Welcome New Faculty


New Faculty Group Shot. rev 4.13.16

Sturgis welcomes 28 new staff and faculty members for 2014-15. They join us from Bahrain, California, China, Connecticut, England, Korea, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico and Vietnam. Some of you may recognize five teachers who are not new to Sturgis but are in new positions this year.

Xanthippi Abel with her charcoal drawing of Happy Dog, a street dog Chris took care of in the Dominican Republic

Xanthippi Abel with her charcoal drawing of Happy Dog, a street dog Chris Abel took care of in the Dominican Republic

Xanthippi Abel, Art – East

After a wonderful first year at Sturgis in the Special Education Department, I am back in the Arts. I have been an art teacher for 15 years and have taught in various countries, though it’s wonderful to be back in the States. I have a Master’s degree in Art Education and recently completed a Special Education degree. I come from a large close-knit Greek family from NYC. In my spare time, I love to practice yoga, be outdoors with my husband and help animals in need.

Mary Albis, Latin – West

Mary and Robert Albis

Mary and Robert Albis

My husband, Robert, a Latin teacher at East, and I are both wash-a-shores from Connecticut who have been full-time residents of Cape Cod since 2005. I earned a B.A. in Classics from Brown University, and an M.A. in Education from St. Joseph’s University. During my undergraduate years, I also spent a semester at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome. My most recent teaching position was at Cape Cod Academy, where I taught both middle school and high school Latin for nine years. In addition to our shared interest in classical languages and the ancient world, Robert and I love being outdoors and taking advantage of all that Cape Cod has to offer. In our free time, we enjoy boating, fishing, shell fishing, birding, hiking and walking the beach together. Since 2002, I have been a volunteer and first responder for IFAW’s Marine Mammal Rescue Team, responding to calls to aid stranded dolphins, seals and whales on Cape Cod beaches. Wildlife and sports photography is also a passion of mine, and I volunteer my time in the summer season as the team photographer for the Harwich Mariners in the Cape Cod Baseball League. I am excited to be joining the Sturgis West faculty, and wish to thank all of my new colleagues for being so welcoming and supportive.

Chris Beard, Special Education – East

Chris BeardI am from Bar Harbor, Maine, home to Acadia National Park. I was living in Portland before moving to Cape Cod this past spring with my girlfriend. Growing up in Maine I developed a love for the ocean and the outdoors. I began teaching sailing as a junior in high school and it was this early experience and passion for teaching which led me to pursue a career in education. I attended the University of Maine, earning both a B.S. and M.Ed. in Education. I am thrilled to be joining the staff at Sturgis Charter School as an inclusion support staff member and am looking forward to a great school year.

Peter Bertucci SailingPeter Bertucci, Special Education – West

Hello my name is Peter Bertucci and I am the new Special Education Coordinator at West. I moved from Boston to Cape Cod where I enjoy sailing with my family and friends whenever I can. The majority of my education is as a School Psychologist. I received a Doctorate in Education in 2006 from Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island. I look forward with great anticipation to meeting students and working with them and their families at West.

Chris Churchill, Latin – East

Chris ChurchillBorn in Cambridge Massachusetts, I graduated from Belmont High School before moving off to Wesleyan University where I received a BA in Classics and Archaeology.  More recently, however, I’ve been living in California, where I earned my MA in Classics at the University of California at Berkeley.  It was in the university classroom that I found my passion for teaching.  While at Berkeley I taught Latin for almost a decade at every level, including spending five summers teaching in and running the university’s summer Latin Workshop where students from teens to senior citizens learn a year and a half of Latin in 10 weeks.  In addition to teaching Latin, I spent some of my time in California teaching English literature and composition to inmates at San Quentin State Penitentiary with the Prison University Project.
I’m immensely excited to be returning to my home state to start a career at Sturgis.  I’ve always prided myself on being able to impart a sense of confidence in my students and to challenge them to do more than they thought they were capable of.  I’m looking forward to bringing those skills to bear here in Hyannis!

Greg Giardi, English – East

Greg GiardiI went to Brown University as an undergrad and Dartmouth College as a grad student. I have taught for 25 years in both public and private schools. My most recent stint was at Pope John Paul in Hyannis. I have been a department chair (English) for the past ten years and have a lot of experience teaching AP courses. Inevitably I find myself on committees (grading consistency between teachers and subjects, honor code/discipline, curriculum design). I have also been senior class advisor (most recently).

I am excited about teaching at Sturgis East. Besides its reputation for academic and intellectual curiosity and excellence, I am anti-status quo. I need a new challenge, an opportunity to be a learner once again. This experience at Sturgis East will make me a better teacher, expand how I view reading, writing and thinking.

Ashley Guba, Guidance Counselor – West

Ashley GubaI am looking forward to being a school counselor at Sturgis West and supporting the academic, social/emotional, and career planning of all the students! For more than six years, I worked in Barnstable Public Schools; including Barnstable High School, Barnstable Middle School, and Barnstable Community Horace Mann Charter Public School.  I also worked as an Intensive Care Coordinator for the Cape and Islands Community Service Agency, Justice Resource Institute.  I am committed to the school counseling profession and have served as Secretary of the Massachusetts School Counselors Association and currently serve as the Chairperson for the Government Relations/Advocacy Committee.  I earned my M.Ed. from Bridgewater State University and am a Massachusetts Licensed School Guidance Counselor K-12.

Alex Houpert, Latin – West

Alex HoupertSalve Sturgis! I’m so excited to be joining this impressive faculty after wrapping up my odyssean journey studying the Classics. I grew up in the sylvan suburbs of West Hartford, CT, where I began to cultivate my passion and love for the Latin language, Roman culture, English literature, American history, and poetry. By the time I turned 16, I knew with all my being that I wanted to be a high school Latin teacher, and I’ve been chasing that dream ever since; I couldn’t be more thrilled with where its lead me.

My path to Sturgis was filled with many adventures and experiences, all of which enriched my knowledge and furthered my enthusiasm for the Classics. I attended Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA, where I received a duel BA in Ancient Studies (Latin) and English Literature. In my spare time I played Ultimate Frisbee and sang in an all-male A Capella group. As a sophomore, I was awarded the Cmdr. George C. McFarland Scholarship from the St. Andrew’s Society of Philadelphia, which sent me on fellowship to Edinburgh, Scotland, where I spent my entire junior year studying Latin, Greek, and Ancient Art & Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh.

While abroad, I sought out Roman ruins wherever I could find them; I spent whole days in wonderment walking through Rome and Pompeii, marveling at the Pantheon, the Forum, and the Colosseum. I visited the Roman Baths in Bath, England, and even hiked the entire length of Hadrian’s Wall! Every stone, statue, and spearhead only furthered my curiosity and passion for antiquity. I’m so grateful to be able to share my passions and knowledge with the Sturgis community, and I couldn’t be more excited to start teaching at Sturgis West!

Creighton Hulse, Spanish – East

Creighton HulseI grew up in Oklahoma and studied foreign language education at the University of Oklahoma. I spent a semester in Granada, Spain, where I initially decided to be a Spanish teacher. I moved to Texas in 2009 to be with wife. After teaching in a town outside of the Dallas-Fort Worth area for 4 years, we decided to move to China because I’d always been interested in teaching internationally and living abroad. After 2 years of living apart from our dog, Walt, we decided we should come back to the states. I’ll be teaching Language B (Spanish) and am very excited about my first year in an IB program!

Regina Katz, Biology – East

Regina KatzI am originally from the Philippines. I graduated from medical school and have earned a Doctor of Medicine degree. As a lifelong learner, I have developed a passion for teaching when my two children started preschool. I have been teaching since 1997. I taught at Woodward Academy in Atlanta, at Fairmont Preparatory Academy in Anaheim, (California) and in Saigon South International School in Vietnam the last 4 years prior to our move here to Sturgis. I have taught various courses both at the high school and college-level including AP and IB Biology, human anatomy and physiology, human ecology, biomedical ethics and medical terminology. I am an active Advanced Placement Biology faculty consultant and examination reader and a current assistant biology examiner with the IBO. I have two children who both reside in NYC. My daughter is pursuing architecture at Pratt Institute and my son is a cinematographer. I am an avid tennis player with the goal of beating my husband, Dan, at every match! I consider myself a ‘doodle artist’ and have composed pieces in the art of zentangle.

Ronald King, Guidance – West

I am extremely excited to be joining the Sturgis team! I am originally from Fort Lauderdale, Florida but grew up in Valdosta, Georgia. I graduated from Valdosta State University with a B.A. in History and received my Master’s in Guidance Counseling from Argosy University in Sarasota, Florida.

For the first few years in my career, I taught Social Studies. In 2010, I moved to Seoul, South Korea and taught Social Studies at Yongsan International School of Seoul. In 2012, I became the school’s first school counselor. Although difficult to leave students, friends and colleagues behind, my wife Sheretta and I felt it was time to move our family (daughter Janet – 3 years and son Kaleb – 7 months) back to the United States. We are extremely excited  about this move and look forward to being part of the community.

David Kooharian, Special Education – West

David Kooharian

Golden Sail by David Kooharian oil on canvas

Golden Sail by David Kooharian oil on canvas

I am so pleased to be with Sturgis West this year as Inclusion support. For the last three years I have been a substitute at both Sturgis campuses and it was that experience that made me want to be a teacher. Before this, I was a full time working artist for over twenty years concentrating on oil painting and illustration. I have a degree in Arts Administration and plan to start work on my Master’s degree this spring.

Two of my children have attended Sturgis, one graduated last year and the other is currently a junior at West. My youngest is in sixth grade and hopes to have her turn at Sturgis in a few years. My wife Kelly is a Hospice nurse and we all live in Mashpee with our dogs, cat, chickens, goose, rabbit, fish, bird, hamster and geko.

Diane Kovanda, Wellness – West

Diane Kovanda and Tara

Diane Kovanda and Tara

I am so happy to be joining Sturgis West and look forward to meeting everyone. I am originally from Prague, Czech Republic and speak fluent Czech and English. I’ve lived on Cape Cod for most of my life. I have worked in the field of Wellness, Fitness, and Stress Management for years – teaching people strategies to be more effective, healthy and less stressed in life. I have been working with local businesses to implement ways to make work less conflicted and more productive.

I have a Master’s degree in Education with a specialty in Stress Management. I also have an extensive background in body/mind approaches to wellness including training in mind/body medicine with Herbert Benson, MD at Mind Body Medical Institute, and also training in mindfulness. I will bring a healthy dose of wellness and stress reduction to our wellness class to balance out all your hard work and studies.

Sarah Martinez, Biology – West

Sarah MartinezI had a wonderful first year experience at Sturgis East last year as a Special Education Math Inclusion Tutor but I am overjoyed to get back to my passion – biology. This year, I am making the move to Sturgis West where I will be teaching Freshman Biology and continuing to coach Cross Country (Go Navigators – Defending Champs!). I love being outside, whether it’s beachcombing or running on trails. I’m a local, public school kind of girl, graduating from Dennis Yarmouth in ’04, UMass Boston in ’09 (BS-Biology) and UMass Amherst in ’12 (MS-Wildlife Conservation). I’m so proud to be a part of the Sturgis Community!

Daniela Milne, Library – East

Daniela MilneI grew up in southern California, studied art history at UC Berkeley then moved east to complete my graduate work in library science at Simmons College in Boston. I have lived on Cape Cod for two years and think the weather is perfect here (okay, maybe the winters are a bit long for a southern California girl). I enjoy reading of course, chasing after my kids, and eating ice cream.

This will be my first librarian position as well as my first time working in a school. I look forward to meeting the Sturgis community when I return from maternity leave in November.

Lee Moynihan, Special Education – East

Lee Moynihan and Family

Lee Moynihan
& Family

I grew up in Bridgewater, MA and graduated from Bridgewater Raynham Regional High School in 1997. I received my undergraduate degree in 2001 and graduate degree in 2007. Both of my degrees are in Special Education from Fitchburg State University. I moved to Cape Cod in 2003 and have worked as a Special Education teacher at Barnstable High School from 2003-2014.

I have been married to my husband Steve for almost 10 years and we have 3 children. We have a daughter Emma 7 (2nd grade) and twin boys Christopher and Ayden who are 5 (kindergarten). I have recently completed my second Ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run) in Mont –Tremblant, Canada in 11 hours, 32 minutes. I have done 7 marathons and planning on doing the Boston marathon in April 2015 and will compete in a few 1/2 Ironman next summer. I am so excited to be a part of Sturgis and look forward to working with all the new students and staff here.

Savannah Moynihan, Spanish – East

Savannah Moynihan (2nd from left)

Savannah Moynihan
(2nd from left)

Born in Georgia but raised on Cape Cod, I graduated from Sturgis in 2010. During high school, I began to fall in love with the Spanish language and Hispanic cultures, and participated in 2 trips to Honduras to help with Operation Smile and an orphanage there. After graduating, I attended Bridgewater State University with a major in Spanish and minor in Secondary Education, spent one of my semesters studying in Costa Rica and teaching English, and graduated with my B.A. in May 2014.

I’m very excited to be returning to Sturgis – this time as a teacher instead of a student. I care deeply about developing empathy for other cultural perspectives, and about the efficiency and meaning of education. My interest in neuroscience is rapidly increasing, as I feel it relates to everything we do and learn, and holds the potential for many valuable and empowering insights. When I’m not tucking into books about our brains, I enjoy making art, dancing to Reggaeton, swimming at the beach, hiking and other outdoor activities.

Theresa Pacheco, Special Education – West

Theresa Pacheco in Texas hill country

Theresa Pacheco in Texas hill country

I am so excited to be a part of the Special Education Department at Sturgis Charter School this year! I’ve been teaching in Massachusetts and in Texas for ten years in several different positions. Here on the Cape, I was a middle school/high school Art teacher for four years. Then my husband’s job took us to Galveston, Texas where I taught both Art and English. Last year I was nominated and won “Galveston Daily News Teacher of the Year” for all of Galveston County! It was a huge honor! While teaching in Texas, I also worked on a school counseling internship and certification program. My Master’s degree in Art Education is from U-Mass Dartmouth, and I’m thinking of getting a second Master’s in Counseling.

I enjoy teaching both subjects because both art and reading are passions of mine. My own artwork is in several media – watercolor, oils, and acrylics – working mostly with animals and beach scenes. I have painted pet portraits for people, which are a lot of fun because I try to show the animal’s personality in the painting.

I’m so happy to be back on Cape Cod with my family. I have two grown children (a son and a daughter) and a two-year-old grandson all living here. I love to kayak, work in the garden, and read. My husband and I have three cats, all of whom were abandoned kittens that we adopted in Texas and brought them back here with us. I’m so looking forward to a great year at Sturgis!

Alyssa Pohlman, Special Education – East

Alyssa PohlmanI am very excited to join the Special Education Department at Sturgis East. Originally from the Midwest, I received a BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from University of Illinois. I then moved to Washington, D.C., where I worked as an environmental consultant, earned a Masters degree in Environmental Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, met my husband, and began our family of three children.

Seven years ago, my husband accepted a job as a chemical oceanographer with the US Geological Survey in Woods Hole. We moved the family to Falmouth, I found work at an environmental consulting company, and we quickly grew to love Cape Cod living. During the summers you’ll find me at the beach, exploring salt marshes with my kids, kayaking in ponds and harbors, and mountain biking in the Crane Wildlife Area.

I consider it a privilege to begin my next adventure, as an educator, working with the dynamic faculty and students of Sturgis. I welcome the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Helen Raftery, Spanish – East

Helen Raftery

Helen Raftery

My arrival at Sturgis East is a genuine life change. I have been teaching for almost 30 years, but this is the first time that I have been living outside a dormitory. Since my return to the United Sates, after completion of my Peace Corps commitment, I began teaching in northern Vermont, quite a change from northern Costa Rica. I have taught in several boarding schools, raised a daughter and several dogs. (I cannot say which has grown up better.) I have been lucky enough to lead student travel to Europe and South America.

We feel blessed to be here, and to have the opportunity to work with students who have already impressed me, and with faculty who have been very welcoming.

Lisa Sears, Wellness – East

Lisa Sears in Pompeii </br> July 2014

Lisa Sears in Pompeii
July 2014

I am excited to be joining the Sturgis East community as a new faculty member! Last year, I had the great pleasure of substitute teaching in numerous classes at both Sturgis East and West, and am thrilled to have a permanent position for the 2014-2015 school year as the new Wellness teacher.

My husband and I live in South Dennis and we have three daughters. I am currently finishing my undergraduate work at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where I am a double major in Classical Languages and History with a minor in Anthropology and Archaeology. I will be graduating with my two BAs in May 2015. As a mom, wife, and student, I understand the stresses of a rigorous academic schedule and the importance of keeping a clear focus in the midst of the pressures of daily life.

Since 2000, I have been practicing yoga to keep myself healthy, both physically and mentally. I received my certification to teach yoga for kids in 2012 and have volunteered at local preschools and public schools.

It is my great pleasure to continue the successful Wellness program here at Sturgis East, and I am looking forward to a wonderful year.

Stacey Strong, Mathematics – East

Stacey StrongI am new to the Sturgis East Math Department, but not new to the teaching profession. For twenty years, I taught in Boston, California, NYC, and Puerto Rico. While in Puerto Rico, I had the honor and privilege to teach children of military families at Fort Buchanan. Originally from Weymouth, MA, I studied at Stanford University and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. My three kids and I live in Falmouth, where I studied at Sea Education Association designing lessons that integrate math classes and maritime studies. My favorite mathematician of all time is Salem’s Nathaniel Bowditch, founder of modern maritime navigation, and a contemporary of Captain William F. Sturgis.

Nhung Truong, Music – West

Nhung Truong

Nhung Truong
Neuschwanstein Castle

Growing up, Cape Cod was always to me this unknown land that I never had the fortunate opportunity to visit. Although from Connecticut, my family favored the Rhode Island coastline over Cape Cod and I spent many summer weekends on Rhode Island beaches, so basically you can say I grew up as a beach bum. Despite my love for Rhode Island and even getting my Bachelor’s Degree in the Ocean State, I always knew that I wanted to go to Cape Cod. Eventually I made my way to the Cape in my college years, but never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be LIVING on Cape Cod and a mile from a beach!

I am incredibly excited to begin teaching choir and music classes at Sturgis West this fall. I developed my passion for music and teaching in high school, having been inspired by my high school choral teacher. I went on to get my Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Providence College and immediately following my Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst where I held a teaching assistantship for a general education class called The Lively Arts and conducted choirs of various levels. Also during this time I was able to go on performance tours in Italy, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic where I sang at St. Peter’s Basilica, Neuschwanstein Castle (the castle that inspired what is now the Disney Castle) and several other prestigious venues. I am eager to finally incorporate all of my teaching and musical experiences into my teaching at Sturgis!

When not knee deep in teaching, singing and music, you can find me knee deep in cooking, playing with my cat Toasted Marshmallow, spending time with my family, and of course on these beautiful Cape Cod beaches.

rebecca wheeler 003Rebecca Wheeler, Integrated Science and Biology – East

Hi! My name is Rebecca Wheeler and I teach Freshmen Integrated Science and Biology SL1. I have been at Sturgis part-time for a couple of years teaching freshmen, but I am now a full-time faculty member. I graduated from Bridgewater State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Currently, I am working towards a Master of Arts degree in Teaching at BSU. I have lived on the Cape for most of my life. My hobbies and interests include art, animals and traveling. I enjoy the atmosphere of this school and I am very excited to see returning students and meet new ones.

Diana Young – Theatre – Sturgis East and West

Diana YoungI am joining both East and West as an IB Theatre and Theatre teacher. I have taught for Brimmer and May School, South Shore School of Theatre, Our Sisters’ School, Trinity Repertory Company and other organizations in the New England area. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and Theatre from Salve Regina University and my Master’s degree in Theatre Education from Emerson College. In my junior year of college, I studied abroad in Cannes, France, where I studied French and performed in an original French play called La Molecule. I am very excited to be a part of the Sturgis faculty and is looking forward to getting more involved int he Cape Cod community. I live in Mansfield, MA with my husband, Bryan, and I enjoy traveling, live music, performing, and impromptu dance parties!

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