The Center for Teaching and Learning is a non-profit, independent school governed by a Board of Directors. 

Pia Neilson, Co-President
Originally from Copenhagen, Denmark, Pia moved in 1983 to the US and in 2000 to Arrowsic, Maine, where she lives with her husband Will. She is a retired entrepreneur and also a Commissioner of the Bath Housing Authority. Her youngest, Amelia, graduated from CTL in 2009 after nine wonderful years. Coming back to CTL after a decade away, Pia is impressed and gratified to see the same joyful engagement on the part of today’s students, faculty, and parents that she experienced twenty years prior, and she is delighted to help sustain that experience for generations of children and parents to come. 

Joshua Manahan, Co-President
Josh is parent to Kelly, who began his CTL career as a kindergartener in 2016. Josh has lived in Alna with his wife Abby since 2004. Although spending much of his time building and selling painting supports as well as cutting boards for midcoast artists through The nEAT Kitchen, the practice of reading and writing remains an important outlet for him. Josh regularly regrets being too embarrassed to ask for help with math when he was a student. He is honored to be able to share his perspective as CTL strives to honor and learn from its past, while charting an exciting future.

Anne Atwell Merkel, Clerk
Anne has been CTL’s teacher of grades 7-8 writing, reading, and history since 2013 and is a member of the Class of 2000. With her mother, Nancie Atwell, she is a co-author of The Reading Zone, Second Edition: How to Help Kids Become Skilled, Passionate, Habitual, Critical Readers, based on their work with readers at CTL. One of Anne’s earliest memories is standing with her mom, at sunset, on the land on Cross Point Road that would become home to, so far, thirty years’ worth of writers, readers, mathematicians, historians, scientists, and artists. She has considered it her own second home ever since. 

Peter Branch, Treasurer
Peter is the proud grandfather of Jackie Branch, Class of 2026. He has been coming to Maine every summer of his life to help his family run Linekin Bay Resort which they owned from 1909 until 2015. He and his wife, Paula, now live in Boothbay year round. In his winter life, he was the head of independent pre-k through grade 12 schools for 37 years. These schools included the Dalton School in New York City, Woodmere Academy in Woodmere, Long Island, Holland Hall School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Georgetown Day School in Washington, D.C., and the Rocky Hill School in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. Peter also did a 2 year stint as Executive Director of The Washington Ballet. During his educational career he spoke at numerous conferences and served on association boards, including the board of the National Association of Episcopal Schools, of which he was president. Peter is honored to become a member of the board of the Center for Teaching and Learning which he has long admired for its leadership in elementary and middle school education.

Maureen Barbieri
Maureen was a middle school teacher whose work was dramatically influenced by Nancie Atwell’s first book In the Middle and by Nancie’s subsequent articles, books, and presentations. Nancie invited her to CTL in its early days, and many times over the years, so she developed a deep appreciation for the pedagogy, school culture, and commitment to excellence the whole school community embodies. A faculty member at NYU and UNH for many years, she is now at Stenhouse Publishers, editing books by and for teachers. She lives in Kittery, ME and is grateful to be a part of the CTL family.

Robert Russell
Rob is parent to Aelia ’20 and Sawyer ’23. He lives in East Boothbay with his wife Elizabeth Kaser. Rob works as a marine biologist for the Maine Department of Marine Resources and chairs the CTL Facilities Committee.

Katy Papagiannis
Katy’s children, Gigi, class of 2023, and Ryo, class of 2026, have attended CTL since kindergarten and she feels grateful every day for the opportunity to share the joy that both children have found at CTL: Gigi’s dedication to reading, writing, art, and math and Ryo’s adventures with all his school subjects and recess. Katy is a graphic designer in the marketing department of the MIT Press, working remotely from Maine since 2008. She hopes to bring her experience with visual and marketing communications to help share CTL's mission with the local and broader community.

Brita Wanger
Born in Southern West Virginia, Brita Wanger grew up in the Western Mountains of Maine. She enjoyed a 15 year stint at NBC Universal, serving as creative executive for Late Night and Specials Programming for the network and co-creating the storied NBC Late Night Writers Workshop. Since returning to Maine in 2018, Brita and her husband Doug have lived in Alna with their children, Billy and Alice (CTL class of 2028). In Maine, Brita has served as Director of Media and Performing Arts for the Maine Arts Commission, served as state coordinator for the NEA’s Poetry Out Loud program and led projects for Maine’s “Percent for Art” legislation, which ensures public art is a part of all State-funded building projects.  Brita still leads workshops in comedy writing every chance she gets. Brita has been part of the CTL parent community since 2020 and is pleased to have the opportunity to serve on the board. 

Jessica Tindal
Jessica Tindal was raised in Georgia and studied in Tennessee before finding her forever home in Maine in 2011. She has since lived in Boothbay with her husband Jonathan and their two girls, Olivia and Cora. Olivia joined CTL’s kindergarten class in 2020, and Cora followed in the fall of 2023. Jessica has been awed by the genuine warmth of the CTL community and the way her daughter has developed such a fast and deep love of learning. She is grateful for the opportunity to transform that sense of community and dedication into meaningful action for the school.