Get to Know the New Faculty


For the past month, new students have been happily settling into life at Brooks, getting to know their classmates, campus and teachers — 15 of whom are new to the school this fall themselves. Let's get to know a bit about them, shall we?


Shamsud "Shami" Bery

Self in Community Teacher

After spending the first four years of his life between New Delhi and Trinidad and Tobago, Bery was raised in Roxbury, Mass. He went on to graduate from Brandeis University and has professionally pursued a variety of fields, including working as creative director for a multimedia startup, founding a clothing line, serving as Entrepreneurship Education Coordinator at a vocational school and being a chef. At Brooks, Bery lives in Blake House, where he is often found listening to Dominican Bachata, oldies soul and hip-hop, trying out a new recipe or watching NBA and WNBA games.

What have you most enjoyed about Brooks this past month?
"The students. Not only teaching them in class but connecting with them in the dorm and around campus. The energy and vibrancy the students bring to my day reminds me why I love working with young people, and fuels me to be my best every day."
Any surprising talents?
"I spent a lot of my child and young adulthood [on drums] playing the trap set. It's been a while since I played regularly, but I am sure I can stay 'in the pocket' if necessary."
What's a talent you wish you had?
"I wish I knew the various ballroom dance styles. While my two-step is strong, I daydream about dancing salsa professionally or even a more robust bachata!"
Do you collect anything?
"I collect all things that bring beauty to my surroundings. This usually leads to artwork, sneakers and random nick-nacks."
Best advice you've ever received?
"At all costs, be your authentic self."

Michael Bruschi

Director of Music


A self-described "lifelong East Coaster," the musician, who primarily plays piano and drums, graduated from Princeton University and earned an M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. in music theory from Yale University. He has taught courses in music theory and keyboard skills and composed works for solo piano, jazz ensemble, string quartet and church choir. Bruschi lives on campus in Thorne House.

What have you most enjoyed about Brooks this past month?
"I've often been told that the people you meet at Brooks are the best part of the Brooks experience. I've found this to be eminently true thus far. The students here are all so mature and motivated, and my colleagues are amazing people across the board."
Any surprising talents?
"Whenever I am in an unfamiliar place, I always instinctively know where the bathrooms are located. Also, I'm really good at picking out high-quality berries at the supermarket. I'm not good for much else outside of those two things."
What's a talent you wish you had?
"I wish I could fall asleep on command because I've been struggling with insomnia for the past decade."
Do you collect anything?
"I have a modest collection of maps because I enjoy traveling and exploring unique or remote or abandoned places in my spare time. I've also been on a mission over the past five-to-six years to collect, sample and rank every brand of seltzer that exists."
Best advice you've ever received?
"Focus on what you can control."

Kimberly Cratty

School Counselor


The North Andover native and Villanova University graduate has spent the past 12 years in private practice as a social worker counseling children, adolescents and adults in Andover, Mass., where she lives with her husband and three children. Previous roles for Cratty — who holds a master's degree in social work from The University of Texas at Austin — include working in child protective services for the state of Massachusetts, serving as a school counselor, ER social worker and public health department psychotherapist. In her free time, she coaches two youth soccer teams and plays soccer in local adult leagues.

What have you most enjoyed about Brooks this past month?
"I've enjoyed meeting the students, faculty and touring the beautiful campus. The students are enjoyable to connect with since they are self-aware, introspective and honest."
Any surprising talents?
"With three kids, our household is busy and extremely active. I'd say my talent is the ability to multitask."
What's a talent you wish you had?
"Interior design. Creativity is a struggle and I'd love for it to come easily when decorating/designing my home."
Do you collect anything?
"No, I do not collect anything. My husband Jeff would claim I collect shoes, purses and soccer balls, but I will officially deny that."
Best advice you've ever received?
"Find a job you love and you will never 'work' a day in your life. ... Once you commit to something, follow it through. There is no quitting in life, push through, persevere. ... Pay attention to the words you use to communicate to yourself. Be kind. ... Be here now. ... Wherever you go, there you are."

Sarah D'Annolfo

English Teacher


A former Teach for America corps member in St. Louis, the Andover, Mass., mother of three came to Brooks from Belmont Hill School, where she taught English and co-led the diversity, equity and inclusion student program. Prior to that, she taught English, coached lacrosse and served as dean of students at Taft School, as well as worked at Tufts University as the associate director of the residential program in student life. At Brooks, she also coaches the girls 2nd field hockey team.

Larissa "Lissy" Davis

Mathematics Teacher


A New Hampshire native and University of New Hampshire graduate, Davis also earned a master's degree in secondary mathematics education from UNH. Following a stint teaching and traveling in the United Kingdom, she joined the faculty of Lawrence Academy, where she taught for seven years and coached basketball, field hockey and track and field. In 2018, Davis moved to her alma mater, Timberlane Regional High School, to teach and coach field hockey and track and field. Earlier this year, she earned her education doctorate from Rivier University and married her husband, C. J., with whom she lives in New Hampshire. At Brooks, Davis also serves as an assistant coach for the girls 1st field hockey team.

What have you most enjoyed about Brooks this past month?
"I have really enjoyed working with the female athletes on the field hockey team. Their fun personalities and competitive spirits make it a joy to come to practice."
Any surprising talents?
"I like to bake and decorate baked goods in my free time. I've even made things for a few weddings/showers!"
What's a talent you wish you had?
"I would love to be more musical. Being able to play guitar or piano would be awesome."
Do you collect anything?
"I collect spoons from places I have traveled. I used to buy them for my grandmother who collected spoons when she was in the service. When she passed, I inherited her collection and have continued to add to it."
Best advice you've ever received?
"Don't sweat the small stuff — and it's all small."

Sarah Downey

Mathematics Teacher


A recent Hamilton College graduate, Downey has served as a teaching assistant for college-level math courses and tutored high school and college students for six years. During her undergrad years, she served as the captain and president of the sailing team and she still loves to spend time on the water whenever she can. Living on campus in Merriman House, she enjoys cooking, playing piano and spending time outdoors.

Nicole Fernandes

History Teacher


The Dartmouth, Mass., native is Brooks School's 2021-2022 Davis Teaching Fellow. Recently graduated from Williams College — with a bachelor's degree in women's, gender and sexuality studies and a certificate in Africana studies — Fernandes is a dorm parent in Merriman, assistant coaches girls 2nd soccer and has a passion for sports, fitness and music.

Brenna Kelly

Associate Director of College Counseling


The Providence College graduate earned her master's degree in education from Merrimack College, within their Higher Education Fellowship program. A former assistant director in the office of admission at College of the Holy Cross, Kelly came to Brooks from Worcester Academy, where she worked as associate director of college counseling and served as a dorm parent and track coach. At Brooks, she lives in Chace House with her partner, Matt.

What have you most enjoyed about Brooks this past month?
"I've enjoyed being able to work with students in different capacities at Brooks from living in the dorm to teaching Self and Community. It allows me to build a foundation with students even before they come into the College Counseling Office."
Any surprising talents?
"I speak elementary Thai. I studied abroad there in college and it's something I've been able to use in my boarding school work experience with international Thai students who are studying here in America."
What's a talent you wish you had?
"I wish I could sing. Well, I can, but not well..."
Do you collect anything?
"I don't necessarily collect anything but I love a good thrift store jewelry find, from some fun earrings to different kinds of necklaces and rings."
Best advice you've ever received?
"I always love some good advice that comes my way. I think some of the best has always been around the same storyline of 'showing up' and the importance of positivity."


Pascale Musto

Self in Community Teacher


The Salve Regina University graduate has been immersed in the life of independent schools since 2000 as a diversity, equity and inclusion practitioner and educator. Most recently, he served as the director of multicultural and community development at Middlesex School, where he worked for six years. In the classroom, he has taught history, humanities and English, as well as co-developed cross-curricular programs, including Dialogues Across Differences. Musto lives on campus with his wife, Chair of History Department Michele Musto, and their two daughters.

What have you most enjoyed about Brooks this past month?
"For the past five-plus years I have seen my wife's love and appreciation for the Brooks community through her eyes and words. Now I can discover Brooks for myself. An example of this is Chapel, one of my wife's favorite parts of the week. Today, I truly understand how Chapel serves as a mindful pause for the community during a busy week and the role it plays in drawing the community together."
Any surprising talents?
"I love to cook. I especially enjoy making the dishes that my grandfather and aunts made for family gatherings."
What's a talent you wish you had?
"I wish that I was fluent in multiple languages so that I could connect with others in their native languages and enhance my own knowledge."
Do you collect anything?
"I collect books because they bring me joy and make me a better person."
Best advice you've ever received?
"The best advice that I ever received was to always show up and to be relentless in my persistence."

Sonja (Holmberg) Nagel

English Teacher, Learning Center Tutor


An arts educator and watercolorist from Western Mass., Nagel attended Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts for her undergraduate studies and the University of Pennsylvania for her master's degree in the science of education. For the past two years, she participated in the Penn Fellows Program while teaching English and art and coaching track and field at The Roxbury Latin School. Prior roles include teaching art, dance, film and French — as well as coaching track and field and cross country — at Greenwich Academy and at Holderness School. Newly married, she lives on campus in Whitney House with her husband, Media Arts Teacher Max Nagel.

What have you most enjoyed about Brooks this past month?
"I have most enjoyed the warm, welcoming and supportive attitude of my coworkers and students."
Any surprising talents?
"I am fluent in French."
What's a talent you wish you had?
"I wish I could whistle decently well."
Do you collect anything?
"I don't have any formal collections of things currently but as a kid, I used to collect quarters from all the different states in the U.S."
Best advice you've ever received?
"Don't sweat the small stuff."

Jason Price

Assistant Athletic Director — Strength and Conditioning


Formerly an athletic trainer at Boston College, Bridgewater State University and Tufts University, the fitness guru has also worked as a strength-and-conditioning coach. He founded and owned Athletes Equation, for which he developed programs for athletes of all ages. Most recently, he was the Head Coach of Orangetheory Fitness in Somerville, Mass. Price has a bachelor's degree in athletic training and master's in Strength and Conditioning from Bridgewater State University, and has competed in powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting at the regional level. He lives in Charlestown, Mass., with his fiancé and their two daughters.

What have you most enjoyed about Brooks this past month?
"There are two things that really stick out to me over the past month. One is learning about all of the opportunities the students have to try different things. It is something I wish I had been exposed to when I was younger. I have also really enjoyed the Chapel services. I've found the messaging in those services to be informative and inspiring."
Any surprising talents?
"I am a fairly accurate axe thrower. When I was working with Orangetheory Fitness, I took my team on a team-building outing to an axe-throwing venue in Somerville. I fell in love with it on my first throw. I then joined leagues and became fairly competent at throwing."
What's a talent you wish you had?
"I wish I knew how to surf. It was something I always wanted to learn how to do and never got around to. I love the beach and enjoy watching surfers on Cape Cod. They look very graceful with their balance and flow with the water."
Do you collect anything?
"I collect scally Caps. To me, the scally cap portrays a vibe of style, class and respect. I got my first scally in college and have been wearing them ever since. Currently, my favorite scally is my next one!"
Best advice you've ever received?
"I have been given so much advice in my life it is hard to pick just one, but one of my favorite pieces of advice, and one I plan to bring to my time at Brooks, is this: 'Live, learn, pass on.' I received this advice from a powerlifter turned businessman named Dave Tate. It's something he has built his life and business on, and something I've added to my life. I have lived a lot. I have learned a lot. I hope to pass on a lot."

Alexandria Sacco

Science Teacher


A graduate of New England College, where she got her bachelor's degree in kinesiology, Sacco began her career at Brooks as an assistant coach for girls 1st soccer in 2014. She coached soccer while completing a degree in radiologic technology, after which she worked at Lowell General Hospital for 10 years as a radiographer. Today, when she is not teaching or coaching, Sacco, who lives off-campus, is on the lookout for her next travel adventure and will begin coaching girls 2nd squash this winter.

Sam Spicer

English Teacher


Spicer, who lives on campus in Thorne House, earned an M.Ed. from Lesley University while working as a teaching apprentice at Berwick Academy. They also have an M.A. in medieval studies from the University of York and a B.A. in classical & medieval studies and French from Bates College. Outside the classroom, Spicer spends their time hiking, reading, and (trying) to bake extravagantly.

What have you most enjoyed about Brooks this past month?
"I have really enjoyed exploring campus, especially the fire trail."
Any surprising talents?
"I am trained in deciphering medieval manuscripts. Still, this doesn't mean I'm any good at it!"
What's a talent you wish you had?
"I would love to learn Italian."
Do you collect anything?
"I mean, I'm an English teacher. I collect books!"
Best advice you've ever received?
"Choose your battles."

Danielle "Danny" Ward

Science Teacher


Prior to Brooks, the Tewksbury, Mass., native spent 10 years working for an engineering company that focuses on human-centered engineering. Before entering the workforce, she studied physics at the College of William and Mary and earned a Ph.D., from the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College. Ward coaches girls 2nd volleyball at Brooks and currently lives in Haverhill, Mass., with her husband and young son.

Todd Wheelden

Assistant Athletics Director for Operations


Originally from Winchester, Mass., the former pro cyclocross racer has taught and served as an administrator in independent schools for more than 25 years. Following his undergraduate years studying Spanish at Lake Forest College, he received his master of arts in teaching with a Spanish concentration from the School for International Training. Wheelden spent 22 years at Kents Hill School, where he has taught Spanish, coached hockey and served as director of the athletics center as well as assistant athletics director and overseer of auxiliary programs. He and his wife, Chair of the Arts Department Babs Wheelden, live on campus in Whitney House with their son Fenix '22 and dog Maverick.

What have you most enjoyed about Brooks this past month?
"I've really enjoyed being back in the classroom after 20 (!) years. I join a Brooks community where I'm challenged by intellectual learners and supported by caring colleagues, an ideal teaching environment."
Any surprising talents?
"I am qualified to drive a school bus and a Zamboni."
What's a talent you wish you had?
"I wish I could travel back and forth in time to help preserve the environment."
Do you collect anything?
"I don't officially collect bikes, but I have six more than I need!"
Best advice you've ever received?
"'Control what you can control.' It sounds like a cop-out, but as an educator, it's an opportunity to steer the direction of today's youth towards a better tomorrow. I personify those words every day."

To learn more about the employees of Brooks School, visit our online Faculty & Staff Directory.

Follow Brooks School on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to see all the activities, projects and happenings in our community each day during the school year.

OTHER RECENT STORIES


Giving Brooks' New Exhibit a Hand

Photography student Ella Dooling '22 created a virtual exhibit of the collection currently on display on campus: "A Show of Hands" by Henry M. Buhl '48.


Celebrating Homecoming & Hall of Fame 2021

Alumni came home — to Brooks last weekend to watch games, get together and honor four outstanding athletes.


Trevor Noah Memoir is Latest All-Community Read

The DEI team's pick for our annual initiative, "Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood," is sparking great conversation and engaging classes in all disciplines this fall.

READ MORE