Directory

Cindy Laba 

Founder

For the past 30 years, Cindy Laba has devoted her professional life to the education and development of young people. She started by doing prevention work at Boys Town in Nebraska and then with middle and high school age students from the D Street Public Housing Development and the Boys & Girls Club in South Boston. Upon completing a Master’s Degree in Social Work, she worked in a residential school for two years leading intensive individual, group,  and family therapy.  Cindy spent most of her career at City Year, one of America’s leading national service programs, where she developed and implemented enterprise-wide recruitment, fundraising, and communications systems. When she was named a Vice President, she turned her focus to development and producing major national events both in the US and South Africa. In 2004–2005 she served as Vice President of City on a Hill Charter School in Boston.  She had the idea for Beacon while at City on a Hill and served as Founder and Head of School for our first ten years. She now focuses on alumni and organizational development.  Cindy can be reached at 617-233-3022 and claba@beaconacademy.org.

Marsha Feinberg

Founder

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Marsha Feinberg is a leading social entrepreneur and consultant with more than 35 years of experience. Marsha played major roles in launching many new non-profits by providing strategic planning, fundraising, and community-building expertise. Her first start-up was with the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation where she founded and directed the JFK Library Corps, an after-school service program for students from South Boston, Roxbury, and Dorchester. For two years Marsha was the Director of Recruitment for Mayor Koch’s City Volunteer Corps, one of the first service corps in the country. After receiving her MBA from Columbia Business School she returned to Boston and worked at City Year during its early years, and helped launch the Clinton Democracy Fellows Program in South Africa. Marsha was the Founding Chair of the Board of Directors of Citizen Schools and served 10 years in that role, growing the organization from a Boston-based program to a national network of after-school programs. She also provides coaching and strategic advice as part of the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard University. Marsha serves on a number of non-profit boards, including Temple Israel, the New England Advisory Board of Facing History and Ourselves, and the Corporation of Belmont Hill School. Marsha can be reached at 617-797-2343 and mfeinberg@beaconacademy.org .

Mervan F. Osborne

Head of School

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Born and raised in London, England, Mervan Osborne moved to New York City with his family as a teen. After graduating from St. George’s School, he studied Studio Arts at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, Secondary Education at the University of California and earned his MFA in Film Production at Boston University. Mervan spent two years working for Miramax Films in New York, and taught English in Los Angeles as a member of the Teach for America founding corps. After spending 12 years teaching English and Drama and working in the admissions office at Buckingham Browne & Nichols School in Cambridge, Mervan participated in the founding of Beacon Academy. He currently serves as Beacon Academy’s Head of School where he focuses on recruitment of future classes, placement of Beacon’s graduates and broadening the school’s impact. Mervan teaches both the Facing History and Ourselves course at Beacon and Visual Thinking Strategies at the Museum of Fine Arts. Formerly a trustee at Concord Academy, Mervan has served two terms as the Governor’s appointee to the Mass Humanities Board and was twice elected to serve as a member of the Cambridge School Committee. Mervan can be reached  at mosborne@beaconacademy.org.

Minnie Ames

Finance Manager

Minnie has been volunteering for Beacon Academy since she helped to organize the first Symposium in 2008. In 2014, she took on the bookkeeping role and has been responsible for updating Beacon’s human resource and accounting systems as the organization has grown. Minnie holds a BA from Brown University in and a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley in Agricultural and Resource Economics. Before joining Beacon, she was a Research Economist at Harvard Medical School. Other work experience includes several years as a Consultant at Telesis, a strategy consulting firm and working with a World Wildlife Fund program to build profitable, environmentally sustainable businesses in rural Southeast Asia.  She is actively involved with her children’s schools, serving in a variety of volunteer roles including 2 years as the Treasurer of the Park School Parents’ Association. She lives in Brookline with her husband and their 5 children. Minnie can be reached at minnieames@yahoo.com.

 Nicole Baker

Engagement and Individual Giving Officer

Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, Nicole joins Beacon with over 12 years of experience in the stewardship and engagement of volunteers, donors, and trustees. Nicole has led engagement efforts at Concord Academy as well as the Australian Red Cross and Cancer Council Queensland. Her commitment to the advancement of institutions at home and abroad is matched by an enthusiasm for working with students. She previously served as an Advisor to boarding and day students at Concord and is thrilled to continue this position of mentorship as a Student Advisor at Beacon Academy in additional to joining the development team. Nicole can be reached at nbaker@beaconacademy.org.

Mercy Bell

Director of Partnerships

Mercy Bell joined Beacon Academy as Director of Partnerships in 2016. She leads the organization’s Strategic Outreach efforts to deepen and broaden the volunteer and investor community that surrounds Beacon’s students and alumni. Mercy takes a “start-up” approach to her partnership efforts: out-of-the-box thinking, high energy, and creative problem solving. This strategy is informed by Mercy’s time on Stanford University’s Board of Trustees Committee on Alumni & External Affairs (2011-12) at the culmination of her undergraduate career. Mercy’s approach is also informed by her 4 years in Silicon Valley working with emerging technology companies across education, social impact, and finance to build their engagement and revenue strategies. Mercy can be reached at mbell@beaconacademy.org.

Rebecca Forrester

College Advisor

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Rebecca Forrester has been an enthusiastic advocate and tireless volunteer for different educational and literary organizations since moving to Boston in 2000.  She has served on Boards of the Associates of the Boston Public Library, Julie’s Fund, Westwood Land Trust and, for the past 7 years, as a Trustee at Beacon Academy.  Since 2006 Rebecca has coached a student every year through his or her application process to independent high school and then been a tremendous support to the students and their families through high school and on to college.  For the past two years Rebecca has worked to broaden Beacon’s support of our alumni by guiding every Beacon alum through the college application process.  She has initiated an important collaboration with our partner schools to help Beacon alumni and their families learn to navigate the complex financial aid process and to be able to afford their college experience.  Rebecca is leading this work with a team of experts in hopes that our learning may be shared to support other low-income students in independent schools.  Rebecca can be reached at rforrester@beaconacademy.org.

Keely Jones

Director of Operations

Keely Jones is returning to her roots by joining the team at Beacon Academy. Born, raised, and educated in the Boston area, Keely first took her communications degree from UMass Amherst to the Boston PR firm McDermott/O’Neill & Associates. Two years later, she moved out west – to the film industry. For almost 15 years she coordinated international publicity and marketing efforts for entertainment companies, predominantly at Sony Pictures, eventually managing the operations of the President of International Marketing. In recent years, she created and managed the Coach Derek Afterschool Program, providing a premier youth sports education, enrichment and child care program to the communities of the LA Unified School District. She is thrilled to combine her professional skills with her passion for improving lives as the Director of Operations at Beacon – and to do it all back in the old hometown. Keely can be reached at kjones@beaconacademy.org

Emily Mitchell

Math Teacher

Emily comes to Beacon with a variety of experiences working with teenagers. Born and raised in Maine, Emily graduated from Bowdoin College with a major in Mathematics and a minor in Sociology. While she was a student at Bowdoin, Emily directed an SAT preparation program for students in the Portland Public Schools and spent two summers as a dorm parent and math teaching intern at Northfield Mount Hermon School. She recently completed a year of student teaching in South Boston while earning her Master’s of Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Emily is passionate about helping students fulfill their potential, and is excited to be working with the community at Beacon Academy. Emily can be reached at emitchell@beaconacademy.org.
Eric Nett

Writing Teacher and Dean of Alumni Academics

Before joining Beacon, Eric taught high school English at independent schools for seven years. In that time, he watched how the process of learning to write awakens students intellectually, inspiring them to think deeply and use language precisely. Four years ago, Eric moved to Boston and began teaching writing at Beacon. He has found it incredibly inspiring to work with Beacon students as they develop into confident writers who can capture their experience in a personal essay or advocate persuasively for a timely cause in a research paper. Excited to be teaching English this year, Eric looks forward to preparing this class to thrive at top-notch high schools. Eric hails from the Midwest, and he graduated from the University of Michigan, where he studied English and Creative Writing. He can be reached at enett@beaconacademy.org.

Sarah Smith

Program Director

Sarah Smith picSarah White Smith comes to Beacon Academy with 13 years of experience as an urban school counselor. Most recently, Sarah served for the past 11 years as the founding school counselor at the Orchard Gardens Pilot School, a former Level IV school located in Roxbury, Massachusetts.  Prior to beginning her career in school counseling, Sarah worked as an after-school program director for the YMCA of Middle Tennessee’s Urban Services division, providing place-based extended day programming for middle school students residing in various public housing communities in the Metropolitan Nashville area.  Sarah holds both a B.S. in Human and Organizational Development (Organizational Leadership and Effectiveness Concentration) and an M.Ed. in school counseling from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University.  Sarah can be reached at ssmith@beaconacademy.org.

Tess Stevens

Communications Associate

Stevens_headshotTess came to Beacon after spending a year working as an AmeriCorps fellow at Match Community Day School in Hyde Park, where she worked as a full-time tutor for English Language Learning students. She grew up in Maine and Colorado and graduated from Northwestern University in 2015 with a major in English and minors in History and Spanish.  At Northwestern, Tess volunteered as a tutor at a local community center and served on the fundraising committee for Northwestern’s Dance Marathon, one of the largest student-run philanthropies in the country.  Tess studied abroad in Spain where she taught English to both children and adults.  She is excited to be working with the inspiring students, faculty and staff at Beacon. Tess can be reached at tstevens@beaconacademy.org.

Anne-Marie Yu-Phelps

English Teacher and Director of Studies

Anne-Marie Yu-Phelps is a strong believer in the value of education, especially for those trying to break out of a cycle of poverty into which they may have been born. She came to Beacon Academy from João Pessoa, a small city in northeastern Brazil, where she worked for three years in a women’s holistic health and education center as a Maryknoll Lay Missioner. Before working in Brazil, Anne-Marie taught for ten years at Newton Country Day School. In addition to these experiences, Anne-Marie has taught English in a school for orphaned and abandoned children in Honduras and to refugees in Hong Kong and El Paso, Texas. Anne-Marie graduated with honors in English and Spanish from Amherst College and earned her Master’s Degree in Education from Harvard with a focus on teaching and curriculum for secondary school English. Anne-Marie can be reached at ayuphelps@beaconacademy.org.