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Leadership Team

Leadership at Cardinal Cushing Centers

Since 1947, the Cardinal Cushing Centers have been at the forefront of serving those with special needs. Today, our leadership team expands on that tradition, by continuing to pioneer new and better ideas in teaching, transition programs, employment, and community living through innovative facilities, curriculum, and programs.

Senior Leadership

 

John F. Von Ahn

President & CEO
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Von Ahn is an experienced leader in nonprofit management and disability services. Prior to his role as President & CEO at Cushing, Von Ahn had an eleven year tenure as Executive Director of Warren, Washington & Albany Counties ARC (WWAARC), A Chapter of The Arc New York. Prior to his role at WWAARC, Von Ahn was General Counsel and Executive Director of Legal Affairs for the Arc of New York.

As Executive Director of WWAARC, Von Ahn oversaw the day-to-day operations of a multi-divisional, $40 million Chapter of the Arc of New York which provides services daily to over 1,000 individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities including residential, day habilitation, Medicaid service coordination, family support services, supported employment, vocational rehabilitation, workshop, and guardianship. During his tenure, Von Ahn transitioned one hundred percent of the Medicaid Service Coordinators to a Care Coordination Organization without a disruption in service to the individuals they were supporting, and successfully coordinated the merger of the larger Albany County Chapter ($27M) into the smaller Warren & Washington Counties Chapter ($14M) in a reverse merger. WWAARC has since become one of The Arc of New York’s highest net margin operating chapter.

Von Ahn is a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany, where he also received his Masters of Science Degree in Taxation. He received his Juris Doctor from Albany Law School of Union University.

 

Jansi Chandler

Vice President of Development
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Jansi Chandler has been a development professional for 30 years, specializing in public and private development. Since April 2012 she has held the position of VP of Development at Cardinal Cushing Centers, where she is responsible for all fundraising for the organization as well as overseeing its development projects. Prior to that she was the Director of Development at Grant Communications Consulting Group where she provided technical assistance in nonprofit development, specializing in capital and annual campaigns. She has also held the position of Managing Director for Economic Development for the Boston Redevelopment Authority, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the six departments and 70 staff that make up the Economic Development Division. For 11 years, she was the executive director of the Lynn (MA) Department of Community Development and obtained and implemented state and federal grants of more than $80 million for housing, community-and economic development programs. Ms. Chandler has a B.A. from Connecticut College and an M.B.A. from Suffolk University.

 

Michelle Markowitz

Michelle Markowitz

Vice President, Admissions and Administration
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Michelle Markowitz has a BS in Psychology from Bridgewater State College and has been at Cardinal Cushing since 1998. Michelle’s extraordinary passion and commitment to the field of Special Education began at an early age. As a high school student, she volunteered at Braintree St. Coletta’s Day School where she did afterschool programming and summer camp with students. Michelle has held various positions at Cardinal Cushing Centers including the Education and Residential Departments, rounding out her comprehensive knowledge of Cardinal Cushing’s program and services.

Currently as Vice President of Admissions and Administration, Michelle is responsible for the Admissions process including but not limited to: initial review of all applicants, touring and interviewing families and students for potential placements, facilitating discussions for acceptance at Board of Admissions meetings and completion of extensive admissions processes. In her role, Michelle is responsible for national and international recruitment. Michelle spends a lot of time cultivating and enriching relationships with not only families and students but also educational consultants, school districts, special education attorneys, advocates, and other referring agencies. Michelle represents the organization at many conferences throughout the year and has served on the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs National Conference Committee as well as represents the organization through the Independent Small Programs Alliance. Michelle is an active member of the South Shore Young Professionals Group as well as a member of the Senior Leadership Team at Cardinal Cushing Centers.

Additionally, Michelle supervises the Maintenance and IT Departments.

 

Department Heads

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Aindrea Benduzek

Director, Adult Service Residential
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Aindrea Benduzek has been working at Cardinal Cushing Centers since May of 2011. Aindrea started with Cushing as a job coach at South Shore Industries in Braintree where she worked with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and supported them in the community through volunteer and employment opportunities. Aindrea transitioned to Adult Service Residential in 2013 where she is now the Director of 14 adult homes and oversees the residential nursing department. In 2015, Aindrea completed her MA in Conflict Resolution which included an internship in mediation. She also has a BA in English and Sociology and a Graduate Certificate in Politics and Public Policy. Aindrea completed the DDS Leadership Series and has a strong passion for advocacy in regards to community inclusion, social role valorization and Human Rights. She also is a member of the Human Rights Committee.

 

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Patricia Conley

Director, Adult Family Care and Shared Living
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Pat Conley graduated from UMass Dartmouth with a BS in Marketing.  Her previous work experience includes the role of Traffic Supervisor at Frito Lay and the Central Logistics Distribution Manager at Honeywell.  After that, she took some time off to raise her family and help grow her husband’s pest control business.  She made a career change in 2005 and started working at Cushing as a Direct Support Person in the Education Department. She also worked in the Health Center before transferring into Adult Services.  There she’s held positions as a Residential House Manager, Case Manager, and Residential Coordinator. In 2013, she was promoted to Director of Adult Family Care.  Adult Family Care (AFC) is a MassHealth program that helps individuals, ages 16 and older, live in the community with related or non-related families and offers financial assistance and support services.  When not working, Pat is an avid bike rider and enjoys being outdoors and with her family.

 

Angela Corley

Director of IEP Services
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Angela studied Special Education and Psychology at Westfield State University and holds licenses in both Severe Special Education and Special Education Administration.  Prior to Cushing, Angela worked as a teacher in a variety of special education programs in both private and public sectors.  She began as a teacher at the Kennedy Day School in Boston followed by positions as a special educator in Texas, Virginia and Hanover Public Schools as a sub separate classroom teacher.  Angela joined Cardinal Cushing Centers in 2017 as a Student Program Coordinator. Within this role, Angela has brought a high level of professionalism, leadership and commitment to our students and their families.  In her role as Director of IEP Services, Angela will oversee IEP compliance and implementation for both Braintree and Hanover Schools.

 

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Gerry Fanning

Food Service Director
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Gerry has been in the Food Service Industry for over 35 years, the past 27 as the Food Service Director at Cardinal Cushing School. A career that started in the United States Coast Guard, where he served proudly for 4 years, before working in the health care industry and then to Cardinal Cushing School. Gerry’s culinary training began in the Coast Guard; he then preceded to Northeastern University’s, “Chefs Training Institute”, and also received a degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales University.

His primary duties at Cardinal Cushing are overseeing all aspects of food service, covering the day to day operations, as well as special events. Gerry and his wife Joyce, who also works at Cardinal Cushing School, reside in Rockland with their two children Amy and Patrick. Gerry and Joyce recently became the proud  grandparents of Liam Haynes, son of their daughter Amy and son- in- law PaulIn his free time, he enjoys coaching soccer and basketball for The Special Olympics Adult Service Program.

 

TaraTara Finn

Associate VP of Adult Services
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Tara Finn has been working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities for over 16 years as behavior specialist and a residential director. Prior to her role as Associate Vice President of Adult Services, Tara held the position of Senior Program Director at Friendship Home, overseeing recreational, vocational and site-based respite programs. Tara has her Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling and currently serves on the DDS Regional Diversity Council, Leadership Committee and is on the Statewide Initiative “Creating Our Commonwealth,” which advocates for inclusion of people who have disabilities. She is also Chair of the Human Rights Committee at Cardinal Cushing Centers and is a member of the Residential HR Advisory Committee to the Commissioner of Massachusetts’ Department of Developmental Services.

 

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Doug Frazier

Director of Braintree St. Coletta Day School
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Doug has been in the field of education for over 40 years, thirty-four of those years have been spent at Cardinal Cushing Centers (yes, 34 years!!). Doug has worn many hats during his Cushing tenure, whether its planning the annual Disney trip or coordinating student graduation, he does so with a great sense of humor and selfless commitment to our students. Doug started his career at Cushing as a Student Program Coordinator, he was also a teacher in the vocational program, Director of Admissions and has served as Director of Vocational Services for the last twelve years.  Doug has a B.A. from MCLA, M.Ed. from Bridgewater State University and holds his teaching licensure in special education and special education licensure with educational administration.

 

Angela Gokey

Director of Day Services
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Angela Gokey has been working with individuals with intellectual disabilities for over 20 years. Prior to coming to Cardinal Cushing Centers, she was a Director for Vinfen Corporation and the May Institute, supervising both Day Habilitation and Employment programs. In her current position of Director of Day Services, she supervises the Life Opportunities Unlimited and South Shore Industries programs. Angela has extensive experience with program development, and she is currently working on the expansion of day supports in both the Hanover and Braintree communities.

Angela received her undergraduate degree in Sociology & Anthropology from Colgate University.

 

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Tom Jennings

Facilities Director
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Tom joined Cardinal Cushing Centers in 1998 but started his career in trades back in 1985. He is a licensed Plumber and Gas Fitter in the state of Massachusetts. He loves the outdoors and spends his free time camping, being in or on the water, and hiking in the mountains.

 

Bridget Lally, LICSW

Clinical Director
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Bridget Lally has been with Cardinal Cushing Centers since 2010 as a Clinical Social Worker Clinician.  She is currently in the position of Clinical Director.  Bridget is a member of the National Association of Social Workers.  Bridget received a Bachelors of Science in Counseling and Human Services from The University of Scranton and a Masters Degree in Social Work from Boston College School of Social Work with a focus in children, youth and families and mental health.  She believes in a therapeutic holistic approach to treatment, assisting the students, their families and Cardinal Cushing Community to create a collaborative therapeutic supportive community.  Her clinical philosophy incorporates a strength-based and client centered collaborative multi-disciplinary approach.  The combination of her experience in the field along with her personal and professional aspirations and values reflects her motivation, dedication, and passion to work in a leadership role with individuals and families within a therapeutic educational setting. 

 

LaurieLaurie Maranian

Director of Development
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Prior to starting her career in development as the Advancement Coordinator for the Cushing Centers in 2010, Laurie helped to found and subsequently coordinate social and recreation programming for Teens and Young Adults with Down syndrome, sponsored by the MA Down Syndrome Congress. Laurie, who currently resides in Hyde Park, graduated from Harvard College with a BA in Sociology. Laurie is on the Board of Women in Development of Greater Boston. She is a health and fitness enthusiast. A certified running coach through the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA), Laurie coaches the Cardinal Cushing Centers Boston Marathon team as a part of her development and communications duties.

 

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Tom McElman

Director of Recreation & Community Programs/Director of Values Committee
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Tom has worked at Cardinal Cushing Centers for more than thirty years, beginning as a Direct Care Worker, Weekend Supervisor before moving into the Recreation Department.  Tom went to Massasoit Community College and Northeastern University. His main focus while in school was outdoor education and challenge course facilitating.

His duties include providing recreational services for all of Cardinal Cushing Centers, their Adult Services Program and individuals with intellectual disabilities from the surrounding towns. He coordinates all aspects of Cardinal Cushing Centers Special Olympic programs, is responsible for overseeing our Challenge Course, and facilitates community programs.  As the Director of the Values Committee he is responsible for coordinating activities that promote our Franciscan Values.

He lives in Hanover and is the father of two beautiful young ladies. His family is very involved with Cardinal Cushing Centers and volunteer on a regular basis. Their family enjoys spending time together camping, skiing, and traveling.

 

Jude Morgan

Jude Morgan

Director of Education-Hanover
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Jude Morgan has been in the field of education her whole career. She has been with Cardinal Cushing Centers since 2003. She is currently the Director of Education at Cardinal Cushing Centers – Hanover. Jude oversees the educational program for students from the ages of 10 – 18. Prior to working as the Director of Education, Jude was the Technology teacher (7 years) and a classroom teacher (4 years). Before working at Cushing, Jude was an Elementary/Physical Education teacher for 8 years at Abbots Farm Junior School in Rugby, England. Jude has a B.Ed. from Worcester University, England and a M.Ed. from Bridgewater State University. She currently holds professional licensures in Special Education Administration and Moderate Dis. 5-12.

 

apurkis1Amy Purkis, M.Ed, BCBA, LABA

Director of Health and Behavioral Services
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Amy Purkis joined Cardinal Cushing Centers in 2012 and currently serves as the Director of Behavioral Services.   Having started her career as a teacher, Amy holds an her undergraduate degree in elementary and special education from Boston University and a Masters in Education from the University of Maine at Orono. Amy has a particular interest in staff development and enjoys designing and presenting trainings for direct support staff.  Her current projects at Cushing include implementation of a program wide PBS model and a restraint reduction initiative.

Prior to Cushing Amy worked at Vinfen where she served as an assistant clinical director, overseeing programmatic and behavioral aspect of residences on the South Shore and Boston, including the emergency placement program. In this role she became a member of the DDS Peer Review Committee, a position she still holds. As a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who received her initial training in at the May Institute, Amy had presented at local and national conferences as well as having an article published in the Journal of Positive Behavioral Supports.

 

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Gina Rosas

Director, Human Resources
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Gina has been a human resources professional for over 18 years, specializing in the nonprofit sector.  She joined Cardinal Cushing Centers in 2017 as the Director of Human Resources providing leadership, strategic planning and direction in all human resource functions including employee relations and retention, recruitment & onboarding, and training.  Gina holds a B.A. in Psychology & Sociology from University of Massachusetts and a Certificate in Human Resources Management from Eastern Nazarene College.  She began her career as a residential counselor working with at risk youth at Bridge Over Troubled Waters.  She then worked in the mental health field assisting adults with becoming gainfully employed at the Center for Health and Development.  Her vast knowledge in human resources has been attained by roles at Partner’s Healthcare, May Institute, and New England Village.

 

Nanette Rondeau

Director of Admissions
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Nanette has been at Cardinal Cushing since 2001, and has worked in various roles within the Vocational Department and the Residential Department, rounding out her experience and  knowledge of Cushing’s programs and services.  Nanette has spent the last 6 years supporting the Admissions Office in student recruitment, attending conferences and strengthening relationships with various referring professionals. Additionally, in May of 2019, Nanette’s role expanded to include the responsibility as Corporate Compliance Officer for the organization.  

Currently as Director of Admissions, Nanette is responsible for the Admissions process including but not limited to: initial review of all applicants, touring and interviewing families and students for potential placements, facilitating discussions for acceptance at Board of Admissions meetings and completion of extensive admissions processes. In her role, Nanette is responsible for national recruitment, spending time cultivating and enriching relationships with not only families and students but also educational consultants, school districts, special education attorneys, advocates, and other referring agencies. Nanette represents the organization at many local and national conferences throughout the year. Nanette has a BS in Psychology from Curry College, is a Board Member of the Methodist Early Learning Center in Plymouth and is an active member of South Shore Young Professionals.

 

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Danielle Silverberg, RN

Director of Health Services
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Danielle Silverberg has been a Registered Nurse for more than 12 years. Since January 2010 she has held the position of Director of Health Services at Cardinal Cushing Centers. Prior to this she was a staff nurse at Cardinal Cushing Centers, Cape Cod Collaborative and Riverview School. In her current position she oversees the daily operations of the Health Center including 24/7/365 staffing of the Health Center, keeping medical records and doctor’s orders current. Danielle has a BSN from Utica College of Syracuse University.

 

 

Ginger Sullivan

Associate Vice-President for Residential Programming
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Prior to her role as AVP for Residential Programming, Ginger Sullivan worked for New England Villages where she served as the Director of Residential and Admissions.  Within her current and previous roles, Ginger is responsible for the operational, financial and administrative operations of residential services.  In her 20+ year career she has been involved in overseeing Medical Services, Transition/Turning 22 programs, Community Mental Health care and presently Education.  In addition; her years of work have provided robust experience in relation to Human Resources and employee professional development.  Ginger has dedicated her career to advancing services for individuals with disabilities.

Ginger has a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Education and a Masters of Business Administration.