MS Phys. Ed./Health - Melissa Rosenberg
This is my seventh year teaching Physical Education and Health at Renaissance. I graduated from Springfield College with a degree in Movement Science and Health and recently graduated from Westfield State University with my Master's in Education.
I grew up in upstate New York and love being outdoors and physically active. I love participating in all sports, especially softball, field hockey, ping pong, racquetball, basketball and tennis. I’m super-competitive and love when students challenge me to a ping pong game....try if you dare!
I have a baby daughter, and three fur babies (2 cats and a dog) and my husband also works in the Springfield Public School system. We are avid NY Yankee fans and also love to travel!
MS Art - Steve Lee-Davis
I am so excited to be teaching at Renaissance! I came to Western Massachusetts from a long and curious route -- the tropics to the desert in-between. I was born and raised (mostly) in Hawaii and have always loved making art and building stuff. I am the first generation in my family to attend college and I worked while I studied. I earned a BA from Goddard College in Vermont and then I attained my graduate degree in Art Education from Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. Perseverance pays off! I have over 15 years of teaching experience in Expeditionary Learning schools and I take great joy in teaching and making art. I live with my lovely wife, two fantastic teenage children, two dogs (with seven legs between them -- do the math), and one tortoise who remains aloof. We live in Amherst and if you visit, you will find me riding my motorcycle, playing soccer, reading graphic novels and fantasy books, and making art.
“Such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien
MS Drama - Joni Sullivan (MS Dept. Chair)
This is my 8th year teaching at Renaissance and my 14th year teaching Drama in Springfield. I began my career at Forest Park Middle School, spent a year at Rebecca Johnson Elementary and ended up winning the lottery by getting hired to teach at Ren. I earned a BA in Theater from the College of Wooster in Ohio. In my spare time, (Ha! I’m a mom, we don’t have spare time!) I am playing taxi to my own children, talking someone’s ear off, performing a one woman Broadway show in my car, watching a series on Netflix, reading mysteries or crying over videos that come up on the internet. I’m also a foodie so if you offer me food, I will usually not turn you down. For my other job, my husband and I are raising two lovely (most of the time!) daughters—Lily, 11 and Emily, 7. At home, we like to laugh together, play outside, play Just Dance, and go to the beach during the summer.
STEM Lab Teacher - Jessica Engebretson
I was born in Germany and raised in the Midwest. I earned my Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and my Master of Science in Ecological Teaching and Learning at Lesley College in Cambridge, MA.
When not geeking out over the design engineering cycle I love to spend time with my partner Matt and our two children Lilah and Oskar. The outdoors has always been a key component to my life and I enjoy communing with nature while mountain biking, hiking, skiing and snowshoeing. I can also be found creating something in the kitchen, working on endless projects at my craft table, or knitting while listening to music. I have been a part of the Renaissance family for over ten years, and am excited to share the classroom with students where I am an equal partner in learning something new each day.
Latin - Herb Holland (Dept. Chair)
Salvete, omnes! I am Magister Holland, Latin teacher at Renaisaance.
I was born in California in 1972, traveled the world (even spitting off the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa as a child) with my family (my parents, two sisters, and two brothers) before settling in Connecticut at age 15. I graduated from Old Saybrook High School in 1990 and, after taking some time off to work as a church missionary in Australia, went back to school and received my BA from Albertus Magnus College, where I double-majored in Latin and Physical Sciences (Chemistry and Physics), in 1996. I received my MAT in Latin and Classical Humanities from UMass-Amherst in 1998. After teaching in upstate New York for almost a decade, I joined the Renaissance faculty in 2007. In addition to teaching Latin, I have coached the Renaissance swim team for more than 10 years, and cross country for 5.
I have 5 wonderful children, two of whom graduated from Renaissance in 2013 and 2015, and three of whom still attend high school in Springfield. In my spare time I enjoy running, cooking (and eating!), playing ukulele and guitar, sailing, kayaking, camping, reading, binge-watching shows on HBO and Netflix, and more.
HS Phys. Ed. - Lorie LeTellier (HS Dept. Chair)
I was born and raised in Norton, MA. I received my B.S. degree in Movement of Sports Studies and M.Ed. degree in Health Promotion and Wellness from Springfield College. I have been teaching in the Springfield Public Schools System for 19 years and teaching at Renaissance for 12 years. I am the Wellness Dept. Chair, HS humanities Team Leader, and the HS Physical Education teacher. This year I have a 10th grade CREW!
I strongly believe the words of John F. Kennedy that...“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, but it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” I am very passionate and dedicated to helping students find a balance between a healthy diet and regular exercise.
HS Art - Nora Gilchrist
My path to teaching at Renaissance has been somewhat winding, but my aspirations to fulfill this role began many years ago, in high school, where I instinctively took on the role of assisting and encouraging my peers and helping my art teacher to keep things in order. I was raised in the Boston area where, after high school, I earned an AA from Middlesex Community College, a BA from UMass-Boston, and later, an M.Ed. in Teaching Visual Arts from Lesley University. While in school, I worked in retail bookstores, in higher education, and with an awesome social enterprise that was run by system-involved youth. After grad school, I was drawn to the somewhat surprisingly artsy city of Pittsburgh, PA. During my time there I worked as an educator with an amazing organization called Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse. I am very interested in the incorporation of sustainability within the arts. I like to find ways to encourage people to conserve materials and to think outside the box regarding choices we make around consumption. I’ve witnessed the transformative power of art many times over with all kinds of people, and I’m over the moon for the chance to work with the students at Renaissance! My partner and I live in Holyoke and have been enjoying our explorations of the Pioneer Valley area via art, nature, and local farm stands. When I’m not teaching and wandering about, I’m probably making art, learning about art, or sewing.
“You are the past present and future” -Jenny Holzer
HS Drama - Bridget Camara
Hi! I consider myself very fortunate to be a high school Drama teacher. It's hard for me to believe that I am entering my 16th year of teaching in Springfield! Over the years, I have directed and supported students in a wide range of performances including musical theatre, Shakespeare, and original student work. I think every student benefits from taking Drama courses and I am so pleased that Renaissance provides that experience. Not only is it important for every student to find their own voice, it is also important to develop the discipline to listen to others. When I’m not at school, I like being active, working out at the gym, riding my bike, and enjoying my friends and family. I'm originally from Bridgewater, MA did my undergrad work at UMass-Amherst and received an M.Ed from Elms College.
I now live in Enfield, CT with my husband Kevin, our daughter Chloe, and my adorable Cockapoo Lucky.
Spanish - Willot Joseph
Latin (Student Teacher) - Dan Berenson
I am a current second year graduate student at UMass-Amherst in the Latin MAT program where I also did my undergraduate studies. I am here at Springfield Renaissance doing my practicum with Herb Holland. I will begin teaching Latin 1 but will eventually take over two more classes by Thanksgiving. I grew up in eastern Massachusetts in a town called Sharon, which most people haven’t heard of, so I just tell them that it’s ten minutes away from Gillette Stadium. I have two sisters, one older and one younger. Currently I’m living in Amherst with my girlfriend and our cat Persephone. In my spare time I like to rock climb, play D&D, and read fantasy novels. I am excited to get to know the students here and teach Latin to anyone who wants to learn it!