Mindess EDP Staff Bios


Ms. Melissa Mercon Smith began the Ashland Extended Day Program in 1989 and has enjoyed watching it grow and change over the past twenty-eight years. Prior to coming to Ashland, she was a kindergarten teacher in Shrewsbury, and before that she taught preschool. Melissa is a current member of N.E.D.D.S. (Network of Extended Day Directors) and has been a presenter at various conferences throughout Massachusetts for other professionals working in afterschool programs. 

Melissa graduated in 1983 from Worcester State College with a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education and minors in Communication Disorders and Psychology. She received her Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a Concentration in the Creative Arts in 1995 from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. Since that time, she has continued her graduate studies in the summers through Project Adventure exploring such topics as Adventure Programming and the Museum Institute for Teaching Science concentrating on various S.T.E.M. investigations.


Christine Hillier graduated from Curry College in Milton, MA with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education. She was a member of the Curry College Education Club where she also was a Student Government Representative for the Club. A well-rounded athlete, Christine played on the Women's Soccer Team at Curry College and also excels at basketball and enjoys running in charity races.

For the past eight years Christine has been a lifeguard and water safety instructor for the Westborough Recreation Department. She also has been a substitute teacher for Westborough Public Schools and spent time in a kindergarten after school in Westborough and an after school math enrichment program in Quincy. Each day, prior to coming to EDP, Christine will be working as an ESP for Special Ed. We are happy to have Christine at EDP for her third year and know we are in for a great year!!


Ms. Casey Bennett came to us last year after having graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Massachusetts. Now in her second year at EDP, we have been able to benefit from her extensive experience as Head Counselor and Village Leader at Camp Downer where she spent six years working with children ages 7 to 17. Her ability to bring children of different interests and backgrounds together and help them to form lasting friendships is a strength that we appreciate in the EDP family. Ms. Bennett also spent a semester last year in Australia where she interred at the Willow Cottage Earl Learning Centre. This came in handy last year when she developed and executed a Discovery Center and Thematic Unit focused on Australia. In addition to her afternoons at EDP, Casey works at CrossFit where she has passed the Level 1 Trainer Certification and where she will be doing an internship this fall. Her passion for CrossFit showed up at EDP as well last year with a highly successful Children's CrossFit unit. Casey also will serve as Acting Head Teacher in the absence of the Director; she truly is a Renaissance person, and we can't wait to see what she brings us this year!


We are pleased to welcome Ms. Mary Pantera-Vitelli to our Mindess EDP staff. Ms. Pantera-Vitelli graduated from Acquinas College in Newton with a degree in Early Childhood Education and also holds a Director's Certification from the Department of Early Education and Care. Mary brings an extensive array of experiences with her. Past teaching positions have included working with children of all ages, and she even ran her own child care center for six years. With almost fifteen years of teaching experience, Mary is sure to have an impact at the Mindess EDP, and we look forward to the months ahead.


Ms. Jennifer Concetti joins the EDP family this year, and we are excited to welcome her. A graduate of Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, Ms. Concetti earned a Bachelor's Degree this past spring. Her next plan is to explore furthering her education in graduate school studying to become a certified guidance counselor. Ms. Jennifer has served in a variety of capacities from working with upper elementary students in Nicaragua to volunteering for Habitat for Humanity to working in a nursery school and interning in the Framingham Public Schools. An avid athlete, we are anxious to see the excitement she is sure to bring to EDP this year!


Ms. Kelsey Roy completes our 2017 - 2018 Mindess EDP staff, and we couldn't be happier! With a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education and minors in Special Education and Psychology from Bridgewater State University and numerous teaching positions, Ms. Roy has quite the broad experience package, working with students of all ages. She has been a Behavioral Assistant for the Milford Public Schools, an After School Teacher and Vacation Camp Teacher for the Milford Community Use Program, and a Lead Teacher for Knowledge Beginnings in Westborough. During the school day, Kelsey can be found teaching at the Pittaway Preschool prior to arriving at EDP in the afternoon.
Administrative Assistant 

Ms. Janet Pegoraro has been the right arm of the Extended Day Program since March of 1993, and has been an invaluable resource for us. Before coming to Ashland, she worked for the Framingham Public School System for several years. Ms. Pegoraro's duties run the gamut from bookkeeping to assisting with the children at our special events to tracking down unique materials we request. When Ms. Pegoraro is not engaged with the Mindess Extended Day Program, she is kept busy with the Warren program. She manages to juggle her time between the two programs quite successfully, and we are grateful for her initiative, integrity, and experience. 


We are pleased to welcome back Ms. Sharon Bryant for a eighth tour of duty. In addition to her work at the Extended Day Program, Ms. Sharon has worked at our Breakfast Bunch and was a teaching assistant for the Ashland Public Schools for seven years. She also was
 a long-term substitute at the Ashland Middle School, planning curriculum, supervising teaching assistants, and writing progress reports. Ms. Bryant has a Master's Degree in Special Education from Lesley University, focusing on students in grades Pre-K - 8 with moderate disabilities and is a licensed Social Worker, as well.

Ms Sharon has worked at Keefe Tech's Summer Discover program as a graphic arts instructor and the Ashland REC summer program. When she is not at EDP, Ms. Sharon is an administrator at Keefe Tech where she works for the Summer Discover program.


It is with great pleasure that we announce that Ms. Brittany Aldoupolis will be returning to the Mindess EDP family for a second year. Ms. Brittany may already be a familiar face to some of our families since she spent many years working for the Ashland Recreation Department.

With a Bachelor's Degree from Westfield State College and countless hours spent in the classroom at various grade levels, Brittany fits in perfectly at Mindess EDP. Starting her day at the Middle School, Ms. Aldoupolis then will make her way to Mindess EDP. In the fall she will be with us on Fridays while she coaches the Middle School Field Hockey Team. We look forward to her joining us more extensively in late October once the season ends.

Teacher's Aide 

Although he did not attend EDP as a student, Conal caught our eye three years ago when he and his brother volunteered for the Mindess School Sandwich Making Club where he worked with some of our EDP students. When his brother was hired to work at EDP, Conal joined him as a volunteer. We were so impressed with Conal's professionalism, integrity, and level of excellence, we offered him a paid position at the Mindess EDP in the spring of 2016. What is particularly impressive about this is that Conal was the very first high school sophomore we ever hired. Normally, students must wait until Junior year to be considered for a paid position, but Conal is a great example of the cream rising to the top. Last year Conal worked with the kindergarten students at the Pittaway EDP, and we are thrilled to have him back this year at Mindess. When not engaged in all of this, Conal is now a senior at Ashland High School where he serves as Class Treasurer. If that isn't enough, he also works at a catering company in his "free" time.

Teacher's Aide 

Sam Houle is a former EDP student who stepped up to volunteer at Mindess EDP last year, and it's always a pleasure to welcome back someone of Sam's caliber. He is second to none when it comes to being a role model for the EDP students, and he can always be depended upon to step in wherever he is needed. When he isn't at the Mindess EDP setting up snack or helping in Study Hall, Sam is a junior at Ashland High School. Some of his many activities at AHS include the Art Club, JSA (Junior State of America), and Robotics. He also has been involved with the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program for four years and has earned the rank of Chief Master Sergeant.

Breakfast Bunch Head Teacher 

Look who's back!! Ms. Lindsay Shorey was a beloved EDP teacher for many years and left two years ago to become a 5th grade classroom teacher here at the Mindess School. However, because you never really get EDP out of your system once you're part of the family, she rejoined us last year as part of the Breakfast Bunch staff. A graduate of Salve Regina University, Ms. Shorey was Captain of the basketball team as well as the Commonwealth Coast Conference Rookie of the Year. In addition to her time at EDP, Lindsay was an ESP at the Mindess School for several years, a long term substitute, and coach of Dave Cowen's Basketball Camp. We are thrilled to have her back on the EDP Team. Welcome home, Ms. Lindsay!

Breakfast Bunch Teacher 

I always tell new employees that once you join the EDP family, you never really leave. Ms. Kim Conner is living proof of that, having been an EDP teacher for five years before moving on to teach third grade here at Mindess. With five years as a third grade teacher under her belt, Ms. Conner has returned as a teacher in our Breakfast Bunch program, and we couldn't be happier. A graduate of Fitchburg State University in 2007, Kim has a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and Interdisciplinary Studies, and also completed her Master's Degree in Moderate Disabilities PreK - 8 from Fitchburg in 2011. As if working at EDP and teaching third grade aren't enough, Kim is also an avid runner, training hard for last year's Boston Marathon as well as running a bible camp each summer here in Ashland.