Head of School Jackson NYA

Senior Staff

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

NYA Viewbook

Senior Staff Members

Ben JacksonBen Jackson Head of School 2020
Head of School

Ben Jackson became Head of School at NYA in 2015. Ben has over 30 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.

eric-austin-2017Eric Austin
Head of Upper School


Originally from the granite state of New Hampshire, Eric began his independent school career back in 1990, a long ago time that preceded e-mail. Eric received a B.S. in Physics from the University of New Hampshire and a M.S. in Environmental Management and Policy from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. After teaching for several years at an independent day school in Maryland and two larger boarding schools in Massachusetts, Eric moved to Maine with his family in the summer of 2000 and began teaching mathematics and physics at NYA that fall.  Throughout his time since at NYA, he has served in many capacities, most recently as Interim Head of Upper School, Math Department Chair, physics teacher, senior class advisor, and a coach of several sports including track and basketball.

In addition to serving as the Head of the Upper School, Eric continues to teach AP Calculus, a course he feels supports students in retaining a lifelong appreciation of mathematics.  He thoroughly enjoys his work with the students, the families, the faculty, and the staff at NYA, a school he considers to be among the finest independent day schools in all of New England.  Eric is also a father of two NYA alumni, Hannah ’15 and Sarah ’17.

Marissa Markonish
Head of Middle School


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 they have two children, Alex (Class of 2019) and Luke (Class of 2023).

A-Bayha 2024Amy Bayha
Head of Lower School

Amy joins NYA as the Head of Lower School in 2024 after 34 years as a teacher and administrator in public education, primarily in grades K-6 in Kennebunk-Kennebunkport where she and her husband raised their two sons. It was her experience as the parent of high school students attending an independent boarding school in New Hampshire which piqued her interest in learning more about how schools work to best serve the needs of their students.

Amy completed her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education at Skidmore College and a Masters of Education at the University of New Hampshire. After teaching for many years, she decided to take additional courses to focus on school administration. Amy believes her experiences as a teacher, administrator, and parent lend itself to supporting the incredible educational experience the NYA Lower School provides its students.

Now that their sons have grown, Amy and her husband enjoy volunteering at Waterville Valley Adaptive Skiing and working as a therapy dog team with their golden retriever.

Belesca_Kristi_NYA_2021Kristi 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. Kristi is a graduate of Flint Hill School in Oakton, Virginia and has a BA in Psychology from Davidson College. Kristi lives in Yarmouth with her husband and their two daughters. She divides most of her free time between Crescent Lake and Chebeague Island.

Bergill_Gretchen College CounselorGretchen Bergill
Director of College Counseling

A graduate of Colby College and a lifetime Sugarloafer, after a 20+ year absence, Gretchen was thrilled to return to Maine full time in 2018. She left her first “real” job as Assistant Dean of Admissions at Colby to embark on an adventure that started with a graduate program in New England Studies at the University of Southern Maine. Following USM, she accepted a position at Patagonia taking her to Seattle, WA; Sydney, Australia; Truckee, CA; and Reno, NV. After 11 years with Patagonia, she accepted a position as Director of College Counseling at Sage Ridge School in Reno. Eventually, opportunity and adventure led Gretchen and her family back east to New Hampshire where she was an Associate Director of College Counseling at Phillips Exeter Academy.  In 2018, she was appointed Director of College Counseling at Kents Hill School and moved back to Maine with her husband, Stefan, and dog Mac while their two children visited when work and schooling permitted. At Kents Hill, she also served on the Head of School’s Leadership Team, the Academic Program Team, the Student Experience Team, the Admissions Committee, and coached Rec Skiing.

Alan Clarance
Chief Financial Officer

Alan, who was born and raised in England,  joined NYA in July of 2024. He has worked in senior financial leadership positions both in the for profit and since 2009 in the non-profit world.  Alan was the CFO at the Fay School, a toddler to ninth grade coeducational day and boarding school located in Southborough MA, for eight years. During his time at Fay School, in addition to his CFO role, he was a basketball coach, ran an Upper School Investment Club, and taught fourth grade math as a substitute teacher. Alan is a Chartered Accountant and graduated from the University of Essex with an economics degree.

All of Alan’s five children went to independent schools as part of their educational journey.  He has served as a national board member of AISAP (Association of Independent Schools Admission Professionals).

He is an avid cyclist and has ridden in the Pan Massachusetts Challenge for over 20 years, leading teams that have raised over $5 million for cancer treatment and research.

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

Christopher Mazzurco has been a member of the North Yarmouth Academy community since 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.

jrichardJennifer Richard
Director of Development


Jennifer joined NYA in 2017 as the Director of Development. She came to NYA from Bates where she was the Assistant Vice President for College Advancement, helping to lead the launch of the College’s $300 million fundraising campaign. Immediately prior to her ten years at Bates, Jennifer served as Director of Development for United Way of Androscoggin County and before that as the Associate Director of Communications at Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Mass.

Jennifer holds a B.A. in English and Media Communications from Assumption University where she was a member of the women’s tennis team and the International English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta.

Jennifer is a Maine native who currently lives on Sebago Lake with her husband and three sons. She enjoys skiing, boating, hiking and travel.

Kelsy RossKelsy Ross 
Director of Athletics

This is Kelsy’s sixth year as Athletic Director at North Yarmouth Academy. She holds a BA from Roanoke College where she was a member of the varsity soccer and varsity basketball programs. While working towards a MA in Physical Education, Athletic Administration from Springfield College, Ross coached with the women’s soccer program and worked as a graduate assistant in the equipment room. She was most recently, prior to her position at NYA, the Bates College Head Women’s Soccer Coach and lecturer in the Bates Physical Education Department.

L_Sullivan 2023-squareLynn Sullivan
Upper School Dean of Students, Upper School History

Lynn joined the NYA coaching staff in 1996 and the History Department in 1998. Initially pursuing a career in public relations and journalism, an accidental subbing job at local private school pulled Lynn into the world of teaching. During her time at NYA, Lynn has fulfilled many duties – College Guidance Counselor, Senior Speech advisor, coach, Student Activities Coordinator – currently she is the Dean of Students, a position she assumed in 2017. She currently teaches US History and Current Political Issues. A native of Freeport, Lynn earned a B.A. in History from Colby College, where she was a four-year member of the women’s lacrosse team. In 2002, she earned a Master’s degree in American and New England Studies from USM, writing her thesis on the economic transformation and historical invention of Freeport.

When not absorbed in all things NYA, Lynn enjoys cold weather, being on the water, and raising poorly behaved dogs.