Senior Leadership Team

  • Rebecca Altepeter
    Head of School

    After her first visit to Dearborn Academy in the mid-1990s, Rebecca Altepeter left and told her friends and family, “Someday I will work there— they are doing incredible work and it feels like family!” Rebecca finally realized her dream when she became the Director in 2016 after building her leadership skills as the Principal at a therapeutic residential and day school for adolescent girls and as a Coordinator in the Office of Student Services for Cambridge Public Schools.  


    Rebecca earned her BS with a dual major in Slavic and Environmental Studies from Indiana University and her MS in Moderate Special Needs from Wheelock College. She holds certifications as a Special Education Administrator, Moderate Special Needs teacher, and General Educator.

  • Sheilah Gauch
    Director of the High School

    After almost 19 years of working within the Arlington community, as a clinician at a residential treatment program and then as a social worker in the Arlington Public Schools special education department, Sheilah has interfaced many times over the years with Dearborn Academy.  Each time, she heard from students and families how wonderful the school was - she was thrilled to be able join such an amazing school!


    Sheilah attended the University of Texas where she was an All American swimmer as well as Olympic Trial participant.  Her experience as a collegiate athlete reinforced for her the value and importance of teamwork, perseverance and resiliency - all values she feels are essential to her work as a leader in education.  Sheilah went on to get her Masters in Social Work from Boston College in 2001.  Sheilah is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)  and also holds a school adjustment license through the Department of Education.  In May of 2017, Sheilah graduated from the Educational Leadership Institute with a Masters in Educational Organizational Management and is in the process of completing her principal’s license.​

  • Pam Sweeney
    Director, Elementary/Middle School

    Pam Sweeney started at Dearborn Academy in 2000 as an Assistant Teacher in the Elementary/Middle School Program and quickly made Dearborn part of her extended family. She became a Lead Teacher in 2002 and served as a Mentor Teacher from 2008-2012 before being promoted to the Educational Coordinator position. In 2017, she became the Director of the Elementary/Middle School Program, eager to uphold and push forward the values instilled in her by the previous Director, Carol Cole.


    Pam earned her undergraduate degree in Sociology from Harvard University.  After a few years in marketing, she realized her heart was in the world of education, largely stemming from the connections she witnessed her mother make as a teacher. Pam earned a Master’s Degree with licensure in Elementary Education, Moderate Special Needs, and Mathematics through the Peaceable Schools Program at Lesley University and the M.Ed. (Moderate Disabilities) Program at Cambridge College.

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    Alison Mehan
    Associate Director of Curriculum and Instruction

    Alison came to Dearborn Academy in October 2017. Alison arrived at Dearborn after earning her Master of Social Work and Certificate in Trauma from Boston College School of Social Work. While at Boston College, through her concentration in clinical mental health, Alison participated in two field placements; one at the Walker ICBAT as a clinician and one at the Justice Resource Institute as an Intensive Care Coordinator, where she earned her Tier I Certification in Wraparound. 

    Alison brings to Dearborn experience in special education and social/emotional learning, in addition to her clinical background. Prior to obtaining her MSW, Alison worked as a special educator at the Walker School in Needham, MA, teaching students in grades K-8. Alison started at Walker as a psychology intern through her alma mater, Wellesley College, and moved to become a head teacher upon graduation in 2011. Alison possesses three teaching licenses: Elementary 1-6, Moderate Disabilities K-8 and Moderate Disabilities 5-12 and is also a Licensed Certified Social Worker.

  • Amy Piepiora
    Associate Director of Clinical Services

    Amy is so excited to join the Dearborn Leadership Team this fall 2018. She has spent her career working with youth and families in various schools and communities in the Greater Boston Area. She is passionate about helping students build skills to be their best selves as students, friends, and members of their community. Amy feels passionately that all students have strengths and loves supporting them as they shine!

    Amy received her BA at Boston College in Child Growth and Development, and after taking some time to live in Ecuador, she returned to Boston College where she earned her Masters in Mental Health Counseling and is a licensed LMHC.

  • Tanya
    Tanya Linehan
    Public School Liaison, High School

    Tanya Linehan has worked as the Liaison to the Public Schools for Dearborn’s High School program since 2015.  In her role, Tanya works from start to finish with students, parents, and school districts.  Whether she is reviewing referral documents in the admissions process, working with teachers and staff on developing appropriate educational plans, or tracking credit necessary for high school graduation, Tanya helps students achieve their goals and transition into a post high school setting.


    Tanya earned a BS in Sociology and Elementary Education from Clemson University in 2002, and an MS in Educational Psychology from the University of New York in 2004.

  • Ginny Doxsey
    Ginny Doxsey
    Public School Liaison, Elementary/Middle School

    Ginny Doxsey has worked as the Public School Liaison for Dearborn’s Elementary and Middle School programs since 1996. She coordinates admissions for new students and facilitates meetings between parents and school districts. She takes particular pride in finding workable school placements for students who have successfully completed Dearborn's program.

    Ginny received her BA in Special and Elementary Education from Boston University in 1979 and her Masters in Public Administration from Suffolk University in 1988.