Leah Thorn-Szostkiewicz '24 Records Highest Score at Music Festival
Middle School Model UN Excels at Conference
Sally Geoghehan '24 Wins Middle School Geography Bee
MS Robotics Advances to State Meet
Ayslin Dziedzic '25 Leads Benefit Concert

Middle School Minds

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Middle School Minds: Meet our Panelists

Steve Opalenik is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, with a Master's Degree in Counseling from Springfield College. He specializes in working with children, adolescents, young adults and families. He has a background in movement and nutritional therapies, mindfulness, meditation, and narrative and solution focused therapies. Steve is certified as a Y12SR Instructor (Yoga as a 12-step recovery program), and is currently working on his certification to be a Certified Mental Health Integrative Medicine Provider. He is the President of The Promethean Project, a local nonprofit wellness center, whose mission is to create a one stop shop for peoples’ physical, mental and holistic health needs and goals. Recently, Steve created The Brian Odiorne Youth Leadership Initiative, a leadership program whose focus is to help youth who are struggling with managing anxiety and depression, learn the skills to harness their potential and be leaders within their communities.

Zachary Santana is a doctoral student in UMass Amherst’s School Psychology program. His research and professional interests revolve around supporting youths’ behavioral and mental health through direct service and collaborative processes with teachers, school administrators, and parents. He is also working to better understand methods for replacing exclusionary and punitive school discipline systems with inclusive and proactive alternatives. 
Since joining the School Psychology program, Zachary has engaged in many research and professional projects, including training parents and pre-service teachers in principles of behavioral psychology to best support their youths across home and school contexts, training special educators to meet the academic, behavioral, and emotional needs of diverse learners, and measuring the effectiveness of programs which seek to help teenagers earn equivalency degrees and enter the STEM field.

Dr. Beata Puri received her medical degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada. She completed her Pediatric residency at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark and fellowship in Pediatric Rheumatology at the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston. She has a Master of Science in Clinical Research from Tufts-Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences. She is Board Certified in Pediatrics and is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She has worked at Pediatric Associates of Hampden County in Westfield, Mass., since 2015. She also presently serves as the District physician for Southwick Regional Schools. She lives in Westfield, Mass., with her husband (WMA Class of '89) and two children who she is proud to say are current WMA Titans. 

Kevin Kane is our new Dean of Studies, effective at the start of the 2019-2020 academic year. He joined the Academy after 10 years in Washington State teaching Spanish and serving as Chair of the Foreign Languages department at the Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma. A native of Glens Falls, New York , Mr. Kane has taught Spanish and German at several schools including Adirondack Community College in Queensbury, New York; The Pingry School and the Lawrenceville School, both in New Jersey.
Mr. Kane has travelled with student groups to places that include Mexico, Cuba, Peru, Switzerland, The Netherlands, France, Turkey and the UAE. In addition, he has been a Board Member and team leader for the regional nonprofit Glen Falls Medical Mission, traveling with groups of medical professionals on missions to rural Guatemala to provide medical attention to the under privileged.
Mr. Kane lives on campus with his family.