Faculty & Staff
“The best teacher in the world is someone who loves what he or she does, and just loves it in front of you.”
– Fred Rogers
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-’90s, 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.
Dean of Studies and Students
Mae came to HCA after 8 years of being a classroom teacher and completing her Master’s degree in Education and a 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. Her love for coastal communities keeps her close to the shore. She brings with her a daughter and son who have also joined the HCA community. In her free time, Mae is an avid reader, baker, writer, snake catcher, and coffee drinker.
Since completing her Master’s 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 the 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 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.
Director of Student Services
A Maine native, Susan earned a degree in early childhood/special education from the University of Maine Orono and a Master’s degree at the University of Southern Maine. 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. For 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.
Director of Business, Finance & Operations
Andrew joined HCA in 2016 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 several television programs, conferences, non-profit fundraising campaigns, community events, and live entertainment productions. He then spent seven 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, an Educational Conference Director in Falmouth, and most recently the Executive Director of a local Chamber of Commerce. Andrew is home to support and help celebrate what makes Maine such an incredible place to live, work and play.
Student Support Team
School Social Worker
Terence came to HCA after 9 years working various roles within Child Protective Services including caseworker, meeting facilitator, trainer and supervisor. He developed strong relationships with service providers and community members to support the prevention of child abuse, and the growth, healing and reunification of families impacted by mental health, substance use disorder, domestic violence and trauma. Terence found special interest in working with immigrant and refugee community members to further develop his culturally informed and trauma informed practices. Terence has strong experience in navigating complex systems, developing measurable treatment goals and accessing services to improve the lives of clients. Terence graduated from University of Maine with a Bachelors in Psychology and went on to receive his Masters in Social Work from University of New England. Terence has experience working with clients of all ages in individual and group therapy. Terence also holds Certification in alcohol and drug counseling.
Before social work, Terence was a park ranger and regional coordinator for 14 years working for Maine state parks throughout the southern half of Maine. Between 1998 and 2012 you could have found him giving interpretive tours at Wolfe’s Neck Woods or Eagle Island, patrolling Crescent Beach, building a Wabanaki longhouse replica at Mt Blue, driving a bulldozer, running a chainsaw, repairing an ATV, putting a roof on a building, fixing a chimney, or anything else you can think of in a state park.
Terence has always had at least one antique car to work on and drive since his mid 20’s. These included the occasional American classic but mostly antique foreign autos like Saabs, Volvos, MGs and Land Rovers. In addition to working on those antique cars, Terence also enjoys working on old homes and boats. Terence is a strong proponent of following individual interests and passions because of the amazing abilities that are uncovered when we do, and the deeply rewarding results that keep us motivated to achieve more. When he’s not at HCA, you could find him working on one of his multiple projects at home or on the boat exploring the waters of Casco Bay with his wife and daughter.
Division 2/3 School Counselor
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 becoming 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.
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, that led Angelina to become a member of HCA’s founding faculty in 2013. 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, she 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. She teaches Health and Sex Education, trains faculty in a range of skills, benchmarks and manages technology use, and instructs 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.
Division 1 School 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 MS in School Counseling 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.
Division 1 (Middle School) Faculty
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 an annual outdoor curriculum. She became a member of the Programs Committee of the Harpswell 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 teach Humanities at HCA, where her daily role is encouraging students to empower themselves and change their world through narrative, art, and social entrepreneurship.
Division 1 Humanities Faculty
Before assuming her current teaching responsibilities, Whitney facilitated programs in a variety of educational settings around the globe for over 20 years. She holds honors Bachelor’s 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. Before her current teaching faculty contributions in English Language Arts, Native Studies, and French, she served HCA 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.
Division 1 STEAM Faculty
Birdie comes to HCA with a diverse and colorful background as an art teacher, an elementary school teacher, and garden educator at both Portland State University and the Native American Youth and Family Center in Portland, Oregon. With a desire for a greater understanding of sustainability pedagogy, deep ecology, permaculture / whole systems design, and social justice education, she acquired her master’s degree in Leadership in Sustainability Education at Portland State University. She was involved with several Native tribal communities in the Pacific Northwest in designing urban and rural permaculture spaces, Native gathering gardens, and as a food justice leader.
Birdie is deeply committed to guiding her students in whole person development, promoting a greater understanding of the world with compassion and care for our natural and human communities. It’s paramount to her to provide opportunities for her students to find their unique voices, talents, and passions, and to understand themselves as leaders in creating positive change in their communities.
So, when she decided she was ready for a new adventure, she headed to the other side of the continent (an ocean view was necessary) and moved to Maine with her husband, who had grown up in Maine. In 2021, Birdie headed to the University of Southern Maine to get her second master’s degree, this time in middle school education, focusing on science and math. She is so happy to be a part of the HCA community and is also looking forward to doing some small-scale farming of her own. She loves writing, painting, and preserving a whole lot of food.
Division 1 STEAM faculty
Mr. D arrives in Maine from the Kansas City area and teaches Math and STEM at Division 1. For the past five years, he taught 3rd grade in a smaller town in Missouri while also fostering children. Before that, he spent six years with Children’s Mercy Hospital as a care assistant on the inpatient hematology/oncology unit while obtaining his Elementary Education degree. He has worked with children in many different roles such as a para-educator, youth care worker, foster parent, private tutor, private piano and violin instructor, mentor, and pre-school teacher. Within all this work, he was also able to earn an Associate’s Degree in computer animation.
Mr. D is excited to be part of 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 ongoing goal is to break out of his comfort zone and learn from the students at HCA about their knowledge and experiences.
Division 1 Special Educator
Dan comes 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 7th and 8th grade soccer and lacrosse. Dan also spent a year 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. Dan has years of special education experience, having worked as a Direct Support Professional and 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, son, 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 bowling team in Portland.
Division 1 STEAM Faculty
Amy thrives in a classroom developing curriculum centered around STEAM integration – focusing on differentiation for multiple learning styles through project-based teaching. Her classroom teaching style involves an ‘all hands on deck’ approach, collaborating with fellow faculty members, students, and the community. This inclusive outreach and collaboration promote a student-centered approach, giving voice and choice to all learners.
For the past fifteen years, Amy has held a wide variety of teaching, coaching, and mentoring positions in private and public school environments. Ms. Gertner graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington with a degree in Elementary Education, concentrating in Visual and Performing Arts. After traveling for a few years in her twenties, she returned to Maine to complete a graduate program from Lesley University, receiving an M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction: Integrated Teaching through the Arts.
Amy sees a world of bold colors, finding balance and contrast between light and darkness through photography, as well as using recycled materials for art projects to highlight sustainable creative practices. Her Harry Potter house and (and four-legged sidekick) is Gryffindor, her spirit animal is the humpback whale, and when she’s not in school, she’s probably somewhere outside, trying to remember how to be her ten-year-old self.
Division 1 Humanities Faculty
Hallie was raised just up the coast from Harpswell in Damariscotta Mills. She grew up playing in the woods and waters of midcoast Maine and spent much of each summer at a canoe tripping camp in Ontario, where she went on to lead extended wilderness expeditions for young people in northern Ontario, Quebec, the Yukon, and Northwest Territories. Hallie earned her degree in American Cultural Studies and Creative Writing at Bates College and worked in outdoor education for a few years before venturing into the classroom through a progressive teaching fellowship. For the past eight years, she has taught middle and high school humanities in Massachusetts and Maryland, and she recently earned her Masters in Teaching at Loyola University Maryland. Hallie is so excited to be returning home to the midcoast to be a division 1 Humanities teacher at HCA.
Hallie is passionate about giving students the tools they need to be active, engaged citizens and passionate readers and writers. She loves reading and recommending young adult fiction, supporting students with advocacy work, and helping them ask and answer questions about how the world we live in today came to be. She currently lives with her partner in Portland, and when she’s not teaching, she leads backpacking and canoeing trips for The Venture Out Project.
Division 1 Special Educator
Originally from Northern NJ, Julie found her way to Maine when she was 19. A friend invited her for the summer, she fell in love with that rocky coast and all Maine has to offer and never left. She quickly transferred to the University of Maine to graduate with a BS in Forestry with a concentration in Business. She worked as an apprentice forester and then for a paper company before settling into raising her two children. As her children became school-aged, she volunteered/substitute taught at their schools and then homeschooled them for 4 years. Julie, her husband, and children loved spending time outdoors; camping, hiking, skiing as well as traveling within the US and abroad.
Julie spent some time running her own business in the health and wellness field and was a supervisor at a cafe. From there, she gravitated to the mental health field where she worked as a behavioral health professional. This led to an interest in education and she took a position as an educational technician while enrolled in graduate school at the University of Southern Maine where she earned her MS in Special Education. Julie is excited to share her passion for nurturing the unique and beautiful spirits of all students as they grow and learn about themselves and the world they live in. She lives in Brunswick with her two pups, Rizzo and Scruffy, who love hanging out in the classroom and on the playground with students. She still enjoys the outdoors, traveling, and spending time with her grown children whenever possible.
Division 2 & 3 (High School) Faculty
Caleb Christensen Fletcher
Division 2 Math & Theater Faculty
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 was 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 since 2016.
Caleb’s love of mathematics, problem-solving, and film can be heard 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 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.
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.
Division 2 Humanities faculty
Todd taught 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.
Division 2 faculty
After his campaign through the USM School of Music, Zach united with HCA in 2017 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 HCA students on their 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.
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 years at HCA have been exciting, and the strong connections she makes with students furthers 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.
Theatre Program Director & Humanities Faculty
Lee is very happy to be joining HCA as the leader of its new Political Theater Program. A native New Yorker, Lee moved with his then young family to Maine in 1998 to develop the Interdisciplinary Fine Arts Program at the University of Maine at Machias and has since taught at the College of the Atlantic, The Maine School of Science and Mathematics, and at other High Schools and Adult Education programs in Maine.
For more than forty years, Lee has taught classes in all aspects of theater, literature, writing and interdisciplinary fine arts including acting, directing, theater history, design, stagecraft, public speaking, art and technology, critical studies, and the business of the arts. He’s acted on stage, film, and television, and directed and stage managed productions Off and Off-Off Broadway in New York and for regional, university, and community theaters across the country. He earned his MFA in Theater at the California Institute of the Arts, his BA in English Literature at Union College, and as a certified Secondary English Language Arts and Adult Education teacher, has conducted Professional Development workshops for other educators.
Outside of the theater, Lee is a proud dad of two grown sons with Jody his wife of 35 years, an avid outdoorsman with a particular love for kayaking; skiing; and softball, and he has a special interest in things scientific, especially astronomy, biology, and computers.
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of the intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the beauty in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that one life has breathed easier because you lived here. This is to have succeeded.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson