2021 – 22 BOARD LEADERSHIP

President

Sarah Pelmas

Head of School, The Winsor School, Boston, MA
Sarah has been Head of School at The Winsor School in Boston since 2016. She is in her 2nd term on AISNE’s Board and she serves as the President of the Board. Prior to becoming Head at Winsor, Sarah was the Associate Head and Head of the Upper School at the National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C. Previous to that,… More

Sarah has been Head of School at The Winsor School in Boston since 2016. She is in her 2nd term on AISNE’s Board and she serves as the President of the Board. Prior to becoming Head at Winsor, Sarah was the Associate Head and Head of the Upper School at the National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C. Previous to that, she served in multiple roles at University High School in San Francisco, including Dean of Students and Interim Athletic Director. She has led strategic work at all three schools, including schedule creation, comprehensive strategic plans, overhauls of faculty evaluation, and curricular revisioning. Sarah holds an AB from Princeton, an MA in English and Creative Writing from Syracuse University and a PhD in Rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley. She serves on the Board of Trustees at the Belmont Hill School, as well as the boards of the Fenway Alliance and MASCO. Sarah lives in Brookline MA with her husband and two sons, who are in 5th grade at The Park School and 9th grade at Beaver Country Day School. Many mornings she can be found on Charles River, rowing with her team from Community Rowing Inc.

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Vice President

Gretchen Larkin

Head of School, Charles River School, Dover, MA
Gretchen has served as the Head of School at Charles River School (CRS) since 2014. Under her leadership, CRS has seen remarkable growth and success. In recent years, the school created an on-campus Wetlands Laboratory and also wrapped up a comprehensive campaign that raised $10.8 million. Gretchen has led work to increase diversity among faculty and students; reduce attrition to… More

Gretchen has served as the Head of School at Charles River School (CRS) since 2014. Under her leadership, CRS has seen remarkable growth and success. In recent years, the school created an on-campus Wetlands Laboratory and also wrapped up a comprehensive campaign that raised $10.8 million. Gretchen has led work to increase diversity among faculty and students; reduce attrition to the lowest level in five years; and increase enrollment. With nearly three decades of teaching and administrative experience in elementary and secondary schools, Gretchen has worked in Boston-area independent schools for much of her career including Dedham Country Day School, The Fay School, and The Advent School. She served as the K-8 Assistant Principal and Head of Lower School at Milton Academy, where she also worked as the school’s founding K-8 Curriculum Coordinator overseeing curriculum design. Gretchen joined the Board of Directors for the AISNE in 2015. She’s also the co-chair of Greenwich Academy’s Boston Alumnae Chapter and serves as a Trustee at Belmont Day School. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lake Forest College and a Master of Arts in teaching from Manhattanville College. Outside of CRS, Gretchen enjoys reading, running, hiking, and traveling with her family.

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Secretary

Nicole A. DuFauchard

Head of School, The Advent School, Boston, MA
Nicole has been the Head of School of The Advent School since 2013. Before her time at Advent, she served as the Director of Multicultural Affairs at Providence Day School in Charlotte, NC. Nicole holds a BA in Political Science and International Affairs, and an MA in Organizational Communications and Development with a concentration on Cross-Cultural Communications. Nicole is a… More

Nicole has been the Head of School of The Advent School since 2013. Before her time at Advent, she served as the Director of Multicultural Affairs at Providence Day School in Charlotte, NC. Nicole holds a BA in Political Science and International Affairs, and an MA in Organizational Communications and Development with a concentration on Cross-Cultural Communications. Nicole is a faculty member for the National Association of Independent Schools’ Diversity Leadership Institute and the secretary and chair of the Trustee Committee for AISNE. Nicole is also an executive committee board member for Waynflete School; a member of the Elementary School Heads’ Association (ESHA) Membership Committee Member on Diversity and the ESHA Annual Conference Chair for 2016; and a Partner for the Planning Committee for the 2017 Progressive Educators Network Annual Conference, and a faculty Member at Longy School of Music.Nicole is a Global Ambassador for the Queen Morta School in Vilnius, Lithuania, and is also a member of the corporation of the Community Music Center Boston and Lead Boston. Nicole has spent the last 20 years exploring equity and access in education. Nicole works with school and nonprofit boards across the country to engage in equity and justice work and serves as a mentor and facilitator for Administrators and Faculty of Color and Women aspiring for school leadership roles with the National Association of Independent Schools and the Association of Independent Schools in New England. Nicole lives in Boston with her partner Ray, their son Raymond who attends Boston Latin School and their two french bulldogs, Miles Davis and Biggie Smalls.

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Treasurer

Jonathan Douglas

Chief Financial Officer, Berwick Academy, South Berwick, ME
Jon joined Berwick Academy as its Chief Financial Officer in 2015, after serving as the Director of Finance & Operations at School Year Abroad. Originally from Los Angeles, Jon began his school finance career on the west coast at The Walden School and Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School. He is in his 4th year on the AISNE Board of Directors… More

Jon joined Berwick Academy as its Chief Financial Officer in 2015, after serving as the Director of Finance & Operations at School Year Abroad. Originally from Los Angeles, Jon began his school finance career on the west coast at The Walden School and Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School. He is in his 4th year on the AISNE Board of Directors and serves as Board Treasurer. Additionally, Jon serves as Board Chair of Captivated Health and The Birchtree Center, a school that promotes independence and productive lives for youth with autism. Jon lives in Byfield, MA with his partner and two children. When away from school, he can be found rooting for his hometown Dodgers or scuba diving to explore the underwater world. On campus, his office can be easily identified by his trusty M&M dispenser and an oddly extensive collection of Mr. Potato Heads.

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Town Academy Member-at-Large

Erin P. Mayo

Head of School, Fryeburg Academy, Fryeburg, ME
Erin has been Head of School at Fryeburg Academy in Fryeburg, Maine since 2013. She’s serving her first term on AISNE’s board. Erin began her career as a teacher and administrator at St. Johnsbury Academy in Vermont, and prior to leading Fryeburg Academy, she served first as Head of Upper School and then Assistant Head of School for Academics at… More

Erin has been Head of School at Fryeburg Academy in Fryeburg, Maine since 2013. She’s serving her first term on AISNE’s board. Erin began her career as a teacher and administrator at St. Johnsbury Academy in Vermont, and prior to leading Fryeburg Academy, she served first as Head of Upper School and then Assistant Head of School for Academics at the Episcopal School of Dallas. Erin received her A.B. from Georgetown University and her M.A. from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College. She serves on St. Johnsbury Academy’s Board of Trustees and in 2022 will join the NEASC Commission on Independent Schools. Erin has consulted for the College Board and Independent School Management, and she was a founding board member of the Good Shepherd Catholic School in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.

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2021 – 22 BOARD

Trey Cassidy

Head of School, Bancroft School, Worcester, MA
Trey is Head of School at Bancroft School in Worcester, MA, an independent preK through grade 12 day school with 400 students. He has been an administrator, teacher, and coach for 30 years in Maryland, Michigan, and now Massachusetts. He has been with Bancroft since 2014 and has served on the AISNE Board since 2017. He is an advocate for… More

Trey is Head of School at Bancroft School in Worcester, MA, an independent preK through grade 12 day school with 400 students. He has been an administrator, teacher, and coach for 30 years in Maryland, Michigan, and now Massachusetts. He has been with Bancroft since 2014 and has served on the AISNE Board since 2017. He is an advocate for creating engaged learning environments and is passionate about helping individuals grow through their community-based experiences.

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Yully Cha

Independent Consultant, Nashoba Brooks School, Concord, MA
Yully joined Codman Academy in 2021 as the inaugural Director of Strategic Initiatives and Advancement. Prior to joining Codman, she worked as an independent consultant for various schools and non-profits, from fundraising and capital campaigns to leadership development and strategic growth. Prior to that, she served as Executive Director of Bridge Boston Charter School in Roxbury, Chief Program Officer at The Steppingstone… More

Yully joined Codman Academy in 2021 as the inaugural Director of Strategic Initiatives and Advancement. Prior to joining Codman, she worked as an independent consultant for various schools and non-profits, from fundraising and capital campaigns to leadership development and strategic growth. Prior to that, she served as Executive Director of Bridge Boston Charter School in Roxbury, Chief Program Officer at The Steppingstone Foundation, and Assistant Dean of Admission at Hamilton College. Yully’s family immigrated to Brooklyn, NY where she owes her love of reading and literature to her public school and library down the street. She resides with her partner and two children in Sharon, MA, where you can often find Yully volunteering for her daughters’ soccer and basketball teams.

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Eric Chapman

Assistant Head of School for Academics and Program, The Park School, Brookline, MA
Eric joined Park’s administrative team as the Assistant Head of School for Academics and Program after an extensive national search. Eric earned his bachelor’s in social psychology at Tufts University, he earned two master’s of education degrees from Pace University, and he is currently pursuing his doctorate in education at the University of Pennsylvania. During his career, Eric has been… More

Eric joined Park’s administrative team as the Assistant Head of School for Academics and Program after an extensive national search. Eric earned his bachelor’s in social psychology at Tufts University, he earned two master’s of education degrees from Pace University, and he is currently pursuing his doctorate in education at the University of Pennsylvania. During his career, Eric has been a classroom teacher, a director of enrollment and financial aid, a director of diversity, and twice a division head, most recently as the head of the upper school (Grades 4-8) at St. David’s School in New York City. He has worked and led in highly progressive schools as well as more traditional schools. He has overseen cultural change and led curricular advancement.

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Emily H. Jones

Head of School, The Putney School, Putney, VT
Emily has been Head of School at Putney since 2007. Prior to that she worked at schools in Botswana, Thailand, and Oregon. She is in her second term on the AISNE board. Emily is particularly interested in the ways in which a well-designed accreditation system can help schools solve problems, and in the power of collaboration between schools to give… More

Emily has been Head of School at Putney since 2007. Prior to that she worked at schools in Botswana, Thailand, and Oregon. She is in her second term on the AISNE board. Emily is particularly interested in the ways in which a well-designed accreditation system can help schools solve problems, and in the power of collaboration between schools to give each school the shared experience and tools to meet their own goals.

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Brendan Largay

Head of School, Belmont Day School, Belmont, MA
Brendan has been Head of School at Belmont Day School (Belmont, MA) since 2016. He has been a member of the board of the Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE) since 2018 and has also served as a trustee of the Elementary School Heads Association (ESHA) since 2019. Brendan earned a B.A. in English and drama at Connecticut… More

Brendan has been Head of School at Belmont Day School (Belmont, MA) since 2016. He has been a member of the board of the Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE) since 2018 and has also served as a trustee of the Elementary School Heads Association (ESHA) since 2019. Brendan earned a B.A. in English and drama at Connecticut College and an M.Ed. in educational administration at Boston College, Lynch School of Education. Prior to joining the Belmont Day community, he was head of middle school at The Meadowbrook School (Weston, MA). At Belmont Day, Brendan led the creation of the school’s newest mission and strategic plan. His work to establish a creative and responsive plan for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic was instrumental in successfully supporting the needs of the school’s students, families, and faculty. With a deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, he established the school’s first DEI leadership position in 2019. He led the school through its latest capital campaign which resulted in the construction of The Barn, the school’s newest facility housing arts, science, and innovation classrooms, as well as athletic facilities.

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Claire Leheny

Executive Director, Association of Independent Schools in New England
Claire joined AISNE in 2015 as the organization's Executive Director. Prior to joining AISNE, Claire was the founding Executive Director of the National Network of Schools in Partnership (NNSP), which brings together public and independent schools to build partnerships that expand opportunities for students. Claire began her career as an independent school teacher, coach and administrator and then spent over… More

Claire joined AISNE in 2015 as the organization’s Executive Director. Prior to joining AISNE, Claire was the founding Executive Director of the National Network of Schools in Partnership (NNSP), which brings together public and independent schools to build partnerships that expand opportunities for students. Claire began her career as an independent school teacher, coach and administrator and then spent over a decade as a senior executive for two media companies based in London and Washington, D.C. Claire is a graduate of Northfield Mt. Hermon, Oberlin College, and Georgetown University. She lives with her husband in Milton, MA.

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Dr. Noni Thomas López

Head of School, Gordon School, East Providence, RI
Noni has served as Head of School at the Gordon School in East Providence, RI since 2018. Before joining Gordon, Noni worked for two decades as a teacher, and later a consultant and administrator, in independent schools in New York City and has a passion for leadership development. In 2013, she founded the Interschool Leadership Institute for Educators of Color… More

Noni has served as Head of School at the Gordon School in East Providence, RI since 2018. Before joining Gordon, Noni worked for two decades as a teacher, and later a consultant and administrator, in independent schools in New York City and has a passion for leadership development. In 2013, she founded the Interschool Leadership Institute for Educators of Color to cultivate the next generation of leaders of independent schools. In 2020, Noni began her first term on the AISNE Board of Directors. She currently serves on multiple national, regional and local boards, including the National Association of Independent Schools, Headmistresses Association of the East, Community Preparatory School, Inspiring Minds Rhode Island, and Trinity Repertory Company. In July 2020, she was invited by Sesame Workshop to be a Racial Justice Advisor and serves as a script consultant on issues of adolescent development and racial and social justice for two award-winning television series, Ghost Writer and Locked Down. Noni holds a B.A. from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, an M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University, and an Ed.D in Educational and Organizational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Dr. Monica Palmer

Dean of Faculty, The Governor’s Academy, Newbury, MA
Monica graduated with a BA in dramatic arts and law & society from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has a MFA in theater from Columbia University, a MEd in educational leadership from Teachers College Klingenstein Center for Independent Schools at Columbia University, and an EdD in educational and organizational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. Before coming to… More

Monica graduated with a BA in dramatic arts and law & society from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has a MFA in theater from Columbia University, a MEd in educational leadership from Teachers College Klingenstein Center for Independent Schools at Columbia University, and an EdD in educational and organizational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. Before coming to Govs , Monica worked at Lake Forest Academy in Illinois where she has served for six years as a dorm parent, theater director, and director of the fine and performing arts department, and at the Madeira School in Virginia where she served as a teacher, dorm parent, department chair, enrollment manager for diversity outreach, and parent liaison to the parent’s association in the Head of School’s office. In addition to her role as Dean of Faculty at the Academy, she directs the fall play, teaches acting in the Introduction to Fine Arts (IFA) course, and serves on the Administrator-on-Duty (AOD) team. Monica lives on campus with her husband and their three sons.

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Phil Peck

Phil Peck

Head of School, Holderness School, Holderness, NH
Phil is finishing his 20th year as head and 37th year working at Holderness School. In addition to working at Holderness, Phil has done quite a bit of teaching and working at the Klingenstein Center at TC Columbia. Prior to Holderness, Phil coached for the US Ski Team. Phil was fortunate to serve on the ISANNE Board for Several years… More

Phil is finishing his 20th year as head and 37th year working at Holderness School. In addition to working at Holderness, Phil has done quite a bit of teaching and working at the Klingenstein Center at TC Columbia. Prior to Holderness, Phil coached for the US Ski Team. Phil was fortunate to serve on the ISANNE Board for Several years before the merger, including the shortest tenure as President of the Board. After the exciting merger last year, he was honored to be asked to serve on the AISNE Board.

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Allison Gaines Pell

Head of School, The Wheeler School, Providence, RI
Allison has been Head of The Wheeler School in Providence, Rhode Island since July 2017. During her time at Wheeler, she created Wheeler’s first-ever strategic design, which was unveiled with a new, unearthed, mission statement, “to learn our powers and be answerable for their use.” Prior to Wheeler, she was the Head of Blue School in New York City for… More

Allison has been Head of The Wheeler School in Providence, Rhode Island since July 2017. During her time at Wheeler, she created Wheeler’s first-ever strategic design, which was unveiled with a new, unearthed, mission statement, “to learn our powers and be answerable for their use.” Prior to Wheeler, she was the Head of Blue School in New York City for five years, where she grew the school from early childhood through middle school. From 2005 through 2012, she was the founder and founding principal of an innovative district public school in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, New York. She has been on the faculty of the Institute for New Heads through NAIS for three years. Various writings on Wheeler and education can be found here. Allison has a BA from Brown University and a M.Ed from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. She grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and attended Saint Ann’s School, where she came to understand the primacy of the arts in a fine education, and which sparked a passion for education that continues to this day. She lives in Providence with her architect husband and her two teens, Miles and Hannah, and their chocolate lab, Willie.

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Grace Cotter Regan

President, Boston College High School, Boston, MA
In 2017, Grace became the first woman president of Boston College High School, a Jesuit, all-boys college preparatory school in Boston, Mass. Ms. Regan is not only the first woman to serve in the role in the school’s more than 150-year history, she is also just the second lay person. (Ms. Regan also serves on the board of directors of… More

In 2017, Grace became the first woman president of Boston College High School, a Jesuit, all-boys college preparatory school in Boston, Mass. Ms. Regan is not only the first woman to serve in the role in the school’s more than 150-year history, she is also just the second lay person. (Ms. Regan also serves on the board of directors of America Media.) Ms. Regan earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Boston College, then served as a post-collegiate volunteer with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Belize. She has worked in advancement and communications at high schools, universities, the Boston Public Library Foundation and the former New England Province of the Society of Jesus. All of this, along with her passion for the Jesuit philosophy of education, has helped her respond to the challenges of her role, including the threat of Covid-19 and reckoning with the school’s history of addressing questions of race.

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Jadihel (Jadi) Taveras

Head of School, Esperanza Academy, Lawrence, MA
Jadi began his service as Head of School at Esperanza Academy in 2018. Immediately prior, Jadi served as Dean of Multicultural Education at The Governor’s Academy and Associate Dean of Students at The Putney School. After several years of working in the field of international development, Jadi returned to education where he believes in the power of independent schools to… More

Jadi began his service as Head of School at Esperanza Academy in 2018. Immediately prior, Jadi served as Dean of Multicultural Education at The Governor’s Academy and Associate Dean of Students at The Putney School. After several years of working in the field of international development, Jadi returned to education where he believes in the power of independent schools to drive meaningful systemic change. In 2020, Jadi proudly committed to his first term as a member of AISNE’s Board of Directors. He currently serves on the board of The Mariposa Foundation, Kimball Union Academy, Marigold Montessori School, and The Lawrence Partnership. Along with a strategic plan that has laid out the road map for Esperanza to position itself as leaders in Urban Education, Jadi has led the development and implementation of restorative justice, a culturally responsive curriculum, and community cultural wealth as institutional priorities at Esperanza Academy. Above all, he’s obsessed with spending time with his children.

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Geoff Wagg

Head of School, Waynflete School, Portland, ME
Geoff is an experienced independent school leader with over a quarter-century of service to schools. Prior to his appointment as Head of School at Waynflete in 2013, Geoff served in a variety of administrative posts including Head of Upper School, Director of Technology, and Department Chair. Early in his career, Geoff focused on helping schools find appropriate ways to integrate… More

Geoff is an experienced independent school leader with over a quarter-century of service to schools. Prior to his appointment as Head of School at Waynflete in 2013, Geoff served in a variety of administrative posts including Head of Upper School, Director of Technology, and Department Chair. Early in his career, Geoff focused on helping schools find appropriate ways to integrate emerging technologies into their programs. Geoff served for many years on the National Association of Independent School’s 21st Century Curriculum and Technology Task Force. More recently, Geoff has turned his attention to how faculty professional growth and evaluation can be a catalyst for program innovation. He helped launch the Folio Collaborative, conducted research on the topic during his Klingenstein Head of School Fellowship in 2016, and has spoken at regional and national conferences. Geoff is currently helping Waynflete achieve the goals of its strategic plan.

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Allison Webster

Head of School, Dedham Country Day School, Dedham, MA
Allison Webster has served as Head of School at Dedham Country Day since 2016. She began her career in law, practicing for two years in Boston before discovering her love of schools and switching careers to pursue the question of what makes children and institutions thrive. Over the next 20 years, she worked as a middle school teacher at Shady… More

Allison Webster has served as Head of School at Dedham Country Day since 2016. She began her career in law, practicing for two years in Boston before discovering her love of schools and switching careers to pursue the question of what makes children and institutions thrive. Over the next 20 years, she worked as a middle school teacher at Shady Hill School and The Park School, ultimately serving as the Assistant Head of School at Shady Hill for 10 years. In addition to serving on the AISNE Membership Committee, Allison is a member of Headmistresses of the East (HMEA), The Head’s Network, Elementary School Heads Association (ESHA) and Country Day School Heads Association. She has published several articles in NAIS’s Independent School Magazine and led numerous workshops in positive psychology with independent schools leaders. She holds a B.A. in English from Rollins College, J.D. from Tulane Law School, M.Ed. in Teaching and Curriculum from Harvard University, and Master of Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Dr. Jennifer L. Zaccara

Head of School, Vermont Academy, Town of Rockingham, VT
Jennifer is Vermont Academy’s eighteenth Head of School. She came to Vermont Academy in 2017 from The Nightingale-Bamford School in New York City, where she served as Associate Head of School since 2013. Prior to that, she was Associate Dean of Faculty at The Taft School in Watertown, CT where she spent twelve years. Since coming to Vermont Academy, Jennifer… More

Jennifer is Vermont Academy’s eighteenth Head of School. She came to Vermont Academy in 2017 from The Nightingale-Bamford School in New York City, where she served as Associate Head of School since 2013. Prior to that, she was Associate Dean of Faculty at The Taft School in Watertown, CT where she spent twelve years. Since coming to Vermont Academy, Jennifer has worked with the board and the school community to launch a new strategic plan. She has led the campaign that drives the plan to significant gains, with record breaking fundraising in 2020 and a near doubling of that amount in 2021. Part of this success comes from significant initiatives to engage alumni by clarifying the school’s identity, purpose, direction, and value proposition.

She has also overseen several partnerships, including with Liceo Europeo in Madrid, Spain, where students enrolled in the international education program now receive a Vermont Academy diploma, and a partnership with Mount Snow Academy to allow top-level sports-on-snow students to earn a Vermont Academy diploma. A native of Connecticut, Jennifer graduated from Trinity College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Master of Arts degree in English with distinction. She received her doctorate in English from the University of Connecticut, where she graduated with honors. Jennifer enjoys welcoming students, faculty, and local residents to her home in the heart of campus, where she lives with her dogs, Copperfield and Brontë. She has two sons. Bryce Rafferty is at Sturm Law School at the University of Denver. Keefe Rafferty is a Lieutenant in the Navy serving at Joint Meteorology and Oceanography Special Operations Command Pacific at Camp Smith in Hawaii.

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