The B.R.I.D.G.E. STAFF

  • The B.R.I.D.G.E. staff is a multi-disciplinary team of educators and human service professionals whose shared background encompasses expertise in the following areas: alternative education, special education, programming for at risk youth, social work, and human services. A brief profile on each staff member follows.

    Ellen Spiegel, Founding Director
    Ellen Spiegel holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Education from Simmons College and a master’s degree in Counseling and Consulting Psychology from Harvard University. Her teaching credentials include: Massachusetts certification in Administration (5-8), General Elementary Education (K-6), General Middle School (5-9), and Special Education (preK-9). Prior to her leadership role at the B.R.I.D.G.E. Program, Ellen spent ten years managing and teaching in an alternative middle school in Boston, with oversight responsibility for 14 staff and 60 students.

    Jim McCarthy, Assistant Director
    James McCarthy holds a Master’s in Social Work and is a licensed Social Worker (LCSW) and School Adjustment Counselor. James has an extensive background in programs, schools, and services targeting at-risk youth, including B.R.I.D.G.E. Program Social Worker/Assistant Director; Director of the ADAM project for Big Brother/Big Sister of Greater Lowell (a psycho-educational after-school program targeting gang members, DSS/DYS-involved youth, and families); Crisis Intervention Specialist at Woburn High School; and Middle School Social Worker at Hanscom Middle School on Hanscom Air Force Base. James has been trained in Social thinking, Developmental Design, Responsive Classroom and Creative Inclusive Learning (LGBTQ), and is certified in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention.

    John Plunkett, Reading-Language Arts Teacher
    John Plunkett holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he won the Jack Kerouac Award for Creative Writing. He is certified in English 5-8 and 8-12. Prior to working at the B.R.I.D.G.E. Program, John worked as a substitute teacher in Chelmsford and Lexington after many years in business management.

    Craig Sonis, Math Teacher
    Craig Sonis holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire in Durham, a Master of Business Administration from Suffolk University and a Master of Arts in Teaching Mathematics from Rivier University. He is certified in Math 5-8.  Before working at the B.R.I.D.G.E. Program, Craig worked as a seventh grade math teacher in Lynn, MA and Hudson, NH. After several years working in marketing and advertising.

    James Keegan, Social Studies Teacher
    James Keegan holds a bachelor’s degree in History from Assumption College and a master’s degree in Education from New England College. Prior to joining the B.R.I.D.G.E., James taught History at the Gerald Creamer Alternative School, was an in-school suspension teacher at Dracut High School, and guided a disabled student at the Robinson Middle School. James has also coached sports for the past 5 years.

    Rosa De Los Santos, Special Education Teacher
    Rosa De Los Santos has a bachelor’s degree in education from Fitchburg State College and a master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Cambridge College. She is certified in Elementary Education and Moderate Special Needs 5-12 and K-8. Prior to working at the B.R.I.D.G.E. program, Rosa taught at Malden High School, the Guilmette Middle School in Lawrence and The Protestant Guild. She has also been a parent liaison within the Lowell Public Schools.

    Katherine Budinger, Science Teacher
    Katherine Budinger holds a Massachusetts certification to teach middle school Science (5-8). Prior to working at the B.R.I.D.G.E., Ms. Budinger taught in New York and in San Diego, CA. She also spent many years as a health care administrator before returning to teaching.

    Darcy Parker, Skills Teacher
    Darcy Parker holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Saint Michael’s College as well as a master’s in education from University of Massachusetts Boston. She is certified to teach English in grades 5-8. Prior to working at the B.R.I.D.G.E., Darcy taught middle school English in Dorchester, Massachusetts.

    Mary Morrison, Art Teacher
    Mary Morrison holds a Bachelor of Science in Art Education from Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. She is certified to teach Art in grades K-12. Prior to working at the B.R.I.D.G.E., Mary taught Art for over twelve years in public and charter schools in New Hampshire and North Carolina.

    Rebekah Frechette, Skills Builder