Pittaway 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 University with a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education and minors in Communication Disorders and Psychology. She received her Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a Concentration in Creative Arts in 1995 from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. Since that time, she has continued her graduate studies through Project Adventure exploring such topics as Adventure Programming, Adventures in Building Community and Diversity and Portable Adventures.

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 and the Pittaway programs. She manages to juggle her time between the three programs quite successfully, and we are grateful for her initiative, integrity, and experience. 

Teacher - After School Program
Head Teacher - Breakfast Bunch 

Katie Emberley joined us as a teachers' aide last year in our Breakfast Bunch program. She performed so incredibly well that she has received two promotions for this year. She will be working as a full fledged teacher in our after school program and will be serving as a Head Teacher three mornings per week for our Breakfast Bunch program. A former Ashland student and currently a student at Mass Bay, Katie has an extensive resume for someone still in college. In addition to her time with EDP she spent a year as a member of City Year Corps serving as a tutor and mentor in a 4th grade classroom. In addition, Katie has been a swim coach, Special Olympics coach, lifeguard, and a summer camp mentor at the MIT Leadership Training Institute. We are pleased that Katie has returned to EDP and look forward to another great year with her!


Ms. Nancy Watts-Orfao comes to us with so much experience that it's hard to know where to begin! Most recently she was camp nurse this past summer at Camp Deerwood in Holderness, NH. She currently is a part time nurse at St. Mark's in Southboro and also spent six years as a school nurse for the Fay School, caring for students in pre-K through grade 9. Other experiences include the Westborough Community Ed Summer camp and the Kennedy Donovan Center where she was the recipient of the Luella's Legacy Award. This award recognizes that individual who embodies generosity of spirt and dedication and challenges the norms in the interest of individuals in need, and the unwillingness to accept or submit to obstacles.

Nurse Nancy graduated from Worcester State College with a Bachelor's Degree and is currently working on her Master Degree at Regis College. In addition to nursing, Nancy served on the Westborough School Committee for seven years and is a certified OSHA officer. We welcome her to EDP and are confident that she will be a great addition to our family.

Breakfast Bunch Teacher

Ms. Chimeno is the newest member of the Kindergarten EDP family, and she will be working in the morning at our Breakfast Bunch Program. With her kind ways and gentle spirit, Stephanie is the perfect person to greet our youngest members first thing in the morning. Ms. Chimeno has completed several certification programs at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester where she achieved the highest graduation status for her program. An experienced caregiver, Stephanie has also spent numerous years as a volunteer for the Daily Bread Food Pantry. She brings her love of animals with her to EDP, which is bound to be a hit with the kindergarten students! We are happy at the prospect of getting to know Stephanie better, and we're sure she will be a great fit to our morning program.

Head Teacher

Kim Brissenden joined the Extended Day family eleven years ago as a teacher in our Mindess Program.  After an impressive first year, Ms. Brissenden was promoted to Head Teacher for the Pittaway EDP where she continued to amaze us. Prior to joining the Extended Day, Kim was a long-term kindergarten substitute in Bellingham. She also substituted as a behavioral teacher for grades K - 8. In addition, she worked as a CIT supervisor for The Sunshine Group, a camp for children with special needs. While there she created a program integrating music, movement, and sign language to aid in the development of impulse control and concentration skills.

Ms. Brissenden graduated in 2005 from Bridgewater State College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education, and most recently completed her Master’s Degree in Special Education.

Teacher/Acting Head Teacher

It had been a while since we'd seen Kristen's smiling face around EDP, but she is just as enthusiastic and personable as she was when she left us in the 6th grade. Kristen was an EDP student for many years, and it's been wonderful to have her back where she belongs, only this time she is on the other side of the desk! Kristen rejoined us in the spring of 2010, and we're thrilled she has returned for a seventh year. In addition to her regular EDP teaching duties, Kristen serves as the Acting Head Teacher whenever Ms. Brissenden is out. Kristen will be out herself for the first several weeks since she just gave birth to her first beautiful child. While she is out, Ms. Ali Jenkins will come over from the Mindess EDP.

Ms. Pratt graduated in 2009 from St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. While a student there she participated in such things as Spring Break Alternative (living and working with the poor) and St. Jude’s Up ‘Til Dawn Fundraiser. Kristen has worked as a substitute teacher for the Ashland Public Schools since 2006 and also has worked as a nanny. Prior to coming to the Extended Day each afternoon, Kristen works as an ABA Therapist for the Hopkinton Public Schools.


I guess it's true that all good things come to those who wait! We had been trying to recruit Lyn Bowen to the Extended Day staff for three years, and were thrilled six years ago when her schedule finally allowed her to join us at the Mindess EDP. Ms. Bowen worked for the Ashland Public Schools with special education students for ten years, and this year she'll be moving one town over to teach in Sherborn before coming to EDP in the afternoons. Lyn also has worked at the Ashland Public Schools summer program with students in preschool through grade eight for several years, and this past summer worked with preschoolers in Sherborn.

Ms. Bowen received her Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts in 2008 from Bay Path College and also has completed her Master's Degree in severe special education. With an available teaching position here at the Pittaway EDP on Fridays, we are sure to benefit from her wide range of skills and experiences.

Breakfast Bunch Head Teacher 

Ms.  St. Pierre begins her twentieth year with the Extended Day Program right back where she started. Laura spent her first two years at the Warren EDP with the first, second, and third graders. The following year, she joined the Pittaway Extended Day Program while advancing to the role of Head Teacher. After an exceptional eight years at Pittaway, we are happy that things came full circle nine years ago as Ms. St. Pierre returned to the Warren EDP, earning a promotion to Assistant Director.

            In addition to her 19 years with EDP, Laura brings a variety of experiences with her, some of which include working as a lead teacher for Wee Folk Learning Center in Bellingham as well as a unit leader for Pilgrim Day Camp, Assistant Director for YMCA Scamper Camp, and a nanny for one child for five years. She also worked for the Ashland Rec Summer Camp.

Ms. St. Pierre graduated in 1990 from Fitchburg State University, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education with a specialization in Spanish. She also has taken courses in American Sign Language and continued her graduate studies with the Museum Institute for Teaching Science in Boston, as well as studied Positive Discipline for Primary Grades and Bullying Strategies.