Chewonki held its first-ever virtual board meeting on Friday, and we are pleased to announce that Advisor Jeff Desjarlais is stepping into a new role as a Chewonki Trustee, and to welcome Andrea Kassar as our newest Advisor. At the same time, we want to offer our warmest thanks to Julius Alexander, Scott Beebe, Alyssa Pei, and Joe Selle for their commitment and service to Chewonki as Trustees. Alexander, Beebe, and Selle will become Advisors, and we wish Alyssa the best as she pursues other endeavors.
Jeff Desjarlais, Director of Health and Student Support Services, Concord Academy
Jeff Desjarlais has been connected with camps since his first job at Camp Nashoba in Littleton, Massachusetts in 1978. He eventually became Director of Middle Camp and participated in the early years of Camp Nashoba North in Raymond, Maine. Jeff has returned often to Camp Nashoba over the course of the past ten years, most recently coordinating and running staff trainings.
Jeff currently serves as the Director of Health and Student Support Services at Concord Academy (CA) in Concord, Massachusetts, where he is responsible for supervising the school health center and nurses while also coordinating mental health services and training. Jeff began his career in independent schools at CA in 1999 when he was hired to administer a Ford Foundation Grant to develop a Health and Wellness Education program. After developing a curriculum that was fully integrated into the academic program, Jeff’s role was expanded and he became the Assistant Dean of Students. Over the course of his career at CA, Jeff has been a teacher, a coach and has served as an Administrator on Duty.
His path to health and student support services began at The University of Vermont where he earned a Master of Education in Higher Education Administration in 1989. After graduation, Jeff became the Director of Alcohol and Drug Education at Framingham State University in Massachusetts, implementing a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Secondary Education (FIPSE). After six years at FSU, Jeff tried his hand at consulting and co-founded Real World Productions, a health education training and prevention company. Jeff conducted seminars and workshops at colleges and universities across the country and was often a featured speaker on health education and prevention programming at national conferences in the United States and Canada.
Jeff has a long-standing affinity for Maine, having received his undergraduate degree from The University of Maine at Orono. In 2005, Jeff returned again to graduate school, receiving his Master’s Degree in Social work from Simmons College in 2008 and his LICSW in 2011. He first joined Chewonki as an Advisor in 2018.
Andrea Kassar, Upper School Head, The Nightingale-Bamford School, New York City
Andrea Kassar is the Head of the Upper School and an Upper School English teacher at The Nightingale-Bamford School. Before Nightingale, she worked at Chapin for 16 years in many roles, including Admissions Director for the Middle and Upper Schools, Class 10 Dean/Supervisor, and Upper School English teacher. Andrea started her English teaching career at Prep for Prep where she taught literature and writing for five consecutive summers. She attended The Brearley School and The University of Chicago (BA in English and psychology) and has MA degrees in English (Columbia) and psychology (the New School). Andrea grew up mostly in NYC, with five years abroad in the Middle East when she was young. She has three children — Lucy (12), Billy (7), and Cecily (4). Her husband, Tim McKenna, grew up in Augusta, Maine, and his parents currently live in Hallowell, so they are in Maine very often and, of course, they love Maine very much!