Staff

Judi Alperin King, PhD

Founder, 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 has an optimistic outlook and driven desire to help these young students. She’ll tirelessly prepare for them, anticipate their needs, listen to their stressors, and champion their successes. In sum, she’ll meet these young adults where they are and serve as their safety net through college graduation. 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.

Katherine (Kat) Castañeda MacDonald, LICSW

Director of Coaching, 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 there 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.

Ashley Linell

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.

Bonnie Yezukevich, LICSW

Program Coordinator, Scholar Coach

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.

Emma Chavenson

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 graduation a reality.

Emma currently resides in Medford with two of her college best friends.

Nikolina Dobreva

Scholar Coach

Susan Goldscheid, MAT

Scholar Coach

Susan is an educator and a psychotherapist in private practice, and worked in the ASCL program with the Home for Little Wanderers. She was previously a biology teacher in both Newton high schools. She is dedicated to helping people learn skills and strategies to better navigate through life’s challenges. She is currently training to teach courses in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, which she integrates into her work when possible, as well as into her daily life. Susan has a B.A. in Biology from SUNY Binghamton, and an MAT from Boston University. When she first learned about the Wily Network, she was immediately interested in being a part of it. She is 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. She deeply invested in building one-on-one relationships with students in the context of a larger community.

Becca Butler

Operations Coordinator

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.

Kathleen Culver, JD

Grants Manager

Kathleen has worked for the Wily Network as grants manager for the last three years.  She enjoys working to support these resilient young people and is enthusiastic about Wily’s mission.

Kathleen earned her B.A. at University of Notre Dame and her Juris Doctor from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  As a lawyer, Kathleen did legal research and writing, and practiced employment law where she represented both employers and employees. She lives with her husband, son and two daughters in Needham.  She enjoys playing with her pets, reading and traveling.