New England Academy is staffed by a close-knit team of experienced educational and clinical professionals who share a commitment to helping students fulfill their potential. All staff members are certified by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and have a background in working with students with social and emotional disabilities.
Suzanne Hynes, M.Ed., Ed.D Head of School
Suzanne has over twenty years of experience as a special education teacher and special education administrator, most recently as Executive Director of Student Services for the Hingham Public Schools. Dr. Hynes has taught at the graduate and undergraduate levels and has participated in research projects focused on the mental health needs of children, specifically developing and maintaining a positive school climate so that students can succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. She has a BA in English Literature from American University, and Master and Doctoral degrees in Special Education from Boston University with a specialization in emotional and behavioral disorders.
Sheila Kukstis, Ed.D Dean of Educational Programming
Sheila brings over 35 years of education experience to NEA and is a DESE licensed Special Education Administrator – All Levels. Sheila received her bachelor's degree and Master of Education degree from Bridgewater State University, and her Doctorate of Education from the University of Massachusetts. Sheila began her career as a teacher and has assumed several leadership rules within K-12 education. Sheila most recently operated her own educational consulting practice and has served as interim principal for several south shore schools.
Dominick Vogus, MSW, LICSW Dean of Clinical Services
Dominick is a licensed independent clinical social worker, as well as a DESE licensed Special Education Administrator—All Levels. He received a bachelor’s degree from the College of Holy Cross and received a master’s degree in social work from Boston College. Before joining New England Academy, Dominick gained clinical experience by working with both children and adolescents in inpatient and residential treatment settings. Dominick has been with New England Academy since 2017.
Maureen Cantelli, M. Ed Director of Guidance
Maureen is a licensed school guidance counselor. Maureen received her bachelor’s degree from Suffolk University and her master’s degree in education from Cambridge College. Before joining the team at NEA, Maureen worked for over a decade as the guidance counselor at Taunton High School. Maureen is passionate about helping students find their best post-secondary path.
Susan Warner, MSW, LICSW Director of Admissions
Susan is a licensed independent clinical social worker. She received her bachelor’s from Connecticut College and her master’s degree in social work from Boston University. Susan has been a social worker for over 35 years. Throughout her career, Susan has taken a strengths-based and collaborative approach in working with children, adolescents, and their families in a variety of settings, including residential treatment facilities, early intervention, and schools. Prior to taking on the role of Director of Admissions, Susan was a counselor with New England Academy for ten years.
Dan Vayda, MSW, LICSW
Dan received his bachelor’s degree from Washington College and his master’s degree in clinical social work from Boston University. Dan is licensed by the state of Massachusetts as a licensed independent clinical social worker. Dan brings years of clinical experience and leadership to New England Academy and has extensive experience working in schools and outpatient settings. Prior to joining New England Academy, Dan worked in both clinical and leadership roles maintaining a focus on child and family therapy.
Chantal DiBartolomeo, M.S., LMHC
Chantal received her bachelor’s degree from Keene State College and her master’s degree in mental health counseling and art therapy from Springfield College. Chantal is licensed in the state of Massachusetts as a licensed mental health counselor. Before joining New England Academy, Chantal gained a wide range of clinical experience, working in schools, community based in-home therapy, residential treatment programs, a youth detention center, and in private practice. Chantal has provided individual and group art therapy to children, adolescents and adults. Chantal uses art therapy to foster self-exploration, healing and growth.
Meghan Hardy, MSW School Social Worker
Meghan is a recent graduate from Bridgewater State University's Social Work Program. She received her B.A. at Curry College with a Major in Psychology and a Minor in Health and Wellness. Before joining New England Academy, she gained experience in a wide variety of settings including ABA therapy, Intensive Outpatient Therapy for adults with substance use dependencies, Outpatient Therapy and four years working in a therapeutic school, working alongside children and adolescents with social, emotional, and behavioral difficulties.
Amanda Benner, BSN, RN School Nurse
Amanda received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions and is a Massachusetts licensed registered nurse. Amanda has spent the past 10 years working in the Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital Emergency Department before joining New England Academy.
Paul Brennan, M. Ed. Mathematics
Paul received his bachelor's degree from Keele University (UK), and his Master of Education from Lesley University. Paul brings with him more than twenty years of teaching and special education experience and takes pride in his student-centered approach to teaching. Paul is a licensed special education and math specialist teacher.
Kelly Gentile, MAT, M.A. Tutorial
Kelly received her bachelor’s degree from Emmanuel College and her dual master’s in teaching and English from Simmons College. Before joining the team at NEA, Kelly taught English and organizational prep at the middle school, high school, and college levels. Kelly takes pride in her individualized approach to education and is passionate about supporting students with their executive functioning.
John Gray, M. Ed. History
John received his bachelor’s degree from Suffolk University and his master’s in education from University of Massachusetts, Boston. Before joining the team at NEA, John taught special education and history in the Boston Public Schools. He has extensive special education teaching experience, and he has led both Mock Trial and Model U.N.
Judy Britton, M.S. English
Judy has taught a diverse range of students at the middle and high school levels in Georgia and Pennsylvania and is now happy to have this opportunity to teach at NEA in her home state of MA. She also has experience with curriculum writing, reading intervention, and gifted instruction. Judy has a sheer enthusiasm for literature and enjoys motivating her students to be active readers and lifelong learners.
Stephanie Cruz, B.S. Science
Stephanie received her bachelor’s degree in geosciences from Southern New Hampshire University. Before joining NEA, Stephanie gained valuable experience teaching science curriculum and special education at the middle and high school levels. Stephanie is passionate about using scientific reasoning to help students develop a deeper understanding of the world around them.
Justin Silva, M.Ed Writing Teacher
Justin received his bachelor’s degree in history from Southern New Hampshire University. He earned his master’s degree in moderate disabilities from Worcester State University. Justin has worked with grades PreK-12 and coaches basketball. He is licensed in early childhood education as well as moderate disabilities.