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Meet Our

Faculty & Staff

Academics play a central role at John Dewey, and most of our faculty have doctorates and college teaching experience. They are passionate about their mission and they transmit this passion, along with their maturity and stability, to their students. They also bring into their classes varied life experiences that ground their academic focus in real-world challenges. Members of the clinical and administrative staff frequently teach classes in their particular areas of interest and expertise. When necessary, we hire part-time adjunct faculty, and on occasion, qualified parents act as guest lecturers.

Clinical Staff

Andrea Lein
Head of School

Andrea Nathans
Executive Director, Admissions

Angel Mayes
Primary Clinician, Dean of Students

Lisa Sinsheimer
Clinical Consultant

Jovanina Pagano
Primary Clinician

Derek J Neaz-Nibur
Primary Clinician

Faculty

Robert Andenmatten
Faculty in Math and Science

David Baum
Faculty in History

Nancy Coiner
Faculty in English; Head of Humanities Department; Dean of Faculty

Sherry Steiner
Faculty in Creative Arts

Lisa A. Buttrey-Thomas
Faculty in Math and Science

Christian Holland
Faculty in French and Italian Language, Literature, and History; House Parent

Administrative Staff

Judy Oates
House Parent

Thea Ross
Business Manager

Robert Gaughran
Facility Manager
Paul Ravenscraft

Paul Ravenscraft
Director of Outreach and Marketing

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THE JOHN DEWEY ACADEMY

389 Main Street
Great Barrington MA 01230

Admissions: (413) 528-0084
Phone: (413) 528-9800
Fax: (413) 528-5662

Andrea Lein, PhD

Head of School

Head of School since 2016, Dr. Andrea Esperat Lein began her Dewey career as a clinician and the Dean of Students in 2007 and served as a member of the clinical and administrative team until 2014. In 2013, she was appointed Dean of Academics and led the school through its reaccreditation process with New England Association for Schools and Colleges (NEASC). In her current role as Head, she marries her backgrounds in educational psychology, gifted education, and clinical psychology to envision and build a bright, new future for the John Dewey Academy. Andrea is focused on creating a resilient, thriving school community and incorporating principles of positive education into all levels of the organization to enhance the experience of the staff and faculty, students, and the families that we serve.

Andrea has worked as a clinician, researcher, and educator for nearly 20 years. Prior to joining the Dewey community, she provided assessment and psychotherapy in outpatient, inpatient, and college and school settings with people of all ages and backgrounds. She worked for several years at the National Research Center for the Gifted and Talented, where she conducted research and developed differentiated curricula for the gifted. She has taught graduate-level courses in gifted education, created and taught enrichment classes for gifted children, and presented at state and national conferences in the field of gifted education.  

Andrea can often be found out and about enjoying the beautiful scenery, lush landscapes, foodie establishments, and the artistic, organic culture of the Berkshires. When it turns cold, she keeps herself busy cooking, designing, and reading the latest non-fiction book that captures her attention. She and her husband, Ryan, live in Richmond with a variety of animals that keep them busy and amused. They also have a daughter, Audriana, who grew up in the Berkshires and is now in college studying art and business.

Andrea Nathans, PsyD

Executive Director, Admissions

Andrea came to the John Dewey Academy in 2013 after the passing of the founder, Tom Bratter, when the school was in a significant transition. After a year familiarizing herself with the rich history and the nature of the school, she stepped into the role of Executive Director. Andrea is a clinical psychologist licensed in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Andrea serves as the link between the school staff and the Dewey Board of Directors, oversees many administrative functions, and directs the admissions process.

Before coming to JDA, Andrea had a private, outpatient psychotherapy practice serving children, teens, and adults.  Some areas of specialty include early childhood, anxiety disorders, divorce and blended family issues, and Autistic spectrum disorders. In addition, she also conducted psychological and neuropsychological assessments. She continues to volunteer as a mediator in high-conflict divorce cases in Connecticut.

Andrea is a huge lover of all living things non-human, both animals and plants, and is able to find a peacefulness in these relationships that helps to balance the meaningful but sometimes intense work with humans. The whole school benefits from this love, as she often brings her three dogs to the castle, where students will slip them a treat or two and give them lots of attention!

Angel Mayes, LCSW

Primary Clinician, Dean of Students

Angel joined the John Dewey Academy in January of 2017. Although she has worked with all populations, Angel is particularly drawn to working with adolescents and appreciates the Dean of Students role, as it allows her to be intimately involved in the workings of the Dewey student community. As Dean, she teaches students to be more capable and responsible in their respective areas of responsibility and works with them to develop effective systems and essential management skills. She directly supervises student leaders, monitors student activities, and develops extra-curricular programming.

Angel’s clinical foundations are rooted in the Teaching Family Model and she is certified in Family-Centered Therapy, for which she has conducted trainings. Angel earned her bachelors in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (with a concentration in adolescent development and families at risk). She received her Masters of Social Work degree from a unique joint program through the University of North Carolina, North Carolina A&T, and the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.

Before arriving at Dewey, Angel was a therapist at an all-girls therapeutic boarding school in North Carolina, Auldern Academy. She has also worked in hospitals, public schools, intensive in-home placements, group homes, and community mental health clinics.

Angel loves all of her animals, which includes two dogs, a cat named Pumpkin, her leafy-tailed geckos, and her fish. Lastly, but perhaps most importantly in the eyes of some Dewey community members, Angel uses almost any excuse to bring a tray of delicious and creative baked goods for students and staff.

Lisa Sinsheimer, PhD

Clinical Consultant


A.B., Princeton University. M.D. University of Texas Medical Branch. Internship and Residency, New York Presbyterian Hospital. Fellowship and Chief Fellowship in Psychiatric Oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Certificate in Psychoanalysis, Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. Previous experience: private practice in psychiatry and psychoanalysis in NYC, adjunct faculty at Cornell University Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Numerous publications and presentations. Parent of JDA alumnus, Class of 2005. Since 2005.

Jovanina Pagano, LCSW

Primary Clinician

Jovanina joined the John Dewey Academy in 2014, bringing over 25 years of diverse work with adolescents to the clinical team. Her clinical approach draws from multiple modalities, including Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), somatic therapy, and Motivational Interviewing (MI). In addition to working individually with students and their families, Jovanina facilitates weekly sitting meditation, teaches yoga, and runs an ongoing skills group based on DBT principles. She is also working to make the JDA alumni program more robust.

Jovanina received her BMA from the New School, Mannes College of Music (classical music performance), and her MSW from University at Albany. In New York City, she worked as the Education Coordinator for programs providing educational support and advocacy to teens and their families at the Children’s Aid Society, Harlem Children’s Zone, and Cardinal McCloskey Services. Her most recent position before moving to the Berkshires was as Director of the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program at Grand Street Settlement, a multi-faceted, 5-year program funded by US Department of Health and Human Services.

Though she transitioned many years ago from music performance to adolescent development and mental health, the arts are still a central part of Jovanina’s life; she is an avid dancer—studying (and occasionally teaching) dance and curating the dance workshop series at the Peaceable Barn Studio in Redding, CT.

Jovanina is very grateful to be in the Berkshires, where she has been able to significantly expand her birding life list and is finally learning how to garden.

Derek J Neaz-Nibur, PsyD

Primary Clinician

Derek joined the JDA faculty in August of 2017. Working with adolescents has been a professional passion for him since working as a camp counselor at YMCA Camp Hi-Rock here in the Berkshires for three summers.

Prior to joining the clinical team at JDA, Derek held a variety of positions in the field of mental health care. He most recently worked as a clinician at a community mental health center in New York City after a year working in the psychological counseling center at Baruch College, CUNY. Before that, Derek worked as a clinician in two private practice offices in the Washington, DC metropolitan area as well as being a mentor for a 17-year-old male living in Alexandria, VA. He also worked at a psychiatric hospital in Falls Church, VA and for a non-profit transitional mental health center in Southbridge, MA.

Derek received his BA from Clark University and his PsyD from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. He is the author of Let’s Talk About Sex: Constructing a Scale Measuring Comfort with Sexual Topics (ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 2016).

Derek lives in Great Barrington with his wife Heather. He enjoys listening to heavy metal, rock climbing, watching superhero and sci-fi movies, and playing board games with his friends. He also maintains his professional and personal ties to YMCA Camp Hi-Rock.

Robert Andenmatten, MEd

Faculty in Math and Science

Bob began at JDA in 1999 and teaches courses in calculus, physics, differential equations, and advanced topics in physics (quantum mechanics and relativity theory). Bob also enjoys offering the JDA students diverse but related electives, including astronomy, probability, game theory, forensic science, engineering, and tensegrity. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Queens College, CUNY, and his Master of Education from Lesley College.

Bob grew up in the ranks of the family manufacturing business, learning to weld and operate basic machinery by the time he was 9. His family was also very musical—Bob’s mother, Roma Marx, is an opera singer—so he balanced his early practical skills with study of the piano and cello. At 14, Bob earned his general class amateur radio license, allowing him to speak with people across the globe (even Barry Goldwater).

As CEO of the family business, Bob worked closely with the New York State petroleum industry and the New York State Fire Department to design systems for use in the petroleum transport industry. He then left Long Island for the Berkshires, where he finally was able to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a teacher. Bob taught briefly in the local public schools before coming to JDA.

Bob enjoys chess, bridge, cribbage, gardening, and of course, his grandchildren. His early musical studies grew into a lifelong love of music, and he still plays the cello and sings in the church choir.

David Baum, PhD

Faculty in History

Before coming to Dewey in 2015, David spent most of his career in college teaching with a focus on courses in history, politics, and film. He traces his love of history to his grandfather, who would ease the passage of time while they worked together on weekends at the family business by telling stories of the “old days” – World War I, the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, and the home front during World War II. Through these reminiscences, he learned that the past truly was “another country,” exotic, exciting, and, as his grandfather had hoped, illuminating. His love of teaching developed later. While a graduate student at Yale, he found a calling as a TA and altered his career path from the foreign service to the classroom. After 30 years and over 6000 students he claims no regrets. There has been some adventure along the way: in his early years he survived his research stints in Italy during the infamous “Days of Lead”, and in 2010-11 he had the opportunity to spend a year in Iraq helping to set up the social sciences program at the newly inaugurated American University. For excitement these days, David skis the local slopes and fully throws caution to the wind by walking alone after dark in his newly adopted home town of Pittsfield.

Nancy Coiner, PhD

Faculty in English; Head of Humanities Department; Dean of Faculty

Nancy arrived at the John Dewey Academy in 1999, though her journey to literature and Dewey began in her childhood, when chronic illness taught her to read for entire days at a stretch. Curious about the philosophical dimensions of many intellectual fields, she attended St. John’s College, the “Great Books” college. Halfway through, she spent two years traveling in Israel and Europe, studying how communities founded on idealistic principles worked (and didn’t). Because of the lessons she learned about the deep messiness of human character and community life, she chose to pursue literature rather than philosophy or theology for graduate study.

Nancy returned to St. John’s College to complete her bachelors, continuing on to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, where she earned a masters in Middle English Literature. Nancy then taught at Choate Rosemary Hall for several years before heading back to graduate school. After getting a doctorate in Comparative Literature from Stanford University in 1989, she taught medieval literature at Middlebury College. In 1996, she married and moved to Massachusetts where she taught part-time at Smith and Mt. Holyoke Colleges.

Nearly twenty years into her career at Dewey, Nancy still loves developing new classes that will interest her students and watching those students evolve into mature readers, writers, and human beings. In her spare time, she reads novels in many genres, bicycles along the shore of Nova Scotia with her husband, and plays around with writing fiction.

Sherry Steiner

Faculty in Creative Arts

Sherry joined the John Dewey Academy in 1989 as a Creative Arts Instructor. She offers classes in Studio Arts, Creative Writing, Drama, Music, Film, and Art History, all of which are tailored to meet the individual interests of each student.  

A graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City, Sherry is a practicing artist/writer/musician, publisher of an online arts newsletter (indearts.org), member of Berkshire Ukulele Band, Sunday Strummers Ukulele Ensemble, and Berkshire Sings as well as a published writer of poetry and flash fiction. Previous experience includes being a gallery owner, creative arts instructor, apprentice to Joseph Cornell, founder of the Museum of Teen Art, Affordable Art Vending machines, Le Petit Musee and Gallery Without Walls. www.sherrysteiner.com.

Lisa A. Buttrey-Thomas, PhD

Faculty in Math and Science

Lisa joined the John Dewey community during the summer of 2001.  She teaches courses in Math, Chemistry and Biology. Prior to joining the JDA faculty, Lisa was an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She received her Bachelor of Science and her PhD in Chemistry from SUNY Buffalo.

Lisa is the co-author of several papers in scientific journals.  In her free time, she enjoys reading, taking day trips, and dabbling in music and art.

Christian Holland, PhD

Faculty in French and Italian Language, Literature, and History; House Parent

Before coming to the John Dewey Academy in 2009, Christian spent most of his career in monastic practice, language study, and teaching courses on classical texts of literature, philosophy, and the arts. After graduating from the Great Books Program at St. John’s College, Annapolis, Christian joined a French speaking ecumenical community in Chevetogne, Belgium. There he studied the art, history, liturgy, and theology of the Byzantine tradition and worked for the journal Irenikon. From Chevetogne, Christian moved to the Greek College in Rome, Italy, which welcomed students from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Belgium, and Italy, and Greece. After returning to the United States from Europe to pursue Psychoanalytic Studies and complete his doctorate in Comparative Literature, Christian served as a member of the faculty at St. John’s College for several years. Upon joining the Dewey community, he took up residence at the school, both as a House Parent and as a teacher of French, Italian, Philosophy and Political Economy. In his most recent electives, Christian has given special attention to (1) research on the emotions and (2) the social, economic, and political implications of new technologies for our future. Christian is also a cinephile and incorporates film and videography into all of his work.

Judy Oates, MEd

House Parent

Judy has been a supportive and positive on-campus presence since 2006, when she joined the JDA community as a House Parent. In 2009, Judy stepped in for a year to help as the Assistant Office Manager, returning to her role as House Parent in 2010. She values the special positioning of a House Parent in the lives of the students, as it enables her to impart the value of and to model the importance of community. 

Before coming to Dewey, Judy’s vibrant professional and personal life took her to multiple continents in many capacities. Judy graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in Public Relations, afterwards pursuing a professional modeling career for many years. When she retired from modeling, she worked on a ground-breaking, Harvard-sponsored ecological initiative that took place on Annapurna (in the Himalayas), the tenth tallest mountain in the world. She later lived and worked on a large ranch in Montana with her husband of the time, an actor who co-owned the property with American film director and screenwriter, Sam Peckinpah. Upon her husband’s death she moved to New Zealand with her two young children and wrote film scripts for the film industry, later relocating to Orcas Island in northwest Washington State to teach Spanish in a Waldorf School. Judy earned her master’s degree in Education in 1990 from the Waldorf Institute in Spring Valley, NY.

Upon relocating to the Berkshires, Judy taught at Berkshire Community College and tutored students privately and at many local schools.

Judy feels very fortunate that both her daughter and son, Torrey and Cody, live locally, allowing her to spend many wonderful hours with her grandchildren, Orlando and Domino. In addition to being a House Parent at JDA, Judy also works professionally with intellectually and developmentally disabled adults. Her special interests include quantum physics (parallel universe and holographic universe theories), science fiction and fantasy films, comparative religion, and all forms of the arts. 

Thea Ross, BBA

Business Manager

Thea joined the John Dewey Academy in 2011. As Business Manager, she helps the overall functioning of the school in many diverse areas, from handling payroll and employee insurance plans to putting together student report cards and transcripts.

One of the things Thea values most is her direct involvement in the student program; she greatly values the opportunity to invest in the students and to develop supportive relationships with them. This part of her job involves overseeing student finances, distributing allowances, supervising the work of the student Head of Business, and offering financial literacy classes to outgoing seniors. She also works with and supports the Head of School on various projects such as finalizing the yearly school calendar and semester schedules.

In addition to her work at Dewey, Thea has been a financial and organizational consultant for a Connecticut home health care business since 1999. Previous experience includes six years at Berkshire Bank, and prior to that, tackling the demanding job of raising three boys – now with children of their own – whom she homeschooled. Thea received her bachelors in business administration from Temple University in marketing and human resource management.

Thea loves cooking, sewing, and doing logic problems of all sorts. An avid seamstress, she even created a ball gown for her daughter-in-law for the Marine Corps Ball. Thea’s mother is an accomplished gardener and keeps up her ongoing effort to help Thea learn how to keep plants alive.

Robert Gaughran

Facility Manager

Bobby began as Facility Manager in 2014, bringing his skills in stone masonry, carpentry, and automotive technologies to meet the many diverse needs of the historic building where the JDA community lives and works. Though he appreciates the opportunity to care for the majestic castle and carriage house, his favorite part of the job is supervising the maintenance work program where he gets to teach and work alongside young people much like himself at that age.   

From a young age, Bobby has loved to work with his hands and enjoys the tougher jobs in life. He has worked all his life in the trades, beginning in adolescence when he worked alongside his father and two brothers in stone masonry.  He is a certified firefighter and licensed Emergency Medical Technician in his community, also working with a regional technical rescue team helping people all over western Massachusetts.

Paul Ravenscraft

Director of Outreach and Marketing

Over the past twenty years, Paul has worked in some of the best residential and therapeutic programs across the country in admissions and marketing leadership roles. In his role at JDA he brings a unique perspective on best practices, clinical and academic integrity and program integration.