Our Innovative Faculty

Our Innovative Faculty

At MHS teachers are skilled and wise role models who help each girl excel. They know the cadence of a girl’s prose, why she thinks Harper Lee is the best author who ever lived, and how she sees a math equation as a mystery waiting to be unraveled. They know that she can explain the physics of a bouncing basketball and how, if she pushes herself just a bit further, her ceramics project can go from good to great. After all, it’s not about where she is, but where she’s headed, that really matters.
With an average class size of 10 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 6-to-1, MHS students have all the attention they need to discover new strengths—and interests they didn’t know they had. Our creative teachers engage with girls and inspire them to step out of their comfort zones and into exploring what’s possible. Our students learn from teachers who know them well (they’re also your advisors, coaches, and weekend chaperones, after all) and who are eager to see them achieve.

Professional Development

The MHS faculty and staff, supported in part by the Dr. Mary H. Grant Faculty Research and Professional Development Fund, regularly seek opportunities to build their skills on behalf of the School and its students. A sampling of recent professional development by MHS faculty and staff:

  • Director of Library Services Vicky Biancolo traveled to Iceland, Ireland, England, and Scotland to visit five UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Cities of Literature, researching what those cities have done to promote cultures of reading.*
  • Director of Athletics Brad Horth attended “Directing the Athletic and PE Programs,” facilitated by Independent School Management (ISM), in Wilmington, Delaware.
  • Science Teacher Donna Daigle and Math Teacher and Academic Support Specialist Fredi Hungate attended the 5th Annual UVA Innovation in Pedagogy Summit at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, Virginia.
  • History Department Chair and Leonhardt Family Teaching Chair Matthew Rutledge P’08, P’11 and English Teacher Richard Scullin attended the Design Consortium Workshop at Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
  • Studio Art Teacher Ellie Spangler visited the Costume and Textile Collection at Cornell University.
  • Registrar Linda Coll attended the ACCIS College Office Assistants annual meeting, facilitated by the Associations of College Counselors in Independent Schools (ACCIS), in Northampton, Massachusetts.
  • Science Teacher Jennifer LaForest attended the “Deeper Learning 2017” conference at High Tech High, in San Diego, California.
  • History Teacher Michael Alexander, Ph.D. visited The Madeira School, in McLean, Virginia, as part of the MHS Task Force for Schedule, Calendar, and Curriculum (TASC) investigation into redesigning the MHS academic calendar.
  • English Teacher Emily Pulfer-Terino ’97 attended the 2017 AWP Conference & Bookfair sponsored by the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, in Washington, D.C.
  • Horizons Teachers and co-Coordinators of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Akilah Edgerton ’00 and Kim Boland ’94 attended the NAIS People of Color Conference, sponsored by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Spanish Teacher and Global Programs Liaison Josephine Nicholson P’21 and French Teacher Aurelie Cressin attended the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) 2016 Annual Convention and World Languages Expo in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • History Teacher Michael Alexander, Ph.D.; History Teacher, Academic Support Specialist, and Academic Coordinator in Support of the Deans Liza Burbank, Ph.D.; and Director of the Melissa A. Leonhardt ’76 Academic Skills Center Vaunie Graulty attended the “Learning and the Brain” Fall Conference” in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • History Department Chair and Leonhardt Family Teaching Chair Matthew Rutledge P’08, P’11 attended “Best Practices in Teaching U.S. History,” at St. Mark’s School, in Southborough, Massachusetts.
  • Language Department Chair Sarah Nix, Ph.D., French Teacher Aurelie Cressin, Chinese Language Teacher Tanya Kalischer, Spanish Teacher and Global Programs Liaison Josephine Nicholson P’21, English as a Second Language Teacher Marian Rutledge, and Spanish Teacher Ana Cristina Velez attended “Developing Authentic Lessons that Encourage and Support Student Engagement,” sponsored by the Berkshire Organization of Language Teachers (BOLT) Professional Development, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
  • Science Teacher Lee Blackmer attended the “Using TI Technology in Math, Science and STEAM” workshop, sponsored by Texas Instruments, in Worcester, Massachusetts.
  • Science Department Chair Ed Eckel and Science Teacher Jennifer LaForest attended the Vernier Data Collection Workshop, sponsored by Vernier Software and Technology, in Boston, Massachusetts.

*Funded by The Paternotte Family Faculty Travel and Study Endowment Fund

MHS Faculty as a Resource

MHS faculty and staff regularly present at conferences and workshops nationwide, sharing their expertise and insights on girls’ education, including classroom pedagogy, experiential education, and student life in a college preparatory school. Among the recent presentations:

  • Director of Theater and Dance Jennifer Jordan presented “Physical Storytelling Using Mime,” at the New England Theatre Conference (NETC) annual conference in Cromwell, Connecticut.
  • Dean of Students Christie Higuera and Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life Mary Bazanchuk presented “Activating Student Personal Teams to Promote Retention” at the 2017 TABS/NAIS Global Symposium sponsored by The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) and the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), in Miami, Florida.
  • Phoebe Goodhue Milliken ’37 English Department Chair Rebecca Cook-Dubin, Science Teacher Donna Daigle, and English Teacher Monica Kirschmann presented “Grading for Growth: Strategies for Creating Mission-Based Assessment Practices” at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Director of Horizons Alison Basdekis, MHS Trustee and Alumnae Council President Katie Grace Deane '05, Manager of Alumnae Relations
and Advancement Partnerships Lynelle Weaver, and Director of Development and Alumnae Relations Diane Wortis presented "Building a Culture of Philanthropy” at the 2017 NCGS/NYSAIS Educating Girls Symposium, sponsored by the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools and the New York State Association of Independent Schools, in New York, N.Y.
  • MHS Trustee and Former MHS Alumnae Council President Becca Hajjar ’89, Trustee and Development Committee Chair Charles Platt P’04, Manager of Alumnae Relations
and Advancement Partnerships Lynelle Weaver, and Director of Development and Alumnae Relations Diane Wortis presented “Go Far, Go Together: Trustees, Alumnae Council, and Staff Partnering on a Successful Campaign” at the 2017 CASE/NAIS Independent Schools Conference, sponsored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), in Austin, Texas. 

492 Holmes Road • Pittsfield, MA 01201  (413) 443-6401

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Located in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, Miss Hall's School is an all girls private, college preparatory boarding and day high school for grades 9-12.
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