New England Head Start Training & Technical Assistance

Our Staff

Rosario Dominguez

Co-Director and Regional Training & Technical Assistance Coordinator

Rosario Dominguez

Rosario Dominguez, MPA has Head Start experience at the national, regional, and local levels, as well as other diverse human services experience. Ms. Dominguez was previously a grantee specialist manager for Head Start’s American Indian and Alaska Native Region. Prior to that she served on the staff of the National Head Start Center on Program Management and Fiscal Operations and also worked for Head Start grantees in Massachusetts.

Ms. Dominguez received her master’s in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor’s in political science with a specialization in education from Carleton College. Additionally she has received graduate credit from Wheelock College in early childhood education and program management.

(617) 413-9240

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Ruth-Ann Rasbold

Co-Director and Regional Early Childhood Manager

Ruth-Ann Rasbold

Ruth-Ann Rasbold has over 30 years of experience with infant/toddlers, special education and disabilities services, and with providing technical assistance to local, state, and national early childhood programs and systems. She has also managed state and federal grants and contracts in early intervention, child care, inclusion, family involvement, and community support.

Ms. Rasbold received a bachelor's of science in special education/elementary education from George Peabody College and a master's of science in early childhood education from Wheelock College.

(617) 413-9923

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Sharon Adams

Early Childhood Specialist

Sharon Adams has gained a broad range of experience and skills including experience teaching, supervising, and directing in several infant, toddler, and preschool programs as well as providing training and technical assistance to Head Start and community preschool programs. She has taught college-level course in supervision, child development, and early childhood education.

Ms. Adams received a bachelor's of science in early childhood education from Messiah College and a master's of science in education administration from Bank Street College of Education.

(802) 763-2797

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Melissa Adams

Grantee Specialist

Melissa Adams has extensive experience in nonprofit management, leadership, program development, contract and budget management, and grant writing having worked most of her career in the field of maternal and child health and early education. Most recently, Melissa served as the deputy director for the Community Action Partnership of Strafford County (New Hampshire) where she also previously served as the Head Start director. 

Ms. Adams holds a bachelor's of science in business administration and a master's in nonprofit management and leadership, both from Capella University.

(857) 275-6116

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Erica Alexander-McGrath

Administrative and Fiscal Support Specialist

Erica Alexander-McGrath has a wealth of office management experience in both the higher education and government sectors. Ms. Alexander-McGrath has valuable experience managing federal grants and contracts and an understanding of the regulatory systems in place in both areas. Since joining UMass Donahue Institute in 2013 she has developed and streamlined the business group's systems to ensure a positive and productive relationship with the Head Start program.

Ms. Alexander-McGrath attended both the University of Massachusetts Amherst and University of Massachusetts Boston. She received her bachelor’s degree in political science from UMass Boston.

(774) 455-7368

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Alexandra Arnold

Early Childhood Specialist

Alexandra Arnold has worked in the field of education for over 25 years. In that time she has been involved with overseeing early education programs including mental health and disabilities for a Head Start program in New England and early intervention, family counseling, and a state comprehensive community child care initiative that was modeled after Head Start. Her Head Start experience also includes working for the Training and Technical Assistance Network for in New England. Most recently, she was the Grants Manager for Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge in Rhode Island. 

Ms. Arnold received her master’s in counseling from Boston University and her bachelor’s in special education/elementary education from Wheelock College.

(508) 439-1892

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Jeanne Burkes

Early Childhood Specialist

Jeanne Burkes has extensive experience including teaching, directing, and providing training in various infant, toddler, preschool, kindergarten, and school age programs. She has coordinated and conducted trainings for early care and education professionals, and parents of young children. She also developed a curriculum designed to promote early literacy curriculum and has conducted trainings for programs throughout the U.S.

Ms. Burkes received her bachelor's of science in early childhood education from Wheelock College and has completed graduate coursework at the University of Massachusetts, Lesley College, and Boston College.

(617) 429-2877

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Anne Hemmer

Systems Specialist

Anne Hemmer has served as a health manager, a homebased and family childcare option manager and a nutrition manager for Head Start in Massachusetts. She has also been a nutrition consultant for Early Head Start in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Anne previously worked as a Head Start technical assistance specialist from 2004-2009. She has worked for the MA Department of Public Health with the MA Children at Play program and MA Department of Early Education and Care with the Quality Rating and Improvement System initiative. She is also a registered dietitian.

Ms. Hemmer graduated from Framingham State College with a bachelor's degree in food and nutrition. She has a master's degree from Wheelock College in family support/parent education.

(617) 413-2399

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Maureen Hickey

Regional Early Childhood Manager

Maureen Hickey's experience includes training and technical assistance as well as working as a health and disabilities coordinator, a parent child care center coordinator, an Early Head Start manager, a director of program operations, and an associate director for a large Head Start and child care program.

Ms. Hickey received a bachelor's of science in early childhood education from the University of Maine and an master's in early childhood education from Wheelock College.

(603) 247-9303

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Karen Jones

Health Specialist

Karen Jones, RN has nursing experience primarily in maternal-child health including both hospital care and home visiting. For the last 17 years, Ms. Jones was the health manager for a Connecticut agency with over 1,000 children, including Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Ms. Jones believes that the relationships formed with clients is at the core of helping families and children reach their maximum potential. 

Ms. Jones received her bachelor's in nursing from Pace University.

(617) 413-1715

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Maureen McDonald

Early Childhood Specialist

Maureen McDonald, M.Ed. has served as an education specialist, center director, and education services manager for a Massachusetts Head Start/Early Start program with over 600 children. She is a nationally trained regional facilitator for I Am Moving, I Am Learning – Head Start’s childhood obesity program. She has been a certified Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) trainer since 2009. Ms. McDonald has extensive experience in training and mentoring early childhood professionals as an adjunct faculty member at several Massachusetts colleges.

Ms. McDonald received a bachelor's of arts in english from Boston College and her master’s degree in early childhood education from Salem State University.

(857) 207-1976

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Maria Menzi

Early Childhood Specialist

Maria Menzi has extensive experience in management, leadership, supervision, program development, community partnerships, and grant writing in Head Start as well as in infant/toddler and preschool programs. She served as a Head Start education and disabilities manager for home-based and center-based options. As a director in Head Start and in early child care programs, Ms. Menzi established a state approved, on-site teacher training program, a family network support program, and expanded child care services.

Ms. Menzi received a bachelor's of arts in child study from Tufts University.

(617) 429-2870

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Gail Petersen

Grantee Specialist

Gail Petersen has worked with child care, human rights, disabilities advocacy, emergency and relief organizations, literacy, hospitals, and other community groups. Ms. Petersen also has seven years experience as a family worker, transition coordinator, social services coordinator, and program director of a Head Start program in Connecticut.

Ms. Petersen received her bachelor's of arts in psychology from Augustana College.

(617) 413-9536

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Melissa Repko

Early Childhood Specialist

Melissa Repko, M.S. has served as the education manager for a Head Start/Early Head Start program, as well as a special needs coordinator and teacher. She is also a nationally-trained regional facilitator for I Am Moving I Am Learning, Head Start’s national obesity prevention program.

Ms. Repko received a bachelor's of arts in sociology from Roanoke College and master's in early childhood special education from Bank Street College of Education in New York.

(203) 313-1052

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Shannon Shaw

Early Childhood Specialist

Shannon Shaw is experienced in the field of early childhood education, specifically as a teacher, supervisor, manager, and director. Ms. Shaw has also provided training and technical assistance to both child care and Head Start programs. Shannon is also a nationally-trained regional facilitator for I Am Moving I Am Learning, Head Start’s national obesity prevention program, as well as a certified trainer in classroom assessment scoring systems.

Ms. Shaw received her bachelors of science in early childhood education from Westfield State College.

(802) 451-8021

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Cindy Torrence

Grantee Specialist

Cindy Torrence previously worked in the Head Start technical assistance system supporting programs to build quality management systems and supporting positive outcomes for children and families. Ms. Torrence also worked with the National Center for Program Management and Fiscal Operations to provide training and resources for Head Start leaders throughout the nation. Ms. Torrence is also a former Head Start teacher.

Ms. Torrence received her bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Connecticut and her master's degree in organizational management from Eastern Connecticut State University. Ms. Torrence is also a Johnson & Johnson Head Start Management Fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles.

(617) 571-9085

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Patricia Tripp

Early Childhood Specialist

Patricia Tripp, M.A. has been a supervisor, trainer, and provider of technical assistance to Head Start and early childhood programs as well as a peer reviewer and as a mentor. She has also provided a variety of trainings on child development, child guidance, and best practices in preschool, center based, infant-toddler, and inclusion programs.

Ms. Tripp received a bachelor's of science in elementary education, a bachelor's of science in early childhood special education, and a master's in early childhood education and child development from Wheelock College. Ms. Tripp is also a Head Start/Johnson & Johnson Management Fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles. 

(207) 210-4075

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Andrea Urbano

Early Childhood Specialist

Andrea T. Urbano, M.A. has over 30 years of experience in the field of early childhood education in various roles and within various systems of care. She has served children and families experiencing homelessness in MA as a part of a team focused on providing quality early childhood education and is a master cadre coach for the CSEFEL Pyramid Approach, which underscores the importance of promoting social emotional development in young children.

Ms. Urbano received her bachelor's early childhood education from New York Univeristy, a master's in spirituality and ministry from Boston College and attended Erickson Institute with a concentration in early childhood administration.

(475) 559-1315

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Contracting with Us

The UMass Donahue Institute is pre-approved to offer a variety of options for streamlined, simplified contracting both within Massachusetts and at the federal level.

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UMass Donahue Institute

University of Massachusetts

Office of the President

100 Venture Way, Suite 9

Hadley, Massachusetts 01035

(413) 545-0001

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