Rhonda began volunteering at Fiddlehead Center in the summer of 2013. A year later, when opportunities arose at Fiddlehead School for Assistant Teachers, she decided to pursue her newly found joy working with children. Since moving on from a long and successful career in the business world, Rhonda has begun a new career in education and is loving every minute. In addition to assisting in the Pre-K classroom, Rhonda also teaches group violin classes to several grades at Fiddlehead School and offers private violin lessons for Fiddlehead Center. In her spare time, she performs with several traditional fiddle groups and enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
Before coming to Fiddlehead in 2019, Señora Kirkland taught Spanish in elementary and middle schools in Portland for several years. Prior to that, she developed and ran a study-abroad semester program in Ecuador that included the study of the Spanish language and Ecuadorian culture. Prior to that, she was an outdoor educator, primarily with Outward Bound schools around the world. Living out of her backpack for a decade, she led hundreds of student groups across the globe in leadership education through outdoor adventures such as mountaineering, backpacking, rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking, and ropes courses.
Señora Kirkland has traveled, worked, and lived in many countries around the world, focusing much of her time in Spanish-speaking countries. She specialized and honed her Spanish language studies in Guatemala and Ecuador where she spent extensive time studying at Spanish language schools and living with local families. Señora Kirkland has traveled extensively throughout Central and South America, and she spent 6 years living on and off in Ecuador where she built a little house in a small, surfing village along the coast. She feels a deep connection to Latin America and its beautiful and varied Spanish-speaking cultures.
Señora Kirkland holds a Masters in Experiential Education from Minnesota State University and a Bachelors in Art from SUNY Albany. She lives in South Portland with her husband and daughter, always eagerly planning their next adventure together.
Katherine is an Occupational Therapist who loves working with students and their families. She earned her Master of Occupational Therapy degree from the University of Southern Maine and brings experience from a past career in business consulting. Katherine believes in the unique value of everyone she works with.
Katherine lives in Yarmouth with her husband and three children. She is active in her library’s book club and a local artist group.
I am happy to be returning for another year as a school contracted provider. Having provided speech/language services for over twenty years, my favorite part about therapy is seeing how proud the students’ are when they’ve accomplished skills that were initially difficult. When I am not at school, I enjoy hiking, biking, and camping with my family. I look forward to getting to know the students and assisting them in being the best communicators they can be.
Atelierista (Art Teacher)
Chaké Higgison has been making art with children for the past 25 years and brings to FSAS an extensive background working as an art teacher in both public and private schools.
While originally from away, she has been living, working and painting in Maine for nearly 50 years. She received a BA in Creative Visual Arts from Bowdoin College and had various day jobs prior to teaching from working in an art gallery, to being a visual merchandiser, running a museum gift shop, to founding the Bowdoin Summer Art Camp in 1997. She has taught art at the Center for Teaching and Learning in Edgecomb, Pownal Elementary, Morse Street School and Yarmouth Elementary.
While recently retired from full-time teaching, the opportunity to be part of the FSAS community as an arts integrator was an opportunity she could not pass up. In her off time she enjoys daily walks, spending time on or at the water, and playing in her garden. She and her husband have a roadside flower stand in Brunswick that keeps them busy throughout the summer.
A quote she particularly likes, that guides how she thinks of role of the art teacher is from Sydney Gurewitz Clemens: “Art has the role in education of helping children become like themselves instead of more like everyone else.”
Nature Based Curriculum Coordinator
Seal Rossignol will be Fiddlehead’s Outdoor Learning Coordinator this year. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with students as well as help teachers gain skills in integrating classroom learning with the outdoors. Seal has over 25 years of experience in education and has worked in a variety of realms- from private to public schools, wilderness programs with at-risk youth, to the nonprofit sector. She is a cofounder of CEBE (Center for an Ecology-Based Economy), a climate organization in Norway and has worked with many educators offering professional development in Educating for Sustainability as well as outdoor learning. She lives in Otisfield with her husband, Shawn, and two daughters, Maesa (13) and Henley (7). They have 1 dog, Balto, and 2 cats, Luna and Jujubee. Seal loves animals and loves spending time outside with them and her family as much as she can.
School Social Worker
Carrie has been passionate about working with people for many years. Her career path has included experience working in community based programs serving adults and youth who are encountering homelessness, food instability, violence, trauma, neglect, mental health instability. Following her graduation from New York University with a Masters in Social Work, Carrie began to focus more closely on working with youth to support their success. Despite her love for her career, Carrie stepped away from social work to care for her three children. As her children settled into elementary school, Carrie returned to working and found a passion for working with youth in the school setting. In 2020, Carrie began at the Fiddlehead School of Arts and Sciences as the School Social Worker. When Carrie is not at school, she enjoys spending time with her family and dog while being outside, reading, and finding ways to laugh.
School Social Worker
Kelly is very excited to join us as a new team member with Carrie this year. She has been a social worker for kids in the school setting for 7 years. Kelly is returning to this work after spending last year at home with her newborn son. Kelly loves school social work because it allows her to give students a safe place to express their feelings in creative ways. When not at work you can find her running, baking, and playing with her 1-year-old son, Jack.