John A. Bishop School

After School Programs: Bright Start at the Bishop School

Teachers & Staff at Bright Start

New Staff
Noel Li comes to Bright Start as a lover of music, life-long learning, and children! She has been actively involved in childrenís music education for many years, including conducting childrenís choirs and string ensembles, teaching group music classes, teaching private music lessons (piano, violin, viola, and flute), and leading summer music programs. Aside from music, Noel has also taught math and chemistry.
Noel has a bachelor's degree in music education from the Wheaton Conservatory of Music and master of science degree in Learning Sciences & Technologies from the University of Pennsylvania, where she researched the intersection of music education and technology.
In her spare time, she loves to explore in the kitchen by cooking with dutch ovens and pressure cookers; other hobbies of hers include calligraphy, pyrography, DSLR photography, listening to and analyzing musicals, and tinkering with educational technology.
It is with great enthusiasm that Noel comes to Bright Start!

Kara Fisher started working as a Bright Start teacher last January. Before coming to Bright Start she was an elementary school teacher in Texas. She is now a graduate student in the Boston Collegeís, Educational Leadership program. In her past, she was a very active member and leader in the program called Destination Imagination (DI). It is a creative problem solving competition for teams of students. She is introducing this program to 4th and 5th graders at Bright Start this year. We are delighted that she is able to offer this exciting opportunity.

Judy Roeder is a special friend of mine, who is retired and looking to stay active. She loves playing with children and has two beautiful grandsons of her own. Her background includes working in elementary schools and also in special education in her early careers. Her last position was as a clinical psychotherapist in the Boston area.

Returning Staff

Dana Saulnier is an illustrator of food, animals, robots, and all kinds of fun things. She earned her BFA from Syracuse University. She believes that art provides a fantastic outlet for any child; it ignites a sense of wonder, encourages questions, and inspires learning more about the world around us. Elementary school is Danaís favorite age to work with and she looks forward to sharing her love of color, drawing, and creating with the students.

Phillip Grannan has a strong passion for music that he wishes to share with all. He has been teaching private lessons on a variety of instruments and was a counselor at a summer community music program (where he completed his undergraduate degree in 2012) for the past few years. This past spring he completed two Masters of Arts at Longy School of Music of Bard College: one in Composition and the other in Modern American Music Guitar Performance. He is ecstatic to be joining the Bright Start team!

Anne Hess-Mahan has been teaching for over 20 years! She has spent the last 15 years teaching 5th grade at Bishop School. Previously she worked in social work before she obtained her Masters in Education from UMass Boston. Anne enjoys teaching all ages. She looks forward to teaching Science and yoga!

Spencer Curry is brand new at Bright Start and could not be more excited to plunge into the world of sports and theater. He received his bachelorís and masterís at Clark University. He is a longtime actor/writer for the Contemporary Theater Company of Rhode Island, and performs improv comedy regularly around the Boston area. While maybe a star of the stage, he has always been more of a role player of the field, with lengthy careers in basketball, football, baseball, racquetball, and any other excuse he can find to run around. Spencer looks forward to nurturing brilliant displays of creativity and riveting moments of athleticism. And a lot of fun.

Ellen Solari believes that creativity is not something one is born with--but flourishes by doing. She is looking forward to helping the students at Bright Start explore different art techniques and materials such as sculpture, collage, fibers and painting/drawing. Ellen has a studio in Waltham where she makes sculptural baskets. She is a graduate of Massachusetts College of Art and completed her art education coursework at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Lyndsay McCaffery has been working with children of all ages for over fifteen years. She worked for the Belmont Public Schools as an aide and a substitute and for the Belmont Recreation Department as a director of their Pre-Teen summer program. She graduated from Plymouth State University with a bachelor's degree in Musical Theatre Performance and from Emerson College with a master's degree in Theatre Education. Lyndsay is a trained singer and actor and loves to share her passions with her students. Through her lessons, Lyndsay hopes to use drama as a way to build confidence, promote creativity and work together as a team. She also enjoys writing, sports, and spending time with her son.

Helen Weeks is a proud alumna of Bishop School, and Bright Start. She attended the program back in 1994, when it was still at Andrea's house! Since then she has attended Pitzer College in Claremont, CA and graduated with a BA in Environmental Studies. She is currently a student at Lesley University, working towards her MS in Ecological Teaching & Learning. She is very excited to be back with the Bishop Bears, and will be teaching Environmental Science topics. She especially enjoys teaching Art & Nature, and spending time outside.

Gwen Davidson is in her sixth year at Bright Start. Gwen grew up in Arlington and attended Bishop School and her two college graduate children attended Bright Start when it was in Andreaís home! Gwen has a masterís in elementary education from Tufts University. She is pleased to now have this opportunity to be working at Bright Start, in the field which she originally intended to pursue. Prior to working at Bright Start, she worked as the office manager in her familyís automobile dealership. Her primary Bright Start job is as Administrative Manager of everything! You will also find Gwen helping with homework, cooking with Ann Marie, and teaching board games. Gwen hopes to also bring her interest in art history and her love of reading to children at Bright Start.

Ann Marie Cook has been teaching for 22 years and this is her eighth year at Bright Start. In the past, she created an afterschool enrichment program focusing on children's literature and cooking. Due to popular demand, "Mrs. Cook the cook" offered the class for 13 years through Belmont school systems. Aside from cooking with children, she is very fond of science. As a mother of five (Amy is one of her three daughters), Ann Marie is excited to bring her unique curriculum to Bright Start. Ann Marie is a Wheelock alumna.

Trevor Busfield is an extraordinary athlete who has directed childrenís sports. This is his fifth year at Bright Start. He is managing both invigorating organized outdoor and gym games and teaching life skills and educational games in his curriculum. He has introduced concepts of money, brain-teasers, and sports, and media to the children. Additionally he has used his creative and intuitive drama skills to write skits for the end of year Variety Show. He has studied business and hopes to get his teaching degree.

Jean Rosenberg has been teaching in the Bright Start Afterschool program since 2004. Jean enjoys sharing natural history topics, including nature-theme games, seasonal activities, stories, and books that focus on trees and plants, animals and animal adaptations, Native Americans, weather, and art and nature activities. She has taught elementary students for over 20 years, and from 1997-2004 Jean taught in the Arlington Elementary Academic Challenge and Enrichment Program for grades 4, 5, and 6. She has a B.A. in Anthropology and has a long association with the MassAudubon Habitat Education and Wildlife Sanctuary in Belmont, MA.

Nicole Tolbert has been working with children for nineteen years and with Bright Start since 2002. She received her Associates in Science Degree in Human Services from Bunker Hill Community College. While at Bunker Hill Nicole she did an internship at the Thompson School in Arlington where she helped with the homework club. She has also worked at Day Care Centers in the area. Nicole will be responsible for monitoring the children doing their homework on Tuesdays and Thursdays. She will also assist teachers in various activities.

Jennifer Howard helps us remotely as our technology/account management consultant. We are taking advantage of her Bentley U. major in Information Technology. Jennifer has been instrumental in getting the ProCare System in place and has navigated the many data management requirements for making this work efficiently and effectively for Bright Start. When you receive emails from Bright Start Tech, she is the behind-the-scenes person answering your questions.

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