The New England Center for Children Announces New Board Leadership, Appointments

Southborough, MA, October 28, 2023 --( The New England Center for Children® (NECC®), a global leader in autism education and research, announced the election of Elizabeth Wetherbee Klein to Chair the Board of Directors and Laura Dudley, PhD, BCBA-D, LABA, to serve as Vice Chair. In addition, two new directors were added: David Castellani, operating partner at Brewer Lane Ventures; and Thomas Pacheco, chief financial officer of Coretelligent.

Klein joined NECC’s Board of Directors in 2018 to help raise the visibility of the Center within the local community. A Southborough resident with deep ties to the Boston area, she has served on the Southborough Community Fund Board, the UMass Medical Development Council, the Executive Council for Women's Cancers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and the Family & Philanthropy Committee of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. She is a marketing consultant at Solstice Client Solutions, LLC where she drives strategy for innovative businesses.

Dr. Dudley is an assistant clinical professor and associate chair of the Applied Psychology Department at Northeastern University. She is a doctoral-level board certified behavior analyst and licensed applied behavior analyst with more than 20 years’ experience designing, implementing, and monitoring quality programs for children with autism. Dr. Dudley co-created the Autism Curriculum Encyclopedia® (ACE®) ABA Software System during her tenure working at NECC from 1994-2004.

“All of us at NECC are excited that Elizabeth and Dr. Dudley will continue to bring their expertise to the table as Board chair and vice chair,” said NECC CEO Jessica Sassi, PhD, BCBA-D, LABA. “Their contributions have been invaluable in our fundraising efforts and program development. We are also happy to welcome Dave Castellani and Tom Pacheco to the Board, where their professional experiences bring key perspectives to further the mission of NECC.”

New Board Members

Castellani is an operating partner at Brewer Lane Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm specializing in financial and insurance technologies. Castellani brings 30-plus years of technology and operating leadership across financial services and startups, including senior roles at New York Life, Prudential, and Cigna. He also co-founded two technology startups: Mi8, an early pioneer in hosted exchange services, and Qv21, a transportation management software provider.

Pacheco is chief financial officer of Coretelligent, a leading provider of managed IT, cybersecurity, digital transformation, and other IT solutions. He brings a wealth of expertise in financial strategy and planning, accounting and reporting, mergers and acquisitions, capital structure and risk management. Pacheco formerly served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Acushnet Holdings Corporation and held various finance leadership roles at leading technology companies, including Dell Technologies and EMC.

Women in Leadership at NECC

The appointment of Klein and Dr. Dudley as leaders of the Board comes on the heels of the recent appointment of Dr. Sassi as new CEO of NECC in August. NECC is an industry example of a company with strong female management; women hold the majority of executive positions within the organization including Heather Morrison, Executive Director, Southborough; Pam Olsen, Executive Director, the Mohammed bin Rashid Center for Special Education operated by NECC (Abu Dhabi); Kristin Buchanan, Executive Director, Gulf Consulting; Amy Geckeler, Executive Director, Global Consulting; and Nicole Ciotti, Executive Director, ACE® ABA Software System.

About NECC

The New England Center for Children® (NECC®) is an award-winning autism education center and research institute. Committed to creating a world where autism is not a barrier to happiness, growth, and independence, our community of teachers, researchers, and clinicians provide comprehensive services including day and residential programs, partner classrooms in public school systems, consulting services, and the ACE® ABA Software System (

NECC is committed to creating an equitable workplace for our diverse team and providing industry-leading staff professional development opportunities, specifically with our on-campus graduate degree partnership programs. The result is a growing pool of autism educators and researchers that impact the lives of children with autism both at NECC and around the world. The New England Center for Children is based in Southborough, MA, and operates the Mohammed bin Rashid Center for Special Education in Abu Dhabi, UAE, as well as Clinics in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Qatar. Learn more at
The New England Center for Children
Kim Ruscitti
(508) 481-1015 x3288