Biographies – Board of Directors

Below, find the the Board Member Biographies which further detail the commitment, experience and dedication to the Acorn School.


Nicole Mazur-Pitcher (President)

Nicole began her term on the board in the spring of 2014.  She was a parent of a Mighty Oak at Acorn, as well as 2 teenage children. Nicole has her degree in early childhood education. In her free time she enjoys spending her time with her family, watching them participate in sports and dance. This is the first time Nicole has sat on a board of directors, but feels strongly about the importance of early childhood education and the philosophy of Acorn School.  Nicole is currently a co-chair on the fundraising committee.

Christine Arlington (Vice President) –

My name is Christine Arlington and I am currently serving my first year on the Acorn Board of Directors.  Our family was first introduced to Acorn School when we were considering preschools for our daughter in 2013.  Emily went on to be a Chipmunk, Tadpole and a Mighty Oak; our son Leiland will start his Acorn adventures as a Chipmunk next fall.   Acorn School was an immediate fit for our family, reinforcing our love of nature and strong belief of children developing a love for learning.  I am honored to be able to give back to a place that truly aligns with our expectations of early childhood education.  I am a Registered Nurse currently working in the Outpatient Surgery Center at Exeter Hospital.   In my free time, I enjoy antiquing, exercising, volunteering and being open to any new adventure with family and friends

Debra Grott (Treasurer)

My name is Debra Grott and I have been on the Acorn Board of Directors since September 2014 serving as Treasurer. Two of my three children who are now 25 and 19 years old, were lucky enough to be Chipmunks and then Woolly bears at Acorn School. Some of their very closest friends were from their years at Acorn School. I am honored to be a part of the same strong traditions, educational concepts and loving environment which our family experienced over 20 years ago. I currently work as a CPA in the Seacoast Area as well as a Field Hockey Coach at Exeter High School. I live in Hampton with my family and our dog Sage!

Chelsea Bourassa (Secretary)

My name is Chelsea Bourassa and this has been my family’s first year involved with the Acorn School. My son is currently a Chipmunk and my daughter will be starting at Acorn in the fall. Evan has loved meeting his new friends and enjoys telling his aunts and uncles about “chipmunk school”. Acorn School’s warm, and natural atmosphere is what led my husband and I to choose Acorn for our children’s introduction to learning. We feel that early education should be a lot of fun and that attitude is everything. The enthusiastic teachers combined with the natural, outdoorsy school environment is what makes it the perfect place for our family. I’m excited to be a new addition to the Acorn Board and look forward to helping ensure a solid future for this wonderful school. In addition to being a mother of two Acorn kids, I work at UNH in the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and live in Stratham with my husband and our many animals.

Stephanie Ciccanesi

My name is Stephanie Ciccanesi and this will be my first year on the Board at Acorn School. We enrolled our first daughter in the Chipmunk program when we moved to NH. After searching for the perfect school setting we instantly knew that Acorn would challenge her and help our daughter grow into an independent, caring, and environmentally aware little girl! As we finished out our Woolly Bear year, I can say that Acorn had a positive impact on not just our daughter, but our whole family! Acorn laid the foundation for kindergarten and we started the Chipmunk program all over again with our 3 year old! With my past 11 years in Early Childhood Education and Reading, academics was high on my list when searching for schools, yet we have gotten so much more from the Acorn experience! Our family enjoys and appreciates the outdoors so much more, and we appreciate all of the Acorn Staff for everything they do. I joined the board because I truly believe in Acorn’s educational vision and philosophy and I want to help support all of their efforts so they can continue doing what they do so perfectly!!

Beth Finelli

I have been a part of the Acorn community for over 6 years.  My daughter was a Chipmunk, Woolly Bear, and then a Mighty Oak.  She is now a thriving 4th grader.  Her love for learning and her curiosity for the outdoors was solidified during her 3 years at Acorn.  My son is currently a Mighty Oak this year.   As a former Wilderness Guide, I feel strongly that my children develop a respect and appreciation for the wooded outdoors.  Acorn seamlessly weaves the outdoors into much of it’s daily curriculum.  I can’t imagine any other place for my children during their preschool years.  I have never experienced a more dedicated and loving staff at any school.  I joined the board last Spring because I wanted to be a part of securing a strong future for Acorn.  I live in Portsmouth with my husband, 2 children, and crazy Boxer.  In addition to being a full-time mom and Acorn Board member, I coach cross- country and lacrosse, and serve on the board for the Seacoast Women’s Giving Circle.

Darren Guy

My name is Darren Guy and I’m the newest member of the Board. Our family has been part of the Acorn community for the last 3 years and we couldn’t be more pleased with the experience. Acorn has truly exceeded our expectations. As parents with professional experience in childhood development and who believe in the value of learning from, and respecting our environment, Acorn was the clear choice for our children. Our oldest daughter has been a Chipmunk, Woolly Bear and is now a Mighty Oak. Our younger daughter is beginning her Acorn journey as a Chipmunk and I felt now was the right time to join the Board to contribute to a special place that provides an ever-lasting experience for children. We live in Exeter and I enjoy running, skiing, and taking our girls on new adventures.

Erika Hafey

Erika began her term on the Board of Directors in January 2015. She decided to become more involved in the Acorn Community after going to her first Fall Fundraiser. Watching how a small preschool community came together and made such a big impact was inspiring. Her amazement of how beloved Acorn school is was solidified as she worked on the Annual Bake Sale. Throughout the day families poured in and showed their support. Current families, alumni parents and children all came to support Acorn and some reunited with old friends and teachers. Why does this community have such a lasting impact? It’s because of the Acorn philosophy and the special teachers who inspire the children. At Acorn, a kid can be a kid! How amazing is that! Erika has her Masters of Science in Speech-Language Pathology and currently works in a home-based Early Intervention program. Most dear to her heart is her family. She and her husband are parents of three amazing children, whom they adore.

Crystal Hardy

My name is Crystal Hardy and I have been on the Acorn Board of Directors for almost a year now. My oldest son has had the pleasure of being a Chipmunk and Woolly Bear at Acorn School and is now experiencing the magical Mighty Oak year. His younger brother is now following in his footsteps and becoming part of the Acorn School family as a Chipmunk this year. I absolutely love the passion of the Acorn teachers and the strong philosophy of the school in giving back to our community, being eco-friendly, and the focus on small acts of kindness all while enjoying a nature and play based curriculum. I enjoy being an Acorn Board member so that I can help the school continue its amazing traditions and staying true to their philosophies. I work closely with The Green Alliance in the promotion of Acorn School’s Eco friendliness, as well as being a Co-Chair on the personnel committee and assisting in fundraising efforts. When I am not at Acorn School, I am working as the manager at The One Hundred Club, and live in Hampton with my husband, two beautiful boys, and our cat and dog.

Tonia Hutt

My name is Tonia Hutt and I have been on the Board of Directors for Acorn School since February 2012 serving as a member, VP and the President over my tenure.  My daughter is now in 2nd grade and lives for school. She was lucky enough to be a Chipmunk, a Woolly Bear and a Mighty Oak kindergartener at Acorn School where she gained the love of learning, along with so many other admirable qualities.  We always called the school an extension of our home.  I continue to volunteer at the school, even with no children attending, because of the love and admiration that I have for the teachers, the programs and the philosophy.   My goal is to continue to provide financial stability to enable the teachers to do what they do best at Acorn School: nurture the children and provide the very best early childhood education around during their formidable years.  I am very lucky to work with a compassionate and impressive group of board members that all have the same goal of helping to create a solid and positive foundation for each and every child that passes through the school.  When I’m not at Acorn School, I work as a medical recruiter and live with my husband and daughter in Stratham.

Michael Nolan

Michael’s term started in March of 2015.  He holds a degree in Marketing from Merrimack College and has partnered with executives and leadership teams of global, Boston-based businesses for over 15 years driving projects, portfolios and providing strategic business guidance.  Recently, one of of daughters graduated from the Mighty Oak Program and his other daughter is currently attending Acorn.