About Our Team

Theresa Dodge (Social Studies) is excited to begin her fourth year at the 8th Grade Academy after teaching at the Greenfield Middle School for 19 years. She has acquired educational experience teaching special education, Title I, elementary and middle school students. She earned her BA in education at Fitchburg State College and her Masters in Brain Research at Nova Southeastern University in Florida. She and a colleague from Mt. Holyoke College created a Classroom -to -Classroom Global Partnership with South African schools after touring South Africa one summer.  Mrs. Dodge also recently took a group of students to Nicaragua as Global Glimpse ambassadors. (thedod1@gpsk12.org)

Rebecca Zimmerman (English) is excited to begin her second year at the 8th Grade Academy.  She has been teaching ELA and Social Studies since 1991.  Ms. Zimmerman began her career as an historical interpreter at Old Sturbridge Village - reenacting life in the early 1800s.  She earned her undergraduate degree in American Studies and English at Heidelberg University and a Masters in Education at the University of Connecticut.  When not at school, she enjoys reading, knitting, camping, and traveling.  Ms. Zimmerman is looking forward to working with students as they move into the realm of high school. (rebzim1@gpsk12.org)

Judy Bennett (Science) earned her B.S. in Marine Biology at Fairleigh Dickinson University and her M.Ed. at the University of Massachusetts. After a decade of managing zebrafish and cichlid facilities for the UMass Biology department, she decided to change careers and pursue a degree in education. This is Ms. Bennett's third year in the 8th Grade Academy and is happy to be returning. She is looking forward to sharing her enthusiasm for science and expects it to be an exciting year. (judben1@gpsk12.org)

Kara O’Brien (Engineering) earned her BA in biology at Cornell University and her Masters in Education at Boston College. She began her teaching career in the Boston area before moving to Greenfield. She joined the 8th Grade Academy faculty in 2012. During the 2017-2018 school year, Mrs. O’Brien will be teaching a course in Engineering as well as General Science classes. (karobr1@gpsk12.org)

Christopher Burke (Math) I am very excited to begin my first year with the team in Greenfield. A veteran high school math teacher of 15 years most of which were in the Springfield school district; I am a strong believer that teaching is about unlocking the genius inside of all students. Using social-emotional motivators and building strong relationships with students, parents and families students experience the security in the environment that allows them to struggle and succeed in school and then in life. (chrbur1@gpsk12.org

Tracy Farnham (English) is looking forward to beginning her first year at the 8th Grade Academy.  Ms. Farnham has been teaching ELA since 1993.  Much of her career was spent in the Alternative High Schools in Springfield working with students who need additional support to be successful in and out of the classroom.  After growing up in Amherst, she earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees at UMass.  Belchertown is now her home, on a small farm full of family, friends, horses, cats, dogs, and chickens.  Besides spending time with her animals, she is an avid reader, movie watcher, and loves to travel whenever possible.  Ms. Farnham is looking forward to spending her day surrounded by the energy of eighth grade students who are willing to learn and think about the world in new ways every day. (trafar1@gpsk12.org)

Courtney Hagar (Special Education) . (couhag1@gpsk12.org)

Dharam K. Khalsa (Title 1 Reading Specialist) is a veteran teacher of middle and high school students.  She has taught reading at the Greenfield High School for the past six years. She holds dual certification as a Reading Specialist and Special Education Teacher with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Massachusetts (UMASS) and a Master’s Degree from American International College (AIC) in Springfield, MA. Her greatest joy is in guiding students through their learning and sharing their successes. She believes that learning, while difficult in moments when a concept isn’t clear, should be fun and engaging. (dhakha1@gpsk12.org)

We're a Team!

Our team realizes that teaching your child is a privilege as well as a tremendous responsibility. We will do our best to make sure that each student has a motivating and positive learning experience. However, we can not do this alone; we need your help, too. We all need to be partners in the learning process. We need each of you to encourage your child at home by helping ensure that he/she has completed the assignments and studied for exams. If a problem should arise or if you have any questions or concerns please call or email us.