Welcome New Staff and Faculty!

 New Sturgis Faculty First Faculty MeetingAugust 22, 2012

New Sturgis Faculty
First Faculty Meeting
August 22, 2012

We are pleased to welcome 28 new staff and faculty members to Sturgis this year.  When Eric Hieser introduced the faculty at Convocation, it was remarkable to learn about the impressive expertise of the teachers he has assembled to work at Sturgis.

Including our newcomers, Sturgis has a total of 115 staff and faculty members. Although most Sturgis teachers are American citizens, 35 to 40 percent have worked abroad in other International Baccalaureate programs in Europe as well as in Lebanon, Brazil, Ecuador, India, Kuala Lumpur, Venezuela, Taiwan, Australia, Japan, Turkey, Hungary, Thailand, Russia, Zambia, Namibia and Micronesia. Some of our faculty have worked in several international schools for ten or more years overseas. Eric Hieser, the current Executive Director, came to Sturgis in 2004 after spending 26 years working in American and international schools on three continents.

Although you may have met some of the new faculty, we thought you might enjoy learning a bit about their background. They come to Sturgis with an interesting assortment of experiences – from teaching in an AmeriCorps program in New Bedford to working on an Indian Reservation in North Dakota.  Many of them have worked overseas and bring international perspectives from Australia, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kuala Lumpur, the Netherlands, Panama, Peru, Spain, Taiwan and Venezuela. This talented group has chosen to come to Hyannis from all four corners of the earth to be part of our unique “IB for All” experiment in education.

Please join us in welcoming our newcomers who have already begun to make wonderful contributions to Sturgis!

Brij Anand, Lynn Kelley and Boys

Brij Anand, Athletic and Wellness Director – Sturgis West

Lynn Kelley, History and Theory of Knowledge – Sturgis West

 Brij and I are so happy to have washed ashore and joined the faculty at Sturgis West.  So far, we have found the place to be even more beautiful than we imagined and the Sturgis faculty incredibly warm and welcoming.  We have moved from Mumbai, India (population 25 million) where we lived for the past 7 years.  We have two sons aged four and seven and they think they have arrived in heaven as their new house has a big yard with a giant play structure.  When we posted a picture of it on FaceBook, one of their friends from Mumbai asked, “Is that your school yard or your house yard?”  Brij and I have also worked and lived in Munich (Germany), Cairo (Egypt), and I also lived in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).  Brij is originally from Manchester, England, which is why you might have trouble understanding him and although I grew up in Needham, MA, that was a long time ago so please be patient if I call a trash can a “bin” during the transition back to life in the United States.  Thank you for welcoming us so warmly.

Laura Carah with Venezuelan Teachers

Laurie Carah, Librarian – Sturgis West

With 25 years of teaching experience in Elementary and IB MS English, I later developed a technology background working online and in an Apple district in Florida.  The next step was Library Media leading me to Valencia where my main goal was to ihelp my staff to increase language literacy in the homes of our school’s Venezuelan families. Other highlights included coaching students in High School Musical, using photography to tell stories for the Yearbook, and a marathon walk through the mountains to the Caribbean.  It was a special time, with my daughter, Nicola, marrying her sweetheart, Vic, and my son, Jesse, earning a fellowship to his favorite university. My husband Steve and I are currently enjoying working with great faculty and students at Sturgis and adventuring in the Cape’s natural beauty.

Laura & Steve Carah

Steve Carah, Lead Science Teacher – Sturgis East

Born and raised in California, I studied Mathematics, Engineering and Psychology at the State University of California, Chico, where I met my wife, Laura.  Together we have taught in California, Brazil, Florida and most recently, Venezuela.  We have two grown children, Nicola and Jesse, who were raised primarily overseas.  I have taught both mathematics and physics during my 34 year teaching career, and in Valencia Venezuela I taught AP Calculus and AP Physics.  While in Brazil, I taught IBSL & IBHL Physics and was also an IB Coordinator.  Laura and I were recruited by Eric Hieser who was an administrator at our Brazilian school back in the 90’s.

Nick Conti Coaching Barre Baseball Youth Sports

Nicholas J Conti, IB Business – Sturgis East

Before accepting the IB Business and Management teaching position here at Sturgis, I lived in Barre, VT working for Lepage Bakeries.  I graduated from Spaulding High School in Barre, VT.  After graduating from high school, I continued my education at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. I graduated in 2006 with a BS in Marketing.  I then was employed right out of college by Fastenal, an industrial supplier company.  While working for Fastenal, I coached football, wrestling, and baseball.  What brought me to Sturgis are the atmosphere and the challenge to be the best.  Along with being the IB Business & Management Teacher, I am also the advisor of the Sturgis Business Leadership Club, Car Club, and Movie Making Club.   My interests are coaching, teaching, and playing sports.  I am excited and looking forward to a great school year!


Elise Edmonson

Elise Edmonson, History – Sturgis West

Grew up in Illinois, went to Bates College, spent 2 years as a 7th grade AmeriCorps teacher at Our Sisters’ School (a independent school for low income, at risk middle school girls) in New Bedford, MA

I love baking, reading, beach/indoor volleyball, and exploring my new home on Cape Cod.

Ann Forget and Denney  Provincetown

Ann J. Forget, Art – Sturgis East

I last taught at The Brimmer and May School in Chestnut Hill, MA.  For six years I was the Middle School and Upper School Creative Arts teacher. I designed and sold my own line of tote bags and accessories for a company called Ann Judge Design.

I have volunteered at the Laurel School in Brewster and taught children’s classes at Cape Cod Art Association. I am so thrilled to be a part of the Sturgis Community teaching Art 9 and Art 10.

Nate Furey

Nate Furey

Nate Furey, Special Education Inclusion Support – West

I was born and raised in Sandwich and graduated from Plymouth State University with a BS in Biology.  Prior to 2012 I worked at Oceanquest in Woods Hole and also as a lab technician for the USDA.  I love the outdoors and enjoy swimming and skiing, and just last year I got certified to scuba dive.  The students and faculty at Sturgis are some of the best people I’ve ever met, and I feel so grateful to have the pleasure and opportunity of working with them on a daily basis!

Alanna Hernandez

Alanna Hernandez, Wellness – Sturgis East

I started doing yoga when I was in high school, around 15 years old. I grew up on Cape Cod, went to college at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, studied abroad in the Middle East, graduated with a degree in Arabic, and then found myself back on Cape Cod training to become a yoga teacher. Life takes you places that you don’t expect, and yoga has always helped me through the ups and downs. Since I wish I had been able to do more yoga when I was in high school, I decided to help bring yoga to Sturgis. I have really enjoyed teaching at Sturgis so far, and have been impressed by the kindness and
maturity of so many of the students.

Joann Johnson, Assistant Registrar – Sturgis East

Joann Johnson and Sara (Classof 2014) on Twin Day

Joann Johnson and Sara Prygocki
Blues Brothers on Twin Day

My name is Joann Johnson but I’m also known as “Mrs. Prygocki”.  I was born and raised in Westchester County, a suburb of New York City and I am proud to say that I’m happily married to my best friend of 30 years.  Pete and I had met at Manhattan College (Go Jaspers!) and have been together ever since.  Right after graduation I was hired by New York Telephone which then became NYNEX, Bell Atlantic and eventually Verizon.  I worked there for 13 years and held a variety of positions as a manager.  Once I had my daughter Sara, currently a junior at Sturgis East, all life changed.  I essentially “retired” and became a full-time Mom, sort of.  During my “free-time”, I established a Senior Center within my Church and became its Director.  I held this absolute honor for 10-years, during which time I had two sons, Peter now 13 and an incoming Freshman next school year and James currently 12.  In 2007, we decided to make a life-style change and move to Cape Cod.  I gradually got back into the workforce by serving as a “kitchen lady” in the Barnstable Schools.  Let’s just say, this experience has humbled me for life.  I now serve as the Assistant Registrar and have had the privilege to work with some really great people.  I feel grateful to be in this position.

Mary Kulhowvick with one of my favorite
classes in Indonesia!

Mary Kulhowvick, English – Sturgis West

I am from Vermont and graduated in 2011 from Villanova University with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Secondary Education. As part of my undergraduate work, I elected to complete my student teaching at an inner city high school in Philadelphia which was both an eye-opening and extremely rewarding experience. After graduation I left for Indonesia where I spent the past year teaching English at a high school in Surabaya, East Java on a Fulbright grant. I had many adventures during my time in South East Asia and am proud to call Indonesia a second home. I am excited to continue expanding my teaching experience at Sturgis and to explore life on the Cape. In addition to teaching English for grades 9 and 10 at Sturgis West, I will be coaching field hockey this fall and hope to see you at our games!

Claire Merrill, Spanish – Sturgis East and West

Salamanca, Spain – 2010 World Cup

Of course I had always known that soccer was popular in Europe.  But the truly deafening cheers of thousands of fans watching televisions in the main square in Salamanca, Spain, during the 2010 soccer World Cup brought home to me the prominent place that soccer holds in Spanish culture.  I was almosttempted to drape myself in a Spanish flag and climb to the top of a lamppost along with the Spanish students.

Such moments recall why I love to travel: the difference between reading about and living through iconic moments.  My love of Spanish language and culture was enhanced every minute I spent studying and teaching in Spain.  I am lucky to have visited 17 different countries, and quieter moments have also informed my understanding of other cultures.

Claire Merrill – Teaching English in New Delhi, India

Teaching English in New Delhi, India, working with children to whom no school is offered and for whom the only meal of the day is provided through a charitable program, I was constantly confronted with snippets of cultural information.  Observing girls offer their food to boys, chattering in English with me yet clamming up with the school’s director, barely-suppressed giggles at my clumsy braiding when we made friendship bracelets- everyday moments.

I look forward to sharing the joy of learning a language with my students, enriching their travels in person and through original literature, film, and history, capturing nuances that are possible only in the language of a country and its people.

A magna cum laude graduate of Wellesley College, with honors in Comparative Literature, I explored two nineteenth-century novels in my senior thesis- one in Spanish and one in English.  Cultural connections as well as differences fascinate me, and I anticipate sharing such explorations with my students.

I love the Cape!  I was a high school summer intern at NOAH and the Woods Hole Aquarium, and am delighted to be back.  My favorite activities, along with literature and travel, include playing squash and quidditch.

June and Brett Miles

June Miles, Lead English Teacher – Sturgis East

Bret Miles, Mathematics – Sturgis West

Miles and miles of journey: New to the Cape and New England, Bret and June Miles come from teaching for the past five years in China at Shanghai Community International School.  Carrying on the tradition of learning, as we age, we know that we are all students of life.  Bret will teach Algebra I and IB Math Studies at Sturgis West and June will be Lead Teacher for the English Department at Sturgis East, teaching 9th Grade and IB SL English Literature.  Both of us are excited to be a part of what Sturgis stands for and what the students have done in earning high marks in the academic world.  We know the effort involved at all levels for success; this is our challenge and our hope for this year: to be involved in the success of these students’ lives as they journey through the IB experience. Our hobbies include, reading, riding bikes, working out in the gym, and exercising the mind through the daily challenge of the classroom.  Both of us remain grateful for health and learning, two hallmarks of living a balanced life.

Patricia Marcel, Special Education Coordinator – Sturgis West

Patricia comes to Sturgis with a Bachelor Arts in Psychology, Masters in Education and a Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis. She was the Director of Education and Principal at Solstice School and more recently taught at the May Institute in Brockton. She has experience in the “creation of community culture and student expectations.”

Side by Side Concert – Elisabeth Moore plays cello with a student from YOURS project in Chicago

Elisabeth Moore, Music – Sturgis West

I am a native Cape Codder, born and raised in Marstons Mills. I went away to Chicago for 4 years to study music at VanderCook College of Music. There, I was able to learn how to play all of the instruments in the band and orchestra. I participated in multiple musical ensembles there as well as 2 a cappella groups. I have been involved in Community Theater on Cape Cod since I was in 2nd grade and have continued to this day. An important passion of mine, I have been able to direct musicals such as Hairspray and RENT. As an Alum of Sturgis, I am very excited to be back at my alma mater, where I fell in love with music and music making. It means a lot to be able to teach these students who are going through the same program that I did; it’s all been a surreal experience. I have a love for acting and musical theater and hope to continue performing and directing at Sturgis.

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” ― Victor Hugo

Maxanne Most, Science – Sturgis West

Maxanne has a B.S. in Natural Resource Technology from University of Massachusetts – Amherst. She has experience teaching Coastal Ecology and Marine Biology to visiting schools at Camp Bournedale. She taught  math and science and woodworking at the Waldorf School of Cape Cod for the last twelve years. Maxanne is also a Sturgis parent. Her son Sam is a member of the Class of 2014 at Sturgis East.

Dennis Pace, Mathematics – Sturgis West

Dennis is a native Massachusetts resident (Braintree) but comes to Sturgis after more than 25 years of teaching overseas. He has taught in Australia, Guatemala, Ecuador, Japan, Korea, Moscow, Venezuela and most recently in Portugal. He has many years of experience teaching IB math as well as IB and AP physics. He enjoys working at Sturgis “…close to my roots, with the IB program and alongside other ex-pats.”

Al Pagenkopf, Mathematics – Sturgis West

Al Pagenkopf Leads Snorkling Trip in Brazil

I am originally from Minnesota but have spent the past 20 years living in Taiwan, Peru and most recently Brazil.  During my time in Brazil I was fortunate to be able to lead student groups into the Amazon rainforest to hike amongst the monkeys, have breakfast with the toucans and snorkel with the tropical fish.  I coached both basketball and softball with my team winning numerous Sao Paulo League Championships.  My teams were routinely composed of nearly a dozen different nationalities and even more languages.  I came to Cape Cod because of Sturgis’ reputation and for the challenge of trying to live in “another country” since I’ve been gone since the early 90’s.  I currently teach math at West.

Abby Rhoads with Pine Ridge Students

Abigail Rhoads, English – Sturgis West 

After graduating from Bates College in 1995, I began my teaching career on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.  My job on the reservation was to teach reading and creative writing to middle and high school students. My Lakota Sioux students taught me as much, or more, about ancestry and connection than I could have ever taught them. I worked with my students on the Rez to publish a poetry journal of all of their work.  Their writing always reminds me of the harsh contrasts between extreme beauty and terrible brokenness on the reservation.

After completing my Masters in Teaching from Simmons College, I taught English in a public school on the North Shore. I came to the Cape in 2003.  Most recently, I have been the Lead Teacher at the Cape Cod Montessori Middle School on Coonamessett Farm in Falmouth. At CCMS, I learned invaluable teaching skills melding field work and animal husbandry into the daily curriculum.  Through my work as a Montessori teacher, I have experienced the gift of student centered, hands-on learning. I am so excited to continue my journey of learning with my students at Sturgis West!

Erica Scott, Spanish – Sturgis West

Erica Scott

Erica Scott

¡HOLA! I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan – however, I relocated to Massachusetts after attending Wh

eaton College in Norton, Ma. In college, I served as a member, co-captain, and senior adviser of SOLE step team. College was my first time ever stepping, but it became one of my favorite hobbies, and a great and fun way to exercise! Stepping is a combination of stomping and clapping using different rhythms and combinations to make music by only using your body – it’s very neat!…You can also create step routines using a variety of different music!

I majored in Economics and Hispanic Studies, after completely falling in love with the Spanish language and the cultures surrounding it. My passion for the language was very unexpected but very new and exciting. I had the opportunity to study abroad in Costa Rica for 5 months and truly become integrated in that Latin American culture and learn their lingo. It was truly a blessing!

This is my first year teaching Spanish at Sturgis thus far, and it has been pure joy! Both faculty and students are great and the hard work that everyone puts into the work, activities, and clubs, makes it apparent that they are happy and also want to be here! Sturgis is more than just a school, it is a community. I have truly been impressed, and I could not have asked for a better place to begin a teaching career!

I am excited to continue on with the students and faculty! GO STURGIS!! IB for ALL 🙂

Lindsay Scott

Lindsay Scott, Science – Sturgis West

I am coming from the Marine Biological Laboratory. While there I worked at the Ecosystems Center and studied how climate change affected nutrient cycling in forests. I am teaching Environmental Systems and Societies as well as Integrated Science (grade 9) at West. Attached is a photo of me taking a soil sample.

John Techlenburg , Special Ed Instructional Assistant – Sturgis East

John was a Peace Corps Volunteer at Chongqing Three Gorges University in Wanzhou, China where he taught English, Western Culture, and Environmental Studies. He has a Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Villanova University.

Beth Wahle,  Administrative Assistant – West

With a career originally in the Hotel/Restaurant Management industry, Beth has spent the last 18 years at home managing her brood of 5 kids, who now range in age from 11 to 18 years.  Her daughter Christina attends Sturgis West as a Junior, and Beth is hoping to have several other Wahles filling Sturgis seats in the next few years.  Sturgis has been a wonderful place to return to the workforce full-time, and she has found the staff to be amazingly talented, interesting, dedicated to their profession, and very welcoming.  In her spare time Beth enjoys cooking, playing the piano, yoga, and exploring every beach on the Cape….in fact she’s starting a collection of beach sand samples and hopes to have a jar from every Cape Cod Beach as part of her bucket list 🙂  She’d also  like to learn to play the harp someday.

Jennifer Walts with Students at Abby Kelley Foster Charter

Jennifer Walts, English – Sturgis West

I received my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree at Quinnipiac University. I was fortunate to complete my first year of teaching at Abby Kelley Foster Charter Public School in Worcester, MA.  I taught literature and writing to freshmen, sophomores and juniors. I also advised a student club called Youth against Homelessness.  I really love all art forms, and I have a true passion for photography and music.

Tom Wooton

Tom Wooton

Tom Wooton – History West

Tom comes to Sturgis with many years experience of teaching in IBO-Primary Years Program (PYP) international schools.  He has taught in a Turkish national middle school and at the MEF International School in Istanbul. Tom is the husband of Carine Blanc who teaches French at Sturgis East.


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