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About Us

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The Harkness House began as a simple idea: education is better when students are leaders of their own learning, when they are given a seat at the table.


This idea is neither philosophically profound nor new, and still the traditional system of broad-based education struggles to bring it into practice. The ideal of autonomy is undermined within the confines of the large classrooms, which are not well-suited for developing curiosity and creativity. Those large classrooms are where our founders had built their careers when the pandemic disrupted everything. We were three educators working in public middle schools in New Hampshire when Covid-19 highlighted everyone's vulnerabilities and made us rethink our notions of what school could and should be.

The Harkness House offers a real difference: truly small classes that put students in charge of their learning. We know that small classes promote student agency, and autonomy produces incredible results. We know it because we saw it during the "hybrid" instruction caused by the school closures and restrictions of 2020 and 2021. Most of the change brought on by the pandemic was terrible, but the small classes were tremendous. While traditional schools are struggling to get “back to normal,” we’ve conceived of a new approach to middle school. By enhancing what has always worked and designing a school around small classes and collaborative learning, we're giving students a real seat at the table.

Our founders have always believed in the curious nature, creative power, and intellectual capacity of middle schoolers.  We know that middle school can be so much more than what the traditional system has made it. So we've built  The Harkness House to do just that.


We have a vision of a radically evolved educational experience for adolescents that engages, empowers, and challenges every student to move forward every day. We're moving forward every day in pursuing that mission.

Our Founders

Nate Fellman

I'm excited to give students the freedom and autonomy that truly motivates them to develop into the people they want to be.

Nate is the Head of School and founder of The Harkness House, which started as his passion project to develop an out-of-system educational solution that really works for kids and families. He has 20 years of experience working as a teacher and administrator in middle schools in New Hampshire.

Nate lives in Bedford, New Hampshire with his wife, Jess, and their two children, Ella and Sam.

Stacey Baker

For me, The Harkness House is something really different. What's most exciting is knowing that I'll be able to provide my students the time and space they need to think critically, and to really grow as learners and as people.

Stacey Baker is a founding educator with The Harkness House and Harkness@Home. She has over 17 years of experience in teaching, advising, and curriculum development across all middle school grade levels and a variety of core subject areas, including humanities and science. 


Stacey lives in Goffstown, New Hampshire with her husband, Jeff.

Jean Demers

The Harkness House is an incredible opportunity for students. It's a unique place, and I look forward to supporting all the students as they grow from passive learners into active and curious participants in their education.

Jean Demers is a founding educator with The Harkness House and Harkness@Home. He has 14 years of experience working in schools with adolescents learners and over 30 years experience coaching youth Baseball and Softball. 


Jean lives with his wife Diane in Manchester where they raised their two children. They are the proud grandparents of four beautiful grandchildren.

Our Board

Matt Quinn, Chair

Matt is an engineer with over twenty years of experience in the automotive and aerospace industries. He brings the technical expertise of his background in engineering to his role in Board leadership. Matt lives in Pasadena, California with his wife, Mary, and their two daughters, Natalie and Cate.

Eric Fellman, Vice Chair

Eric is the president of Marketplace Initiatives, a charitable C Corporation that focuses on strategic planning and growth for organizations, emphasizing leadership development and communications. He has over 30 years of experience in executive leadership, particularly in the publishing industry. Eric lives in Bedford, New Hampshire with his wife, Joy, and in grateful proximity to their two grandchildren, Ella and Sam.

Jessica Fellman, Secretary/Treasurer

Jess is a critical care nurse practitioner at Catholic Medical Center where she is part of a team that manages care for critically ill patients in a 20-bed mixed medical, surgical, and cardiovascular intensive care unit. She has 16 years of experience in the medical field. Jess lives in Bedford, New Hampshire with her husband, Nate, and their two children, Ella and Sam.

Lori Dumaine, Trustee

Lori is a teacher and administrator at The Well School in Peterborough, New Hampshire. She has over 20 years of experience in teaching, curriculum development, and educational leadership in North Carolina and New Hampshire in both public and private schools. Lori lives in Peterborough with her husband, Chris, and their two children, Hayden and Caroline.

Donna Nicholaides, Trustee

Donna has 35 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector in southern New Hampshire. She has served on the boards the Moore Center and the Manchester Community Music School and worked as development executive for the Elliot Hospital and as the co-CEO of the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire. Donna lives in Bedford, New Hampshire with her husband, Dean, and she loves spending time with her two grandchildren, Ella and Sam.

Umesh Rao, Trustee

Umesh is the CTO for PPL Electric, a leading tier-1 electric utility company in the Northeast United States. He has spent his career leading and managing change processes and technological innovation across a variety of businesses from the financial industry to internet companies. Umesh lives in Bedford, NH with his wife, Pushpa, and their two daughters, Deepti and Maya.

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