Teacher Spotlight: Elementary II

Monday, January 28, 2019

Meet the Teachers of Elementary II: Walden

Nancy, Kelley, and Michelle


The Elementary II program at Bay Farm is a vibrant world of confident and eager learners. The students in Elementary II embrace larger issues and challenges, more abstract concepts, and greater responsibility than they have before. We feel very lucky to have Kelley, Michelle, and Nancy as our Elementary II teachers -- Read more about them below! 

Kelley Kasak-Collins: Lead Teacher of Walden

After spending her entire childhood as a math and science kid, Kelley decided to pursue a B.A. in Journalism and an M.A. in Political Science in college.  The first iteration of her career was as a public/community relations person in the sports and political realms.  After experiencing the wonder of the world through the eyes of her own young children, she was inspired to do more with young people. Kelley is Montessori certified at the 3-6 and 9-12 levels and has worked at two schools, though Bay Farm Montessori has been her home since moving to Massachusetts in 2003.  She enjoys spending her days teaching ELA and cultural studies to the best kiddos around, hoping to do her part in helping them continue on their journey of kindness, compassion, curiosity, knowledge, and happiness.

5 Fun Facts You May Not Know About Kelley:
1. Making kombucha, kayaking, playing tennis, photography, reading, going to the batting cages, and playing board games are some of her favorite ways to spend her free time. 
2. She knows all the words to the “Super Bowl Shuffle” by the Chicago Bears.
3. Her first job out of college was working for the Olympic volleyball team in San Diego.
4. More people born on her exact birthday have gone on to play in the major leagues than those who were born on any other day in history.
5. She is a first born, an Aries, and was born in the year of the rooster; her husband loves her anyway.

Kelley's Favorite Thing About Working at Bay Farm:
“One of the best parts of teaching at Bay Farm is having the opportunity to spend three years cultivating special relationships with my students and their families, allowing me to earn their love and trust, which enables them to feel comfortable taking emotional, social, and academic risks.  This, in turn, gives them opportunities to accomplish things they never thought possible.”  

Michelle O'Neill: Lead Teacher of Walden

This is Michelle's fifth year teaching upper elementary to middle school aged math and science. She earned her B.S. in Elementary Education (K-8) with a focus in Mathematics from University of Maine at Farmington. After substitute teaching Pre-K to 12th grade, Michelle began her career teaching in Brockton for the Talented and Gifted program as a middle school science teacher and found that she loved science instruction as well as math. She wanted to become highly qualified in both areas, so in the spring of 2017 she earned her Master's degree from Concordia University in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus in science education. She currently holds MA state licenses in Elementary (1-6), Math (5-8), Science (5-8), and has an SEI endorsement. 

5 Fun Facts You May Not Know About Michelle
1. She is one of four sisters, and has 11 close cousins who all live within 15 minutes of each other
2. She has a dog that she rescued this year named George "Nugget." He is a Basset/Jack Russell mix.
3. Michelle loves kayaking and hiking. She has a 3rd place whitewater kayaking slalom medal that she was awarded by an Olympian at a qualifying event. 
4. She LOVES to read!
5. She loves getting tea samples at the mall and has a LARGE collection of different teas that she likes to drink in the colder months.

Michelle's Favorite Thing About Working at Bay Farm:
“I have heard so many wonderful things about Bay Farm and I am looking forward to getting to know all of you this year!”

Nancy Kennedy: Assistant Teacher of Walden

Nancy was raised in Westport, Connecticut and summered in Salisbury Beach Massachusetts with her parents and two older brothers. She attended Roger Williams University where she received a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts, Dance and Theatre to be exact, with a minor in Psychology.  After college she worked in various child care services as well as The Long Wharf Marriott in Boston and lived in the North End. She moved to Duxbury with her husband who grew up here in 1994.  They moved in August to The Bay Farm Townhouses across the street from Munchin Montessori with its original owners Pam and Leo Malbeouf. There was a small sign out front saying that they needed help, and her career at Bay Farm started then! She worked for four years in the Children's House as an assistant before her first child was born.  After her second child entered first grade, she returned to Bay Farm where she has since worked in all levels of the school as an assistant except for the Middle School. Bay Farm has truly been her home away from home since moving here in summer of 1994.  

5 Fun Facts You May Not Know About Nancy: 
1. She had a 13 year old tabby cat named Fireball who she adored with all of her heart.
2. She attended several acting and commercial classes in NYC before moving to Boston in the '90's and has several headshots. 
3. Her older brother is an actor and television host that lives in California.
4. Her oldest brother is a world renowned interventionalist.
5. Her father was the President of Eight O'clock Coffee and she loves coffee!

Nancy's Favorite Thing About Working at Bay Farm:
“My favorite part about working at Bay Farm is the lovely community, teachers, students and families; it is truly an amazing place to be!”

A great way to learn more about our Elementary Program is to visit the classroom and see the students and teachers in action. If you would like to schedule a tour, please contact Britta Moran at BrittaM@bfarm.org