Where Children Come First

Welcome Back!!

The purpose of this newsletter is to highlight some of the wonderful people, places and events we get to witness every day in our schools.

Let's begin with the staff who has worked so hard to get the schools ready to open! These are the secretaries and assistants who handle your calls and field your questions.These are the faces of the voices you hear on the phones, the ladies who send you emails and fill the polys and so very much more!

We also appreciate all of the custodians, buildings and grounds keepers, Norm the electrician and the folks from the CCC Company who clean our buildings every night!! (We just didn't have photos! Maybe next issue.)

Amesbury High School Guidance Office

And finally, the woman who keeps it together for Guidance Counselors and students, Gwen Foley, Secretary to the Guidance Office.
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The Central Office

Tucked in the back of the High School is the Central Office Staff:

Bottom Row, Daniel Grayton, Asst. to Superintendent, Sarah St. John, Accounts Payable/Receivable Coordinator, Joan Liporto, Director of Finance and Operations, and Superintendent Elizabeth McAndrews

Back Row: Wanda Ouellet and Julie Hartshorn Student Services Assistants, Dr. Lynn Catarius Director of Student Services, Matt Bennett, Director of Building & Grounds, Lyn Jacques Director of Teaching, Learning & Equity, Candace MacLean Payroll and Carol Bartlett, Secretary

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And we can't forget the nurses!

Nicole Quadros - AES, Jody Omohundro - AMS, Alyssa Zarillo Nursing Assistant, Liz Shorter - AHS and Kristn Tierney, Nurse Leader at AIHS (Missing is Carol Greene at CES.) This group was so critical to the well being of everyone in their buildings during COVID. Great group of smart, caring women.
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New Teacher Induction Program

This year we hired over 25 new teachers to the Amesbury Public Schools. As part of the licensing process through the Department of Education, new teachers are required to have 60 hours of training with a mentor. This is where Amy Mitchell Cashman Teacher and the Coordinator of the New Teacher Induction Program works her magic. She must keep track and contact all of these teachers, then select people she thinks would be a perfect fit as their mentor.

(Some of these folks have already had this program but we still like to have them have a mentor so if there are any Amesbury questions, they have a "go-to" person in their school.)

The program began with two days of workshops and a final day to go see and set up their classrooms with their mentors.

New teachers and their mentors began their day with a lovely brunch put on by AHS Family & Consumer Science Teacher (and soon to be retired) Maggie Furlong. Folks were then welcomed by Superintendent McAndrews, Mayor Gove stopped by, AEFI President Bill Messner presented the new teachers with big goodie bags from AEFI full of supplies they might need throughout their year. They received gift certificates from Flatbreads and were treated to Cider Hill donuts!

Teachers then retired to the AHS Library where they met and sat with their mentors, got an overall lesson of how things work here. i.e. payroll, benefits, evaluations and who to go to for what. Cindy Yetman, President of the AFT union chatted with them about the union and how that all works.

Following all that information, "newbies" needed a break so they had a bus tour around Amesbury to learn about its history, see the sights and landmarks. Retired teacher Paul Jancewicz conducted the tour and received a standing ovation at the end. The end of the trip also made a stop at one of Amesbury's most famous places: Hodgies!!

The next day (they all came back) and had technology training (thanks to the amazing and newly-returned-to-Amesbury Kathy Fowler who WAS here, left us but she's back as the technology teacher at Cashman.) As we all know too well, learning the different programs is so critical to a teacher's day-to-day functioning and Kathy did a wonderful job of breaking it all down.

We believe "You only get one chance to make a first impression!"

First Day Warm Up Exercises! New Teachers and their Mentors

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Mandatory Annual New Teachers and Mentors Stand-by-the-Bus Photo--quite a large group!!
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Meet Some of the New Teachers - Learn a Fun Fact or Two About Them (Apparently this is the "Year of Ashleys")

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Nichole Acosta & Michael Berard

Nicole and Michael are fellows from Salem State

Nicole is at AES and is working with Mrs. Kimball and she has two cats.

Michael is at AMS Teaching 5th Grade Math and he LOVES teaching and he can juggle!!!

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Jon Boles and Ameilia Olsen

These are the new AMS Art Teachers

They are really excited to be in school with all the AMS student and to create art together!

Finally, Amy Mitchell Who Keeps the New Teacher Program Running So Smoothly

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This is Amy's second year doing the NewTeacher Induction Program. She had to organize this in the summer while she was getting her children ready to go to college, amid a COVID outbreak at home, getting ready to go back to school herself and organizing professional development for the entire staff on their first day back. The term"Wonder Woman" seems to fit here!! Thank you Amy!

Substitute Teacher Training

Now that COVID has abated somewhat, we decided we should have a training for our wonderful substitutes to give them as much information as we could to make the policies and procedures of their day-to-day work clearer. We have had so many new subs in the past year that we were delighted when 30 of them showed up on a hot summer's day.

They had a overview of the new substitute handbook by Superintendent McAndrews, Lyn Jacques and the building principals. At the end of the session they had their photos taken for IDs by Geskus Studios...all-in-all it was a very productive hour. Thank you to all of those subs who came.

If you are interested in subbing, email

Dr. Ricci is pictured here going over the Substitute Handbook
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Teachers Work in the Summertime!

This group got together to work on "tweeking" the elementary report cards. AMS Karen Brannelly, CES Kate Gilbert, AES & CES Lisa Dupere, CES Lauri McAllister, CES Joanna Dodier, AES Susan Gonthier, AES Meaghan Elliot, AES Alli Tanzella and AES Kathy Armstrong. Thank you Ladies! Important job and they got a lot accomplished!
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Interventionists and Coaches

Left to right: India Kolman - Math Interventionist, Lauren Egan, Title I, Julie O'Neill - Literacy Interventionist - EL Support, LIsa Dupere, Literacy Interventionist, Adrienne Merrill, Salem State Fellow, Allison Waterman - Title 1 Reading Assistant, Holly Cole, MTSS/Dyslexia Specialist, Beth Cavalier - Math Interventionist

What do Interventionists and Coaches do?

We are so excited to introduce you to an outstanding group of educators serving as curriculum coaches and interventionists this school year. The reading and math interventionists will be working directly with students to provide tiered instruction designed specifically to close the opportunity and achievement gaps for identified students. Content coaches remain focused on providing guidance and resources to teachers as they implement core curriculum and will continue to support the use of effective instructional strategies to meet the needs of all of our students.
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Having Trouble Getting Out in the Morning? Imagine being a Principal with Three Little Children!

Interview with Dr. Danielle Ricci, AHS Principal

Please tell us about your family.

My husband Ryan and I have been married for almost 8 years - together for about 15. He also works for the City of Amesbury in the water department and he coaches baseball at Haverhill High. We met in a slow pitch softball league! We have three daughters - Abigail (6), Grace (4) and Emilia (almost 2!). We recently had to put down our 10 year old golden retriever, Harper, who was our first baby!

Does being a principal with small children have its own set of challenges?

Of course! My job is to listen and respond to people's needs all day, then I come home and need to continue to do that for my children - which can be incredibly draining at times. I've struggled with work-life balance and "mom guilt" balance since becoming a mother, but more recently, I've reframed my thinking. Instead of trying to create balance, I'm focused on creating better boundaries - keeping my computer off in the evening, saying no when possible, committing to self-care, attending regular therapy, etc

As challenging as being a principal with littles can be, it has its benefits, too. I'm trying to be a good role model for the young women in our school by leading from a place of authenticity. There are three posters in my office with the definitions of the words, "gratitude," "empathy," and "grace." Being a young mother helps me to lead with these values at the forefront of what I do. This is also a community that's incredibly supportive of family, so I'm grateful for that!

Tell us about the “getting-out” morning routine in the Ricci household.

Ha! We do a lot in the evenings to make the mornings easier - backpacks are laid out, lunches are packed, clothes are picked out, etc. My husband and I try to wake up a little earlier than the girls so that we can get ourselves ready before taking on the task of getting them ready. I'm lucky to have a wonderful childcare center where I drop off Grace and Emmy, then Abby joins me at AHS until the bus grabs her and some of the other elementary kids of teachers to head to their schools. Some mornings it's seamless. Many other mornings it's full of screaming.

And what is the picking up your girls and “getting home” experience for everyone?

Getting home is usually the hardest. Little ones tend to keep their emotions in during the day, then let them all come out once they're in the safety of home. The reality is that all of our tanks are pretty empty by the time we get home. When the weather allows, we get outside while we can before dinner, then we always try to sit and have dinner as a family. I know that will get harder as the girls get more involved in activities, but I really value that time together.

How have your children adjusted to your new role?

I think the transition has been fairly seamless for them. They love being a part of the AHS culture - whether it's coming to performances or games or just hanging around the school. The school community knows them and always treats them so kindly. I have an incredibly supportive husband who balances the load with me, and I've taken on the role of an administrator under an incredibly supportive leader - Elizabeth. I had a five month old when she first offered me the assistant principal job, and I said, "You know I want more children, right?" She said, "Yes. You know that doesn't change that I want you in this role, right?" I wouldn't have transitioned into administration as young as I did without Elizabeth and Glen's support.

When your children play, do they ever assume the role of educator?

Yes! Especially during quarantine, we played a lot of school. We also had a lot of "calls" and important "meetings." I've been told on several occasions, "Please be quiet, mama. I'm on a work call!" when they're playing.

The best advice you could give to a new mom or dad when he/she comes back to work after having a baby?

Lean into any supports that are offered to you. Say yes to help. For so long, I said no when help was offered for fear of putting other people out. If people are offering to help, let them. I also think it's important to share how you're feeling. I struggled with some postpartum anxiety after my second child and was lucky to have supports in place, but it can be incredibly challenging in those early months. I remember nights where I was up every hour nursing a three month old, then sitting in the parking lot at work in tears trying to pull it together. I'm trying to give grace and support to the young parents on my staff as much as possible. Here's a blog post I wrote after returning from maternity leave.

What do you do when you can just relax or do you ever?

Every week, I dip in the ocean - year-round! There are tons of physical and mental benefits to cold water exposure (research Wim Hof!). I have a community of women I go with, and it's been a great form of self-care for me. I love reading (mostly audiobooks and podcasts these days), writing, and being outside in general. My family also bought a camper last summer, so I'm looking forward to getting it back on the road! (Taking suggestions for campgrounds!)

If you had a dream to do one thing to make it easier for families with small children, what would it be?

There is so much our country needs to do to support working parents. Our parental leave is abysmal compared to many other countries around the world and our childcare system is incredibly under-supported. Those are big scale problems that I have little control over, so where I do have control, I am normalizing the needs of the working parents in my building - whether that means their kid needs to catch the bus here at AHS or whether they need to leave to pick up a sick child. Family first. I also plan to resurface my district daycare proposal that I worked on several years ago. We have so many young staff members that would benefit from care and high school students who could benefit from the experience of being a part of an early childhood class/program - it's a win/win!

Thank you Dr. Ricci!!


Sometimes teachers ask their students this question. Let's turn the tables on the staff!

Probaby the most productive venture this summer was by AES Para Dawn Pelletier and her husband Stephen.

Read about how Ms. Pelletier got into the bicycle recyling business:

"The idea came to me when one of my students stated she didn’t have a bike ..after seeing people throw out bikes for garbage my husband and I decided we would collect bikes that people are throwing out/or cleaning out their basement.. my husband who is an avid cyclist is extremely knowledgeable about building up bikes…so the premise is, we pick up the bikes and Stephen fixes the brakes, shines them up, fixes tires (checks air, pressure), re-cabling, he gets them ready to ride…we deliver the bikes or the families come to our house and we make sure the bike is the correct size..we have given a couple of bikes away to adults who need bikes to get to their jobs..we have given 5 bikes to a family from Afghanistan, and a couple of bikes to a Ukrainian family…

It’s been a fun and rewarding family project..our daughter was involved too scouting out bikes and helping us deliver bikes to families…To date, they have given out 30 bikes!

All bikes are free…we don’t accept any $.. this is something we just wanted to offer our community. If you are interested you can read about it on Facebook: "Free Wheels!"

Thank you to the Pelletier Family!!

One of the least productive summer experiences..but a very interesting story.

Ryan Jackson Goes Surfing in Mexico

Mr. Ryan Jackson, AHS Art Teacher went to Mexico this summer. He had a lovely time surfing until a wave hit, he flew off of his board, up in the air and did a split and dislocated his leg. As he struggled to stay afloat, his friends realized he was in trouble and pulled him out of the water, dragged him onto the beach and took a 5-hour ride to the nearest hospital. It then required a day's stay to stabilize his leg so he could fly home. After surgery in Boston which involved pins to hold it together, weeks on crutches, on to a brace but he is now on the mend.

This is exactly why we tell children not to swim without a buddy!!

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He is Upright!!

Not sure if he will ever go surfing again, but we bet....

And miscellaneous landmarks and events for our other staff!

Jack has a new puppy

Jack Thibodeau son of Amanda & Adam Thibodeau is walking his brand new puppy!! Jack's parents are teachers in AHS. This is quite a handful, but seems like he has everything under control!
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Mr. Johnston & Ms. MacCall

AHS teachers Kevin Johnston (Phys. Ed) and Kaitlin MacCall (French) also became engaged over the summer. So happy for all of these folks!
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Mrs. Bailin Takes a Leap

Probably the most exciting adventure during the summer was experienced by AHS Biology Teacher, Lauretta Bailin who celebrated her son, AHS student Andre Bailin's 18th birthday by jumping from an airplane. Not sure if there was a cake involved afterwards, but it looks awesome!!
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Mother Daughter AES Twin Day

Mrs. Stuart and her daughter Ellis (left) and Mrs. Tanzella and her daughter Maeve all donned their AES sweatshirts on the first chilly Friday. They look cozy don't they?

AES is coming out with a different version this year which will be the last sweatshirt for the Amesbury Elementary School.

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Meet Caroline!!! It's her first birthday!

Caroline is the daughter of new AHS Special Ed.Teacher Christina Lynch and her wife Erika!! Welcome to the APS Family Caroline! You are just adorable!! As Pooh says, "No one can be unhappy if they have a balloon!"
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Adorable Ms. Quinn Butler

Quinn Austin Butler, Born on June 27th to Megan Butler AMS 5th Grade Math Teacher and her husband. Reports are, big sister, Harper, is obsessed with her! Congratulations!!!

The Tanzellas Recreate Abbey Road

The Tanzella Family who all go to the Amesbury Elementary are taking their last, first-day walk to school (The Beatles Abbey Road may have been the inspiration) Maeve, Mikey, Alli and Mike. Next year they will be at the brand new school!
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The Staff of Amesbury Innovation High School Holds a Fundraiser

Flatbreads Pizza is always so generous to the Amesbury Schools and we are very grateful for all of their continued support! Thank you Shannon Hamilton and Erika Mott-Greaney!

The staff of Amesbury Innovation H.S. had a fundraiser before school started and money raised goes toward field trips and things not provided by the regular budget, sort of like a PTO. Great turnout by the staff and students.

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And Speaking of Service Organizations....


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Rotary and Pettengill Are Always there to help our schools!!

The Rotary Organization teams up with Pettengill House to fill backpacks with school supplies before school starts (i.e. paper, notebooks, pens, etc.) for students who may need them!

This is the group that got together on a sweltering summer evening to sort and assemble the backpacks. "Service Above Self" is the Rotary's motto! Always giving to our schools! THANK YOU everyone!! And thank you to Pettengill for all they do for our children!

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The Boosters Spiritwear Store is Open!

The Amesbury Boosters is a group of parents that support our High School athletic teams. They have a website where you can purchase Amesbury items like this great tote bag for a $10. They have told us there will be more items added shortly, but if you are interested in what they have, you can check it out at
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Scenes from Back to School For Teachers.

We would like to take a look at the events that happened when teachers came back to school.

Lots and Lots of Staff

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AEFI presents the Stephen J. Gerber "Stroke of Genius Award"

At the beginning of each school year the Amesbury Educational Foundation, Inc. honors the efforts of a teacher, or a group of staff who go over and above! This year Ms. Sarah Luz, the teacher of the Post Graduate students at Amesbury High School was honored (of course she gave credit to her amazing staff) with the Dr. Stephen J. Gerber Stroke of Genius Award. The award comes with a plaque, and $500 prize to be used for their projects! Congratulations!!

AWARD Winners

Ms. Luz and her Team

Kristen Nelson, Dan, Jason, Alexis, Michelle Griffin, and Ms Luz all proudly displaying the plaque and the trophy.

Background: This "trophy" is a replica of weather vane which was saved from an old, old Amesbury Building when it was demolished. The actual weather vane is in a glass case at the High School by the Hall of Honor.

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And Speaking of this Group!

They are back in business with 2 Cricet machines they got through a grant from AEFI and they are creating sweatshirts, baking muffins and making money! Great group of entrepreneurs!!

If you'd like to help out AEFI....

This is a wonderful fundraiser where the Foundation gives out lots of grants to our teachers. Molise and friends and fun!! What could be better? They'd love to have you!
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And they are back to Math on the River with Teacher, Jessica Regis

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Before we close, let's take a look back at the end of last year

The Class of 2022

This is the board outside AHS Guidance office which shows where everyone is going after graduation

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High School wasn't the only ones celebrating!

CES Fourth Grade honors two of its best and brightest with the Peter B. Hoyt Award. Here Mr. Hoyt (former CES principal) presents plaques at the 4th grade graduation ceremony. These students are selected by their 4th grade teachers. It is a very big honor!!

And Finally--the AES Class who graduated from the 4th Grade in 2022:

All of these students are now in 5th Grade
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We also had some staff who retired this year, so School Committee held a reception in their honor

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Susan Olsen, Chuck Glaubitz, Brian Smith, Joy Berube, Kathy Morrill, Deb and Paul Jancewicz. Also retiring but not pictured:Thad Ackerman, Pauline Fitzgerald, Marybeth Exner, Leslie Barnaby and Christina Routhier

This Year's School Committee

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Peter Hoyt, Maryann Welch, Abigail Jurist Levy, Mel Webster, Kate Currie, Mayor Gove and Gaye Smith

Would you like to weigh in on the new Mascot? Please see below:

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And Finally...A blast from the past--treasures come in the least expected places!

There was a call to the superintendent's office during the summer and a woman said she was renovating her home, took down a wall and found a pin in the rubble. It was an Amesbury High School pin from 1929 and she asked if we wanted it!! Of COURSE!!! We cleaned it up and it looked remarkable!! It's on a vintage cheerleader's uniform in the window at the AHS Central Office. Come on Red & White!!!

The AHS Rally is about to start and the cheerleaders are excited to do their first cheer!

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The Jordan Shay Elementary School is coming along beautifully!

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We need Paraprofessionals in our schools. If you are interested, you can apply on the website School Spring.

Some other positions you may be interested below:

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In case you misplaced your 2022-2023 calendar...

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Please "like" Amesbury Public Schools on Facebook and....

We hope you enjoyed this edition, if you have any comments or suggestions, please email THANK YOU!