her career path, but experiences with service learning and outdoor environmental education in high school made her realize how much she wanted to share this kind of learning with others.  Mel’s classroom is often left vacant while kids walk to the network of trails nearby to map water quality from storm runoff, load onto a bus to investigate the impact of sea level rise on roads and wetlands in Harpswell, or relocate to the kitchen to hold a (scientifically informed) cupcake baking competition.  Mel’s corgi, Jesse, is in charge of keeping all the students in line on most of these adventures.

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Ext. 124

Caleb Christensen Fletcher

Division 2 Math & Theater Faculty

It took Caleb only a few years to find his place at HCA but it was well worth the wait. Before he came to HCA, Caleb was teaching at Old Orchard Beach High School and Gardiner Area High School as a math teacher for the masses. As a graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington with a degree in Secondary Education and Mathematics, Caleb’s passion for math and teaching were at the forefront of everything he did. He, however, was looking for a place that held values that were close to his heart. Community, compassion and understanding all of these tenants drove Caleb to HCA where he has been a teacher for the past four years.  

Caleb’s love of mathematics, problem solving, and film can be heard all throughout the school. If he isn’t busy daydreaming about numbers, he can be found nose deep in a comic book, playing board games with his friends, or trying out new stand-up material which he is constantly wiggling into each and every class. Alongside his wife, who also happens to be a teacher here, Caleb is always ready for a new year and new opportunities to get one more student to enjoy mathematics even if his colleagues tell him that it’s a pipe dream. 

Kaitlyn Pulju

Division 2 Guidance Counselor & Pathways Coordinator

Kaitlyn comes to HCA following an extensive period working in outdoor and environmental education. After graduating with a degree in Anthropology and Environmental Studies from Union College, she moved to the west coast to teach outdoor ed in the picturesque setting of the San Juan Islands in Washington State. There, she discovered a passion for ropes courses, guiding kayaking trips, and leading large groups of people in repeat-after-me songs. After moving into a supervisory role that took her away from regular and direct interaction with students, she decided to pursue her M.Ed. in School Counseling at Keene State College out of a desire to help students identify and eliminate barriers to their success. She is deeply committed to social change and guiding students on their path to become engaged citizens in their community. She always dreamed of making her home in coastal Maine and feels so grateful to be here, living with her husband and two young daughters in Brunswick.

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Cristine Bachor

 Division 1 Humanities faculty

After graduating from the University of Massachusetts with a B.A. in Economics and Social Thought and Political Economy, Cristine drove west, seeking adventure and to begin a career in social change. While working with a campaign manager of a non-profit, Cristine volunteered with homeless youth in San Diego before traveling north to be a case manager at a domestic violence shelter in Anchorage. After living in Alaska for ten years, raising her three daughters while helping her husband manage his business, Cristine and her family decided to return east and choose to make Maine their home. They bought a 36’ sailboat, which they lived on in South Portland, then discovered the gem of Harpswell. 

When her children shifted to a mainstream public school, Cristine quickly became a volunteer, recognizing the scarcity of creativity, science, and engagement with the natural world. She began annual events, including Math & Science Night, Science Fair, and hatching of Salmon eggs for the third graders, and acted as a liaison in creating annual outdoor curriculum. She became a member of the Programs Committee of the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, where she is now a Board Member. Passionate about cultivating a collaborative community and introducing students to the intersection of art, nature, and story, Cristine is equally fascinated to teach economic theory. She is grateful to enter her fourth year teaching Humanities at HCA, where her everyday is encouraging students to empower themselves and change their world through narrative, art, and social entrepreneurship.

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Whitney Conway

 Division 2 Humanities faculty

Whitney joins HCA having facilitated programs in a variety of educational settings around the globe for over 20 years. She holds honors bachelors degrees in Visual Arts and French from the University of Western Ontario, London and a post-graduate Bachelor of Education degree from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.  Prior to her current teaching faculty contributions in English Language Arts, Native Studies and French, she served the school during its start-up phase in a consulting role. It was during this time that she was instrumental in laying the foundations for community partnerships; a hallmark of HCA’s place/project-based learning approach.

Alongside her commitment to collaborating with school communities to help individuals and groups realize their growth potential, Whitney is passionate about social justice and fervently seeks opportunities via curriculum development and program delivery to empower her students to be facilitators of social change. Outside of work, with her young daughter and frequent visitors from afar in tow, she delights in exploring the stunning natural landscape that Maine offers.  She is perpetually awestruck by its big skies and jagged coastline.

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Anthony DeSantis

 Division 1 STEM faculty

“Mr. D” arrived to Maine from the Kansas City area and is teaching Math and STEM at Division 1.  For the previous five years he had taught 3rd grade in a smaller town in Missouri while also fostering children for a short time.  Before that, Anthony spent six years with Children’s Mercy Hospital as a care assistant on the inpatient hematology/oncology unit while obtaining his education degree.  Previously, Anthony worked with children in many different arenas such as: a para-educator, youth care worker, foster parent, private tutor, private piano and violin instructor, mentor, and pre-school teacher. During all this work he was able to earn a degree in computer animation.  

From the Midwest to the Eastern Coast of Maine, Mr. D is excited to join a wonderful team of dedicated educators who show a love for teaching and guiding students.  His philosophy is that anyone can learn and be successful, it is just finding the right avenue to get there. Outside the realm of education Mr D. dabbles in traditional art, songwriting, music recording, and writing.  His goal for the upcoming year is to break out of his comfort zone and learn from the students at HCA about their own knowledge and experiences.

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Stephanie Elizondo

 Division 2 Ed Tech

Ms. Elizondo comes to us from sunny San Diego. She has been working with children and teenagers for the past 7 years.  Stephanie began her career at The Boys and Girls Club as a recreational aide but quickly transitioned into helping with curriculum planning for the non-profit’s summer camps including day to day and field trips. She also helped create and implement the “Homework Club” which assisted children ages 6-18 with tutoring from Monday to Friday. 

Stephanie later began working at the YMCA where she worked for the “Character Builders” program. In this role, she aided the site supervisor with academic support for children ages 7-10 and helped them build leadership skills.  After that, she transitioned into a more academic setting where she worked as an Instructional Assistant for the PLUS (Positive Learning Utilizing Success) Program, which focused on students from 9th to 12th grade with behavior support plans. She aided teachers with behavior management, lesson planning, IEP scheduling and class scheduling for students. After her first year with this group, Stephanie began training new Instructional assistants for the PLUS Program in various locations around San Diego.

Stephanie moved a year ago with her husband and son where they live in blissful tranquility, away from the city noise. She loves the community at HCA and is excited for another year!

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Todd French

 Division 2 Humanities faculty

Todd joined HCA after teaching high school social studies for nine years at a charter school in Massachusetts and international schools in New Mexico and New York. Before that, he taught various social science courses at the University of New Hampshire and Middlebury College. He earned a BA at the University of Chicago and an advanced degree in Anthropology and African Studies at Boston University. In addition to teaching, Todd has enjoyed working with students in outdoor adventure, social change, and restorative justice programs. He is passionate about history, culture, and the natural world and has researched environmental relations in Mozambique as a Fulbright Scholar, traveled throughout southern Africa, and led student trips to Spain, France, and China. When not in school, Todd is out exploring the wilds of Maine with his wife and daughter.

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Zach Gagnon

 Division 2 faculty

After his campaign through the USM School of Music, Zach united with HCA to continue his development as an educator.  Many things pushed his quest forward from studying music education, working with children of all ages and abilities as the Program Manager at Oceanwood Camp & Conference Center, and a brief stint at Heidi’s House Childcare Center in Scarborough, Maine.  His journey has now lead him here, to teach music, technology, math, model U.N, wellness, and other subjects necessary to set our students on their own personal quests. From reading Tolkien to running a mile, he is proud of the many facets he has been able to touch on with students. 

Speaking of Tolkien, Zach currently resides in Winthrop with his wife Sarah, and corgi Arwen.  As a family, they enjoy travel; having between them visited Croatia, Ireland, Canada, and various places around the United States.  They also enjoy going to baseball games, enjoying the beauty of Maine, and of course eating donuts (or donut-shaped dog treats.) The Gagnons also love being part of the HCA community, and can’t wait for another exciting year.

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Kirsten Johansen

Division 2 Special Educator

After 6 years of Special Education work at Westbrook High School, Kirsten came to HCA enthusiastic and ready to immerse herself in the community.  She is a 2011 graduate of the University of Maine in Orono with a degree in Secondary English Education, and she completed the SPARC Program at the University of Maine Farmington in 2018.  Once Kirsten graduated from UMO, she found herself drawn to Special Education. It was in the years following that that interest grew into a passion for working with struggling learners.  During her tenure at Westbrook High School Kirsten was a coordinator for Peer Mentoring Programs and organized several Special Olympics Events.
Her first year at HCA was exciting, and the strong connections she made with the students furthered her desire to work in Special Education in the Midcoast area.  In addition to teaching at HCA, Kirsten continues to be the coach of the Westbrook High School Swimming and Diving Team, a role that she takes very seriously.  In her limited free time, Kirsten spends her days snuggling her long-haired mini-dachshund, Sweet Dee.

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Kyle Magaliff

 Division 1 STEM Faculty

Originally from Cape Cod, MA, Kyle spent most of his childhood either exploring in the woods or playing in the ocean. He pursued his passion for the outdoors at the University of North Carolina Wilmington where he earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Science as well as a Certificate in Professional Writing. After graduating, Kyle worked seasonally as an ocean lifeguard back on Cape Cod and spent a few years traveling (and surfing) in countries ranging from Canada to Indonesia. Throughout these years Kyle also gained experience in coastal remediation, environmental journalism, and served as an advocacy/policy intern for the Environmental League of Massachusetts in Boston. It wasn’t until taking a job as an environmental educator for the Portland Water District–in his newfound home in Maine–did Kyle discover his love for teaching science. 

Kyle comes to HCA as a Middle School STEM Teacher after graduating from Antioch University New England where he earned his Master’s of Science in Environmental Studies and his Science Teacher Certification. Kyle is excited to be in his second year of teaching at Harpswell Coastal Academy!

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Kate Stephens

School Social Worker

Kate has had 20 years of experience working with children of all ages in a variety of settings.  After graduating from the University of Southern Maine with her Masters degree in social work, Kate spent time as a clinical therapist providing services to youth and their families in both school-based and intensive behavioral day treatment settings.  She comes to HCA with valuable knowledge and extensive experience working in collaboration with school faculty, families, and non-profit, community agencies to support student success.

Kate is passionate about helping others and providing community service.  She has spent time working within the greater Portland community providing outreach to chronically homeless individuals and families, working at a women’s shelter and safe haven, and supporting immigrant youth. Kate currently is most committed to providing early-intervention services to at-risk families and youth and helping children develop self advocacy to meet their needs and grow to their maximum potential.

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Joe Paine

Division 1 Humanities Faculty

Joe grew up in the small Maine town of Limerick, where he gained an appreciation for hiking, skiing, biking, running and the outdoors. As a teen, he became a cook at his mother’s restaurant, The Pepperclub, in Portland. After graduating from Massabesic High School, he went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Maine in Farmington. At college he became a ski instructor at Sunday River and this in turn sparked his interest in teaching others. This brought him to New York City to work at Manhattan Country School for two years until returning to Maine to become certified as an English Language Arts teacher through a graduate program at the University of Southern Maine. 

Joe now lives in Portland with his wife and their pets. He is the 7th and 8th grade Humanities teacher at Harpswell Coastal Academy. Above all else he wants to teach his students to gain a love for the outdoors and be able to learn about themselves and the world from reading and writing.

Dan Entwistle

Division 1 Special Educator

Dan came to HCA after working for the Falmouth School Department for 8 years in special education; spending six years at the high school, and two years at the middle school. While working in Falmouth, he coached seventh & eighth grade soccer and lacrosse for several years. Dan also spent a year prior working at Thornton Academy, where he served as the assistant varsity lacrosse coach. Dan is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine, with a B.A in Psychology, and is currently working on completing his Masters in Special Education at USM. Additionally, he comes to HCA with years of special education experience having worked as a Direct Support Professional, as well as a Behavioral Health Professional for several Southern Maine group homes and agencies for children and adults with disabilities. 

Dan lives in North Yarmouth with his wife, daughter and three dogs. He is a passionate Mainer, who appreciates all of the state’s beauty, seasons and natural resources. He is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, gardening, snowboarding and is also the captain of his own bowling team out of Portland. Dan is very excited to be joining the team.

Merrill Ebner

Facilities and Transportation

   Ex Engineer in training
      Ex Tennis Pro
      Ex Business Broker
      Ex Business Owner (Book Store)
      Ex High School/Middle School teacher (Mathematics)
      Current Facilities manager/Bus Driver at HCA
      Lifetime learner

Annalise Kingston

Social Work Intern

Originally from Winchester, MA, Annalise made her way up to Maine to attend Bates College in Lewiston and completed her BA in psychology. Annalise focused her studies on developmental and personality psychology where she was able to gain experiences working with kids of all ages including providing free SAT tutoring to potential first-generation college students through the Let’s Get Ready program, working in after school programs for the Somali immigrant population at the local library, to caring for the babies at the infant center. These experiences shaped her understanding of the needs of the people in her own city and how far support and positive encouragement alone could go in shaping the way kids see themselves and their potential. Annalise briefly worked in the political realm in Boston post-graduation and then was about to hop on a plane to Atlanta to experience a new city and enroll in a nursing program before she discovered the field of social work. She felt that social work truly encompassed her passions including social justice advocacy and helping people be able to see and understand all of their many strengths and capabilities.

Annalise moved back up to Maine and began her Masters Degree in Social Work and continued to gain experiences in social services working as a case manager for the Iraqi refugee population of Portland, working as an outpatient therapist, as well as working with kids K-12 as a behavioral day treatment clinician. She comes to HCA excited to continue to learn from her colleagues and students while also offering her own experiences and enthusiasm to the community. Annalise currently lives in the Portland area with her husband and puppy. Outside of school and work, she loves hiking, trying new restaurants and foods, watching a good movie, and enjoying the sun on the porch (when it’s warm out!).

email Annalise