Faculty & Staff
Charles E. Carter, Jr., Ph.D., LICSW
CEO & Head of School
Charles E. Carter, Jr., Ph.D., LICSW
Dr. Carter has committed his career to improving social and economic justice for Black and Brown communities and has more than 20 years of experience working with children and families with few resources and limited access to power and privilege. He approaches this work with equal parts curiosity, humility, passion and humor, aiming to positively impact the systems and organizations that work on behalf of vulnerable populations. Before joining Beacon, Dr. Carter was a Founding member of the leadership team for Project Evident, a national organization focused on helping not-for-profit organizations and philanthropic foundations harness the power of evidence to achieve greater impact. He also co-created and led a virtual learning program for practitioners and leaders called a Talent Accelerator. Similarly, Dr. Carter designed and piloted the Data & Evidence Equity Guide, a tool to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion principles into evidence building. Prior, he served as Deputy Director and Chief Strategy Officer at the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, where he created a learning strategy and built the capacity of individuals, organizations, and systems to drive and scale innovation.
Dr. Carter is currently a Trustee for the Foundation for MetroWest and a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation National Evaluation Advisory Committee. He has been an Adjunct Faculty member at Boston College Graduate School of Social Work and guest lecturer at Harvard Graduate School of Education and Simmons College Graduate Schools of Management and Social Work. He earned his master’s degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his Ph.D. in Social Work from Boston College. He lives in the MetroWest area with his wife Robyn and their two children.
Director of Development and Engagement
Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, Nicole brings over 15 years of fundraising, events, and volunteer management experience to Beacon Academy. She has extensive knowledge in managing a robust strategic development and engagement plan that fosters a culture of philanthropy and engages all members of the community to propel organizations forward. Nicole has led engagement and fundraising efforts at the Australian Red Cross, Concord Academy, Scope Victoria, and Cancer Council Queensland. In addition to leading the Development, Engagement, and Communications team at Beacon Academy, Nicole is thrilled to serve as a student advisor.
Math Teacher and Co-Curricular Manager
Originally from the suburbs of New York City, Rob is an experienced and successful math teacher and coach. He taught mid-level math and coached Varsity Girls Basketball at The Harvey School in Katonah, NY before joining Beacon Academy, and spent 13 years at Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, MA, teaching everything from freshmen Algebra to AP Calculus. For 7 years, Rob also served as the head basketball coach at Xavarian and coached various teams, including Varsity Tennis. Leading Beacon’s co-curricular activities, Rob is eager to teach our students about math, problem solving, sports and teamwork.
Doly Castro is the parent of a Beacon Academy alumna, Dolli Castillo ’20. Before her daughter attended Beacon, Doly knew about the school and admired the students for their hard work and the opportunities they seized by being a part of the Beacon community. She always told herself that someday her daughter would attend Beacon, and she did. Doly is proud and honored to be part of the Beacon Academy community. Now, she wants to give back to the Beacon community as Operations Coordinator. Doly has extensive customer service experience and is bilingual in Spanish and English. Doly is a very warm and social person who treats other people with kindness, respect, and above all with charisma.
Cary Hammonds has worked with students who represent a wide variety of ages, privileges, and cultures in Florida, Texas, the Czech Republic, Spain, and South Korea. In each environment, her goal is always to instill empathy and build equity. Cary believes that the study of humanities—of history, of literature—plays a strong role by offering students windows into the past, mirrors to who we are today, and opportunities to dream of better futures. She holds a degree in English from Rollins College and state certifications, and she has served a previous school as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Co-Chair.
Communications and Marketing Officer
Adopted from China and raised in Natick, Massachusetts, Katherine grew up with a passion for education, art, and writing. Prior to her role at Beacon Academy, Katherine worked in Development at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Hamilton College. As a Concord Academy graduate, she is excited to combine her skills in communications and design with her interest in education to further Beacon Academy’s mission and make a meaningful impact on the lives of Beacon’s students.
Director of High School Support and College Advising
Born and raised in Dorchester, Massachusetts, Ashley Miranda comes to Beacon Academy with an unwavering dedication to education equity and a passion for supporting students through educational transitions. Most recently, Ashley was the Associate Director of Talent at BES, leading recruitment and selection operations and strategy for the school-founding fellowship program. Prior to that, as the Assistant Teen Director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, she created youth development programming and spearheaded community outreach efforts on behalf of the organization. She has also worked as an Alumni Services Coordinator for Roxbury Preparatory Charter School, and served as a National Teaching Fellow with Citizen Schools, providing high school placement support to eighth graders. She received her Master of Arts in Digital Culture & Society from King’s College London and her Bachelor of Arts in English from Amherst College.
Director of Enrollment and Placement
Before joining Beacon, Eric taught high school English at independent schools. He has experienced multiple facets of school life: teaching a range of classes, coaching several sports, and working as a dorm parent. In his time at Beacon, he has been a classroom teacher and has led work on recruitment, placement, and alumni support. He hails from the Midwest and graduated from the University of Michigan, where he studied English and Creative Writing.
Dr. Deborah Offner
Dr. Deborah Offner
Dr. Offner is a clinical psychologist who specializes in adolescent mental health and has worked on the front lines and in leadership roles in independent schools and colleges for more than two decades. She currently serves as Consulting Psychologist to Beacon Academy, Worcester Academy and The Winsor School. Her depth of experience, openness, and sharp intellect combine in nuanced and sophisticated ways to help us figure out how to best navigate the racially diverse, colliding worlds of students from different backgrounds.
Alumni Support Coordinator
Myriam Poznar works with Beacon alumni to provide support through all stages of their post-Beacon careers. While Myriam has held multiple positions at Beacon, her most compelling experience has been working with the high school seniors to help close the funding gap for college through scholarships. Myriam’s past volunteer experiences have included work for the American Red Cross and Covenant Preparatory School, an all-boys middle school for under-resourced communities in Hartford, CT. Myriam holds a Bachelor’s in Public Relations from Quinnipiac University.
Program and Admissions Coordinator
As the daughter of immigrant parents from Lima, Peru, Melody is a firm believer in educational pursuits that open doors for future generations. Growing up in East Hartford, Connecticut, Melody attended the Kingswood-Oxford School and graduated from Providence College with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Theatre Arts. Before Beacon, she worked as a teacher for students with autism, ages 9-15, at The New England Center for Children in Southborough, MA. Melody is incredibly thrilled and blessed to continue working in Boston with the highly talented and driven team of Beacon Academy.
Joni Shaw-Prophete has been a nurse for 27 years including 10 years as a public health nurse in Boston providing health education through workshops and small classes. The other portion of her nursing career has been with school nursing which she has come to love. Born and raised in Boston, Joni raised her children here as well. She is a mom of 7 (4 biological and 3 bonus children) and a Nini (grandmother) of 2. Joni’s passion is helping people understand and have access to comprehensive healthcare and she’s always looking for ways to both educate and empower the community.
Director of Student Support Services
Sarah White Smith has over 13 years of experience as an urban school counselor, most recently serving as the founding school counselor at the Orchard Gardens Pilot School, a former Level IV school located in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Prior to 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 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.
Director of Finance and Operations
Scott Steele is the Director of Finance and Operations and has been a member of Beacon Academy’s Finance Committee since 2019. Prior to joining Beacon, Scott was the Director of Finance and Operations at the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT), a Boston-based minority servicing technical college founded in 1908. Scott was previously co-founder and Managing Partner of JMH Capital Partners, a private capital investment firm. Prior to JMH, Scott was a Principal at Parthenon Capital in Boston and a Principal in the New York office of Electra Investment Trust PLC, a London-based private investment firm. He started his career in the Leveraged Funding Group at Heller Financial in New York. Scott received his B.B.A. from the University of Michigan and his M.B.A. from the Stern School of Business at New York University. In addition to his work at Beacon, Scott serves on the board and chairs the finance committee at the Wily Network, a non-profit that serves college students who don’t have academic, emotional or financial support from family. Scott lives in Newton with his wife Ursula, their three boys, their new rescue dog Zeke, and closely follows all things related to University of Michigan athletics.
Dr. Gretchen Warland
Science Teacher and Co-Curricular Assistant
Dr. Gretchen Warland
Gretchen Warland began volunteering at Beacon Academy in 2019, initially assisting with the running program and mentoring her first student. Gretchen introduced and currently teaches the MEDscience STEM program as part of the science curriculum at Beacon. Gretchen received her Master’s in Physical Therapy from the MGH Institute of Health Professions in 1998 and returned to the MGH Institute of Health Professions completing her Doctorate in 2012. Gretchen has also worked as a personal trainer and yoga instructor, and earned her Massachusetts teacher’s license in Biology. Presently, Gretchen teaches science at Beacon and the MEDscience program at Harvard Medical School. It is her mission to bring an understanding of science to her students as a way to open pathways to unique opportunities.
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, Brazil, where she worked for three years in a women’s holistic health and education center as a Maryknoll Lay Missioner. Previously, Anne-Marie taught for ten years at Newton Country Day School and 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.