At Derryfield, we know that everyone has the capacity to be a leader throughout their lives and it is critical to our mission to help students develop the skills and habits of mind necessary to do so. The goal of our Leading for the Common Good program is for every student to develop their unique potential to impact their world and this inclusive definition serves as a framework for the program. There are three primary areas through which the program aims to develop students’ capacity as leaders: developing self-awareness, strengthening character, and understanding and exercising influence. Just like ripples in water, we hope the impact created by this leadership program and by each of our students is positive, widespread, and ever expanding.
Courtney Cheetham, recently appointed Director of Wellness, began her Derryfield career in 2020 as a counselor, LEAD teacher, sixth grade co-advisor, and coach of the varsity girls’ basketball team. It is her belief that education affords a unique opportunity to bring young people together and not only develop their content knowledge, critical thinking, and academic ownership, but through this process instill self-worth, leadership, discipline, and perseverance. Courtney is co-teaching eighth grade LEAD with Chris Hettler.
Director of Athletics Chris Hettler has been at the Derryfield School since 2002. He took over a lacrosse program that was only playing at the club level and transformed it into one of the top five teams in the state. Since taking over the program Chris has guided the team to over 200 wins and six state championships. Chis is co-teaching eighth grade LEAD with Courtney Cheetham. His focus is on the leadership aspect of the curriculum.
"My approach to wellness consists of conveying and delivering instruction on how to be well rounded while trying to achieve personal goals in athletics. I try to help kids answer the following question: "How do you specialize and focus on a goal in athletics, while also maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle?" Training around this focuses on the importance of academic preparation (in and out of the classroom), proper nutrition, hydration, rest, recovery and sleep habits, mindfulness/body awareness, college preparation, and maintaining healthy relationships/friendships."
Kelsey Federico joined the upper school English faculty at Derryfield in the fall of 2019. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, she coaches girls’ varsity field hockey and varsity lacrosse. As the new Director of Strength and Conditioning, Kelsey will be working with students at all grade levels on functional training. Her approach to wellness is to convey a sense of purpose behind each exercise and activity using a joint by joint approach. She emphasizes that stability is as important as mobility. Kelsey will be co-teaching the sixth grade LEAD with Mary Perkins.
Mark Blaisdell is the Head of the Middle School at Derryfield. He has remained committed to both teaching and coaching in his leadership role, which he has held since 2003. Of the many hats that he and all the middle school faculty wear at Derryfield, Mark believes that none is more critical to the mission than the role of advisor because it focuses on the overall development of each student. Mark brings his passion for and professional study of adolescent psychology and learning to shaping and delivering the Leadership, Ethics, and Development (LEAD) courses in the middle school. Mark is co-teaching seventh grade LEAD with Lainee Shaughnessy.
Lainee Shaughnessy, a graduate of the Derryfield class of 2014, went on to earn a dual degree in science and nursing from Seattle University and began her career as an emergency room nurse. The pandemic made her reconsider her career options, and when she received a call from Head of School Mary Carter regarding the possibility of becoming Derryfield’s next nurse, she returned to her home state and alma mater. Shaughnessy leads the school’s health and wellness programs and will co-teach seventh grade LEAD with Mark Blaisdell.
"My approach to wellness is very holistic, taking consideration for one's humanity along with science. Wellness is not one size fits all and my hope is to slowly have students understand this too! As individuals we all have different needs, interests, and obligations; therefore the things one person does for their wellness may not suit someone else - and that is OK! In the era of social media, there are a lot of influences for students and adults to think they need to check all of these boxes and go through hoops in order to be healthy or benefit themselves. I look forward to making connections with traditional wellness topics and putting them into action to show students how wellness can be brought into their daily lives and routines and identify how they already do so."
Mary Perkins has been the School Counselor at Derryfield since 2001. Mary’s counseling approach aims to help adolescents gain the important skills of self-reflecting, healthy decision making, empathy towards self and others, and awareness of how their thoughts/moods/beliefs influence their perceptions, behaviors, and relationships.
"The number one goal is to provide a safe space for kids to talk about the day-to-day challenges of being a teenager, and all of the things going on in their life that aren't a part of their academic curriculum, but yet are so important. These things might include friendships and other relationships, stress, decision making, changing social dynamics, and emotional regulation. I strive to give kids a common language to understand and talk about what they're experiencing, and also to normalize all the ups and downs of adolescence. I believe that as our kids develop resilience, confidence, and emotional intelligence, they will find more success in the classroom and in their extracurricular lives."
Located in Manchester, NH, The Derryfield School is a private day school for grades 6-12. Students benefit from a challenging academic program, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.