About Us

We are the bridge between our schools and the community

We believe that stronger connections between Falmouth Public Schools students and our network of talented volunteers enrich the lives of everyone in our community.

Celebrating
40+ years of impact

Having started from humble beginnings, our program marked its 40th anniversary during the 2022-23 school year. Since we began, our programs have grown to touch the lives of every student in the Falmouth Public School District and over those four decades, we’ve made a big impact.

1.3 Million

Volunteer hours logged

$1.86 Million

We’ve raised for enriching programs for students

Recognized by the following organizations

“It build a great relationship between the community and our schools. The programs provided for students are highly beneficial and provide a great positive impact for our students.

I like being able to get extra support for my students, the ease of communication with the VIPS staff and getting to know the VIPS volunteers.

It has made a significant, positive impact in the educational growth of my students.”

Holly Gorham
3rd Grade Teacher, Mullen-Hall Elementary

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Meet our dedicated Staff & Board

Carrie Shanahan Headshot

Carrie Shanahan

President

Carrie is in her 24th year as Physical Education Teacher at Teaticket Elementary. She earned her B.A. in Education and Coaching at Bridgewater State College and her M.S. from Lesley University. Carrie is co-director for the Falmouth Education Foundation’s 5K Race, head coach for the FHS Spring Golf Team, and assists with several Teaticket PTO committees. Carrie volunteers for the After Prom Party, numerous sports and school fundraisers. She has received many grants and awards for health, wellness and safety projects.

Kevin Klauer Headshot

Kevin Klauer

Vice President

Kevin is an attorney with Ament Klauer LLP in Falmouth. He earned his B.A. in political science from University of New Hampshire and his J.D. from Suffolk University Law School. He is married to Meghan Klauer and they are parents of three sons and a daughter. Kevin is a past board member of Falmouth Historical Society and Cape Cod Center for Women. Kevin says his favorite teacher was J. Michael Parker, who taught him AP History in his junior year.

Susan Roman Headshot

Susan Roman

Treasurer

Susan grew up in Falmouth and earned a B.A. in Economics from Boston College and a law degree from Boston College Law School. Susan worked for Price Waterhouse Coopers in Boston and Philadelphia before returning to Falmouth. Susan practiced law for 12 years before returning to the financial industry. She earned her Certified Financial Planner™ marks and is a licensed Investment Advisor Representative. Susan owns Roman Retirement Planning, LLC. She serves on the Board for the Falmouth Housing Trust, is a member of the Mashpee Chamber of Commerce and Falmouth Rotary Club.

Liz Lerner Headshot 2

Liz Lerner

Secretary

Liz is a Producer/Announcer for WCAI, local NPR, Cape Coast and Islands and a producer for community television. Liz earned her B.A. from Stonehill College and her master’s in journalism from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Liz and her husband have two children in Falmouth schools. She is active in the Mullen-Hall Elementary PTO, volunteers for several school programs and events including Arts Alive and the Outdoor Learning committee. She coaches rec soccer. Liz served on the board for Falmouth STEM Boosters, West Falmouth Preschool (recording secretary), and was a juror for the Woods Hole Film Festival.

Todd Bidwell Headshot

Todd Bidwell

Immediate Past-President

Todd is General Manager of the Island Queen Ferry. He is a town meeting member, past VP of Falmouth Chamber of Commerce, past president for Wings for Falmouth Families; past president of Meeting Professionals International NE Chapter. He is a board member for the Falmouth Preservation Alliance and Cape Cod Apartments; a member of the strategic planning committees for Historic Highfield, Falmouth Museums on the Green, and a member of Friends of Andrews Farm. He is a corporator for Martha’s Vineyard Bank.

Kristian Andrade Headshot

Kristian Andrade

Board Member

Kristian is Vice President of Longfellow Design Build. He has a B.S. in business administration from Southern New Hampshire University. He was born and raised in Falmouth and is married to Stephanie Andrade. He has three daughters who all attend Falmouth Public Schools. Kristian’s favorite teacher was Mr. Kelleher who he had for 8th grade history. He credits Mr. Von Hentschel, his industrial arts teacher at FHS, for motivating and encouraging him, and going ‘above and beyond’ for his students. Kristian received the 2019 Prism Award for Most Valuable Team Member for a builder or remodeler.

Megan English Braga Headshot

Megan English Braga

Board Member

Megan is a private practice attorney in Falmouth. She earned her B.S. from Wellesley College, her Ed.M. from Harvard University, and her J.D. from Suffolk University Law School. Prior to practicing law, Megan was an educator, after-school program coordinator, and special needs advocate. Megan worked as a student support counselor in Boston Public Schools, collaborating with Mass General Hospital and Harvard University to promote positive development and implement intervention services for low-income students and their families. Megan is married with a college bound senior and a soon to be first grader. Megan is a member of the Falmouth Select Board and previous member of Falmouth Finance Committee. In addition to VIPS, Megan is a member of the Falmouth Academy Board of Trustees and the Portuguese American Association of Falmouth. Megan’s favorite teacher was Otis Porter who taught 7th grade history at Lawrence School.

Maria Elena Lynch headshot

Maria Elena Lynch

Board Member

​Elena works in Personnel Operations and Brand Curation for Lawrence-Lynch Corp., where she is a third-generation member of the family business. Her responsibilities range from recruitment, scheduling, special projects, events, employee appreciation and professional development to social media, marketing and community engagement. Elena grew up in Barnstable but has strong ties to Falmouth: her mother’s family planted roots in East Falmouth a couple of centuries ago, coming from the Cape Verde islands to work as farmers; her father’s family established the asphalt and paving business in Falmouth in the 1970s. Elena graduated from Temple University with a degree in strategic communications. She began volunteering with the VIPS Pathways program in 2022 and fell in love with the kids. She says she has a deep appreciation for the fact that although the program is optional, the kids still show up. She says Elena is passionate about making our community a place where everyone has an opportunity to thrive. Elena is also a member of Cape Cod Young Professionals, and serves on the board of Love Live Local, a non-profit dedicated to community and political advocacy on behalf of local businesses to the Cape.

Terri Medeiros Headshot

Terri Medeiros

Board Member

Terri grew up in Falmouth and after graduating from Lawrence High School, she attended UMass where she received both a B.A. and M.Ed. in French and Education. After college, she moved to Germany and was hired to work for Rosenthal China Company. She enjoyed living in Europe but she missed Falmouth and returned and married her high school sweetheart. Terri went on to teach French and German in Falmouth Public Schools. Upon retirement from the FEA, she taught for ten more years at a local Catholic High School. Terri can’t imagine not being involved with education, so she is currently a member of the Falmouth School Committee. She is also a Town Meeting Member in Falmouth.

Kitty Muse Headshot

Kitty Muse

Board Member

Kitty is an aide at North Falmouth Elementary School and a realtor. A Falmouth native, Kitty graduated from FHS and has a B.S. in Nutrition. In addition to her volunteer work with VIPS, served as a teaching assistant and coach for field hockey, basketball and softball. She is currently hosting a foreign exchange student. She is married to Peter Muse and they have three sons and one very adorable granddaughter. Kitty and her husband are frequent Disney vacationers. They love to travel, doing road trips around New England and short flights to Bermuda. They also collect cars, with six in the current collection ranging from new to antique. Kitty says her favorite professor was Tom Richards at Keene State, who taught nutrition and was responsible for changing her course of study. Kitty’s favorite VIPS experience is mentoring.

Akku Patel Headshot

Akku Patel

Board Member

Akku is the owner of Jack in the Beanstalk. He is married to Denisha Patel; they have a daughter Anya, who is at Lawrence School, and an Australian labradoodle named Peanut. Akku has lived in Falmouth since 2003 when he purchased the Main Street 711. He says he fell in love with the town when he first visited in 2002 and enjoys the “tight knit community where a lot of people help each other out.” Akku is a member of the Falmouth Rod & Gun Club where he also serves as security chair, and the Masonic Lodge. Akku received the Retailers Initiative Award from 711. He attended NJCU for computer science and is certified in both MCSE and UNIX admin. His favorite teacher was Mrs. Hennessey at Dickinson High School in Jersey City, NJ.

Pauline Peters Headshot

Pauline Peters

Board Member

Pauline is a native Cape Codder; she was born in Hyannis but moved to Falmouth at the age of two. She says she loves the small town feel that Falmouth has. Growing up in Falmouth, Pauline enjoys having lots of family close by and can’t see herself living anywhere else. Pauline is the owner of a local business, Falmouth Dog Grooming. She is certified groomer and was honored as top groomer for the Upper Cape by Cape Cod Magazine. She has two sons who attended Falmouth schools, Kevin and Nathan. Pauline volunteers with the Harbor Kids program and faith family kitchen at Harbor Church. She helps serve Thanksgiving meals through Falmouth Service Center and was an Arts Alive volunteer in Falmouth schools. Thinking back to her time as a student in Falmouth, Pauline says her favorite teacher was Ellen Barol, who she credits with encouraging her and serving as a positive influence. “She always believed in me and was there to cheer me on. I appreciate her so much,” she says.

Beth Thompson

Beth Thompson

Board Member

​Beth is a Wealth Management Officer at Cape Cod Five Bank. She is a Certified Trust Financial Advisor and an Accredited Fiduciary Investment Manager. Beth is involved with the Housing Assistance Corporation and the Credit for Life Fair. She is a member of the Estate Planning Council of Cape Cod.

Carolyn Woods

Carolyn Woods

Board Member

Carolyn was born and raised in Falmouth. She is retired from her role as owner of Ideal Floor and Decor. She serves as president of the Falmouth Fireworks and serves on the board of Cape Cod Apartments. While her three children were young, she was a regular volunteer at Teaticket Elementary School and now helps out with her grandchildren, who attend North Falmouth and Morse Pond. Carolyn’s favorite teacher at FHS was Mr. Watson, her business teacher.

Tracey I. Crago Headshot

Tracey I. Crago

Executive Director

Drawde Geishecker Headshot

Drawde Geishecker

Secretary

Program Leaders

Eileen Miskell Headshot

Eileen Miskell

FHS College Mentoring
(“the Zorski Project”)

Through the VIPS College Mentoring Program, Eileen works with guidance counselors and volunteer mentors in their efforts to assist high school seniors with the college application process. “I love the students and seeing how this generation of young people see the world,” Eileen says. She is inspired by the success of the program and the students we have mentored. In her spare time, Eileen enjoys walking, hiking, and biking. She encourages anyone to volunteer with VIPS not only because it’s fun, but because it’s a great way to meet new people.

David Sugar Headshot

David Sugar

Junior Achievement (JA) Program

As the Program Leader for VIPS Financial Literacy Programming and Career Preparedness, Dave brings a lot of enthusiasm and passion to his work with students. Dave is motivated to help others gain confidence in their abilities and finds his work extremely rewarding. In his spare time, David coaches and plays tennis, enjoys time with his family, and credits his wife Jamy as his hero, for putting up with him for a lot of years. A fun fact about Dave is that he has lived and worked in almost every region of the country and has learned from every experience. As a VIPS program leader, Dave works with “highly motivated and accomplished individuals from every walk of life and background, who all add value in our efforts to develop our students.”

Grace Simpkins Headshot

Grace Simpkins

Cross-Age Science Teaching
(CAST)

Grace oversees the VIPS CAST Program, teaching 8th graders hands-on science lessons that they take into 3rd grade classrooms and teach the younger students. Grace says she enjoys being with youth and sharing her knowledge and is inspired by the “a ha” moments and the fun things students say when working in the CAST Program. In her free time, Grace plays tennis, reads books, walks her dog, plays games, and enjoys escape rooms. A fun fact about Grace is that she had a pet goat growing up! She loves that VIPS does so many amazing things for our schools and encourages potential volunteers to get involved: “it’s rewarding, you are helping out in your community, and you get to make a difference in someone’s life.”

Niisa Morton Headshot

Niisa Morton

School-based Mentor Programs

As the VIPS Mentor Programs Leader, Niisa matches trusted adults from our community with students in grades K-12. The volunteer mentor becomes a role model and important member of their mentees’ support team. Niisa says she is inspired by the volunteers who make time each week for their mentees. She loves being involved with Falmouth VIPS because “the organization and its programs align with my values.” Mentors say they feel valued by VIPS and get as much out of the volunteering experience as the students. Niisa enjoys spending time with her family and makes time to read every day as a way of “relaxing and letting go of stress.”

Michelle Itzkowitz Headshot

Michelle Itzkowitz

Pathways Program

Inspiring students through creative, fun projects that might lead to further interests or career planning is what Michelle enjoys about the Pathways Program. Her own varied interests and skills have led to her career choices, including teaching yoga, becoming an entrepreneur, and being trained as a chef. Michelle is a lifelong learner, and is currently studying to be a mental health counselor. Next up, she plans to earn a doctorate in yoga philosophy. She says she hopes to inspire others who aren’t sure of their direction to explore all options as a way of discovering their own path. Michelle enjoys spending time with family, friends, and Max the Cat (her real boss!).

Interested in contributing your time in one of these program areas?