Meet Our Staff
Steve Gross, M.Ed, Education Director
Steve transitioned into the role of education director in August of 2015. Prior to this, Steve had served as a principal in the Lowell Public School District, as well as an assistant principal in the communities of Monson and West Springfield, Massachusetts.
Steve started his career in education as a middle and high school math teacher.
Steve is a 1992 graduate of Norwich University and received his Master of Education degree from UMass Amherst in 2002.
An avid reader, Steve also enjoys running and volunteering as a youth coach in his community.
Suzanne Emmi, LICSW, Clinical Director
Suzanne has been a clinician at the Solstice Program and therapeutic school for the past 19 years, transitioning to the role of clinical director in 2010. Prior to Solstice, Suzanne was a clinician at the Brighton Center for Children and Families working with latency-aged youth in a residential capacity. She began her career working in outpatient community mental health at Children Friend & Family Service Society before realizing her passion for residential treatment. Suzanne achieved her Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in psychology from Union College in 1991, attained her Master of Social Work in 1994 and her LICSW independent licensure in 1996. Suzanne achieved her certified trauma specialist designation in 2010 and was trained in the SITCAP Model (Structured Sensory Interventions for Traumatized Children, Adolescents and Parents).
Personal interests include singing in a choir, crafts, volunteering, event planning and spending time with her family.
Noah Jorgensen, Special Educator – English Language Arts
Noah has held many roles at Solstice School, starting as the Art Teacher in June, 2009. He has also taught all the various subject areas in grades 5–12 in Brockton, Abington and Brookline, Mass.
Mr. Jorgensen started his career in education as a Peace Corps volunteer in Yemen. Noah is a 1990 graduate of UMass Amherst, and has studied at Lesley University and Endicott College, receiving a certification in moderate disabilities.
Noah also enjoys cooking and hiking.
Lou Fahey-Hudzik, MS OTR/L – Occupational Therapist
Lou has been at the Solstice program since November, 2013. Prior to coming to Solstice, Lou worked as an occupational therapist at the Manville School in Boston. Lou graduated from the Occupational Therapy program at Salem State in 2010 with a master’s degree in Science. She is currently teaching part time at Salem State’s Occupational Therapy program.
In her free time Lou enjoys photography, painting, kayaking, and traveling.
Jana Nadolski, Art Therapist
Jana Nadolski, LMHCATR, graduated from Lesley University in 2011 with a master’s degree in art therapy and mental health counseling. Since 2011, Jana has been in the role of the art therapist at the Solstice Program, and provides group and individual therapy within the school setting, as well as supervises graduate level interns.
In addition to working with us here at Solstice, Jana is also the assistant director of Therapeutic Programming for F-R-E-E, an international NGO that provides experiential workshops andtrainingsfor children and caretakers in orphanages in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Along with her therapeutic experience, Jana coaches high school girls’ soccer and teaches art classes at the Essex Art Center to children and adults.
Barry Pellatt, Dean of Students
Barry’s role at Solstice has changed over his twelve years here, but his experiential style of teaching has been a constant. Barry started working for North Star Adventure back in 2005 facilitating community-based therapeutic adventure programs for special-needs populations.
In 2007 he joined us here at Solstice, where he spent his first two years teaching math and facilitating gym classes. In 2009 the Transitional/Vocational Coordinator position was created to address needs of the student Transitional Plan Form and transitional goals on each student’s IEP. In this role, he guides students to learn independent life skills and set/explore goals for their futures. Over the years, Solstice students have graduated from high school to full time employment, trade programs, Job Corps career training, community colleges and 4 year colleges. In 2017 Barry moved into his current role as Dean of Students where he works closely with Educational Director, school personnel and students to build and maintain a positive, safe learning environment that is future focused.
In 2011 Barry had the privilege of working with Project Adventure to design and install the Solstice Challenge Course overlooking Plum Island Sound. Barry received a Bachelor of Science in the field of Kinesiology: Outdoor Education, and an education minor with a focus on special education from the University of New Hampshire.
Nick Beaudoin, History Teacher
In 2011, Nick began his career in education in Nepal, where he taught English and History. He has also worked as an outdoor educator serving Boston Public School students on Thompson Island in the Boston Harbor. Nick joined the Solstice team in December of 2017. He teaches a variety of social science classes including geography, world history, US history I and civics. Nick is a 2016 graduate of Salem State University, where he studied History and Social Work.
In his free time, he enjoys hiking, kayaking, and playing sports.
Kim MacDonald, Counselor
Kim joined Solstice in February 2018 as an addition to the clinical team, taking the role of Youth Services Counselor. Kim graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2015 from Endicott College, and is currently enrolled in a Masters of Social Work program. Prior to coming to Solstice, Kim worked as a supervisor in a residential program for latency age youth, and has also worked in both private and public education settings.
In her free time Kim enjoys reading, crafting, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends.
Alessia Tarantino, Support Specialist
Alessia is responsible for assisting the coordination of youth services and providing informed treatment and care to youth. Her position provides quality youth care and close intensive supervision of youth in an academic setting. She also provides counseling, treatment progress and provides coaching and mentoring. Working for Lahey Behavioral Health Services has taught her how to understand children and teens and she feels the need to provide as much help as possible. She is currently a student at Southern New Hampshire University and is studying developmental psychology. She is passionate about working with adolescents.
Kelly Cunha, Special Education
Kelly arrived at Solstice School in the summer of 2017 as a licensed Middle School / High School Special Education teacher, as well as a licensed Learning Disability Specialist. Prior to transitioning to Solstice, Kelly taught specialized instruction in the areas of Math and Reading in the public school system in Hampstead, NH. Kelly received her Bachelors of Science from Salem State University in 1998 and then returned and graduated with her Master’s Degree in Special Education in 2014. Kelly has specialized training in the Wilson intensive reading intervention program as well as Lindamood-Bell Phoneme Sequencing and Visualization and Verbalization to assist students with reading fluency and comprehension. Kelly’s area of focus is to assist students with their foundational math skills. Many of our students will have gaps in their learning. Kelly works with each student to meet them where they are and then work as a team to make effective progress that will allow the students to move forward to a higher level of learning.
A true New Englander, Kelly enjoys spending time with her family at the beach in the summer and skiing in the winter.
Dustin Burden, Math and Science
Dustin has worked with the Solstice program since the spring of 2016, transitioning to a teaching role in the spring of 2017. Dustin teaches a variety of subjects including: U.S history, pre-calculus, and multiple science courses.
Mr. Burden received his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and his Master’s from the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Dustin enjoys outdoor activities, philosophy and cooking.