About Us

Faculty

Joshua Abrams

Joshua Abrams, Head of School, Mathematics, Science, and Technology
B.S. in Biology, Yale University
M.A. in Mathematics Education, Columbia University

Josh has been a teacher, curriculum developer, and teacher leader for over thirty years. He has taught mathematics and science research in a variety of schools including positions as Master Teacher of Mathematics at the Massachusetts Academy of Mathematics and Science, a state-wide, public, magnet school, and Mathematics Department Head at The Rivers School. He has taught in settings ranging from prisons to suburban day schools. Josh has also worked with students on extra-curricular activities including Model United Nations, math club, and juggling. In 1998, he was a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics from President Clinton.

Megara Bell, Health Education

Megara has been teaching comprehensive sexuality education since 1999. She has taught in a variety of locations including public and private schools, state institutions, boys and girls clubs and other youth organizations. She is a regular presenter at the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy annual conference with talks on Sex Myths and Facts, Teaching Pregnancy Prevention to At-Risk Boys, and Teaching about STDs without resorting to fear-based methods.  She is the co-author of the companion curriculum to “Women’s Voices, Women’s Lives: HIV Prevention for At-Risk Girls."  Megara formed Partners in Sex Education in 2006 in order to expand direct educational services to youth in Greater Boston. Megara has been at Meridian since 2007.

Leonard Brown

Lenny Brown, Physical Education
B.A. in Black Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston

Lenny has been working with youth in educational settings for almost two decades. He is committed to physical activity and has a variety of activities that he enjoys: lacrosse, basketball, martial arts, long distance running, hiking and mountaineering, bike riding, swimming, skiing, rollerblading and gardening. He has lived in Boston his entire life and values its unlimited opportunities including the Charles River and Minuteman biking trails, hiking in the Blue Hills, and nature walks along the Emerald Necklace or Franklin Park. He shares his lifetime of love for, and learning from, the outdoors, sports, and experiential education with his students. When not teaching, Lenny cares for his two young, very active boys. Lenny joined Meridian in 2006.

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Jess Emory
B.A. in Biochemistry and Mathematics, Wheaton College
M.A. in Chemistry, Brandeis University

Jess comes to Meridian having finished a Masters program at Brandeis university in Chemistry. Before graduate school, Jess spent a year as a Thomas J Watson fellow traveling the world studying traditional fiber artists (including knitters, spinners, weavers, and felters) and how they are staying current in the 21st century. Science, learning, and culture have always been passions of Jess's, and during her college career she explored these fields through an NIH biostatistics research experience, a traditional Chinese medicine course in Yunnan, China, and on-campus tutoring. She is very excited to bring a multidimensional approach to math and science to the classroom.

Catherine
Catherine Epstein, Humanities
B.A. in English, Vassar College

Hailing from Stow, Massachusetts, Catherine graduated from Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick and Vassar College where she pursued theater as an actor and director. Since college, she has worked as a public radio producer, writer, and submissions reader of short stories and plays. She began teaching at college as a peer writing tutor and has since taught classes in South Africa, New Haven, Austin, and San Francisco, as well as spending two years as an educator at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City. Catherine joins us from Frances Parker Charter School, which, like Meridian, is a member of the Coalition of Essential Schools, where she taught Humanities. Through her work, Catherine has found that adolescents provide invaluable new perspectives on academics and the arts. She works to foster thoughtful discussion and debate in class and believes that school can provide a space for students to change their minds over and over again.

Laura Grill, Music

B.A. in Jazz Voice and Composition, Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University
M.A. in Jazz Studies and Vocal Performance, New England Conservatory

Laura knew at a very young age that a life of music was the only one for her. She is equally at ease playing bassoon in a symphony orchestra, scatting in a vocal jazz group, or jamming with an African drumming ensemble. While her career currently includes arranging, composing, and performing, Laura has found a unique joy in teaching. At Meridian, Laura leads our multi-genre band and teaches Music appreciation classes. She finds it very gratifying to share her passion for collaborating with other musicians, creating original music, and performing music. The Laura Grill Band (Laura's original folk/bluegrass/jazz project) can be heard in and around Boston.

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Zach Haney, Spanish, Latin, Mathematics, Science, and Technology
B.A. in Mathematics, Wheaton College

Prior to joining the Meridian faculty, Zach spent a year teaching mathematics at Shaoxing No. 1 High School in Zhejiang Province, China. Before his time in China, Zach studied Spanish, Latin, and Mathematics at Wheaton College in Norton, MA. Zach was particularly involved in exploring linguistics, a subject at the intersection of his interests in Spanish and mathematics. His junior year took him to Buenos Aire where he immersed himself in the porteño culture, both in learning the intricacies of Rioplatense Spanish and teaching English through the University of Buenos Aires. He is excited to be able to bring the rich Latin American culture that surrounds the school directly into the classroom. Whether it is reading the complex narratives of Julio Cortázar, ordering food from Boca Grande, or helping to interpret at a hospital, Zach strongly believes that all language students must engage with the culture and truly use their new skills in authentic environments.

Stephanie Kinkel, Mathematics, Science, and Technology
B.S. in Molecular Biology, University of California, San Diego
M.S. in Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Stephanie left sunny San Diego to pursue her graduate degree in Biology here in Massachusetts. Her research experience has ranged from the molecular basis of cancer to the immune system of round worms. She has taught science in varying capacities and settings since high school. Prior to Meridian, she taught laboratory activities to high school groups as a Teaching Fellow in Harvard's Life Sciences Outreach Program. Outside the lab, Stephanie can be found drawing, dancing, or on a yoga mat. In the classroom, Stephanie finds these creative endeavors help her impart her wonder at the natural world to her students. Stephanie has been honored as a Knowles Science Teaching Foundation fellow.

Cate

Cate Mathers-Suter
M.F.A. in Painting, The Slade School of Fine Art, London, UK
B.F.A. in Illustration, Rhode Island School of Design

Cate has been teaching art and been an artist/designer for the past decade. Her prior teaching experiences include three years at the Rivers School as well as work at other arts programs serving students of many ages.
Upon graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design, Cate moved to London to pursue her MFA at the University College of London. After graduating in 2008, she returned to her home town of Boston and joined the Kingston Gallery. Cate has traveled to Cuba many times and speaks Spanish fluently. Cate has shown her drawings and paintings in the US, UK and Eastern Europe. Inspired by RISD classmates and designers, Cate made the switch to textile design in 2011. When not teaching, Cate is in her studio creating surface designs or traveling.

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Sara McDonald, Spanish
B.A. in Modern Languages, Spanish, Framingham State College
M.A. Enseñanza de Español como Lengua Materna y como Lengua Extranjera (Masters in the teaching of Spanish as a Native Language and as a Foreign Language)

Sara has been teaching students in a variety of educational settings for over a decade. She began her teaching career with Global Child, bringing Spanish to school systems as an enrichment program. In addition to her work at Meridian Academy, Sara has taught secondary school students at the Winsor School and elementary and middle school students at Friends Academy in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. At Meridian, Sara is a leader in our outdoor education efforts, works on admissions, and has established community service experiences for Meridian students within Spanish-speaking organizations. Sara's teaching helps students connect with Spanish-speaking cultures both within our local community as well as abroad. Sara joined Meridian in 2007.

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Melissa McDormand, Health and Wellness
B.A. in Psychology, Connecticut College
Masters in Social Work, Simmons College

Melissa comes to Meridian Academy after several years working with youth in mental health and school settings. She most recently spent three years as a counselor in a residential treatment center, working to support adolescent girls in taking on emotional, behavioral, and interpersonal challenges. Previously, she assisted in child and adolescent psychiatry research at Stanford University, exploring causes and treatments for bipolar disorder. Melissa is in the process of earning a Masters degree in Social Work from Simmons College, to be completed in the spring of this year. Melissa enjoys road trips, cooking and eating what she cooked, and spending time with her friends and family. Melissa is excited to support Meridian students as they take an active role in their own health and wellness.

Sarah Parker Geller

Sarah Parker Geller, Humanities
B.A. in Political Science, Bryn Mawr College
M.A. in Teaching in Political Science/Political Philosophy, Tufts University

Originally from New Mexico, Sarah earned her BA from Bryn Mawr College and then moved to Boston to teach 5th grade at Cambridge Friends School.  After earning an MAT in social studies education at Tufts University, Sarah moved to Atlanta.  During her four years in the South, she taught high school history at The Weber School, an independent Jewish school. Prior to coming to Meridian, Sarah taught 6th and 7th grade humanities at Abington Friends School in the Philadelphia area.  Sarah believes that young people should learn to think critically about the world around them and use their education to make positive contributions to society.  She also strives to instill in her students the idea that learning is not something that takes place in a day or a week but over the course of a lifetime. Sarah joined Meridian in 2009.

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Nathan Sokol-Margolis, Humanities
M.Ed. in Social Studies, Lesley College
B.A. in International Relations, Alliant International University

Nathan's experience has covered three continents and a wide range of subjects. From teaching history to youth in and out of jail in Boston to teaching economics in China, he has focused on giving students a voice. Nathan’s teaching is informed by his passions for philosophy, theater, and storytelling that help students create their own worlds in and out of the classroom. Nathan works with his students to apply their learning to addressing real world problems that they identify and to engage with their communities as active citizens. In 2013, Nathan was named Humanities Teacher of the Year in the Dipont Education group of over 25 schools across China.

Sonja Vitow

Sonja Vitow, French
M.F.A. in Creative Writing, Emerson College
B.A. in French Language & Literature, George Washington University

Sonja is a polyglot who earned her BA in French with minors in Spanish and German Languages & Literature as well. Over the summers, she has taught at the French International School of Philadelphia and studied abroad with Bryn Mawr College’s Institut D’études Françaises in Avignon. As a writer, she won the American Academy of Poets Award in 2013, and her short fiction has been published in several literary magazines. Her Spanish-English translation of the Five Epigrams of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz was published in 2013. After receiving her MFA, Sonja became certified as a DELF-certified French speaker at the Alliance Française in Boston. She is thrilled to be working with Meridian’s motivated students, and hopes to bring as much creativity, enthusiasm, and innovation to the classroom as possible.

Staff  

Ed Kleiman, Business
B.A. in Philosophy from Tufts University.

M.S.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Wheelock College.

M.A. in Instructional Design from University of Massachusetts - Boston.

Ed has worked in the private and non-profit sectors for many years and is currently dividing his professional time among an accounting firm, two synagogues, a foundation that raises funds for schools, and several private clients. Unprompted, Ed says that he loves his work at Meridian.

Hilary Law, Administrative Assistant
B.F.A., Hampshire College.

After receiving her art degree in 1984, Hilary launched Hilary Law Design, a textile product design and manufacturing company specializing in floorcloths.  A lover of all things tactile, she gardens, knits, sews, cooks, does the crossword, entertains, and makes a general mess in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts where she lives with her tolerant family. Hilary has been a welcome addition to Meridian's administrative efforts since she joined us in 2008.

Board of Trustees

Joshua Abrams, President
In addition to his experience listed above, Josh has held leadership positions helping schools during their initial accreditation and reaccreditation with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), has assisted with college guidance, and has had responsibility for budgets and personnel decisions. Josh founded Meridian because he wanted to provide an option for secondary students that valued their ideas, understood their need to be useful members of their communities, and welcomed them as junior researchers within and across the disciplines.

John McCarthy, CPA, Treasurer

B.S. in Accounting, Syracuse University.

M.B.A., Boston College.
John has spent his entire career of more than a decade at Braver PC, a Needham-based CPA firm, and is currently a senior audit manager. John splits his time at Braver between the for-profit and non-profit sectosr, predominantly working with schools and religious organizations in his non-profit work. John is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants.


Rebecca Shah
B.S. in Elementary Education and Human and Organizational Development, Vanderbilt University.

M.A. in Public Affairs, LBJ School of Public Affairs at University of Texas - Austin.
Rebecca has elementary and middle school training and has applied this background to advance education through public policy. In her role as Senior Associate, State Policy Initiatives at the Data Quality Campaign, Rebecca works to ensure academic success for all students by advocating to state policymakers for the effective use of data in education with a focus on alignment between state and district data systems and use. Rebecca has worked with youth in a variety of settings inside and outside of the classroom and values the individual attention and creative approach a small school cultivates.

Tricia Morrow, Secretary

B.A., Knox College.
Tricia Morrow has enjoyed her role as a Teacher/Director at Neighborhood School in Jamaica Plain since she co-founded the purposefully small, independent elementary school in 1986. Her trek from Illinois to Boston in 1982 was stimulated by a strong sense of calling to live and work with children in an urban, multicultural environment. With teaching certification in elementary and special education, followed by graduate coursework in educational management and parenting studies, and then parenting three children, Tricia is committed to the rich, personalized learning and family connections that small schools cultivate.

Beth Schultz
BA, Washington University in St. Louis.
Beth is the Chief Development Officer for Samaritans, Inc., the primary suicide prevention organization serving Boston and MetroWest.  Beth has worked for social service organizations in both programming and development for nearly 20 years. Beth has advised non-profits and schools in Boston and Chicago on fundraising issues, and has worked with Meridian Academy since its inception.

Gila Yudewitz
BS, Florida International University.
Gila brings a broad range of experience providing service to the community. She has been a teacher and caregiver for children in a variety of settings and brings to Meridian her passion for the whole child. Gila also has experience as a non-profit administrator and nurse's assistant. Gila serves on the outreach and development committees of the board.

Web Design

During his sophomore year, Meridian student Matthew Haber designed and supervised the development of this web site.