Tammy D'Agostino - Fourth Grade Teacher

tammy_snow My name is Tammy D’Agostino and I am excited to be teaching 4th grade this year after returning from maternity leave. I arrived in Kensington the summer of 2002 where I was hired to teach 3rd grade. Although this will be my first year teaching 4th grade at KES, it is not new to me. I had previously taught 4th grade in Hadley, MA and Littleton, MA before coming to Kensington.

I was raised in Massachusetts, the oldest of three girls. I attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where I earned my undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and Sociology. I received my Masters degree from Lesley University in 2004.

I moved to NH after meeting my husband of 7 years. We have three wonderful children who I’ve been lucky enough to spend so much time with in their early years. My oldest is starting Kindergarten this year, my middle is starting preschool and my youngest is 18 months old and trying her hardest to keep up with her older siblings. We have 2 German Shorthaired Pointers who, in my opinion, are more mischievous than my children and require even more discipline!

I love being a part of the Kensington Staff. They are dedicated, bright, resourceful, and supportive people, and it is a privilege to work with them on a daily basis. I am also fortunate that KES fosters such a supportive and involved community of parents. They are such an important part of a successful school, classroom, and student.

Amy Danisus - Literacy Specialist

My name is Amy Danusis and I am so thrilled to begin my third year at Kensington Elementary School as the Literacy Specialist. I grew up in Florida and spent most of my free time finding a great spot on the beach where I could lose myself in a good book. I moved to New Hampshire five years ago with my husband of thirteen years, Chad. We live in Newmarket with our dog, Sheba, and two finicky cats, Mittens and Sabrina. I am still acclimating to the cold winters, but am finding that I really love the change of seasons here in New England. My husband and I like to take long walks with our dog, spend the summers on our boat in the lake, and travel whenever we can.

I received my Master's Degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in reading from the University of South Florida. While in Florida, I taught third grade for two years and first grade for four years. When I moved to New Hampshire, I decided to pursue my goal of becoming a Reading Specialist and have been working as a Literacy Specialist in SAU 16 for the last four years. All in all, I have been teaching for eleven years.

The role of a Literacy Specialist is a unique one. I'm able to support both students and staff on a daily basis. I provide small group instruction in reading and writing in collaboration with the classroom teacher. I also encourage and support development and implementation of the instructional literacy goals as related to the curriculum.  I meet weekly with grade levels in a Professional Learning Community model. We develop lessons, share strategies, and identify student needs. My ultimate goal is to act as a resource for all things literacy!

Christine Burns - First Grade Teaching Assistant

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Annie Beauchemin - Art Teacher

My name is Annie Beauchemin. I look forward to every day of teaching and experiencing art and expression through hands and heart! I have loved art since I was a young child. In school that was a good thing since I was interested, but average in music, and interested, but not at all talented in athletics! I didn't even feel very accomplished in drawing until I was in high school, but I have always enjoyed playing around with lots of art and crafting materials.

My formal schooling in Art Education K-12 occurred during my years at Penn State University. I also attended a year at Butera School of Art in Boston studying illustrating and commercial art. I have taught art to elementary school children for fifteen years in Bucksport, Me., So. Portland, Me., and Kensington, NH.

Before my three children were born, I sold my pencil and watercolor artwork and taught art classes in A Wink and a Dream art shop located next to the footbridge in Perkins Cove, Ogunguit, Me. While my children were young, I taught preschool and after school art classes in my home for eight years, and was a Kindergarten aide for a year. I have also done commercial art work for ski resorts, hotels and the Chamber of Commerce in No. Conway, NH. When not involved in art, I enjoy talking with all types of people, reading and movies about people, history, taking walks, gardening, and involvement with church activities. My husband keeps me moving in other ways...skiing, kayaking, sailing and biking.

 

I love to use my artwork to make others happy. I try to pass that love on through encouraging students to give their artwork to people they know, and people that need care. In class, a few times a year, we work hard on gifts for our family members. The Heart of Art Club which meets bimonthly on Tuesday afternoons at KES, is founded on the love of expression, and the love of giving art expression to others.

As the KES Art Teacher, I want to expose our students to many different forms of art, mediums, cultures, and styles of famous artists. Students need lots of time with discovery through hands-on learning. Art is a natural facilitator for hands on discovery. Ideally, I like to introduce a new concept, artist, style, or medium in the first ten minutes of class, so that the students can use the remainder of the period to learn and discover using their minds and hands. If I talk too long, the students often remind me that they want to get their hands into the materials!

 

Students love it when their art is displayed. It does not matter if it is displayed on a refrigerator, school display board, or framed on a wall. It is important that the art expression is appreciated, just as the artist is appreciated. We are all developing artists, on a journey finding out more about ourselves, and the materials of expression. Each piece of artwork is a small window into your child's mind. Enjoy the viewing!

Lili Spinosa - Physical Education Teacher

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     I am thrilled to be the physical education teacher at KES.  I love my job!  I grew up in many different states,  living in Pennsylvania, upstate New York, southern California, Indiana and New Hampshire.  I graduated from Purdue University in 1980.  Upon graduating, I taught at two elementary schools outside of Indianapolis, Indiana while working on my Masters Degree.  I received my Masters Degree from Indiana University in 1984.  Then, after moving to New Hampshire in 1986,  I began teaching at Newmarket Elementary School.  In the year 2000, I was fortunate enough to begin my teaching career at KES.  

     I can honestly say I knew I wanted to work with children and sports since I was in 4th grade.  That was pretty amazing, because I attended a school that had no physical education program!  I never knew there was such a thing as a physical education teacher.  I did grow up with three older brothers and that is where I received most of my sports education.  During that time, girls did not have many options when it came to sports!  Given the choice of joining a swim team or gymnastics team (my only two options), I chose swimming and continued to swim on swim teams. I ended my swimming career on the Purdue University Women's Swim Team. I enjoy being involved in many family activities with my husband and two children.

     For years, the focus for Physical Education was on sports, games, and encouraging the "athletes" to do well and continue in sports.  This focus left the great majority of students behind.  Physical Education has changed throughout the years.  We live in a time when children ride in cars to most activities, spend much time indoors (due to weather, for safety, or for use of games), and are involved in "organized" sports instead of outside "play".   Physical education classes must fill the gap left by our changing society and we must reach all children.  Activity and exercise is a lifelong skill that must be taught and encouraged throughout a child's educational experience, and PE is the class that teaches these skills. Through the use of sports, games, dance, and different activities, students will learn to love to move, and this appreciation for movement will allow them to become physically active adults.  Hence, the goal of the KES physical education program is to become a healthy active adult. Physical Education classes must also address the issues of health and nutrition.  Students should have an understanding of food, its nutritional values, and choices.  They will be faced with challenges and need the knowledge to make good health choices.  Knowledge is power...

Here at KES we offer different active opportunities outside the PE class for children who chose to move.  We have morning exercise clubs which are all about moving- what a great way to start a day of learning!  Our options have included:  jump rope, yoga, dodgeball, walking/running, Dance Dance Revolution, and hopefully will have more options as time goes on.

It is awesome and exciting...remember "Education is Physical"!

Christine Vallone - Music Teacher

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I grew up in Bedford, New Hampshire, and started taking piano lessons when I was 7 years old.  I can remember the happiness I would feel when my teacher gave me new music, and I would literally run home after my lessons to practice.  I knew that I wanted to be a teacher by the time I was in high school, but actually entered Colby College in Maine as an English major.  For the first time in 11 years, I had no easy access to a piano, and missed it terribly, which is why I transferred to Notre Dame College in Manchester (Colby College did not offer education certification).  I graduated in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education, started teaching music at Epping Elementary School that September, and taught for 2 1/2 years.  When I had my two sons, I remained at home during the day, and taught piano lessons, accompanied recitals and theater productions at night, and continued conducting and accompanying the church choir at St. Joseph Church in Epping which I started in 1980. When my sons started school, I went back to UNH and took courses necessary to receive my Masters degree in Music History.  At the same time, I began teaching piano at the Manchester Community Music School, and then Phillips Exeter Academy.  In 2001, I began teaching music to kindergarten through fifth grade here at KES.  In addition to classroom teaching, I give before and after-school instrumental lessons in flute, clarinet, saxophone, and trumpet.  I can honestly say I love my job here at KES - the staff, students, and parents are wonderful.  I believe that I am doing what I was meant to do!

My philosophy of music education has been influenced by, among others, the beliefs of composer/educator Zoltan Kodaly, and also my own enjoyment of music.  Kodaly believed that music students should be taught to "see what they hear, and hear what they see" and I try to incorporate alot of actual hands-on sight-reading and music-playing/singing into each lesson.  I try as much as possible, to teach the elements of music while having fun -  the children enjoy singing games, movement (eurhythmics), and use of the Orff instruments.  On the most basic level, I want to allow students to become proficient enough at reading notes and singing that they develop a lifelong enjoyment of and appreciation for music. As Plato said, "Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

Elizabeth Mosher - Third Grade Teacher

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Susan Haug - Fourth Grade Teacher

I was raised in Marblehead, Massachusetts.  I began babysitting at 12 years old, and realized I loved children! Because of this rewarding experience, I knew I needed to do something  with children.  My mother was a teacher so it seemed to be my destiny to follow in her footsteps.  After graduating from New England College with a Bachelor of  Science degree, I began my teaching career in Foxboro, Massachusetts in a 4th grade classroom.  From there I moved to New Hampshire where I had the pleasure of teaching in Rochester and Hooksett.  My teaching experiences have also included teaching positions in New Jersey and California.

I married Dick 38 years ago, and we built our home in Hampton.  I stayed home for five years to raise our daughter, Jennifer.  I knew I wanted to get back into teaching.  I began working in Kensington as a Title 1 math aide in grades 1 through 6.  When a sixth grade teaching position opened up, I was offered it and wholeheartedly accepted it!   I taught grade 6, where we departmentalized for math, language arts, social studies, and science. For twelve years I was  the math teacher for grades 4, 5, and 6.  My homeroom was 6th grade, and I also taught them reading.

When the Cooperative Middle School was built, the 6th graders left KES for the middle school.  I had a choice to go with them to the middle school, but I decided to stay in Kensington which was much more of a family type school.  I then changed my teaching position to grade 3 and stayed there for eight years.  I moved to grade 4 seven years ago and now teach math for both classes.

Each day I look forward to coming to school, seeing the children, and hearing their stories. Many times during weekends and summers I will come here just to work on special projects going on in my class.  I believe that children learn best in a safe and happy environment and I try  to make my room that type of place.  Fun goes along with almost everthing we learn and do in my classroom.  I feel that every child needs to feel important and have a positive self  image.

Teaching at Kensington Elementary School has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life.  Both the town and school communitiy are filled with people who are dedicated to the learning experience of children.  It is a pleasure to be associated with such a fine group of talented and  knowledgeable teachers and wonderful families.

Christine Culver - Third Grade Teacher

On a hot Austin spring  day in 1982 I was sitting through an excruciating class of micro-economics.  As my eyes began to glaze over I was overcome with a moment of clarity and decisiveness, a major in business was not for me.  I went the next day to my advisor and changed my course of study from marketing to elementary education and I have never regretted it!

I received my Bachelor of Arts in 1984 in elementary education.  I spent six months substitute teaching to save money for a move to New England, a long time dream.  I soon loaded my Ford Tempo and headed to Manchester, New Hampshire.  I had given myself 30 days to find a teaching job or head back to steamy South Texas.  Thirty days to the day I was hired by the Autistic Unit of Spaulding Youth Center (SYC).  This was the best first job I could imagine because everything I learned in that very intense, challenging, loving, and remakable environment contunues to shape me as a teacher today.  While at SYC I earned my certification in special education and began my Master studies in the same.

Though very happy at SYC, after four years I longed to work in the public school system. I soon secured a position in special education at Weare Junior High School where I taught students with learning disabilities and completed my Master of Education degree.  Since that time I have taught elementary and middle school age children in Seabrook, Exeter, Greenland, and finally Kensington. It is here I made the move after 16 years from special education to regular education.  I know that my background in applied behavior analysis, systematic phonics and special education in general have helped me to be a better classroom teacher than I would have otherwise been.

I have just completed a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Leadership and hope to one day be a school principal.  Right now I am very happy teaching the children of Kensington.  I feel more fortunate than one can imagine to teach in this wonderful town and teach in a school of consumate professionals who not only challenge and inspire me professionally, but also make me feel I am among family; a family that works, plays, and learns together.