Pittaway EDP Staff Bios

Director (through Dec. 2021)

Ms. Melissa Mercon Smith began the Ashland Extended Day Program in 1989 and has enjoyed watching it grow and change over the past thirty-one 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 on such topics as Social-Emotional Learning, Unique Gym Game for After School, Teamwork, and Field Trips - Fun or Fiasco 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.

Head Teacher

Kim Brissenden joined the Extended Day family fourteen 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 also holds a Master’s Degree in Special Education. When she isn't wowing us at Pittaway, she's wrangling her own three boys!

Breakfast Bunch Head Teacher

Kelsey is the newest member of Pittaway EDP and comes highly recommended by Ms. Jen at Mindess. She is a recent graduate of the University of Tampa with a degree in Criminal Justice.

Ms. Kelsey has plenty of experience working with children as she has spent her summers nannying for multiple families. She enjoyed getting to know their families and taking their children on fun summer adventures. When she is not working she is working out at the gym, reading, or spending time with friends and family. We are confident that she will feel right at home here!


Teacher – Breakfast Bunch


The Breakfast Bunch is welcoming Alyssa as its newest Teacher! Alyssa is currently working at the Warren School as a Social-Emotional ESP while she completes her master’s program in Elementary Education.


Alyssa spends her summers working at the Metrowest YMCA Outdoor Camp. She is excited to bring her enthusiasm for music, art, sports and theater to our students before their start their school day.


Director (as of Jan. 2022)


Tayler Van Buskirk is starting her journey with the Ashland Extended Day program this year! Prior to joining us in Ashland, she was the Program Manager in Milford for their Community School Use Program. She has vast experience managing community programs including Extended Day, adult and children’s recreational and educational programs, town-sponsored sports teams, and much more! Her unique insight into Extended Day programming excites us. She started working as an aide in high school and continued through the ranks ultimately leading her to the Director position here.


Tayler graduated from Framingham State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology. In past years she has continued her education through the Massachusetts Recreation and Park Association. She plans to expand her knowledge base by joining the Network of Extended Day Directors.


On the weekends you can find her outside enjoying time with her dog Benny and her family. She also enjoys trying new restaurants, testing new recipes, and taking fitness classes of all kinds.


Teacher – After School Program


Katie Emberley joined us as a teachers' aide five years ago in our Breakfast Bunch program. She performed so incredibly well that she received two promotions the following year. She now works as a full-fledged teacher in our after-school program and serves as a Head Teacher for our Breakfast Bunch program.


A former Ashland student and currently a student at Framingham State University, 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 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.

Teacher - After School Program

Ms. Andrea Ball was the newest member of the Pittaway Extended Day Program last year. Ms. Ball has extensive early childhood experience, having worked as an infant/toddler and preschool teacher assistant for four years at Bright Horizons in Braintree. In addition, she is currently a teacher assistant at Montessori Day School in Wellesley, working with children up to five years of age. Ms. Ball has held this role for the past four and half years, and she will continue in this capacity during the day prior to coming to EDP.


Ms. Ball studied at MassBay Community College in Wellesley, where she earned an Associate’s Degree in Life Science. She also has completed coursework in Child Development at Quincy College. Fluent in Portuguese, Ms. Ball is sure to help us stay connected to our Portuguese-speaking families, and who knows, the rest of the staff might learn a word or two!

Teacher - After School Program

Ms. Abbie will be joining us for the first time this year! Ms. Abbie attended Framingham State University and has spent her summers working at Summer Discover Camp. This is where she developed her passion for working with students. She would lead groups, organize activities, and get lost in the excitement of learning. She is looking forward to meeting everyone and getting to know the Pittaway school and Extended Day Program.