Faculty and Staff

Head of School

Christine Braunohler Hanson
Head of School

B.A. Oberlin College - Environmental Studies and M. Ed Mills College

Being an NLS parent in 2016 transformed my view as an educator. Seeing such a pure manifestation of ‘whole child’ education reminded me of why I started teaching.

Christine Braunohler Hanson graduated from Mills College with a Master’s in Education in 2006. She has worked as a classroom teacher for the past twelve years in Piedmont, California. With an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies from Oberlin College, she has a passion for bringing environmental science into the classroom, connecting children’s keen observations to hands-on experiences. Working as a member of Piedmont’s Instructional Leadership Team and as a Mills Teacher Scholar, she has long participated in the deeper discussions about the role of educators. Christine has received training in literacy instruction from the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, social emotional training through Think Social, and social justice education through Teaching Tolerance, the educational arm of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Christine and her husband, Chris, are moving to Nantucket this June with their three sons Avery, Zeal, and Sidney. Three years ago, they fell in love with not only fall, but winter and spring when they spent a sabbatical year on Nantucket. In her free time, Christine can be found gardening and painting.

508-228-0427 Extension 1011 chanson@nantucketlighthouseschool.org

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Faculty

Ana Valeria Alonzo
Spanish Teacher

Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de la República. Escuela de nutrición, Universidad de la República. Montevideo Uruguay

Valeria was born in Uruguay where she studied Medicine and Nutrition. She moved to Nantucket eight years ago and gradually fell in love with the Island. Valeria is a yoga instructor and teaches at one of the local island yoga studios. In her free time, Valeria practices yoga, reads and enjoys the peace and nature of the island.

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Joni Amaral
Upper Primary Teacher

Framingham State University – B.S. Elementary Education with a minor in the Arts, Lesley University M.Ed. in Education with an Interdisciplinary in Integrated Teaching Through the Arts

Over the past sixteen years, I feel honored to have taught students, preschool through fifth grade, in Maine, Germany, Japan, and Massachusetts. Working closely with children fills my heart with great joy and challenges me to find new and different ways to present new information/concepts.  I am passionate about using the Arts to enhance and enrich educational experiences for diverse learning styles and abilities.  I am inspired by these ever-varied experiences as my own love of learning continues. 

I love playing on the beach, being out on the water, or exploring different parts of the island with my husband Pedro and our children, Sawyer and Luciana.  I also enjoy traveling, taking photos, oil painting, and practicing yoga. Snuggling, while reading books, with my children is an ideal way for me to end a busy day.

I am thrilled to join the Lighthouse School family as both an Upper Primary teacher and as a parent - Sawyer and Luciana will be spending their days in this magical place as well!

“By creating learning environments where creativity is part of human intelligence, where social skills are essential for learning, where dance, music and all the arts are integral to the identity of student, classroom, and school, we create an academic balance that is truly healthy – a balance based on the harmony of body, mind, spirit, and community.  In such an environment, students can walk in beauty on their paths to being powerful human beings, active citizens, and responsible contributors to the ongoing creative unfolding of life on this planet.”

-Nick Page
(educator, composer, conductor, and author)

508-228-0427 Extension 1024 jamaral@nantucketlighthouseschool.org

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MaryAnn Bartlett
Grade 5 Teacher and Assistant Director of Middle School Program

Master's Degree in Language and Literacy and Reading Specialist Teacher Certification Grades K-12

MaryAnn has a master's degree in language and literacy and reading specialist teacher certification in grades K-12 from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She earned a school administrator license from Lesley University through the Massachusetts Elementary School Principal's Association (MESPA). In the not-too-distant past on Nantucket she raised two sons (Casey and Russell Bartlett) and worked in a variety of capacities including as a Private Reading Specialist with Sandy Mitchell and Kathy Butterworth in Nantucket Reading and Writing Associates, and as director, lead teacher, and board member of St. Paul's Cooperative Nursery School.

For the last 10 years MaryAnn has traveled abroad to teach, work, and live in other “countries” including Cairo Egypt, Hong Kong SAR, Dennis MA, and most recently Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Vietnam where she was the principal of the PK-4 campus of American International School for Vietnamese and expat students. MaryAnn enjoys learning about people and their history and culture and learning about nature, especially by scuba diving; she has traveled to the Red Sea, Andaman Sea, Raja Ampat, and the Celebes Sea to dive. MaryAnn also loves a good book or word game, yoga, baking, listening to music, and having dinner parties with her friends and family.

mbartlett@nantucketlighthouseschool.org

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Alana Cullen
Small School Teacher

B.A. Salve Regina University in Newport, RI --English and Anthropology

Alana is a maker and mother of two. She's been working with children for over 15 years as a camp counselor, nanny and daycare provider. She marvels at the intelligence, creativity and humor of young children. Alana has a passion for empowering children, each in their own unique learning journey, through the exploration of nature, handcrafts and everyday objects.

When she's not in her garden you'll find her exploring the island with her two young sons and seeking the magic in every day.

508-228-0427 Extension 1017 acullen@nantucketlighthouseschool.org

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Jillian Fraker
Upper Primary Teacher

B.A. Trinity College, Hartford, CT | M.F.A. The New School, New York, NY

Jillian Fraker is a teacher, writer and surfer. Jillian is thrilled to join the team of educators at Nantucket Lighthouse School as an upper primary school teacher. She is drawn to the schools commitment of the whole child. Jillian was born and raised on Nantucket and she is excited to return to the island after finishing her masters degree in creative writing at The New School in New York City.

508.228.0427 jfraker@nantucketlighthouseschool.org

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Stephen Gallo
Extended Day Teacher

Seven years ago, Stephen was pulled-ashore by his future wife, Tiffany. Together they put down roots and started a family. Today, Stephen is a full-time dad to his three children, and a Playgroup Specialist through the Nantucket Community School. After 15 years of managing and mentoring teens and adults in the food and hospitality industry, Stephen is excited to further integrate his past experience with his current passion for student enrichment and education. Stephen will be serving as Nantucket Lighthouse School’s Extended Day Teacher.

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Tiffany Gallo
Grade 6/7 Teacher

Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre, Directing and Performance

Tiffany has a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre, Directing and Performance from the University of Rhode Island. While Tiffany’s training is in the performing arts, her real passion is in using the arts to teach, develop empathy and expand students’ understanding of the world and their relationship to it. With White Heron’s Creative Director Jimmy Calitri, Tiffany co-conceived a theatre for societal change project entitled Someone Else’s Story. This past May, students worked with Jimmy, Tiffany and playwright Stacy Koloski to create a presentation that explored issues of social shaming and labeling.

Recently, while working with award-winning filmmaker and teacher Jay Craven, Tiffany brought the Nantucket Young Playwrights program to middle school students. She has also collaborated with Michelle Birmingham of Nantucket Ballet to conceive and produce Poetry In Motion, an inter-generational program that explores the intersection of text and movement. Last year’s program focused on the poetry of Shel Silverstein. 

Tiffany has been living and working on Nantucket since she arrived 8 years ago. She is the wife of her high school sweetheart and the mother of three Nantucket natives. Tiffany has been educating students through the arts for the past 13 years, always helping to build bridges between students’ studies and their real-world experiences. She is proud to be a part of the Nantucket Lighthouse School community, a community that inspires a life-long love of learning in each individual student.

tgallo@nantucketlighthouseschool.org

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Allison Gayo
Primary Teacher

B.A. Psychology, Vassar College

Allison grew up in Northern New Jersey and studied at Vassar College, in the lush Hudson Valley of New York, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. At Vassar, Allison found her passion for the natural world while working at a local farm dedicated to community, education, and food justice.

After graduating in 2014, she traveled to Nantucket to teach environmental education at the Maria Mitchell Association and quickly fell in love with the magic of the island community. Allison balances her passions for creative education, teaching at Nantucket Lighthouse School, and caring for plants at Surfing Hydrangea nursery.

Allison is excited for this new adventure in her 4th year at NLS. With a passion for experiential, environmental, and arts education, she is constantly inspired by the school’s tireless team of teachers and staff. Allison is looking forward to this new opportunity to learn from her mentors and continue her work of nurturing compassion, individuality, and expression in the classroom.

In her free time, Allison loves being outside- walking, running, and biking around this beautiful island, or at home-  reading, writing, cooking, and creating art with friends. In the community, Allison finds joy in volunteering with Food Rescue Nantucket and co-founding Nantucket Creative Reuse, an initiative to promote creative reuse in an effort to reduce waste on the island.

508-228-0427 agayo@nantucketlighthouseschool.org

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Meg Glidden
Middle School Math Teacher & 7th/8th Science Teacher

B.S. Microbiology/UMass/Amherst, 1982

After college Meg moved to Nantucket and worked as an EMT, lab tech and Childbirth Educator. She taught Science at Nantucket Christian Academy. She homeschooled her six children in all subjects for over 20 years. She has an enormous garden and a passion for music, playing both guitar and flute. She loves teaching her students to write computer programs.  Meg is thrilled to be working with your kids to discover the wonders of mathematics and the beauty of science. Her current favorite number, also a favorite of the ancient Chaldeans, is 360.

508-228-0427 mglidden@nantucketlighthouseschool.org

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Rain Harbison
Director of Horticulture

Rain is passionate about being a good steward of this earth, while organically growing food, herbs, flowers and pollinator-friendly plants with respect for all creatures.

Rain's Nantucket gardening experience began in 1993 at Bartlett's Farm and she has been organically gardening both professionally and at home with her children, friends, neighbors, clients (and some strangers and distant family members while on vacation) ever since. Her lifelong love of growing things sprouted in her great grandmother's backyard oasis. There she fell in love with the raining cherry blossoms, sweet smelling hyacinths and vegetables tucked in among the hollyhocks and sunflowers. She considered this beautiful garden a surprise to find given that it was in a tiny city backyard. Ever since then, Rain has found ways and places, no matter how small, to grow a variety of plants.

Rain is passionate about composting, crop rotation, companion planting, seed saving, beneficial insects and finding delicious and nutricious recipes to use up a harvest.

When the weather is too foul for walking in her gardens, you will find Rain playing in her greenhouse, canning in her kitchen, sewing eco-friendly gifts in her studio, making salves, lip blams and surf wax, or collecting seaweed for mulch at the beach.  

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Alicia Keller
Little Lighthouse Teacher

B.S. Hartford College/Central Connecticut State -- Arts Education

An accomplished educator, weaver, cook, and avid boater, Alicia took a year off from teaching to sail the Caribbean. Since her return, she continues to develop our Small School program.

Alicia developed and taught the Children's Art Program at the Creative Arts Center in Chatham, MA. An accomplished weaver, cook, and avid boater, Alicia raised and home-schooled her two sons Carl and Noah here on Nantucket with her husband Carl Keller. Alicia has taught art education programs at NISDA, the Maria Mitchell Museum, and the Nantucket Atheneum. She has taught art and served as a Teaching Assistant at the Nantucket Elementary School. Alicia joined the Lighthouse faculty in 2004 and has been integral to the vibrant Small School program ever since. Even though Alicia officially retired this summer, we are lucky to keep her involved through our Little Lightouse program.

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Julia Maury
Small School Teacher

BA from Columbia University, EEC Lead Teacher Certified, American Montessori Society Certified

Julia grew up on Nantucket. She attended Columbia University in New York City, where she earned her BA in American Studies. While in college, she lived abroad in Cape Town, South Africa and tutored young children in language, writing, and life skills. Julia has her certification as a Lead Teacher with the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and received her certification in Early Childhood Education with the American Montessori Society. She spent two years as a Lead Teacher at the Montessori Children’s House of Nantucket and has previously held the positions of Extended Day Instructor and Primary Class teacher at Nantucket Lighthouse School.

508-228-0427 Extension 1018 jmaury@nantucketlighthouseschool.org

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Sandy Mitchell
Teacher Mentor and Literacy Planning & Development

B.S. Gordon College of Education- Elementary Education, Reading Consultant K-12

With over 30 years' experience as an educator and K-12 Reading Consultant, Sandy brings her love for nature and books into her classroom and work with teachers.

In addition to tutoring students, ages 5-adult, Sandy began her career as a Language Therapist at, Linden Hill School, a private school for dyslexic students. She was also a special needs and Title I reading instructor in the Rockport and Gloucester Public Schools, a preschool instructor for second language learners and a grades 3/4 classroom teacher before moving to Nantucket in 1987. Sandy is grateful to John Miller, whose guidance and support enabled her to establish the Reading & Writing Program with Jim Sulzer at Nantucket Elementary School, where she served as Reading Specialist for 12 years. After building on her knowledge of children's literature in her work at the Weezie Library for Children, Sandy was thrilled to join the Lighthouse School in the newly formed Primary 5 class in 2005. Sandy enjoys traveling with her husband Carter and their children Caleb and Emily, discovering the beautiful lands and people in Cape Breton, St. Lucia, Costa Rica, Europe and most recently, New Zealand. Naturally, she is an avid reader, and loves to cook and explore the natural beauty of the island on her daily walks with Carter and their dog, Maya.

508-228-0427

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Russell Morash
Russell Morash Chair in Childhood Horticulture

Russ has been a longtime friend of Nantucket Lighthouse School and an inspiration to generations of gardeners and farmers.

As creator, director and executive producer, Russell Morash is credited with introducing the “how-to” concept to public television through his many award-winning series including “The Victory Garden,” “The French Chef with Julia Child” and “This Old House,” among others. Russ serves as the Chair of our horticulture studies and as an advisor to our Director of Horticulture.   


Russ and his wife Marian, author and founding chef of Nantucket’s Straight Wharf Restaurant, spend summers at their home in Shawkemo. There “he” grows and “she” cooks from a vast vegetable garden. Morash occasionally contributes columns in the Inquirer and Mirror on gardening as well as monthly items for the magazine “Nantucket Today.”

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Elizabeth Obremski
Music Teacher

Bachelors of Arts in Elementary Education and Theater from Wheelock College in Boston

Lizza Obremski grew up on Nantucket and has been working with children for over 20 years.  Upon graduating from Nantucket High School, a career in teaching seemed an obvious choice.  Lizza earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Theater from Wheelock College in Boston and then moved back to Nantucket, where she became a Teaching Assistant at Nantucket Elementary School.  She moved on to teach Small School at Nantucket Lighthouse School, where she discovered the philosophy on which she has based her work with children ever since.

In addition to her career on Nantucket, Lizza has taught in Beirut, Lebanon and Costa Rica. She is also the founder of Nanpuppets, a band of hand puppets that provide a space where all people, young and old, can learn and laugh simultaneously.

In between her many adventures, Lizza has remained involved in Nantucket Lighthouse School and is thrilled to be back teaching!

508-228-0427

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Barrie Fee Sanders
Kinderclass Teacher

B.A. University of New Hampshire - Communications

Barrie was raised on Nantucket, and returned to work in Education after ten years in Advertising in Boston. She teachers our Kinderclass.

Barrie grew up in Nantucket with the family Fee. After attending UNH, she moved to Boston where she worked in Account Management in the advertising industry for 10 years where she met husband Grant Sanders. They moved back to Nantucket to raise their two children, Madison and Owen. Through her involvement with her own children’s education, Barrie grew interested in teaching. She began to teach with Rhonda Pollock in the Pollock's Polliwogs pre-school program. Barrie later worked at NES as a teaching assistant in the Kindergarten and 1st grade. She joined Lighthouse in 2008 as a teaching assistant and soon became a Kinderclass teacher.

508-228-0427 Extension 1021 bsanders@nantucketlighthouseschool.org

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Lisa Wisentaner
Physical Education

B.S. Monmouth University – Elementary Education/Special Education

Prior to living on Nantucket, Lisa was an elementary school teacher in NJ and a competitive runner.  After moving to Nantucket full time in 2003 Lisa put her passion for teaching on hold to start a family.  4 kids and 6 years later, Lisa decided to blend her love for teaching and fitness and she opened Nantucket Cycling and Fitness.  As a competitive runner in college, Lisa reached most of her personal best times in races in which she was not the winner.  Her goal as a physical education teacher is to provide an environment in which students learn that the measure of their success is not against others, but in the work that they do to better themselves.  Lisa believes that movement and fitness should not only be fun and dynamic, but also provide a platform to build self esteem.

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Administration

Logan Gomes
Director of Advancement and Communications

B.A. in Studio Art (Photography) and English from Colgate University

In her free time, Logan enjoys family nature walks, gardening, yoga and baking.

Originally from Deerfield, MA, Logan has spent the past twelve years working in Marketing and Development for organizations such as the Maria Mitchell Association, Nantucket Holistic Health and The Westmoor Club. A mother of two young boys, Logan is thrilled to be a part of the Lighthouse School family, charged with the task of communicating and supporting the School's mission through events and community outreach. In her free time, Logan enjoys family nature walks, gardening, yoga and baking.

508-228-0427 Extension 1013 lgomes@nantucketlighthouseschool.org

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Jean Witt
Business and Facilities Manager

M.A.T. English Education—Boston University, M.Ed. Organizational Management—Endicott College, B.A. English University of Rhode Island

A lifelong learner and veteran public educator drawn to the joy of learning fostered at the Nantucket Lighthouse School.

Jean Witt has formally worked in education since 1999, upon earning a Master’s degree from Boston University.  Her interest in education stemmed from her experiences as a peer mentor and course instructor for the University of Rhode Island, and from her coaching experiences. After working as a middle school English teacher for 13 years and continuing her own education, Jean pursued licensure as an ESL teacher, and broadened her teaching to include PK-8 students.  Her interest in this field was nurtured during her sabbatical year of study at Boston University, and a unique opportunity to serve as a founding member of the Boston Public School’s Newcomers Academy. Jean is also interested in teacher education and development and has worked as the mentor coordinator for both the Braintree and Nantucket Public Schools.  Jean pursued a secondary master’s degree in Organizational Management  and substantial coursework in Curriculum and Instruction, and is an experienced school administrator.  Three years ago, Jean and her husband moved to the island of Nantucket with their young children, Tristan and Ryann.  In her spare time, Jean enjoys spending time at the beach with her family and running.  Jean is delighted for the opportunity to work for the Nantucket Lighthouse School.

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Barbara Zachary
Admissions & Events

Diplom-Betriebswirt (FH) in Hospitality Management, B.Sc. in Intl. Hospitality Management

In her leisure time, Barbara enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling and spending time outdoors.

After graduating from the International School of Applied Sciences Bad Honnef –Bonn (Germany), Barbara completed a F&B Management Trainee Program at The Ritz Carlton Berlin. She then began a career in Group & Event Management at The Regent Berlin.

After moving to Nantucket in 2010, Barbara has worked for The White Elephant Hotel and The Wauwinet, which both belong to Nantucket Island Resorts.

508-228-0427 Extension 1025 bzachary@nantucketlighthouseschool.org

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