About us

Barbara Jorda
Co-Founder /
Program Director

Barbara is the Co-founder and Program Director of STEM Beginnings LLC.  She started this in 2013, with her husband Euclid. Together with their children Breanna and Ethan, the family came up with the name STEM Beginnings… as a way to inspire the love of STEM in the early years.

Before STEM Beginnings, Barbara established and taught at KIDS – Kids in Day School, a family-owned Preschool in the Philippines. She also taught in schools in Manila, Shanghai, New York, Southborough, and has also worked as a Physical Therapist and as an ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) Therapist.

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.

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.

Cortney L. Mills Part-time Teacher & SB Operations Assistant
Cortney holds a B.S. in Biology and an M.S. in Regulatory Science. She has worked professionally in the biopharmaceutical industry as a regulatory strategist for 14 years in Europe and the US. She has 2 young children and served as a Cub Scout Leader in her town’s first all-girl Den. Cortney has been teaching our STEM classes at the libraries in Northboro, Marlboro, Berlin, Hudson and Boylston, and after school STEM at St Mary’s School in Shrewsbury. She also helps in promoting our STEM classes in different schools and towns.

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.

Joan Sjogren Part-time Teacher
Joan has worked as an Instructional Teaching Assistant in the Shrewsbury Public Schools for the past 13 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.  Joan has been teaching our STEM classes at Floral Street School in Shrewsbury.

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.

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 is currently a Title 1 Math Tutor at Clyde Brown Elementary school in Millis, MA.

Meme Middlesworth Part-time Teacher
Meme taught kindergarten and first grade in Shrewsbury for thirty one years.  She holds a B.A. in Elementary Ed/Fine Arts from Russell Sage College in Troy, New York and a M.Ed. in Early Childhood from Worcester State University. After retiring three years ago, her passion for teaching and love of children has led her back to the classroom. Presently, she is substituting at Beal Early Childhood Center in Shrewsbury and teaching STEM classes at the Boylston Library and at Paton School in Shrewsbury.

Annette Dalbec Part-time Teacher
Annette has been teaching kindergarten at St. Bernadette School in Northboro, Massachusetts for 19 years. She has a Master’s Degree in Education from Anna Maria College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Worcester State University. Annette holds a Massachusetts Teacher Certification for Early Childhood and Elementary Education. During the summers she holds Summer Academic Programs at St. Bernadette School, which includes STEM Beginnings classes.

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 Preschool classes at 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.  Jill has been running our STEM classes at Puckihuddle Preschool, Our Lady of the Angels School, and the Shrewsbury and Auburn Libraries.

Jennifer Graham Part-time Teacher
Jen earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science in 2016. She has experience conducting undergraduate research on blue mussel larval settlement and proudly held the title of oyster farmer one summer. With a lifelong passion for encouraging girls to enter STEM fields, Jen loves working with the next generation of scientists and engineers in the classroom. She currently works as a bookkeeper and web designer.  Jen teaches our STEM classes at Cooolidge and Beal Schools in Shrewsbury.

Cristina Ferreira Part-time Teacher
Cristina earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in biology in 2016 and is currently pursuing her MBA at UMASS Dartmouth. Since graduating, she has continuously worked with children in a variety of early learning center settings. Cristina has a passion for teaching young children and continues to volunteer at a local ELC along with teaching with STEM Beginnings.

Kristen Ross Part-time Teacher
Kristen has her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education both from Fitchburg State University.  She has experience teaching in grades 1-4.  She currently teaches 3rd grade at a small Catholic school.  When not teaching, you can find Kristen at the skating rink coaching figure skating.

Mary Lou Lombardi-Butler Part-time Teacher
Mary Lou has a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of Connecticut, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Fairfield University in Connecticut. In addition to teaching at STEM Beginnings, she also teaches Biology part-time at Assumption College and bioinformatics sections of two Harvard Summer classes.

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.

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.

Breanna Jorda  Junior Staff

Ethan Jorda  Junior Staff