Martina Albright | Director
I received my Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Harvard College and my Masters and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from New York University. I am EEC Director II certified. After many years as a consulting psychologist to Apple Orchard, I assumed the Director role in 2015. Before joining Apple Orchard full time, I worked at Massachusetts General Hospital in child psychiatry. I began to shift my focus to early education and how to build foundational skills at this early age as a key way to foster healthy, happy lives. All three of my children attended Apple Orchard so I know the school as a parent, as well as an administrator. The natural environment and play are the best educational backdrop for skill development in early educational experiences. I live with my husband and three children and enjoy playing ice hockey, tennis, skiing and making raspberry jam with my family.
Diana (Dee) Bunstein | Business Director
I have a Bachelor of Arts in Young Children with Special Needs from Fitchburg State College. I also have a Masters in Early Intervention from Wheelock College. Before joining Apple Orchard in 2002, I spent 12 years directing child daycare programs. I wear several hats at Apple Orchard. I am an administrative assistant, Early Education & Care (EEC) Licensing Coordinator, and have been a Class III Teaching Assistant. I wake up each day looking forward to going to work. I live with my husband, two boys, both Apple Orchard alums, and our rescue dogs. We spend time with extended family, exploring outdoors, walking, swimming, and hiking. One of our favorite family places to visit is Martha’s Vineyard.
Sherry Landry | Classroom Director
I hold a Bachelor of Science in Education from Tufts University. I began as a Sandwich Club teacher in 1984, and then in 1986 became a Class I Lead Teacher. In 2006, I assumed my current role as Classroom Director and have oversight over all age levels as well as Sandwich Club. I feel like Apple Orchard is a second home; it is a magical place and it is a joy to expose children to nature in such a unique environment. I feel a deep responsibility to provide the best possible educational foundation for all the students. Both of my children attended Apple Orchard and return as often as they can. I live with my husband and enjoy taking long walks with my dog, knitting, and sewing.
Diana Walcott | Admissions and Development Director
I hold a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Denison University and an EEC Teacher Certification. Upon graduating from college, I knew I wanted to work with children so I began working at The Park School, both as an intern in the Pre-Kindergarten, as well as in Admissions. In 1993, I was hired at Apple Orchard to assist in Class I and to lead Sandwich Club. I always wanted to work in admissions and development and in 1994 the opportunity arose. In my free time I love reading, watching movies, and walking on the beach.
Chicken Coop Teachers (2.9-year-olds)
Laurie DePinho | Lead Teacher
I am Director II Certified as well as Lead Teacher Certified for 0-8 years of age. At Apple Orchard since 1989, I was part of the original team that designed a program for our youngest students in the Chicken Coop (2.9-3.5 years). I am a natural nurturer of children and their parents as they embark on this earliest stage of learning in a school setting. I work especially well with this age group because I am intuitive to their needs and believe my extensive experience has provided me with unparalleled expertise in these early developmental years. I love mud, worms and every sensory experience that the farm offers. When not at Apple Orchard, I enjoy time with my family in New Hampshire.
Lily O’Day | Assistant Teacher
Since moving to the United States from Mexico in 2005 as an au pair, I have had the opportunity to work with children of various ages, backgrounds, languages, and beliefs. This 13+ years of hands-on experience as an au pair, nanny, and teacher (most recently as an Assistant Kindergarten Teacher at The Learning Project in Back Bay) has been a good complement to my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Northeastern University. Having admired its outdoor culture for several years, I am so excited to be joining The Apple Orchard School. I look forward to joining a team so committed and passionate about helping develop our children into the leaders of tomorrow. Outside of teaching, I spend most of my time with my husband and two children (Otis and Olive). We love to constantly explore outdoors. Currently, the thing my children like to do most is look for turtles and frogs at Lars Anderson Park.
Class I Teachers (3-year-olds)
Heather Cedrone | Lead Teacher
I graduated from Lesley University with a Bachelor of Arts in Education and a minor in Reading. I also have a Masters in Eduction in Curriculum and Instruction from Lesley. I hold EEC Director I & II Certification and am trained in Sheltered English Immersion and Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking Assessment. With an interest in toddlers I co-wrote a manual on potty training. I began teaching at Apple Orchard in 2000. I am an energetic teacher and I love working with children. I have two children of my own who have both experienced the wonder and joys of Apple Orchard. I enjoy exploring nature with my family, baking, hiking, campfires, walking beaches, and eating dark chocolate.
Jeannine Bissonette | Assistant Teacher
In hopes of pursuing my passion for working with children, after graduating from the University of Vermont with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a minor in Special Education, I moved to Brookline. In rural Vermont, I have worked both as a camp counselor for children who are blind and as a Physical Education teacher. I am passionate about supporting young children as they develop socially, emotionally, intellectually, and physically. Apple Orchard is the perfect place for me to continue to spark curiosity and a love of exploration in my students. I am so delighted to be a part of the Apple Orchard team! In my free time, I enjoy baking, traveling, yoga, and visiting my family farm in Vermont.
Michelle Cusick | Lead Teacher
I graduated from Lesley University with a Bachelor of Science in Education. I have been working at Apple Orchard since 2000 and am excited to teach children about the environment and nature. I love taking the children on adventures with our two goats and exploring the changing seasons on the farm. I have two dogs that I love to take on long hikes.
Sara Quirk | Assistant Teacher
I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and am currently pursuing my Master’s Degree in Special Education at Northeastern University. In the past few years, I have been interested in digging deeper into what inclusivity truly means within a classroom. When I am not in school, I love baking, indoor cycling, and spending time with my dog. I am so thrilled to be able to watch our students grow and learn in nature at Apple Orchard!
John Farrington | Lead Teacher
I graduated from UMass Boston with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. I have been teaching at Apple Orchard since 1994. I love playing music with the children and I also play guitar and sing with my band, The Porter Squares. I enjoy photography, traveling, collecting musical instruments, and going for walks with my dog.
Katie Sawatzky | Assistant Teacher
With a background in classroom teaching in New York City, creating family education programs at DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, and most recently teaching empowerment workshops in Newton Public Schools, I am excited to join the Apple Orchard community as an Assistant Teacher in Class I. I hold a BA from Colby College and a MA degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Apple Orchard is a special place for my family as all three of my daughters are happy graduates. Thanks to their Apple Orchard teachers and friends, they developed a love of learning and respect for nature we all value every day. I enjoy skiing with my family, spending time in Maine and playing with our puppy, Winnie.
Linny Polo | Assistant Teacher
I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Bridgewater State University and joined Apple Orchard School in 2015. Before Apple Orchard I was a child care worker in a residential program and an Intensive Special Education Aide in the Brookline Public Schools for seven years. I am excited to be part of the Apple Orchard team. I spend as much time as I can with my nieces and nephews, love studying about butterflies, and enjoy arts and crafts projects.
Class II Teachers (4-year-olds)
Jeremy Aron | Lead Teacher
I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Childhood Studies with a minor in Coaching from Plymouth State University. I also have a Masters in Elementary Education from Lesley University. I started at Apple Orchard in 2000 as an Assistant Teacher. I left to complete my masters degree and returned as a Lead Teacher in 2007. I am passionate about all the animals on the farm, nature, sports, and teaching the children about all of these. Both at Apple Orchard and in the greater community, I run a program called Sportsjam that teaches young children about sports. I have over 20 years of experience coaching soccer, basketball, tennis, and baseball with students ranging from age three to Division 3 men’s college soccer. In my free time, I enjoy being with my family and friends, playing basketball and golf, and taking long hikes with my dog Hunter.
Kate Traquina | Assistant Teacher
I am a 2017 Bates College graduate with a BA in Environmental Studies, Women and Gender Studies, and minor in Education. I was first introduced to the Apple Orchard community in 2013 during my senior year at the Winsor School, when I worked as an intern for my capstone project. At Bates, I loved being out on the water and really enjoyed my time as the varsity coxswain of a nationally-ranked crew. I enjoy writing, hiking, gardening, and spending time with my family and friends. After four years of growing and learning far from home, I am happy to return to Apple Orchard and the city that I hold dear. I fell in love with Apple Orchard’s use of the outdoors to inspire curiosity and wonder. And now as a teacher with a passion for environmental justice and early learning, I look forward to contributing to the Apple Orchard community.
Laurie Goldsmith | Lead Teacher
I have a Bachelor of Arts from Boston College and hold a Masters in Clinical Social Work from Boston College as well as a Masters in Early Childhood Education from Wheelock. I’ve worked at Apple Orchard since 1993. I have a passion for young children and the outdoors, and Apple Orchard satisfies both those interests. In addition to being a Lead Teacher in Class II, I teach music for Class II and Spanish in Sandwich Club. In my free time, you can find me rehearsing and performing with one of my three bands. I spend as much time as I can in Vermont hiking or relaxing by the fire with a good book.
Dylan Lane | Assistant Teacher
I have a Bachelors Degree from University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and am Early Education & Care (EEC) Teacher certified. I began at Apple Orchard in 2014 as the Assistant Teacher in Pre-Class I. I love working with young children and appreciate the opportunity to grow and learn along with them. It’s important to me that I make a difference and I believe I’m able to do that at Apple Orchard.
Kindergarten Teachers (5-6 year-olds)
Kristina DeMichael| Lead Teacher
After completing my Bachelors Degree in Psychology at the University of Tampa, I moved to New York City. In NYC, I received a Masters in Early Childhood Education at Bank Street College of Education. While pursuing my graduate degree, I taught Pre-K at Bank Street’s School for Children. I am delighted to be a part of Apple Orchard—a community that fulfills all of my desires as an early childhood educator. I am passionate about supporting the whole child—social, emotional, intellectual, and physical. There is no better way to educate children than through play and open-ended interactions within their environment. Growing up on a dairy farm in Florida, I love spending time with animals and being outdoors, especially at the beach. However, I have grown to love sledding and building snowmen as well!
Caitlin Stahl-Hodgkins | Assistant Teacher
Growing up in Maine, I have spent lots of time hiking, biking, camping, and running with friends and family. I love being outdoors! I recently graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education. I hold a Massachusetts license for teaching children preschool through second grade with and without disabilities and have an SEI (Sheltered English Immersion) Endorsement. I am incredibly passionate about working with young children and am dedicated to their growth, development, and happiness. I am enthused to learn from and work alongside the teachers at Apple Orchard as they support children in a truly one-of-a-kind learning environment.
Teacher Floaters & Sandwich Club
Grayson Kasdon | Teacher Floater
I have a Bachelor of Arts from Boston College and a Masters in Early Childhood Education from Lesley University. I started teaching at Apple Orchard upon graduation in 1995, I left briefly to care for my own children, and was welcomed back to teach in Class III several years later. I live with my husband and two daughters. We spend time with our dogs, playing outdoors, dancing, singing, exploring beaches, hiking, and running.
Noreen Casimir | Assistant Teacher
I have taught all age levels at Apple Orchard since 2004. I was born in Dominica, moved to Canada, then England, and finally to the United States in 1996. I have three grown children and take any opportunity to get home to my extended family in Canada and Dominica. My favorite pastime is walking, so being outside at Apple Orchard much of the time is perfect for me.
Anna McCown | Sandwich Club
Born and raised in Alabama, I learned to love nature from adventures with my dad. I received my BA in Anthropology in 2011 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. During my time in college, I worked at a nonprofit to develop social science curriculum for grades K-12. I also worked in community gardens in Birmingham and helped co-found a small nonprofit aimed at increasing the number of urban farms and gardens in the city in order to grow food justice. I enjoy playing guitar, and during high school, I mentored teens in guitar and bass. I am excited to be part of the Sandwich Club team, and I look forward to growing sprouts, seedlings, and mushrooms with the children this winter, and to continue learning with the children about the ecosystems we all inhabit and are nourished by.
Grace Hajj | Floater & Sandwich Club
I graduated from Warner University in Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and an endorsement in ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages). While in college I worked as a substitute teacher in the Dracut Public School system and grew a love for working with children of every age. I recently returned from spending a year overseas in Lebanon teaching underprivileged and special needs children, which stirred in me the importance of education for every child regardless of any background or ability. Being with the children at Apple Orchard School as they learn and grow outdoors is something I do not take for granted, and I am so excited to be a part of the team. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, drawing, playing piano, and exploring new places.
Monica Ortiz | Floater & Sandwich Club
I received my Masters in Education in Counselor Education at the University of Florida where I focused on Mental Health Counseling. After graduation, I worked in early education in a Brookline daycare. I worked in California at a Russian Immersion preschool. My most recent early education experience before joining AO was in Florida at a program with a very similar teaching philosophy as Apple Orchard. Working with children of all ages, I have come to realize that I want to be a part of a community that understands the importance of play, art and nature in the healthy development of young children. I am so excited to be a part of Apple Orchard where I can share my experience and love of singing, dancing and being out in nature with all the children and teachers.