At the heart of NBSS are a diverse and dedicated team of staff, faculty, and strategic advisors. Together they provide a supportive environment for students to learn at the highest level, and they engage with a broad-based community of alumni and friends. In addition to the Staff and Faculty below, our community also includes dedicated Boards of Directors and Advisors.
After graduating from the Cabinet and Furniture Making program in 2007, Nicholas built high end cabinetry and architectural millwork in the Boston Metro area. Later, he enlisted in the US Navy, serving active duty for eight years. Following military discharge, he enrolled at the Furniture Institute of Massachusetts, where he studied for three more years under the late Phil Lowe, an NBSS graduate and former Department Head. During his second year as a student, Nicholas began teaching various workshops at the Furniture Institute. Since then, he has taught woodworking classes across New England, for educators such as the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, Lexington Arts Society, and Woodcraft of Woburn.
Corie Melaugh is a recent graduate of the Basic and Advanced Piano Technology programs. Her previous career as a professional musician saw her work all over the world, from Japan to Germany to Austin, TX. After graduating from NBSS, Corie worked as an apprentice piano technician at Aspen Music Festival, before returning to the East Coast to work as a concert technician at Boston University.
You can hear Corie’s voice as an announcer on Classical Radio Boston!
Before attending the Cabinet & Furniture Making program in 2011, Ryan spent ten years in the tool business, building and selling various tools all over the country. Since graduating, he has owned and operated his own cabinet, furniture, and millwork shop on Cape Cod, Ryan Messier Woodworking. His clients include interior designers, custom home builders, local museums, historic societies, and many others—with work spanning from historic repair and reproductions, to entire custom kitchens, and everything in between. Ryan has also taught for many years as an NBSS Continuing Education instructor, plus serving as a substitute instructor in Cabinet & Furniture Making.
Marcia serves as the primary support for the President’s office. She is also the key liaison to the Board of Directors and Advisors—providing support, scheduling committee meetings, and serving as main contact for board communications.
Tafadzwa was born in Harare, Zimbabwe and moved to the United States at eight years old. He has been in education for four years, working with students in high school, early college, and adult education, helping students plan their transitions to post secondary education. Tafadzwa has worked with students from many socioeconomic backgrounds and various life challenges, and says watching each of them gain confidence and grow as a student is why he enjoys being a supportive role in their journey. He holds a Master of Education in School Counseling, and is currently also pursuing a Master of Education in Educational Leadership.
When he moved from Zimbabwe, his full name would not fit on his United States Citizenship paperwork: Tafadzwa Martin Piedmont Stones Daka Musekiwa!
Rob O’Dwyer heads the admissions and financial aid team for the 9 career training programs at NBSS. Stewardship of the reputation of the school through recruitment, honoring the mission, and connecting individuals and organizations with training and scholarship are primary responsibilities. Identifying potential, working with faculty and other stakeholders, and witnessing transformation are the rewards in the work. Work in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion as well as with military veterans has been especially rewarding. Rob has been at NBSS for 11 years, and the team has achieved record enrollments. Rob has a BA in History from SUNY Potsdam, and an MA in Teaching from Emmanuel College.
Steven is a graduate of our Preservation Carpentry program, teaches first-year students, and is head of the department. He worked for Historic New England for six years as a carpenter. During this time, he supervised NBSS students as summer interns. He earned a Historic New England President’s Award through his work with second-year NBSS students on the preservation of the Pierce House in Dorchester. He has also served as an instructor for Boston YouthBuild’s preservation carpentry component.
Steven has guided first-year students through restoration work on many historic properties in the Boston area, including the 1713 Old State House. In 2010, his class saved an 18th-century two-bay English barn from demolition in Hanover, MA.
Kristen has worked in the retail service industry for over 20 years. Prior to NBSS, she operated a high-end custom frame shop in Boston, where she managed design, merchandising, curation and fine art handling—working with clients of all kinds, including private collectors, artists, gallerists, and interior designers. In her four years with NBSS, she has supported our trade school students through retail, exhibitions, and public programming—most notably creating and serving as host ofIn the Making.
Kristen’s passion in life is making, whether it be painting, carving, home renovating, sewing, and crafting anything and everything with her hands. Originally from central Florida, Kristen performed in Boston and Cambridge as a young musician and grew an attachment to the history and architecture of an antique city—eventually moving to Boston to study cello performance at The Boston Conservatory.
To the dismay of her friends and colleagues, Kristen is constantly talking about the divine southern delicacy known as the boiled peanut. She feels strongly that they’re really missing out.
Lance is a graduate of the program and a founding member of Boston’s Fort Point Cabinetmakers cooperative. He has designed and built custom furniture for over 40 years. He is also a large format photographer and a contributor to Fine Woodworking Magazine. Lance was named a 2016 Mentor in Design by Design New England Magazine.
Jamey is a 2006 graduate of the Cabinet & Furniture Making program and an interim instructor. Before becoming a custom furniture maker, Jamey was a general contractor. He currently manages a multi-tenant shop in West Concord, MA where he builds custom projects and musical instruments.
Colleen Walsh Powell joined the NBSS development team in 2019, excited to connect donors with the impact of their support in our students’ lives, and the preservation and appreciation of craft and trade traditions. With more than 15 years of development experience working at institutions including Boston University, The Winsor School, and Emerson College, Colleen has worked on transformative fundraising campaigns in a variety of capacities—from annual and major giving, to events and alumni relations.
Colleen has a BA in English and philosophy from Santa Clara University, and a MA in Arts Administration from Boston University. Californian by birth, but a New Englander by nature, Colleen lives in Pepperell, MA with her husband and twin sons, where they enjoy tending apple trees, cross country skiing, hiking, and gardening.
In her 20s, Colleen got to travel the world as a song-and-dance gal on cruise ships.
Barbara has been with NBSS since 2017, and is inspired by sharing the stories of our students and graduates through the School’s various communication channels. She has degrees in Mass Communication and Museum Education, and has worked for several informal education and nonprofit organizations. When not at her desk, you’ll find her around the School with camera in hand, documenting what our students and faculty make every day.
Barbara once lived in Fairbanks, Alaska and worked for the local Girl Scout council.
Ariana discovered her interest in the field of book and paper conservation while working as an undergraduate in the conservation lab at UC Berkeley. Before coming to NBSS for the Bookbinding program, she took a brief detour in her career to work as a cake decorator in her hometown of Eureka, California. During her summers as a student, Ariana interned at Thornwillow Press in Newburgh, New York, and in the Haverford College conservation lab in Pennsylvania. She currently works as a bookbinder at Harcourt Bindery in Charlestown.
Ada brings a unique background as a former professional handweaver and dyer, musician, and homeschooler to her current role as Facilities Coordinator. She provides evening and weekend support to the Continuing Education department, career training students, and special events, as well as working on improving the School’s facilities. For two years while a Violin Making & Repair student, Ada managed the NBSS student worker team, which has led to a natural progression into a larger role at the School. In addition, Ada continues to build violins and work for a local violin restorer.
Sharon, born and raised in Bucks County, PA, came to NBSS in 2013 with more than 20 years of experience in independent school admissions at George School. She has also worked in fine craft and studio art at Sylvia Nicolas Stained Glass Studio in Mont Vernon, NH; Miler Lagos in Toronto; and New York and Oldham Porcelains in Lansdowne, PA. Sharon facilitates not only the admission process, but more importantly the drive, commitment, and mature readiness that candidates bring to their training at NBSS. She is passionate about helping initiate the pathway for students to become masters of their chosen craft and trade, in the spirit of the School’s founder Pauline Agassiz Shaw. Sharon received her BA in Fine Art from The University of Pennsylvania, with a focus on hand-built fine porcelain.
Sharon specializes in porcelain roses, and is also a Celtic harpist. Like Harry Potter, she has a lightning bolt scar (but on her kneecap!)
Peter is the Carpentry Department Head and a graduate of our Preservation Carpentry program. He most recently worked for custom building and design firm David E. Lanoue, Inc, and previously supervised NBSS interns at Mt. Lebanon Shaker Village. Peter is also a former NBSS Continuing Education instructor, with additional experience as a camp counselor and a public school teacher.
Emily is a 2007 graduate of the Basic Piano Technology program, a 2008 graduate of the Advanced program, and a Registered Piano Technician. She also holds a degree in piano performance from Trinity University. Emily was previously self-employed as a field service technician and piano rebuilder in San Antonio, Texas, where she served a robust private clientele including schools and universities. She is a sought-after instructor at nationwide Piano Technicians Guild seminars. Emily has served the PTG on several committees and as an active tuning and technical examiner. She is a 2021 recipient of the PTG’s Crowl-Travis Member of Note award.