LHS ALA Staff

profile photo of Stacey Ciprich

As a graduate from Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey, Stacey Ciprich majored in history and secondary education, as well as serving as senior class president of the graduating class of 2007 and the National History Scholar of New Jersey. After teaching in New Jersey, she joined Teach For America and worked in St. Louis Public Schools teaching history and civics, serving as the Social Studies Department Head, then College Placement Coordinator, and then Assistant Principal while also obtaining a Masters of Education and Secondary Administration from the University of Missouri. Also while in New Jersey and St. Louis, Ms. Ciprich was actively involved in extra-curricular activities such as serving as the head Varsity cheerleading coach, Student Government advisor, and leadership team in which her school, Northwest Academy of Law, received its accreditation. In 2012, Ms. Ciprich accepted a position with the Lawrence Public Schools where she became the Assistant Principal at the Health and Human Services High School, now a Level One high school, at the Lawrence High School Campus until December of 2014, when she transitioned to becoming the founding Principal of Abbott Lawrence Academy. Ms. Ciprich, has been the Principal at ALA since January 2015, from the school's initial creation. Ms. Ciprich also attended Boston College as the first member of the Lawrence Public Schools to be accepted into the Lynch Leadership Academy.

ala Raul Cruz Assistant Principal

Raul Cruz was born and raised in the Bronx, New York to Dominican immigrant parents. One of six boys in his family, he was determined and heavily supported in his academic and athletic pursuits. He later attended The Governors Academy in Byfield, MA as a City Prep/A Better Chance scholar. After graduating from high school, Raul attended and received his B.A. from Williams College. He began his career as a middle school math teacher in Pittsfield, MA and continued teaching when his wife’s education moved their family to Ann Arbor, Michigan. After completing his Masters in Educational Leadership at the University of Michigan, Raul worked as a Project Coordinator for the Center of the Study of Black Youth in Context conducting research and data collection. With his parents and brothers now spread throughout the Merrimack Valley, Raul took on the position of Academic Fellow for the LPS district and now serves as the Assistant Principal for Abbott Lawrence Academy. Raul and his wife Tatiana have three children: Raul Jr, Amaya, and Lola. His interests are basketball, baseball, and football and his favorite show is “The 4400”. Oh and he’s a diehard Yankees fan!!!

Photo of Molly

Molly Malandrino grew up in North Andover, Massachusetts. After graduating high school, she attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. After graduating from UMass Amherst, Ms. Malandrino came back to the Merrimack Valley and began work as the Support Services Coordinator at the North Andover Youth & Recreation Services.   After gaining many years of experience and knowledge, she decided to continue her education and obtained her Masters through Salem State University. Ms. Malandrino completed her Master’s in Education and School Counseling in June 2018.  Ms. Malandrino has been actively involved in many youth leadership programs, community service programs, and continues to serve many different roles at the North Andover Youth Center. In March 2018, Ms. Malandrino came to Abbott Lawrence Academy as a long term substitute in Guidance and is thrilled to be able to stay on the Abbott Lawrence Academy team full- time. Outside of school, Ms. Malandrino enjoys cooking, being with her family and friends, and traveling.

profile photo of Micaela Tetrault Guidance Counselor

Micaela Tetrault is the Guidance Counselor at Abbott Lawrence Academy. Ms. Tetrault grew up in North Andover, Massachusetts. After graduating from high school, Ms. Tetrault attended Salem State College, where she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. After graduating, Ms. Tetrault began working as the Social Programs Coordinator for North Andover Youth & Recreation Services. She gained many years of experience planning and implementing programs, events and community service opportunities for youth in her community. It was through her experiences working with middle school and high school youth and their families that she decided to continue her education in Social Work. Ms. Tetrault began a Masters of Social Work Program at University of New England, while continuing to work full-time for Youth & Recreation Services. In 2015, while finishing her final year in her MSW program, Ms. Tetrault joined the Abbott Lawrence Academy team as the Social Work Intern. Ms. Tetrault graduated in May 2016 with her Masters in Social Work and was thrilled to join the Abbott Lawrence Academy team full-time and continue to support the ALA students as their Guidance Counselor. Outside of school, Ms. Tetrault enjoys spending time with her family and friends, travelling and planning her upcoming wedding.

Christopher Urbine

Chris Urbine grew up in New Jersey and attended Boston University, where he graduated with his Bachelor’s Degree in 2009.  He obtained his M.Ed from Endicott College in 2014 and is currently working on his dissertation to earn his Ed.D. Before coming to ALA in 2018, Mr. Urbine taught elementary school through college, including undergraduate and graduate courses in teacher education, but his favorite is by far, high school.  Mr. Urbine currently lives in Nashua, NH with his wife and toddler.  Outside of the classroom, Mr. Urbine loves traveling (especially to Disney World), swimming, and spending time with his family.

profile photo of Kristina De la Cruz

Kristina De la Cruz is from Boxford, Massachusetts, but has also lived in Mexico and Dominican Republic. Mrs. De la Cruz obtained her Bachelors of Arts degree in Spanish Language and Literature from Saint Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont and Universidad de las Americas in Puebla, Mexico. Mrs. De la Cruz obtained her Master degree in both Education and English Literature from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. Mrs. De la Cruz had begun her teaching career at The Forman School in Litchfield, Connecticut, a small private boarding school for students with learning disabilities. Then, she taught for five years at Governor's Academy in Byfield, Massachusetts, a private boarding school. Outside of Abbott Mrs. De la Cruz lives in a bi-cultural and bi-lingual home where she speaks both English and Spanish and celebrates her New England culture and her family's Dominican culture. Mrs. De la Cruz loves to cook, work in her garden, and spend time with her children.

Photo of Sean Fabun

Sean Fabun is a native Californian who has lived all across the United States and in Europe.  He earned a BA in History and Philosophy from the American University in Washington, DC, and an MA in Irish Studies from the National University of Ireland in Galway, Ireland.  He is passionate about history, as he believes it is necessary to understand the past to know the present, and especially focuses on power dynamics, freedom struggles, and geopolitics.  Additionally, Sean has broad academic interests and pursuits, including but not limited to: theoretical physics, evolution, language and linguistics, developmental psychology, and folk stories.  In his free time Sean likes to read and attends concerts and festivals.  Sean’s dreams are to open Reuben’s Deli (so he can share his sandwich-making prowess with the world) and/or the Free School (where he can facilitate a truly student-driven educational process and program).  

photo of Steven Melis

Steven Melis was born in Greece, but grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. After studying English at Williams College and Oxford University, he lived in New York City, working in publishing and then completing a year of City Year at PS 112 in Queens. After realizing that education is his calling, he joined Teach for America and taught English and Theater at several schools: 4 years at De Anza High School in Richmond, CA, and 1 year at Noble Street College Prep in Chicago, IL. In his free time, Mr. Melis enjoys singing in loud bands, thinking about video games, and being sore from CrossFit. He is excited to join a creative and talented team that can push students to accomplish great things.

Photo of Alex Chaconas

Alex Chaconas was raised in Natick, MA a suburb west of Boston. He graduated from Hamilton University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry. In college, he played a year of soccer and rugby for the Continentals while serving as an RA in the dorms. Alex began teaching right out of college and completed a Masters of Education at Temple University in Philadelphia during night classes in 2011. He has over 10 years of experience in  high school Mathematics and Chemistry classrooms from New Hampshire to Florida and began teaching in Lawrence in 2019. Outside of work, Alex enjoys playing basketball, strategy games, drawing, and building small pieces of furniture.

photo of Sara Sobieski

Sara Sobieski grew up in Newington, Connecticut. After high school she attended the University of Connecticut for her Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in History and Sociology and minoring in Political Science. After completing her undergraduate degree, Sara Sobieski remained at the University of Connecticut to complete a Master of Arts in Education Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on social science education. After graduating with her masters, Ms. Sobieski moved to Massachusetts and worked for one year at Gardner High School teaching U.S. History and Pre-AP World History. This is Ms. Sobieski's second full year teaching and first year teaching Pre-AP World History to students at Abbott Lawrence Academy. Outside of the classroom, Ms. Sobieski is a huge Red Sox, Bruins, and Patriots fan. Ms. Sobieski also loves to travel and learn about different cultures, and of course learn more about history! Obtain an inside look into Ms. Sobieski’s classroom www.tinyurl.com/ssobieski

photo of David Wendler

David Wendler was born in Houston, Texas but raised in Chicago, Illinois. Mr. Wendler graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2010. After graduation, Mr. Wendler worked as an English Teacher at Colegio Diocesano de Sao Jose from 2010 to 2011, which is located in Macau, China SAR. He also taught English at East Aurora High School from 2011 to 2013 in Aurora, IL and at Catalyst Maria High School from 2013 to 2016. When he is not teaching or preparing to be an English teacher, he enjoys hiking, camping, scuba diving, and cooking/smoking Texas-style BBQ.

ALA staff member smiling

Samantha Doolittle was born on the South Shore, moved to central MA to finish high school, attended undergrad in western MA, earned her graduate degree in Boston, and now lives in northern MA. After graduating as Valedictorian from Wachusett Regional High School in 2010, she earned her Bachelor’s degree at Mount Holyoke College, where she double majored in English Literature and Theatre Arts. As a junior, she won the Beinecke Scholarship, a national scholarship for advanced graduate study. In her senior year, she wrote an honors thesis exploring African American race performativity in contemporary American theatre (it was an amazing experience, but a lot of crying was involved). She graduated Magna Cum Laude with High Honors from Mount Holyoke in 2014 and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. After studying Dramaturgy at UMass Amherst for a year, she realized her passion lies in teaching, so she withdrew from the program in order chase her dreams! She graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education with her M.Ed in 2016. Sam is deeply committed to social justice and educational equity, and it permeates all aspects of her life. In her free time, she loves to: clear out library book sales by buying more books than she could possibly ever hope to fit on her bookshelves; smother her cat, Benny, with love he clearly doesn't want; pretend she’s a culinary genius by following recipes she finds on Pinterest and passing them off as no big deal; take long, stupor-inducing naps; improve her Netflix marathoning skills; and spend time with her amazing family and friends, who love her despite her oddities.

ALA staff member smiling

Ms. Howell is from Livermore, Maine. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to working in Lawrence, she spent one year in Wellesley's post-baccalaureate teaching program, four years teaching history and coaching basketball at Boston Prep, went back to school to obtain her M.Ed., and is thrilled to now be teaching AP and Pre-AP American History to the wonderful students of Abbott Lawrence Academy. When she's not reading primary sources, Ms. Howell enjoys watching sports, trying new recipes, and spending time with her family.

ALA staff member smiling

Kaitlin Dinet was born in Pearl River, New York, a town north of New York City. After graduating from high school, Ms. Dinet attended Williams College where she double majored in biology and psychology. Ms. Dinet also played varsity softball for all four years at Williams and played pitcher, first base and third base. After graduating from college in 2013, Ms. Dinet began teaching middle school science in Bridgeport, Connecticut. She coached basketball for all three years at her school and was involved in many social emotional learning initiatives at her school as well. After three years in the classroom, Ms. Dinet took a year off from teaching to complete her Masters of Education in Human Development and Psychology at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Here she focused on trauma sensitive teaching practices and education policy and advocacy. She also interned at the Harvard Law School Education Law Clinic where she worked on advocating for special education students’ rights under the law. She is excited to be teaching high school biology at Abbott this year! Outside of school, Ms. Dinet likes to stay active, watch sports and read books!  

ALA staff member smiling

Yohanna Estevez grew up in the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo. At the age of 11 she moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts. She is a Lawrence High School alumni from the class of 2002. Yohanna is also a proud alumni of the Salem State Upward Bound Program. She worked with the Visually Impaired community for more than 13 years in LPS. Yohanna obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Southern New Hampshire University in 2015.  This is currently her first year as the ALA office clerk. During her free time, you will find her listening to her favorite singer Romeo Santos, attending church, and most importantly, spending time with her family of four; son, daughter, husband and her baby Obby (Chihuahua).

Maria Payano was born in the Dominican Republic where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics. After moving to the United States she finished her Master of Arts in Education with a concentration in Spanish. She has taught in the Lawrence Public Schools since 1993. Currently, she is the Pre-AP and AP Language and Culture teacher at Abbott Lawrence Academy where she teaches honors courses to native language students.

ALA staff member smiling

Leslie Peralta is a GEAR UP Program Coordinator at the Lawrence High School Campus. She currently works with Lower School Academy and Abbott Lawrence Academy. Ms. Peralta was born and raised in Lawrence, Massachusetts. After graduating from the Lawrence High School in 2011, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in Women’s and Gender Studies from the College of the Holy Cross in 2015. Ms. Peralta joined the Abbott Lawrence Academy team in 2017 but has been working with Lawrence High School since 2015. Ms. Peralta hopes to continue exposing students to the many opportunities and resources available to them as well as help them through the college application and financial aid process.

Ryan Wakefield

Ryan Wakefield hails originally from New Jersey, and he grew up in Pennsylvania in the woods of Bucks County. In 2004, he graduated from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, where he majored in English and minored in Archeology and Astronomy. He went on to teach at high-needs schools in downtown Brooklyn, NYC as a New York City Teaching Fellow. The die-hard spirit of those teachers in New York would go on to influence Mr. Wakefield’s passion for literature and education. He took graduate courses in English education at Pace University, ran countless miles around Prospect Park, and never once went to Time’s Square to see the ball drop. He taught at South Hagerstown High School in Maryland for 6 years, and moved out to Baltimore County Maryland, where he taught at Owings Mills High and Parkville High, go Knights! He helped grow the Creative Writing Club at Parkville, and holds a soft spot in his heart for all those brave poets. Then he and his fiancé moved to Massachusetts to be closer to family out on the cape. The two live in Andover with a dog and two cats.When he’s not teaching he’s a sucker for puzzles and good books and Rubik’s cubes. He’s drawn to long distance running and triathlons, running 10-milers, half, and full marathons in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York City. He’s a 4-year vegetarian who loves to find great vegan restaurants everywhere he goes.

Charles Pierce

Charles Pierce was raised in a military family and lived around the world; graduating from High School in Virginia. He graduated from the University of Phoenix in 2007, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. Charles spent 12 years working for Wells Fargo Bank, spending 9 years working on application support and analysis of data. After 12 years in banking he decided he wanted to pass on knowledge to people in understanding of Mathematics. He got certified to teach in Texas and spent 4 years teaching Geometry, Statistics, and Algebra II at a school in Texas and began teaching at Abbott Lawrence for the 2018-2019 school year.

Jim Muthig

Jim Muthig grew up in Upstate NY a long time ago and moved to North Berwick, Maine in the mid 1990s. Mr. Muthig earned his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the State University of New York at Maritime College and his Master’s degree in Education from the University of Southern Maine. At ALA Mr. Muthig teachers AP Computer Science, Digital Literacy, and Engineering. Mr. Muthig is also a Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Digital Electronics Master Teacher responsible for training teachers during the summer at participating universities on the PLTW engineering curriculum. Most recently during the summer of 2018 he taught at San Diego State University where he also got to spend his off time with his oldest son, Ben, who is employed by General Atomics Aviation as an aeronautical engineer in San Diego, CA. Mr. Muthig and his wife Mary have three other children, Cara (21), Asa (18) and Mya (16). When not teaching he enjoys working on his garden railroad and volunteering at a YMCA family camp on Lake Winnipesaukee.