Audrey Birkett - English Teacher

Audrey joined the team at EDCO in 2018, following years of work educating young adults at the college and high school level inside and outside of Boston. In the past year, highlights for Audrey have been engaging students in all facets of ELA—from examining the use of Logos, Ethos, and Pathos in Atticus Finch's courtroom speech to investigating the continued relevance of Orwell's dystopian future visions from 1984 to 2019 to creating a board game that navigates Odysseus's travels from Ithaca through mythological foes and obstacles to Ithaca. Audrey earned Bachelor’s Degrees in English and History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Master's Degree in Renaissance Studies and a Doctoral Degree in English from the University of London. Outside of work, Audrey enjoys reading, playing with her puppy, making dioramas, walks in nature, and concert going.

Audrey's quote: “The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection.” - George Orwell

Robert Boerjes - History and Special Education Teacher

Robert joined the team at EDCO in 2018 following a decade of teaching experience in Colorado, New York, Connecticut, China, and Dominica. He studied History and Secondary Education at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, where he earned both his Bachelor’s Degree and Master's Degree in Teaching. Outside of school, Robert enjoys basketball, surfing, swimming, running, learning, gardening and yoga.

Robert's quote: "Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere"

Katonya Gaines - Guidance Counselor

Katonya joined the team at EDCO in 2018, following years of service in Boston Public Schools to connect families to community resources throughout city neighborhoods. In doing this work, she developed an extensive background in building relationships with community partners and families through counseling services that focus on communication skills, learning to understand trauma, using coping skills to manage social emotional stressors, and substance use. Katonya earned a Bachelor’s Degree from UMASS-Boston, a Master’s Degree in Education (Guidance Counseling) from Cambridge College and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Salem State University. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling, cake decorating, and speedway racing.

Katonya’s quote: "What I know is, is that if you do work that you love, and the work fulfills you, the rest will come." - Oprah Winfrey

Felipe Gomez - School Coordinator

Felipe joined the team at EDCO in 2016, following years of work supporting young adults in discovering their interests. The greatest highlight of all these different jobs for Felipe has been the happiness students exude at completing these chapters in their lives. Felipe earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Spanish from UMASS-Lowell and a Master’s Degree in Education (Administration) from UMASS-Boston. Outside of work, Felipe enjoys dancing and traveling.

Felipe’s quote: “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” - Aristotle

Sasha Schuele - Science Teacher

Sasha joined the team at EDCO in 2018 following her student teaching at Malden High School in Biology and Environmental Science. She studied earned her Bachelor's Degrees in Biology and Science Education from Boston University. Outside of school, Sasha enjoys rock climbing, meal prep and cooking, her book club, dungeons and dragons, metal music, and hiking.

Sasha's quote: "Virtue needs some cheaper thrills." - Hobbes from Calvin and Hobbes

Ajay Trivedi - Program Director

Ajay joined the team at EDCO in 2007 and has served as program director since 2009. This followed years of work in youth development in literacy, Deaf services, and teaching in community-based organizations in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Boston. Ajay earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Studies and Certificates in Management Studies, Mathematics, and American Sign Language from the University of Rochester, NY, and earned a Master’s of Education through the Educator Leadership Institute in partnership with Endicott College. Outside of school, Ajay enjoys time with family, good eating, and creative projects.

Ajay’s quote: “The faith waiting in the heart of a seed promises a miracle of life which it cannot prove at once.” – Rabindranath Tagore

Jennifer Valleau - School Adjustment Counselor

Jenny joined the team at EDCO in 2014, following two years as a school social worker in Chelsea and multiple years as a community-based clinician in Chelsea and Boston. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Arizona and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Salem State University. Outside of work, Jenny enjoys traveling, music, and being outdoors.

Jenny’s quote: “I am lucky that whatever fear I have inside me, my desire to win is even stronger” - Serena Williams

Heather Wood - Mathematics and Lead Teacher

Heather joined the team at EDCO in 2017, following four years of work as a Math and Engineering teacher and department chairs in the Columbus City Schools in Columbus, OH. At EDCO, Heather has introduced an integrated math curriculum to expand the application of math to real life for our students and provides support to other teachers in the Lead Teacher role this year. She earned her Bachelor's Degrees in Mathematics and Psychology, as well as her Master's Degree in Mathematics/STEM Education from The Ohio State University, and earned a Master's Degree in Forensic Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Outside of school, Heather enjoys hiking, doing yoga, traveling and new experiences. She also loves food and make an effort to always try foods I've never experienced!

Heather's quote: “Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you know.”