Faculty and Staff

Grade 1

Janelle Miller

  Grade One



Tell us about yourself:

 I grew up in St. George, Maine. I attended the St. George School and I graduated from Georges Valley High School in 2008. After high school I attended Husson University for 2 years majoring in Occupational Therapy. I decided Occupational Therapy wasn’t for me so I moved back home and started going to college at UMA. I took an education course and I loved it so I changed my major to Elementary Education. I graduated from UMA with my teaching degree in 2014. My first job out of college was an Ed Tech II position at CCS. Halfway through the 2014-2015 school year I accepted a long-term sub position in the 1st grade classroom at CCS and I have been here ever since!


Tell us why you like to teach 1st Grade?

First grade is an exciting year. There is so much academic growth that takes place throughout the year, and it is fun to watch. I also like first grade because the students always make me laugh with their stories and compliments they share.


What are your favorite student units?

 I love to teach reading. There is a lot of reading growth in first grade so it is always exciting to watch students take off with their reading and really comprehend what they’re reading.



What is your parent contact plan?

Parents can reach me via email at jamiller@rsu13.org, or they can call me during school hours. I also send home a bi-weekly newsletter. 


What are your homework guidelines?

Students will get reading homework Monday-Thursday. Math homework may occasionally be assigned, and that will be due the next day.   

Grade 2

Nicole McLellan, Second Grade Teacher


Tell us about yourself:

I grew up in Rockland and moved to Pennsylvania for a nanny position after graduating from the University of New England in 2003. In April of 2004 I went to a teacher job fair and was hired for a Kindergarten position at a Charter School in Middletown, Delaware. I taught Kindergarten there for 8 years. I have always wanted to raise my family near my extended family back in Maine. In 2012 I took a K/1 multiage teaching position in Wiscasset, Maine. With budget cuts, I was moved to Chelsea (a 45 minute drive from my home in Thomaston) so I applied elsewhere. I have always wanted to teach an older grade and when the opportunity came up, I jumped at it!

My husband and I just celebrated our 8-year anniversary. We have two children: Noah (just turned 7) and Leah (will be 3 in December). My family loves being back by the ocean and our families. We spend a lot of time outside hiking, swimming, playing at the park, and the boys love to golf!


Why do you like to teach second grade:

This is my first year teaching second grade and I am so excited! I worked with two classes of first grades last year on Reading, Writer’s Workshop, and Math and I’m looking forward to continuing on from where I left off with a new group of 7 year olds! 


What are your favorite units?

I really enjoy teaching Reading and Writing together and look forward to doing written responses to books like Flat Stanley, Magic Tree House, Poppleton, and many others. 

Science is another great subject for little ones because it’s all new to them and they LOVE hands on work with bugs, worms, plants, and any living organism! 


What is your parent contact plan?

I really enjoy parents in my room and welcome it. I send home a parent volunteer calendar each month for parents to sign up to volunteer. The students also have home to school binders that go home each day and have a section for parent/teacher communication. I welcome emails and phone calls as well.


What are your homework guidelines?

Homework will go home on Fridays and be due back the following Thursday. Inside the packets will be spelling, math, and writing work. The students are expected to read for 15 minutes each night and record it in the reading log. I also ask that reading responses are completed for books that come home from reading groups with me. 

Grade 3



Darcy Payne, Third Grade Teacher

                                                                            dpayne@rsu13.orgr            354-2312

                   I grew up in Northern New York State as the youngest in a large family and was fortunate to attend a K-12 school with 500 students. I earned a Bachelor’s and a Masters in Education through the State University of New York at Oswego. I taught pre-school and directed the Craig Child Care Center in Alaska for a couple of years. Then I moved to beautiful Midcoast Maine in 1994. Since then I have substituted K-8, taught P.E. K-4, taught in resource rooms K-8, taught in a behavior room 6-8, and taught Title I Literacy K-5. Now I am excited to be teaching 3rd grade at Cushing Community School!

In my free time I like to take pictures, scrapbook, garden, read and spend time with my husband, good friends and my goldendoodle, Gracie.  We have family in Northern New York, Georgia and Alabama so we get to travel to see them.  This year we were able to see friends in North Carolina and Tennessee, too.  We stopped off at Hershey’s World of Chocolate, Washington, D.C., and visited the Teardrop Memorial in New Jersey not to mention countless Domino’s as my husband works for them; we even got a tour of the Domino’s Commisarry where they make the pizza dough in Connecticut.

I am looking forward to teaching in 3rd grade.  I have found 3rd graders to be enthusiastic about learning both academically and socially.  I enjoy working with each child and discovering how they learn best and what they’re interested in learning about in this world of ours. Third grade is the year that all that students have been learning about reading really becomes rock solid!  We may also be learning about rocks!  Oh, and we get to learn to multiply and divide as well as to begin to understand and use fractions!  Map reading and understanding land formations will be fun, too! I look forward to reading to children as well! I really like teaching at Cushing Community School because of the community based atmosphere and being with wonderful co-workers, volunteers and of course the students.

Parents are a very important influence on children’s success. They can feel free to communicate with me by phone or e-mail; I’m also going to try out using Class Dojo which can be used as another form of communication.  I plan to send home a newsletter at least twice a month if not more often (weekly). Students will be responsible for taking the Home to School folder home and return it each day.  Parents should look at this daily, too.  The “keep at home” should be cleaned out each night.  I am happy to set up meetings as needed in addition to the Fall and Spring Parent Conferences.

Homework in 3rd grade should average about 30 minutes per night. It is best to set up a consistent time each night or to make a plan each week for that time.  Each child should read to an adult for at least 15 minutes each day and complete the book log form; I also encourage students to read independently for fun.   If students are not given a specific math assignment, be sure to do some math each night*.  Students may also be given some handwriting to practice at home if not completed in class. My hope is that parents will be actively involved with their child’s education through homework and reading together.  Thank you!


*Math Ideas:




























Educational Technicians

Grade 4

Tell us about yourself:

I grew up in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, which is a suburb of Philadelphia.  After graduating high school, I moved down the street to North Wales, PA and stayed there until this past January.  I attended Kutztown University for a degree in Biology with a focus in Organismal Ecology.  I studied marine invertebrates, mostly plankton, and how an increase in global temperature was impacting how they interact wtih their surroundings.  After graduation, I began working at a local zoo in their education department.  I travelled to surrounding camps, schools, nursing homes, and community centers to talk about some of the animals that could be found in South Eastern Pennsylvania.  It was here that I realized that I was incredibly passionate about teaching.  I decided to return to Kutztown University for a Master of Education in Early Childhood Education.

After graduating from Kutztown for the second time,  I hopped on a plane and moved all the way across the country to Chignik Bay, Alaska.  There I lived in a village with only 50 people and taught in the village school.  I was a secondary generalist and my homeroom consisted of grades 3-11.  I also taught science to the elementary students.  Because there were only 17 students in the entire school, I saw each of them every day!  It was quite the community of learners in  Chignik.  While I loved living in Alaska, all of the villagers, and the village dogs, I decided that I needed to be closer to my family and returned to the East Coast in May.  This past summer I ran a local summer camp for preschoolers and enjoyed spending my days at a  park and working on science experiments.

I am very happy to have joined CCS this year and look forward to teaching (more than one) 4th grade.  In Alaska I only had one 4th grader and am excited to have 14 students this year.

Tell us why you like to teach:

Growing up I loved going to school.  I have always loved science, math and reading.  I believe I enjoy teaching so much because I still have such a strong passion to continue learning.  I always knew that I wanted to become a teacher and initially fell in love with informal teaching at zoos and aquariums.  After spending time in various classrooms during my time with the zoo I realized that I was destined for a classroom setting.  I loved seeing how eager students were to continuously learn new material and were always willing to try hard each day.

Grade 5

Erin Fitzgerald

Grade 5


Tell us about yourself:

 I was born and raised in Rockland, Maine, but currently live in Owls Head. I graduated from Rockland District High School in 1998 and attended the University of Maine at Orono that fall and earned a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education with a concentration in English.  After graduation, I moved to New Hampshire for about 9 years, where I earned a Master of Education in Elementary Education from Franklin Pierce University. 


Throughout my career in education, I have worked with students from preschool to seniors in high school in a variety of capacities.  During these experiences, I learned a lot about myself personally and professionally.  On a personal level, I discovered that I can overcome any challenges that I may face with hard work, commitment and determination.  Professionally, I quickly realized that I was passionate about teaching, but my true calling was at the intermediate level.  I have been teaching for about twelve years, seven of which have been in the fifth grade and I love it!


I have an adorable pit bull puppy named Tucker that takes up most of my time!  I spend a lot of my time at the gym, running, biking or hiking.  I am also quite the Red Sox fan and enjoy live music throughout the summer.  As a Rockland native, I am comforted by the smell of the ocean.  The beach is my happy place! 


Tell us why you like to teach?

 I love to learn!  In fact, I believe in the idea of a lifelong learners.  We must never stop learning new things and accepting new ideas.  Teaching is exciting and challenging to me because I learn so much from my students every day.  Often times, they are the real teachers, and I am simply their guide.


 What are your favorite student units?

 My favorite units to teach are the American Revolution and Immigration.  There are so many wonderful trade books and graphic novels connected to these units.  The students love to explore history and they provide a great platform for teaching the concepts of perspective and connection.


What is your parent contact plan?

 Parents may contact me at any time with questions, comments or concerns via email at efitzgerald@rsu13.org or by calling the school at 207-354-2312.  I also communicate with families with a weekly newsletter that is sent home on Fridays.



What are your homework guidelines?

Math and reading homework is assigned Mondays through Thursdays. The math assignment typically takes about 15 minutes.  In addition, the students are expected to read 20 minutes each night and complete a nightly Reading Log, which includes a summary and a reading strategy.  Once a week, they will also take home The Author’s Box.  Many students are intrinsically motivated and take pride in what they create for The Author’s Box, so they spend a lot of time on this! They may choose to skip the math and reading assignment on their Author’s Box night, if they want. The homework is always listed on the back of the weekly newsletter, and can be found in the front of your child’s Home/School Binder. 


Here is a link to the class website: https://sites.google.com/a/rsu13.org/fitzgerald


Special Area Teachers

We are very fortunate to have a number of special subject areas offered at Cushing Community School. Weekly, students participate in art, physical education, and music classes.


Other programs and resources at Cushing Community School include the Title I, Reading and Math Intervention, and Resource Room.


See the links below for information about individual teachers and special program areas at Cushing Community School. 

Librarian/Media Specialist

Special Education

Mrs. Shafer, Special Education Teacher

Tell us about yourself:

I grew up in Northeast Connecticut, where I raised my family, and when my last son was fige I started going back to school to receive my Bachelors Degree at Eastern State University.  After working as an Instructional Assistant for seven years, I decided to become a Special Education Teacher and went to Southern Connecticut State University to receive my Masters in Special Education.  As time went on I decided I wanted to become a Reading Specialist and went to Southern Connecticut State University for two years of Saturdays to get my Sixth Year in Reading.  Since then, I have found it to be very rewarding as it has helped in helping students to become good readers, by passing on strategies for success.

Tell us why you like to work in Special Education:

 I like to work in Special Education because I believe everyone can learn.  Students need to learn who they are as a learner.  That is my speciality, helping students learn who they are as a person, and then a learner.  Throughout my years of teaching I have learned many helpful strategies.  Becoming a reading teacher as well has allowed me to gain even more strategies.

One of my favorite things to do is read to my grandchildren.  It's a wonderful feeling to be able to open their eyes and minds to what a story/reading/books can bring to their lives.  I look forward to these moments for many years to come by asking the amazing question, "What are you reading?"

How should parents contact me?

Parents can contact me by emailing at rshafer@rsu13.org, write me a letter or just call the school of their cfhoice, Cushing Community 354-2312.



Meet Mrs. Eddy

Tell me about yourself.

My name is Janelle Eddy and I am the K – 8 art teacher in Thomaston. I grew up in Cushing and attended Cushing Community School and Thomaston Grammar School. I graduated from Georges Valley High School in 1996 and graduated from the University of Southern Maine with a Bachelors Degree in Art Education in 2002.


Why do you like teaching art?

I enjoy teaching art because it allows me to share my passion for art with my students. I enjoy this quote by Pablo Picasso, “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” I truly believe that all children are artists and that it is my job to give them the tools to believe and realize that they are.


What are your favorite student units?

I have always enjoyed working with clay, so any lesson in which we work with clay would be my favorite lesson. We make frogs, turtles, cupcakes, vases, and many more items out of clay.


What is your plan for parent contact?

Please feel free to call Lura Libby School at 354-6464, or email me at jeddy@rsu13.org.


What are your homework guidelines?

I do not assign homework. However, I encourage students to draw at home.



The Philosophy of Art

Philosophy of Art Education:

The art program is dedicated to educating and caring for each student as a person and individual ~ accepting all students, whatever their ability, and playing upon it to enhance their imaginative and natural talents.

Art Room Expectations:


2.~ Come to class prepared.

3.~ Participate in classroom activities.

4.~ Write down homework assignments.

5.~ Complete homework.

6.~ Respect individual classroom rules.

a)~ respect teacher, classmates and yourself

b)~ no talking during directions

c)~use materials properly

Personal Expectations:

1.~ Accept responsibility for personal decisions and behavior.

2.~ Express your needs appropriately.

3.~ Respect others opinions, feelings, and beliefs.

4.~ Work cooperatively with others.

5.~ Show a willingness to take risks and meet challenges.

                    6.~Show an ability to start, continue and complete tasks.

                  Grading/ Evaluation:

Evaluation is an on going process.~ Student expression both visual and verbal including creative thinking, problem solving, class participation, willingness to learn and try different ideas and individual effort are all important parts of evaluation.

Evaluation will not be based on whether a student finds the right answer to a problem presented- as there are really no wrong answers in art.~ Rather, evaluation will be based on the the following:

1.~ Ability to follow directions.

2.~ Completion of projects to the best of his/her ability.

3.~ Proper use of materials.

4.~ Ability to use new art vocabulary in context.

5. ~Willingness to be creative.


~ Most Important:





Meet Dr. James Boyd, Music Teacher


Hello, my name is Dr. James Boyd, the new music teacher here at Cushing Community School.  I am a native of Greenville, SC and grew up in Atlanta where I discovered my love of music playing trombone and singing in choirs.  I hold a B.M. Degree from Furman University (SC), a M.M. form Arizona State University, and  Ph.D. in music theory from the University of Michigan.  I have been teaching music at the college, secondary and primary levels since 1979, and recently moved to Maine from Connecticut, where I taught general music, chorus, and band in the Hartford Public Schools for 15 years.  While my first instrument was the trombone, I began to play piano and guitar early on, and continue to enjoy learning new instruments, especially the ukelele.  I am a composer as well as a performer, and truly feel everyone can experience the joy of creating and performing.

My wife, Maureeen Boyd, is an experienced performer of cabaret and musical theatre, as well as holding a M.A. in theatre from the Univeristy of Kansas.  We have two adult children, Billie (in Seattle) and Devin (in Connecticut).  We are currently living in Lincolnville, ME and hope to find our permanent home soon in the mid-coast region.

Physical Education



Occupational Therapist

Mrs. Lauren Watts

Occupational Therapist



Tell us about yourself:

I am one of the Occupational Therapists for RSU 13. I work in the schools on the west side of the district (Cushing, Thomaston Grammar, Lura Libby, Oceanside West and the St. George School). I live in Tenants Harbor with my husband and our two dogs. We have three grown daughters and one granddaughter.

I love working with students in the various schools because I get to know a lot of different students of all ages. Every one of them is unique! It is very rewarding to see my students progress with their skills.


What is your parent contact plan?

I can always be reached via my rsu13 email if parents have questions. 




Sue Foltz

Speech Pathologist



Teacher Biography:

Most of my working career has been in the area of education.  Besides running a theater and working at the YMCA in Pennsylvania, full time educating has been my life's work.  My friends think of me as a "grammar snob."  Currently I'm working on that flaw.  Besides teaching I enjoy antiquing, playing the drums, playing bridge, attending church groups, and reading.


Why you like to teach your grade or special area:

 Since I now have the gift of being able to work with only a few speech students, it is my delight to have time to prepare daily lessons that combine many of the areas of speech, such as articulation, fluency (stuttering), voice, social skills and language.  Language has always been a stronger skill for me than math and the sciences and speech gets to include so many "fun" topics to teach.  My own children roll their eyes when I gather my grandchildren around the kitchen table to share traditional grammar with them.


Your favorite units:

This is difficult to choose.  It's fun putting definitions to music which aids memory.  Using antique "props" is meant to give students some history along with their speech lessons.  I love to use Dick and Jane and David and Ann books for a twist in teaching reading.  Social skills can sometimes be targeted while having a tea party, and of course there is always repetition, repetition, repetition.