wonder. think. be inspired.
board of directors
Members of the board at our 2019 Science of Beer (left to right): Chris Chiriatti, Amanda Brennan, Merredith Christos (Executive Director), Christene Freedman,
Luke Albrecht, Dan Rosenthal (First Selectman), Meagan Ferriter, Joe Young, & Frank Caico. Not present: Zubin Avari, Brian Fagan, Jen Hoag, & Pat Rinaldi
Born and raised in Newtown, Aaron Coopersmith is the Co-Director of Newtown Chiropractic Health Center. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Biology from Northeastern University and his Doctor of Chiropractic Degree from New York Chiropractic College. Aaron enjoys working with young athletes in the field of injury prevention and optimizing health and performance through maintaining a positive attitude, exercise and nutrition. Aaron brings with him years of experience of being a Director of the Newtown Earth Day Commission and has served as a past President of the Newtown Forest Association.
Jen is a school psychologist at Newtown High School where she enjoys working with students, staff, parents and community members. She has her Ph.D. in Clinical and School Psychology from Hofstra University. She also has a background in Early Childhood Education from James Madison University. She likes working with students of all ages, volunteering as a Girl Scout Troop Leader and catechist. Jen lives in Newtown with her husband and two children.
Brian brings nearly 50 years of experience in public education as a teacher, building principal, and central office administrator in several Fairfield County school districts to his role on the EverWonder Board. He is strongly committed to advancing educational opportunities for all children by providing engaging experiences to enhance and extend their learning. He is a student of the characteristics of successful organizations and the organizational behaviors and processes that underpin their success. Brian and his wife Pam have enjoyed living in Sandy Hook for more than 40 years.
Lisa Yu is a certified teacher who taught kindergarten and first grade in Fairfield County before making the transition to stay home. She currently keeps busy writing children’s books (My Daddy is a Firefighter & My Mommy is a Firefighter) and is a sales consultant for Usborne Books and More. She lives in Newtown with her husband and three young children, who frequent the museum as a favorite family activity. She is passionate about EverWonder’s mission and it’s role in fulfilling meaningful and engaging opportunities for the local community and surrounding areas, where children can explore the world around them and immerse themselves in hands-on learning. EverWonder is an essential piece in growing life-long learners and she is excited to be part of the process to help it grow.
Melissa has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Master of Science in Human Resources Management from Sacred Heart University. She has over 4 years of HR experience, with a concentration in recruitment, across non-profit and financial industries. She’s currently an HR Generalist at a local community bank in Danbury – Union Savings Bank. She resides in Sandy Hook and has a strong commitment to giving back to local communities. She’s excited to join the Board and bring new ideas and perspective to continue to grow the EverWonder mission.
Phil is the Newtown Market Manager for Newtown Savings Bank, where his primary responsibilities include sales, business development and retention, and community support and engagement. He is a graduate of Duke University (B.A., Economics) and UConn (Executive M.B.A.), and enthusiastically roots for both the Blue Devils and Huskies. He lives in Trumbull with his beautiful bride Dorie and enjoys sports, outdoor activities, and a wide range of musical genres. Phil is excited to join the EverWonder board because he knows that knowledge, creativity, and an appreciation for the wonder around us each day are lifelong pursuits that should be cultivated from the earliest of ages.
Robin is the Manager, Quality, Risk & Patient Safety at Med-IQ. Robin was awarded her Master of Science in Nursing Education from the State University of New York Institute of Technology and her baccalaureate of science in nursing from the University of Texas in Austin. Prior to accepting her current position at Med-IQ, she was a Risk Manager at Stamford Health and the manager of simulation centers at both NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center & the College of Health Professions Clinical Education Labs at Pace University in NYC.
Gayle is the Co-Owner & Director of Operations for Phinney’s, a local specialty grocery store that supplies produce, pantry staples, and a carefully curated selection of high quality goods. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science from Boston University which led her to pursue a career exploring regenerative agriculture and responsible food systems. Gayle now lives in Southbury along with her husband, Stephen (other Co-Owner of Phinney’s), their son, Remy and their dog, Leon. As a new business owner in the community, a lover of science, and a new mother who wants to see her son explore science and technology in an exciting and creative way, Gayle is thrilled to join the EverWonder Board and be part of their continued success.
Connie earned her B.S. with honors in Accounting at the University of Connecticut and has many years experience in both public (C.P.A.) and private (C.M.A.) accounting. She is currently retired and lives in Bethel with her husband, daughter and son. She has been active in the Boy Scouts of America for many years and is currently serving in many roles at both the troop and district level. Connie has also served in several roles at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Bethel where she currently holds the position of Clerk and helps with Sunday school when needed. Connie is very excited to join this energetic and passionate team!
Jack Thatcher is a naturalist and a lifelong learner. He holds a Master’s of Science in Environmental Education with an emphasis in ecological philosophy and ecological resilience from Southern CT State University. Previously, he was an educator at CT’s Beardsley Zoo. Jack and his wife, Bethany, moved to Sandy Hook in December 2015. Jack soon became a member of the Newtown Environmental Action Team (NEAT). NEAT was a nonpartisan grassroots group of Newtown, CT residents who worked together on smart solutions to environmental challenges. Jack is very excited to be a part of the board of directors of EverWonder. He hopes to share his love of nature and his knowledge of the environment.