• Erica Herman
    Principal

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    Erica Herman Erica Herman has served as principal of the Gardner since 2005. She had worked at the school for five years prior as Director of Extended Services, leading collaborations with local community agencies, colleges and health centers to design programs that address barriers to student learning. A graduate of the Boston Principal Fellows program, Erica completed her residency at the Quincy Elementary School. She taught special education in Charlotte, NC; an integrated early childhood class in Asheville, NC; and kindergarten at GPA when it was known as the Gardner Extended Services School. Erica also has worked for the YMCA, the Boston College Practicum Office and the Autism Society in Asheville, NC. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Inclusive Education from Syracuse University and a Master’s in Education from Boston College.


    Joseph Sara
    Assistant Principal

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    Joe Sara Joseph Sara has served as the assistant principal at the Gardner Pilot Academy since September 2010. Prior to this, he served as the clinical coordinator at the Agassiz Elementary L/AB (Learning Adaptive Behavior) Cluster for 7 years. Joe is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and earned his Master’s in Social Work from Simmons College in 1994. He worked at the South End Community Health Center for a total of 8 years, from 1993 (second-year social work internship) to 1996 and then returned in September of 1998 to August of 2004. During this time he provided individual and group-based school counseling as well as outpatient clinic-based therapy. He has worked in both out-patient and in-patient mental health settings. He completed his Bachelor’s degree at Drew University majoring in Psychology and Philosophy.


    Lauren Lafferty
    Director of Extended Learning Time

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    Lauren Lafferty has served as the Director of Extended Learning Time at the Gardner since 2008. She previously worked for The Village for Families and Children, serving as the Director of After School Programming for two after school programs in Hartford, CT. Throughout her work in the field, Lauren has experience working in schools, community agencies and universities with the goal of improving and sustaining programming to support the whole child. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Connecticut and a Master’s in Education from Harvard University.