About Us:

Our Team

At Steppingstone, we take pride in the expertise and dedication of our staff. Learn more about who they are and how to contact them in our directory.
A group of Scholars and Steppingstone staff sit around a table, smiling in conversation.
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Robert Arias-Nivar

High School Success Advisor

Robert joined the Steppingstone team in 2022. He received his B.A. in Sociology and Italian Studies from College of The Holy Cross in 2022. Robert grew up in East Boston, MA and currently resides...

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Louisa Balgassi

College Success Advisor

Louisa received her B.S.W. from Salem State University in 2020. Prior to joining Steppingstone, Louisa worked as Child Services Coordinator for Victory Programs Inc., a sober-living residential pro...

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Lee Bernstein

High School Success Advisor

Lee joined Steppingstone in 2024 as a High School Success Advisor. Lee grew up in Massachusetts but attended college at Washington and Lee University in Virginia. She graduated in 2020 with a B.A....

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Daniella Castillo Vasquez

College Success Advisor

Daniella Castillo Vasquez is an Advisor with the College Success team at Steppingstone. Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, she moved to the Boston area in 2018 to pursue a B.A. in...

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Katie Cleary

Social Emotional Learning Associate

Katie moved from traditional education, and Long Island, to join Steppingstone in Boston as a Social-Emotional Learning Associate in 2023. She received her B.A. in History from Roanoke College...

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Leocadia DaSilva ’09

Academy Advisor

Leocadia graduated from Regis College in 2020 with a B.S. in Biology. She's lived in Boston her entire life, specifically Dorchester. Leocadia is a former Steppingstone Scholar! Outside of work, Le...

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Amber Goad

Director of Social Emotional Learning

Amber joined Steppingstone in 2023 as the Director of Social Emotional Learning, bringing years of SEL and behavioral knowledge with her. She has previously worked for the Virginia Institute of...

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Sam Jean-Francois

Middle School Success Advisor

Sam is a first-generation Haitian American graduate of Bates College, where they earned their B.A in Africana Studies with a concentration in Racisms. They joined Steppingstone in 2023 as a Middle...

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Tauryn King '12

High School Success Advisor

Tauryn first joined Steppingstone in 2011 as a Scholar, and commenced in 2012. Tauryn returned to Steppingstone as a High School Success Advisor in 2023. Being both a first-generation college student,

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Thai Luong

College Success Advisor

Thai has been with Steppingstone since 2019. He graduated from the University of Hawaii with his B.A. and M.A. in English. He enjoys working with College Scholars and getting to learn more about...

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Sean Ly

Middle School Success Advisor

Sean graduated from UMass Boston in 2021 with a B.A. in Exercise and Health Science. Before that, Sean graduated from Boston Latin School in 2016. During undergrad, Sean started working at a nonpro...

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David Meneses Ontiveros '12

Middle School Success Advisor

David Meneses Ontiveros is member of the Steppingstone Commencement class of 2012, and became a Middle School Success Advisor in 2023. After commencing from Steppingstone, David went to...

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Dan Montanez

Middle School Success Advisor

Originally from Fairfield, Connecticut, Daniel joined Steppingstone in October 2022 after teaching in the Greater Boston Area for several years. He graduated from Providence College, where he...

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Katarina Ng

Vice President of Scholar Support Services

Kat joined Steppingstone in 2013 as an Advisor. She later served as the Director of Admission and the Senior Director of Middle School Success. Prior to joining Steppingstone, Kat interned at...

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Christopher Parris

Chief Program Officer

Chris is an experienced educator with a demonstrated history of leading start-up initiatives in the field of education. Skilled in program development, Chris' expertise lies in the development and...

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Bianca Passero

Director of the Academy

Bianca graduated from Boston College in 2019 where she earned her B.A. in Elementary Education and Applied Psychology & Human Development. She then went on to get an M.Ed in Special Education at Bo...

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Will Richardson

Director of High School Success

Will brings varied experience and expertise from over a decade in education to his role as Director of High School Success at Steppingstone. He has worked as a classroom teacher...

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Ailyn Rivera '09

Program Operations Coordinator

Ailyn joined Steppingstone in 2023 and supports both the Admission and Academy teams in her role. She is a Steppingstone Alumna and first-generation college graduate, receiving her B.A. in Feminist...

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Mary Sullivan

Vice President of Enrollment Management

Mary received her B.A. in Sociology and Spanish Literature from Colgate University and her M.A. in Elementary Education from Sacred Heart University. Mary worked at Steppingstone for three years as...

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Yamiles Urena

Academy Advisor

Yamiles or “Yami” is an Academy Advisor for Steppingstone Scholars and families. She is Dominican, but New York born, and Boston raised. Yami graduated from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in...

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Jane Ventrone

Vice President of Academic Programs

Jane joined Steppingstone as an Advisor in 2006. She later served as Senior Director of Teaching and Learning and then became Vice President of Academic Programs in 2019. Prior to joining...

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Ivy Wagner

Teaching & Learning Associate

Born in a storm in the Way-Back-When, Ivy Wagner spent her youth in the city, her twenties trying any and everything, and more than a few years teaching. When not helping Scholars advance on a path...

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Kylie Webster-Cazeau

Director of Middle School Success

Kylie joined Steppingstone in 2023. Kylie graduated from Boston Latin School in 2016. While a student at Boston Latin School, Kylie, along with her classmates, led and participated in a student led...

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Dess Wilson

Academy Advisor

Dess is a first generation Guyanese American graduate of Hampshire College, where they earned their B.A in Black History, Psychology, and Theatre. They are currently pursuing an MFA in Drama...

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Annie Wu

Senior Director of College Success

Annie joined Steppingstone in 2015 as an Advisor to middle and high school Scholars before transitioning to work with college Scholars. Prior to joining Steppingstone, she coordinated academic and...

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Joanna Yu

Director of Teaching and Learning

Joined in 2021, Joanna is a Boston native with a B.A. in International Relations and East Asian Studies from Connecticut College. After graduation, she explored her interests in teaching in China...

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