Lower School Team

Kristi Penman, Assistant Principal 

Kristi Penman rejoined Gifford in June of 2019 as the Lower School Assistant Principal after previously holding the position of Lower School Social Worker. Kristi has worked with children, youth and families since 2001 at summer camps, schools, recreation programs and community based mental health agencies. She received her Masters in Social Work from the University of New Hampshire and holds licensure as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker.

 Favorite thing about working at Gifford?
My favorite thing about Gifford is the honor of being part of the journey of some of the hardest working kids and families around! We ask so much of students during a school day to help support them reach their goals and the goals of their families. Whether it is the small steps or huge leaps, every day and every school year if filled with so many victories. I am so thankful for the collaborations with families, outside providers and school districts because we must all be working together to support our students

Wes Major, Head Teacher

Wes joined the Gifford Community in 2009. Before becoming the Head Teacher, Wes taught lower school students in grades 3 through 7. Prior to becoming a teacher, Wes worked as an Assistant Teacher in both the Middle and Lower Schools. Wes graduated from UMass Amherst in 2007 with a degree in Political Science and received his Masters in Special Education from Regis College in 2015.  

Favorite thing about working at Gifford?
My favorite thing about working at Gifford is seeing that spark of curiosity in students. It could be when someone is totally enthralled by a story being read in class, or when a student can't pull themselves away from a writing project, or when a kid exclaims, “Wow! This is really cool!” while doing a science experiment. Those are moments that inspire lifelong learners.

Kirsten Holmes, LMHC‚Äč 
Kirsten rejoined Gifford in July 2017 as the Lower School Clinician. Kirsten was previously a Clinical Intern during the 2009-2010 academic year. Since then, Kirsten has worked with children and their families in a variety of therapeutic settings. She received her M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Lesley University.

Favorite thing about working at Gifford?
My favorite thing is being part of a community where students are helped to feel safe and comfortable being themselves. From that starting point, great things can happen!


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