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Passionate & Caring


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.


Courtney Carlisle
Dean of Faculty | English Literature 

Bob Andenmatten
Math and Science

Ben Mielenz

Lisa A. Buttrey-Thomas
Math and Science

Christophe Pichard

Administrative Staff

Thea Ross
Business Manager

Robert Gaughran
Facility Manager

Residential Leaders

Leah Shapiro
Project Coordinator & House Parent

Get In Touch

Contact Us


    389 Main Street
    Great Barrington MA 01230

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

    Email: Info@jda.org

    Courtney Carlisle

    English Literature Teacher

    Courtney joined the faculty at Dewey full-time in the fall of 2019, after substituting during the summers since 2014. She earned her BA and MA in English literature from the University of Wyoming, and then moved to Tempe, Arizona, to pursue a PhD at Arizona State University. Currently writing her dissertation, Courtney focuses on early modern English literature and critical theory, but especially appreciates the opportunity to teach literature courses that include diverse texts and encourage students to think and write critically about themselves as readers and writers. Before coming to Dewey, Courtney taught for the University of Wyoming’s English Department, Honors Program, and Outreach Program, and worked for Arizona State University’s English Department and Institute for Humanities Research.

    Aside from teaching, Courtney enjoys reading (of course!), traveling (often with an eye to literary history), and settling into the Berkshires with her two dogs.

    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.

    Ben Mielenz

    Faculty in Spanish

    Ben joined the Dewey faculty full time in August of 2019. He has a passion for second language acquisition that is rooted in professional and academic immersions on four continents outside of North America. In 2007 and 2008 he spent a year in Malawi as a public health volunteer. Upon completion of his bachelor’s degree he worked for an academic year on the Caribbean coast of Colombia as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. In 2015, he spent a summer in Turkey with a Critical Language Scholarship. He has also spent a year plus another two summers in northern Spain, where he hiked 550 miles of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in 2017 and conducted his Ph.D. fieldwork in 2018.

    His graduate work in Spanish sociolinguistics runs in tandem with his teaching philosophy. He is convinced that the way we communicate plays a crucial role in the way we see the world and our place in it. His teaching style is creative and playful, and while he expects effort from his students, he emphasizes progress rather than perfection. His primary goal is that students find and trust their own voices and use their abilities to engage with the world around them.

    When he’s not teaching at Dewey or working on his Ph.D. dissertation with the University at Albany, you can find Ben hiking the Berkshires, shooting pool, playing music with friends, and relaxing at home with Pearl the cat.

    Lisa Buttery-Thomas

    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. 

    Christophe Pichard


    Christophe joined the Dewey faculty in the Fall of 2019. Christophe is a perfect example of the kind of Subject Matter Expert we covet here at Dewey. He is a French-born citizen who spent his life in France until coming to the U.S. 10 years ago. Studying in Paris, Christophe earned an AA in Economics and an MS in Computer Science. In addition to bringing a front-row seat to French culture and an unparalleled French accent, Christophe brings his vast knowledge and experience in the business arena. Christophe teaches Intermediate and Advanced French Language classes as well as French Culture.

    Throughout his career, Christophe interfaced with people and corporations across international borders and cultivated a deep appreciation for the ways in which the mastery of languages could facilitate communications. The thrust of Christophe’s career was devoted to the financial sector, working with stockbrokers and banks. In the beginning, Christophe held Project Management roles in IT. Later on, he transitioned into Change-Management Consulting at venerated firms like KPMG and CSG, until he established his own thriving company.  Consistently immersed in fast-paced environments and required to complete projects within tight timetables, he attributes a large part of his success to his ability to effectively articulate the solutions he was proposing. In fact, he really enjoyed delivering training seminars to imbue client personnel with the necessary knowledge and terminology needed for optimum use of newly installed front-office technology applications.

    Christophe married an American and ultimately relocated to the Berkshires. Selling his business enabled him to pursue his penchant for teaching those who have a need and/or desire to learn. Jumping at the chance to spread goodwill, Christophe volunteered for VIM (Volunteers in Medicine) to help French-speaking patients be understood by American doctors. He also started a French conversation program at Berkshire South and helps prepare high school students for the AP French exam.

    Blending his love of teaching with his proclivity for strategic precision and gusto for exercise, Christophe is both a ski and Taekwondo instructor (he is a second-degree blackbelt). Beyond his collection of nautical items, Christophe is an avid sailor who has had the pleasure of viewing most of the world’s Northern Hemisphere from aquatic vantage points.

    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.

    Leah Shapiro

    Project Coordinator & House Parent 

    Leah joined the John Dewey Academy in 2020. She is currently pursuing an M.S.Ed. in international educational development at the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to starting her master’s program, Leah worked with higher education and youth development programs in the U.S. and abroad. Her most recent position was assistant director of international student services at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York. Leah’s professional background also includes leading high school students on an outdoor adventure program in Mongolia, teaching English on a Fulbright grant in Georgia (country), and organizing educational trips across the U.S. for international military officers with the U.S. Department of Defense. 

    When she’s not daydreaming about her next international trip, Leah loves hiking, paddling, and experimenting in the kitchen.