6th Grade- Shayla Denigris
8th Grade- Jaenyffe Santos
I grew up in the city of Springfield and attended UMASS Amherst where I received a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Conservation and a Master’s of Education in Science. I am the new 8th grade science teacher and currently have a 6th grade crew and am very excited to start a new journey at Renaissance. I live for adventures such as hiking, road trips, and traveling. Visiting countries like Cape Verde really expands on my knowledge of different cultures which make me want to have more opportunities to travel and learn more. Sports are a big deal in my family, especially football!! (Big Pats fan!) And lastly I have a terrible (aka great) obsession with donuts.
10th Grade Biology- Bartram Smith
Class Website: tsrsbio.weebly.com
Bartram Smith was born in China, raised in Massachusetts, and spent the last ten years in Austin, Texas (a weird and very fun city). Bart likes his cat, Dungeons and Dragons (and other pen and paper role-playing games), ants, reading pulpy sci-fi and fantasy, and talking about SCIENCE. This is his first year teaching and he's really excited to learns the ins and outs of his new choice of career and to get to know the amazing students at Renaissance.
Bart got his Bachelor's degree at the nearby UMASS Amherst and has a PhD in molecular biology from UT Austin. He's spent the last ten years doing scientific research, mostly on the subject of viral evolution (specifically influenza). He is looking forwards to sharing his experience in molecular biology, data analysis, and evolution with the students at Renaissance!
11th Grade Chemistry- Christine Druckenmiller
Christine Druckenmiller grew up in Springfield. She started her career as a chemist working in industry. After her children were born, Christine went back to the University of Massachusetts and earned her Masters of Education in Science. She did her student teaching in Springfield, before working for Tantasqua Regional High School and Converse Middle School.
When she is not teaching, Christine enjoys spending time with her family which includes her husband, five children, three step-children, two dogs, an ancient cat and thirteen hens. She has always liked hiking, camping, canoeing, and fishing. In the past, Christine spent her summers working as a Girl Scout day camp director. Now, she spends most of her summers in her garden.
7th Grade- Micah Winston
Micah is in his fifth year at Renaissance and teaching 7th Grade Science and is the Head Coach of the girls softball team.
Micah 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 has 2 adult daughters from his first marriage, who are based in Israel, and is the proud father of a baby boy born 3 weeks before school began.
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- Michael Chernicoff