Amidst Change, Academy Moves Forward

Amidst Change, Academy Moves Forward

Compiled by Administrative Staff
While last year much of the Academy’s summer work was visible outside the building, this year’s work moved indoors. From office and classroom moves and food service area renovations to a focus on our Catholic identity, the facility and administrative staff members worked throughout the summer to stay on track with strategic and operational plans to move the Academy forward. With direction from Board Chairman Joe McNamee and Acting Administrator Joe McPeak, we start the 2018-19 school year off with a sense of accomplishment as well as with a sense of anticipation as we await key appointments of new leadership. What follows is a summary of summer projects.  

Kitchen and Serving Area Renovations

In June the NexDine kitchen preparation room and serving area were both completely emptied of all equipment to rip out the old flooring and replace it with brand new ceramic tile. The walls were also repainted as a finishing touch.

Office and Classroom Moves

A major recommendation from the Catholic Schools Management report conducted in the spring was to move the Admissions offices to the first floor so that personnel were able to be in closer proximity to the main door and be better situated to greet prospective families when they visit. The change necessitated the move of many other offices as follows:

  • Admissions moved to the first floor rooms formerly occupied by the Nurse.
  • The Nurse moved to the second floor rooms formerly occupied by EDP/Enrichment and Marketing-Communications.
  • EDP/Enrichment moved to the basement next to the EDP cafeteria space.
  • Marketing-Communications moved to an office in the former Admissions suite which has now become the Institutional Advancement (IA) suite. An office for the   new IA coordinator is next to Marketing-Communications office and the suite will also accommodate an IA director when a hire is eventually made.

Additional administrative moves that took place were:

  • Mrs. LiHsi Chen has moved from the third floor to the second floor next to the Nurse’s office. Mrs. Lori McDermott occupies the former Alumni Office on the second floor.
  • As interim principal, Pam Bernazani now occupies the Principal’s Office on the first floor. On the third floor, Stacy Marsden has taken over Mrs. Bernazani’s former office and Mrs. Lauren Fish has moved into Mrs. Marsden’s former office.

Classroom moves also occured this summer:

  • The Pre-Kindergarten room moved from the basement to the first floor to be situated with the other Early Years classrooms. Pre-K took over what used to be the mini-makerspace which moved down the hallway.
  • The Lower School art room has found new quarters in the basement in the former Pre-K EDP room. The move closer to the music rooms will help establish a fine arts space for more creative energy.
  • Fifth grade classrooms were moved to the second floor in an effort to define the Middle School classrooms (grades 6-8) on the third floor. Ms. Jillian Boudreau, Lower School Dean of Students also moved to the third floor to the former office occupied by Sr. Jeanne Frechette who is now in room 326.
  • On the Upper School side, Mrs. Nicole McKnelly’s room is now on the third floor across from Mrs. Laura Cosgrove to locate the math rooms together. Mrs. Gaye Smith’s room moved to the first floor across from Mrs. Deborah Authier’s room.

Information Technology

The Information Technology department purchased two interactive projectors for the Upper School math department as well as a very cost effective, yet highly secure security software solution called Comodo. The software encompasses an anti-virus and firewall client solution, with advanced management tools and web protection. While this is a major initiative on the IT front, it is mostly transparent to the computer and user.

Picnic Tables

Several deteriorating picnic tables were replaced by four adult-sized and one child-sized octagon shaped tables. They have been placed in the front playground, the back playground and by the gymnasium.

Playground Swing

A new swing set is on order for the back playground. Its arrival was delayed by the manufacturer, but it is expected this week and will be installed right away.

Catholic-SNDeN Identity

To reinforce our Catholic identity and our commitment to our Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (SNDeN) mission, every classroom, office, and meeting space now bears either a 18” x 24” poster or canvas wall hanging featuring St. Julie Billiart, our mission statement, and the Hallmarks of a Notre Dame community. In addition, the main front parlor now features an enlarged (32” x 48”) Mission/Hallmarks canvas as well as a matching sized canvas depicting SNDeN Around the World. A new, larger, framed portrait of Pope Francis also hangs in the main parlor.
The Hallmarks will also be highlighted prominently in the main foyer. Eight 48” long cloth banners will hang flush on four pillars on each side of the stair well. The banners, which are currently being produced, will depict the SNDeN logo and the wording of each hallmark.

Branding Survey

A review of the NDA brand and campaign messaging was initiated to determine how they resonate with our internal and external audiences. The goals are to develop new or fine tune existing taglines and slogans and to develop clear and concise value propositions. Phase one of the review, an online survey, has been completed. The survey was emailed to current parents, faculty and staff, members of the board of directors, alumni, incoming freshmen, and parents of prospective students who didn’t enroll. Phase two will be a mini-focus group to be conducted by our advertising agency at some point before the holidays and phase three will be man-on-the-street interviews of people at two shopping areas during the holiday shopping season. 

New Staff Welcomes

We said goodbye and good luck to several members of our faculty and staff over the summer resulting in the welcome of new faces among our Academy family. Please take the time to introduce yourself to:

  • Danielle Crawford, Grade 2 Assistant Teacher
  • Caitlin Dwyer, Grade 3 teacher 
  • Lauren Fish, Upper School Guidance Counselor
  • Stephen Flynn, Grade 7-8 English Language Arts Teacher
  • Sigifredo Jara, K-8 World Languages Teacher
  • Elisa Lellios, Acting Admissions Director
  • Jocelyn Saltzman, Extended Day Program (EDP) and Enrichment Director
  • Caitlyn Shea, Early Years Learning Specialist
  • Kristen Bowes Stella ‘02 , Institutional Advancement Coordinator


Lastly, let us remember our mission and what it means to be a Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur school as we focus ourselves this year on Hallmark #4: "We commit ourselves to Community Service" and Hallmark #6: “We create community among those with whom we work and with those we serve.”

We look forward to a wonderful new school year!