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Senior Staff

The senior leadership team at North Yarmouth
Academy is responsible for the daily operations,
oversight, and leadership of the school.

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Senior Staff Members

Ben JacksonBen Jackson 2015 - 5144 -001Square
Head of School

Ben Jackson became Head of School at NYA in 2015. Ben has 25 years of experience in independent schools as English and history teacher, baseball and basketball coach, mock trial coach, dorm parent, board member, parent, and administrator. Prior to joining NYA Mr. Jackson served for 10 years as Head of School at Evergreen Country Day School. Ben earned his BS in Political Science from Hobart College, MA in American History from Providence College, and a M.Ed. Leadership from Regis University. Ben previously served on the faculty at The Wheeler School in Providence, RI; Friends Academy in North Dartmouth, MA; and St. Andrews School in Barrington, RI.

marissa-bioSquareMarissa Markonish
Head of the Lower and Middle Schools


Marissa Markonish joined the staff at NYA in 1995, teaching Latin in both the Middle and Upper schools, and became Chair of the Modern and Classical Language Department in 2004. She holds a BA in Classics from Wesleyan University in Connecticut and an MAT in Latin and Classical Humanities from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She spent a year teaching Latin at Seabury Hall on Maui before settling down in Maine. Marissa moved into the role of Head of Middle School in 2010 and helped to open the Lower School in 2013. In her current role as Head of Lower and Middle Schools, she enjoys implementing an engaging and dynamic program for our students from Toddler through eighth grade. Marissa’s husband Ross is Chair of the English Department and their two children, Alex (Class of 2019) and Luke (Class of 2023), are students at NYA.

AshleyRandlett SquareAshley Randlett
Director of Admission

Ashley Randlett joined the NYA team in 2015 as the Director of Admission, completing her journey back to Maine. A Belfast native, she fled the snow after high school to attend Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, VA. In addition to graduating Cum Laude with a B.S. in Business Administration, Ashley was a four year member of the swim team. After a brief foray into the business world, Ashley realized she was best suited for the non-profit sector and began her career as an independent school admission officer, first at Garrison Forest School in Owings Mills, MD and most recently at The Providence Country Day School in East Providence, RI. Swimming, running, biking and skiing are just a few ways Ashley likes to spend her down time.

nya_field hockey_play day_am_aug 23, 2014-175_SQUAREJack Hardy
Director of Athletics

Jack has returned to athletic administration at NYA after seven years as an assistant principal at nearby Falmouth High School. Prior to that, he was a high school and middle school athletic director for fourteen years at Greely/MSAD 51. Additionally, Jack teaches physical education to our four and five year olds enrolled in the NYA Lower School.  Jack is a University of Maine graduate with a M.A. degree in education. Jack is also an NYA alumni parent – his son Anthony is a member of the NYA Class of 2012.

bio-mgengrasCrMike Gengras
Dean of Students

Mike Gengras joined the NYA faculty in the fall of 1991. He holds a B.A. in English from Trinity College (Hartford) with a literary writing focus. A product of Trinity’s interdisciplinary Guided Studies program, he likes to approach the study of literature with an eye towards its historical and cultural context. He also holds a Masters of Science in Teaching from the University of New Hampshire. A fan of both teaching and writing poetry, Mike’s background includes workshops at the undergraduate and graduate level, as well as at The Haystack Mountain School of Arts in Maine and The Frost Place in New Hampshire.

In his more than twenty years at NYA, Mike has taught English classes ranging from 7th grade through 11th grade. Outside the classroom, he serves as Dean of Students.

bio-kthomasSquareKatherine Thomas
Director of College Counseling

Katherine graduated from Williams College with a BA English and traveled immediately to Japan to share her knowledge of the conversational portion of the language with students ages 3-72.  After a year of travel, Katherine soon found her way into independent schools, working in college counseling at Woodberry Forest School and Foxcroft School in Virginia.  Having navigated the worlds of single-sex boarding schools, she is delighted to have found the perfect balance in the co-ed day school dynamic at NYA where she began in 2006.  She is involved in regional and national college counseling association events and conferences and travels regularly around the country doing her own campus ‘research’ at the invitation of colleges.

When not helping students and families navigate the college search and application process, she can usually be found enjoying life on Littlejohn Island with her family, or speeding somewhere on her road bike. Husband Steve is the director of admission at Colby College, children Jack and Annie are at NYA. Jack and Annie embrace the challenges and joys of three season Littlejohn ‘Triathalons’ involving biking, running trails, and an eventual dip in the ocean. The adult version of this event for Katherine usually involves biking for several hours, followed by a paddle around the island, and then ‘recovery’ in the Adirondack chair in the sunny backyard, with or without a cold beverage and a bowl of Sun Chips. The entire family has learned to embrace kayaking and other island adventures.  Katherine also enjoys biking, traveling, entertaining family and friends, reading and writing in her spare time.

NYA Faculty 02-11-15 - 2313SquareChristopher Mazzurco
Director of Information Technology

Christopher Mazzurco has been a member of the North Yarmouth Academy community 1996.  During his time at NYA he has held the position of Director of Information Technology.  Along with his duties of keeping the technology operations running smoothly on campus, he has spent much of his time teaching and coaching NYA student athletes. In addition to being a student advisor, Christopher is a three-season coach for Girls Varsity Cross Country, Boys & Girls Varsity Indoor Track, and Boys & Girls Varsity Outdoor Track & Field.

Chris graduated with a BA in Astronomy, Physics, and Archaeology from Wesleyan University in Connecticut.  While working in each of those disciplines, technology integration was always at the forefront of his work.  At NYA, Chris’s focus has been on providing a sustainable environment that allows for meaningful integration of technology at all levels of education.

bio-belesca (1)SquareKristi Belesca
Director of Marketing and Communications

Kristi joined NYA in 2007 as Director of Community Development and Communications, and she transitioned to Director of Marketing and Communications in 2013. She came to NYA from Portland Public Library where she was Director of Development and Programming and managed public relations and communications.

Kristi is a graduate of Flint Hill School in Oakton, Virginia and has a BA in Psychology from Davidson College. Kristi moved to Maine from North Carolina in 2000 to join the Maine Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society where she managed the MS 150 Bike Tour and other events. Prior to the MS Society, she worked in development at Davidson College and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She is the president of the Northern New England Chapter of the Davidson College Alumni Association.

Kristi lives in Yarmouth with her husband and their daughters age 7 and 9. She enjoys water skiing, sailing, photography, and boating and splits her summers between Crescent Lake and Chebeague Island.