Our Team

Founder and President

Kerry Peroni

A lifelong advocate and visionary committed to meeting the needs of those students who simply learn differently.

A lifelong advocate and visionary committed to meeting the needs of those students who simply learn differently. Kerry serves as the primary spokesperson for the foundation and she has successfully overseen its creation and development efforts, increased donor commitments, and acts as a liaison to the board of advisors.

Kerry holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Elementary Education from Assumption College and served as an elementary school teacher in Brockton and Worcester communities.

Chris Atwood
Special Education Advocate

Chris Atwood

Empathetic, compassionate, experienced and a skilled problem solver with over thirty years of experience in special education as an educator, evaluator and chairperson.

Empathetic, compassionate, experienced and a skilled problem solver with over thirty years of experience in special education as an educator, evaluator and chairperson. Chris has presented teacher/parent workshops and developed curriculum and programs, tutored, consulted and advocated for children and families privately for over 15 years. She has worked extensively with attorneys who focus on children with special needs, neuropsychologists and psychiatrists to access support for students. For our foundation, she supports students and their families from both public and non-public schools and helps them fully understand the laws and regulations that guide the delivery of special education services.

Chris received her Master’s in Education from Lesley University and her Bachelor’s Degree in Child’s Study from St. Joseph University in CT. She also has extensive graduate credit in Counseling Psychology from Bridgewater University and a Certification in Muscular Therapy from the Muscular Therapy Institute, with a focus on autism and the special needs child.

Special Education Teacher

Karen Bullock

Karen has worked extensively in the field of speech pathology where she served as a certified speech language pathologist in public schools for nearly 25 years.

Karen has worked extensively in the field of speech pathology where she served as a certified speech language pathologist in public schools for nearly 25 years. Her responsibilities included the provision of direct and inclusion services, collaborating with counseling and reading specialists, as well as teachers, parents and outside providers. She has been responsible for assessing student performance for special education eligibility and writing and implementing IEP goals and benchmarks. In addition, she is a national trainer for workshops on the foundation of reading successes and the implementation of explicit phonological, phonemic and phonetic strategies through systematic, rule-based instruction using the Reading with TLC program. Karen is also a Trainer of Trainers and author of Phonological Awareness Activities for Learning (P.A.A.L).

Karen received her Certificate in Advanced Graduate Studies in Reading at the American International College and her Master’s Degree in Education at Cambridge College. Her Bachelor of Science Degree is in Communication Disorders from Bridgewater State University.

Special Education Consultant

Elizabeth Fitzmaurice, Ed.D.

A seasoned special educator and educational leader with nearly 35 years of public and private special education school experience...

A seasoned special educator and educational leader with nearly 35 years of public and private special education school experience, Dr. Fitzmaurice dedicates her career to helping students succeed, regardless of circumstances. Her passion for Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), alternatives to exclusionary discipline, and inclusive practices, combined with her strategic thinking and systems development skills, have guided her in developing opportunities for all learners.

During her career, Dr. Fitzmaurice has served as a licensed assistant superintendent, executive director, director of student services, director of pupil personnel services, director of special education, assistant principal, special education team chairperson, teacher mentor, and special education teacher. As a national presenter on UDL, MTSS, Inclusive Practices, Disability Awareness, Specialized Instruction, and data-informed instructional practice examination, she continues to provide coaching and professional learning for educational leaders and educators across the country.

Elizabeth earned her Doctorate in Education from Boston College and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Worcester State University, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education from Fitchburg State University.

A veteran of the US Army, Elizabeth’s last duty assignment was as an instructor at the US Military Academy West Point, NY. Dr. Fitzmaurice is proud to be in service to our country and our youth.

Director of Programming

Sandra Ford

Sandra has held multiple leadership positions, including Executive Director of Special Education and Student Services . . .

Sandra has held multiple leadership positions, including Executive Director of Special Education and Student Services, Building Principal, Special Education Instructional Supervisor, Literacy Coach and School Mentoring and Instruction Coordinator. In addition, she coordinated the Mentoring and Induction program for the entire New Bedford School District.

One of Sandra’s current areas of responsibilities includes supporting teachers in our partner schools who are implementing the LexiaCore5 Supplemental Reading Program. She will draw on over thirty years of experience in education and will utilize her deep understanding of how to collaborate with regular education teachers and/or multiple teachers to plan and present lesson plans, create assessments, and differentiate instruction to meet student needs.

Sandra is a graduate of Salve Regina University with a Master’s in Education-Curriculum, Teaching and Research and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Special Education.

Katherine Gaudet
Special Education Consultant

Katherine Gaudet

A special educator and pioneer who has dedicated over forty-five years to both teaching and administrative work to advance the education of children who learn differently.

A special educator and pioneer who has dedicated over forty-five years to both teaching and administrative work to advance the education of children who learn differently. Katherine was the founder of the Sally Borden Program at Friends Academy for students with language-based learning differences and she served as the consultant for the Hope Graham Program at the Bancroft School.

She oversaw the creation and implementation of our special education program, the Pathways Approach Program, which has been certified in seven partner schools to date. Her current responsibilities include consulting with our partner schools, mentoring teachers, and providing training and professional development on a variety of topics, including neurodiversity.

Katherine received a Master of Special Education at Providence College and a Bachelor of Science in Education, with a Minor in English at the University of Maine at Orono.

Special Education Teacher

Shirley Hardison

Shirley provides services in two of our partner schools as a special education teacher.

Shirley provides services in two of our partner schools as a special education teacher. She brings with her valued experience from both the private and public sectors, but she has always been drawn back to the field of education. Shirley was a special education teacher in Danbury, Connecticut, and Newtown Public Schools, where she served all grade levels. She was also a tutor of individual students and small groups for Catapult Learning.

She received her Master of Special Education degree from Fairfield University and graduated from the University of Louisville in Elementary Education, with an endorsement in Special Education. In addition, Shirley holds an advanced certificate, beyond her masters, in Educational and Business Management.

Literacy/Special Education Consultant

Jana McHenry, Ed.D.

A public and private school educator for over 30 years, Jana has served in a variety of educational positions...

A public and private school educator for over 30 years, Jana has served in a variety of educational positions, including assistant superintendent, reading specialist, Title I director, classroom teacher, director of advancement, and adjunct professor. She has developed and administered district-wide English Language Learning programs, provided instructional coaching in Data Driven Instruction, Universal Design Learning and delivered instructional best practices. She has also created Instructional Coaching and Mentoring programs, as well as facilitated literacy and mathematics program adoption/implementation.

A published author, Jana holds a Doctor of Education in Language Arts and Literacy from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, with a specialization in Literacy from Lesley University and a Bachelor of Science in Special Education and Elementary Education from Salve Regina University. In addition, Jana has completed the National Institute of School Leadership Executive Development Program through the Fall River Cohort and engaged in Instructional Rounds through Harvard University.

Special Education Teacher

Lauren Robinson

A special education professional with over fifteen years of experience who utilizes a strength-based, team-oriented approach in her work with students and families.

A special education professional with over twelve years of experience who utilizes a strength-based, team-oriented approach in her work with students and families. Lauren has served as a special education director, special education teacher and consultant, with an emphasis on special education processes, school-based interventions, classroom management strategies, trauma informed case management and curriculum planning. She uses a variety of techniques, such as phonetics, multi-sensory learning, and repetition, to reinforce learning and to meet students' varying needs and interests.

Lauren received her Master of Education in Special Education – Moderate Disabilities, from Endicott College, as well as Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University. Her Bachelor of Arts degree focused on Human Services – Youth Work from The University of Massachusetts, Boston. In addition, she attained a Certificate in School Management and Leadership from Harvard University.

Lynne Sarantopoulos
Administrative and Data Base Manager

Lynne Sarantopoulos

Lynne spent over ten years as a medical software consultant where her technology background currently supports much of the nuts and bolts of the foundation.

Lynne spent over ten years as a medical software consultant where her technology background currently supports much of the nuts and bolts of the foundation. She assists in the daily operations of the organization and manages/troubleshoots technology issues for the S.E.A.L. Team. In addition, she is responsible for organizing meetings and events and creating/delivering communications related to such events through print and technology. She handles incoming requests for information from donors and attendees at events and utilizes various marketing tools to build customer and prospect lists. She reviews detailed analytics to determine the best strategies for building our donor base.

Lynne received her Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Bentley University.

Special Education Teacher

Karen Surprenant

With over 29 years of experience with the New Bedford Public Schools as a special education teacher in grades Prekindergarten through 5, Karen has taught in separate classrooms, inclusion classrooms and as a tutor.

With over 29 years of experience with the New Bedford Public Schools as a special education teacher in grades Prekindergarten through 5, Karen has taught in separate classrooms, inclusion classrooms and as a tutor. She has fervently advocated for her students to receive the services to which they are entitled to improve academically and strengthen their overall school performance.

She has designed and delivered developmentally motivating curriculum/programming as warranted by IEP goals and MA curriculum frameworks; guided classroom staff in implementing goals of children; provided direct and/or group instruction; conducted thorough educational evaluations necessary for trimester progress reports, annual assessments, and reevaluations; facilitated ongoing parent contact and encouraged family involvement; and worked with the social-emotional and behavioral needs of students.

In addition, Karen has worked in the Division of Adult/Continuing Education as an Adult Basic Education/English for Speakers of Other Languages Teacher where she has integrated technology utilized in instruction; developed a program of study that meets and accommodates individual needs, interests, and abilities; worked collaboratively with volunteer tutors to provide meaningful assignments that can be incorporated into the instructional setting for one-to one support; and implemented and career readiness standards for adult education for the English Language Proficiency Standards.

Karen's holds a Master’s Degree is in Special Education from Bridgewater State College, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology and Elementary Education from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth and an Associate’s Degree in Mental Health. She is also certified as a Wilson Reading Teacher in Level 1.

Elena Zongrone
Development Consultant

Elena Zongrone

Elena brings with her over thirteen years of leadership positions at the Department of Education in New York and over twenty years of experience as an independent educational consultant and a director of development for two years.

Elena brings with her over thirteen years of leadership positions at the Department of Education in New York and over twenty years of experience as an independent educational consultant and a director of development for two years. She currently works closely with the President to create and deliver the vision for The S.E.A.L. Foundation, as well as general operating tasks, including the creation of a board of advisors. She oversees the strategic fundraising efforts by coordinating programs that target donors and prospects for gifts. In addition, she designs /assists in the creation, production and distribution of fundraising and website materials, and the preparation and submission of grant proposals.

Elena has a Certificate of Advanced Study and a Master of Science degree in Counseling Psychology and Student Personnel from the State University of New York at Albany and a Bachelor of Science in Special Education and Elementary Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the State University of New York at Geneseo.

Board of Advisors

Benjamin Carroll

Kenney & Conley, P.C.

Christina Dervin

Analog Devices Foundation

Hanwar Harnett

Rockland Trust

Scotty Jones, Jr.

RE/MAX Platinum

Kaitlin Moroney

Goodwin Procter LLP

Joseph Peroni

UBS Securities LLC

Edward Petras

Mechanics Cooperative Bank

Janice Wright

RE/MAX Platinum