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


Jo Ann Simons

Jo Ann Simons

President & CEO

Jo Ann Simons, MSW, is a parent-professional well known in the area of intellectual disability who constantly challenges herself and those around her to turn problems into answers and challenges into opportunities.  Jo Ann received her BA in Urban Studies from Wheaton College and her Masters in Social Work in Policy, Planning and Community Organization from the University of Connecticut. As President/CEO of Cardinal Cushing Centers, Jo Ann is leading the organization in its Master Plan to create intergenerational communities on both the Hanover and Braintree campuses. She currently serves as the disability advisor to the Ruderman Family Foundation and  as a  Trustee of LIFE, Inc. of Cape Cod.  Jo Ann has served as past Chair of the National Down Syndrome Society, past President of the National Down Syndrome Congress, and as a consultant to Special Olympics, Inc.  Jo Ann is the author of the Down Syndrome Transition Handbook, Footprints for the Future and a chapter author in Babies with Down Syndrome and Treating the Dental Patient with a Developmental Disorder.  She lectures on issues related to transition and future planning.

Previously, she was the Executive Director of the Arc of East Middlesex, the Deputy Facility Director of the Fernald Development Center, the Director of Policy for the Massachusetts Department of Development Services, and on the Board of Directors of Special Olympics International.  Jo Ann has two adult children:  Jonathan, who has Down syndrome, is a graduate of Swampscott (MA) High School, and Cape Cod Community College.  Jon lives independently in his own home and has a life filled with meaningful paid work, important volunteer activities, many leisure pursuits, and close friends.  Emily, who reminds her that being “typical” is special, too, is a litigator with Ropes and Gray


Jansi Chandler

Vice President of Development

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.


Sig Kozaryn

Sig Kozaryn

Vice President of Finance/CFO

Sig Kozaryn obtained his BS in accounting from Quinnipiac University, and has various experience in nonprofit and profit organizations.  He helped start a battered women’s shelter on Cape Cod, a Buddhist meditation center, and has served on the board of several nonprofit corporations.  He also serves on the MAAPS Contract & Reimbursement committee.

Sig oversees the overall financial and operation activities of Cardinal Cushing Centers Inc.  He serves as the V.P Finance and Treasurer for CCC Board of Directors as well.

Additionally, Sig supervises Maintenance in Hanover & Braintree, IT, Switchboard, Finance and Food Services. He is responsible for preparing and presenting quarterly and annual financial statements to the Board of Directors, as well as preparing the UFR and financial statements for the auditors.  Other duties include strategic planning, preparing budgets, analyzing and reviewing contracts, preparation of DMR contracts, and implementing financial controls over policy and procedures to ensure validity of the company’s financial statements and reporting.


Michelle Markowitz

Michelle Markowitz

Vice President of Admissions

Michelle Markowitz has a BS in Psychology from Bridgewater State College and has been at Cardinal Cushing for almost 15 years.  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 VP of Admissions and Outreach, 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 outreach 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.


Jean Rogers

Jean Rogers

Vice President of Community and Adult Services

Jean Rogers has an MS in Counseling and a BS in Human Services Administration, and has been the VP of Adult Services at Cardinal Cushing Centers for fourteen years.  Previously, Jean was the Program Administrator at the Kennedy-Donovan Center for eighteen years.

As the VP of Adult Services, Jean’s responsibilities include but are not limited to: Coordinating all aspects of Residential and Employment programs supporting over one hundred individuals.  She maintains the highest level of licensure through the Department of Mental Retardations office of Quality Assurance and CARF.  To develop and monitor budgets for all Adult Services programs, as well as pursue additional funding sources beyond DMR and MRC. She is responsible for Quality of Assurance for all Adult Services programs, as well as overseeing upkeep and maintenance of all of the facilities. Jean actively pursues new referrals for our existing day and residential programs, and develops new programs including Day Habilitation and Individual Support.  Jean also serves as Coordinator of Cardinal Cushing Human Rights Committee.


Larry Sauer

Lawrence E. (Larry) Sauer

Vice President for Student Programs & Services

Larry Sauer has dedicated his career to the field of special education for more than twenty five years.  He has a Master’s of Arts in Clinical Psychology from the University of Dayton in Dayton, OH and a Master’s of Science in Human Services Administration from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.  Larry has been an employee at Cardinal Cushing Centers for twenty two of the last twenty four years, in a variety of positions.  He was the Executive Director of our Hanover campus prior to becoming the VP of Student Programs and Services in 2008.  During a two and a half year hiatus from Cushing, he was the Assistant Executive Director at North River Collaborative in Rockland, MA.

As VP of Student Programs and Services, Larry is responsible for overseeing the daily operation of three Chapter 766 private day and residential programs employing 300+ employees and serving 130+ students with a wide variety of special needs.  He works closely with the Associate Vice President for Education and the department  program directors to ensure that all of the students are receiving the best possible education and services.  Larry is the primary contact for DESE, DEEC, and DCF, and oversees all student program licensures.  Larry also serves as a member of the Senior Leadership Team at Cardinal Cushing Centers.

Larry has served on the Massachusetts Association of Approved Private Schools (MAAPS) Board of Directors for eight years, and on the MAAPS Executive Committee for four years.  He is currently serving as the MAAPS President.


Department Heads



Patricia Conley

Director, Adult Family Care

Pat Conley graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a BS in Marketing. She was the Central Logistics Manager at Honeywell for 8 years and then took some time off to raise a family and work in her husband’s family business. She made a career change in 2005 and started working as a Residential Direct Support Staff at the school. She worked for one year as the Health Center Aide and then transferred into Adult Services where she worked for 2 years as a Residential House Manager before taking the position of Residential Coordinator. In April of 2013, she was promoted to Director of Adult Family Care, a MassHealth program that provides care and financial support to help adults with disabilities live in a safe and often familiar home setting . Pat also serves as one of the coordinators for the Special Olympics Jolly Jaunt fundraiser.



Mary Engels

Director, Clinical Services

Mary Engels has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker for 25 years. She has worked with children and families in programs and in the community for most of her career. Mary began working at Cardinal Cushing Centers as a clinician in February of 2005. She became director of the Department in 2011. Her responsibilities include overseeing the delivery of mental health services to the students at Cardinal Cushing Centers. Mary supervises a team of clinicians, behaviorists, the human development coordinator and the support team. She collaborates with our consulting psychiatrist and Director of Health services for psychopharmacological care. Mary is a member of NASW and NADD.



Gerry Fanning

Food Service Director

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. In his free time, he enjoys coaching soccer and basketball for The Special Olympics Adult Service Program.



Doug Frazier

Director of Vocational Services

Doug Frazier has been in the field of education for 35 years. Twenty eight of those years have been with Cardinal Cushing Centers. He is currently the Senior Director of Vocational Services (CORE program) at Cardinal Cushing Centers – Hanover and has served in that position for six years. Doug oversees the vocational/educational program for students from the ages 18 – 22. This includes classrooms, on-site and off-site vocational/educational experiences for students. Prior to working in vocational services at the school, Doug worked in student services, teaching and admissions. Before working at Cushing he was in the field of college administration – student housing, activities and financial aid. Mr. Frazier has a B.A. from MCLA, a M.Ed. from Bridgewater State University and holds his teaching licensure in special education.



Tom Jennings

Director of Maintenance





Bridget Lally

Clinical Social Worker/Director of Spiritual Formation

Bridget Lally has been a member of the Cardinal Cushing community for the past four years in the role of a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. In addition to her responsibilities as a Clinician, Bridget recently assumed the position as Director of Spiritual Formation. The integration of the two positions allows Bridget the opportunity to share with our community her array of wisdom, passions, interests, and previous employment experiences. Bridget has a Masters of Social Work and a Masters of Theology/Pastoral Ministry from Boston College with a Bachelor of Science in Counseling/Human Services and Bachelor of the Arts in Theology/Religious Studies from The University of Scranton. Bridget comes to Cardinal Cushing with prior experience working with youth and young adult faith formation in parish and college campus settings. In addition, she has experience through assisting with ministry in her local parish. The vision is that as Director of Spiritual Formation, Bridget will have the opportunity to integrate her previous ministry experience into her present duties in a way that flows naturally into our community to assist in honoring our Franciscan Values and mission.



Chris Lenahan

Associate Vice President of Education and Program Development

Chris Lenahan joins Cushing Centers as Associate Vice President of Education and Program Development. Chris brings to Cushing over twenty-five years of expertise in curriculum and the implementation of research based programming and use of instructional strategies for students across the continuum of disabilities. Of particular interest and focus for Chris has been her work with students on the spectrum and those with intellectual disabilities providing comprehensive programming preschool – 22.

Early on in her career Chris recognized that students with disabilities required transitional programming, which focused on development of employment skills in real world settings. To this end she secured on-site placements for students in community business with many leading to employment after graduation. She brings that interest here to Cushing and has already begun reorganizing the CORE programs, providing a more concentrated employment program as well as strengthening the academic components.

When not at work at Cushing, Chris is an adjunct professor in the Graduate School of Education at Salem State University teaching the Introduction to Special Education course as well Autism Interventions course, a part of the Autism Certificate program. Chris has also been the Interim Coordinator for the Special Education licensure program in the School of Graduate Education at Salem State University. Chris has been a presenter at the Best Practices Conference at Salem State, presenting on transitional planning, program development for students on the spectrum and instructional strategies for students on the spectrum.

Chris has a B.S in Elementary Education and M.A.in Special Education both from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio and has completed requirements for certification in Special Education Administration in Advanced Graduate Studies in Administration at Boston University. Chris is certified as an Elementary Teacher, Special Education teacher and Special Education Administrator.



Tom McElman

Director of Recreation & Community Programs

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. He worked as the assistant Recreation Director for several years before becoming the director of Recreation. Tom went to Massasoit Community College obtaining an AS in Law Enforcement before going to Northeastern University with a degree in Recreation and Leisure Education. His main focus while in school was outdoor education and challenge course facilitating.

His duties include providing recreational services for 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, responsible for overseeing our Challenge Course and facilitates community programs. He also works in collaboration with the Emilson YMCA running a Special Population program.

He lives in Hanover with his wife, who he met at Cardinal Cushing, and is the father of two beautiful young ladies. His family is very involved with Cardinal Cushing Centers, volunteering to help out with many recreation activities. Their family enjoys spending time together camping, skiing and traveling.


Jude Morgan

Jude Morgan

Director of Education-Hanover

Jude Morgan has been in the field of education for 23 years. Eleven of those years have been with Cardinal Cushing Centers. She is currently the Director of Education at Cardinal Cushing Centers – Hanover. Jude oversees the educational program for students from the ages 10 – 18. Prior to working as the Director of Education, Jude was the Technology teacher (7 years) and a classroom teacher (4 years) at the school. Before working at Cushing, she 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 her teaching licensure in special education.



Patti Nelson

Senior Director of Therapy Services

Patti Nelson has been a speech language pathologist for over 25 years. She holds a Master of Science degree from Boston University with an undergraduate degree in Communication Disorders and Psychology. She maintains ASHA (American Speech Language and Hearing Association) certification and Department of Education licensure in Massachusetts, K-12.

Patti recently celebrated her 15th anniversary at Cushing. She oversees the day to day operations of the therapy team while supervising student interns, Speech language, occupational, and physical therapy staff. Patti has facilitated the mission of The Rhythmic Arts Project (TRAP) at Cushing, introducing the use of percussion instruments to enhance social and language based skills. After college, Patti is grateful for her start working in residential group homes with adult clients. Her work experiences since included working for Mariner Health Care (formerly Advanced Rehab) where she was a Regional Clinical Specialist to a variety of Occupational, Physical, and Speech Language clinicians in the areas of compliance, clinical best treatment practices, and mentoring. Her experience at Perkins School for the Blind Head Injury Unit taught her that speech language can reach beyond visually presented information. Her special interests include program development, cognitive rehabilitation, giving a voice to the voiceless, and working with those with swallowing disorders. Her biggest compliment is from rising speech language clinicians grateful for her mentoring.

Patti has lectured at local conferences and has taught several seminars at Northeastern University and Bridgewater State. She has one publication to date.



Robert Renna

Director of Education, St. Coletta Day School

Prior to coming to Cardinal Cushing Centers as the Director of St. Coletta’s Robert was the Director of Community Programs at Perkins School for the Blind for the past two years.  In this capacity he supervised 70+ vision specialists working in over 200 public schools in New England.

Prior to working at Perkins Renna was the Director of Special Education and Student Services for the West Boylston Public Schools for ten years from 2002 – 2012.   His responsibilities included the supervision of 100+ special education and therapy staff for the district.  He also served as the district civil rights compliance officer, Title I Director, ESL coordinator, homeless coordinator and 504 compliance coordinator.

From 1977 – 2002 Robert was the Director of the LABB Collaborative in Lexington where he built nationally recognized educational and vocational services for students with a multitude of special needs.  The program grew from its original 6 students and 4 staff to over 275 students and a staff of over 150.

Renna holds a BA in Social Sciences from Salem State College, a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Boston State College and a second Master’s in Severe Special Needs from Boston College. He is also a Massachusetts licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) and holds MA licenses as a Special Education Administrator and School Counselor.

Robert is excited about the future of the St. Coletta Day School and looks forward to continued collaboration with staff, families and students on this road to quality.

Quality is a journey or change and improvement that never ends!



Rob Richards

Program Director, Life Opportunities Unlimited

Rob Richards came to Cardinal Cushing 3 years ago as the Director of Life Opportunities Unlimited adult day habilitation program overseeing two sites. Rob started the second facility and currently both programs are focused on providing therapeutic services in community based day programs which give individuals opportunities for meaningful life & volunteer experiences. A large focus is spent on helping self-enhancement skills across the individual’s life spectrum. Before transitioning into behavioral & mental health, Mr. Richards had oversight for residential facilities for behaviorally challenged children as well as outpatient & wraparound programs for Autistic youth. Rob spent 25 years in healthcare administration with an emphasis in physician & hospital based systems. Mr. Richards has a B.A. in Human Resource Administration from Geneva College and has been an avid volunteer with youth in various community, sports and recreational organizations most of his life.



Danielle Silverberg, RN

Director of Health Services

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.



Jackie Schriver

Residential Director

Jackie has been working and volunteering with individuals with intellectual disabilities for over 10 years. She has run Employment and Day Habilitation programs and now oversees all of Adult Services’ Residential programs including Shared Living and Independent Support. Jackie has her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Wheaton College and her M.B.A. from Curry College