Meet the new staff members at the MCS

News you can always use from the Principal

Important Dates

  • Monday, August 30 - First day of school for 2021/22!

  • Friday, September 3 - Picture Day

Message From The Principal

Happy Weekend!

The MCS staff spent the past two days preparing for the first student day of school.  Getting the year up and running takes an enormous amount of energy and teamwork.  This year we welcome a large number of new staff members to our school.  You can learn a little about each of them at the bottom of this message.  We left our in service yesterday with the understanding that the most important aspects of the first week are welcoming students, ensuring that all students feel welcome, and getting students safely home.

Even with my best efforts last week to answer any lingering questions, I missed a few!  I am going to stick to the most important information for starting day #1.

Where do we pick up children at dismissal time? 

We are reassigning posts for dismissal this year and organized by grade level bands. Your family should use the post assigned to the youngest child in your family. Please stop by and remove the items that you used to decorate your post last year so that it's fresh and ready for the next family.  Students in grades K-2 and their older siblings will be assigned a post on Girard Way.  Students in grades 3 and 4 and their older siblings will select a post on the Church Street side of the Norwich Green.  Please leave #104 free for students who go with Ms. Lani.  Students in grades 5 and 6 will select posts on the route 5 section of the Norwich Green.  

Unlike last year, it is okay for more than one family to share a post.  At 3:10 when we dismiss, teachers of grades K-2 will walk their children out to their posts and make eye contact with adults picking up children.  Students in grades 3-4 will be walked out with their teacher.  The teacher will watch to make sure they are picked up.  Students in grades 5 and 6 will be allowed to make their own way to their posts to meet families.  

If your children are in grades 3-6, your homework this weekend is to make your way to MCS, pick your post, and decorate it.  This is only for students who are picked up after school.  Bus students will be monitored by school staff and put on buses.  Students who walk home will be allowed to leave school grounds at dismissal time.

What is the official word on masking?

After hearing from many family members, watching the Covid rates, and discussing masking with staff, we have made some adjustments.  As per VT guidance, we will all wear masks when inside the school.  Because we can’t guarantee that all of our students will stay 3 feet apart at recess, all students and staff will wear their masks at recess times.  During the day, teachers may bring their students outside for academic purposes.  At these times, if teachers can ensure 3 foot distancing, they will allow students to be without masks.  As we did last school year, there will be locations where a student can take mask breaks.  We feel more confident that this will add a layer of safety for our students.

Where will students be eating?

We know for certain that students need to take off masks to eat!  As a staff, we have agreed that whenever possible students will eat outdoors.  In instances when the weather does not permit eating outdoors, students will remain distanced while eating indoors. 

Will MCS participate in the voluntary Covid surveillance testing offered by the Vermont Health Department?

Yes, a few weeks ago I signed our school up for voluntary surveillance testing.  As soon as I have information to share with you, I will.  At this time, the program is being organized.  Please know that this is an opt in program and you will receive a permission slip for your student to participate.  Staff participated last school year.

What is the story with the forest?

I am aware by the number of emails sent my way, that the use of the Norwich Town Nature Center is important to families; it is important to the MCS staff as well.  Please know that our business office and school board are working with the select board to remedy this situation.  As soon as there is a resolution that allows student usage, I will inform families - and we will all celebrate.  In the meantime, we have a beautiful campus to use for outdoor learning.  Special thanks to the outdoor learning family group for making certain that we have beautiful tents to utilize.  We will make the best of the outdoor spaces that we have available.   

Will picture day happen this year?

Yes, picture day is on Friday, September 3rd; that is the first Friday of the first week of school.  Envelopes will go home on the first day of school.  If you would like your child to have their photo taken, please send the envelope back to school as soon as possible.

The remainder of this newsletter is meant to welcome our new staff.  Please enjoy getting to know some of the new MCS staff who will be working with your children this school year.

Please join me in welcoming the following new staff members to MCS…

Jonathan Dean will be teaching 2nd grade this year at Marion Cross School.  He is originally from Long Island, New York and moved with his family to the Upper Valley in 2017.  He enjoys hiking, biking, and playing the ukulele.  Mr. Dean is a big pet person with a dog, cat, and a bunny at home!  If you see him on the rail trail, be sure to give a big “Hello!”

Stephanie Hurst is excited to be working at MCS this year as a special educator! She was born and raised in North Georgia and graduated from Covenant College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. She later acquired her Master’s Degree in Reading and Literacy from Walden University. Currently, she is working on obtaining her Educational Specialist Degree. She and her family moved from Florida to New Hampshire this summer. Stephanie absolutely loves being a lifelong learner and helping students love learning too. She loves spending time with her sweet family outdoors. 

Jaclyn Bernier is happy to be joining MCS's fifth grade team as a language arts and social studies teacher! This is her sixth year teaching and first year at Marion Cross. Before moving to the Upper Valley, Jaclyn was a 5th grade reading, writing, and social studies teacher in Bedford, NH. Prior to being in Bedford, she taught third grade in Manchester, NH. She recently earned a master's degree from Southern New Hampshire University in Curriculum & Instruction with a concentration in Educational Leadership. For undergraduate studies, she attended Saint Anselm College (in Manchester, NH) where she received a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Spanish. Her husband, Mike, works in Hanover, NH at a venture capital firm and they have loved their time in the Upper Valley so far. They are eager to explore the gorgeous area more! If you have any "must do" or "must see" suggestions, feel free to introduce yourself and send them her way! They love to try new things! When not teaching, you can find her relaxing on/in/around the waters of Lake Winnipesaukee, curling up to enjoy a good book, hiking and adventuring outdoors, or playing with her two and a half year old dog, Ziggy. Jaclyn sincerely cannot wait to begin this upcoming school year and focus on bringing learning, laughter, and love into my classroom and the greater school community!

Alisha Sharp is thrilled to be joining the Marion Cross family as a special education teacher . She comes from the Rochester, New York area where she taught for 5 years prior to this. Alisha has taught 2nd, 3rd, and 7th grades and loved every minute of each experience. She enjoys spending time with her family, dogs, and anything outdoors. She is a big fan of kayaking, playing frisbee, and going to concerts. She has 4 Goldendoodles, 3 that live in New York and the newest one joining her this past summer. Their names are Addie, Rory, Libby, and Bowie (they are all females, pictured with Alisha are her two oldest, Addie and Rory). She also enjoys fishing and reading lots of interesting things during the summer while eagerly waiting for the school year to start. She cannot wait to meet all of the wonderful kiddos and their families this school year!

Lila Teenyanoff is originally from the Upper Valley and graduated from Mount Holyoke College. She will join MCS as an education assistant.  Her prior experience includes working as a STEM Makerspace teacher in Washington, DC and teaching programs at the Montshire Museum of Science. Lila enjoys skiing, ceramics, and reading. 

Jillian Van Ells is originally from Alabama, but wanderlust has taken her from teaching in Akita, Japan to inner city Baltimore, rural South Africa, suburban DC and Baltimore and now, Norwich.  She will be joining as our school library and media specialist.  Since relocating to Norwich in June, the most common question she gets is “what brought her here?” to which she answers, “here!”. The move to Norwich was the first move either her husband Brad or she made for the place (as opposed to a job or school) and they are thrilled to be here, as are their five year old daughter, Ruby, seven year old son, Jasper and two year old goldendoodle, Peaches. When she doesn't have a nose in a book (or ear in an audiobook) Jillian can be found on a trail, cooking up a storm (literally, as her husband can attest to when cleaning up in the aftermath) or plotting her next travel adventure. Jillian is so excited to share her love of books and belief in the power of reading to make us more empathetic, knowledgeable and engaged citizens as the MCS librarian.

Jane Glick lives in White River Junction with her husband Ken.  Jane will be joining our school as our school nurse.  Jane is honored to be the mother of two sons, two daughters, 2 step-daughters, and one granddaughter.  She moved to the Upper Valley as a ninth grader and attended Hartford High School and returned back to the area in 2008.  She started school nursing in 2016 at Rochester and Stockbridge schools and found her true passion.  Jane is excited to now serve in her local community.  School nursing has been a wonderful experience, combining her love for children and the ability to care for the health and well-being of the community.  

She  loves to spend my  free time traveling, camping, hiking, kayaking, x-country skiing, and trips to the ocean with family and friends.  Some of the hobbies enjoyed are sewing, knitting, cooking, watercolor painting, birding, and photography.  Isolation during the pandemic brought about some new interest in learning to play the ukulele and foraging for wild edibles. 

 Jane  feels privileged to serve the children and families of Marion Cross School.  She looks forward to the friends and relationships that will transpire as we get to know each other and thank you for trusting me to care for your precious children.  Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns

Enrique Polletta, along with his wife, two children, two dogs, one lizard, fish and one frog just moved from the North Shore of Massachusetts to the Upper Valley in June! In life he enjoys running in the woods, hiking with his family, finding fantastic coffee shops, creating art, and woodworking. This summer he was the Wood Shop instructor at Camp Pemi and loved every minute of the experience. Enrique has taught a variety of grades over his 19 years in education and simply loves creating a classroom environment where each child feels known, feels supported, and a space that is exciting to come to each day. He is very much looking forward to working with our students this year and also having the opportunity to meet all of you. Enrique joins MCS as a second grade teacher. 

Alyssa Marzot grew up on Cape Cod and loves most water sports. She attended the University of Vermont for her undergraduate degree and has a master’s degree in elementary education from Lesley University.  Alyssa lives in White River Junction with her husband and their dog Michi.  They spend most of their time riding bikes and love all of the mountain bike trails in the Upper Valley!  This summer she competed in her first endurance mountain bike race and for the last two years has been a mentor for the Upper Valley chapter of Little Bellas.  Every summer she helps her family organize and participate in a swim to benefit a family friend with ALS.  This was her 11th year doing the swim!  Alyssa spent the last four years teaching in the Strafford School District.  She taught in a 3rd/4th grade multi-age classroom, a 1st/2nd grade multi-age classroom and a 2nd grade classroom.  Before moving to Vermont, she taught 5th grade outdoor education at a residential school on Cape Cod and worked as a naturalist on a whale watch boat based in Gloucester, MA.  She loves spending time outdoors and believes that we can learn so much from our natural environment.  She looks forward to meeting you and being a part of the Marion Cross community as a first grade teacher!

 Molly Gentine has rejoined our school to begin this year in Kindergarten!  Last year, she had a wonderful year teaching second grade at Marion Cross.  Molly has three children who attend Marion Cross, and her husband teaches at Hanover High School.  Favorite hobbies are skiing, fishing, baking, and reading.  Molly is looking forward to a great start of the school year!  We are all thrilled to have Mrs. Gentine back at our school, even if it is only until a permanent teacher is located and hired.  Her positive energy is contagious!   

Sheila McCoy is joining our school as a kindergarten teacher until we are able to hire a permanent person to be with our kindergarteners.  She lives in Wilder with her husband, Michael. They have two children. In her teaching career she has taught grades Kindergarten through grade 3. Teaching has been her passion for 30+ years. She enjoys traveling, biking, collecting shells at the beach, and connecting with family.  We are fortunate that Sheila is willing to come out of retirement for a bit to help our school and work with our students.

Have a lovely weekend,

Shawn and Greg

Message From Student Services

Can’t wait to see your students next week! 



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