OUR 2019 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Kerri Dolce- President
My name is Kerri Dolce and I am honored to be serving on the Acorn Board. My husband and I have three boys and feel fortunate to have found Acorn when our oldest son joined as a Chipmunk several years ago. As parents, it is incredible to see how much our children have grown not only socially but also academically, all thanks to the wonderful people that make Acorn a remarkable school. As a member of the board, I am excited for the opportunity to give back to a school that has meant so much to my family, as well as, helping to ensure Acorn is accessible and thriving for future generations.
Amy Mangano- Vice President
I joined Acorn School Board of Directors in January 2020.
Kristin Larrabee - Secretary
I was honored to join the Board of Directors in April of 2018 to serve as the Secretary. Acorn was an environment that my husband, Matt, and I knew we wanted our children to experience. Addy rose through Chipmunk, Tadpole and Mighty Oak years to adore her time and wants to come back daily. Drew is enjoying his Chickadee year after a great Chipmunk year last year. Friends made in these years have become our ‘tribe’, and solidified lifelong connections with others, nature, play, and problem solving skills. As an upper elementary teacher, I strongly believe in the foundation that Acorn School, and now also the TimberNook experience, establishes in these little minds and bodies. We reside in Greenland, but have been volunteering for over 18 year at the Stratham Fire Department, in the town Matt loves and grew up in. You can often find us spending family time anywhere out on the water.
Debra Grott - Treasurer
My name is Debra Grott and I have been on the Acorn Board of Directors since September 2014 serving as Treasurer. Two of my three children who are now 28 and 23, were lucky enough to be Chipmunks and the Woolly Bears at Acorn School. Some of their closest friends were from their years at Acorn School. I am honored to be a part of the same strong traditions, educational concepts and loving environment which our family experienced over 25 years ago. I currently work as a CPA in the Seacoast area, as well as, a Field Hockey coach at Exeter High School. I live in Hampton with my family and our dog, LuLu.
My name is Alicia Jarvis and I joined the Acorn Board of Directors September 2019. My oldest daughter had such a positive experience at Acorn, first as a Chipmunk and then a Tadpole, that it was the obvious choice to send my two youngest children there as well. I enjoyed watching all three of children benefit from all that Acorn has to offer, not only in the classroom but through their enrichment programs like TimberNook. I am honored to be a part of a school that is committed to doing what is best for young children with their play and nature based approach to education. I studied Early Childhood Education and have a background working with preschool age students. I live in Stratham with my husband, where I stay home with our three children and our cat, Reese.
My name is Gayle Vardakis and I am excited to be joining the board this year! Our oldest son, Reid was a Tadpole and finished up his Mighty Oak year in 2019. He also participated regularly in the enrichment and Club Acorn programs. It’s been amazing to watch our son thrive with such nurturing and creative teachers, environment and community. The addition of TimberNook has been especially enriching. Our youngest son Isaac just started his Acorn journey as a Chipmunk this year. I am deeply grateful for all that Acorn School and its teachers have given, and continue to give to our family. I happily joined the board to support the Acorn community for the children to come. I feel honored to have the opportunity to give back.
My name is Ashley Chisholm and I am serving my second year on the Board for Acorn School. We fell in love with the Acorn environment, structure, and nature based learning curriculum for our oldest child. He attended two years at Acorn School and loved his days spent there with friends and caring teachers.
As an educator and parent, I am always impressed with how Acorn inhabits such a wonderful environment for children to learn, feel creative, comfortable, and safe. I’m happy to serve on the Board so I can continue to give back to such a wonderful community of teachers and families whose main goal is for their children to love learning and create new, memorable experiences each day.
My name is Maggie Basenberg, and I am just completing my first year on the Acorn board. I live in Newfields with my husband and our three children, Connor, Molly, and Liam. Connor did three wonderful years at Acorn, and Molly is in her second year now. Liam is a future chipmunk. When I am not with my family, I spend a lot of my time involved with Irish Step dancing, judging competitions all over the country. What I love about Acorn is the community that surrounds this little school. I meet people everywhere who went to Acorn or who love it for one reason or another. My family has made wonderful friendships here. I joined the board to get involved, and it has been a fun wild year so far! I can’t wait to see what the next few bring for our wonderful little school.
My name is Rachelle Merrill, I have been on the Acorn board for the past year. I have three kids, Jaxson age 6, Mckenzie age 5 and Brielle age 3. Jaxson was at acorn for 2 memorable years, and Mckenzie is finishing up her very fun outdoor experience as a wholly bear. Brielle is my future chipmunk next year and she is beyond thrilled to be a part of Acorn. I work per-diem at Boston Children’s hospital as a registered pediatric nurse, I have been there for 15 years. I was on many hospital wide committees when working full time, but now that my main focus is on my children, I wanted to become more involved in their school and what they care about most! I love being part of the acorn community, we have made many great family bonds over the past years. It amazes me how Acorn as a community team has provided the best opportunity for these kids to learn and grow during this challenging time!
I was born and raised in Massachusetts and have happily lived on the Seacoast coming up on 5 years. Retired early childhood educator and speech therapist of 8 years – turned mama and network marker. I joined the board to have a hand in our child’s education and be a part of such a wonderful community. Becoming a Chipmunk was a big deal for our daughter as all the Donatelli cousins are Acorn graduates. Our 18 month old already can’t wait to join the team!
Rachel Bendroth is an Acorn School alumni, Acorn School enthusiast, and a future Acorn School parent. She just moved back to the Seacoast with her 3 year old son, Jack. She is passionate about trauma informed parenting, sensory development, and foster care. She and her son enjoy spending time with her family, playing outside (#1000hours), and traveling (pre-Pandemic). Rachel is a Nurse Practitioner at OHSU in Portland, Oregon, where she works remotely.