Katie is the Parent Organizer with Pittsfield Listens. She brings her experience as a Pittsfield community member, Parent, and former Parent Leader with the Family and Community Engagement (FACE) Team of Pittsfield Listens. She has a passion to foster more equity in our community, with a belief that everyone should have access to resources. Katie is a mother of three daughters, and has been living and setting roots in Pittsfield since 2013. She enjoys gardening and spending time with her children.
Amanda Pawlik has experience as an educator of all ages, teaching most recently in Hartford, CT and Dover, NH. Originally from Manchester, NH, Amanda brings a love of theatre and the arts, having traveled to schools across the country as an actor and teaching artist for Hampstead Stage Company, located in Center Barnstead, NH. As an artist and educator, she is passionate about exploring stories from many perspectives and giving voice to those who need it most. Amanda is excited to meld her experience in the arts with the work of Pittsfield Listens.
Jenny Lynn Wellington has been an educator for 15 years, teaching in New York City and Pittsfield, NH. She is passionate about educational equity and believes everyone deserves to have the best education possible in order to be their best selves. Besides writing and reading poetry, she enjoys her cat, friends, eating delicious food, and traveling around the world with her husband.
Molly Messenger is the Director of Pittsfield Listens, an organization dedicated to redesigning and reinvigorating the way its community makes educational progress by fostering leadership and empowering residents to develop systems and structures that ensure greater public participation in school decision-making. Molly brings a wealth of experience in education and rural organizing with youth, parents, and families to her work in Pittsfield, engaging residents on issues and polices that impact their education and their lives. She also leads problem solving through roundtable dialogues, collaborating with local organizations to facilitate small group conversations that help the community navigate through a particular issue.On a daily basis, Molly works with youth and families who have been marginalized through historical education structures to ensure that the community’s models of education put all children in a position for future success.
Molly is a Carsey Fellow for New Hampshire Listens, which works to help build, strengthen, and sustain civic infrastructure to support a strong democracy. New Hampshire Listens does this through facilitator training and process design to ensure fair, inclusive, and informed outcomes for local and statewide projects. Molly also serves on the boards of Ossipee Listens and Global Awareness Local Action, a non-profit that strengthens communities by bringing people together to discover passions and cultivate skills that enrich rural lives and livelihoods. She has a B.A. in Anthropology & International Affairs from University of New Hampshire, during which time she spent a semester with the School of International Training in Kenya.
Steering Committee Member
Tara is a lifelong resident of Pittsfield. She graduated from Pittsfield High School and went on to college to get a degree in Early Childhood Education. She worked with youth in the private sector before joining our school district. She started working at Pittsfield Middle High School in March of 2004 and has worked in the special education department ever since. Tara is a member of the Pittsfield Listens Family and Community Engagement Committee (FACE).
Steering Committee Member
Abigail Cote is a sophomore at Pittsfield Middle High School. She is a Team Leader with PYViiT, on the Steering Committee of Pittsfield Listens, and is a Pittsfield School student ambassador. She likes to read and listen to music. Something she loves about Pittsfield is the feeling of community and being so small you know everyone and everyone is so supportive of each other.
Emily Thielmann is a Project Director with Youth and Community Engagement programs (https://www.yceme.org) at the University of Southern Maine’s Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy. Her work involves leveraging opportunities for youth- and community-led systems change at the local, regional, and national levels in order to improve long-term outcomes for young people, which includes helping develop and now directing education reform group, Portland Empowered (https://www.portlandempowered.org). Prior to joining the YCE team at USM, Emily held various roles in grassroots organizations, education systems, and youth development programs. Emily has spent over five years living overseas and over half her life being “from away,” which has left her with an appreciation for the vital role that a supportive community can play in making people feel welcome, as well as a lifelong commitment to fighting so that all people feel like they are valued and as though they belong. She lives in South Portland, loves every kind of food, and is a proud Big Sister of six years with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Maine.
PL Board Secretary
Michele Holt-Shannon is a co-founder and co-director for New Hampshire Listens at the UNH Carsey School of Public Policy. Her work on and off campus is focused on civic engagement, community problem-solving, and building coalitions for community change efforts. She joined Carsey in 2011 to focus on process design to ensure fair, inclusive, and informed outcomes for local and statewide projects. She works to bring people together across perspectives and backgrounds to solve problems and create equitable solutions for their communities. Recent projects include statewide conversations on the American dream and NH’s kids, mental health and substance use, government innovation and efficiency, and water sustainability. She works with local leaders to strengthen community engagement through community building traditions, events to increase civic information, and problem solving on a variety of issues including education, controversial budget investments, planning, and community police relations.
She received an MA in higher education and human development from Bowling Green State University, an MTS in world religions and theological studies from Boston College, and a BS in biology and psychology from the University of Alabama. She is a graduate of Leadership New Hampshire, Class of 2013.
Pittsfield Listens Co-Treasurer
Kate Hillsgrove is the 11th and 12th grade social studies teacher at Pittsfield Middle High School. She received her B.A. in History and Secondary Education from Saint Michael’s College in 2016 and has since made it her mission to make history engaging for students. Outside of her classroom, Kate runs the PMHS Restorative Justice program and can be found on stage with the school chorus. When she is not at school, you could find her blogging, singing, or spending time with her family.
Courtney Butler is a sophomore at Pittsfield Middle High School. She is a Team leader with PYViiT, on the Pittsfield Listens Board, and an Advisory Council member. She loves baking homemade cookies. One thing she loves about Pittsfield is the small town feel. Everybody knows everybody.
Pittsfield Listens Co-Treasurer
Stefne Ricci is a junior at Pittsfield Middle High School. She is a Team Leader of PYViiT, part of Justice Committee, and part of IMPACT. She loves music and is involved in band and chorus at the school. She is also passionate about social justice work and youth voice. Her favorite thing about Pittsfield is how community orientated it is.
Pittsfield Listens Board Facilitator