Meet the USPA Academic Team

Director of Student Operations

Spain

Liam Lavery began working professionally as a musician at the age of 13 and toured nationally and internationally with professional orchestras and choirs. This unique experience has given Liam the understanding of the difficulties and challenges of balancing professional and academic pursuits. He was the Young Composer of the Year in Northern Ireland and is the recipient of Lilian Bayliss Award, presented by Judi Dench.

Liam worked in London’s West End and on national tours as a performer, composer, and Musical Director. He recorded vocals at Abbey Road Studios and Universal Music UK. He then moved into education and worked with young performers balancing professional pursuits with their studies. He moved to Spain to take up the position of Director of Creative Arts at a private British school where he mentored profesional child performers in the fields of ballet, music and musical theatre. From there he became Director of Creative Arts and Director of Digital Marketing and Events at an exclusive private school in Abu Dhabi with a focus on innovative learning technologies, working with members of the ruling Royal family and other officials, diplomats and VIPs.

Liam loves the Spanish language and culture, ‘sobremesas’ with friends, spending time in the local countryside and mountains, walking with his dog Elphie, music, reading, and obstacle course racing.

Director of College Counseling

New Hampshire

A graduate of Westtown Friends School, Brennan E. Barnard earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish from Franklin & Marshall College and a master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration from The University of Vermont.  Brennan has worked as teacher, coach, admission officer, and student affairs administrator at a number of independent high schools and colleges, including the Westtown School, the Northfield Mount Hermon School, the Hyde School, Franklin & Marshall College, and the University of Vermont.  In New Hampshire, he has served as a college counselor for the St. Paul’s School Advanced Studies Program and the Royal Thai Scholars program at Brewster Academy and as an independent consultant through Parker Academy/Tutoring & Instructional Service.  He is also a Senior Fellow at the Global Studies Foundation and off-site college counselor for The Monteverde Friends School in Costa Rica.

Brennan is the author of a column in Concord, New Hampshire’s Sunday Monitor that helps parents and students navigate the sometimes confusing world of applying to college.  In addition, he has been published multiple times in the New York Times and Washington Post.  He not only writes about college admission, but also firefighting, mindfulness, and other topics.  A three-year, elected member of the College Board’s New England Regional Council, Brennan is also a member of The Lakes Region Independent School Counselor Association, The Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools and the National (NACAC) and New England (NEACAC) Associations of College Admission Counselors.  He has presented on College Recommendation Writing, Athletic Recruiting in College Admission, Discipline Reporting in College Admission, and Spirituality in the Admission Process.  Brennan has attended the Harvard Institute on College Admission, the PACAC and NEACAC Summer Counselors Institute as well as multiple other annual professional conferences.  He regularly visits colleges throughout the United States and abroad.  This father of two lives in Hopkinton, New Hampshire where he is also a volunteer firefighter.

Learning Coach

Oklahoma

Kaitlyn McElroy brings experience in coaching, psychology, and as a Team USA athlete to her role as a Learning Coach at USPA.

She grew up in Western Massachusetts and moved to Maine in high school to pursue her athletic dreams in Nordic skiing. After sustaining a career ending injury while skiing for Bates College, Lewiston ME, she switched to the sport of Sprint Kayaking. Shortly after moving to Oklahoma City, OK to train, she moved up the ranks of the US National Team earning a total of five world cup medals and is the reigning US national champion.

At Bates College she studied Biology, Psychology and Biomathematics. At Oklahoma City University Kaitlyn completed a second undergraduate degree in Behavioral Studies and is currently working on her doctorate there in Clinical Psychology. After graduating, she spent time working for GE Oil & Gas, helping them implement their global health and wellness initiative. She was responsible for incorporating mindfulness and resilience training into the initiative.

Kaitlyn’s true passion is to practice a person-centered approach as a coach, a psychologist and as a teammate to help people fulfill their potential.

English Teacher

New Hampshire

Kelly is a writer and educator. She’s taught at the college level at the University of New Hampshire and Great Bay Community College; high school English at St. Paul’s School Advanced Studies Program; middle school English at Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth; and creative writing at GrubStreet, a Boston- based nonprofit writing center. Kelly writes literary fiction and her stories can be found in Flash Fiction Magazine, Litro, New Hampshire Emerging Writers Anthology, and she was a finalist for the Charles Johnson Fiction Award with Crab Orchard Review. She also worked with Dawnland Voices 2.0, an online literary magazine for indigenous writers of New England, and was the Arts Editor for Barnstorm Literary Journal.

Kelly received her Masters of Fine Art in writing from the University of New Hampshire where she was a teaching fellow and awarded the Young Dawkins III Prize in Creative Writing. She lives near the New Hampshire seacoast with her husband, daughter, and pup. She enjoys the ocean in any weather, hiking, skiing, reading (a lot), and long-distance running.

Site Director/Science Teacher

Maine

Craig Roderick revels in the pleasure of serving over 20 years in a career of athletics administration, Athletic Training, education, and business leadership as the Site Director, and Instructor for USPA in Exeter, New Hampshire.

Growing up in the Greater Boston area, his engagement in ice hockey and every outdoor activity available instilled a lifelong pursuit of sports, and ultimately led to a Bachelor’s in Science from Salem State University in Athletic Training.  He began his career working for the New England Patriots in providing athletic training services, physical rehabilitation, athlete health management, practice and game day logistics, and traveled extensively, including internationally, for the NFL’s Mexico Bowl in support of the organization.  Securing a graduate assistant-ship from Southern New Hampshire University, Craig continued his career as an Athletic Trainer, Strength and Conditioning Coach, and Manager of Fitness Operations, while pursuing a Master’s Degree in Business (MBA), and Master’s Degree in Business Education (MS).  Post Graduation, Craig secured a position with Endicott College as one of their first Football Athletic Trainers, while serving as their Assistant Director of their 84,000 square foot athletic facility and adjacent fields.  For close to a decade, Craig’s role at Endicott was elevated to Assistant Athletic Director where he managed athletic budgets, coaches and supporting staff members, educational and athletic facilities, created or participated in various fundraising campaigns, directed project management for major facility and field construction at an institutional level, developed and coached several club sports at the collegiate level including women’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s crew, outdoor adventure, and sailing, and co-created a recreational lacrosse league with over 650 members for youth and high school boy’s, and girl’s.
Craig continues to coach boy’s lacrosse from youth to high school ages while volunteering in his community of York, Maine, and spends free time with his wife Breanne, teaching his two boy’s the finer points of a life spent in pursuit of lifelong learning.

Science Teacher

New Jersey

Originally from Connecticut, Kathy attended Sacred Heart University, where she earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees.  After graduating, she began her science career as a naturalist at the local zoo. Working there she realized her passion for teaching. She soon started teaching biology, chemistry and environmental science at a local high school until she moved to South Africa. During her time abroad, she continued to teach at an international school. Currently, Kathy works at a large, public high school in New Jersey, instructing AP Environmental Science and Biology.

In addition to teaching at the secondary level, Kathy has also been an adjunct professor at local universities.  She has been involved with both the International Baccalaureate program and Advanced Placement program. Kathy is also a consultant for the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI), which takes her around the country in the capacity of an educator and mentor. In her spare time, Kathy loves to be outdoors either hiking, kayaking, or riding her horse. She has also recently become a beekeeper.

Director of ESL Programs

Maine

Nicole has been working in international education and cultural exchange for over 20 years. Her love of other languages and cultures began in high school when she moved from her hometown of Chicago to Edinburgh, Scotland. During that time, she studied French and Spanish, and also enjoyed visiting various parts of Europe. Later, as a student of Tufts University in the Boston area, she studied abroad in Taipei, learning Advanced Chinese and teaching English.

After working in Guest Services for Marriott International, Nicole was hired by EF Education as a Regional Manager for the Cultural Care Au Pair program where she placed European au pairs with American host families, guiding and counseling them along the way. She then spent many years in the translation services industry at Linguistic Systems in Boston, starting as the Director of Interpreting Services and eventually becoming Chief Operating Officer.

Nicole ultimately decided to return to the world of international education. For the last eleven years, she has been teaching English as a Second Language full time, first at EF International Language School, and currently at the Global Student Success Program at the University of New Hampshire. She has designed and taught many engaging courses for students of all English levels, including: Academic Communication, Business Writing, Intercultural Issues, Leadership Strategies, Navigating the University Student Pathway, and TOEFL Test Preparation. Outside the classroom, Nicole is an accomplished choral singer who performed with Chorus pro Musica in Boston for many years, and still performs occasionally in Maine where she lives with her husband. She also enjoys skiing, TRX, and Pilates.

History Teacher

Vermont

Amy has been working in public education for twenty years.  She has an intense passion for all things social science related. She is a graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington and has done intensive graduate work in the field of history specializing in Holocaust Education.  She is a certified Holocaust and Genocide instructor and is continuing her education with courses in ethnicity and diversity as well as United States Government. She has taught grades 7-12 in multiple social science disciplines such as Civics, Ethnicity and Diversity, US History, World History, Geography, and many other electives and core classes in the Social Sciences.

Amy taught in her native state of Maine for 10 years before moving to Vermont, teaching for 10 years and taking up residence there.  Amy had the pleasure of working with students in Vermont on the creating and honing of proficiency based academic portfolios.  Starting with 8th graders moving up into the high school, Amy helped guide and advise students in the making of an electronic portfolio that showcased their learning during their middle school years.  This past year, Amy was an important part of her school’s portfolio requirement for graduation per Vermont education law. She helped guide and advise students into taking ownership of their learning and assessment while helping students collect evidence to create a personalized learning plan.  Amy is dedicated to helping students be self-advocates and lifelong learners.

Amy played field hockey throughout high school and college and coached the sport for 12 years at the varsity high school level.  She now enjoys watching her daughter take the field in the fall. Amy has also coached basketball and track and is a fan of the USA Women’s Soccer Team and anything baseball.  Amy lives in Vermont with her partner, Troy, her daughter, Isabelle and her Golden Retriever, Loopy. She is an avid reader who runs numerous book groups for both adults and youth and also volunteers with a teen group in her community to help foster a love of reading.  Amy loves to travel and has been all over the United States as well as travelling and studying in Kenya, Greece, England, Costa Rica and Canada.

Math Teacher

New Hampshire

With 14+ years of teaching experience at the middle and secondary level, Jonathan enjoys helping students appreciate and embrace the learning process. Believing in the idea that one must follow before one can lead, he himself is a life-long learner. 

A proud graduate of Exeter High School, he pursued a Bachelor of Arts at Stonehill College with a major in History and a minor in Russian Studies. He later would earn a Master of Arts from Abilene Christian University in Conflict Management and Resolution. With a family legacy in teaching and an obsession with Dead Poets Society, Jonathan found himself as a triple threat; cross country coach, teacher, and dorm staff at Subiaco Academy. While he appreciated the boarding school lifestyle and the impact he had on his students, Jonathan felt a call to serve his country as part of the Naval Nuclear program. 

Following his studies and service with the United States Navy, he returned to education where he has continued to the present. Whether as a math teacher, middle grade generalist, running coach, or SAT prep tutor, he has taken a variety of roles in both independent and public school settings. His most meaningful postings consisted of a two year stint teaching in Italy, where he was able to not only travel, but teach and learn in a multicultural environment. He also gained so much perspective as an educator while teaching for the Grove School in Connecticut and for Randolph Macon Academy in Virginia. 

When Jonathan is not working with students he has two other passions. An avid runner, Jonathan has qualified for the Boston Marathon and completed five marathons to date. He finds he prefers the solitude of the trails or open roads in the early morning hours. If he is not running, Jonathan is often busy working on his next novel. With 13 books published to date, he is constantly developing his ability to craft a story that not only keeps the reader’s attention but serves a lesson in the process.

Learning Coach

New York

Nicole brings expertise from professional sports, education, and coaching to her role as a Learning Coach at USPA.

Nicole was born and raised in New York City where she began fencing at age 9. She later attended Columbia University where she won an individual NCAA Championship in 2010, co-captained the fencing team, and graduated with an undergraduate degree in Art History. During this time Nicole qualified for, and competed in the Olympic Games in London in 2012.Following Columbia, Nicole worked in the financial services field at Lord Abbett & Co. and then in marketing and project management with The Adecco Group all while continuing to pursue her goals in sport. 

After narrowly failing to qualify for a second Olympic Games in Rio in 2016 Nicole turned her direction full-time towards education, coaching, and training. She worked as a fifth grade lead teacher at Success Academy Bronx II Middle School and then transitioned to coaching, becoming an assistant coach at Cornell University. While coaching at Cornell, Nicole went on to win three individual World Cup/Grand Prix medals on the international circuit and was ranked as high as #4 in the world.

Nicole is currently training for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and taking classes towards a graduate degree in Psychology. She’s thrilled to be able to teach, guide, and mentor student athletes in her role at USPA.