Acorn Staff

Susan Bendroth - Director, PM Chipmunks, Extended Day

I am the Director of Acorn School and one of the PM Chipmunk teachers.  I have a B.S. in Occupational Therapy from the University of New Hampshire with more than 30 years of experience working with preschoolers and kindergarteners guiding them along their developmental path of acquiring social, emotional, physical and academic skills through Acorn’s science and social studies curriculum. All four of my children attended Acorn School. My goal and desire for every Acorn student is to develop an “I can” attitude, to understand it is okay to make mistakes and to love to learn.

Leigh Daley - Music

I am a graduate of UNH, passed the PRAXIS in 2002 and was the permanent sub at Main Street School in Exeter for 20 years. I love all animals (especially horses as I started riding at age 9) and I sing, play guitar and the piano! I was in a female a cappella group (Mamapella) for 10 years and plan to sing with the Rockingham Choral Society this year.

Margaret deRham - Mighty Oaks, Enrichment

I am one of the kindergarten teachers in the Mighty Oak classroom. I received my Masters of Science in Reading from Wheelock College in 1992. I also received my Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education with a major in Special Education from Wheelock College in 1981. My teaching experience over the years has included 4 year olds, kindergarten, first grade, second grade and children with special needs. I live in Newfields, NH with my husband and we have two grown daughters who also attended Acorn School many years ago. When I am not teaching I enjoy reading, traveling, time with my family an friends and being at Squam Lake.

Kelly Flynn - Chickadees, Tadpoles

I teach in the Chickadees and Tadpole 4 year old classes. My son was a Tadpole and then a Mighty Oak. My transition from parent to teacher has seemed like a natural passage! I have a Degree in Psychology and over 15 years of experience working as an educator of young children. I live in Stratham and enjoy tennis, travel and spending time with my family…and our several pets.

Shelly Gordon - AM Chipmunks, Chickadees, Tadpoles

I teach the morning 3 year old Chipmunk class and the morning 4 year old Chickadee and Tadpole classes.  I have been part of the Acorn community since 2009 when my daughter became a Chipmunk and then a Tadpole. My son followed as a Chickadee and I loved the warmth of the teachers and the nature based curriculum. I became a boar member and enjoyed serving the needs of the school with a great group of volunteers. I have a B.S. in Education from the University of Kansas and taught elementary school for eight years before starting my family, so when I was ready to return to teaching Acorn was the perfect place. My outside of school life is full of outdoor family fun, art work, volunteer projects, reading and my favorite – adventurous travel!

Chris Hochschwender - Mighty Oaks

I am one of the Mighty Oak kindergarten teachers. In 1986, I received my BS Degree in Elementary Education with minors in child Development and Psychology from Plymouth State University. I have also taught kindergarten and third grade in the past. I love to read and travel whenever I get a chance. I live in Newfields with my husband and three sons.  All three of my boys were Chipmunks, Chickadees and Mighty Oaks here at Acorn many years ago.

Karen Gray - AM and PM Woolly Bears

Hi My Name is Karen Gray. This is my fourth year teaching at Acorn School. I  currently lead both the AM and PM Woolly Bear Classrooms. I have been a preschool educator since my junior and senior years of High School, where I became certified after completing a 2 year Vocational Program and then went on to earn a Degree in Early Childhood Education. My interests beyond children are photography, music, dance, camping, outside in nature, hiking and traveling.

I believe life is best maneuvered when we embrace diversity and we bring our best to the table…Never an I but a We!!

Becky Shepard - Music Director

I am Becky, the founder of Acorn School back in 1972,  and I teach music at Acorn! I live in Exeter with my husband Dudley ad two dogs, Zipper and Willy. I like to play golf and tennis and I also like to write musicals for the theater. Most of all I LOVE ACORN SCHOOL!

Kathryn Swenson - AM and PM Woolly Bears, AM and PM Chipmunks

I am Kathryn Swenson and I teach in the AM and PM 3 year old Chipmunk classes and both AM and PM 4 year old Woolly Bear classes. I have a Bachelors in Early childhood from Coly Sawyer. I am a huge animal lover.

Kimberly Williams - Business Director, Yoga Teacher, Chippie Cheeks

I can be found in the Acorn office, on my yoga mat sharing my love of yoga with the Mighty Oaks and also having lunch with the 3 year old Chipmunks. My connection with Acorn began many years ago as a parent. My two alumni sons will quickly tell you that their years at Acorn were “awesome!!” My BS in Nursing compliments my Childlight Yoga Teacher Certification.