ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF

Paul Andrews – Executive Director

Paul is a retired Human Resources Executive who lives in Portland. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Maine at Orono and for six years worked for U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe. He worked out of state for over 30 years for Safeco Insurance and the The Horace Mann Companies in a variety of roles, including Chief Customer Officer and leading the Information Technology area. He has volunteered with and served on the Board of Directors of United Way of Central Illinois, and served as Board President of the Munjoy Heights Condo Association.

Martha Kempe – Head of Schools

Martha joined Wayfinder Schools in 2004. Prior to moving to Maine, Martha was Director of Grants and Contracts at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. She completed a certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership from the University of Maine Orono. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Oregon and a Master’s Degree in Expressive Therapies from the University of Louisville. Her varied life experiences include directing residential services for mentally disabled adults, coordinating educational programs at Slater Mill Historic Site, coordinating apprenticeships at the Swain School of Design, assisting grantees at the National Endowment for the Arts, and teaching reading to elementary school children. She loves seeing the creative process in action and the way it sheds light on our lives and souls. Martha’s two daughters and husband keep her guessing. Give her good books, dear friends or family scattered across the U.S. and she is happy. If not, she is content to hike Maine, explore new places or bask near any body of water…really, any body of water.

Byron Bartlett – School Administrator

Byron joins Wayfinder Schools in this newly created role and will oversee Human Resources, Information Technology, Finance and Facility Operations. Prior to joining us, Byron worked as an  IT consultant focusing in incident management and cyber security issues. Before starting his consultancy, he spent ten years at TD Bank as Vice President, Incident Management & Business Continuity. In that role it was Byron’s responsibility to create and manage work flows and work-arounds for a number of business units at TD that would be immediately implemented in the face of a cyber interruption or natural disaster. Byron was instrumental in maintaining business operations for the bank during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. He  served as Vice President of the Board of Directors of The Portland School of Ballet and was on the Board of Directors in various roles for the March of Dimes of Greater Portland for six years. Byron attended Roanoke College and the University of Southern Maine.

Ann Messinger – Director of Philanthropy

Ann (Annie) has been working in non-profit resource development for more than a decade at two distinct Southern Maine based organizations. She shares a passion of supporting a growing number of students in Maine and their capacity to graduate high school and plan for the future as responsible, productive community members. Annie grew up down the road from Wayfinder’s Residential Campus, and graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a BA in graphic communication. Annie’s hobbies include running and snowboarding; she recently earned her motorcycle license; and she hopes to practice downhill and XC skiing more often. Meanwhile, her next feat is her third marathon at the 40th Annual Chicago Marathon in October 2017. Annie is excited to be part of the Wayfinder Schools team!

Andrea Vassallo – Director of Grants & Communications

Andrea joined Wayfinder Schools in 2009. A native of Massachusetts, she summered in midcoast Maine for many years before finally moving here year-round in 1995. She holds a BA in Political Science from The University of Massachusetts and has spent her career in education and non-profit development.  She lives in Damariscotta with her teenage son, their dog, Rascal, and their cat, Princess Leia. When not at Wayfinder, Andrea can be found reading, working on a crossword and spending as much time as possible with friends and family along the Damariscotta River.

Nicolette Sennett – Development and Administrative Assistant

Nicolette was born and raised in Maine, and calls both Freeport and Portland her home. After graduating from the University of Southern Maine, she soon found herself in the non-profit world and never looked back. Prior to her position at Wayfinder Schools, Nicolette worked for Project Bread in Boston before moving back to Maine and working for Spurwink Services. Her passion for helping others is the driving force behind her work, and she is excited to be part of a team that makes a difference in the lives of Maine’s youth. When not in the office, Nicolette enjoys checking out new restaurants, meeting up with friends, traveling to new places, laughing with family, cooking with her husband, and hiking with their dog Sadie.

Cynthia Ufkin – Finance & Database Coordinator

Cynthia joined Wayfinder Schools in 2012, after many years of working in the public school system. Cynthia’s passion is children. Although she is in the office most of the time, you will see her at circle times with the students, cooking dinner, doing dishes, taking walks and offering that little extra to get them through the day. After many years of living in California, Cynthia and her family toured the country for thirteen months in an RV, ultimately landing back in Cynthia’s home state of Maine. When not at work, Cynthia enjoys camping, cooking, and spending time with family.

Robert St. Laurent – Building Grounds Manager

Bob has been with Wayfinder Schools since they opened in New Gloucester and worked at Opportunity Farm for five years. Known as the “Jack of All Trades,” Bob fulfills a number of roles at the school. He is a mentor to the students, teaching them all aspects of his job. Prior to coming to Wayfinder Schools, Bob lived and worked in Florida. Bob has two sons, one in Lyman and one in York, and two grandsons. His passions, outside of his work, are buying and selling tractors, building anything and everything, and owning and showing antique cars, for which he has won several trophies. His nickname as a young boy was “The Old Car Kid,” starting with his first car, a ‘36 Plymouth, and his collection has continued to grow.

 

PASSAGES STAFF

Erica Gates – Associate Program Director

Erica was born and raised in Maine. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counselor Education from The University of Maine and has spent many years working with teens in the counseling and education fields as a therapist, classroom teacher, guidance counselor, coach, swimming instructor, and raft guide. Erica has been a teacher for several years but can’t express how excited she is to be working with the staff and students at Wayfinder Schools. Erica feels this teaching opportunity will give her the opportunity to build a relationship with her students that will allow her to watch each of them grow and succeed. In her free time, Erica enjoys kayaking, hiking, skiing, sewing, and spending time with her family. One of her favorite quotes is: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” ~ Dr. Seuss

Cathy Ames-Cruz – Passages Teacher, Midcoast

Cathy has been working at Wayfinder Schools since 2000.  Cathy was born in Camden, attended Camden Rockport High school, and later, studied English and Education at The University of Maine Augusta.  Cathy has four children, and in 2009, she became a proud grandmother!  Cathy loves working at Wayfinder Schools because she loves kids and believes everyone needs a chance in life.  Cathy’s mission at Wayfinder is to help give kids the tools to be successful, and also to help make sure they are eating more than Raman Noodles when grow up! Cathy lives in West Rockport, and when she’s not at the school, she can be found cooking, baking, or camping and swimming in the outdoors.

Ann Brown – Passages Teacher, Washington County

Ann has lived in Washington County all of her life, and graduated from Washington County Community College in 2010. She lives with her husband, Branden, their four children, Katy, Gabe, Claudia and Garrett, and one grandchild, Nathaniel. Ann grew up in a family that owned a garage, restaurant, an auto parts store, and a convenience store, and she has worked at various times in each one of these places since she was eight years old. Ann maintains a busy pace with her own family, running a farm, a construction business, and all things involving her kids. She also began driving a school bus in 2004, and still drives on trips that include her kids. Ann joined Passages in 2015, to be part of a team that gets to help shape our next generation.

Dana Fadel – Passages Teacher, Southern Maine

Dana graduated from Earlham College in 2006 with a degree in African and African American Studies. She has traveled to both East and West Africa studying–among other things–textiles and the HIV/Aids epidemic. She moved to Portland in 2009 to pursue a weaving internship, where she solidified her love for teaching in a one-on-one setting. In tandem with her passion for textiles, she has maintained a strong commitment to working with people who are in need of adequate information about their health and well-being. Dana has served as a facilitator for women’s groups, an advocate for sexual assault victims, and as a sex and sexuality educator. Dana was the Health Coordinator on the Residential side of Wayfinder Schools for 2 years, as well as teaching a sex ed class called “Not Yer Momma’s Sex Ed,” a role she will continue to keep while in working with Passages.

Fern Hilyard – Passages Teacher, Washington County

Fern has a passion for education and especially enjoys the challenge of helping students discover what motivates them. She’s worked with people of all ages and abilities in a variety of settings. During the last 15 years she has pursued teaching special and gifted students, art, writing and recently spent a summer volunteering in London working with mentally ill adults in a therapeutic horticulture facility. Fern grew up in the Philadelphia area and moved to Maine with her husband in 1986 to raise their three children plus a small assortment of backyard pets. In addition to her work in education, Fern’s been a graphic designer, copy editor, dog walker, plant sitter, home-schooler, set designer, prep cook, museum docent, research assistant, school secretary and mask maker. Fern likes to knit and read and write and if you see her doodling at a meeting, it doesn’t mean she’s not paying attention.

Julia Johnston – Passages Teacher, Southern Maine

Julia Johnston came to Maine in 2016, but feels more at home here than any of the many places she has lived. Her past teaching experience includes a bilingual French American school, an alternative high school, a refugee English class, and one-on-one tutoring for all different ages. Julia holds a Bachelor in History from Oberlin College, a Master of Architecture from Va Tech, and a Masters of Teaching from Rhode Island College. Prior to teaching she was an architect in Colorado and Rhode Island. Teaching at Wayfinder is a welcome opportunity to combine many of her passions in one meaningful job. She is very excited to be able to work so closely with students, and watch them and their children grow and succeed. When she is not working you will find her hiking, gardening, cooking, reading, kayaking or just sitting around admiring the beauty of Maine.

 Joy Knowlton – Passages Teacher, Midcoast

Joy came to Wayfinder Schools as a Passages teacher in the fall of 2013. Over the last twenty years, she has been a middle school teacher, a Special Education Tech., a GED instructor and a member of the staff of Restorative Justice of Midcoast Maine. Looking back at this varied blend of educational roles, she considers the opportunity to work with young parents in a one on one setting as a natural extension of these prior experiences. Joy is inspired by the courage and determination of her students, and is excited to be working with them as they work on Core Skills and their Passages. She hopes that some day –soon– every Maine student will be offered a blended curriculum of life skills and traditional subjects.  Joy moved to Maine in 1978 to spend the summer in Bar Harbor, stayed through the winter, and eventually enrolled in College of the Atlantic.  After graduating with a BA in Human Ecology, she has lived in many areas along the coast, finally settling in the Damariscotta region in the late eighties. Joy has three grown children, an older dog and a puppy, and lives in Bristol where she loves to garden, sail, swim, hike and enjoy the beauty of the area. When forced indoors, she cooks, reads, writes, and sings… while keeping up with the housework.

Cindy Stevenson – Passages Teacher, Midcoast

Cindy joined Passages in 2013. She grew up in Auburn, Maine and received her Associates Degree in Dietetics from University of Maine at Farmington.  After interning with Central Maine Medical Center, where she later became an employee, she decided to continue her education at the University of Maine Orono, where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Family Life/Health Education.  Cindy has worked in Residential Life at UMaine Orono, as a home economist for Hannaford, as a Licensed Chiropractic Assistant, and as a Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician. She has also served on the Board of Directors at The Eastport Health Center and has always been involved with her local schools, by volunteering in her children’s classrooms, fundraising, supporting Project Graduation, and by serving as PTO President. Cindy’s greatest teachers have been her own children, Thomas 20, Jacob 18, and Benjamin 14.  She and her husband Andy also share their Waldoboro home with two beautiful Golden Retrievers and six cats. Gardening, cooking, walking, and reading are some of her favorite things, and Cindy is happiest when she’s feeding the crowds and her house is full of loud music and teenage banter.

 

RESIDENTIAL STAFF

Oren Stevens – Associate Program Director

Oren boils it down to active listening, heightened reflections, and permission. Beyond that, speak from the heart. Say, “I am sorry,” and mean it. Encourage failure and reward effort. Teach gratitude. Tell them ten thousand times, “You are not broken.” These are principles Oren’s for how to teach young adults to cultivate trust in their intuition and build the muscles of boundary setting so they can not only be productive members of society, but become the change makers that the world needs. When not at Wayfinder, Oren is an acting member of Portland Playback Theater, an improv troupe dedicated to honoring people’s stories on stage. As a tenor, he sings with the Blue Lobster Troupe Community Chorus. Oren also facilitates writing and storytelling with inmates at Maine Correctional Center through an organization called Guitar Doors and teaches high school poetry through L/A Arts. Oren holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Southern Maine.

Morgan Caudill – Lead Teacher

Morgan ventured to Maine from her Adirondack home in 2015. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, she received her Master’s Degree in teaching with a focus on LGBTQIA+ students in educational settings. She’s had the opportunity to teach and learn from a long list of remarkable students, including small town elementary youngsters, South African 4th graders, university professors from China, immigrants and refugees new to Maine, and native Mainer high school students. She has always felt passionately about teaching and strives to give each of her students moment after moment of feeling empowered, challenged, inspired, confident, and truly heard in the classroom. On her free time, you’ll find Morgan eating donuts on top of mountains, petting every dog in sight, reading in hammocks, obsessively gardening, re-watching The Office yet again, or soaking in the beauty and peace of nature.

 

passages-staff“The common sense and the uncommon compassion of Wayfinder Schools has improved hundreds of young lives and enriched the surrounding neighborhoods.”
– Former U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell