July 5, 2023


As we begin the new school year, I am particularly grateful for this community of staff, students and families in my life, and I am eager to see you again on opening day, Sunday, September 12th.  I am looking forward to experiencing the vibrancy and exciting atmosphere that is present on Maplebrook’s campus when it’s populated with our students, faculty and staff.

Building relationships is at the heart of any school and I want to continue to build our community.  As a character education school, one goal for this year is to encourage students and staff to value each other, making it a point to look through the window, not into the mirror. To display real kindness that comes from a deep place, from a desire to help not hinder, to be useful in all things and to relish each relationship that is built that will contribute to success. After all, those are the principles upon which the founders started Maplebrook and what better way to honor them.

I would like to share some of the exciting things we all will experience this coming school year:

New Colleagues

This year we have some new teachers joining us.  We welcome Rebecca Riddington who will teach reading and math, KesiCania who will teach Interpersonal Psychology – both ladies will be living in Marjorie Finger Hall.  Mark Davis has joined us to teach English and live in Evans Hall and we are happy to have Michael Price (’17) on board to tutor, manage the library and live in Fazzone Hall.  In life, there are changes we must all endure. We wish a happy retirement to Dr. Roger Fazzone as Maplebrook’s President.  We are grateful for his dedication to Maplebrook School over the past 40 years.

I am confident that the staff will do an outstanding job and we can all look forward to a year which is happy, exciting and fulfilled.


Throughout the summer, we have had many hours of good discussion about how we can improve to ensure that our students are receiving an education that supports and empowers them as they strive to reach their full potential. The result is new programs that strengthen and enrich our offerings.  They include, but are not limited to:

  1. We are moving to a schoolwide experiential learning model.  Experiential learning involves critical thinking, problem solving and decision making skills. It goes beyond the classroom to offer first hand experience which further aids in the retention of new concepts.
  2. Today’s students are as challenged as ever to manage their anxiety and make sense of a world fraught with negativity.  To assist with the essential skills to be successful, we have created a Social-Emotional Learning Center on campus.  The purpose of the Center is to provide multi-tiered opportunities for students to build their social skills, executive functioning, and resilience. Through workshops, discussion groups, and one-on-one sessions, students will have access to a variety of activities and resources to help expand their understanding of and abilities in areas such as coping skills, emotional intelligence, relationships, and effective communication.
  3. We have revitalized the Reading Clinic to offer a wide variety of reading support for all our students.  With faculty/staff trained in Orton-Gillingham, Wilson Reading and Lindamood Bell, we can offer that additional tutoring as necessary with no additional cost.  We are planning to implement a Reading to Dogs program and a book club with students from an LD school in Isle of Wight, England.  What better way to foster a love of reading than to make it fun?

Health & Safety

Please note that we recently updated our safety protocols to require everyone to wear a mask indoors despite vaccination status.  In light of new CDC guidelines and mandates from the New York State governor as they relate to the latest uptick due to COVID variants, we have readied the campus to include additional signage, enhanced disinfecting protocols and provided additional training for staff.  We will educate the students upon their return to campus.  Just a reminder that if your student is vaccinated, please provide the health office with a copy of their card.  By now, you should have received an appointment time to check in on opening day.  One masked family member will be permitted into the dorm to help your student settle in, but please keep your visit to one hour.

Check-In Process

We ask that all families first check in at Thalheimer Hall on the main campus.  We will have a package of information for you including your student’s individual plan for the school year, contact information, dormitory and mentor assignments and a school calendar.  Once you pick up your packet, you can speak with the nurses in the health office and then faculty/staff are ready to greet you at the dormitories.

We want to continue to improve our communication and continue to strive to build our relationships with both new and returning families.  This year, you can expect to hear from your student’s educational leader (Mr. Thompson for the Academy and Mr. Miller for ICCS) on academic progress.  You will hear from Mr. Bill Hale or Miss Jessica Gallo to discuss dormitory and independent living progress.  You will hear from Mr. Tomasetti or Mrs. McGhee to offer you support and you will hear from me as the Head of School.  In between, you will get twice monthly communications from your student’s mentor.  The goal is to help you feel connected to the school and create a team surrounding your student that encompasses forward motion toward success.  Finally, to further build our connection, we invite all families to participate in the Maplebrook Parent and Family Partnership.  We will hold quarterly meetings via Zoom so that everyone has a chance to participate.  Of course, additional connections will happen when we are together on campus.

For all of us in this amazing school community, energy and commitment combines with a healthy mixture of breadth and focus to ensure that we remain attentive to our mission and provide the best well-rounded educational experience possible for our students.  It is the people and the purpose that makes Maplebrook so special.

One year from now, I can’t wait to reflect on the many accomplishments we will achieve as a school community in the months ahead. We have so much to look forward to!  As we cling to the last vestiges of the summer, I wish you all a wonderful week and safe journey to school.