Frederique Begin has been working in the human services field since 1993. She has focused the majority of her work and training on children and their families. Through the Children’s Trust Fund she has received certifications in pregnancy and postpartum issues; infant and toddler development; and family systems, among others. She was also certified as a developmental specialist through Early Intervention and has worked with children with special needs in a variety of settings. She has experience in equitation therapy (hippotherapy) and expressive therapies and incorporates creative therapies when appropriate in her on-going work with clients. Most recently, her work has focused on children and families who have survived trauma. She has conducted forensic trauma evaluations and has also provided on-going treatment for clients.  

Frederique Begin graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in human services from Lesley College and at the top of her class with a master’s degree in social work from Simmons College. Born in the Netherlands and raised and educated in the United States, she speaks both Dutch and English fluently and has experience with cross-cultural issues and issues related to immigration.

Cambridge, MA

Jane Price Schwartz graduated from Oklahoma State University with a B.S. (Highest Honors) in Economics and Political Science. She then received a J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School. After working in several law firms, she spent almost 20 years in the Fidelity Investments Legal Department, retiring as Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel.

Jane is now focused on her passion: non-profit board service. She is a past President of the Board of Legal Advocacy Resource Center, a telephone hotline delivering free legal assistance to indigent clients in the Boston area, and also past Chair of the Board Governance Committee for The Second Step, a social services organization providing transitional housing and multiple services for survivors of domestic violence and their children. At present, she is a member of the Advisory Board for the HOPE for Marshall County Food Pantry in Oklahoma. She is also the President of the Board of Camp Jabberwocky (Martha's Vineyard Cerebral Palsy Camp), a 65-year-old summer camp for children and adults with disabilities.

Laura Lech, M.B.A., RtRp

Laura is the owner of Colonial Bookkeeping & Tax, Inc. which she launched in 2010.  With over ten years of experience in public accounting, Laura has worked with a wide range of clients in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors, including start ups, small business, and high net worth individuals. Laura is passionate about learning and helping others understand the challenges and rewards of the complex business world, tax codes, and fast-moving tech scene.  She enjoys offering trouble-shooting support and training people in accounting information and work-flow systems. Laura has a certificate in Forensic Accounting from Northeastern University; she earned her Master's in Business Administration from Nichols College; and she holds an undergraduate degree from University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Cambridge, MA

Dr. Elizabeth ten Grotenhuis was the first Head of Birches School (2012-2018). She is Professor (emerita) of Japanese art history at Boston University and Associate in Research at the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Harvard and is the author and editor of many publications, including Japanese Mandalas: Representations of Sacred Geography and Along the Silk Road. Elizabeth was a founding member of the Board of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad project. The grandmother of two Birches students, Elizabeth has been writing for children in recent years. She was the consulting editor and an author for two issues of Calliope—”Music Travels the Silk Road” (2007) and “A Grand Society of Merchants: Sailing with the Dutch East India Company” (2010). In 2016, she was the consulting editor and an author for Dig Into History's "Year One Along the Silk Road," an issue based on Birches School's innovative curriculum of the same name. In 2018, she was the consulting editor and an author for Dig into History's "Year 800" issue. In 2020 she will be the consulting editor and an author for an issue in Cobblestone on immigration from Asia into the United States based on a unit she developed and taught to Birches middle schoolers in 2019.



Alexis Jette Borggaard is, with Cecily Wardell, co-founder of Birches School. She graduated from Wellesley College cum laude majoring in both Economics and Spanish. After working for several years at management consulting firms with projects across the United States and Europe, she decided to change careers. In that time of transition, she hiked the entire 2168-mile Appalachian Trail, demonstrating her love of the outdoors and physical fitness. Alexis is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the MGH Institute of Health Professions. Since becoming a mother to two boys, now ages 13 and 9, she has remained active volunteering as a breastfeeding counselor for La Leche League and Nursing Mother's Council where she works closely with new mothers one-on-one and also facilitates meetings. Her sons are in 7th grade and 3rd grade at Birches and are both thriving at the school.

Newton, MA

Kathleen Moreno Dorkin graduated from Radcliffe College with a major in mathematics, then from The Curtis Institute of Music with a major in harp. She subsequently performed and taught harp in both the Philadelphia and Boston areas for many years. Kathy has a Master of Music from New England Conservatory, was a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute, and then earned an M.Ed. from Harvard Graduate School of Education. She taught as a math specialist in the Lower School of Buckingham Browne and Nichols in Cambridge, MA for 10 years, spanning the grades from first through sixth. She then moved to BB&N Middle School, teaching pre-algebra and algebra there for twelve years, during ten of which she was Head of the Department. She also taught in the Upper School at BB&N. Kathy served on the Board of Trustees at BB&N as well as on the evaluation committee for NEASC. She served as Chair of the Birches Board from 2015 to 2019. Kathy has retired from classroom teaching to teach harp and piano, and to tutor mathematics to students of all ages.

Cambridge, MA

Merton Flemings is Toyota Professor emeritus at MIT, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1956. Professor Flemings' research and teaching have concentrated on engineering fundamentals of materials processing, and on innovation of materials processing operations.  He is author or co-author of over 300 papers, 30 patents, and two books in the fields of solidification science and engineering, foundry technology, and materials processing. During his career at MIT, he led a project to build a technical college in Iran; initiated and led a center at MIT for materials processing that is now in its 26th year; was Head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering for a decade; initiated and was the first head of a major MIT-Singapore educational and research collaboration; and led for a number of years the Lemelson-MIT Program, a program whose aim is to encourage inventive creativity in young people. The Merton C. Flemings Materials Processing Laboratory was dedicated at MIT in 2015. Merton was a founding member of the Board of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silkroad project. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.



Ann Kania discovered the joy of STEAM education from her daughter Louisa, who was an intern at Birches in the spring of 2014. Louisa went on to work as a teaching assistant at Birches in the fall of 2014 as part of her gap year before matriculating at Williams College. 

Ann has been a long-time trustee at the Boston Museum of Science.  She created the Women in Science Luncheon Series, enabling women scientists to share their research with a broad, general audience.  Ann also serves on the Corporation for The Winsor School, Boston.   She is an active gardener and is a supporter of City Sprouts and the Charles River Conservancy.

Ann graduated from Utah State University with a B.S. in Environmental Studies and a minor in Communications. After graduation, she worked as a research associate at Colorado Energy Research Institute and a research assistant at R.W. Beck and Associates, focusing on environmental concerns related to large engineering projects. After working for TechLaw in both Denver and Washington D.C., she became TechLaw’s Regional Manager in New England, opening up the Boston office and working on EPA Region I environmental Technical/Legal compliance issues under the EPA’s SuperFund Law.

Ann’s second career has been as a full-time mother.  She has three daughters who love science, art, animals, and the out of doors.  Ann believes that learning should be a lifelong passion, and that schools should encourage children’s natural curiosity.


James McClutchy is the founder and CEO of Performance Building Company, Inc. headquartered in Chelmsford, Massachusetts.  He founded his company twenty-six years ago as a general contracting business serving residential, commercial, and industrial clients. Jim and his company have completed numerous projects throughout New England, including the public/private partnership with the University of Massachusetts Lowell for the development of an 810-bed dormitory, fitness center and classroom facility. The university has determined that this facility will be a model for future expansion throughout the University of Massachusetts system. Performance Building Company also specializes in the historic renovation of both residential and commercial buildings, including many Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and Cambridge properties.    

Jim was the general contractor who oversaw the renovation of Birches School during 2017 and 2018. He was inspirational in his execution and fine-tuning of the architects’ design. In the spring of 2019, he returned to Birches to work with the 2nd and 3rd graders who were building their own model city (link to blog). Jim is an important part of our engineering initiative at Birches and teachers expect to invite him regularly into the classrooms.

Bedford, MA

Dr. David Spencer received his undergraduate degree at Lafayette College (B.S. 1967) and doctorate at MIT (Sc.D. 1971). He founded wTe Corporation in 1981 and served as its CEO for 27 years, now serving as Chairman of the Board. wTe is a $100 million privately held technology company focused on ownership and operation of recycling facilities for metals and plastics. Its plastic operations are ranked among the largest recycled PET re-claimers in the world turning old bottles into new for companies such as Coke and Pepsi. Its automobile shredding and metal recycling operations are ranked among the largest in New England.  David serves on the Board of Directors of several privately held companies, and also serves on the NSF Advisory Committee for the Small Business Innovation Research Program, the NSF Engineering Directorate and the NSF Business & Operations Division. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Government University Industry Research Roundtable established by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. He is Vice Chairman and Trustee of the ASM Materials Education Foundation.


Cecily Wardell is an honors graduate of Harvard College where she majored in East Asian Languages and Civilizations. She lived in Japan and France and worked in a major multinational financial institution in Tokyo; she speaks both Japanese and French. She also taught science and math at Dexter School. Cecily, with Alexis Jette Borggaard, is co-founder of Birches School. Her son is a 7th Grader at Birches and her daughter is a 3rd Grader. Please click here for an article about Cecily Wardell.