Jack DeAngelis (left) and Nick Menice (right) are this year’s Lincoln Academy Educator’s in Residence, thanks to a program offered to local schools by Kieve-Wavus Education, Inc.

For the fifth year, Lincoln Academy is benefitting from the presence of two Kieve-Wavus Educators in Residence (EIRs), who bring their training in outdoor education, leadership, and conflict resolution to daily life at LA. The Kieve-Wavus EIR program started in 2012 and currently serves 15 schools around Maine including all AOS 93 schools. The Educators in Residence program strives to “spread the Kieve-Wavus message of kindness and respect” at local schools.

“The Educator in Residence program is the most impactful work we do at The Leadership School, and in this year of COVID it was pretty much the only work,” said Sam Kaplan, Associate Director of Education and Operations at Kieve-Wavus Education, Inc. “This program is largely grant-supported to help more Maine students graduate high school and either go to college or have successful starts to their careers. We invested in this program and sought grant funding to expand its reach because we believe that it embodies our mission to empower others through outstanding role models.”

Nick Menice (left), Essie Martin '17 (center) and Jack DeAngelis (right) coaching the LA cross country team in the fall of 2020.

Nick Menice (left), Essie Martin ’17 (center) and Jack DeAngelis (right) coaching the LA cross country team in the fall of 2020.

This year’s LA educators are Jack DeAngelis and Nick Menice, two recent college graduates who live on the Kieve-Wavus campus in Nobleboro with four other EIRs and work every day at LA.

DeAngelis grew up in Wilton, Connecticut and studied English at the University of Richmond. During college summers he worked for Brunswick-based Apogee Adventures, leading outdoor education trips for middle and high school trips in the US and overseas. After graduating in 2019, DeAngelis worked in outdoor education in California before transitioning to the KWE Educators in Residence program. He spent his first year as an Educator in Residence at Vassalboro Community School.

In addition to his experience at Apogee, where he learned the value of outdoor education, DeAngelis comes from a family of teachers. “Education has always been a part of my life–it seemed sort of inevitable that I would become a teacher eventually.” In March, when Kieve-Wavus closed their campuses due to COVID, DeAngelis went home to Connecticut, unsure whether his second year as an EIR would even happen. When he learned the program would reopen in the fall of 2020, he requested to be placed in a high school, and was “thrilled to be assigned to Lincoln.”

Nick Menice is a native of Monthouth, Maine who studied sociology, gender, and women’s studies at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts. Menice also comes from a family of educators, but, he claims, “never really pictured myself as a teacher.” His connection to the EIR program was through the Kieve boys’ camp, where Menice worked as a counselor in the summer of 2019. “I am interested in outdoor education, and long term I hope to work in summer camps,” Menice said. After Holy Cross transitioned to remote learning during the spring of his senior year, Menice contacted Kieve in hopes of joining the EIR program, and was the only new hire for the 2020-21 school year.

At LA, Menice and DeAngelis wear multiple hats, ranging from greeting students off the bus to teaching classes and helping with clubs. In the fall they helped coach the LA cross country team, and this winter they are running an after-school outdoor program they call SNOW FUN.

Asked about their roles at LA, DeAngelis said, “we walk this middle ground. We work for KWE, but we come here every day. That gives us freedom in how we function in the school… we don’t have to grade papers or tests, or plan tomorrow’s lesson. We can do after school programming because we don’t have office hours when teachers do.”

“Jack and Nick have been a tremendous resource for us at LA,” said Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life Jake Abbott, who coordinates the EIR program at LA. “All of their work has been both powerful and thoughtful. The ongoing relationship we have with Kieve-Wavus Education and the Educator in Residence program brings creativity and out-of-the-box thinking to our school–we are so fortunate to have this program in place!”

“Jack and Nick made a big difference during the fall cross country season,” said LA cross country coach Garrett Martin. “Their energy, enthusiasm, and ability to bring the fun on a daily basis kept spirits high on the team while their ability to work one on one with athletes and meet them where they are resulted in a number of personal breakthrough performances.”

At the midpoint in the year, Menice and DeAngelis have found their own places at LA where they can be most useful and play to their strengths. Menice spends most of his days with the school’s IDEAL (Individually Designed Eduaction for All Learners) program and helping advise the Gay, Straight, Trans Alliance (GSTA). IDEAL Director Janna Civittolo reflects that “Nick’s ability to jump in and support students has been fantastic and deeply appreciated this year. His experience with the outdoors has added a richness to our outdoor learning curriculum and IDEAL team, and benefitted the students tremendously.”

DeAngelis, who hopes to become an English teacher, has been working in English department head Bryan Manahan’s classroom, observing and helping plan and teach some lessons on his own. “Jack is a great support for the kids in my English classes,” said Manahan. “They connect with him, they trust him, they can both laugh and learn with him. We had so much fun reading the Crucible via GoogleMeet. Sometimes he would read 4 or 5 different parts all on the same day. He could do Reverend Parris, Judge Danforth, and even 70 year old Rebecca Nurse with style and confidence. Not only has he been helping the students, but I’ve greatly enjoyed a mature intelligent voice with whom I can share ideas and get some feedback… It can be daunting to have another adult in the classroom all the time, but I’m past apprehension; I miss him when he’s not there.”

In this unusual year, with many of the typical rhythms interrupted by COVID and students wearing masks and attending school in a hybrid model, both EIRs are philosophical about their experience. “We hear about a normal year and how this is different,” said Menice, “but this is the first time I have worked in a high school, so this is what it is for me.”

DeAngelis continued, “COVID has been an equalizer in a way–it throws us all off balance. Nick and I would have been off balance anyway, as the new people, but now everyone is off balance, so it gives us a chance to be more fully present. The common enemy of COVID has united us, and people have been excited to include us in every way they can.”