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.

Email Scott
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.

Email Andrew
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.

Email Angie

x 602

Deryl Holt

Special Education Director

Deryl joined us after ten years as Assistant Superintendent and Director of Special Services with Central Lincoln County School System, AOS 93, which serves students in five midcoast towns. For eight years prior to that, Deryl was Director of Child Development Services (CDS) of Lincoln County, which provides services for children with disabilities from birth to age five. In the beginning of her career, Deryl taught regular education (First Grade) and special education at the elementary level. Following that time, she worked with students from preschool through high school as a Speech-Language Pathologist for twenty years.

Originally from Rhode Island, Deryl earned a B.S. in Elementary Education and Special Education from Rhode Island College and an M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Rhode Island. She received her Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Educational Leadership from Southern Connecticut University.

Deryl is grateful that all members of her family have settled in Maine. She enjoys writing, watercolor and oil painting and renovating her home in Brunswick. Most of all, she loves walking on the beach collecting shells with her grandchildren.

email Deryl

Abby Baker

Division 1 Faculty

Abby comes to HCA after teaching as a Jobs for Maine’s Graduates specialist at the Durham Community School. Abby grew up in Southern Maine where she developed a love for everything to do with the ocean. She graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington with a B.A. in Human Geography and Ski Industries. After teaching at the Leadership School at Kieve, Abby went back to school to get her masters in K-8 General and Special Education. Abby teaches special education and is part of the Leadership Team at HCA. Outside of school you can find Abby riding her bike, hiking or adventuring anywhere outside. Abby resides in Brunswick with her husband and dog Winter.

Email Abby
Ext. 112

Amanda Sommi

Division 1 STEM Faculty

Amanda graduated from Tufts University with a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Studies. There she focused on ecological research, and striving to learn how to best engage all audiences in science. After working on various field-based research studies, ranging from the forests of New England to tropical environments in Peru and Costa Rica, Amanda realized her true passion was sharing her love of the natural world with others. Previous involvement with community based environmental groups has furthered her enthusiasm to engage youth directly in the protection of our natural systems. Most recently, Amanda taught science at a charter school in New York City, where she strove to bring the outside in for students. Now residing in Maine, she loves sailing, hiking, and skiing and is thrilled to continue exploring her new state!

As a STEM educator, Amanda strives to instill a love for critical thinking while developing problem solving skills that will be applicable to every area of life. Even while trouble-shooting a particularly tricky math problem, students are cultivating the resilience and perseverance they’ll need to meet greater challenges inside and out of the school building.

Email Amanda
Ext. 127

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.

Email Amanda

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.

Email Mel
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.

Email Kaitlyn

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.

Email Cristine

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.

Email Whitney

Anthony DeSantis

 Division 1 STEM faculty

Mr. D” arrives to Maine from the Kansas City area and will be teaching Math and STEM at division 1.  For the past five years he had taught 3rd grade in a smaller town in Missouri while also fostering children for a short time.  Before that Anthony had spent six years with Children’s Mercy Hospital as a care assistant on the inpatient hematology/oncology unit while obtaining his education degree.  During the years previous to that Anthony has 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. Within all the 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, songwritings, music recording, and writing.  His goal from the upcoming year is to break out of his comfort zone and learn from the students at HCA about their own knowledge and experiences.

Email Anthony

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!

Email Stephanie

Todd French

 Division 2 Humanities faculty

Todd joins 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.

Email Todd

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.

Email Zach

Sarah Hillery

 Speech Language Pathologist

Sarah comes to HCA after spending 20 years working in the special education and rehabilitation fields.  Sarah received her B.A. in psychology from Bates College and later an M.A. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah began her career as a speech language pathologist working with individuals recovering from brain injuries in a day treatment setting. After having children, she moved to working in an educational setting and found her passion was working with students with autism and mental health needs that struggled with behavior and social communication.  Currently, Sarah serves as a Special Education Director for the Sebago School Department and fulfills her wish to connect with children directly by serving as a speech and language clinician part time for HCA.

Aside from her commitment to helping people and working to make children feel more successful, Sarah’s passions include: gardening, running, traveling, cooking and spending any and all time near the ocean.  She is happiest outside when the sun is high and she is surrounded by her family. Married to Matthew and the mother of three children, Sarah is perpetually in motion and is working on slowing down and living in the moment (preferably by the sea)

Email Sarah

Kirsten Johansen

Division 2 Special Educator

After 6 years of Special Education work at Westbrook High School, Kirsten comes to HCA enthusiastic and ready to immerse herself in its beautiful community.  She is a graduate of the University of Maine in Orono with a degree in Secondary English Education, and she most recently completed the SPARC Program at the University of Maine in Farmington.  Once Kirsten graduated from UMO in 2011, 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.

Kirsten has always wanted to be a teacher, following in the footsteps of her mother who taught English at Yarmouth High School for 33 years.  In addition to teaching at HCA, Kirsten will continue to be the coach of the Westbrook High School Swimming and Diving Team and the Westbrook Middle School Swim 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.

Email Kirsten

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 begin his first year of teaching at Harpswell Coastal Academy!

Email Kyle

Emily Schutt

 Division 2 Special Education Faculty & Social Work Intern

Emily comes to HCA following 5 years of diverse experiences in Special Education across many grade levels within Maine schools. Prior to receiving her Special Education certification at the University of Farmington, Emily began her career with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work at the University of Southern Maine. She then practiced social work for 4 years and discovered how much she enjoys working with children and wanted to pursue working within a school. As a special educator, Emily quickly discovered her passion for helping students and families overcome barriers to success in academic, social and emotional domains. Emily is currently completing her Master’s degree in Social Work at the University of New England. Her experience as a special educator and social worker has provided her the skills needed to help students succeed in school and within their community. She is eager to return to HCA as a social work intern and build upon relationships within the HCA community.

Aside from her busy commitments of completing school and working, Emily likes to spend her free time with family. Emily lives in Richmond with her husband Ben, her son Blake,  their three dogs- Budders, Mac, and Sadie, and one cat, Delmigo. You can often catch one of her dogs, either Mac or Budder at HCA helping to bring joy to our students. She enjoys going on boat rides, camping, gardening, and anything outdoors. She lives for the summer!

Email Emily

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.

Email Kate

Amy Goodwin

Division 1 Special Education Faculty

Amy comes to HCA after three years in special education at Durham Community School.  She received her B.A. in Child Development and Family Relations from the University of Maine in Orono and her Special Education Certification from the University of Maine at Farmington. Upon graduating, Amy spent several years working as a Family Support Specialist in Southern Maine at Sweetser Family Institute.  After taking a short “break” to raise her two children, Amy tried her hand at new profession in retail management. Throughout her six years in retail, she was quickly promoted to Store Operations Manager. It was during that time, buried in t-shirts and flip flops that Amy realized retail management was not fulfilling her true passion to make a difference in the lives of children and families. Her experience raising her son with an intellectual disability was also a strong point of inspiration. So back to school it was; Amy shifted careers and began working for the Special Education Department at Durham Community School before finding her way to HCA. 

Passionate about connecting with youth and supporting them through the rollercoaster of life, Amy volunteers for the Fresh Air Fund, bringing students from low-income inner-city families on vacation in Maine, and coaches Girls on the Run. When she’s not filling her time with work and volunteering, Amy can be found escaping to Richardson Lake or being silly with her family.

Email Amy

Lily Withington

Division 2/3 Special Educator

Lily’s passion for progressive education originates from her experience at a student-centered charter elementary school in Northeast Massachusetts. Inspired by the agency and joy in learning which progressive education offered her, she has since embraced project-based student-centered approach to education both as a learner and as a teacher and now continues that journey at HCA. Lily graduated from Bennington College with concentrations in physics and education, and at Bennington combined academic and work experiences to study the intersection of science education, progressive education, and equitable education.


Though Lily is fascinated by educational philosophy (and will happily talk to you about her studies at Bennington, or about her four years as a science education research assistant at Tufts University), she loves to teach because she loves to connect with others. Lily taught at an outdoor theater camp for five summers, and was an academic mentor at a project-based high school program for three years. Lily’s favorite memories at these programs are of lessons based on students’ personal interests – she looks forward to building many more of these memories at HCA.

Jude Marx

Division 1 English Teacher

Jude grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After graduating from Bowdoin College with a degree in English and Education, Jude received a Fulbright grant to teach English for a year in Puebla, Mexico. She comes to HCA most recently from teaching English Language Learners in South Portland. Jude is passionate about writing and reading as a way to make student voices heard. She is excited to be part of a team of dedicated and collaborative teachers at HCA.