John G Merselis III (Jay) joined Hancock Elementary School in 2017 as the principal.
Prior to his tenure at Hancock Elementary, Jay’s three decades of experience includes working at the Pine Cobble School, HighCroft School, and Hoosac Summer School.
Jay has worked with students in courses such as English, history, science, and math, as well as serving in a variety of administration roles including Head of the Upper School, Director of Admission, and Assistant Head of School.
Born and raised in Williamstown, MA, Jay attended Mount Greylock Regional High School, earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY with a concentration in Sociology and a minor in history.
Jay continued his education first by completing the University of Massachusetts Secondary Education Teacher Education Program followed by earning a Master’s in Education from Antioch New England Graduate School. Currently, Jay is enrolled in MCLA’s Leadership program.
Jay was a collaborating teacher on The Nation Archives resource book, Our Mothers’ Before Us, and helped with the revisions of the third edition of Williamstown: The First 200 Years. He has served on multiple AISNE accreditation teams and regularly leads and attends professional development that enhances his growth.
A former board member of the Williamstown Community Chest, Williamstown Board of Trade, Trustees of the Reservation, Williamstown Elementary School Governance Council, and the Hoosick River Watershed Association, Jay is a current member of the Mount Greylock Ski Club and Bear Island Conservation Association boards.
He enjoys a wide range of outdoor activities, volunteering as a member of the National Ski Patrol, and spending time with his family. Jay’s personal and professional lives intersect to support John Dewey’s belief that “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”
Superintendent and Special Education Director
Dr. Rebecca Phillips
Fifth and Sixth Grade (Emerald Room)
Mrs. Jennifer Mills is the sixth grade teacher in the Emerald Room. She holds a BA Degree in Sociology and completed the Elementary Education Program at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.
Mrs. Mills has previously worked in elementary schools in Virginia and Western Massachusetts, most recently at the Health Elementary School where she taught in a multi-age classroom. She brings extensive knowledge and interest in STEAM projects that reach across the curriculum and grade levels.
Third and Fourth Grade Teacher (Diamond Room)
Janet Tremblay is a life-long educator. She received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from MCLA. She then went on to obtain her Master’s degree in Special Education from Lesley University. While residing and teaching in North Carolina, she earned her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from East Carolina University. She has had the opportunity to teach and administrator in a vast array of venues. Currently, she resides in North Adams. She has one daughter, Emily, and a son-in-law, named Joe. Her favorite past time is spending time with her grandson, Hayden, and 4-year old twin granddaughters Railyn and Mikinley.
First and Second Grade Teacher (Ruby Room)
Samantha Lincoln joined Hancock School in 2022 as a second and third grade teacher. While pursuing her collegiate degrees Ms. Lincoln was the assistant for the Massachusetts College Of Liberal Arts Vice President. Prior to joining the family at Hancock School Ms. Lincoln taught at Morningside Community School in Pittsfield Massachusetts as well as Readsboro Central School in Readsboro, Vermont.
Samantha was born and raised in Cheshire, Massachusetts. She attended McCann Technical High School where she studied Electricity. Always moving forward, she successfully obtained her Bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies. She holds a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Having completed her first Master’s degree in education she continued on the path of higher education and achieved her Master’s in Business Administration. She is currently working towards licensure for administration.
Ms Lincoln continues to focus on the science of reading for young students. Samantha also volunteers with an array of youth sports including creating activities and games in which all students can participate.
Samantha’s personal interests involve fitness, sports and travel. She has visited 48 states and 16 different countries. Ms Lincoln personifies the ideals that education can and should be fun and interactive.
Kindergarten (Sapphire Room)
Mrs. Makayla Dowling is a MCLA graduate with a degree in Early Childhood Education, as well as Sociology. She loves working with children in all different settings. Besides working at the fabulous Hancock Elementary, Mrs. Dowling is also a Hip Hop Instructor at two dance studios in Berkshire County. She enjoys spending time with her husband and her kitty, Jasmine. In her classroom, they let it go because hakuna matata and the bare necessities will always be their guide to infinity and beyond. With a little faith, trust and pixie dust, they will keep swimming and whistle while they work because in her class, they do Disney!
Preschool (Cricket Cove)
Ms. Katie Cummings joined the Hancock staff as the Preschool teacher after almost two decades teaching Prekindergarten and first grade. After earning a Masters in Education Miss Cummings continues to pursue advanced coursework in literacy, recently earning an Associates level certification in Orton Gillingham.
Alecia Williams joined Hancock Elementary in 2021 as a Paraprofessional. Prior to her tenure at Hancock, Alecia was a nanny and stay at home mother.
Raised in Cherry Plain, NY , Alecia attended Berlin High School. Alecia continues her education through Berkshire Community College and MCLA, working towards her Masters in Education.
She is the recipient of The Education Department award, given to a student who shows excellence in their coursework at BCC.
She is a resident of Hancock, along with her husband Michael and two children, Haley and Ayden. Alecia enjoys soaking up each moment with her family; they are by far her greatest inspiration and joy in life.
Alecia strives to work in Lev Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development and believes that each student deserves to be provided with the scaffolding needed to be met where they are.
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Thomas Edison
Lisa Buell joined Hancock Central School in 2009 as a paraprofessional.
Prior to her tenure at Hancock, Lisa taught third and fourth grade at Temple Christian Academy in Holbrook, MA. She took sixteen years away from the classroom to focus on raising her three sons.
Lisa has been involved with Hancock School since 1998 in many capacities. Castle Camp Chaperone, Ski Program Advisor, and Scholastic Book Fair Coordinator are just a few of the events she volunteered for. In addition, she has been very involved with HOPE and the many events they sponsor for over twenty years.
Raised in Ypsilanti, Michigan, Lisa graduated from Faithway Baptist High School and went on to graduate from Baptist Bible College in Boston, MA with a degree in Elementary Education.
Lisa has lived in Hancock since 1996 with her husband. All three of her sons were educated here at Hancock. She has always considered Hancock School a gem of a school. It’s a wonderfully unique place to educate inquisitive learners.
Physical Education TeacherMrs. Greta Fachetti
School Secretary and Special Education Paraprofessional
Mary Angela Talbot joined Hancock Elementary School in 2016 as the Music Teacher. She brought with her a lifetime of the study of music in many genres as well as 35 years of elementary teaching experience.
Prior to coming to Hancock Elementary, Mary was running her own nonprofit in San Diego, California called the SoCal Jazz Society, which was designed to teach children about the history and development of Jazz Music in America. Before that she owned Edge Tutoring, an after school program focusing on the needs of elementary, middle and high school students. Mary taught in both public and private schools in San Diego County, grades PreK, K, 3rd, 4th and 5th, for many years prior to opening Edge Tutoring.
Mary was born at Pittsfield General Hospital and was raised in Richmond, Ma., attending Richmond School, Berkshire Country Day School and Taconic High School. She earned a BA degree from her studies at American University in Wash, DC. and San Diego State University. She earned her early education certification from the San Diego Community College District and her Multi-Subject Teaching Credential from the University of San Diego. She also holds certifications as a Paralegal and as a professional Mediator.
Mary has served on many boards of directors in San Diego as well as the Berkshires, including The Gillispie School, The Kiwanis Club of La Jolla, Jazz Association of Greater San Diego, The La Jolla Community Center, Berkshires Jazz and The Lenox Garden Club.
A lover of Jazz vocals, Mary performed in and around the San Diego area singing her favorite tunes. In 2009, “A Midwinter Night’s Dream”, a jazz vocals cd, was released through her publishing company, Mt Ephraim Publishing.
Mary has written two children’s books, “Children Dancing” and “The Birds of Mt Ephraim”
Mary enjoys gardening, walking her 3 dogs, biking, skiing and figure skating.
Miss Lori Signer
School Adjustment Counselor
Jane Shiyah, formerly Jane Satullo, began her long career 55 years ago as a teacher in Pownal Vermont. She then moved on for several years as an adoption worker for older children.
Next she became Clinical Director at the Rape Crisis Center specializing in child sexual abuse and authored a book titled It Happens To Boys Too. After that, she had a private therapy practice helping children and their families.
Beginning in 1988, she was the Hancock School Counselor for several years. Her daughter was fortunate to have Norma Quimby as her preschool teacher. She then worked at Lanesboro School as their counselor until she happily returned to Hancock School in 2015.
Jane also ran a Magic Camp at Sand Springs Pool for many summers. Jane was born in Cleveland Ohio and moved to this area in 1968 while her husband attended Williams College. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from Purdue University and her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Antioch New England.
Jane loves reading, listening to music and taking long walks. She works as an advocate for Massachusetts ME/CFS, an agency focusing on an illness her daughter was stricken with while in college. Jane is a caretaker for her adult disabled daughter.
Jane has dedicated her life to taking care of children.
Carol Stein-Payne, RN, NCSN joined Hancock Central School in October 2021 as the School Nurse.Prior to her tenure at Hancock, Carol worked at Williamstown Elementary School, Williams College, Clarksburg Elementary School and North Adams Regional Hospital. She practiced school health at Williamstown Elementary and Clarksburg Elementary, college health at Williams College and obstetrics, labor and delivery, newborn nursery care at North Adams Regional Hospital (now known as North Adams Campus of BMC).Born and raised in Merrick, NY, attended Calhoun High School, earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at Oneonta State College in Oneonta, NY with a dual major in Philosophy and Art History, summa cum laude. After spending a semester traveling in India, Carol decided to go to Nursing School at Nassau Community College and got her R.N.. She also holds a National Certification in School Nursing and has maintained that credential for 17 years with extensive professional education. The State of Massachusetts regards this as equivalent to a Master’s for School Nurses.Carol continues her education through numerous professional organizations including Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston University School of Medicine, National Association of School Nursing, Northeastern University.Carol has traveled frequently as a medical volunteer, many times to Haiti at the Infants Hospital of the Missionaries of Charity in Port-au-Prince, founded by Mother Teresa. She was the Minister of Education at the Congregational Church of Williamstown for many years.She and her husband Steve have lived in the Berkshires for over 30 years and raised their family here. She loves reading, art, gardening and horses. Carol considers nursing a privilege and caring for children an honor. She truly believes that Children must be healthy to learn and must learn to be healthy!