Acorn Staff

Susan Bendroth - Director of Acorn School, Mighty Oaks

I am the Director of Acorn School and one of the Mighty Oak 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.

Kimberly Williams - Business Director, Yoga Teacher and 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.

Jendiss Frizzell - Mighty Oaks, Lead Teacher
Hi my name is Jendiss Frizzell and I am the lead teacher of the kindergarten Mighty Oaks. I have 4 grown children who all went to Acorn School. I enjoy hiking, singing, and gardening. I have been in the education field for 30 years and love sharing books with children! I love Acorn School!
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.

Melissa Guy - Mighty Oaks

My name is Melissa Guy and I’m so excited to be back in the Mighty Oak classroom as an assistant. Both of my girls attended Acorn as Chipmunks, Woolly Bears and Mighty Oaks so I know how special this school is. I live in Exeter with my family and Golden Doodle, Parker. It’s going to be a great year!

Shelly Gordon - Chickadee and Tadpole Lead Teacher , Chippie Cheeks

I teach the morning 4 year old Chickadee and Tadpole classes, as well as Chippie Cheeks.  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!

Tracy Hall - Chipmunks and Woolly Bear Lead Teacher

Hello friends, I am Tracy Hall and I teach the Chipmunks and Woolly Bears here at Acorn School. I earned my degree in Elementary Education from URI and taught for several years before staying home to raise my children. I live in Stratham with my family and pets. When I’m not at Acorn School I love to cook, craft, and garden. I am also very active in Girl Scouts. I am so honored to be able to spend time with your children.

Kathryn Wrisley - Woolly Bear and Chipmunks Assistant

I am Kathryn Wrisley 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 Colby Sawyer. I am a huge animal lover.

Jody MacBride - Chipmunks Assistant

My name is Jody MacBride and I am an assistant teacher in the Chipmunk class. I received my BA degree in Child Psychology and my Masters Degree in Elementary Education, both at UNH. I have taught second, third and fourth grade, and recently retired from full time classroom teaching. I live in Stratham with my husband and two dogs, where we raised our three kids, who now have families of their own. I love hiking, snowshoeing and pickleball, as well as reading and drawing. I am really looking forward to the year at Acorn!

Leigh Daley - Music Teacher

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 - Pre-K Enrichment Program, Chippie Cheeks

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.

Katie Miles - Chipmunk Lead Teacher, Tadpole Assistant

My name is Katie Miles and I am a Chipmunk teacher as well as an assistant in the Tadpole class. I live in Newfields with my husband, son, and daughter who attended Acorn as a Tadpole and Mighty Oak. I earned my B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Maine. When
not at school I enjoy spending time with my family on new adventures, gardening and caring for our many animals.

Michelle Graziano - Mighty Oaks Enrichment Program, Pre-k Extended Day Program
Gayle Vardakis - Chickadee Assistant, Pre-k Extended Day & Mighty Oak Enrichment Program

Hello! My name is Gayle Vardakis and I am an assistant in the Chickadee class. I also work with the Mighty Oak Enrichment & Pre-K Extended Day programs.

My education background includes earning a Bachelor of Arts in psychology with a minor in special education, and Masters of Science in occupational therapy. I am one of Acorn’s TimberNook certified staff members and love providing programming for Acorn School’s students with the TimberNook team. I enjoy being outside in nature and exploring the coast and mountains of NH and Maine with my family. I have two sons who both attended Acorn School, with our youngest finishing his Mighty Oak year in 2022. I really enjoyed my time as a parent of children attending Acorn, as a board member, and now I am so fortunate to work here. I feel honored to work with your children and embrace the joy, wonder, and magic of early childhood.

Kelly Flynn - Pre-K Enrichment and Extended Day Programs