The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, September 28, 2001


New Carlisle teachers bring experience, range of interests and enthusiasm

Andrea Steffek
French and Spanish

Mrs. Steffek will be teaching eighth-grade French and sixth-grade Spanish in the Middle School. Her teaching career began in 1996 in Winchester, followed by two years at Brookline High School. After taking a year off to care for her new son, she taught French last year in Franklin, Massachusetts.

Mrs. Steffek considers Lexington, Massachusetts her hometown, although she was born in California and lived several years in Needham. She received her B.A. degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder and in 1997 received a master of arts in teaching from Tufts University.

On a more personal basis, Mrs. Steffek says her two-year-old son is the "light of my life." She lives in Sherborn with her husband who is an architect, working in Boston. When she has time, she enjoys gardening and traveling.

Alicia Funaro
Occupational therapist

Originally from Connecticut, Ms. Funaro has worked as a pediatric occupational therapist with children of all ages in both school and clinic settings. Prior to accepting the position at Carlisle, she worked for the Walker Home and School in Needham. She continues to work with children at the Judith Wisnia and Associates sensory integration clinic in Burlington. In Carlisle, Ms. Funaro is working with children in preschool through the second grade.

In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, bike riding, trying new restaurants, and spending time with friends and family. "I love living in Boston and taking advantage of all the city has to offer." She adds "I am very excited about my position with the Carlisle Public Schools and look forward to the upcoming school year."

Melissa Blechman
Special education, first grade

Ms. Blechman has worked in the Carlisle Public Schools for the past two and a half years in a variety of positions. She began as a permanent substitute teacher and later became a special education tutor in both second and sixth grades. "I am thrilled about this new job opportunity, and feel fortunate to be returning to this community."

For the past two years, Ms. Blechman has been working toward a M.Ed. in both elementary education and special education at Lesley University, and plans to complete her master's requirements this year.

Originally from Massachusetts, Ms. Blechman attended Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York, and since has lived in a variety of places. She tells us her favorite home away from home is Breckenridge, Colorado where she worked as a Montessori pre-school teacher and a counselor to adults with developmental disabilities and mental illness.

Along with skiing, field hockey is one of her passions and she was eagerto return to coaching the girls field hockey team this fall. "I am exited about this school year," she says. "I feel fortunate to continue working as a member of the Carlisle faculty in such a supportive school and community environment.

Candace Hyotte

Candy Hyotte considers Simsbury, Connecticut her hometown but has lived in Massachusetts with her husband and two children for several years. She has nine years experience teaching seventh and eighth grade math and is anticipating a challenging and enlightening first year in Carlisle, working with eighth graders.

Her son is a third-year law student and her daughter entered her freshman year in college this fall. While she enjoys traveling and reading, she tells us that skiing and tennis are her favorite activities. "I am an avid tennis fan and follow it very closely! What a strenuous mental game it is!"

Christine Denaro
Teacher assistant, grade 6 with Carolyn Platt

Mrs. Denaro,the former Christine Henry, who grew up in Carlisle and attended Carlisle Public Schools, writes that she is very excited to have the opportunity to work at the Carlisle schools. "I am very happy to be back and I am looking forward to a great year, not only as an assistant teacher, but also as a coach for the girls soccer and softball teams."

She received her bachelor's degree from Bentley College in marketing/management and has worked for the past 17 years for Converse, Inc. in various capacities in the international department. "This allowed me the opportunity to travel the world to work with our international partners," she says.

Currently Mrs. Denaro lives in Concord with her husband. They both enjoy golfing and bike-riding.

Rebecca Mis
Special education, kindergarten

Rebecca Mis is the new kindergarten special educator. Ms. Mis completed her undergraduate degree at Emerson College in Boston and earned her master's degree in special needs (Pre-K to 9) from Lesley University in Cambridge. Her most recent teaching experience was as a kindergarten special education teacher with the LABBB Collaborative through the Burlington Public School system. Earlier she worked as an instructional assistant in the Needham Public Schools and taught at the May Center for Neurorehabilitation in Randolph.

Ms. Mis is a native of Connecticut who has enjoyed living in the Boston area for the past eleven years. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, walking and taking yoga classes.

James Avery
Special education,

Mr. Avery lives in Lexington with his wife Kathleeen and daughters Carolyn and Brigid. His education includes a B.A. from Salem State College and M.Ed. from Fitchburg State College.

Mr. Avery has six and a half years' experience at the LABBB Collaborative, a program for students with mild, moderate and severe special needs.

Reading, working out and spending time with his family are his favorite activities.

Leanne Christmas
Speech-language pathologist

Ms. Christmas grew up in Winchester, Massachusetts and currently lives in Woburn. She will be working in the preschool, 5th, 7th and 8th grades as a speech-language pathologist.

Her education includes a B.S. degree from Syracuse University and a M.S. in communication sciences and disorders from Syracuse University. Previously she worked at the LABBB Collaborative Program in Lexington, Massachusetts, where her caseload consisted of students with severe developmental delays.

Ms. Christmas tells us, "I am excited to have the opportunity to grow professionally and gain experience with a different student population. I am enthusiastic about the upcoming school year and I look forward to getting to know many of the students and staff at Carlisle."

David Shriberg
K-2 school psychologist/counselor

Mr. Shriberg tells us that he is thrilled to be coming to Carlisle to work with grades pre-K through second grade. "I bring to this position my energy, enthusiasm and expertise towards making school the best possible experience for Carlisle's children, families and schools staff," he writes.

While his father was from Waltham and his mother from Lynn, he was raised primarily in Cincinnati, Ohio. He obtained a B.S. degree from Cornell University in Human Development and Family Studies, an M.S. from Northeastern University in school psychology and is currently working on a Ph.D. in school/counseling psychology at Northeastern. He is the co-author of a college text book on leadership (published this past summer), the president of a national organization of graduate students in school psychology and a school-based diversity trainer for the Anti-Defamation League.

On a personal note, Mr. Shriberg confides, "I recently got engaged to the love of my life and will be married during Spring, 2002. I look forward to getting immersed in the Carlisle community. Please contact me with any questions, ideas, concerns, etc. that you have. There's a great community energy here and I'm delighted to be part of it."

Biographical sketches of more new Carlisle teachers will appear in a future issue.

WELL-MET IN THE LIBRARY. Carlisle School staff members (left to right) Steve Bober Sandy Kelly and Carolyn Platt chat with children's librarian Marty Seneta (right) on a tour of the Gleason Public Library. (Photo by Rik Pierce)

2001 The Carlisle Mosquito