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Faculty & Staff

charles e carter jr

Charles E. Carter, Jr., Ph.D., LICSW

CEO & Head of School

charles e carter jr

Charles E. Carter, Jr., Ph.D., LICSW

CEO & Head of School

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 Concord Academy and 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.

What are your hobbies outside of work/school?
Sports, music, and playing ping pong with my children.
nicole baker

Nicole Baker

Director of Development and Engagement

nicole baker

Nicole Baker

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.

What is a fun fact about yourself?
I attended a dinner party with the Australian Prime Minister.
doly castro

Doly Castro P'20

Admissions and Placement Officer

doly castro

Doly Castro P'20

Admissions and Placement Officer

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. 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.

What are your hobbies outside of work/school?
Zumba classes.
Matt Duff, Science Teacher and Athletic Coordinator

Matt Duff

Science Teacher and Athletic Coordinator

Matt Duff, Science Teacher and Athletic Coordinator

Matt Duff

Science Teacher and Athletic Coordinator

Matt Duff joined Beacon in the Summer of 2024 as the Science Teacher and Athletics Coordinator. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of Southern Maine and a Master’s degree in Earth Sciences from the University of Hawaii. Before transitioning to a career in teaching, he worked as an environmental consultant for multiple large consulting companies, specializing in water quality and hydrology projects. His goal is to connect with each student and try to make science a fun and compelling part of their lives.

What are your hobbies outside of work/school?
I spend a lot of my time outside of work running a small, off-grid-themed yurt campground with my brother that specializes in environmental education in idyllic Gouldsboro, Maine.
Kate Fussner, Development Coordinator

Kate Fussner

Development Coordinator

Kate Fussner, Development Coordinator

Kate Fussner

Development Coordinator
Kate is an educator, author, and poet originally from Philadelphia, PA. Kate taught middle school and high school English for over a decade for Boston Public Schools before transitioning to publishing and development. Kate holds her B.A. from Vassar College, her M.Ed. from University of Massachusetts Boston (Boston Teacher Residency), and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing for Young People from Lesley University. Her debut novel, THE SONG OF US, was published by HarperCollins and was named a 2024 Notable Verse Novel by the National Council of Teachers of English.
What is a fun fact about yourself?
I love theater. In high school and college, I acted in a variety of roles, worked on stage crew, and directed a musical. I even performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival!

Cary Hammonds

Senior Teacher & DEIJB Coordinator

Cary Hammonds

Senior Teacher & DEIJB Coordinator

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.

Who was your favorite teacher?
I have three, and they are all history teachers, even though I was an English major. They all LOVE what they teach, have a sarcastic humor, and are incredibly knowledgeable.
Nihal Kodavarti, Math Teacher and Co-Curricular Coordinator

Nihal Kodavarti

Math Teacher and Co-Curricular Coordinator

Nihal Kodavarti, Math Teacher and Co-Curricular Coordinator

Nihal Kodavarti

Math Teacher and Co-Curricular Coordinator

Nihal Kodavarti is originally from Chicago, IL, and graduated from Oberlin College with a degree in Math and Economics. Before joining Beacon Academy, Nihal worked as a Teaching Fellow at Providence Day School in Charlotte, NC, becoming familiar with different pedagogical practices in math education and independent school culture. He is passionate about improving educational accessibility and actively tries to make his teaching practices more equitable. His approach to teaching math focuses on analytical reasoning, problem-solving, and persistence, emphasizing the foundation behind concepts and how they apply to a student's broader academic experience. Finally, he firmly believes that no one is "bad at math" and that anyone can succeed with confidence, drive, and practice!

Who was your favorite teacher?
My senior-year AP Calculus teacher, Ms. Bowman, is one I will never forget. She taught us how to be resilient, face the challenges of understanding difficult content, and, most importantly, have fun learning!
Natalie Lindsey, Program Manager, Alumni Support

Natalia Lindsey

Program Manager, Alumni Support

Natalie Lindsey, Program Manager, Alumni Support

Natalia Lindsey

Program Manager, Alumni Support

Natalia Lindsey grew up in Boston, MA, and brings to Beacon a strong commitment to education equity and a dedication to supporting youth in the Greater Boston area. Most recently, Natalia was an Enrichment Instructor at the Old Colony YMCA - Brockton, where she collaborated with Brockton Public School staff to teach social-emotional learning lessons to elementary school students. Prior to that, Natalia was a litigation paralegal at Ropes & Gray LLP, and she has additional experience in political advocacy, nonprofit development, global health research, and student advising. Natalia also spent a semester teaching English in Logroño, Spain as a Fulbright recipient. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Health and Societies from the University of Pennsylvania.

Hobbies
In my free time, I enjoy practicing yoga, exploring local parks, reading, spending time with my two cats, and traveling with friends and family.
ashley miranda

Ashley Miranda

Director of Alumni Support Services

ashley miranda

Ashley Miranda

Director of Alumni Support Services

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.

What are your hobbies outside of work/school?
I love anything art-related, strolling through nature, writing, doing all kinds of fun new activities with my family, and traveling with my friends!
eric nett

Eric Nett

Director of Enrollment and Placement

eric nett

Eric Nett

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.

What is a fun fact about yourself?
I am often a vegetarian.
dr. deborah offner

Dr. Deborah Offner

Consulting Psychologist

dr. deborah offner

Dr. Deborah Offner

Consulting Psychologist

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.

What is a fun fact about yourself?
I learned to ski and do triathlons (neither of them well) in my 40s.
Ben Perez BA'19 - Multimedia Design Intern

Ben Perez BA'19

Multimedia Design Intern

Ben Perez BA'19 - Multimedia Design Intern

Ben Perez BA'19

Multimedia Design Intern

Ben Perez has a keen interest in storytelling through visual documentation, Ben Perez BA’19 uses videography and photography to share his life experiences of being a recent graduate of Phillips Academy Andover and soon to be a college student at Columbia University. With hopes of providing a blueprint of such academic experiences to aspiring students, Ben uses social media platforms such as YouTube, Tik-Tok, and Instagram to connect with other like-minded students and their families/caregivers across the globe. As a remote intern, Ben helps plan and create multimedia content aimed to connect you with the Beacon community by showing you the day-to-day experiences of current students and alumni.

Fun fact
I can do one handed pushups.
joni shaw prophete

Joni Shaw-Prophete

School Nurse

joni shaw prophete

Joni Shaw-Prophete

School Nurse

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.

What are your hobbies outside of work/school?
Double Dutch, gymnastics, and dancing.
scott steele

Scott Steele

Director of Finance and Operations

scott steele

Scott Steele

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.

What is a fun fact about yourself?
I talked my way backstage at a Public Enemy concert in Barcelona.
dr gretchen warland

Dr. Gretchen Warland

Science Teacher & Co-Curricular Manager

dr gretchen warland

Dr. Gretchen Warland

Science Teacher & Co-Curricular Manager

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.

Who was your favorite teacher?
Mr. Hunter the biology teacher. When he brought that old horseshoe crab skeleton out, I thought that was SO cool!
anne marie yu phelps

Anne-Marie Yu-Phelps

Director of the Academy Year

anne marie yu phelps

Anne-Marie Yu-Phelps

Director of the Academy Year

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.

What is a life lesson you have learned?
In the immortal words of Albus Dumbledore, "Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light."