The 2017-2018 Salem Award Foundation Board

The Foundation’s Board is drawn primarily from the greater Salem and North Shore community; the Mayor of Salem and the President of Salem State University serve as co-chairs.

Roberta O’Connor (Co-Executive Director)

Roberta O’Connor began her career in marketing and development focusing on interactive and web projects.  As an account manager, Roberta worked with clients such as Prudential, John Hancock, Genzyme, Manulife, and Biogen. Since then, Roberta has started a retail business and obtained a Master’s degree in Interior Architecture.  In her current position as Design Director of Preserve Services, Roberta’s principal responsibilities lie in designing and managing the company’s real estate projects as well as designing and writing marketing materials. Roberta lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two kids.

Sarah Morrill  (Co-Executive Director)

Sarah Morrill, MSW, LCSW, has eighteen years of professional experience in human-service related data analysis, outcome measurement and program design. She consulted to a wide variety of state health and human service agencies on policy improvement projects focusing on youth. Locally, she served on the Board of the Salem Education Foundation for eight years. During her five-year tenure as President, Ms. Morrill led the organization through a comprehensive strategic planning and rebranding process and oversaw a substantial increase in sponsorship and annual fundraising. Additionally, she served as the parent representative on several district-related committees including: Saltonstall School Council, Saltonstall School Innovation Team, and the Salem Public Schools Strategic Planning Team. Ms. Morrill also served on the Board of Trustees for the Plummer Home for Boys from 2007- 2011, chairing the Strategic Planning Committee. She is currently employed as a consultant designing outcomes management systems. Ms. Morrill has lived in Salem since 1999 with her husband and two children.

Ellen Brandenburg

Ellen was ordained to the Unitarian Universalist ministry in 1982 and served the UU church in Marblehead, MA for one year before moving on to the UU headquarters office in Boston where she worked for 17 years.  For four years she served as Youth Programs Director and for 13 years she held the position of Director of Ministerial Education. Before moving to Salem in 2005, she lived in Lexington, MA for over 30 years where she and her husband, George, raised their two kids, Anna and Pete.  They all grew to appreciate Salem for its diversity, commitment to social justice, friendly people, good restaurants, and worthwhile attractions. Ellen is a guide at the Peabody Essex Museum and an active member and volunteer at the First Church in Salem. Ellen’s work and that of her late husband, George who was a particle physicist, gave them the opportunity to travel, and to live in both Germany and Switzerland.  Ellen credits these experiences with sharpening her skiing skills and learning to value the differences among peoples, two important things she did not have a chance to do growing up in Illinois!

Jenna Cripps

Jenna Leigh Cripps is Dean of Operations and School Culture at Bentley Academy Charter School in Salem MA. She has worked with students in a variety of capacity, in a one-to-one capacity at Futures, in Beverly, MA. She also brings a strong background in LGBT advocacy to the board, having providing ally and sensitivity training at The Stonewall Center in Amherst, MA, and having receiving the University of Massachusetts LGBT Leadership Award and its Center for Student Development Director’s Award. Jenna also holds a Masters in Special Education from Salem State University.

Nancy Crowder

Nancy Crowder, a registered nurse and Salem resident for the past 30 years, focused her career on the public health issues of poverty and racism. As the executive director of Citizens for Adequate Housing Inc. in Peabody for 23 years, Nancy oversaw the growth and management of the Inn Between and Inn Transition shelters for homeless families and developed affordable housing. She is the mother of two adopted African-American children. She presently works part-time for Community Change Inc., a Boston-based non-profit agency whose mission is to shine a spotlight on the roots of racism in white culture with the intention of dealing with racism at its source, as well as, with its impact on communities of color through education and advocacy activities.

Christian Haselgrove

Christian Haselgrove is active in the Salem community, serving as a member of the City’s Neighborhood Improvement Advisory Council, founding director of Salem Volunteers, active in Salem Main Streets, a Friendship of Salem volunteer, and until recently, as chair of the Historic Derby Street Neighborhood Association.

It is difficult to appreciate when he has time for his day job, which can probably be fully understood only by someone else who graduated from Princeton with high honors in physics. In his work for both the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Neuromorphometrics, Inc. Christian invents, develops and analyzes neuroinformatics imaging infrastructure and serves as problem-solving liaison between users and developers.

Mary Hayes

Mary Hayes has been a Salem resident since 1990. A native of the midwest, she grew up in New Jersey and New Hampshire and came to Boston after college. Her early career was spent in economic development. She then went to the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism where she was responsible for marketing Massachusetts as a group tour destination to tour operators throughout the United States and Canada, developing and implementing bids for major conventions for Boston and Massachusetts, and developing and coordinating the annual Massachusetts Governor’s Conference on Travel & Tourism.

Jean Karam

A 27-year resident of Salem, Jean works for the Salem School Department at Collins Middle School in 7th grade special education. She has raised two children with her husband Doug and actively supports the Salem Public Schools, Salem Education Foundation, Plummer Home and community work with Tabernacle Church. Jean has B.A. in Human Services from Simmons College.

Elizabeth Lahikainen

Elizabeth Lahikainen is an internationally recognized textile conservator specializing in historic upholstery. She has been a pioneer in developing many innovative conservation techniques widely used in the field today to preserve textile covered artifacts. She has worked for numerous private and public collections, including the U. S. State Department in Washington, and many museums and historic houses. She is the author of several articles on the subject and has lectured throughout the United States and abroad, including England, Sweden and Australia. She is the founding President of the Salem Education Foundation, an organization that champions the importance educating the youth of all communities, not only in core subject areas, but the creative arts as well. She has two grown children and resides in Salem with her husband.

Monica Leisey

Monica Leisey is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and an assistant professor in the Salem State University School of Social Work.  Her areas of scholarship include the pedagogy of social work and social work leadership.  Monica has successfully submitted grants to both NIH and the DOJ.  She is currently serving as the Masters of Social Work program coordinator responsible for managing the MSW program of approximately 350 students.  She also chairs the Salem State University Collaboration Committee and serves on the President’s Advisory Committee on Diversity, Affirmative Action, Equity and Social Justice and the Graduate Education Council.  Recently, she was sponsored to attend the HERS Bryn Mawr Summer Institute by the Council on Social Work Education and Salem State University.  Monica has lived in Salem since joining the Salem State University Faculty in 2010.

Rachel Lutts

Rachel is a licensed mental health counselor, and has been practicing for almost 20 years on the North Shore. She began her career working for Health and Education Services (now Lahey Health Behavioral) and North Shore Children’s Hospital in the Outpatient Mental Health Department. She has owned and operated a private practice in Salem for the past five years, and  specializes in the treatment of children and adolescents with behavioral/emotional problems. Rachel has served as the chairperson of the Missions committee of Tabernacle Church in Salem, and she has volunteered for HAWC, The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem, and Lifebridge in Salem.  Rachel earned a B.S. in Psychology from Clark University and a M.S. in Counseling and Psychology from Salem State University. She recently received her real estate license, and works part time for Keller Williams in Beverly. Rachel and her husband, Rob, live in Salem and have three children.

Margo  Shea

Margo Shea is an assistant professor of History at Salem State University. She is a scholar and practitioner of public history with expertise in community history and participatory methods in memory studies. She holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A.and Ph.D. in History, as well as a Public History Certificate from University of Massachusetts Amherst. As a scholar and educator, Shea examines the cultural, social and political contexts within which memory is experienced, articulated and expressed. Bringing an historical perspective to memory studies is central to her teaching and research — part of a larger goal of illustrating through her work that historical scholarship and historical practice meet in spaces of engagement, curiosity and an examination of the consequences of the past for the present and the future. Her scholarship comes directly out of an early career in nonprofit administration and university-community partnerships. Shea has written extensively on history and memory in Northern Ireland as well as on the intersections of place, memory and community identity in various contexts. As a public historian, she is committed to getting students into the field – she has developed historic walking tours, staged re-enactments, designed pop-up exhibits and crowd-sourced local history with undergraduates and graduate students. In addition to public history, she teaches Irish history, world history and urban history.

Paul Tucker

State Representative Tucker has over 30 years experience in serving the community. He retired as police chief of Salem, MA in 2014, and has since served as State Representative of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, 7th Essex District. Since 2000, he has served as adjunct faculty member at public and private colleges as well as an instructor at police academies and in-service training. He is also a practicing attorney in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. His many accomplishments include: honors graduate of the 189th session of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy; Former Director of the North Shore Drug Task Force; former member of the Board of Directors of the New England Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association; as well as numerous letters of departmental commendation and citations for meritorious service.

Don White

Don White is co-founder and managing partner of March Second, Inc., a marketing technology and consulting business. He has extensive experience launching successful advertising and digital marketing agencies, leading software development teams, and managing large marketing and sales organizations. He currently teaches marketing at Salem State University.

Don’s distinguished career began far from corporate life, but not so far from his love of working with people and helping them to succeed. After completing his undergraduate degree, Don taught high school English and History and coached the football and track teams at Immaculate High School in Danbury Connecticut. He later completed his MBA with concentrations in Finance and Marketing at Columbia University and spent several years as a visiting lecturer at Fairfield University.

Julie Whitlow

Julie Whitlow is currently a professor in the English Department at Salem State University, and coordinator of the Graduate Programs in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She is transitioning to a leadership role at SSU’s Center for International Education where she is currently a Faculty Fellow. Julie has been a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco and a Fulbright Scholar in Nicaragua. She is a native of New Orleans but she, her wife Olga, and their two daughters call Salem home.


Carolyn McGuire

For the past few years Carolyn has been a consultant art/photo/production editor and writer for several textbook publishers and local nonprofits. Previously, she worked for the book publishing industry in layout and editorial and at Pearson Prentice Hall as a digital production artist and template builder for math and science textbooks, where she learned the integral relationship of visuals and words to convey information.  Carolyn has also worked in the Communications & Publications department at Wellesley College, developing recruitment materials and fundraising appeals.  She produces the quarterly online newsletter for the Salem Athenæum, and assists the director in writing and producing eblasts and social networking content. She has also served on the Board of Directors of Salem Community Gardens for the past 5 years. Carolyn has an M.A. in Writing and Publishing from Emerson College.