The Drake Academy Board of Directors is working as a team to build a school that we believe will change education both now and in the future. Part of our vision centers around the belief that our entire school should reflect the diverse cultures represented in the communities we serve.

Our Board of Directors, Administrators, and Master Educators come from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, each adding a unique perspective and important voice in how the school is designed and led, ensuring that each and every student is seen and valued

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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Esther Concepción M.Ed., 

Teacher, Founder Drake Academy of Excellence

Esther holds a Master’s degree in Curriculum Design and Educational Leadership and has conducted over ten years of personal research in the field of education. Esther is passionate about creating environments in which children thrive academically and emotionally and has experienced success using the philosophies in this school model to increase academic rigor, teacher and student engagement, and to build meaningful relationships between leaders, teachers and students. Esther served on the planning committee for Shining Stars Preschool in Framingham, Massachusetts and upon receiving licensure, oversaw all aspects of the program, as a director and teacher. This experience served as a great learning opportunity and validation of the principles on which the Drake Academy is built. Esther firmly believes that there is greatness inside each child and that they reach their full potential when they are surrounded by passionate teachers who see their incredible value and creatively nurture their various strengths and abilities. The Drake Academy of Excellence is the result of Esther's pursuit to fulfill her calling of advocating for children and to provide them with a great education that prepares them to lead, inspire, and serve others.

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Susanna Katsman M.Ed.,

Leadership Development Facilitation & Coaching

Susanna Katsman is passionate about supporting the development of emerging leaders. She skillfully guides her program participants to identify their goals and facilitates the achievement of meaningful and sustainable changes in mindset and behavior. Her work is based on Adult Development and Adaptive Leadership theories and includes tools such as Immunity to Change, Communication Style Diagnostic, DiSC, and CliftonStrengths. Over the past twenty years, Susanna has held leadership roles in Fundraising Development Operations and Organizational Development within Health Care and Higher Education sectors, including overseeing Training & Development on the Harvard Longwood Campus. As a result, she has over ten years of experience designing and delivering programs across organizational functions. Susanna holds an Ed.M. in Human Development and Psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, an M.A. in Biology from Brandeis University and is trained and qualified in Immunity to Change Facilitation by Minds at Work. In addition to serving her client organizations, she subcontracts as a Senior Facilitator and Consultant. Susanna is also a member of the instructor team for the Harvard Extension School Professional Development Program "Essential  Management Skills for Emerging Leaders”.

Rebecca Thackaberry 

Rebecca Thackaberry has a BA from Colby College and spent a few years in the “dot-com” corporate world as a content developer, re-engineer of business processes, and corporate trainer. Realizing, one day, that kids are way more fun than adults, Rebecca left the private sector and returned to school for a social justice focused Master’s in Education from Fairfield University. Rebecca has taught in a variety of classrooms and collaborated with diverse populations of students in 5 different states. She has experience working in inner-city charter schools, dual-language elementary classrooms, and self-contained special education environments.

 

After having children of her own, Rebecca switched sides, training as a Special Education Advocate with the Council of Parent Advocates and Attorneys (COPAA). Her focus shifted to empowering families to advocate for their exceptional students with unique needs in public school settings. As an advocate, Rebecca has worked with a large number of families supporting a large variety of disabilities and has given presentations on the special education and 504 processes for parents. Currently, Rebecca holds a seat on Groton Dunstable Regional School District’s (GDRSD) Equity Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board, is the Advocacy Officer and DEI Liaison for GDRSD’s SEPAC, and is co-chair of the Education Outreach branch of the Racial and Social Justice Group (RSJG).

 

With a pedagogical philosophy rooted in social justice and centered on community, Rebecca believes public education has the central role to bring about equitable changes in our world. As a current member of COPAA, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASN), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), she demonstrates her commitment to being an ally, maintaining that everyone deserves to be authentically seen, heard, valued, and respected.

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Kimberly A. Farmer, 

Executive Partner - JHilburn 

Kim has served in various leadership roles in non-profits and businesses over the past 25 years. These include a decade as a Women’s Ministry leader in Europe, building and training teams of other women’s ministry leaders across 9 countries. Later, Kim joined a start-up company on the ground floor and has risen to the level of Executive Partner - recruiting, building, and leading a team of 150 women and men. Philanthropically, Kim’s passion is caring for youth who are overlooked by society. In the former Eastern bloc countries, Kim identified neglected orphanages, then solicited and provided needed supplies and encouragement for the children. Here in Massachusetts, Kim has received accolades from the Governor and the Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) for the annual Holiday Party she founded over 10 years ago for the overlooked teenagers in DCF. Today, over 100 teens attend each December from four high-risk cities across Massachusetts. Kim also co-founded the Hope Worldwide/MLK scholarship program to benefit three high school seniors/college students in the DCF program. Kim’s firm belief is that every child has value and potential. Her passion is bringing together talented, caring adults and inspiring them to help youth strive for excellence and realize their full potential.

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Ethan Brown, M.B.A.

Partner & Portfolio Manager, Cox Capital Management

Ethan Brown is a partner and portfolio manager at Cox Capital Management, an investment manager and financial planning firm. A Registered Investment Adviser, Ethan has a B.S. in Political Science from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. In his previous career as a professional triathlete, he won two National Titles and competed at the 2012 Olympic Trials. Ethan is also a member of the Boston Security Analysts Society and is a CFA Charterholder. Much of his firm’s focus involves working with nonprofits and foundations. Ethan has served on the Greater Lowell Community Foundation Distribution Committee and also partnered with Philanthropy Massachusetts to put on seminars for creating investment committees and composing investment policy statements. Outside of his professional life, Ethan enjoys riding his Peloton and is an avid gardener. He and his wife Jessica have a young daughter and son.