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Faculty Spotlight

Teacher and Advisor, Rebecca Silsby

posted Apr 3, 2020, 2:23 PM by Floyd Wygant   [ updated Apr 3, 2020, 2:26 PM ]


Rebecca Silsby is an English teacher at WSHS. She is a graduate of the University of Maine at Orono, where she earned her degree in Secondary Education with a concentration in English. This will be her 9th year teaching and 2nd year at WSHS where she teaches 9th and 11th grade English. Ms. Silsby is a co-advisor for the sophomore class of 2022 and has coached softball in the district. She loves being involved with the many things going on around the school and supporting her students and their activities outside of the classroom. Ms. Silsby recently completed her Master’s degree in Human Relations at Husson University and is nearing the end of her degree program for a Master’s in School Counseling. When she’s not at school, Ms. Silsby enjoys doing DIY projects, landscaping, visiting friends, and getting outdoors. Favorites that can be seen in her classroom include Rae Dunn, iced coffee, the Patriots, and Game of Thrones.

Meet Heidi Bernier our Athletic Director

posted Apr 3, 2020, 2:22 PM by Floyd Wygant   [ updated Apr 3, 2020, 2:24 PM ]

Ms Bernier
Heidi is a graduate of Thomas College where she earned her Master’s in Business Administration and Bachelor’s in Sports Management as well as a Bachelor’s in Public Accounting. Mrs. Bernier joined the Waterville Senior High School team as our Athletic Director in August of 2011.  Prior to that, she was the Athletic Director at Thomas College for four years. Mrs. Bernier loves to be outside, is interested in watching any and all sports (especially those that her two sons participate in), and likes to travel when she can fit it into her schedule. Her proudest accomplishment is that of her two sons, Ty and Kolby, who are 12 and 9 respectively.

Marissa Ayer

posted Mar 13, 2020, 11:55 AM by Floyd Wygant   [ updated Mar 13, 2020, 11:55 AM ]

Marissa Ayer is the resident school-based clinician from Kennebec Behavioral Health. She is a graduate from the University of Maine at Orono where she completed her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Social Work. This will be her 4th year with WSHS and the first full year as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Marissa began her career working in a preschool specifically designed to support children on the autism spectrum followed by working in crisis services before coming to work for KBH. Marissa enjoys yoga, hiking, spending time with her dog, and pumpkin everything.

JoAnna Ashby

posted Mar 13, 2020, 11:49 AM by Floyd Wygant   [ updated Mar 13, 2020, 11:51 AM ]


JoAnna Ashby is an English teacher at WSHS. She has a BA in English from the University of Maine at Augusta and an MFA in Creative Writing from West Virginia University. This will be her third year at WSHS where she teaches sophomore and senior classes. She lives with her husband and stepson in Hallowell and spends as much time with her infant nephew as possible (pictures available upon request) in between working on her novel, reading vociferously, and binge-watching various Netflix offerings.

Ms. Blanchet Puts Special in Special Services

posted Feb 2, 2020, 9:38 AM by Floyd Wygant   [ updated Feb 2, 2020, 9:39 AM ]

Heather Blanchet is a special education teacher at WSHS.  She is a 2002 graduate of UMaine Farmington, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Science.  She earned her Master of Education in Special Education from Grand Canyon University in 2008.  This is her 15th year at WSHS, and her 17th year teaching.  Heather is involved in the school community by serving on several committees and serving as a class advisor.  She has been married for 16 years to her husband, Nick.  They have 2 children, daughter, Brynn, who is 13 and son, Gage who is 11.  Heather enjoys camping with her family and their 2 dogs, a boxer named Max and a Lab mix named Conway.  In her free time, Heather likes reading, kayaking, watching her children's sports games or working on projects around the house.

Ashley, The Go-To Person When You Need A Friend

posted Feb 2, 2020, 9:36 AM by Floyd Wygant   [ updated Feb 2, 2020, 9:39 AM ]

Ashley Rancourt, LCPC, NCC, graduated from Winslow High School in 2003. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Maine at Farmington in 2007 and her Master’s Degree in clinical counseling at the University of Southern Maine in 2012.
Ashley's job here at Waterville Senior High School as our social worker. She says she has "had the pleasure of being in this position since it was created, in 2016." She works in the guidance department as "the go-to person for any mental health needs, crisis situations, or if you’re just having a bad day and need to vent to someone (or grab a snack, have a quick cry, in need of a pep talk). Teen years are rough and it’s nice to have someone to go to!"
Ashley is a mom of two young children, Chase and Sydney. They keep her on my toes! When not helping everyone at school and keeping tabs on her children, she loves reading, laughing, going to concerts and comedy shows, and is a huge fan of road trips and finding adventure.
Something most people don’t know about me Ashley is that she has been published several times! All through college and graduate school, she worked for a horror magazine and an online book company. She reviewed books of all sorts, many of those reviews were published in the book, and some even on the front cover! Hard work pays off.

Mathematics with Donna Forkey

posted Jan 8, 2020, 12:40 PM by Floyd Wygant   [ updated Jan 8, 2020, 12:40 PM ]

Donna Forkey
Donna Forkey is a Math teacher at WSHS.  She earned her Bachelors degree in Secondary Education with a Concentration in Mathematics at the University of Maine in Orono.  She earned two Master's degrees in Education and Computer Technology in Education from Thomas College in Waterville.  This will be her 27th year of teaching in the Waterville Public Schools district.  She spent six of those years at Waterville Junior High and the other 21 at Waterville High School.  Beyond the classroom, she serves as a class advisor, graduation co-coordinator and SAT test site coordinator. Donna bleeds purple as she is a 3rd generation WSHS graduate.  She is married to her husband, David; has five adult children: Danielle, Cassie, Sarah, Chris, and Brian; as well as two grandchildren: Hannah and Conner.  Outside of the school community, a few things that Donna loves are spending time with her family, being out at the lake, watching the New England Patriots and too many crime-drama shows to list. Something that many people may not know about her is that she actually taught her own brother when she was student teaching here at WSHS.

Wellness With Frank Knight

posted Jan 3, 2020, 5:38 AM by Floyd Wygant   [ updated Jan 8, 2020, 12:39 PM ]

Frank Knight has been a Physical Education Instructor at WSHS since 1985.
Frank Knight

He is a graduate of Lynn Classical HS in Lynn, Massachusetts and The University of Maine where he played 4 years of football. He coached Track and Field for 14 years at WSHS and was the Head Varsity Football Coach for 24 years (1990 to 2013).

During his free time Mr. Knight enjoys any kind of outdoor physical activity that enhances personal fitness. In particular, he enjoys running, hiking, strength training, cross country skiing, yoga and golfing with his sons, Frank III and Lukas.

The Delightful Depth of Dr. D

posted Nov 26, 2019, 6:36 AM by Floyd Wygant   [ updated Dec 6, 2019, 7:38 AM ]

Dr Downs-Gamble

by Hazel Dow '22

Who describes defending their dissertation as “delightful”? Margaret Downs-Gamble, that’s who, although she prefers to be called Dr. D. This word is also fitting for Dr. D’s personality.  Often, Dr. D calls out to someone in the hallway, a cheery “Hello”. She is likely met with surly teenage expressions; this greeting habit of hers is resiliently delightful. Although she may appear bubbly on the surface, her scholarship demonstrates intellectual depth and talent. 

After being pressed twice, she humbly revealed a Certificate of Teaching Excellence from Virginia Tech, the Joseph B. Whitehead National Educator of Distinction for high school teaching award, two Certificates of Achievement from the Air Force Academy, and the Commander's Award for Civilian Service from the United States Military Academy and the Department of the Army. For Dr. D, these are not mere achievements. During the pinning ceremony of the rarely awarded Commander’s Award, she described being so struck by the meaningfulness of the recognition that she cried. 

She went from not being able to decide her major in college to strategically placing a critical word choice in her dissertation. As evidence of an open mind, Dr. D majored in English with minors in Linguistics, Geology, Physical Anthropology, History, and Latin. After undergrad, she took a break from formal academics to embark on her own antique restoration business and to start a family. Also, she obtained her Master of Arts and her Ph.D. from the University of Texas in Austin. As an example of Dr. D’s cerebral strength, her dissertation was on “John Donne and his coterie that was written, exchanged, and circulated in manuscripts. [She] focused on the dialogic, socio-political environment of manuscript transmission and the evidence of multiple, variant texts”. 

In defending her dissertation, she sought individuals who would put her through her paces. Dr. D recalls when “one member challenged me, referring to a passage ‘here on page 427’, which because I had known she would challenge it, I had carefully qualified with the word ‘might’. I pointed out the ‘might’ and she withdrew her challenge--a testament to the importance of careful qualification of arguments”. 

No doubt, her resume is impressive. She has worked at “The University of Texas, Austin; Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; Ridgefield High School, Connecticut, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York; United States Air Force Academy, and USAF Academy, Colorado”. How was she drawn to Maine? Dr. D said “When I was living in [Connecticut] in the early 2000s, I travelled to Maine and fell in love with the people and the place”. When asked how she decided to become a teacher, Dr. D states that “Women as well as men in my family have for generations been professors and teachers. For that reason I firmly declared at age 17 ‘God make me anything but a teacher’. Years later, I stepped into my first classroom and it felt like warm bath water. It was exactly where I wanted to be”. 

As for advice to students transitioning from high school to college, Dr. D said “My greatest concern for high school students is the academic work ethic”. She seems to suggest that students should take advantage of the WSHS resources, because “WSHS provides a great deal of support-FAR more than any college will”. 

She was born, raised and educated in Texas. Just like the sun often shines in the state of Texas, we are fortunate that Dr. D shares her sunny disposition and skills with WSHS. 

Heather Duquette - je parle français

posted Sep 14, 2019, 11:52 AM by Floyd Wygant   [ updated Sep 18, 2019, 5:43 AM ]

Heather Duquette

Heather Duquette is the French teacher at WSHS. She is a graduate of the University of Maine at Orono, where she earned her degree in Secondary Education with a concentration in French, as well as her Master’s of Art in Teaching French. This will be her 12th year at WSHS (15th year of teaching overall). Heather started her career at St. James School in Biddeford, Maine, teaching K-8 French before moving on to teach French at Waterville Senior High School. Heather is a new mom to her beautiful baby girl Avery Rose, and has 3 cats. She serves as the Department Chair of the World Language Department, as well as Secretary and Newsletter Editor for the Waterville Education Association (WEA). This year she will be leading the French Club, and conducting the first induction of students into the French National Honor Society. She has also started working towards her National Board Certification in French. In her free time she likes watching Seinfeld and visiting family in Old Orchard Beach.


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