BETHEL — Gould Academy opened its 185th school year this week with 221 students from 17 states and six foreign countries, in the midst of a global pandemic. Now, 30 days since the arrival of the first students and with the first full round of campus testing complete, the school is pleased to announce that all tests have been negative for Covid-19 and in-person classes can now begin. (Boarding students attended class remotely from their dorm rooms and day students from home for the first week.)

Gould began testing employees the week of August 12. Students arrived shortly after, in stages over a three-week period, with negative COVID tests in hand. Those who flew or took public transportation quarantined on campus as well. In addition to the more than 200 tests students took prior to returning, Gould has conducted more than 450 tests to date on campus —testing all students again before in-person classes began, and testing all employees twice.

Although there are fewer international students this year, there are students from Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Montenegro, and Saudi Arabia. In addition to having students from all six New England states, California, Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia are also represented. Gould also renewed its partnership with A Better Chance program, opening doors for talented students of color.

“This group of incoming students excels at everything we do as a school,” says Assistant Head of School for Institutional Advancement Chris Sparks. “They are really talented athletes, artists, musicians, and promising scholars. I can’t wait to see what they will do here.”

They found a few changes on campus as well. In addition to the mask reminders and sanitizing stations, classrooms have fewer desks and the dining hall has fewer tables and chairs. There are tents for outdoor meetings and class and maximum occupancy signs posted everywhere.

At least two dozen students are studying remotely for now, but the addition of OWL cameras to the classrooms (automatically follow whoever is speaking) and a summer’s worth of planning by teachers mean that even virtual classrooms are easier to navigate than they were last spring.

An of course there are new arrivals to the faculty as well:

Joanna Brown is Gould’s new director of Health Services. She has been a school nurse for the Oxford Hills School District since 2018. Prior to that, she was a registered nurse at Stephens Memorial Hospital and became nursing director of Medsurg and Special Care there in 2015, successfully managing a team of 75 nurses and certified nurse assistants. A nursing instructor for sophomore nursing students in their clinical rotation while at Stephens, she was also a clinical instructor at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine. As a staff nurse, her background is in critical care nursing, having worked in intensive care units at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and Yale New-Haven Hospital in Connecticut.

Rose Goldberg, a 2015 graduate from Gould, grew up in Bethel and has led wilderness trips with the Chewonki Foundation. She teaches science, math, and Spanish and serves as an advisor for 7th and 8th graders.

Bob Harkins returns to Gould as the new athletic director after serving as general manager at Mt. Abram for the last three years and was Winter Term director at Gould from 2012 to 2016. He is the former assistant alpine director, director of athlete development, U.S. Ski Team, 1980-1988, USSA Level 5 Certified Coach. From 1988 to 2003 he was vice president of Resort Services at Sunday River Ski Resort. A Registered Maine Guide, he has a passion for the outdoors — fly fishing, hiking, skinning, and coaching.

A graduate of Gould and Williams College, Ben Kamilewicz teaches humanities and serves as the associate registrar. He taught and coached at Hebron Academy and at Burke Mountain Academy before joining the military and skiing for the National Guard Biathlon Team and USBA (Europa Cup). He was deployed to Iraq in 2005. He earned a master’s in education and returned to Gould for three years to teach both English and history. He left to teach at Caribou High School and to work for Maine Winter Sports as a youth biathlon coach. For the past few years, he has worked for L.L.Bean and Wayfair.

Sarah Kamilewicz teaches science at Gould. After high school, she was accepted into the Olympic Education Center at Northern Michigan University in Marquette and eventually made the World Junior Biathlon Team in 1999. She honorably served her country while competing as a member of the Army National Guard Biathlon Program, traveling the world to compete. She went on to earn positions as a biathlete on the U.S. National Team, the World Championship Team, and was an alternate for the 2006 United States Olympic Team in Torino. She earned a degree in applied science at the University of Minnesota in her hometown of Duluth and taught earth sciences and physics at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School.

Greg Miller is a data specialist for the Advancement Office. He was the head men’s basketball coach and assistant athletic director at the Naval Academy Preparatory School, an assistant coach at St. Lawrence University (one year as an adjunct professor in First Year Program), and spent two years as an assistant coach at Susquehanna University. After college, he played nine years of professional basketball in various countries throughout Europe. While at St. Lawrence, he earned a master’s degree in educational leadership.

Alex Norden is the new head women’s alpine ski coach. She coached Division I women’s alpine skiers at Brown University from 2016 to 2020. Before Brown, she was the head men’s and women’s varsity alpine ski coach at New England College. She also spent three years as the graduate assistant and strength and conditioning coach for the men’s and women’s alpine ski team at St. Lawrence University. While there, she earned a master’s degree in educational leadership. Norden was a four-year member of the UNH alpine ski team, captaining the squad in 2009 and earning NCAA All-Academic honors. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.

Mesa Schubeck teaches music. Raised in Blue Hill, her musical roots began with an immersion in her family’s folk music tradition.She earned a degree in piano performance at the University of Maine, Orono. Traveling to Music City in 2014 with a pop/rock trio, she settled in Nashville for three years, composing, performing, and recording. As a sought-after collaborative pianist and musical director, she worked multiple productions with Belmont University and Middle Tennessee State University theater departments. She returned to Maine in 2017 and is finishing a master’s degree in piano performance at the University of Southern Maine. While in Portland, she has been active as a performing artist, accompanist, and as a teaching artist at 317 Main in Yarmouth, where she continues to teach virtually.

New math teacher Jacob Volz skied on the Middlebury College Nordic team and has coached a variety of age groups for nordic skiing in different capacities. He grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and has taken education and physics classes from the University of Maine over the past couple of years. He loves climbing, hiking, skiing, running, playing soccer, and Frisbee.

With the addition of Janet Willie, the Gould Health Center now has four full-time nurses. She is a long time member of the Bethel community. Starting in 1998, she worked for the Hurricane Island Outward Bound as an outdoor educator and director of foodservice. She also owns and operates a private Therapeutic Massage practice in Bethel, which she started in 1991. She lives in town with her dog, Lily, and cat, Earl, in her 1850 home, a constant work in progress. She hosts the annual Shy, Novice & Closeted Art Show, established in 2004. For more than five years she was health director for Midland School, in Los Olivos, California.

Dave Willis comes on board as the new assistant head of school for finance/CFO. An experienced senior manager, he has worked in education, manufacturing, technology, advertising, retail, and travel. He has developed expertise in financial operations, business operations, project management, strategy, branding, marketing and sales, customer service, and retention. Dave and his family return to Bethel having lived here in the late 90s working for Sunday River and the American Skiing Company. He most recently was the Assistant Head of School – COO/CFO for Killington Mountain School.

And of course, Gould has a new head of school as well…

Tao Smith, a 1990 Gould graduate and former faculty member, majored in religion and minored in history at the University of Vermont, where he was part of the Varsity Alpine Ski Team that was two-time Division I National Champion and twice runner-up. He also competed on the 1992 National Ultimate Frisbee Team and the UVM Road Cycling Team. He returned to teach at Gould from 1995 to 2001, when he was selected to head the Killington Mountain School in Vermont. After 19 years there, Tao returns to Gould—with his wife, Dawn, and six children: Hannah, Ayden, Gaven, Addie, Tobé, and Lillian.

Some employees are in new roles as well.

Lorraine Sumner has been promoted to food services director at Gould. Meghan Young is now part of the college counseling team. Maggie Davis and Sara Shifrin are in newly created roles: Sarah is now director of innovation. She also leads the seminar program, teaches humanities, and directs the library. In addition to being associate director of college counseling, Maggie is now Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion coordinator. On the Advancement team, Beth Garfield is now head of the Gould Fund, and Casey Morey is the director of Auxiliary Programs.

 

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