Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Jacobson has experience in child welfare, clinical psychology and human services. He previously worked as Senior Vice President of Programs at Jewish Family & Children’s Service, Site Director at South Shore Mental Health; Division Director at the Providence Center; and Associate Division Director of Behavioral Health at Riverside Community Care. He holds a BA in Child Study from Tufts University, a Psy.D. from the University of Hartford and an MBA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Dr. Jacobson has also practiced clinically since 2000, providing outpatient therapy to children, adolescents, and adults and consulting to several area hospitals and behavioral health programs. He has given a variety of community workshops and presentations on topics related to child development and wellbeing, as well as providing training for teachers and other professionals. His hope for Italian Home is to continually help more children in more significant ways through innovation, responsiveness, and ensuring that we are an employer of choice for our excellent staff.
Senior Vice President of Development
Patti McKenna joined Italian Home for Children in November, 2016. Patti has been fundraising for the past 20 years of her career in many areas including health organizations, hospitals, and museums.
Prior to joining the Italian Home for Children, Patti was the COO of ChopChop, a small nonprofit publisher that focused on teaching kids to cook. Before that, Patti was the Senior Vice President at the American Heart Association. Her role as SVP was to raise $4.5 million dollars annually through three major events. Patti also managed the Board of Directors who was active in fundraising as well as policy work at the State level.
Patti worked with the Government Relations staff to help promote policy at the State and local level. Patti and the board were very active in legislation for the School Nutrition Act as well as legislation requiring all coaches to be trained in CPR.
During her time at the AHA Patti developed Community Impact Grants. These were small grants (25,000-15,000) that were given to small Boston non profits that focused on childhood obesity.
She has an MBA from the University of Missouri, Kansas City and a BS degree from Northeastern Illinois University.
Senior Vice President of Programs
Susan has over 15 years of experience working with youth in residential, inpatient, outpatient, emergency rooms, and homes. Her strengths include program development and expansion, clinical assessment, operations, quality improvement, and budgeting. Susan received her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Latin American Studies from Boston College. She later returned to her alma mater to earn her Masters of Social Work degree.
Susan’s expertise is in child and adolescent mental health, having trained at Children’s Hospital. She held important child program management positions at South Shore Mental Health, Riverside Community Care, Tenet Healthcare, and Jewish Family & Children’s Service. Most recently, as Child and Adolescent Division Director at JF&CS Susan expanded CBHI services as well as implemented innovative case management and respite programs for youth with autism. She has also been on the faculty at Boston College School of Social Work where she taught a graduate level course “Clinical Practice with Children and Families”.
Vice President of Finance
Marie joined Italian Home for Children in 2015 and is currently the VP of Finance. She is responsible for leading and supporting Facilities, Information Technologies, and monitoring Italian Home for Children’s financial activities and manages the organization's budget. With over 15 years of finance and operations experience, Marie brings expertise in organization restructuring, including process and operation improvements, financial system development and implementation, strategic planning, accounting, and business analysis. Marie came to Italian Home for Children with a history of successfully establishing and streamlining financial operations, systems, and internal controls providing enhanced transparency to previous organizations.
Marie comes from a military background through the USAF, has received the Presidents Service Award, and has driven her career and obtained her experience working with other non-profits, publicly traded, private venture capital, and public accounting companies. Marie graduated from Salem State University with a B.S. degree in Accounting.
Vice President of Talent & Operations
In 2002, Kristen joined the Italian Home for Children team as a direct care staff member. Italian Home’s values and mission fit perfectly with her commitment to serving those in need of protection, support and resources to improve lives. Kristen’s career in this field began while attending the University of Massachusetts, Boston, when she took a job at the Justice Resource Institute as a youth counselor working with Department of Youth Services involved teens. Her next opportunity came when she took a position with Northeastern Family Institute in Dorchester as a direct care staff and later held a position as a teacher. There she worked with young teens at risk placed in programs with the goal of returning to their communities and families. Working with youth who were in such a difficult place in life was hard but came naturally. By this time, she knew this was more than a job; it was her duty and personal mission to help her community by supporting children in need.
Kristen has held various positions at Italian Home for Children including direct care, teacher, and Assistant Director of the CBAT program. As Assistant Director of the CBAT program she became a part of developing and improving systems to ensure the children and families received the highest quality of care. In each position, she was able to contribute in a way that demonstrated her true commitment to building better lives and communities. After experiencing Italian Home’s work in multiple capacities, she took on a role in Human Resources. This new perspective allowed her to continue to focus on serving her community but in a new way. The broad range of responsibility allowed for evaluation and improvement of practices and policies and allowed Kristen to use her firsthand experience in her roles at Italian Home for Children to help invite and select skilled and talented people to join the team. The transition from direct advocate of children and families to advocate for employees and the agency overall, was seamless. Italian Home mirrors her own values making her work a genuine part of her life.
Associate Vice President of Clinical Programming
Sara has dedicated her professional career to working with children and families in many capacities, particularly in the mental health field. She moved from Washington D.C. to Boston to earn a Master's Degree in Social Work from Simmons College and joined the Italian Home in 2004 and has been a leader within the organization for many years, and currently as the Associate Vice President of Clinical Programming.
Sara is also connected to the surrounding communities and outside of her work with the Italian Home; she is actively involved in helping children, families, and adults in various ways. She has spent years as a Red Cross Volunteer in Massachusetts, being deployed to local disasters as a DAT (Disaster Action Team) member and coaches a local soccer team helping children grow and develop their skills while working on self-esteem and how to be a member of a team.
Associate Vice President of Educational Programming
Jane Zopatti-Lewis has been leading the Education Team at the Italian Home since 1990. As the Director of Educational Services, she has seen the program through many changes, challenges and growth. Jane came to the Italian Home with several years’ experience in both education and business. She began her teaching career working with special needs adolescents in a small “storefront” school in Boston and moved into the position of Special Education Administrator for the program, guiding its growth and accreditation. Jane’s passion for helping students who have not been successful in traditional school programs has been the driving force of her career.
Jane received her Master’s Degree in Administration and Management from Cambridge College and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education from Boston College. She has Massachusetts Certification as an Administrator of Special Education and Teacher of Children with Moderate Special Needs.
Jane lives in Sagamore Beach where she enjoys the ocean and bike rides along the Cape Cod Canal.
Associate Vice President of Community Based Programs
Samantha joined Italian Home for Children in Spring of 2017, as the AVP of Community Based Programs. Samantha has over 12 years of experience working in the field of mental health and developmental disabilities with more than six years in management. She has worked with individuals ages three through 65 in a variety of settings, including schools, residential programs, hospitals, and individuals’ homes.
Sam has worked with individuals with various mental health and trauma histories although her specialty is Autism and cognitive delays. In previous roles, Sam has aided in program development and expansion of programs, always striving to create programs that are client-centered and individually-focused. Italian Home’s emphasis and focus on expansion of Autism offerings is a natural fit for Sam, as she has her Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism from Arcadia University.
In her free time Samantha enjoys cooking, walking her dog, and Pilates.
Director of Operations
Eileen got her start in the field in 2000, as a direct care staff member in residential programs in New Jersey serving at risk children and adolescents with complex trauma histories. She held multiple progressive leadership positions over seven and a half years and oversaw implementation of changes that stemmed from the Child Welfare Reform Act.
In 2007 she moved back to MA, where she worked for the May Institute spending four years in their Quality Improvement, as liaison to their children’s services program focusing on quality of service delivery. She then spent 6 years as Director of Operations of the Consultation Services Division, where she supported systems and operations and oversaw the growth of their National Centers for ASD.