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Kids on Campus Biographies

Melanie Adams is an Assistant Professor of Human Performance and Movement Science at KSC. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach and completed a PhD in Exercise and Sport Psychology. Since coming to KSC, she has taken students out of the classroom to work with older adults, college employees, and those who have physically demanding jobs.

EJ Albin is an alumni of Keene State College and current Early Childhood Educator at The Advent School in Boston. She has a Masters of Education in Teacher Leadership with a concentration on Literacy. This will be EJ’s 7th year teaching at Kids on Campus. She is deeply committed to helping students feel confident and capable as learners and as members of the community.

Caitlin Bennett is a second grade teacher at The Advent School in Boston. Caitlin taught for several years in the United Kingdom before moving to Boston. She has a Masters of Education in Elementary Education. Caitlin’s favorite moments in teaching are those when students are fully engaged in individual or collaborative learning experiences, feeling confident to make decisions and take risks.

Len Crossman is the assistant director of Campus Safety at Keene State College. Len is also a certified police officer in Massachusetts and has been involved in the DARE program for over 20 years. He currently serves on the Northeast Regional DARE Training Team as a mentor to new D.A.R.E. Officers and is an adjunct faculty member at Franklin Pierce University.

Melissa Crotto-Young has been an English Language Arts and reading teacher for the past 14 years.In addition, she is a Girl Scout co-leader for Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors. She has run recreational camps for varied ages. In her spare time, she enjoys crafting and baking with her two young daughters, as well as running, spending time outside, reading, and traveling.

Allison Davidson is a Clinical Faculty in the Nursing Program at Keene State College. Allison is a registered nurse with over 20 years of experience in nursing. She has experience in emergency nursing, critical care, and nursing education.

Rotina Gong is currently a certified schoolteacher. She’s been working with children for over 20 years. She was born in Hong Kong and grew up in New York City. Rotina holds a BA and M. Ed. She lives in Rindge with her family. Sean Malone is a high school math teacher at Nashua High School North. A recent Keene State grad, Sean worked as a Kids on Campus counselor before finishing his degree.

John Gurney is the author and illustrator of the picture book Dinosaur Train, and he is the illustrator of over 140 chapter books, including The A to Z Mysteries, The Calendar Mysteries and The Bailey School Kids. Fuzzy Baseball, his first graphic novel for young readers, was published last year.

Lisa Hix is an Assistant Professor in Keene State College’s Sustainable Product Design and Innovation department. Dr. Hix joined Keene State in 2002 after a successful career in manufacturing.

Julia Imbarrato teaches Science at Keene High and Biology at Keene State College.

Jillian Leclaire recently graduated from Keene State College with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. After graduation she began working in the Hinsdale School District. She has also worked at the Hinsdale Summer Camp for the past eight years, planning games and activities for children in grades first through eighth. She strives to foster a creative environment where children can learn while having fun.

Kristen Leach is a proud alumna of Keene State College. She received a Bachelor of Science in elementary education and concentrated in vocal performance. Upon graduating in 2005, Kristen taught dance theatre at the Dublin School for several years before becoming part of the artistic faculty for the New Hampshire Dance Institute (NHDI) and MoCo Arts. Kristen is now serving in her eighth year as Artistic Director of NHDI, a non-profit performing arts education organization that inspires excellence and introduces children to dance as part of their school day. There are currently over 2500 children in the Monadnock Region participating in NHDI! She also serves as choreographer for MoCo Art’s teen theatre class, Monadnock High School drama club, Keene High School drama club, the Lions’ Club annual theatrical production and Vermont Academy’s winter dance intensive.

Shari Osborn is an art museum and historic site educator. She has worked with museums, libraries, municipalities, and a broad range of schools on scholarly and popular exhibitions, public art installations, youth camps, lifetime learning programs, and collaborative projects. She is currently museum educator at the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery, where she recently prototyped a home-school art museum program, re-designed the gallery lobby, and re-started the Thorne’s education program. Osborn earned her BA in Political Science at Marist College and her MA in American History at SUNY Albany.

Leslie Percival is the owner of LuvINK&Paper Studio in Keene. She has worked in Keene Elementary schools for 14 years. She holds degrees in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education. Her interests include paper crafting, reading and children’s literature.

Emilia Whippie Prior teaches 4th and 5th grade at Nelson School. Emilia has a passion for theater. She has been involved in a number of small and large productions locally, both on stage and off, and now enjoys organizing plays with her students. Emilia also holds a degree in social science and enjoys helping history come alive for students. In 2015, she and her husband wrote their first book together, Patriot Papers, which focuses on making the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution more accessible for middle-school students. Emilia also enjoys gardening, needle felting, sewing, reading, and traveling. She and her husband live on a small farm with their cows, chickens, and bees.

JJ Prior is a fifth grade teacher at Fuller Elementary School in Keene. He enjoys beekeeping, photography, playing with cows, and learning new things about the world around him! JJ is a graduate of KSC, where he was a photographer and editor of the student newspaper. He holds a BA in Social Science and M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction.

Kristin Roach is the 3/4 teacher at Nelson School. A graduate of Keene State College, she also teaches technology workshops for teachers. Kristin and her husband are parents to an energetic young son and a Portuguese Water Dog.

Susan Silk has recently retired from a position as Career Counselor at the Cheshire Career Center in the Keene School District. A graduate of Keene State College, she is passionate about all things STEM!

Mandi Slate was a school counselor and prevention educator in this area for many years. She is currently employed at the Birth to Three program through Monadnock Developmental Services. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a Masters in Education-Counseling. She is the mother to two "nearly grown" daughters who grew up loving all things American Girl.

Linda Stavely teaches cooking in the CALL program at KSC, Keene Community Education, Sunflowers in Jaffrey as well as privately. She caters events and parties also.

Certified K-8 teacher Tina Thayer is a KSC graduate, and recently earned her Masters in Education. Tina has taught first through fourth grades, and currently teaches at Mt. Caesar School in Swanzey. Thayer integrates the Picturing Writing Program, created by Beth Olshansky, in her work with her students.

Brittiny Walker has been a Preschool teacher at Keene State Colleges Child Development Center for the past 3 years. She is a graduate of West Virginia University and before moving to NH previously was a lead preschool teacher in VT for 2 years. She is responsible for piloting and directing the Child Development Centers Kids on Campus nature camp for the past 2 years. Brittiny previously trained with the Harris Center’s summer program and co-taught with one of their top naturalists.

Eric Weiss is a teacher, puppet builder, & the owner of Homeslice Puppetry. Eric has a degree from SUNY Buffalo and has won an award in professional puppet building from BJ Guyer and the Stan Winston School of Character Arts. He has also been a teacher and program coordinator with Nature’s Classroom for 13 years. Although primarily self-taught in the field of puppetry, he has been building and teaching puppetry for around 12 years. The thing that Eric loves the most about puppetry is how it is an art that draws from so many different art forms and inspires so much creativity.

Ling Xue, an Alumni of Keene State College, is a Web Technician with Youth Services Department, City of Keene and holds degrees in Architecture and Computer Science. She was an Instructor of Graphic Design with Da Vinci College, Canada and had experiences working with children grade K-10 as a Scouts Leader and a Language/Arts teacher in Canada and Germany.