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Youth Achievement, Resilience and Success Since 1978

Our Staff:

Our Key Priority - Quality Cost Effective Service Provision

During the last decade, economic stresses have created an increased demand for diversification and expansion of service delivery; and a decrease in opportunities for funding.

Outsourcing for the technical expertise needed to maintain and grow our systems of finance, supervision and consultation has helped us meet the challenge of maintaining cost effective quality services for our youth.

Bette Bohlke-O'Gara

Bette Bohlke-O'Gara, LICSW

Executive Director, KeySteps Inc

Bette is the Executive Director and one of the founding members of KeySteps. She draws on her extensive experience in health and human service delivery, planning, human resource development, marketing, administration and fund raising to guide the strategic growth, development, financial management and evaluation of a comprehensive system of counseling and support services for Boston's expectant and parenting teens, newcomers to the country, special needs youth and others at risk of dropout.

During Bette's tenure, the agency has grown from a single site, single staff agency serving 50 youth with a graduation and retention rate of 56%, to an agency which service 400 – 500 youth each year with an annual graduation and retention rate of 78% - 86%.

Bette holds a Masters in Social Work from Boston University School of Social Work and a BA from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois.

Sara Centeio

Sara Centeio, MSW, B.A.

KeySteps Counselor, Boston International High School

Sara joined Boston International High School's (BINCA) culturally and linguistically diverse staff and students in September 2019. As a graduate of Charlestown High School in 2013, College of the Holy Cross, 2017; Boston College School of Social Work, 2019 and participant in rigorous social work graduate internships at BINCA, Codman Square Health Center and Youth Villages at the Girls Center for Intensive Residential Treatment in Memphis Tennessee, Sara offers an eclectic skill set that helps our youth understand how to connect with school and resolve barriers to ensure academic success. Born in Boston, spending her early years in Fogo, Cape Verde where her Mom was a teacher and her Dad, a businessman, and moving to Boston when she was 9, she knows the value of family support while grappling with the challenge of learning a new language in a new school system and country. Sara looks forward to sharing her wealth of knowledge and experience with our youth as they identify their capacity to reach their potential and plan for sustainable futures in their new country.

Shakira Puello

Jennifer Nova, M.A.

KeySteps Counselor, Charlestown High School

As an October 2018 hire, Jen brings a background of Expressive Arts Therapy and Drama Therapy from Lesley University where in August 2018, she received her M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Her work, life experience and interests reflect many of the standards of social and emotional learning that help to inform teaching and learning in the classroom. Born into a Boston family from the Dominican Republic and Italy, and attending Boston Public Schools until high school, Jenn learned the importance of family histories, values and customs as she engaged with peers and her teachers. Through dance, participation in team sports, travel and rigorous academic programming at Deerfield Academy & Bowdoin College, she bonded with peers, excelled in school and explored careers in drama & the arts. Jen's education, life experience, and skills learned at Lesley University prepare her well for working with our CHS teachers and community based staff to enhance our youths' ability to manage their actions, resolve barriers and achieve academic goals.

Nkemdilim O. Okeke

Nkemdilim O. Okeke, M.Ed, Bs.Ed.

Graduate Social Work Intern
Salem State University School of Social Work

After her arrival in the U.S. in 2018, Nkemdilim excelled in her first year of academic studies at Salem State University School of Social Work, and in September 2019, commenced her field placement at KeySteps, Boston International High School-Newcomers Academy.

Born, raised and educated in Nigeria, Nkemdilim brings a wealth of skills from her experience in the Nigerian Public School system as a teacher for nine years and counselor for three. In addition to fulfilling her daily instructional tasks as a biology instructor, she developed a sex education curriculum and convened groups for girls to increase rudimentary knowledge about social and emotional good health, financial literacy and economically sustainable futures. Nkemdilim's internship at KeySteps - BINCA will incorporate her experience in Nigeria with the provision of individual and group counseling for youth grappling with the ill-effects of trauma and equipping our newcomers with the social supports necessary to craft predictable lifestyles in their new home and country.

Michael A. Harvey, Ph.D, A.B.P.P.

Michael Harvey, PhD

KeySteps Clinical Consultant

Dr. Harvey has provided clinical consultation and guidance for KeySteps staff for over twenty-five years. He has helped staff create and maintain engaging school-based wraparound programming for Deaf and Hard of Hearing youth, newcomers to the country, and others with special needs enrolled in Boston Public Schools. He is internationally known for his work on trauma informed care and has conducted research and provided training at local, national and international conferences. His publications include over 40 articles and four books about deaf and hearing-impaired persons. Dr. Harvey has a private practice in Framingham MA.

Hugo A. Kamya, M.Div., M.S.W., Ph.D.

Hugo Kamya, Instructor, LICSW, PhD

KeySteps Clinical Consultant, Simmons College School of Social Work

Dr. Kamya provides consultation and guidance for our KeySteps staff at the Boston International High School/ Newcomers Academy. His scholarly and practice interests include caring across communities; the psychological impact of war; children living in families with HIV/AIDS; developing culturally competent systems of care for immigrants and refugees; interracial relations and spirituality in therapy. He has conducted research, written numerous publications and presented at local, national and international conferences and universities. Dr. Kamya is a full time faculty member at Simmons College School of Social Work in Boston and has a private practice in Arlington, MA.

Denise Hebb, CPA, CFE

Denise Hebb, CPA

KeySteps Accountant

Ms. Hebb's firm, Hebb & Co, LLC, has provided bookkeeping and accounting services for KeySteps for over twenty years. During her career, she has provided corporate and public accounting for hundreds of firms throughout the country and while doing so has held CFO, Treasurer and Controller positions - and most recently - was senior manager of a local CPA firm. As a Certified Fraud Examiner, Ms. Hebb has expertise in the area of fraud and helps small businesses assess control risks, and create, use and monitor the effectiveness of internal controls. She currently oversees audits of small businesses, local governments, churches, non-profit agencies, and entities subject to HUD regulation. Ms. Hebb specializes in tax preparation, planning, and problem resolution, and has significant experience in preparing multi-state tax returns.

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Melissa Jamison

KeySteps Payroll Clerk, Payroll Specialist iSolved Technology

KeySteps has outsourced for payroll services for over 30 years. PayChoice, its vendor of choice for over five years, was purchased by iSolved Technology in 2019, and continues to provide comprehensive payroll services including payroll processing, payroll tax administration and direct deposit services.

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Pete Slonka, BS

KeySteps IT

Pete is the Owner Principal-Precise IT. He installs and maintains KeySteps' computer systems and networks; and helps our staff maximize use of our IT structure