Spotlight on Excellence
There are many reasons to support MCI. Below are examples of some of our exceptional faculty/staff and students who shine brightly at MCI.
- Dean Neal, Director of Music, Visual and Performing Arts Department Head
- Rebecca Geagan, RN, BSN, School Nurse
- Bill Carr, Food Service Director
- Tanya Kingsbury, Head of World Language Department, Spanish Teacher
When considering what to do following graduation, Dean Neal says he had two paths in mind: computer technology or music. By the time he entered college, Dean ultimately chose music because of his love for it and for the joy he feels when making music with people. He had no idea how significant his choice would become.
Dean has taught music at MCI for 29 years. Dean explains that he entered music education because he wanted to share his love of music with students, and he has stayed in music education at MCI “because of the wonderful students I have year in and year out.”
For Dean, music is life, and MCI is his home away from home.
When he is in his classroom with students, he tells them that we all make mistakes and we strive to correct them, just like at home; we have successes that are celebrated, just like at home; and when he is in his classroom, he is surrounded by his students – the people he loves, just like at home.
Earlier in the school year, School Band and Orchestra magazine selected Dean as Maine’s only music director in the 21st Annual Class of “50 Directors Who Make a Difference.” For Dean, it’s never been about winning awards or competitions: it’s about making and sharing music he loves.
Dean explains, “There is no singular moment that compares to the great sense of pride in helping music education become an integral part of the school community at MCI.”
As performers or athletes, Dean is proud of the risks MCI students take, whether it’s on a stage, court, field or mat, they are opening themselves up to receive applause, encouragement, appreciation and respect. “They are also subjecting themselves to potential criticism. It takes great courage and builds tremendous confidence to do that, and I am proud to be helping and watching them grow and mature.”
Dean’s advice for the Class of 2019: Love what you decide to do in life. If you don’t figure it out right away – it’s okay. As Dean’s patch proclaims, we are all a work in progress.
Rebecca “Beckie” Geagan worked as a registered nurse for 20 years when she moved to Maine. She was looking for a change from hospital inpatient nursing and, when Beckie saw an job posting in a local newspaper for a school nurse at MCI, she knew she wanted to give it a try. Fortunately, she says, it worked out.
Beckie has been MCI’s school nurse since 2001. As the nurse at a boarding and day school, she is a steady presence in the Wellness Center. She cares for local students and boarding students for whom this 23-acre campus with 14 buildings is their home away from home for several months out the year.
When Beckie was studying to become a registered nurse, the focus was on patient education to prevent unhealthy, unwanted outcomes. “That is my style to this day,” Beckie said.
Since MCI is home to boarding students from the United States and 18 international countries, Beckie cares for their illnesses but also typical teenage issues like wisdom teeth, acne, broken hearts and growth spurts. “My patient load has 100% turnover every four years!” she laughed.
Beckie encourages students to start getting involved with their medical care as part of developing into young adults. Knowing their provider’s name, the diagnosis they may have been given, and the reason they're prescribed medicine or any other treatment is information they now need to understand.
“I like to be as sure as I can that students understand why the current situation with their health is the way it is, and then brainstorm strategies for improvement.”
Beckie’s advice for the Class of 2019: whatever situation you move on to next – college, work force, military, marriage –always identify a trusted adult you respect. Have someone you can talk to about relationships, finances, school, physical, mental, and sexual health concerns. Things get more wide open and unstructured (in a good way) after high school along with the opportunity to develop your individual style of decision-making and self-care. Keep on learning about all these issues and how they affect your goals and successes.
Bill Carr has been at MCI for thirty years. He started working in food service the summer he graduated from high school.
“I took a job working in a kitchen in Bar Harbor with intentions of going to college, then I fell in love with the camaraderie and team spirit I found in a kitchen.”
After working in Bar Harbor, Bill went to Palm Beach and Gasparilla Island, Florida, where his passion for working in restaurants was solidified. His passion for cooking, providing great customer service and sharing the experience of creating good food with people convinced Bill that this would be his career.
Bill has been recognized for excellence: he received the Maine School Food Service Achievement in Professional Development in 1999; in 2007, he received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the MCI Alumni Association; he received the Norbert Young, Sr. Faculty Chair in 2011; and in 2012 Bill’s recipe for Brussels sprout salad was recognized by the national publication, Food Service Director.
Bill calls MCI an amazing school that looks more like a New England college campus. “MCI has been my school and home for the past thirty years.”
His dedicated staff delivers the best food and customer service possible, every day. He creates a 19-meal boarding school meal plan not unlike what most MCI students will experience in college. Bill is responsible for creating the menus, purchasing food and beverages, and administering the USDA Hot Lunch Program according to federal guidelines, which he proudly says MCI exceeds daily.
He schedules meals and fare for class reunions, Board of Trustee events, boarding student sit down dinners, campus coffee houses, Winter Carnival, graduation barbeques and campus cookouts, as well as off-site events. Bill says he is most proud of the standard of food that MCI prepares and serves on campus. Incoming freshman have been heard to say that eating at MCI “is just like going to a nice restaurant.”
Bill’s staff takes pride in food quality and customer service. Combined, they have 109 years of service at MCI.
“When our chefs and cooks prepare their menu items for meal service, they put love into what they are preparing, and it comes through loud and clear.”
Bill’s advice for the Class of 2019: “Find a vocation/career that you absolutely love and be the best you can be in that field!”
Tanya describes MCI as small enough to be a community, yet big enough to have a college-like campus with a wonderful diversity of students.
“MCI is rigorous enough to prepare you for what might lie ahead, but caring enough to work with you, the human being you are now. MCI is never afraid to change for the better, but it still treasures its traditions and heritage.”
Tanya did not get into education for traditional reasons. “The truth is, I believed teaching would fit my strengths and interests. I've stayed in education because of the kids.”
Now in her 39th year at MCI, Tanya describes her work joyfully: “I have fun. Virtually every day. That's the truth.”
Tanya says, “I am proud to work at a school that trusts students first and foremost, allowing them opportunities to learn and grow, not just in subject areas, but in the unfolding of their lives.”
She believes MCI students understand the good things they have here and are respectful of the school, staff and their fellow students. “It makes me very happy when students choose to do what is right, not abusing the many freedoms they are given here.”
Tanya’s advice for the Class of 2019: “Always do your best so you can boldly claim, ‘Hey! I did that!’ Appreciate what others have done for you and tell them you do; leave no important things unsaid.”
Meet Kendrah Willey of Pittsfield, Maine. Kendrah has big goals. She wants to attend college. Major in Pre-Med. Enroll in medical school for obstetrics and gynecology. She wants to be a doctor. “I want to go into medicine because I love science and I want to help people.”
A high honors student, Kendrah is most proud of being a 2018 Manson Essay Finalist. She is Student Council President, in National Honor Society, Key Club, Student Leadership Committee, Philanthropy Council, Class Council, Kindness Krew, and the Outdoor Adventure Club. Kendrah plays the saxophone; has participated in Ella Night, Vocal Jazz, Jazz Combo, Pep Band, and Kennebec Valley Honors Band. Kendrah plays varsity softball, works two jobs, and during the 2017-18 school year, she completed over 70 hours of community service.
Kendrah has big goals. Her goals are our goals. When you support the MCI Annual Fund, you help us support students like Kendrah. Your gift makes MCI stronger.
Meet Hayden Caldwell of Pittsfield, Maine. Hayden has big goals. A successful academic and athletic experience in college. Earn a master’s degree. A career in sports management, combining his love of athletics and leadership. “I never want to look back and have any regrets or feel that I never gave it my all. I’ve always tried to lead by example through hard work.”
Hayden is a leader at MCI. President of the student Philanthropy Council. Captain of the basketball, soccer and baseball teams. His grades qualify for Highest Honors. A member of National Honor Society, Class Council, Student Leadership Council, and the Kindness Krew. He won the Wendy's High School Heisman Award for Maine and was a Manson Essay finalist in 2018. He received the Saint Michael’s Book Award scholarship, and an Academic Excellence Award for leadership and for Advance Placement Physics.
Hayden is an active volunteer in the Pittsfield Community, working at Recreation Department sports clinics, tutoring students at the Vickery School (grades 1-4), and helping with preschoolers at Manson Park School. Hayden is job shadowing the assistant athletic director at Thomas College in Waterville, gaining valuable experience and skills in the field he wants to pursue after college. He also works for his family business mowing lawns and plowing snow.
Hayden has big goals. His goals are our goals. When you support the MCI Annual Fund, you help us support students like Hayden. Your gift makes MCI stronger.
Meet Christa Carr of Pittsfield, Maine. Christa has big goals. A three sport athlete, she wants to be an athletic trainer at the collegiate or professional level, perhaps for a ballet company. She understands the importance of training for peak performance, whether it’s on a stage, field, or court. Christa was the Class C Track State Champion for girls shot put in 2017 and a member of two State Champion Field Hockey teams. Christa credits track for teaching her to make goals, work hard for them, take pride in her accomplishments, but never settles. Christa has been involved in Girl Scouts for 13 years. Scouting has provided her with leadership and outdoor experience and problem solving skills. “Through Scouting, I have helped many girls learn to believe in themselves.” Christa earned a Silver Award in Girl Scouts and is working toward her Gold Award, the highest achievement within the Girl Scouts. “I’m always willing to lend a hand to help or listen if a person just needs to talk. Leaders take control when needed. I can come up with a solution fast and put a plan into action. I think for myself and I create a path for others to follow.”
Christa is an honors student, a member of National Honor Society, and the Visual and Performing Arts Society for both drama and music. Christa is captain of the Field Hockey, Basketball and Track teams, a member of the Indoor Track team, and is active in the Drama Club and Jazz Band. She has received awards from the College of the Atlantic and Wells College.
Christa has big goals. Her goals are our goals. When you support the MCI Annual Fund, you help us support students like Christa. Your gift makes MCI stronger.
Meet Pedro de Roberto Fernandes from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Pedro has big goals. A high honors student, he wants to study engineering in college to become an electrical engineer like his dad. Pedro takes as many Advanced Placement math and science classes as he can. Teachers who make difficult subjects fun and engaging are his favorites: “Humor relieves a lot of the stress of being a student.”
Pedro is a three-sport athlete at MCI: soccer, basketball, and tennis. During his first season on the tennis team, Pedro went on to compete in the Maine Principals’ Association’s State Singles Championship last spring, breaking a 23-year drought for MCI’s tennis program. Pedro looks forward to another winning tennis season next spring.
A self-proclaimed extrovert, Pedro wants to help new international students acclimate to the MCI community. He volunteered to help the Summer Orientation Language Intensive program in August. “I want new students to be as comfortable and successful at MCI as I have been.”
Pedro has big goals. His goals are our goals. When you support the MCI Annual Fund, you help us support the goals of all students. Your gift makes MCI stronger.
Ways to give securely
- Give online
- Phone (207) 487-5915
- Mail your gift to the MCI Advancement Office at
295 Main Street
Pittsfield ME 04967
- Give in person by coming to the Ralph & Edna Cianchette House
at 295 Main Street, Pittsfield, during regular business hours
- Make a pledge to the Annual Fund via email. Your pledge must be fulfilled by June 30. Email your name, address, phone number and pledge amount to