MEET THE TEAM

Our Board of Directors

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MELISSA WINCHELL, Chair

I am a professor of secondary education and educational leadership at Bridgewater State University; I fell in love with teaching in Massachusetts in 1999 and have made public education my career ever since. I founded Inclusion Matters in 2015 because our district needed a SEPAC and my kiddos needed more inclusive schools. Our three kids have all kinds of disabilities, mental health diagnoses, and medical fragilities and our family has spent more than our fair share of time in hospitals, operating rooms, psych programs, and courtrooms. But I think the hardest thing for me has been coping with a broken adoption in our family. Inclusion Matters has helped me to find a place to share the ups and downs of our family life; my work with Inclusion Matters also has given me multiple ways to turn our family's pain into glimmers of light for others. Everyone who knows me knows that I not only drink coffee, but have learned to make all kinds of it; I love a pour-over in the mornings and a cold brew in the afternoons.

JASON
WINCHELL

I am Melissa's husband and a graduate of WBMSHS. I currently teach math at Blue Hills Regional Technical High School and am now in my 20th year as a public educator.  I love building things, being outdoors, and playing soccer.  I volunteer with Inclusion Matters for two reasons. One, it directly impacts my daughter and her education.  Two, because there are not enough fathers involved with their children's education and advocacy.  The hardest thing for me was coming to grips with the challenges that our family faced when we were surprised by learned of our daughter's Down syndrome diagnosis at birth.  After already having gone through a bone marrow transplant with our oldest son, I thought we had "paid the piper".  But with her birth and medical disabilities, it was obvious that we were headed for more challenges.  Family, friends, and community were and still are critical in helping our family navigate them. My drink of choice is Sam Adams Porch Rocker.

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BRIGITTE
DAVID, Social Media

I am a REALTOR® with Lamacchia Realty, working alongside and guiding my clients as they make the most important financial decision in their lives. I have always enjoyed working with people, talking with them...getting to know who they are and what makes them tick. My hobbies include reading, gardening, spending time at the beach and watching my children enjoy their sports and activities. I love a nice warm cup of coffee...even on summer mornings. My interest in Inclusion Matters began when my son was diagnosed with ADHD Combined, Anxiety and later, Tourette Syndrome. I was looking for support and guidance to help advocate for my son. I found that and more. Through discussion, guest speakers and friendships I have been able to navigate and help write my son's 504 and now want to give back to parents who are in the same position that I was in. The hardest thing we faced was trying to figure out what was challenging our son and making 3rd grade so difficult for him. We took a deep breath, spoke with our pediatrician and started a round of testing with neurology, opthamology, neuro-psych exam and behavioral therapy and then we received his diagnoses...well, all but the Tourettes. That diagnosis came 2 years later but that's another story. We found strength through family and friends while continuing to make time for all 3 of our kids, explaining what was going on with their brother and spending additional time with them. individually and all together. I love a nice warm cup of coffee...even on summer mornings. When it comes to adult beverages, my new favorite is a spicy margarita.

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ROBYN DRAGONETTI

I am a middle and high school speech/language pathologist (SLP) with a professional interest in social development and augmentative-alternative communication. I absolutely love working with middle schoolers! They're in that awkward stage between child and adult and often they're just looking for someone to help guide them through. My husband and I have two kiddos in the West Bridgewater Public Schools and as a family, we tend to be homebodies! We spend a lot of time together around the house and in the backyard with our dog, Frankie! Through my own experience in special education, my family's social-emotional challenges, and my work with Girl Scouts to understand and foster inclusion, I want to be able to be a resource for other parents. If I can answer one question or provide support to just one parent, the experience is worth it! My children are very different from one another. While one has to work hard to self-regulate and often needs support to maintain self-control in both academic and social tasks, the other meets her goals with ease. I teach my students and my own children: Fair is not when everything is even. Fair is when everyone gets what they need. I realize when I give so much more attention to one child over the other, they're each getting what they need, but it certainly doesn't feel fair. I think this is a struggle that many parents face: that feeling of guilt when one of your children demands so much more. I try to slow down, put away my phone and make sure the quality of my attention exceeds the quantity since the quantity will never be exactly even. My favorite drink is Coffee!

MARY ROHNSTROM

I am starting my 23rd year of teaching in special education. Hobbies include: gardening, crocheting, and hiking. Interests: anything animals! We have a house full of pets ❤️ I volunteer because it so important for families to know that there are a group of knowledgeable and supportive people to turn to; whether it to be an ear to just listen, give advice, or to offer supports. Being a parent of a child with special needs can be very isolating. My hope is that with this group of wonderful parents we can be a great support system and build inclusivity within the community.  My favorite drink is Corona Premier…with an orange (Thanks to Shaun at Grand Slam for the “life changing” advice to switch from lime to an orange….you should try it!)

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RACHEL
SAADE

My name is Rachel Saade. My husband, Elias, and I have three children ranging in ages from 4-12. I work full time for a tech company as a Sales Manager and also help my husband run our family bakery. You can find me spending time with the kids (they're quite a handful), trying out new recipes (yummy), or enjoying a cup of coffee with a good friend (recharges my batteries)! I volunteer because while my daughter was in the process of being evaluated for a learning disability, I leaned heavily upon Inclusion Matters to help me understand the process and what my options/rights were to support my child. I want to be sure that every parent facing those decisions has a support system that they can trust to help them.  The hardest thing our family has faced is seeing our child struggle to make friends, or to read, or to wait their turn in line - the first glimpses that your child is different compared to "typical" kids their age can be heartbreaking. Where you view them as precious, adorable children with some cute quirks - others see mainly their differences and not always through rose-colored glasses of acceptance. You want to scream about how wonderful your child is and how they should be included - that they can be a great friend and how smart they truly are and that they light up a room like sunshine. Instead, find people that you can lean on - those who understand or at least try to understand what you are going through (a spouse, close friends or a support group). People who love your children wholly - for who they are and who they aren't. Surround yourself with accepting love and encouragement meant to remind you of what an incredible blessing your child truly is.  My favorite drink is Coffee!

DAVID
SCHMEER

I'm an electrical engineer, a fan of heavy metal music, and love to read.  I volunteer with Inclusion Matters because I want to make a place for my sons to feel welcome despite their challenges with social skills. Autism spectrum disorder has many challenges and we've received help from so many friends, family and professionals to help us deal with those. Knowing where to find the available resources is the most important thing to me. My favorite drink is beer, especially hoppy IPAs.

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TRACY
SCHMEER

Stay at home mom of 3 boys. I enjoy running, reading, and cooking. I volunteer because this group helped me when I first moved to West Bridgewater. I have two autistic boys. The hardest thing we've faced as a family was getting the diagnosis of both boys. Some family and friends support helped.  My favorite drink is a Cosmopolitan.