About Classes4Classes

A Social Network for Classrooms

Classes 4 Classes, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to teach children the power of kindness and compassion through their ability to create positive change for others. The platform provided by our website actively engages students in learning a social curriculum through the exchange of gifts with other K-8 classrooms, which fulfill a need or educational objective. These gifts are crowd-funded by visitors and donors to our site. The gift is given to the teacher and the students in the receiving classroom only once the project goal is reached, and the receiving classroom has started their own project to “pay it 4ward” to another classroom.


Board of Directors

KAITLIN M. ROIG-DEBELLIS

Founder, Executive Director

Kaitlin M. Roig-DeBellis attended UCONN and was accepted to the NEAG School of Education, where she completed her Masters of Education with honors in 2006. Kaitlin was named a New England Scholar. Kaitlin served on the NEAG Student Association and was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, where she held 3 positions.

Kaitlin began her teaching career as a Reading Specialist in Westport, CT in 2006.

In 2007 Kaitlin began teaching first grade at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where she taught for 6 years.

Kaitlin founded Classes 4 Classes knowing that positive social change was needed, and that this needed to begin with the youngest members of our society, our K-8 students. Classes 4 Classes is for every student in the United States to learn: compassion, caring, kindness, empathy, consideration, through active engagement. These are lessons that every child needs to have.

Kaitlin has been honored as one of Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year and was also honored by L’Oreal Paris as one of their “L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth.”

Kaitlin serves on the NEAG Alumni Association Board of Directors. She received the Dedicated Teacher Award from The Chicago International Conference on Education. Kaitlin writes weekly for the Huffington Post. She also contributed to the book Teaching From the Heart’ volume 2.

Kaitlin is a keynote speaker and speaks across the US and Canada. Kaitlin holds two Honorary Doctorates, from Bay Path College and Luzerne College. Kaitlin received the Alumni Association’s Humanitarian Award from Uconn. Kaitlin’s book Choosing Hope: Moving Forward From Life’s Darkest Hours, published by Putnam-Penguin in Oct 2015.

RYAN SHEPPARD, CPA, CFF

Chairman of the Board

Mr. Sheppard is a Partner with Knight Rolleri Sheppard CPAS, LLP. He specializes in nonprofit tax, accounting, audit and formation, corporate and individual taxation and business consulting. Mr. Sheppard consults on a wide range of tax and accounting related issues including corporate formation, divorce, mergers and acquisitions, and foreign taxation. He has lectured at several continuing education seminars including the Connecticut Bar Association, The Connecticut Exit Planning Exchange, and a variety of accredited courses. Mr. Sheppard serves on the Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountant’s Federal Income Taxation Committee and the Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountant’s Not for Profit Organizations Committee. He is a two time Co-Chair of the Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountant’s Not for Profit Organizations annual conference.

Mr. Sheppard is a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in New York and Connecticut. He is Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF). He is a member of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants, the Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He is also a member of the Connecticut Exit Planning Exchange.

Mr. Sheppard is currently serving as a board member and Treasurer of Operation Hope, Inc. and Sphere Networking, LLC.

ALIX MORROW, MA

Vice Chair

Alix Morrow has over a decade of experience in marketing, public relations and advertising for both corporate and non-profit organizations in New York and Chicago. Her design and writing skills are well honed through years of experience in business to business and business to consumer marketing and communications, including branding, digital marketing, direct marketing, social media planning, ad planning, speechwriting, and web layout and content creation.

In 2011, Alix used this collective skill-set to launch her own business. She provides strategy, design, and written content for professionals and organizations looking to create or refine their branding and marketing platforms. Inspired by the question “In every venture lies a story, what’s yours?” Alix has helped launch over 15 entrepreneurial brands nationally. She’s also partnered with several previously established organizations, including The Life Solution Center of Darien, Omega Educational Consulting, Change Create Transform, and ClientWise, Inc.

Alix specializes in working with professionals in financial services and the mental health/executive coaching arenas, but has extensive experience with start-ups, non-profits, and restaurants. These professional involvements have given her exposure to business practices across several industries, all of which collectively and uniquely inform her approach with clients.

Prior to starting her own business, Alix worked for The Child Mind Institute, SBLI USA Mutual Life Insurance Company, and taught literature at Columbia College in Chicago. She has an MA in literature from the University of Chicago and a BA in literature from Trinity College. In her spare time Alix is a competitive distance runner, a writer involved in several ghostwriting projects, and a recovering equestrian. Her blog BusinessDifferently helps small business owners and entrepreneurs maximize success and productivity.

KATHY SCHULTZ, MA ED

Secretary

Kathy has over two decades of experience in education. She has worked for the Darien Public Schools for the last 17 years, as a classroom teacher, math specialist, and currently an administrator. Prior to working in Connecticut, Kathy taught at the University of Missouri-Columbia Lab School. She has presented at numerous workshops throughout Connecticut, and has also work with the National Board Certification program for teachers. Kathy has received extensive training in the Responsive Classroom model and has attended classes Harvard University and Columbia University. Time for Kids Magazine awarded Kathy with the Top 25 Educators Award. She is currently a member of the Tri-State Consortium Group.

Kathy received her degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Bridgeport, her Masters of Arts in Teaching from Sacred Heart University and her B.A. in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Missouri. She has served her community as a Girl Scout leader, softball coach, and created the Girl Power program. Kathy resides in Fairfield, CT.

SETH L. COOPER

Treasurer

Seth L. Cooper is a business and real estate attorney with the law firm Brody Wilkinson PC in Southport, Connecticut and is a principal of the firm. His areas of practice include commercial and residential real estate, lending, loan workouts, leasing, hospitality service contracts, business entity organizational matters, business purchases and sales, art law, general contract law, and debtor-creditor rights. In addition, Mr. Cooper also leads the firm’s Art, Antiques & Collectibles practice. Mr. Cooper is a Martindale-Hubbell AV-rated attorney.

Mr. Cooper is a director and past Chairman of the Board of Alpha Community Services, a non-profit organization which provides emergency shelters and transitional housing to homeless families. Mr. Cooper is also a member of the board of directors of the Silvermine Arts Center. He served as Chairman of the Board of The Barnum Museum for three consecutive terms from 2006-2009. In 2005, he was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation by the Connecticut Business Educators Association in recognition of his volunteer work at Joel Barlow High School in Redding, Connecticut. He was graduated from the Bridgeport Regional Business Council’s leadership program in 2000.

Mr. Cooper is a lifelong resident of Easton, Connecticut, where he currently resides with his wife, Larisa, and their two children.

THOMAS A. AHERN, MA

Director

Thomas A. Ahern, MA, is a former School Psychologist and CT Public School Administrator. Mr. Ahern has served in leadership positions in education and behavioral healthcare for most of his 25 year professional career including Clinician, Director of Partial Hospitals, Adult Education Director and Mr. Ahern has long been an advocate for new models in behavioral healthcare services for students founding several innovative programs that integrate resources from the public and private sectors to improve services to patients. He also founded several human service programs and given regional, state and national presentations on a multitude of challenging issues facing families and youth. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Boston University, a Masters in Education, sixth year in School Psychology and an Administrative Certificate all from the University o Connecticut. Mr. Ahern resides in Old Saybrook CT with his wife and 5 children.

MARK COLEMAN

Director

Mark Coleman is a digital marketing professional with over 20 years of experience in helping companies improve their digital marketing programs through email marketing, social media, web design & development, search engine marketing, online advertising and the use of mobile to promote brands and engage with customers.

With a BS in Business Management from Western Conn state University and a Masters in Interactive Marketing from the University of San Francisco School of business, his professional and education experience have proven invaluable in helping companies as they embrace the digital age.

In 2015, Mark moved out of the digital agency space and joined IBM as Strategic Sales Manager working with both large and small Business Partners and Agencies across the North East. Mark first engaged with Classes4classes as part of an IBM program designed to help non profits benefit from the expertise of its employees, by sharing their knowledge expertise and understanding of the digital marketing space.

The experience of working with C4C was so positive that Mark chose to stay on with C4C long after the IBM project officially ended. He now applies this passion for all things digital in helping make classes4classes website and digital marketing programs even more engaging.

Mr. Coleman is a lifelong resident of Sandy hook CT, where he currently resides with his wife, Colleen, and their two children and when not on the sports field either coaching lacrosse or watching his children engage in sports can be found at home with his dog Hope enjoying the great outdoors.

SARA MATHEWS DIXON

Director

Sara Mathews Dixon, MSW, LCSW is an experienced psychotherapist and owner of SMD Associates, LLC, providing treatment to young adults, individuals, couples and families. She has 16 years of experience in different sectors of the behavioral health field, giving her a rich and comprehensive understanding of the issues that people are faced with in today’s world.

Sara believes in helping people to find and capitalize on their own internal strengths as a way to assist them in dealing with all the challenges that come with living life. In collaboration with her clients, Sara creates an individualized treatment plan and partners with them in their work toward achieving their goals. As part of a general practice, Sara has special expertise in the areas of substance abuse, issues related to Post traumatic Stress Disorder, and pervasive depression combined with self-injurious behavior and suicidal ideation. In addition, Sara has begun to add reunification therapy to the services provided. Her treatment is solution focused, evidence-based and infused with a combination of empathy, irreverence and common sense.

Sara earned her Bachelor’s degree at Central Connecticut State University and holds a Masters in Social Work from New York University (cum Laude). She is licensed in both Connecticut and New York and is a member of the National Association of Social Workers.

REBECCA LEPAGE, MD

Director

Dr. Rebecca LePage practiced primary care pediatrics for 7 years in Darien, CT. Currently, Rebecca is the co-founder of PEACH Advisors, LLC. Created with a former colleague, PEACH merges Rebecca’s passions for both education and health care. With her business partner, Rebecca acts as a consultant aiming to improve health policy implementation and delivery in schools and childcare facilities via formalized, written, up-to-date and evidence-based policy, and professional education and development. In addition to her work with PEACH advisors, Rebecca sits on the Parent Advisory Board (PAB) for Special Services and 504 for the Wilton Public School District where she works with parents of special needs children and the school administration to improve communication, education and trust between the two groups, while simultaneously striving to improve the level of understanding of children with special needs within the community. In her role as co-chair of the PAB Safety Committee she has established a registry for children and adults living with special needs within the local police and fire department’s computer assisted dispatch (CAD) systems, has spearheaded department wide trainings for first responders so that they are familiar with the unique challenges that persons with special needs may face in an emergency, and has gathered and distributed important and evidenced-based information on how families of children with special needs can best keep their children safe. She is co-chair of “Reading Rocks!” the largest fundraising event for the Wilton Education Foundation. She is Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of the Children’s Day School of Wilton.

Rebecca graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She received her medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine, and completed her residency in Primary Care Pediatrics at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan.

Most importantly, Rebecca is the mother to three amazing children. Making the world a kinder and better place for them, and for all children, is the primary motivation for all her endeavors.

R. PATRICK MORROW, CRPS, CDFA

Director

STEFANI S. PALETTA

Director

Steffani Paletta is currently a Sr. Recruiter who has recently joined TIAA (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association) to focus on Executive Recruitment in the New York City office. Prior to TIAA, Steffani led Americas Lateral Investment Banking hiring at UBS, where she executed senior searches, advised candidates and hiring managers, and presented market trends and recruitment initiatives across Wall Street to senior leadership. She has over 15 years of experience within Financial Services, and prior to recruiting, enjoyed a career in Marketing and Investor Relations at a Hedge Fund and Private Equity Firm. As a Texas native, Steffani attended Texas Tech (and is an avid Red Raiders football fan), and currently resides in Ridgefield, Connecticut.

Steffani is thrilled to join Classes4Classes as both of her parents were teachers (her father for over 20 years), and she has a true passion for both the Education System and ensuring that children are provided a true foundation to learn empathy, kindness and consideration for others. She is truly excited to help foster and raise community awareness for Classes4Classes’ and all the exciting opportunities to have an impact in a child’s life.

MAUD PURCELL, MSW, LCSW, CEAP

Advisor

Maud Purcell, MSW, LCSW, CEAP is the Founder and Executive Director of The Life Solution Center of Darien, and one-of-a-kind consortium of independent businesses and practices designed to treat the whole person. Maud is a skilled and seasoned Psychotherapist with a short-term, solution-focused approach. She recognizes that most dilemmas have straightforward, common-sense solutions and weaves a unique blend of warmth and humor into her work. She works extensively with adults, couples and teens.

As a trained Coach, and Certified Employee Assistance Professional, Maud has worked with numerous corporations including Hewlett-Packard, Duracell, James River and Times Mirror, Inc. She has coached individuals from almost every walk of life, and was quoted in the Wall Street Journal for her work with officers returning from Iraq. Most recently, she was extensively quoted in the New York Times by feature columnist Jane Brody.

Currently, Maud writes a column for The Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time, CT Post, Danbury News Times and Albany Times Union. She has also written regular columns for The Women’s Conference website, www.womensconference.org, created by the former First Lady of California Maria Shriver, and for the medical web-site drkoop.com. She has made repeat appearances on the Discovery Health Channel with award-winning news anchor Juju Chang, and with News Channel 12 in Connecticut. She is frequently interviewed by the media (both nationally and internationally) about relationships, family, career and work-life balance. She has participated in an Expert Roundtable for pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline. Maud works with emergency service personnel including police, fire and medical professionals. Her training and experience in both Critical Incident Stress Debriefing and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) make her an invaluable resource following traumatic incidents. She currently serves as a member of the Human Services Planning Council and sits on the Darien Domestic Abuse Task Force (previously having served as Co-Chair). She also serves in an advisory capacity on the Board of Directors of Classes4Classes, Inc., a not-for-profit striving to teach every child in our nation to have a genuine interest in the wellbeing of others, by providing a platform through which to actively engage them in social curriculum.

Maud holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Trinity College (Hartford, CT), and completed her graduate studies at the University of South Carolina (Summa cum Laude), where she was selected as Outstanding Micro Practice Student and was inducted into Alpha Delta Mu, the National Honor Society for her discipline.

MICHELLE ALBRIGHT, PHD

Advisor

Michelle Albright has been developing, implementing, and evaluating programs to enhance children’s cognitive, physical, social, and educational development in schools and communities across the country for the past 20 years. Her areas of interest and expertise include children’s language and literacy development, social-emotional learning, school readiness, academic engagement, family involvement and school-family partnerships.

Michelle received a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago, completed an APA approved internship at University of Maryland, and was a National Institute of Mental Health post-doctoral fellow in Quantitative Training in Mental Health Research at New York University. She has consulted for Harvard Family Research Project, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, and the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy at Yale University.

Michelle has taught at the college and graduate level, and presented numerous workshops for families and educators. Her recent publications include School-family partnership strategies to enhance children’s social, emotional, and academic growth for the National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention andSchool-family partnerships to promote social and emotional learning in the Handbook of School-Family Partnerships for Promoting Student Competence. She also blogs for several online outlets and has appeared as an education and parenting expert on a variety of programs including Education Notebook (Connecticut News Channel 12), Fox Connecticut Morning News, and The 10! Show (NBC Philadelphia).

Most importantly, Michelle is the mother of two school-aged children. She resides in Connecticut with her husband and two daughters.