New Faces at KHS

Adelin Barstow and Sarah Durham

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Mr. Desmarais


Mr. Desmarais is the new band director at KHS this year. He will be conducting Concert Band and Wind Ensemble, as well as teaching Music Makers, Digital Music and Audio Production, and IB Music.

Mr. Desmarais thinks his students would enjoy knowing that in addition to playing in a concert band, he has also played in orchestra pits for plays, performed in color guard and winter guard shows when he was in college. A quote that Mr. Desmarais lives his life by is,  “Be proud of what you put your name on”.

Mr. Desmarais is joining KHS from Manchester, New Hampshire, and has a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from UNH. His decision to teach at KHS was rooted in his belief that our philosophy of education aligned closely with his own goals as an educator. Mr. Desmarais also added that in Kennebunk the community support for education is “overwhelming, [which is] a rare and special find.”


Mr. Wakeman


Mr. Wakeman is the new theater manager here at KHS, as well as the new choral director. He will be teaching both Concert Chorus and Chamber Choir, as well as Piano Lab, and Steel Pan Ensemble. He has been working as a choral director and teaching private voice lessons in the Portland area for almost ten years. He has even taught at Colby College.

When Mr. Wakeman was in high school, he loved his music theory class and considered himself a “huge music theory geek.” Interestingly, he attended band camp at UMO with Mrs. Tucker. In addition to music, Mr. Wakeman loves to cook and crochet, make many chocolates, and baby blankets!

Mr. Wakeman was born and raised in Belfast, Maine. He attended college at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and received his master’s degree at USM. He says what he loves most about teaching is “the wealth of ideas that come from students, especially young people.”  He believes that “it is in failing that we learn the most” and that his students provide perspectives that he would never come across in his own experiences.


Ms. Little


Ms. Little is a new social studies teacher this year at KHS, teaching 9th grade World History and AP US History. Coming from Salem, Massachusetts, she has always wanted to move to Southern Maine, where she gravitated towards Kennebunk High School specifically because of its supportive atmosphere. She got her Bachelors in History from UMass Dartmouth, and her Masters in Education from Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts.

Ms. Little says her favorite part of teaching is the “lightbulb moment,” which she further described as  “when you’re teaching something that can be difficult and you have that one kid that’s like ‘ohh’ that doesn’t come across through voice, you get that visual that they get it”. Outside of school, she is a competitive swimmer and is working towards a triathlon.


Mr. Smith


Mr. Smith is another new history teacher. Before joining the department here at KHS, he spent three years teaching at Texas Military Institute Episcopal in San Antonio, Texas. Prior to that, he taught at Mascenic Regional High School in New Ipsiwch, NH. “Once you go further back from that, the road gets awfully twisted, with stops in college admissions, the Navy, and both traveling and living around the world, especially the Middle East,” says Mr. Smith. He has done all sorts of “bizarre” things in his professional life from scooping ice cream in Falmouth (as I’m sure many of us students can relate to) to roasting coffee in Portland, to quality control at a coffin factory in Chicago, and even to teaching debate in Qatar and recruiting students in the Democratic Republic of the Congo!

Mr. Smith will be teaching CP World History to 1920,  CP US and the World since 1920, and IB History of the Americas. He will also be the new advisor for the Civil Rights Team. Mr. Smith says his favorite part about teaching is watching self-confidence grow. “I like seeing students who begin by not feeling confident enough to speak up, not necessarily feeling confident in their ability and by the end of the year they’re arguing, they’re standing up for themselves, they’re voicing opinions that they’re in the process of developing, I like that, I like seeing students ideally walk out of my class better prepared to handle life then when they walked in, so watching that transition is a lot of fun for me,” he says after first jokingly replying “the paycheck.”

Mr. Smith began his collegiate career at the U.S. Naval Academy, and finished his Bachelor of Arts in Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs at Miami University in Ohio. He received a Master of Arts in Teaching History from Brandeis University and has completed further graduate work at the School for International Training and the US Institute of Peace in Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation.

Despite teaching history courses at KHS, Mr. Smith says his favorite subject in high school was physics and thinks his students would enjoy to know that one of his hobbies is photography, preferably nature and landscapes.


Ms. Treadwell


Ms.Treadwell grew up in Cumberland, Maine, and will be teaching AP Biology, CP Biology, and Common Core Biology. In her words, Ms. Treadwell chose to come teach at Kennebunk High School because here “both the staff and students push themselves to be the best that they can be, and [she] really appreciated that.” She has degrees in Secondary Education and Life Science from New England College in New Hampshire.

A quote that Ms. Treadwell says she lives her life by C.S. Lewis’s words: “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” She thinks her students would enjoy to know that she has flown in a NASA zero gravity plane!


Mr. Kane


Mr. Kane is joining KHS after teaching at York High School. He will be teaching Engineering & Computer Science. He thinks that his students would be interested to know that he has been a glacier guide in Alaska.

Mr. Kane has degrees in Geology and Geophysics from Boston College, and in his own words, his favorite part of teaching and working with kids “is their creativity, and putting a project out in front of them that they need to solve and seeing just how incredibly creative and innovative they are when they come to the table with a solution. So that’s what I love to see, like if I could do that everyday that’s where I’d be with students everyday is testing students to really use their brains and creativity to come up with a unique solution to them.”


Mrs. Thompson


Mrs. Thompson is the new Library Media Specialist at KHS and will be teaching the Teen Trendsetter class this year. She also hopes to promote a strong reading culture and to share her love of reading. For the past 11 years, Mrs. Thompson was the Library Media Specialist in RSU23/Old Orchard Beach, and before that, she worked as a Library Ed Tech at Sea Road School in Kennebunk.

Mrs. Thompson has a BA in English Literature and an MA in Library and Information Sciences. She attend Emerson College, University of Southern Maine, and Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

Mrs. Thompson says her favorite thing about teaching and working with kids is seeing students’ growth, maturity, and change over the four years of high school. She thinks that “it’s really special to meet students as a freshman when they may be more shy, reserved, quiet, or they haven’t quite figured out what they like about school, and then over the years they just grow up and figure things out and get excited about something and show passion about something.”

She also thinks her students would be interested to know that she is “a big fan of “survivalist” culture, including outdoor survival skills and surviving a zombie apocalypse!”


Mrs. Dumas


Mrs. Dumas is joining KHS from the Middle School of the Kennebunks. She will be a resource teacher for students from grades 9 to 12, where she enjoys “helping kids get to the point where they get it.” She likes to help students who have been feeling frustrated reach that, “‘oh I mastered it’, the ah-ha moment type thing.” On a similar note, Mrs. Dumas is inspired by Henry Ford’s quote,  “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t… are right.”

When she is not at school, she loves to ski, paddle board, and play tennis.

Mrs. Dumas has a Bachelor of Science in Special Education from College of Charleston in South Carolina.


Ms. Pillsbury


From Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “This above all: To thine own self be true,” is the quote that Ms. Pillsbury chooses to live her life by. This semester Ms. Pillsbury will be teaching All About Theatre, and next semester she will be teaching Improvisation in addition to directing the musical and the spring play. Ms. Pillsbury grew up in South Portland, Maine, and later lived in New York City for many years. She was a teaching artist for ten years and this will be her very first job as a certified teacher. Ms. Pillsbury is excited for the “great opportunity [in Kennebunk] to build a theatre program with the support of administration, community, parents, and school district.”

Ms. Pillsbury has a B.A. English & American Literature, and a M.A. in Theatre Education. She attended Brown University as an undergraduate and received her graduate degree at Emerson College. Ms. Pillsbury is a musical theatre writer and composer, and she also fronted an indie rock band for many years!


Related: An Interview with Mr. Putnam

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