Our Team

Jenna Goldstein-Walsh

Jenna Goldstein-Walsh is a Behavior Strategist for South Portland School Department. She was formerly an Early Childhood Clinical Consultant for Cumberland County in the ECCP (Early Childhood Consultation Partnership) program, a Social Worker for the Portland Public Schools, and a Social-Emotional Learning Coach at Riverton Elementary School in Portland, Maine.  She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with a master's degree in social work from the University of Southern Maine and a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Rochester.  She has been working with children and families in the mental health field since 2007 and has experience working with families through intensive in-home support, residential treatment, day treatment schools, and public schools. She has  extensive training and experience working with children with trauma, and has Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) and Safety Care training.

Grace S. Jacobs

Grace S. Jacobs has worked in the field of Gifted & Talented Education in Maine for more than 20 years, as a classroom teacher, program facilitator, nature based educator and GT consultant.  She has a special interest in the social and emotional needs of the gifted learner, as well as twice exceptionality. As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, she also carries a strong commitment to global education and service learning. She loves to travel. Grace has served on the MEGAT board and was nominated for the SENG honor roll in 2013. She completed her Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction at Keene State College and a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Educational Leadership from the University of New England.  She lives in Maine and loves the natural beauty of New England with the opportunity to enjoy hiking, kayaking and exploring.

Dr. Patricia McDaid

Dr. Patricia McDaid, Ed. D. has worked in the field of Special Education for 25 years, teaching and learning from students with a wide variety of complex learning and behavioral needs. Dr. McDaid completed her undergraduate degree in Learners with Severe Special Needs at Boston College, followed by Masters and Doctoral studies at Boston University with a special focus on students with autism spectrum disorder and challenging behavior. Dr. McDaid has supported students with complex learning and behavioral needs across a range of settings and strongly believes that, given the proper type and intensity of individualized support, students with complex needs can and should be educated alongside their peers in general education classes as much as possible. Dr. McDaid currently consults to rural and urban school districts in the areas of autism and positive behavior support and to the TIES National Technical Assistance Center on Inclusive Practices and Policies.

Sadie Personeni

Sadie Personeni has recently joined our team as Executive Assistant. She is a graduate of the University of Maine where she earned dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Art Education and Studio Art. Sadie is a certified K-12 Visual Arts Educator and has taught a variety of art programs to people of all ages, both in-person and virtually, over the past 7 years. Sadie served as the Executive Director of Lighthouse Arts & Education and has a passion for community-oriented arts programs. Creatively, Sadie enjoys a wide variety of media, but especially loves printmaking and pottery. Sadie and her fiance, Kris, have two young children and enjoy spending time in nature together and visiting with family and friends.

Tricia Richardson

Tricia Richardson grew up in Carmel, ME, and graduated from Rivier University in Nashua, NH, with a B.A. in Public Relations. After many successful years as a nonprofit fundraiser, she made a career change to education, earning her K-8 teaching certification at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. She taught for several years in Virginia and Washington, DC before returning to Maine in 2014 and joining the staff of RSU 22.  Tricia taught second & third grade, before serving the district as a K-12 Gifted and Talented teacher. In 2015, Tricia earned her Maine Gifted & Talented Endorsement and continued on, earning her Masters of Arts in Gifted Education, from the University of South Florida.  Ms. Richardson holds further expertise in working with twice exceptional (2e) students - those who are gifted and have a disability. Tricia received her Certificate of Advanced Study in Special Education with a focus on Autism from the University of Maine to further advance her expertise in this area. Ms. Richardson is married and lives in Hampden with her husband Gary and two lovable labs. She has four grown children, two sons and twin stepdaughters.  She loves the outdoors and all things Maine - running, hiking, kayaking, and biking.  

Catherine Ring

Catherine Ring is Director and Co-Founder of the New England Institute for Teacher Education. She has served on the Core Leadership Team with the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative since 2010. Catherine has presented at the Maine Principals’ Association Conference as well as nationally at the National Art Education Conventions. Catherine is a former K-8 Principal and has taught visual art for 20 years in public schools. She has also attained her Assistant Superintendent certification. Catherine completed her Education Leadership studies at the University of Vermont and received her Master of Arts from Vermont College of Norwich University. For her thesis, entitled “Education and the Arts, Toward Creative Intelligences,” she researched the role of the arts in learning and has worked closely with classroom teachers, helping them to integrate the arts into their regular curricula. As Principal, Catherine helped to bring to her school district the Kennedy Center’s National Partnership program. She assists school districts throughout Maine with differentiated instruction, arts integration, and gifted and talented programs. Catherine has been named the 2014 Advocate of the Year by the Maine Art Education Association.

Sadie Shaw

Sadie Shaw is a school counselor in her 17th school year at Central Aroostook High School.  She went to the University of Maine and studied elementary education.  Sadie went onto graduate school at the University of Maryland to earn a masters degree in school counseling.  In her position as a school counselor she works on the administrative team as well as the school leadership team. Sadie is the chair of the student assistance team and is a senior class advisor.  Sadie, her husband Ryan and two daughters enjoy traveling, watching sports, and hanging out with family and friends.

Alyson Spearin 

Alyson Spearin is currently a stay-at-home mom while teaching Literacy courses for NEI. Previously, she taught kindergarten, first and third grade. She received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a concentration in history from Saint Joseph’s College and a Master of Science in Literacy Education from the University of Southern Maine. She has served on various committees such as Leadership and Literacy and enjoyed hosting college student interns and student teachers. Aly is a devoted life-long learner. Her passion for educating and meeting the needs of our children shines through not only in her teaching, but also in her service at community events. She enjoys spending time with her husband and family, the outdoors and cozying up on the couch with her cats, dog and a good book!

Lindsay Stewart

Lindsay Stewart, M.Ed., is the Director of Sweet Tree Arts and Founder of Sweetland School, a Reggio-inspired, project-based K-6 elementary school program in Hope, Maine. She has been teaching in the arts and alternative education settings for the past 20 years. Lindsay gained her Masters in Education through Lesley University's Creative Arts and Learning program and received her undergraduate degree in Art and Music from Colby College. Creatively she works as a printmaker and photographer. Lindsay believes art can be shared by all ages and all abilities on many levels - we create as active participants, engage as observers and share experiences together enriching our lives and building empathy when we explore the world through the Arts. Lindsay is proud to be a member of the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative. She continues to share ideas locally and across the state of Maine around Creativity, Growth Mindset and Listening and Responding through the Arts.

Jake Sturtevant

Jake Sturtevant was born and raised in Maine by a musical family. He is a prolific composer, performer, and music educator. His compositions encompass a variety genres and media including jazz, funk/fusion, vocal, chamber music, orchestral, electronic, and multi-media works.  Jake currently is the music director at Falmouth High School, in Falmouth, Maine. Additionally he held the position of music educator at Bonny Eagle HS and Washington Academy, Teaching Assistant of the Composition department at the University of Minnesota, and he has worked as an intern and as an independent contractor for the Maine Arts Commission.  Jake has been interested in acquiring and changing his teaching and assessment practices to focus on standard based grading. He has had the opportunity to be part of the Arts Assessment Institute and Initiative, and has taught a variety of workshops at the October 2011 Maine Arts Assessment Conference at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. He is continually inspired by other teachers around the state and the country who have found a verity of assessment practices that help students achieve practical goals that will help them progress, while not stifling their creativity. Jake holds degrees from the University of Maine at Augusta’s Jazz and Contemporary music program (B.A., Music, 2003), and the University of Minnesota (M.A., Composition 2005), where he studied with Dr. Judith Lang Zaimont. Beyond his profession Jake enjoys his time with his family, and all outdoor activities especially hiking and skiing.

Barbara Vinal

Barbara Vinal holds a Masters in Technology Education from Lesley University, a Bachelors in Music Education from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell and holds a certificate in online instruction through the Carolina Online Teacher program (COLT) through LearnNC, a program of the UNC School of Education. She has been an educator in Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Texas for over 30 years. Recently retired from public education, she now is an independent Educational Consultant. Mrs. Vinal was a member of the Maine Dept. of Education's Learning Results Review Committee in 2007, which developed the Maine state standards in Visual and Performing Arts. She presents conference sessions on technology integration in the classroom, assessment techniques, developing standards-based curricula and all things Google.  She is a Google Certified Educator Level 2 and a Google Certified Trainer.

Dr. Kay York

With 36 years dedicated to education, Dr. Kay York has taught first, second, and fourth grades, along with small group instruction including Title 1 and Reading Recovery. For the past 11 years, Dr. York has served as a Principal at Central Aroostook Junior Senior High School in Mars Hill, Maine. Dr. York's driving force has been to support both students and staff in realizing their utmost potential and achieving excellence. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with her husband of 41 years, their four children, and six grandchildren. Dr. York is recently retired and looks forward to spending time with family, home projects, traveling, and remaining engaged in education through offering courses with New England Institute.

Dr. Stephen York

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Dr. Stephen York, Academic Dean and Co-Founder of The New England Institute for Teacher Education, on August 13, 2023.  Dr. York's profound impact on our institution and the broader community will forever be remembered and cherished. Dr. York's unwavering dedication to fostering a nurturing and innovative learning environment helped to shape The New England Institute for Teacher Education. His leadership and vision guided the Institute over the years. Dr. York's legacy extends beyond the classroom and reaches deep into the hearts of those who had the privilege of knowing him. His warmth, wisdom, and genuine concern for each individual have touched the lives of students, instructors, and community members alike. Many teachers who have taken a course with him will remember him for his strong intellect, sense of humor, and deep commitment to teaching and learning. Dr. Stephen York's legacy will continue to inspire us as we carry forward his vision and commitment to education. His passion for teaching, dedication to excellence, and compassionate spirit will forever remain a guiding light in our hearts.