Chris Lacey, Executive Director
Chris Lacey joined the Waterford Country School staff in 1998 as a Lead Child Care worker in the Shelter program. He quickly advanced and became a Supervisor in the Shelter program and then later Assistant Program Director for Safe Homes in 2003. In 2006, he was promoted to Program Director for Foster Care, which eventually grew to include all the community services the Agency now offers. Chris served as the Community Services program director for Adoption Services, Children’s Outpatient Clinic, Intensive Family Preservation and the Foster Care program at our satellite facility in Norwich for 11 years before becoming the Assistant Executive Director overseeing all the agency programs. In 2021, Chris became the Executive Director of Waterford Country School after 22 years of service. Chris obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Eastern Connecticut State University and earned a Master of Science in Human Services from Springfield College.
Sharon Butcher, Director of Education
Sharon Butcher has been an employee of Waterford Country School since the summer of 1979. She started as a child care worker and moved into the Education department in 1984. In 2004 she was selected as the Director of Education and continues to serve in this role. Sharon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Eastern Connecticut University. She holds a Masters of Arts Degree in Comprehensive Special Education and an Intermediate Administrator and Supervisor certification from Southern Connecticut University. Sharon is an adjunct member of the faculty of Cornell University, providing training and consultation for the Residential Child Care Project.
Emily Thomson, Director of Long Term Group Care
Emily Thomson graduated from Western New England College in Springfield, MA, with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and received a Master of Science in Psychology from Connecticut College. She has been working at Waterford Country School since 2001 where she started as a clinician in the Safe Home Program was promoted to Assistant Program Director. Emily was promoted again to Residential Treatment Program Director in 2012. In 2017, Emily was placed in charge of both the Residential Treatment and Hunts Brook Academy long term care programs.
Jenna Baerlocher, Director of Short Term Group Care
Lisa joined the Waterford Country School family in 1998 as a Foster Care Coordinator in the therapeutic foster care program. Lisa moved to the Intensive Family Preservation program in 2003 and worked with families in their homes before returning to Foster Care as a Supervisor. Lisa has a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Relations from the University of Connecticut. She holds a Masters of Arts Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from St. Joseph’s College. Lisa is a trainer for Therapeutic Crisis Intervention for Families and holds a certificate in Traumatic Stress Studies from Justice Resource Institute. In 2017, Lisa became the Director of Foster Care and Community Services programs in our Norwich location.
Ben Turner, Director of Outdoor Education
Ben began working at Waterford Country School in 2009 as an Adventure and Animal Therapy Facilitator, and was promoted in 2012 to Camp Director. In 2014 he was named Assistant Outdoor Education Director and in 2015 assumed the role of Director. Ben designed and directed the WCS’s Camp Cuheca summer program, an after-school program, and the Agency’s fitness trail. Ben Turner was born and raised in Waterford, just a few miles from Waterford Country School. Ben holds a bachelors degree from Northeastern University in business management. At Northeastern, Ben began his career helping and motivating others as a Fitness Consultant for Boston police/detectives, corporate executives, and dual-diagnosed adults in recovery. Ben is a Cornell University certified TCI Trainer, holds a United States Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Rehabilitation Permit, CT DEEP Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator, on the Board of Directors for Reliance Health Inc., and Challenge Course Manager.
Julianna Velazquez, Development Director
As Director of Development at WCS, Julianna provides leadership, program development and management for all fundraising and communication efforts. She is in charge of the annual fund, grants, special events, community outreach, media relations and publications. She earned her Master of Science Degree in Nonprofit Management from Northeastern University and completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Connecticut. Julianna has worked in fundraising for over ten years.
Katherine Teel, Director of Program Support
Katherine Teel assumed the role of Director of Program Support in September, 2012, after a 27 year career as a trooper with the Connecticut State Police. In the State Police, Kathy served as a Sergeant and leader of training at the State Policy Academy directly responsible for the training of the majority of troopers on the road today. Prior to the State Police, she served as a Child Care Worker and later a Supervisor at Waterford Country School. In her current capacity, Kathy manages food service, buildings and grounds maintenance and provides support for licensing and training. Kathy earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology from Eastern Connecticut State University.
Stacy Lowry, Director of Staff Support
Stacy Lowry joined the Waterford Country School staff in September 2019. In her role, she provides leadership to the Finance, Human Resources and Information Technology groups. Her key skills include critical/analytical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration through effective communication. Prior to joining the Waterford Country School team, Stacy worked most recently as the Director of Communications and Practice Management for First Financial Advisory Services, an Investment Advisory firm in Westerly, Rhode Island. In this diverse role, she handled process improvement, database management, compliance, marketing and client communications, as well as business technology and analytics. Earlier in her career, she formerly worked as a Financial Analyst for Pfizer Global Research and Development, and as the Accounting and Reporting Manager first for Mohegan Sun Casino and later The Providence Journal newspaper. Stacy earned a Master of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Finance from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2003, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from the University of Connecticut in 1993.