• Paul Stein
    Executive Director

    Dr. Stein joined Schools for Children in July, 2017. His career includes varied roles in teaching and educational administration.  He served as the Superintendent of Schools in Wayland and as the Deputy Superintendent of the Newton Public Schools. He is the past principal of Day Middle School in Newton and past House Administrator of Pollard Middle School in Needham. He began his career as a math teacher in alternative, special education school settings and served for a number of years as the Director of Full Circle High School in Somerville. 

    Dr. Stein earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Cornell University, an M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a second Masters (in special education) from Lesley University, and a Doctorate in Educational Administration from Boston University.
  • Deanne Benson
    Head of School, Lesley Ellis School

    Deanne Benson has led Lesley Ellis School's transformation from a Preschool-Grade 3 program to a Preschool–Grade 8 school. She came to Lesley Ellis School in 2001 following fifteen years at Nashoba Brooks School in Concord, MA where she was first a physical education teacher and then the Director of Admissions. A physical education teacher for more than 17 years, Deanne has worked at several different elementary schools throughout her career.

    Deanne earned her BA (1977) from North Park College in Chicago and an MEd (2000) in educational administration from Lesley University. She holds Massachusetts state certification as both a teacher and an administrator. Outside of Lesley Ellis, Deanne does her best to stay healthy by participating each summer in a triathlon. She also keeps a close eye on her daughter’s nationally competitive synchronized skating team.

  • Alex Tsonas
    Director, Seaport Academy

    Alex Tsonas joined Seaport Academy as school counselor in 1998 and two years later became Seaport's director. Alex's experience includes working as an assistant director in a residential program, a therapist for a home-based individual and family treatment agency, and as a counselor running substance abuse and anger management groups serving youths in Lynn. Alex has overseen Seaport's evolution from a small, 12-student program into a successful all-boys state-approved alternative high school serving 28 students, grades 8–12.

    An avid hiker and runner, Alex earns his LICSW licensing in 2016. He has a BA (1991) from Colgate College and an MA (1998) from Salem State College.

  • Rebecca Altepeter
    Head of School, Dearborn Academy

    After her first visit to Dearborn Academy in the mid-1990s, Rebecca Altepeter left and told her friends and family, “Someday I will work there. They are doing incredible work and it feels like family.” Rebecca finally realized her dream when she became the Director in 2016 after building her leadership skills as the Principal at a therapeutic residential and day school for adolescent girls and as a Coordinator in the Office of Student Services for Cambridge Public Schools.  

    Rebecca earned her BS with a dual major in Slavic and Environmental Studies from Indiana University and her MS in Moderate Special Needs from Wheelock College. She holds certifications as a Special Education Administrator, Moderate Special Needs teacher, and General Educator. ​

  • Pam Sweeney
    Director, Dearborn Elementary/Middle School

    Pam Sweeney started at Dearborn Academy in 2000 as an Assistant Teacher in the Elementary/Middle School Program and quickly made Dearborn part of her extended family. She became a Lead Teacher in 2002 and served as a Mentor Teacher from 2008-2012 before being promoted to the Educational Coordinator position. In 2017, she became the Director of the Elementary/Middle School Program, eager to uphold and push forward the values instilled in her by the previous Director, Carol Cole.

    Pam earned her undergraduate degree in Sociology from Harvard University.  After a few years in marketing, she realized her heart was in the world of education, largely stemming from the connections she witnessed her mother make as a teacher. Pam earned a Master’s Degree with licensure in Elementary Education, Moderate Special Needs, and Mathematics through the Peaceable Schools Program at Lesley University and the M.Ed. (Moderate Disabilities) Program at Cambridge College.

  • Sheilah Gauch
    Director, Dearborn High School

    After almost 19 years of working within the Arlington community, as a clinician at a residential treatment program and then as a social worker in the Arlington Public Schools special education department, Sheilah has interfaced many times over the years with Dearborn Academy.  Each time, she heard from students and families how wonderful the school was - she was thrilled to be able join such an amazing school!

    Sheilah attended the University of Texas where she was an All American swimmer as well as Olympic Trial participant.  Her experience as a collegiate athlete reinforced for her the value and importance of teamwork, perseverance and resiliency - all values she feels are essential to her work as a leader in education.  Sheilah went on to get her Masters in Social Work from Boston College in 2001.  Sheilah is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)  and also holds a school adjustment license through the Department of Education.  In May of 2017, Sheilah graduated from the Educational Leadership Institute with a Masters in Educational Organizational Management and is in the process of completing her principal’s license.  

  • Laura Rice, LICSW
    Program Director, STEP Program

    After a brief hiatus, Laura Rice returned to Schools for Children in 2013 to resume her role as program director of the Short-Term Educational Placement (STEP) Program. In this role, Laura provides administrative, clinical and crisis services to students in the 45-day STEP assessment period.

    Over her 15 year career, Laura has employed her considerable social work credentials and experience in public, private and alternative educational communities, including the Newton (MA) Public Schools, the ACCEPT Collaborative, Germaine Lawrence School, Inc., Willow Hill
    School and the Waller School.

    Laura earned both a bachelor of arts and a masters of social work from Boston College.

  • Maridel Perdomo
    Director, Winn Brook Child Care

    Maridel Perdomo is originally from Caracas, Venezuela. She moved to Boston twenty years ago to follow her dreams of learning English and to explore and expand her personal and professional life. She received a BA in Human Resources Administration in Venezuela and a BA in Psychology from Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts. She has a broad range of experience in bilingual education, during which she has worked with children, adolescents and adults. Her primary goal as a director is to optimize the children’s learning experience through exciting activities like dancing, music, writing, science, math and art. Her philosophy is that children learn through play and by using their imagination. 

    Maridel Perdomo is the director of the Winn Brook Child Care Before- and After-School Program. Prior to this position, she was the director of the YMCA at Gardner Pilot Academy, running the after-school and summer programs. She also worked as a director of Pine Village in Kendall Square, a Spanish-immersion preschool. In her current position, she is directly responsible for the day-to-day logistics and support of all families and staff in the program and is committed to building a strong relationship between the host elementary school and Winn Brook Child Care.