The Merry Barn is a joyful haven where…

  • creativity and curiosity are nurtured and celebrated.

  • the power of words is appreciated and used to make a more just, equitable, and compassionate world.

  • learning is engaging and empowering; and learners of all ages have freedom to explore their passions, take risks, and thrive.

  • teaching is a respected and important profession –- teachers collaborate, reflect, grow our practice, and advocate for the work we do on behalf of all students.

  • community members gather in a warm and welcoming space.



In support of our vision, the Merry Barn Writers’ Retreat & Educational Consulting, LLC, offers:

  • writing experiences for kids, and for adults, where participants have the opportunity to find their voices, tell their stories, and write within a supportive community.

  • engaging and timely literacy-based professional learning for educators (both in the barn and in schools).

  • book groups for kids that expose children to diversity in topic, author, genre, and culture.

  • community access to an on-site collection, where children, grades K-8, can read and enjoy books of their choosing.

Stephanie Noyes McSherry

is the founder of Merry Barn Writers’ Retreat and Educational Consulting, where she serves as lead learner and literacy consultant. Most recently literacy teacher leader for Bowdoin Central School, Stephanie began teaching third grade in Brookline, MA, more than 20 years ago. Stephanie has worked in districts across New England as a classroom teacher, and literacy coach and specialist. She has also been a literacy consultant for Tufts University’s Center for Applied Child Development, and served as teacher-in-residence in the University of New Hampshire’s Education Department. Stephanie has a BA in Latin American Studies from Trinity College; an MA in Teaching from Simmons College; and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Literacy from USM. She was a 2006 fellow of the National Writing Project at the University of Massachusetts/Boston. Stephanie lives in Newcastle, ME, with her daughter Hope and their two black labs.



Jonathan Tindal

grew up in Edgecomb, where he was raised to value language and communication. That interest was reinforced by learning opportunities at the Center for Teaching & Learning and Waynflete School. Jonathan is passionate about literacy, and he admires and supports the Merry Barn's mission to deliver distinguished programming. Jonathan lives and works in the Boothbay Region; he is a broker at his family's firm, Tindal & Callahan Real Estate, and he resides in Boothbay with his wife, Jessica, and daughters, Olivia and Cora. Jonathan is proud of this community, and he volunteers on the board of the Boothbay Region YMCA and Boothbay Region Land Trust. During his free time, Jonathan enjoys boating, tennis, the great outdoors, family, and friends.


Elizabeth Potter

is a teacher and poet residing in midcoast Maine. She is also the Coordinator of the Maine College Transitions Program of Lincoln County. Her new collection of poetry T’ai Chi of Leaves was released by Moon Pie press in September of 2016. Her poems have also been widely published in literary journals both locally and nationally, most recently in On the Issues Magazine and the online edition of Yankee Magazine. Elizabeth is a certified Amherst Writers and Artists workshop leader (amherstwriters.com) and has been leading creative writing workshops for all ages for the past eighteen years.


Anne Atwell Merkel

is the co-author of The Reading Zone, 2nd Edition: How to Help Kids Become Skilled, Passionate, Habitual, Critical Readers (Scholastic, 2016) and the Center for Teaching and Learning’s teacher of grades 7-8 writing, reading, and history since 2013, as well as the school’s Model United Nations adviser. Anne graduated from Amherst College with a double major in American Studies and English. She earned her teaching certification from the Center for Inspired Teaching in Washington, D.C., and taught sixth grade in the public school system there, as well as grades 6-8 language arts at Friends Community School in College Park, Maryland.  Anne presents about middle-school literacy at national and regional conferences and helps coordinate CTL’s program for visiting educators from around the world who wish to adapt the school’s methods of writing and reading instruction.


Jennifer Keegan

is an assistant teacher at the Center for Teaching and Learning in Edgecomb, ME, where she supports children and teachers in Writers’ and Readers’ Workshops. Jennifer is also a skilled pastry chef who began her career baking at home, and has since worked at several area restaurants, including 40 Paper in Camden, Maine. She now does private catering for local events through her own business, in addition to teaching her friends in kindergarten basic math through cooking. Jennifer runs themed-based cooking camps for kids, and is planning the launch of her culinary tourism business, Tuck Inn, at her home this summer. This will feature pastry and cooking workshops, as well as explorations that draw on the beauty and bounty of her coastal Maine home. She is the mother of four children, all talented writers, avid readers, and enthusiastic eaters.  


Molly Ness

began her teaching career as a Teach For America corps member and 6th grade teacher in Oakland, California. She earned a doctorate in Reading Education from the University of Virginia. Since 2006, she has been a teacher educator and associate professor at Fordham University in New York City. She is the author of three books and multiple articles in peer-reviewed journals. Molly spends three months of the year in midcoast Maine, enjoys yoga, farmers’ markets, and hiking with her third-grade daughter and poorly behaved dog. She  can be reached through www.drmollyness.com.


Maureen Barbieri

has taught middle and high school and has been a principal and staff developer in New York City. Her first book, Sounds from the Heart, received the James N. Britton Award for Inquiry with the English Language Arts from the National Council of Teachers of English as well as the International Educator’s Award from the Delta Kappa Gamma Society. She is also the author of Change My Life Forever. Maureen served for eight years on the faculty of NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She is currently a literacy editor at Stenhouse Publishers.

Cultivating Creativity, Curiosity, and Community