Meet this year's Alumni Council and learn more about the people who volunteer with Lesley to represent our over 82,000 graduates.
Dr. Ayanna Cooper, ’98 GSOE, began her term as President on July 1, 2013. She has been a member of the council since 2008 and has chaired the Chapters Committee.
Ayanna is the former Director of English Language Learner Programs K-12 for the Southbridge Public School District in Southbridge, MA. She has more than 13 years of experience being a classroom teacher and a teacher educator in Georgia and Massachusetts. She is a dedicated Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) committee member, is a full-time Independent Educational Consultant who specializes in English language teaching and learning, and provides professional development and technical assistance to state departments of education. “I am very excited and honored to be part of the educational initiatives to improve the learning experiences of English learners in my home state of Massachusetts,” Ayanna states.
Ayanna is dedicated to Lesley and its mission because giving back to Lesley is so rewarding. She encourages alumni, those who graduated recently and years ago, to remain involved and connected with the Lesley Community. Ayanna believes that “the Alumni Council allows for us to contribute our time and diverse talents to a common goal – how exciting!”
Nicole Bearse, J.D., ’00 LC, became a member of the Alumni Council in July of 2008, and began her term as an officer on July 1, 2013. Nicole was the chair of the Alumni Awards Committee from 2010-2013, and also served on the scholarships committee from 2008-2013. Nicole obtained her Bachelors of Science Degree in Human Services in 2000, and went on to obtain her J.D. from the University of Kentucky in 2003. Nicole is a partner with the law firm of Johnson Newcomb, LLP in Frankfort, Kentucky, and has focused her practice in the area of family law since passing the bar exam in 2004. Nicole has also combined her legal expertise and the skills that she learned in her human services program at Lesley to become a successful mediator of both domestic and general civil litigation. Nicole believes that the solid foundation that she gained at Lesley, which included an appreciation for being a part of her community, and a need and want to assist people through tough times, has fueled her approach as a compassionate counselor at law. Nicole says that she “being part of the Lesley community has become a part of the fabric of my life, and I cannot imagine not wanting to be a part of every exciting thing that happens here.”
2nd Vice PresidentCraig Martin '07 GSOE
SecretaryKimberly Turner, ’07 GSOE Kimberly Orefice Turner, SEO ’07, serves as Secretary of the Lelsey Alumni Association and Chairwoman of the Alumni Scholarship Committee. Kimberly’s relationship with Lesley University began in 2006 when she entered the Pike School Collaborative Teaching Program in order to pursue her master’s degree in Elementary Education. Kim says that enrolling in Lesley was, “The best choice I could have made. I was thoroughly prepared to take on my classroom and felt a confidence that not many first-year teachers are able to enjoy.” Her experience in the collaborative program was so positive that she was inspired to remain active in the Lesley community. Kimberly’s particular passion has been in developing and awarding scholarships to Lesley students. It is in this niche that Kim feels she can make the biggest impact on student’s lives, “Often it is not simply the awarding of a dollar amount to selected applicants, but the powerful, sometimes life-changing connections that happen between students and alumni that I find so rewarding.”
TreasurerCarol Rajala O’Regan,
LC ’78, began her term as an officer on July 1, 2011. Carol first
served on the Alumni Council as a committee member in 2008 serving on
the Community Service Committee and became a voting member in 2009.
Carol currently works at Draper
Laboratory as the Human Resources Operations Assistant. She began her
professional career as a teacher and returned to school at Suffolk
University to complete her Master’s degree in Human Resources
Management. Even though Carol made a career change, her Lesley education
prepared her for those changes. “It’s exciting and gratifying to know
that the skills I learned at Lesley truly are universal and
When asked why she gives back to Lesley,
Carol stated, “because it’s fun and it’s important to actively help
Lesley grow and make a positive impact on people’s lives around the
world.” Carol gives back in many other ways as well serving on the
search committee for the Assistant Superintendent for Stoughton Public
Schools, serving on her local PTA board, and on the committee for
Parents of Performing Students in Stoughton.
Past PresidentKaren Gerrior-Mariani,
’98 SOM, began her term on July 1, 2011. Karen is the first graduate
school president to be elected to the position. Karen has been a member
of the council since 2003 and chaired the Nominations and Elections
committee from 2008-2011. Karen began her work with Lesley’s Alumni
Council 10 years ago as a committee member for the School of Management
and has held various positions in the council since then including
Secretary and Vice President.
Karen currently serves as the Assistant
Director in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at Brandeis
University for more than eight years. Prior to her working in higher
education at Brandeis, Karen worked in the television and sports
“Lesley University is a hidden gem!”
Karen says. Karen’s passion for the mission of Lesley University shows
in her dedication to the Alumni Association. She is setting new goals
for the Alumni Council and its eight committees under the new
Alumni TrusteeMichelle Nadeau O’Brien, ’82 LC, began her term on July 1, 2010. Michelle graduated from Lesley College with a B.S. in Education. Michelle previously served on the Alumni Council and was President of the Alumni Association from 1998 to 2002. she is currently serving as one of two Alumni Trustees who serve on both the Board of Trustees and Alumni Council.
Michelle earned a law degree from Suffolk University in 1990. “Although I did not pursue a teaching career, which is why I selected Lesley for my undergraduate school,” says Michelle, “I use the skills and training I obtained at Lesley in my legal career.” Michelle is grateful for the education and her experiences she gained at Lesley.
Since graduating from Lesley, Michelle has served in leadership roles on many boards at Lesley University and elsewhere. She co-chaired the Lesley University Centennial Planning Committee and serves on the Boston Bar Association Council, MassDEP Waste Site Cleanup Advisory Committee, and Society for Women Environmental Professionals, among others. She was also the vice-chair of the Saugus Planning Board.
Renee Aisenberg, LC ’81 Stephanie Michele Anderson , GSOE '06CaliforniaMassachusetts
Janelle Brady, LC '72Massachusetts
Liz Callahan, T '02Massachusetts
Gloria Castro, LCAL ’05Massachusetts
Lynette Correa, LC ’03Massachusetts
Regine Dejean, LC '85New York
Julie Farnam, GSASS '05Virginia
Michael Finnegan, MFA ’08Massachusetts
MaryAnn Johnson, SOE PhD ’08North Carolina
Jacqueline Leach, LC '67, Alumni TrusteeMassachusetts
Thomas Morgan, LC ’09Massachusetts
Shawn Paulling, GSOE '07Massachusetts
Dustin Todd Rennells, LC '07Massachusetts
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