NDA In The News

Notre Dame Academy Board of Trustees Elects Three New Members to Board: Mary Beth Burke, Patricia Peterleitner, and Sean Rose

Worcester, MA- Thursday, August 7, 2020- Notre Dame Academy is pleased to announce three new appointees to their Board of Directors: Mary Beth Burke, Patricia Peterleitner, and Sean Rose.

Mary Beth Burke

Mary Beth is a well-educated, energetic, well-respected member of the Worcester Community with experience in the public and private sector. Mary Beth most recently worked at the Worcester Regional Research Bureau as Research Associate and Director of Internships. She also has extensive teaching experience at the collegiate level. She co-founded The Abby Kelly Foster Charter School and is also involved in the Diocese of Worcester, most recently being asked to serve on the curriculum committee

for a newly merged Catholic school. Mary Beth views having a faith-based, all-girls school in Central MA as a necessity. As the mother of nine, she feels strongly about the importance of children and parents having a choice in their education, and sees how NDA plays a very important role in giving young women a choice when matriculating to a middle school or high school. One of her daughters is an Notre Dame Academy graduate and one is presently a student.

Patricia Nelligan Peterleitner

“Patti” is a Notre Dame Academy alum and an accomplished career educator.  Currently, as an Independent Educational Consultant, Assessment Strategist, Pathways Coach, and Academic Mentor, Patti founded Journey, a high impact program offering students complete educational, explorational, and personal development guidance. Prior, as the Head of Worcester Academy’s Upper School, the Director of Worcester Academy’s Center for Learning, an Assessment Specialist in Worcester Public Schools,  a member of the Massachusetts Mathematics Assessment Development Committee,  the MCAS Appeals Board, and as a Portfolio Competency Reviewer,  Patti also held multiple faculty positions in Mathematics and Science at area public and private high schools.  Patti’s leadership, cultural competence, and strategic planning experience will support the alignment of NDA’s mission and vision as it continues to expand as a multi-cultural global community. Patti is enthusiastic for the opportunity to further support NDA by contributing her understanding of quality high impact academics through authentic purposeful community-based learning.   She believes through fostering relationships within the alumni community, further establishing opportunities for community partnerships, and being visible and accessible will help catapult NDA’s rich growth potential. 

Sean Rose 

Sean Rose is currently the President & CEO of Thrive Support and Advocacy. Sean has 25 years of experience in the fields of mental health and education. Sean is a passionate leader who has creatively partnered with others to maximize their potential. Sean is the founder and co-owner of Point School, an exclusive Gap Year program in Puerto Rico that promotes wellness through an adventure-based and experiential learning curriculum. He is also the founder and owner of Worcester Union Athletics, an organization dedicated to empowering young women through sports and community service. Sean's wife is a graduate of Notre Dame Academy. As a father of four daughters, Sean has dedicated himself to women's leadership initiatives.

Update On NDA COVID-19 Precautions

Update on NDA COVID-19 Precautions
(an excerpt from "A View From My Home Office" July 15, 2020)

COVID-19 has contributed to the permanent closure of 130 Catholic schools across 23 states, many in our own community. Additionally, surveys show ten percent of Catholic schools are now uncertain if they can open their doors this fall. For those schools that are fortunate to remain open, we will have additional unbudgeted but necessary expenses related to COVID precautions this year. At NDA, we will continue to spend funds prudently and we will also be looking at a number of new fundraising activities this fall to help defray the significant costs associated with the needs that have arisen due to this pandemic.

In order to determine the scope of these needs, which span building supplies, PPE, and technology, the Academic and Student Experience and Safety and Wellness Task Forces have met many times and are making significant progress in the planning of our specific return to school plans. Below please find some highlights shared by Mrs. Susan Butler, Principal, and Ms. Emily Haley, Dean of Students, who are leading the Academic and Safety and Wellness Task Forces, respectively.

The Academic Task Force is:

  • Preparing for three types of classroom engagement- on campus, hybrid, and online - for this coming Fall
  • Utilizing feedback from family/student/faculty survey results to expand and improve all aspects of distance learning
  • Setting up physical classrooms with technology (cameras, microphones) to offer synchronous in class and distance learning while ensuring the capability of our wireless bandwidth
  • Preparing faculty to create clear, content-rich lesson plans that may be shared both in-person and via distance learning. Faculty will attend one of two three-day professional development workshops offered in July and August
  • Enhancing our G-Suite for Education platform by upgrading it with Enterprise
  • Preparing family tutorials for accessing Google Classroom materials, resources, and assignments
  • Working in collaboration with the Safety and Wellness Task Force to create classroom space that follows DESE return to school guidelines, including desks 3 feet apart

The Safety and Wellness Task Force is:

  • Ordering appropriate PPE for students and staff
  • Preparing signage centered on new protocols
  • Establishing an increased cleaning schedule and checklist
  • Determining space usage (e.g. no lockers this fall, entrance/exit doors to classrooms, staggered dismissals)
  • Creating resources and wellness plans (to aid in coping with stress and anxiety)
  •  Exploring options for foodservice provided by The Rebel Cafe
  • Utilizing outdoor space and additional seating for class use and free periods to encourage students to be outside whenever possible

With all of this in mind, NDA is moving forward with the primary goal to be back on campus this Fall. Of course, if at any time, the environment or government guidelines change, NDA will also be ready to alter our plan as necessary. Faculty, staff, and student safety is paramount, and we will not return to 425 Salisbury Street unless we are confident that we have completed all of the necessary planning to make it safe to do so.

As a small independent school, Notre Dame Academy has the unique ability and physical space to deliver a strong academic education while still being able to adhere to the current safety guidelines. Also, we continue to enhance our ability to address the social-emotional health of our students and families amidst a very stressful situation.


Notre Dame Academy Eight New Faculty and Staff Members

Notre Dame Academy Welcomes New Faculty and Staff Members

Notre Dame Academy is excited to announce our newest Faculty and staff Members joining our team in the Fall of 2020. Please join us in welcoming Ms. Baker, Mr. Bennett, Mrs. Cook, Mrs. Coulson, Miss Daigle, Ms. Goyette, Miss Inman, Mrs. Shipp, and Mrs. Isakson. We are welcoming quite a few more faculty and staff members to our school, so please stay tuned for those announcements later this summer!

Lindsay Baker
Office Manager

Lindsay Baker graduated from Notre Dame Academy in 2013 and went on to attend Nichols College to study Hospitality Management and Sport Management. While at Nichols she participated and co headed the establishment of the first ever Dance Team. She was involved in the Hospitality Club and participated in a three-day Leadership Program with Walt Disney World. Lindsay graduated Nichols College in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and in 2018 with a Master’s degree in Business Administration. Her roles since college have focused on customer service and event planning. She has had the opportunity to work for such organizations as Fenway, Lou & Grey (Ann Taylor Inc.), Mohegan Sun, and National Grid. She is an avid traveler having already traveled to 9 countries and 31 states. Because of this passion she was able to study abroad in London, England where she attended Regents University for a semester. Her all-time favorite place to travel to is Walt Disney World.

Jonathan Bennett
Humanities Academic Lead/Lead English Teacher

Jonathan Bennett was born and raised in Cincinnati. He graduated from St. Xavier High School and attended Miami University (Ohio). His undergraduate was in Creative Writing and Literature, and he earned his Master’s degree in Adolescent Language Arts Education. He has taught for six years in Chicago public schools and for four years at a Christian high school in southern California. He is excited to move to Massachusetts with his wife, Nicole, and two children, Charlotte (4 years old) and Henry (born in March).

Sam Cook
Social Studies Teacher

Sam Cook has been teaching in a local private school for the last six years. Originally from Chicago, Illinois, she grew up south of Boston and made her way to central Massachusetts after high school. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with an undergraduate certificate in Organizational Leadership from Thomas Edison State University. She currently teachers in the special education department where she works with students with various learning struggles. In the past she has also taught middle school social studies, math, and 8th grade Bible. Outside of school, she can be found diving into a good book, adventuring with her husband, or playing soccer on a local co-ed team. “I am so excited to be joining the team at NDA and look forward to meeting each of you in the near future!”

Monique Coulson
Science Teacher

Monique Coulson is a 20-year teaching veteran who has spent the vast majority of that time working in a public high school setting. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Biology, her Post-baccalaureate degree in Education, and is currently working on a Leadership and Administration Master’s degree. Monique brings 14 years of experience teaching AP Biology and 10 years of experience teaching AP Environmental Science. She is a college board approved presenter for both AP Biology and AP Environmental Science (APES) as well as a registered test reader for APES through the College Board. Through the years, she has overseen science departments, been a class advisor, led numerous school-based committees, in addition to being a teacher mentor and coach. Monique has spent the last several summers working with the Boston Leadership Institute, running their week-long intensive Anatomy and Physiology program as well as programs in medicinal plants, Introduction to Surgery, and World Medicine. Monique is mother to four children- 23, 19, 7, and 6. She enjoys exploring and explaining nature and all its wonder with her husband and two youngest children.

Meredith Daigle
Religious Studies Teacher

Meredith Daigle is originally from Belle Rose, Louisiana. She recently graduated from Providence College with a degree in Political Science and Theology. During her time at Providence, she worked closely with the Admission Office, where she conducted interviews for prospective students and assisted the admission counselors. She was also involved in Campus Ministry as a peer minister, retreat leader, and volunteer coordinator. One of her most memorable experiences at Providence was studying abroad in Paris, France for a semester. While at Providence College Meredith interned with an NGO called Women’s World Wide Web, which crowdfunds for women’s rights and empowerment. “I’m super excited to join the NDA family because of my passion for women’s education and the great community!” Meredith is currently getting her Master of Education degree from Providence College and is part of their PACT program.

Sharon Goyette
Lead Social Studies Teacher

Sharon Goyette is a veteran social studies teacher joining the Notre Dame Academy staff. Mrs. Goyette has more than a decade of experience teaching social studies. She has spent the majority of her career teaching ancient civilizations at the Robert E. Melican Middle School in Northborough. She has also taught in Stow and Springfield. Mrs. Goyette holds a B.A. in History from Johns Hopkins University and a Master’s degree in Education from UMass-Amherst. In addition to teaching history, Mrs. Goyette enjoys reading, cooking, spinning, and leading a Jimmy Fund Walk team. 

Lauren Inman
English Teacher/Dance Teacher

Lauren Inman, a Worcester native, graduated from Notre Dame Academy in 2016 and went on to receive her Bachelor of Arts with a major in English and a minor in education from the College of the Holy Cross. She discovered her love of teaching through her work as a dance and swim instructor throughout high school and is excited to be back in the classroom at her alma mater. Lauren is currently working towards her Master of Education from Providence College and is a part of their PACT program.

Paula Isakson
Religious Studies Academic Lead/Lead Religious Studies Teacher/Director, St. Julie Division and Campus Ministry

Paula Isakson is a veteran educator with more than 30 years of experience teaching English Language Arts and Religion in the Diocese of Worcester. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Assumption College in language and religious studies. A Massachusetts certified teacher and a certified catechist, Mrs. Isakson has completed graduate work in education. She is currently pursuing a certification as a Sheltered Content Instruction Teacher for English language learners. According to Mrs. Isakson, teachers must be continuously learning to better teach their students. “As teachers, I believe we need to be constantly preparing ourselves to provide the best instruction for our students.” Among her pursuits are gardening, sea glass hunting, and reading. She lives in Worcester with her husband, Neil, her two children, Emily and Josh, and her beloved Shitzhu, Maggie.

Denise Shipp
Math Teacher

Denise Shipp is a certified Math Teacher and has taught at area Catholic schools for 16 years. She came to teaching after almost 20 years as a software engineer. She brings real-life experience into the classroom as a key component to education. She is a proud alum of NDA, and holds a BA in Mathematics from Assumption and a BS and MS in Computer Science from WPI.  She is looking forward to driving through “the gates” and walking the halls of NDA again in her new role!

Notre Dame Academy Welcomes Caitlyn Germain as New Co-Athletic Director

Notre Dame Academy Welcomes Caitlyn Germain as New Co-Athletic Director

Notre Dame Academy is excited to welcome Caitlyn Germain to our Athletic Department where she will serve as Co-Athletic Director with long-time NDA Athletic Director Patricia Provost.

Caitlyn will be bringing a myriad of teaching and coaching experiences to Notre Dame Academy and our Athletic program. Caitlyn comes to Notre Dame Academy after teaching Physical Education and Health as well as coaching with the soccer, basketball, and lacrosse programs at Burlington High School. She is a graduate of the MIAA Leadership Training Institute and received her license as a Supervisor/Director while interning with the Burlington Athletic Department. Along with this experience Caitlyn interned for Kraft Sports Group, Boston University Fitness and Recreation Department, and the College of the Holy Cross Athletic Department. 

Caitlyn moved back to Worcester in 2018 to be closer to family and raise her one year old daughter, Kennedy. For the past year she coached the Sutton High Girls Soccer team and taught Health at Claremont Academy in Worcester.  Before starting her career as an educator, Caitlyn received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware. She received her B.S. in Sport Management with concentrations in Business and Legal Studies and her M.ED. in Leadership with a concentration in Sport Administration. Caitlyn competed on the Women's Soccer Team at the University of Delaware where she was a Colonial Athletic Association All-Star and was nominated as a CoSIDA ESPN Academic All-American selection.

She is an alumna of St. Peter-Marian where she was named an All-American soccer player in 2005 and was inducted into the St. Peter Marian Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016. Caitlyn truly values the role that high school athletic participation plays in providing student-athletes with life lessons and preparing them for success in the real world. She is excited to take on this role and continue the proud tradition of success at Notre Dame.

Caitlyn will be working with Patricia Provost to manage the Athletics Program and teach physical education classes. Working together as a team, we are confident that they will have both the history and the expertise to re-imagine the NDA athletics program of the future.

Please join us in welcoming Caitlyn Germain to the NDA Community. Go Rebels!

Notre Dame Academy Board of Trustees Announces Head of School

A Message From Renee Mikitarian-Bradley P'12, Chair-Board of Trustees

During this unusual time, the Notre Dame Academy staff and faculty have worked tirelessly to ensure that our students continue to thrive and receive the education that has made NDA graduates women who are strong contributors to their communities. Students and parents have expressed their appreciation for the dedication and commitment to academic excellence that has been demonstrated over the past few weeks.  This is a statement to the passion, experience and commitment of our NDA faculty, staff and supporters.

The Board of Trustees is proud of this incredible response, ensuring that our students continue to receive high quality education as well as attention to their mental health and well-being during this challenging time. We continue to achieve our vision of inspiring young women to achieve their personal best in order to become forward thinkers and future leaders whose unique gifts will impact the world. 

As we continue the successful implementation of our Strategic Plan, the Board of Trustees believes it is important to regularly evaluate and assemble a strong leadership team. 

As such, we are pleased to announce that effective immediately, Lisa Mancini, who was named Interim Head of School in November, will continue to lead the Academy as Head of School. Lisa is an ‘88 NDA graduate, the parent of an ’18 graduate and the past Chair of the Board of Trustees.  Transitioning from a successful corporate career, in just a few short months, Lisa has been very visible and made remarkable progress in advancing the mission of NDA and creating an engaged NDA community. As Head of School, Lisa will continue to provide spiritual, academic and administrative leadership and vision, while spearheading the Academy’s enrollment growth, fiscal stability and development initiatives.

As part of Lisa’s initial evaluation of NDA operations and talent, she recently shared the Academy’s 20-21 organizational structure with the Board. Today, I am pleased to also share that two members of the current leadership team will be promoted into new roles as we begin the new school year.  

Susan Butler is being named Principal of NDA grades 7-12.  Mrs. Butler is an ‘85 graduate of NDA, parent of an ‘11 graduate and recently received her M. Ed. Leadership and Management. Susan has been with NDA as a faculty member for 20 years and most recently also as Head of the Saint Julie Division. In her role as Principal, Susan will be the educational leader of the Academy, overseeing all facets of its instructional program, including curriculum design and delivery, faculty performance and development, and student expectations. 

Emily Haley is being named Dean of Students. Ms. Haley has been at NDA for 16 years and most recently as Director of Student Services. She will be awarded her Post-Master’s Certificate in Educational Leadership and Administration this summer.  As Dean of Students, Emily will oversee Guidance, Health and Wellness, Registration, and the Learning Commons, conferring with parents, teachers, counselors, support service personnel, outside agencies, and students on matters of discipline and student well-being. In addition, Emily will administer the co-curricular and extra-curricular programs.  

These leadership appointments are coming at a time when NDA is positioned to continue the positive momentum it has achieved in our Strategic Plan. We are extremely fortunate to have these strong women leaders who are not only committed to educating our young women and fulfilling the mission of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, but who lead as role models, demonstrating the values that make a successful NDA graduate; Character – Community – Commitment.

Please join the Board of Trustees in extending your congratulations and support to our new leaders!



Renee Mikitarian-Bradley, ‘P12
Chair, Board of Trustees