May 14, 2021

Posted by Andrew Conforti on 5/14/2021

Welcoming the 6th Grade to MUMS
Our Transition to a 6 - 8th Grade Learning Community!
Dear ACSD Community,

As we continue to prepare for the 2021-2022 school year with the addition of the sixth grade, we are increasingly excited about the many benefits this change will bring not only to our incoming sixth grade students, but also to seventh and eighth graders!  The addition of the sixth grade has provided a great opportunity for us to realign our curriculum, make adjustments to our schedule, and strengthen our support system for students.  We greatly appreciate everyone who has invested an incredible amount of time to prepare for this change.  

We are in the process of creating a booklet for incoming families that highlights information we have been sharing in these bi-weekly communications and provides an overview of what MUMS will look like next year for all three grade levels.  

On May 25th at 6:00 pm, the MUMS guidance team will be hosting a Meet and Greet for incoming 6th and 7th graders and their families.  This will be an overview of the transition process, a chance to learn about social and emotional supports at MUMS, and a question and answer opportunity.  Please mark your calendars.  A virtual meeting invitation will be sent closer to the date. 

Andrew Conforti, MUMS Interim Principal 
Michael Dudek, MUMS Incoming Principal



Visual Art, Design, and General Music

All students at MUMS will take Visual Art, Design, and General Music.  These classes are one trimester long each.

Visual Art


I am so excited to welcome all students and families to MUMS! It is a great place to imagine, explore, and create! The art classroom is filled with an abundance of materials for you to use in your unique creations. Each student in the school will create a number of major projects during their 12 week course. 6th and 7th graders will be guided to build skills in a variety of mediums and techniques, while 8th graders will take the lead of their own learning. As artists that have built their foundational skills, 8th graders will develop their own unique ideas, research and plan their own projects, and create while navigating their way through problems and decisions that come up. Over the three years at MUMS, all of these creations will culminate in a portfolio of work and an understanding of how to create and innovate - skills that ALL students will need in their future endeavors.




Design class is getting a make-over, change in venue, and a new (yet getting old:) face!  Sort of new, anyways.  Mr. Barnes will be moving back into the role of Design teacher.  The class will be a mix of Product and Digital Design with Interdisciplinary Units in collaboration with Ms. Maggio in Visual Art for the 6th & 7th graders.  The class will challenge 8th graders to come up with their own culminating project, preferably with a service feel to it.  All grades will be challenged to create digital designs and build actual products.  At times the medium of the final product will be the individual's choice, others will depend upon the project.  This will be a very hands on class where students of all backgrounds and abilities are given the opportunity to create, innovate, and succeed.


General Music


General music is one of the rotating courses that students will attend for the length of a trimester. In contrast to Band or Choir, General Music is less focused on ensemble skills and traditional music literacy. Instead, students focus on using a range of music technology to learn about broad concepts of composing and arranging, use of music in media, and music of other cultures. In addition, students  develop some personal instrumental skills through the study of guitar, and examine the role of music within their lives.


Media Literacy

Media Literacy is a trimester long class that students at each grade level will have the opportunity to take during the WIN block. This course will reinforce and expand on media literacy and digital citizenship skills learned in elementary school. We will focus on how to use digital resources appropriately and effectively, internet safety and privacy, research skills, and how the district Academic Honesty and Acceptable Use policies shape our use of digital and print resources.


After School Clubs

Wondering what students do in after school clubs at MUMS? Visit our website at to see a description of clubs currently being held after school and some of the past clubs held at MUMS. The clubs offered each year are flexible depending upon the interests of the students and the availability of leaders.


Homework Club

A relaxing and focused hour in the library right after school for students to stay up to date with their work, ask questions, and complete class assignments.  Teachers stop in with some treats, an encouraging word, and a grateful smile that allows the students to feel equipped, empowered, and supported. Students are encouraged to get the most out of their work here at school so they can go home with less homework and enjoy time with family and friends! 

Any student can attend Homework Club; they can sign up in advance or drop in.  Teachers refer students to the Homework Club and coordinate attendance with parents, as needed.  Homework Club is offered four days per week for an hour after school on Mondays through Thursdays during the school year.

MUMS Staff Members

2021 - 2022

Sara Nadeau
Individuals & Societies Teacher

I have been working at MUMS (or what used to be Middlebury Union Jr. High School) since 1994. I first worked as a paraprofessional, left for one year to teach in another school district and then came back to MUMS as a social studies (I & S) teacher in 2000. I am so excited for the year ahead to meet new students and hopefully have our classrooms and hallways filled again! I can't wait to meet you all and have a fun year year with our new team and new learning!
Lisa Maggio
Visual Art Teacher

After teaching in an IB and Museum Magnet middle school in Miami, FL for a time, I have absolutely loved teaching art at MUMS for the past ten years.  Students learn to think critically, collaborate, be creative, and communicate through their hands-on art making.  Student work is always on display around the school, helping to make MUMS a fun and inspirational place to learn.  I am thrilled to welcome 6th graders and 7th graders for the first time and welcome back our fabulous 8th graders for the 2021-2022 school year!
Brian Lisko
Individuals & Societies Teacher
Welcome to 8th grade Individuals and Societies (social studies). With a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Cultural Studies from Goddard College and a Master's Degree in Education and Curriculum Development from the University of Vermont, I have worked in the field of education for eighteen years in Nevada and Vermont with Highly Qualified endorsements in social studies and TESL.

I enjoy learning about other cultures and have traveled throughout most of the United States and visited seventeen countries abroad, mainly in Europe and Asia. I have studied in both Beijing, China and Florence, Italy, and I briefly worked for the Prince’s Trust through YMCA International, a youth outreach organization, in Scotland. When I am not at school I am watching movies, traveling, BBQing, and spending time with my thirteen and nine year old sons, Reese and Keegan, my four year old daughter, Evelyn, and my wife, Melissa.

I am very excited about all of the changes here at MUMS and to start a new teaching and learning team next year. Change is fun!
JT Henley
Special Education Teacher

Greetings! I want to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is JT Henley and I am a Special Education teacher at MUMS. The 2021-22 school year will be my second year at MUMS. Prior to that I worked at the ADL middle school in Essex VT. I have also spent time as a Behavioral Interventionist and a Paraprofessional in both the public and private school setting.

I live in Monkton with my wife (Sylvie), Son (Alex), 3 cats and many chickens. I was originally drawn to Vermont when I came up to attend school at Castleton State College. Yes, it was still CSC at that time. I graduated from CSC with a degree in Biology. Most recently I graduated from UVM with a Masters in Special Education.

I am very excited about the changes that are happening here at MUMS in the upcoming year. The staff has been working very hard to come up with a plan that we hope will be able to take the students even further in their educational goals. A quote that stands out to me is one from Malcolm X “Education is a passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”


Darcy Raymond
Individuals & Societies Teacher

Some of you may know me as Ms. Annino but after getting married last August to my husband Nate I will now be known as Mrs. Raymond. Next year will be my 6th year at MUMS as an I&S Teacher. As a 6th grade teacher next year I am looking forward to welcoming you into MUMS and exploring new content with you. I strive to engage students with hands on and project based learning that can be adapted for each student's interests. I am excited to bring back student engagement in the planning process with my Student Planning Committee, a group of students who help me develop lessons and units throughout the year.

Not only am I an I&S teacher at MUMS but I also lead the Social Justice Club which is an area that I feel very passionate about. While academics are important I also believe that we need to be well rounded citizens and that's why I am also the MUMS softball coach. One of my favorite parts of being a middle school teacher is getting to see students succeed in many different areas of day to day life! I am so excited to meet you all!! 

Randy Barnes
Design Teacher

I started working at MUMS in the 2005-2006 school year.  I spent 3 years as the Kaleidoscope Science Teacher, then moved to Paragon for 7 years.  After that I shifted to the Design/STEM position for 2 years, and then back into science with Phoenix for the past 3 years.  Before that I taught in Burlington, Vermont, Melrose, MA, Boston, MA, Honolulu, HI, and Krasnoyarsk, Russia.  I have a B.S. in Animal Sciences from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  I studied and was a research scientist for a year at the Siberia Branch of the Russian Institute of Biophysics, and I obtained an MEd from the University of Massachusetts - Boston.

I am more than excited to be moving back into the Design position.  My hope is that all students, regardless of skills and background, will see success through design challenges that will include digital and product-based outcomes.  We'll also be doing Interdisciplinary Units with Visual Arts in the 6th & 7th grade, while taking on an independent, student-derived challenge in 8th grade.

I challenge students to bring their creativeness, problem solving skills, and inquisitiveness to Room 100 next year.


Lynne Suddaby
Special Education Teacher

Hello, I am Lynne Suddaby. I am so excited about being at MUMS. I started my career as a paraprofessional in a Burlington  Early Essential Education classroom when I was nineteen years old in the year 1981. I was enrolled in Burlington College, where I earned a BA in Elementary Education. I then went on to Trinity College for my special education endorsement. As I worked on my education, I continued to work in the Burlington School District. After I received my endorsement, I started teaching as a special educator at MVU in Swanton, VT. I have served in different VT and NH schools since then. My focus is helping my students understand their own self worth both academically and personally. I believe that all students can have a measure of success which can bring them to a fulfilling future. 
Katie Ford
Library Media Specialist

I have been working at MUMS since 2007, first as a paraprofessional, then long-term substitute, part-time math teacher, and now as the Library Media Specialist. While I loved teaching math, in 2018 I spent part of my days as the library assistant, and absolutely feel in love with the library! I went back to school in order to get certified as a school librarian and love getting to spend my days in the library. I have been an avid reader my entire life, and getting to connect middle school students with books that they are excited about reading is SO much fun!

One thing that I am excited about for next year is the opportunity to support all students in a new Media Literacy class. I can't wait to meet all of the new students, learn about their favorite books, and share some of mine!


Nathaniel Thompson
Special Education Teacher

This fall I will embark on my first year serving as a Special Educator at MUMS. My teaching journey began when I moved from New York City to Vermont six years ago in pursuit of a career teaching middle school science. Through this work, I developed an interest in the field of Special Education that I have had the opportunity to explore while working in the Colchester and Champlain Valley school districts, and completing UVM’s Masters program in Special Education. I am excited to join the MUMS team and am eagerly looking forward to meeting the students in the fall. I am passionate about providing students with the support they need to develop into happy, healthy members of our community, and I look forward to working towards this common goal with the MUMS team.
Jim Robinette
Special Education Teacher

I have made my career as an educator across several distinct, yet intersecting paths. I started out as a guidance counselor, then a classroom teacher. I have been a 1: 1 and a team special education paraprofessional, and achieved my first post-graduate position as a school administrator. I served as an elementary school principal, a K -12 assistant principal, a high school assistant principal, a 7-12 principal, and as a middle school principal in two different schools. After my first 25 years in education, I decided to re-invent myself and make the focus of my work with students. I have worked at MUMS for the past 9 years as a special educator. I am very excited to fulfill the opportunity to work with students across all grade levels next year, especially so in welcoming our new 6th and 7th grade students.


Cassandra Santo
Special Educator

Next year will be my 10th year working in special education and my 4th year as a special educator at MUMS. I moved to Vermont from Colorado in 2018 and this has become our new home. We love living in Vermont and exploring all the beauty surrounding us. MUMS is a special place, and I am excited to share our school with incoming 6th and 7th graders. Our 8th graders are leaders and have excelled during a very challenging year. I am looking forward to a building full of students and celebrating all that we have overcome! 


Upcoming Dates


May 25th at 6:00 pm

Meet and Greet with the Guidance Counselors for incoming 6th and 7th graders and their families.  This will be an overview of the transition process, a chance to learn about social and emotional supports at MUMS, and a question and answer opportunity.   A virtual meeting invitation will be sent closer to the date. 

June 2nd 

Move up day for incoming 6th and 7th graders students.  This will be held during the school day and is for students only.

Early to mid August

Student schedule and TA teacher assignment mailed to families

August 24th 
New student orientation for incoming 6th and 7th graders (half day)


Frequently Asked Questions


What are homework expectations?

Homework is a part of a student's experience at MUMS and varies from subject to subject. Students can expect homework on a daily to weekly basis. MUMS offers various supports and time throughout a student's school day as well as Homework Club after school to support students with their homework. Teachers are considerate to not overload students by giving too much homework. 


Will 6th graders have recess?

In middle school we do not have a set block of time in the schedule that is only for recess, however there are multiple opportunities during the school day for students to take a brain break and be active outside of the classroom. Some of these opportunities include time during the lunch period, specific physical education learning opportunities, select extended teacher advisory (TA) and various times where teachers have class or take breaks outdoors.

Which classes are full year and which classes are one trimester? 

Full year classes: 
Math, Science, Language & Literature, Individuals and Society, Wellness (P.E. and Health), Language Acquisition 

Trimester long classes:  
Art, General Music, Design, Skillz 4 Life, and Media Literacy

Note:  Skillz 4 Life and Media Literacy classes will be held during the “What I Need” (WIN) block.  More information about the schedule and WIN block can be found in the April 9th communication which is posted on our website at


MUMS Questionnaire

The MUMS Questionnaire is still open.  Please take a few minutes to complete this questionnaire to help us better understand your questions and what information would be helpful to include in upcoming transition communications.


User friendly url to the MUMS website: 

and directly to these MUMS transition communications: