Our Experienced Humanities Teachers
Adam Gilman - Humanities Teacher
Adam Gilman is relocating to Baxter from Preparatory Charter High School in Philadelphia, where he has taught ninth-grade world history, tenth-grade U.S. history and twelfth-grade government and global studies (and a little algebra, too), and where he piloted an AP U.S. Government Club, coached the chess team and co-founded the Prep Charter Reading Task Force to improve reading comprehension and foster a pro-reading school culture.
His classes focus on real-world issues, connecting the skills of the historian— focused inquiry, research, analysis, problem solving, and writing—to contemporary challenges. Through a variety of collaborative projects, his students pose questions and seek solutions to challenges such as providing clean drinking water and food to the world’s growing population, dealing with the impact of wide-scale immigration in the developed world, revamping failed development strategies, providing economic and social justice to the world’s most disadvantaged populations, and maintaining a fair and equitable historical narrative in the age of big data and entertainment media.
Mr. Gilman says, “I have always been a firm believer in democratic learning and project-based inquiry, and I look forward to expanding these types of collaborative assignments into co-designed semester- or year-long projects at Baxter. The vision of Baxter Academy is not only one of collaborative learning, but of collaborative teaching as well, which is one of its most exciting features from my perspective. I can’t wait to start co-planning and co-teaching with my colleagues from across the disciplines.”
Mr. Gilman has a B.A. in history and an M.A. in African Studies, both from UCLA.
Fun facts about Mr. Gilman: He’s been to thirty countries (and counting). He taught himself chess, drums, and guitar, and he has also recently learned to love running. He once worked as a rare-book supervisor, and he collects both books and LPs.
Breanne Lucy - Humanities Teacher
Bio Coming Soon!
Kelly Orr - Humanities Teacher
Bio Coming Soon!
Sam Scogin - Humanities Teacher
Mr. Scogin has a bachelor’s degree in American studies and literature from Marlboro College and a master’s in education from Goddard College. For the past two years he’s been team-teaching honors courses at Maine Central Institute using a project- based model that integrates history and English.
A strong interest in anthropology has led him to build projects around cultural artifacts that reveal something about the society that created it. In one project, he and his students worked on an ethnography of the United States in the 1950s using artifacts such as TV dinners and early video games.
Mr. Scogin says: “I see my job as a humanities teacher as one where I strive to create a balance between an open doorway to the outside world and a safe space where students can gain perspective on that world. From this vantage point, we gain the ability to see the interconnectedness of the human experience, especially how technology changes that experience. We can weigh technological advancement and the role it plays in changing our society. Science, technology, math, and engineering depend on the humanities just as much as the humanities depend on STEM subjects for further inspiration. My teaching asks the questions that binds these disparate subjects together and provides the context to move forward with whatever the human experience will be.”
At MCI, Mr. Scogin advised the school’s faculty about using technology in the classroom and was a dorm parent to international students. He advised the Model United Nations and coached the soccer, cross country, and rifle teams.
Fun facts about Mr. Scogin: He spends at least one week a year alone in the backcountry and so he’s hiked almost all of the Appalachian Trail. He wants to paddle the Northern Forest Canoe Trail and would love to fly fish in Mongolia. He is an amateur woodworker, a hobby diesel mechanic and grease-car conversion specialist, and an organic gardener. He hates mayonnaise and is learning how to be a sushi chef.
Aleah Starr - Humanities Teacher
Ms. Starr has spent the past three years teaching English to 9th and 10th graders at Boston Preparatory Charter Public School. While at Boston Prep, she advised the student mentoring club, partnered with WriteBoston to improve student composition, got 30 seconds of playing time in the student vs staff basketball game, and served as the 9th grade Grade Level leader. She is teaching ninth-grade Humanities this year at Baxter.
Ms. Starr graduated from Colby College with a B.A. in English and Education, and received a Masters in Effective Teaching from the Charles Sposato Graduate School of Education. Prior to receiving her Masters, Ms. Starr worked at a middle school in inner-city Boston as a Teacher resident in the Match Teachers' Residency program. While, at Colby, Ms. Starr was a peer writing tutor at the Farnham Writers’ Center and a mentor and program coordinator for Colby Cares about Kids.
Ms. Starr is excited to learn from her students and co-workers at Baxter. She says; "I am continually impressed by students' ability to drive their own learning and love the natural curiosity they bring to the classroom."
Fun Fact: Ms. Starr grew up in the smallest U.S. state capital which also happens to be the only one without a McDonald's. She loves manatees and is a master parallel parker. She can guess people's Meyers Briggs profiles on the first try.
Katelyn Virmalo - Humanities Teacher
Ms. Virmalo is highly experienced in achieving remarkable results from challenging classroom circumstances. Until 2009, she was head of the English department at the Bushwick School for Social Justice in Brooklyn, New York, where she used creative writing, role-playing, and close relationships to provide unique learning opportunities—even for students who often spoke English as a second language. She received the Most Dedicated Teacher and the Most Creative Teacher awards while there.
Most recently, she has empowered incarcerated youth at Long Creek Youth Development Center to express themselves through murals, poetry slams, community gardens, and a school newspaper. She has volunteered her time and talent to The Telling Room and Blunt Youth Radio.
She has an undergraduate degree from Radford University, and an MS in Education from Queens College, Queens, New York. Between degrees, she lived in Bangkok, Thailand for two years, teaching at The American School of Bangkok and mentoring youth through arts and athletics programs.
As an English teacher, Ms. Virmalo’s goals are to strengthen communication skills—reading, writing, listening, and speaking—that will apply to any path her students choose. She facilitates critical thinking. Her favorite part of high school English is celebrating student work with literary publications.
Ms. Virmalo says, “I am thrilled to be a member of Baxter Academy where talented educators collaborate with students, parents, and the community to build a school where learning is innovative, meaningful, and relevant to our ever- evolving world. My work with diverse populations, from at-risk youth to international students, has demonstrated that everyone learns differently. Baxter Academy is a school where all learners will be challenged and engaged.”
Fun facts about Ms. Virmalo: She is a traveler, reader, baker, seamstress, yogi, and mother. She has taken class with the Croatian National Ballet and walked the Great Wall. She uses the Oxford comma.