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June 2, 2019

Dear Families,

Congratulations to the 48 members of the Class of 2019! Their graduation ceremony is taking place this afternoon. I am grateful for the unique contributions each of them has made to the Academy. We are all very proud of their accomplishments and confident they will have great success. They will head in many different directions, and we will miss them.

This is the final Sunday Letter of the 2018-2019 school year. NYA offices will be open throughout the summer, with business hours 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9:00 a.m. to noon on Fridays. In addition to admission activity, we will be preparing for the upcoming school year. This includes, hiring, scheduling, general maintenance, and several exciting capital projects. These projects include the new Learning Commons in the Curtis Building, new turf athletic field, new tennis courts, and a new HVAC system in Curtis. Information on these projects and updates on the 2019-2020 school year will be sent throughout the summer. If you have any questions about the upcoming school year, feel free to call or stop by school at any time.

It is not too late to make summer plans, as camp registration remains open. There are a variety of NYA and specialty camps on our website. They include art, drama, sports, gardening, dance, circus, and so much more. You can find registration info here. For more information, contact Director of Summer Programs, Jen Bonnett. Many camps are full or almost full, so please register soon.

The NYA Admission Office remains open and busy during the summer. Some classes are at or near capacity, but space remains in most classes. Our families are NYA’s best ambassadors, and your referrals help keep our school strong. I encourage you to share your experience with a friend or neighbor and invite them to visit our admission office for a tour of the school. To learn more about how NYA can make a difference for their child, they can visit or call or email the admission office at

I would like to welcome the following to NYA’s faculty and staff:

  • Kelsy Ross will join NYA as Athletic Director. Kelsy holds a BA from Roanoke College where she was a member of the varsity soccer and varsity basketball programs. She will earn a MA in Physical Education, Athletic Administration from Springfield College this summer. For the past nine years, she has held multiple positions in the Bates Athletic Department. She served as the Bates College Head Women’s Soccer Coach where she earned NESCAC Coach of the Year Honors in 2015. She was also a lecturer in the Bates Physical Education Department, ran the Bates intramural program, and ran multiple youth camps. From 2010-2013, Kelsy also served as a Bates Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach. She has held many additional positions in athletics including working for the Maine Olympic Development Program, Maine AAU Basketball, and in athletic facilities management. She has also held positions in the Springfield College Athletic Department and the Falmouth High School Athletic Department. She is a graduate of Greely High School. Please join me in welcoming Kelsy to NYA.
  • Zoe Adams will serve as NYA’s new Athletic Trainer and Lower School PE Teacher. Zoe graduated from UNE with a BA in Athletic Training. She completed fieldwork at UNE, Westbrook High School, Thornton Academy, Biddeford High School, and Yarmouth High School. We are pleased to welcome Zoe to NYA.
  • Kassi Michaud will be our new Assistant Toddler Teacher. Kassi earned a BA from Husson University and will earn her MBA from Husson this summer. She is currently a substitute teacher in NYA’s Lower School. She has also taught at Tiny Seedlings Daycare. Kassi will be working in Ms. Kathi Hardy’s classroom. Join me in welcoming Kassi.

We are in the final stages of hiring for a handful of additional positions and will share these new hires with you this summer.

The Yarmouth Clam Festival is July 19-21, and the NYA Parents’ Association will once again be selling ice cream, natural soda, cold brew, and pretzels on the NYA campus. Click here to sign up for a shift or two in the booth. It’s a fabulous fundraiser for the school –and a lot of fun!

This year’s prom was held at Camp Ketcha in Scarborough. Thanks to all of the volunteers and chaperones. A great time was had. Thank you to everyone who submitted prom pictures to We’ve added new photos to our Flickr album. Here’s the link.

The fifth grade class braved the weather on their overnight trip aboard the Schooner Stephen Taber last Tuesday and Wednesday. They set sail on their adventure from Rockland, and despite the rough weather, the trip was a great success. This is surely a testament to the teachers and students on the trip. After listening to the fifth graders upon their return, I am certain it was a memorable experience.

Host Family Opportunities: NYA currently has 15 international students from China, Canada, Austria, and Germany. The Academy has another five students from other states across the country. Our homestay program both benefits the Academy and provides a great opportunity for these students. Serving as a host family for one of these students can be incredibly rewarding. If you are interested in learning more about hosting a student from another state or country, please contact Sagaree Sengupta or Eliot Grady. They can share additional information on the program, the host family stipend that helps offset expenses, and additional expectations of the program. We are also looking for families to serve as host relief families. Relief families are available, at their convenience, to provide occasional/weekend relief for the host families. This is a great opportunity for a cultural experience and a great way to support a student at NYA who is living away from their home.

Mission Spotlight: NYA’s Kauffmann Program was initiated four years ago in recognition of the legacy of John Kauffmann, a national pioneer in the conservation community. As a planner for the National Park Service, he was instrumental in the establishment of the Cape Cod National Seashore, the Gates of Artic National Park and Preserve, and Lake Clark National Park and Preserve in Alaska. John was also a long-time friend and trustee of NYA. During his tenure as an NYA Trustee, he was a frequent voice for outdoor experiential and environmental education. The Kauffmann Program focuses on the environment, writing, leadership, and wilderness travel. Elements of the program include experiential classes and education, outdoor leadership programs, summer programs for members of the greater community, a statewide writing contest, and a community speaker series featuring environmental writers.

The following are just a few of the things currently going on with the program:

  • On June 15, Ian Ramsey and several NYA students will participate in the “Sea the Future” Conference, leading a sea kayak trip and guiding scientists, lobstermen, investors, and other stakeholders to various sustainable aquaculture sites in the Georgetown area.
  • From June 16-27, Ian will take his environmental writing class to Glacier Bay, Alaska, where they will spend six days paddling in the backcountry of Glacier Bay, meet writers whose works they have read in class, experience small town Alaskan life, and learn about the unique biology, geology, and native culture of the region. Photographer Brian Beard will also chaperone the trip.
  • On July 29-31, Ian and Maine author Dawn Potter will lead the third annual Kauffmann Environmental Writing Seminar, where students from around Maine will spend three days in Western Maine camping, writing, and hiking, discussing environmental topics and writing about them. The program is open to all Maine high school students and free of charge.
  • On August 2, Ian and David Bidler (owner of the The Distance Project in Freeport) will offer “Stronger. Fitter. Happier.,” a one-day seminar that is free and open to all Maine high school students. The seminar will delve into brain science and physiology to give students experiential tools to improve their performance, control their state, and “uplevel” their focus and mood.
  • On August 12-16, Ian, Danielle Barschdorf, and Brian Beard will take 14 Middle School students hiking across New Hampshire’s Presidential Range for the NYA Leadership Academy. Throughout the trip, students will stay at the Appalachian Mountain Club’s high mountain huts while learning about and practicing leadership and pushing through personal challenges in the rugged terrain.
  • In late August, Ian will provide training for NYA faculty on sea kayaking and climbing so we can offer more opportunities for our students to climb and get out on the water.
  • Highlights during the 2019-20 school year will include fourth annual Kauffmann speaker Joe Wilkins (winner of the Oregon Book Award), the NYA Sea Kayak Academy, experiential class trips, outing club trips, another Glacier Bay writing class and trip, and the first ever offering of the “Brain Training and Resilience” class.

Look for additional information on all of these programs throughout the year.

Thank you to all of our families for your continued commitment to NYA. On behalf of the faculty and administration, it is an absolute pleasure to work with such an amazing group of students on a daily basis and watch them grow.

Have a safe and enjoyable summer.


Ben Jackson
Head of School


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