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Belmont Hill Welcomes New Faculty and Staff for the 2023-2024 School Year

Belmont Hill Welcomes New Faculty and Staff for the 2023-2024 School Year

We are thrilled to introduce our new faculty and staff members. Their expertise and dedication bring invaluable contributions to our educational community, ensuring a vibrant and enriching environment for our students. We warmly welcome our new team members and look forward to the positive impact they will have on our school.

Rylee Allen is a 2023 graduate of Berklee College of Music with a B.M. in music education and a minor in psychology. Ms. Allen joins Belmont Hill as a one-year music teacher providing sabbatical coverage in our Arts department. She will teach two sections of music, lead our bands and orchestras, and will assist with the organization of Belmont Hill’s private music lesson program. Prior to graduation, Ms. Allen was a student teacher at Newton South High School and John Eliot Elementary School teaching improvisation, lab jazz classes, jazz ensembles, and symphonic band and wind ensembles. She also taught private piano lessons and served as president of Berklee’s National Association for Music Educators chapter.

Ellen Arena is a 2021 graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a B.A. in elementary education and minor in child advocacy. Ms. Arena joins Belmont Hill as a Development and Admission Associate. In this role, she will be working with Belmont Hill’s Young and Recent Alumni, assisting with the Annual Fund, and supporting the Admission Office with campus outreach events, campus tours and interviews, file reading, and yield events. Prior to Belmont Hill, Ms. Arena was the assistant women’s lacrosse coach at Amherst College and also worked at HubSpot.

Ti-Cheng Chiu Balbo joins Belmont Hill as a one-year interim Chinese teacher providing sabbatical coverage in our Modern Language department. Prior to Belmont Hill, Ms. Balbo was a Chinese instructor in the World Languages department at Salem State University and is a member of the New England Chinese Teacher Association. Ms. Balbo received a Master of Applied Linguistics in Foreign Languages from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and holds an MA in American Studies and her Mandarin Teacher Training Course Certificate from Tamkang University in Taipei, Taiwan. 

Jennifer Baker (nee Ruys) joined the Belmont Hill staff in 2019 as an athletic trainer. This fall she transitions to the faculty where she will teach Science 1, Quantitative Physiology, and health classes. She will also advise students and coach. In addition, Mrs. Baker will also continue in her role co-directing the Sports Performance Team. She holds an M.S. from Bridgewater State University and a B.S. from Suffolk University.

Anthony Fucillo joined Belmont Hill in the spring as the Assistant Athletic Director/Head Varsity Football Coach. Mr. Fucillo comes to Belmont Hill after working at some of the top academic colleges at the Division I, II, and III levels, most recently as the safeties coach at Harvard University. As a national recruiter at Harvard, he was instrumental in identifying the qualities and characteristics of students who thrive in highly rigorous academic institutions. At Amherst College, he served as a recruiting coordinator during a momentous effort to diversify the student body. Prior to Harvard, Mr. Fucillo was the quarterbacks’ coach at Amherst College and also held coaching positions at WPI and Stonehill College. He is a graduate of Tufts University where he was the captain of the football team and a two-year starter at quarterback, playing for coach Jay Civetti ’97.

John King joins Belmont Hill as an athletic trainer following 12 years as the head athletic trainer at Brooks School in North Andover, where he provided traditional athletic training services for approximately 350 students in grades 9-12. Prior to his time at Brooks, Mr. King worked as an assistant athletic trainer at Harvard University. He holds a BS in athletic training/exercise science and an MS in sports psychology from Ithaca College.

Benjamin Liston joins the Counseling Office where he will assist June Schmunk in providing counseling services. Mr. Liston will also teach health classes and support Belmont Hill’s health programming. Previously, Mr. Liston served as the interim assistant head of school and the director of student support services at Gann Academy. Prior to Gann, he held the position of director of counseling and wellness for seven years at Rivers School. He holds a Certificate of Advanced Study and a Master of Education in Risk and Prevention from Harvard Graduate School of Education, as well as a BA in performing arts from Colby College.

Lawrence R. A. Lopez-Menzies joins Belmont Hill as a member of the faculty, assisting in the Admission Office, working with student affinity groups, coaching basketball and crew, and advising. A graduate of Yale University with a BA in political science, Mr. Lopez-Menzies is currently completing an MA in clinical psychology from Columbia University Teachers College. He is the co-founder and president of Crew Haven, an organization committed to removing barriers to access and opportunity in rowing.

Anthony (Tony) Maws ’88 joined Belmont Hill as Director of Culinary Excellence in the spring of 2023. The scope of his role will cover the comprehensive food experience at Belmont Hill including breakfast, lunch, and dinner for our day and boarding students as well as catering services. Mr. Maws was the owner and chef of local favorite restaurants such as Craigie on Main, Craigie Burger, Craigie St. Bistrot, and the Kirkland Tap & Trotter. He is a James Beard Award Winner as the Best Chef in the Northeast in 2011, and he has been recognized by Food & Wine, Boston Magazine, and GQ for his restaurants and his cooking. He is a graduate of Belmont Hill and the University of Michigan, and he has been active with various local charities related to food.

Chanel Nijmeh is our new Director of Academic Support. In this role, she will lead the School’s Office of Academic Support and provide direct instruction to students. Ms. Nijmeh joins Belmont Hill from the Marin School in San Rafael, CA, where she served as the Dean of Students and led and strengthened the school’s Program for Academic Success. In addition, she was responsible for overseeing all student programs to ensure they were serving students and provided leadership and vision for their DEIJ committee. Prior to the Marin School, Ms. Nijmeh spent seven years as an educational specialist at Archbishop Riordan High School, an all-boys high school in San Francisco where she provided individualized academic and social support. Ms. Nijmeh holds a B.A. in English education and an M.A. in special education from San Francisco State University and will complete her ME.d. in educational leadership from Arizona State University in 2024.

Alisa Simmons joined the Business Office in the spring of 2023 as Business Associate, managing student billing as well as the bookstore. Mrs. Simmons earned a B.A. in economics and accounting from Holy Cross. She has worked in public accounting with Ernst & Young and as an analyst at Harvard University and Lahey Clinic. More recently she was the business manager at Saint Raphael’s Parish and School assisting with audits and all aspects of the financial operations. 

Celine Pak joins Belmont Hill as a teaching fellow in Belmont Hill’s Classics department. Ms. Pak received her B.A. in classical languages and comparative literature from Haverford College in the spring. Even though she is a recent graduate, she has worked in many different roles in education, including serving as a teaching assistant in Elementary Greek and a research assistant in the Classics department at Haverford. She received the Class of 1896 Prize, in honor of outstanding work in Latin upon graduation.

David Vargas joins Belmont Hill as a teaching fellow in our Science department where he will teach science, assist with soccer coaching, and work with musical ensembles. He comes to Belmont Hill as a 2023 graduate of Dartmouth College with a B.A. majoring in neuroscience and minors in public policy and chemistry. With experience in tutoring both for the SATs and chemistry, Mr. also served as a biology Learning Fellow and a TA for introductory biology while at Dartmouth. Originally from the Dominican Republic, he is also a musician who co-founded a small music school in the DR during the pandemic that offered free classes in music theory, bass guitar, and piano to local students. 

Photo Caption: Front row: Jen Baker, Ben Liston, Ti-Cheng Chiu Balbo, Celine Pak, Ellen Arena, Chanel Nijmeh, Rylee Allen. Back row: John King, David Vargas, Anthony Fucillo, and Lawrence Lopez-Menzies. Not pictured: Tony Maws ‘88 and Alisa Simmons.

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