Scholar Coach and Program Coordinator
Ana has nearly a decade of experience working with children and families in the Greater Boston area. Her past roles range from case manager for homeless families to working with children with severe emotional disturbances as an in-home therapy clinician. Her main focus has been to provide culturally sensitive services rooted in authenticity, which has allowed her clients to not only feel comfortable but truly valued and understood. She brings boundless energy and passion to help others learn the necessary skills to not just survive but thrive. She is honored to be a part of the pack that supports the Wily Scholars and to be there for the scholars the way her pack was for her during her college years.
Ana received her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Latino Studies from Northeastern University and her M.A. in Counseling with a concentration in Latino Mental Health from William James College in 2015. She lives with her husband and two boys in Stoughton, Massachusetts.
Becca received her BA in Psychology and Mathematics from Hamilton College. She worked for Wediko Children’s Services as an Advocate Counselor at a transfer secondary school in the Bronx in New York City. Becca also worked three summers with Wediko at their residential summer camp for children with emotional, social and behavior issues: one as a Residential Counselor and two as a Program Coordinator. During her undergraduate career, Becca worked at the Hamilton College Annual Fund as an intern. Becca joins the Wily team to continue to aid children and young adults attain their goals in their social, emotional and academic lives.
Financial Aid Coach
Emma has a strong background in financial aid having worked at college access organization uAspire as a college affordability advisor. She earned a BA in Psychology from Lesley University in 2016. During her time at Lesley, she served as a community service ambassador, leading service trips to Roanoke, Virginia; Asheville, North Carolina; and all around New England. Right out of college, Emma served in Americorps as a Massachusetts Promise Fellow based Northeastern University, with the goal of bridging the college affordability gap that many in the Greater Boston area experience. Emma is excited to empower Wily students with financial aid knowledge and make college graudation a reality.
Emma currently resides in Medford with two of her college best friends.
Scholar Coach (Middlebury)
When I first learned about the Wily Network, I was immediately interested in being a part of it. I am excited about supporting young people, especially those who have had inadequate support in the past, in their efforts to get an education and lead fulfilling lives. I am looking forward to building one-on-one relationships with students in the context of a larger community. In addition to being a Campus Coach, I am an educator and a psychotherapist in private practice, and have been working in the ASCL program with the Home for Little Wanderers as a teacher and mentor. I am dedicated to helping people learn skills and strategies to better navigate through life’s challenges. I am training to teach courses in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, which I integrate into my work when possible, as well as into my daily life.
Founder and Executive Director
After more than 30 years of working with children who struggle with serious emotional and behavioral problems, Judi feels the strongest connection to children without families who are currently able to support them. Throughout her career at Wediko Children’s Services, as a clinician, administrator, program director, and development officer, her dedication to these children has never wavered.
Judi earned her B.A. and Master’s degree in Psychology at Hamilton College and Boston College, respectively. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Judi has three daughters and lives in Needham, Massachusetts, with her husband.
Director of Development and Communications
Ashley has spent most of her career working in development and event planning for educational institutions and programs. Most recently, she was Director of Events at Horizons for Homeless Children in Roxbury, Massachusetts. From 2006 to 2016, Ashley was Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Affairs and Director of Special Events at Dedham Country Day School. Prior to this, she served as Executive Education Renewal Program Director at Harvard Business School and Director of Special Events at the School of American Ballet in New York City. She is excited to begin a new chapter of her nonprofit career working with Judi and fundraising for the Wily Network. Ashley lives in Dedham, Massachusetts, with her husband and three children.
Ashley has a B.S. in Elementary and Special Education from the University of Vermont.
Katherine (Kat) Castañeda MacDonald, LICSW
Director of Coaching and Scholar Coach
Kat has 13 years of experience working with youth and families in the Boston area. She has worked in a variety of positions in residential, school, re-entry, home-based, and community settings as a clinical social worker and trainer. Her work has focused primarily on mind-body interventions, social justice, dynamics of trauma and attachment, and post-traumatic growth. She very much enjoys working with Wily scholars and supervising Wily coaches. She is inspired by the determination, resilience, grace and passion Wily scholars exhibit and feels honored to be able to walk with them throughout their college experiences. In all of ther work, she has maintained that authentically supportive relationships have the capacity to transform lives and she sees this transformational process at play on a daily basis at the Wily Network.
Kat received her B.A. from Oberlin College and her M.A. in Social Work from Simmons School of Social Work.
Scholar Coach and Program Coordinator
Bonnie began her career nearly 20 years ago at Wediko Children’s Services and developed a passion for serving young people facing emotional and behavioral challenges. During her time at Wediko’s Summer Program, Year-Round Program and Boston School-Based Program, Bonnie enjoyed learning from mentors with diverse backgrounds, developing valuable skills in clinical care, programming and leadership. Bonnie is also committed to building connections in her community and spent the last ten years collaborating with local groups, including school parent organizations and her town’s Finance Committee. Bonnie is thrilled to bring her skills and passion to the Wily Network, to help empower Wily Scholars to push forward, find their greatness and reach their goals. Bonnie received her B.A. in Psychology and Women’s Studies from Mount Holyoke College and her M.S.W. with a concentration in Children & Families from Salem State University (formerly Salem State College). Bonnie enjoys running, spinning and volunteering. She lives with her husband and two sons in Norton, MA.
Board of Directors
Don Bramley is a Managing Director with Audax Group, a leading middle market private capital investment firm. Over the last 17 years, Don has played an integral role in building Audax’ private equity business, having been involved in nearly 200 transactions and having served as chairman or director of 39 of Audax’ portfolio companies. Prior to Audax, Don was a Partner with The Parthenon Group, a strategic advisory firm, a Managing Director with Meredith, Martin & Kaye, an investment management company, and in varying roles with FMC Corporation’s corporate development department and Salomon Brothers’ corporate finance department. Don received his B.A. from Middlebury College in 1988, where he majored in economics, and his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1993. Additionally, Don serves on the President’s Leadership Council at Middlebury College and previously served as a trustee of the Fessenden School in West Newton, Massachusetts, for five terms, including two terms as board President.
Katie Bramley (Board Co-Chair)
Katie has spent the majority of her working career involved in the not-for-profit world. Currently, she serves on the Board of Ambassadors of The Steppingstone Foundation, a not-for-profit organization focused on programs to prepare underserved students for educational success that leads to college. Additionally, Katie serves on Middlebury College’s President’s Leadership Council.
Previously, Katie was on the Board of Directors for Boston Children’s Hospital Center for Media and Child Health where she took a leadership role on the Strategic Planning Committee. She has also held numerous positions in a volunteer capacity within the school systems and sports teams of her four children over the past 21 years.
Prior to her not-for-profit involvement, Katie held marketing and sales positions at Reebok, Polaroid and IBM. She received her B.A. from Brown University in 1986 and her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1993.
Allison Polley Hirsch (Treasurer)
Allison retired in Spring 2014 from Deutsche Bank after 16 years, most recently serving as Director of European Equity Sales. She is currently spending more time with her children, 10 and 7 years of age, and working on a consulting project for Boston Preparatory Charter School. She has been and continues to enjoy working with organizations that advance the causes of children and community. She works with the Combined Jewish Philanthropy and is currently on the MBA Advisory Board for Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.
Allison became interested in how individual action could help children when she became a Big Sister in New York in the early 1990s. Her Little Sister, Angela, opened her eyes to the challenges of inner-city children with limited family support. Her greatest frustration with the program was that it did not permit Big Sisters to provide material support such as clothes and money to their Little Sisters. The Wily Network has two great components in her mind—it lets youth with foster care experience know that there is a strong network of caring individuals but almost, more importantly, it will give students the resources to succeed.
Michael Julian (Clerk)
Enterprise Account Executive at Acquia
Michael is a graduate of Bowdoin College, where he earned a degree in American History and Africana Studies. He participated in theater, ran on the cross country and track teams, and produced and anchored the Bowdoin Cable Network sports television show. Michael grew up in rural Maine and resides in Concord, Massachusetts, with his wife.
Michael is excited to work with the Wily Network as he is a first-generation college attendee who believes the power of a great education should be accessible to all.
Judi Alperin King
See bio above under Staff.
Margaret Rose Lewis, LCSW
Clinical Coordinator, Brookline Community Mental Health Center
Margaret brings more than eight years of experience working with at-risk children, youth, and their families in residential, school, hospital, and home-based settings. Her experiences as a therapist, program coordinator, and case manager have inspired her to work passionately to create strengths-based, flexible, community-focused supports for students transitioning out of foster care.
Margaret received her B.S. in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University in 2009. She earned her Masters in Social Work, concentrating in clinical social work and evidence-based practice, from the University of Chicago in 2013. She is a licensed clinical social worker in the state of Massachusetts. Currently, Margaret works for the Brookline Community Mental Health Center as the clinical coordinator of the Bridge for Resilient Youth in Transition program (BRYT) at Brookline High School.
Sara is an Account Executive at Talla, a Boston-based AI-driven tech startup, and a founding member of the Wily Network Board of Directors. She has worked to provide opportunities to underserved students in Greater Boston for the past 10 years.
Sara graduated from Tufts University in 2012 with a political science degree, focusing on education policy. During college, she spent nine months studying in Washington, D.C., interning at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and working on political campaigns and policy writing, experiences that furthered her interest in policy relating to underserved communities.
Sara is invested in the success of young people and the systemic supports needed to make success a reality. Immediately after graduation, Sara served two years volunteering full-time in Boston Public Schools with City Year Boston, an AmeriCorps program that aims to stem the high school dropout crisis by providing attendance, coursework, and social-emotional coaching to students. Her time serving in a 7th-grade classroom in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and her three years as a volunteer Big Sister illuminated for her the vast differences in resources and support that low-income students and communities receive compared to those in areas of greater wealth, as well as the different needs of students in these circumstances. She is a member of the Leadership Committee for City Year Boston’s Ambassador Circle and a volunteer Big Sister for Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Kathryn has worked in public policy for most of her career, primarily as editor of academic journal articles and book manuscripts. From 2006 to 2016, she was manuscript editor at Education Next, a quarterly journal on national education policy published by the Program on Education Policy and Governance at the Harvard Kennedy School, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation. Now based in Portland, Maine, Kathryn is focusing primarily on food policy as it relates to childhood hunger and poverty.
Kathryn has a B.A. in Economics and Religious Studies from Bowdoin College, a Master’s degree in Ethics from the University of Virginia, and a Graduate Certificate in Applied Research and Evaluation Methods from the University of Southern Maine. As a member of the Wily Network board, she hopes to help improve the education outcomes and ultimately the lives of college students who lack the support of a permanent family.
Director, Opportunity Scholarships and Outreach Programs, Northeastern University
Jennifer has been working in higher education for more than 25 years, at colleges and universities on both coasts. She has a BA in English and Political Science from Muhlenberg College and an M.Ed in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration from the University of Vermont. She has used her experiences in admissions, orientation, residence life, student activities, and career development to help first-generation college-bound students through the challenges of the college admissions process and to navigate the universities they attend. One of her proudest moments is founding the Champions Program for youth and alumni of foster care at the University of Washington.
In her spare time, Jennifer is working on her doctoral degree, trying to get on her bicycle as often as possible, and learning how to podcast. She lives in Dedham with her wife and two dogs.
Leann Walsh (Board Chair)
Associate Attorney – Labor, Employment, & Workplace Safety at K&L Gates
Prior to joining K & L Gates, Leann was a Senior Employment Law Associate at the Boston law firm of Goodwin Procter LLP, where her practice focused on litigation and counseling for clients on employment issues. She was a member of the firm’s higher education practice group. Leann’s pro bono work has included employment law counseling for nonprofit organizations and coordinating the firm’s program to represent low-income tenants facing eviction. In October of 2015, she was selected to participate in a program through which she acted as a special assistant district attorney in Woburn District Court until May of 2016.
Leann is excited to help with the Wily Network’s mission. Her parents dedicated their careers to their local Florida community college and emphasized throughout her upbringing the importance of making higher education available to all students.
Leann earned a BA in economics and political science from the University of Florida and received her law degree from Boston College Law School. She lives with her husband and daughter in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Haobo “Richard” Zhang (Rich)
Operations Manager, Eduporium
Rich earned his MBA at Babson College. After several years in analytics and strategy, Rich realized he wanted to pursue something with greater social impact than merely helping companies increase their profit margins. At Babson, Rich concentrated in Entrepreneurship with focuses in both products and services for social enterprises.
Rich joined the Wily Network through Babson’s career services office as an intern after hearing that Judi wanted to help foster students succeed in college. Although Rich was not a foster child, he is able to relate to some of the difficulties that foster students face through his own experiences growing up. He jumped on board with the Wily Network to help make a difference in the lives of these students.
President, The Steppingstone Foundation
Kelly has dedicated most of her career to increasing college access and success for underserved students in Boston, holding a number of fundraising and administrative roles at The Steppingstone Foundation since 1992. The Wily Network is a natural extension of her work at Steppingstone, and she is thrilled to help the organization achieve its mission of providing young people without supportive families with the services they need to reach their goals of college.
Kelly has a B.A. in English from Colby College and a M.A. in English from University College London. Prior to joining Steppingstone, Kelly worked for two years in the development office at Dana Hall School. In 2012, Kelly completed Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management program. Kelly lives in Boston with her husband and two children.
Gong Ke Gouldstone
Gong Ke Gouldstone grew up in China and immigrated to the U.S. when she was 13 years old. She is a graduate of MIT (EECS ’99, MEng ’00) and Harvard Business School (MBA 2015). She has worked at top technology companies such as Akamai, Google and TripAdvisor in a variety of roles from engineer, technical sales and digital marketing. She also founded and exited a premium tea chain. She is passionate about education and giving back to the entrepreneurship community. She is a mentor at MassChallenge, TechStars Boston and a member of the MIT Alumni Angels. As a board member at Wily Network, Ms. Gouldstone focuses on creating processes and operations to help the organization grow. She lives in Arlington with her husband and three children.
Founder and President, Independent Consultants of Education
Edward Walker is an experienced educator who has committed his entire professional career to the realm of education. Whether recruiting prospective students for colleges, guiding high school students through the college application and selection process, or assisting individuals to achieve their next level of education, Ed has always had the desire to aid others in educational advancement. Ed obtained his B.A. in African American Studies with a concentration in English and then obtained a M.Ed. in School Psychology and Counseling with an initial license in School Guidance. Over the last decade, Ed has served as Associate Director of College Counseling and Director of Alumni Relations at Prospect Hill Academy and the lead College Counseling Consultant for talented and gifted scholars of the Crimson Summer Academy at Harvard. Prior to joining the secondary school circuit, Ed was an Assistant Dean in Admissions at Bates College and a Senior Assistant Director in admissions at Wheaton College, where he led initiatives in diversity through his efforts with Multicultural Recruitment.
In 2008, Ed founded Independent Consultants in Education (I.C.E), which is a consortium of educators devoted to helping individuals and groups to achieve higher education. Finally, Ed has established himself as an influential inspirational speaker, known as Ed “Inspire for Higher” Walker, who has had a positive impact on the lives of thousands of youth and adults at the middle school, high school, and collegiate levels.