6th Grade- Brent Dillard
Brent Dillard is a certified teacher in General Science 5-8. He received his undergraduate degree from Springfield College. He majored in Athletic Training with a minor in Biology. Brent will complete his M.Ed from University of Massachusetts in Science Education Online (SEO) for middle school teachers in the spring of 2013. Brent has teaching experience in both the private school and public school system. He has taught high school and middle school at Valley West School, a private day school for students with social/emotional challenges whose programming within a public school setting has been unsuccessful. Brent has also taught Ecology, Chemistry, Biology, and Physical Science in the Longmeadow, East Longmeadow, and Springfield School districts. He also holds a second job at The Renaissance School; Brent is a Certified Athletic Trainer for all Renaissance athletic teams. His role is to prevent, evaluate, treat, and rehabilitate athletic injuries. Brent will work with the nurse at the school to make sure all student-athletes are cleared for sports. He is certified in CPR/AED and Concussion in Sports.
Brent has played sports his whole life. He played professional indoor soccer for the Lafayette Swampcats in the Eastern Indoor Soccer League (EISL) where he won a National Championship. He also played professional indoor soccer for the Massachusetts Twisters in the American Indoor Soccer League (AISL). Brent holds a NSCAA National Coaching Diploma. He runs a year-round youth soccer program and summer camp called Gold Star Soccer.
Some leisure activities Brent enjoys is traveling with his wife and two children to the beach, taking day trips to various locations in New England, and playing golf. One of Brent¹s proudest accomplishments is raising awareness to Neuroblastoma while completing the 2012 Boston marathon for a friend whose daughter was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. He also raised money for Griffin¹s Friends.
8th Grade- Gina Brown
Gina Brown is currently the 8th grade science teacher here at Renaissance. She attended Westfield State University for her undergraduate and graduate degrees in secondary science education. After graduating in 2007, Gina taught in Monson as a middle school science teacher for four years. Then, after stumbling across Renaissance and LOVING Expeditionary Learning- she has been here ever since! One of her favorite times of the year is when intensives roll around! ‘Cooking Well’ allows students to plan, shop, cook and eat their own meals. We have even gone to the park to cook outside on the charcoal grills! Gina lives in Sturbridge with her husband Chris and her daughter Violet. If she is not teaching, you will find her spending time with her family and friends.
10th Grade Biology- Eric Levine (Dept. Chair)
Class Website: tsrsbio.weebly.com
Mr. Levine joined the Renaissance staff this year as the 10th grade Biology teacher. A New England native, Mr. Levine has lived in Western New York for the past nine years working as a Museum educator, and high school teacher and administrator. He brings many years of experience with Expeditionary Learning Schools – most recently as a founding staff member of an EL high school in Buffalo, New York. Mr. Levine enjoys spending time with his family – his wife, and their three children.
11th Grade Chemistry- Keith Wright
Before becoming a teacher Keith Wright was a U.S. Army intelligence analyst and Czech linguist, a paralegal for the U.S. Department of Justice, and a newspaper reporter. He has also held positions on two presidential campaigns, worked as a free-lance writer, and conducted research as a wetland scientist. He holds an M.Ed. in secondary science education, an M.S. in natural resource conservation, and a B.A. in political science. Mr. Wright is in his 9th year of teaching and is a founding faculty member of the Springfield Renaissance School.
7th Grade- Micah Winston
Micah is in his second year at Renaissance and teaching 7th Grade Life Science and is the Head Coach of the girls softball team.
icah grew up in Amherst, and from the moment he could crawl was collecting insects, scooping in ponds, attending nature camps and tending to numerous pets (guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, parakeets, fresh water & salt water fish, salamanders, lizards, snakes, turtles, goats, sheep, ducks, opossums, a raccoon and an armadillo. Yes, an armadillo). He and his father were responsible for discovering and publicizing the location in Amherst where the famed "Salamander Tunnels" now exist.
He received a BA in Biology with a minor in Spanish from Indiana University in Bloomington (where he was born) and then completed a post-BA teaching certificate program from UMass, receiving a General Science (5-9) certificate. The day after completing his student teaching in Holyoke, he moved to Israel with his Israeli wife and baby daughter, where he ended up staying for over 16 years. While there, he took an intensive Hebrew study program, studying 4 hours a day for 5 months. He then taught Biology & Geometry at an American high school, taught English as a Foreign Language and Computers in a regional kibbutz junior high/high school and then at a rehabilitation facility for teens battling drug and alcohol addiction. In addition, he played fast-pitch softball for 15 years in the Israeli national league and coached both baseball and softball, some years 4 teams at a time. He also served as Assistant Coach of the Israel Junior National Men's Fast-Pitch Softball team in the European Championships in '04 (Paris) and '07 (Havlickuv Brod, Czech Republic) and then as Head Coach led Israel to a bronze medal in the '09 tournament in Ledenice, Czech Republic. Over the 3 tournaments, 7 of his players from the rehab facility played on the Israeli National Teams in these tournaments.
Upon returning to the USA in the summer of '10, he served as a substitute Spanish teacher in Ludlow and then a middle school ELA teacher at The Heritage Academy in Longmeadow. He then taught 6th grade Science at New Leadership Charter School for 2 years, until it closed, and at Baystate Academy Charter Public School for a year. In addition, he completed a master’s degree through the Science Education Online program at UMass.
Micah's 2 adult daughters live in Israel with their mother – the younger one is presently serving in the Israel Defense Forces - and he remarried in the summer of 2015, a dream wedding in his parents' backyard in Amherst.
Micah bleeds Red Sox red, plays CF on his adult wood bat baseball league and keeps in shape for baseball season by playing goalie on a 40+ indoor soccer team in the winter. In addition, he loves to hike, cook, investigate his family's genealogy, read, collect and sell vinyl records, and is learning, somewhat unsuccessfully, to play the accordion.
9th Grade Environmental Science- Casey Hale
Casey Hale is a resident of Springfield, MA with a Masters of Education in Secondary Biology and a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Biochemistry. She grew up on a farm in Virginia, the experiences from which she often uses to draw real-world connections to her class. After earning her undergraduate degree at Coastal Carolina University, she worked for three years as an Environmental Consultant for an engineering firm in South Carolina. Once she realized she was working for the "wrong team" in the game of environmental conservation and sustainability, she moved to Kodiak, Alaska to be a kayak guide for a couple of years. She then reached a life-long goal and became an kayak instructor/expedition leader for Outward Bound on Thompson Island. After spending two years working with at-risk youth, she realized her passion was rooted in creating a safe and challenging space for youth. She then earned her M.Ed. while working for a year at Renaissance, took a year-long sabbatical to work as a Wilderness Therapy Guide in Vermont, and then returned to Renaissance to resume her work here as the ninth grade Environmental Science teacher. If you were to ask her about a life-changing experience that got her where she is today, she'll probably talk your ear off about being a participant on an 8-day Outward Bound ocean kayaking expedition when she was freshly 18 years old. Just be careful... she may talk you into going on an expedition, yourself!
12th Grade Physics- Paul Bertrand