About us

Barbara Jorda
Co-Founder /
Program Director

With an extensive background in early childhood education, she taught pre-school for over 10 years in numerous places including Manila, Shanghai, New York, and Southborough, and has also established KIDS – Kids in Day School, a family-owned Preschool in the Philippines. In recent years, she has worked as an ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) Therapist with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Barbara has a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Therapy, a Masters degree in Family Life and Child Development from the University of the Philippines and a Certificate in Child Care for Young Professionals from Bank Street College of Education in New York. She is a mother to her young children, Breanna and Ethan, who have both inspired and helped her in developing the STEM Beginnings program and activities.

Because of her strong passion in educating and helping young children, she felt the need to expose kids to fun and engaging STEM activities to help spark their interest in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. With the STEM Beginnings’ programs, she hopes to inspire young minds to develop curiosity and confidence toward these disciplines and hopefully carry these with them as they grow and become the leaders of tomorrow.

Jean Clancy  Curriculum Developer / Part-time Teacher
Jean has taught kindergarten, first grade and second grade in schools in Central Massachusetts. Jean has a Bachelor’s Degree from Wheelock College in Boston and a Master’s Degree in Education from Teachers College/Columbia University in New York. She holds licenses in early childhood education, elementary education, and special education.

Carolyn O’Connell,  Area RepresentativePart-time Teacher
Carrie has a Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She enjoys spending time cooking and being outside with her family. Carrie is also passionate about helping to take care of and conserve local open space and is a member of her local Conservation Commission.

Kristin Pliakas Part-time Teacher
Kristin holds a Masters in Elementary Education from the University of New Hampshire as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts/English from Regent’s College in London, England. Before joining STEM Beginnings, she held teaching positions in the Oxford public school district.

Julia Abbott Part-time Teacher
Julia holds a PhD in Chemistry from University of Tennessee-Knoxville. As part of her professional experience, she managed several Science Education programs for K-12 educators and students alike.

Beth DePasquale Part-time Teacher
Beth holds a Masters in Elementary Education and Certificate in Educational Technology from Fitchburg State College and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Worcester State College. Before joining STEM Beginnings, she held various teaching positions at the Southborough, Northborough, and Shrewsbury school districts.

Pam Doyle Part-time Teacher
Pam holds a Bachler’s degree in Elementary Education and is currently working on her Master’s Degree with specialization on Reading. She loves to incorporate literature into STEM and works with early childhood to grade school level children in reinforcing STEM concepts in their learning. She is a proud mother of 3 beautiful, smart, and loving children. Her hobbies include trying new experiments, reading, walking, and enjoying nature with her family.

Amy Courtemanche Part-time Teacher
Amy has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Franklin Pierce University. She enjoys using modern technology in the classroom and always creates an atmosphere that is stimulating and encouraging to all students.

Amanda Michienzi Part-time Teacher
Amanda is a certified elementary classroom teacher with over 12 years of experience working with students in grade school. She has a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Salem State College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Framingham State College. She spends her summers directing Camp Rice Moody where she just completed her 19th summer.

Jill Ishkanian Part-time Teacher
Jill has a B.A. in Psychology, and has worked as a Lead Preschool Teacher and Preschool Teacher Aide, before having her own kids.  She has also been a Substitute Teacher for classes from Preschool to 4th Grade at her boys’ school – St Mary’s in Shrewsbury.  Jill has always loved teaching, and seeing how children have such curiosity and joy in learning about the world. She is now happy to be back at work after taking a long break raising her two boys who are now twelve and ten years old.

Kim Brillon Part-time Teacher
Kim has Bachelor Science Degrees in Early Childhood and Special Education for Neurological Impairment. She’s been teaching Kindergarten at Holy Family Academy for a number of years now and serves as Religious Education Coordinator at Saint Edward The Confessor Parish in Westminster, MA.

Joan Sjogren Part-time Teacher
Joan has worked as an Instructional Teaching Assistant in the Shrewsbury Public Schools for the past 10 years focusing on Pre-K and Kindergarten  levels. She earned her MBA from Anna Maria College and a BA in Social Rehabilitation from Assumption College. Prior to joining the Shrewsbury Public School system Joan held a variety of Finance  and Managerial positions in the Banking and High Technology Industries.

Jean Shea Part-time Teacher
As a child, science was always Jean’s favorite subject in school.  She’s been teaching elementary school for 20 years and science is still her favorite subject. She loves inspiring the next generation with the wonder of science.  Jean is certified in Elementary Education and General Science, grades 1-8 and currently teaches at Milford Catholic Elementary School.

Gillian Crawford Part-time Teacher
Gillian received her Bachelor’s degree from Wheelock College and her Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Framingham State University.  She was an elementary teacher in the Freetown- Lakeville School District before having her twins and joining STEM Beginnings.  She was a fifth grade math and science teacher for 9 years.  She also has years of experience teaching math and science at a summer camp.

Sarah Titus Part-time Teacher
Sarah earned a M.S. in Environmental Biology in 2004. She has worked professionally doing water quality research and environmental assessments. Currently she is a science instructor traveling between several schools in the Worcester area. She has two children and a menagerie of rescue pets.

Carmel Anne Sibal Part-time Teacher
Carmel taught first and second grade Math and Science. She did Math & Science Curriculum Development, and was a Coach for Math competitions. On top of this, Carmel is also a cake artist and has recently earned her First Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo.

Julie Torres Part-time Teacher
Julie loves being a teacher, school crossing guard, and mother. She graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor of Arts in Education. She also holds a Massachusetts Teacher Certification from Kindergarten through 8th grade as well as an Office for Children Certification for Lead Preschool Teacher.