Social Studies Department
6th Grade - Jessica Murphy
I teach sixth grade Social Studies and am a middle school Crew teacher. I have a bachelor’s degree in History and Education from Westfield State University. Additionally, I earned a master’s degree in Educational Psychology from American International College. Born and raised in New Jersey, I came to Springfield in 2007 to pursue my education. I am starting my 6th year at Renaissance and my 10th year teaching. At Renaissance, I run the Yearbook Committee. I enjoy spending time with my children, husband and dogs, swimming, photography, traveling, baking and watching movies.
8th Grade - Jamie Pirog
Hello! I teach 8th grade Social Studies and an 8th grade Crew at the Springfield Renaissance School. I have my undergrad in World History from Elms College and am currently finishing up my Master’s Degree in History Education at Westfield State University. This is my 7th year of teaching at the Springfield Renaissance School and my 14th year in the Springfield Public Schools. I enjoy spending time with my 6 year-old son, Adam, as well as going to the gym.
10th Grade - Alison Beattie
I graduated from Smith College with a BA in History in 2010 and Mount Holyoke College with an MAT in 2017. My course, US History 1, is fascinating and rich with problems and I greatly enjoy diving into difficult topics with students that will help prepare them for the world beyond. I also help prepare our students to take the ELA MCAS exam, so we focus on building literacy skills, critical thinking, and writing. Outside of Renaissance, I enjoy spending time with my husband and two dogs, doing yoga, reading, watching documentaries, and traveling. I speak Italian and spent a year abroad in Florence, Italy in college which fostered my deep appreciation of culture and language. I look forward to welcoming you to my classroom!
12th Grade - Molly Dill (Dept. Chair)
I am in my seventh year at Renaissance. In those seven years, I have taught 10th grade US History, 9th and 10th grade Special Education, abd 11th grade ELA. I have spent the last five years teaching US Government and Economics to Seniors. I graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, CT with a BA in Art History. During the 2013-14 school year, I got my Masters in Education from UMass-Amherst.
I enjoy sharing my passions with my students and fostering an environment that allows us all to be ourselves and have fun while still developing a deep understanding of the forces that motivate and constrain our society through government and economics. When not at Renaissance, I spend a fair amount of brainpower figuring out the best ways to achieve that goal. I also enjoy spending time with my family (my dog in particular), traveling, and spending time in nature (preferably with friends).
Student Teacher - Joel Flores
I am very excited to be student teaching 9th grade U.S. History 1 during my first year at Renaissance as a part of the TEACH 180 Days in Springfield graduate program from UMass-Amherst. I recently graduated from UMass-Amherst in May 2019 with a dual-Bachelor's degree in History & Political Science, and I am currently working on earning a Master’s degree in Education in one year. I am originally from the Bronx in New York City but now live in Springfield, MA and I am currently loving it! I enjoy reading, hiking, and binge-watching Netflix shows in my spare time, but I am also a big nerd when it comes to anything related to the MCU or the fantasy genre. One of my most favorite quotes of all time is from the fourth Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, where the character Albus Dumbledore says, “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be!”
7th Grade - Tess Manderville
I am thrilled to be starting my second year at Renaissance, this time as the seventh grade Social Studies teacher! I attended UMass-Amherst for both my Bachelor's degree in History & Political Science and for my Master's of Education. I recently moved here to Springfield, and look forward to exploring the community. I have a love for the beach, cheesy spy movies, and absolutely anything food-related. I will also be coaching the JV Girls Volleyball team this year, and I can't wait to start!
9th Grade - Tim Sossa
I am in my 7th year here at Renaissance as the 9th grade History teacher. I am a graduate from Clark University in Worcester, earning my undergraduate degree in History and my graduate degree in Teaching. Aside from teaching, I geek out to movies and awesome TV series. I am a basketball player, do some legal versions of street art (I learned that one the hard way!), and have been working a lot on renovating my home! While I may remind folks of Ross from Friends or Steve from Blues Clues, I love working with the kiddos. Whether nerding out about some crazy event in history, the complexities of the human brain, or a debate about how good the Celtics will be this year, my class will try to be fun, interesting, and productive as we start off the high school journey!
11th Grade - Jonathan Galanis
I am in my 14th year as an educator in Springfield Public Schools and currently teach 11th grade History. I am an Eastern Massachusetts transplant via undergraduate and graduate studies at UMass-Amherst. I enjoy biking, as a commuter, road cyclist, and mountain biker, and also run the school’s bike club. I enjoy spending time with my wife, daughter, and our mini-dachshund named Sauerkraut.
10th Grade (Student Teacher) - Avia Ferrande
I will be student teaching this year in US History and Special Education. I'm currently getting my Master's in Teaching from Mount Holyoke College. This past May, I graduated from UMass-Amherst with degrees in History & Political Science. I’m originally from the South Shore, but I currently live in Belchertown. In my free time, I enjoy ceramics, painting and swimming.
Student Teacher - Oliver Ward
Hi! I'm Oliver. I'm part of the 180 Days program from UMass, and am excited to be spending this year with the 11th graders in History class. I'm originally from Concord, Massachusetts. I graduated from Colorado College two years ago, and since then, have been teaching English at middle schools in Japan. In my free time, I love to swim, play some basketball, and cook. Also, I recently picked up playing the guitar and am enjoying it very much. I'm happy to be here in Springfield and at Renaissance!
Student Teacher - Francesca Panarelli