Kaia Stern, Executive Director, is an educator, speaker, and consultant with 23 years of experience working across multiple domains. Drawing on a background in ethics and community building, her work focuses on transformative justice. In 2008, Kaia cofounded the Prison Studies Project at Harvard University. Her recent book, Voices from American Prisons: Faith, Education and Healing (Routledge, 2014), and her longstanding professional work have helped transform both culture and policy around justice and education, from Sing Sing to The White House. Ordained as an interfaith minister, Kaia holds a master’s of theological studies from Harvard Divinity School and a doctorate in religion from Emory University. She is currently the Executive Director of Concord Prison Outreach and Visiting Faculty at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
Merill Comeau, Administrative Assistant, holds a B.A. in Social Theory and Political Economy from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and studied design at Boston Architectural College. Early in her career Comeau held administrative positions in non-profit art organizations in Boston. After studying at the BAC, Comeau worked for a variety of Boston architecture firms and ran her own interior design practice. In 2007 Comeau launched her art career. She is currently a mixed media artist creating installations, murals, and garments symbolically examining narratives of trauma, repair, and regeneration. In addition to her solo studio practice, Comeau has extensive experience making art with community, spiritual, and youth groups. Comeau joined CPO in the summer of 2017 with a proven passion for working with incarcerated people and skills in curriculum development, group facilitation, and volunteer coordination.
Board of Directors
Karen Baratta, Chair
Deb Dormitzer, Vice Chair, attended the High School of Performing Arts in NYC as a drama major and earned her BA from Sarah Lawrence College with concentrations in acting and early childhood education. She earned her J.D. at The University of Chicago Law School and practiced law in the Boston area for 15 years, both in private practice and then in-house at Digital Equipment Corporation. She earned an MFA in creative writing from Seton Hill’s Writing Popular Fiction program. As a volunteer for CPO and PEN New England, she’s taught in prison settings for 5 years, teaching writing and Transforming Anger through Nonviolent Communication. She served on the CPO Steering Committee for 2 years before joining the Board. She and her husband Paul have raised two wonderful boys. All four members of the Dormitzer family are long-standing historical reenactors with the Acton Minutemen, so you might see them in colonial dress with muskets or fifes in various ceremonies and parades throughout New England.
Julia Woodward, Recording Secretary, is a high school English teacher and resident of the Greater Boston area. She holds a B.S. in Sociology and Education and an M.A. in English, and has volunteered in prisons for many years. As an undergraduate she taught reading, writing, and literature courses through the Cornell Prison Education Program, and co-founded the still-thriving inmates’ literary magazine “Writer’s Bloc.” She previously served on the CPO Steering Committee, and currently facilitates the Non-Violent Communication course in conjunction with other CPO volunteers.
Jay Luby, Corresponding Secretary: Following success as an entrepreneur, Jay has volunteered for a number of non-profit organizations. As a volunteer, Jay has served in various leadership capacities at his church, community newspaper, conservation organization, at the local prisons and on the board of Concord Prison Outreach. Along with two colleagues, Jay teaches an Entrepreneurship course at NECC which focuses on helping students prepare business plans and elevator pitches for their post-release, small businesses. Jay has really enjoyed working closely with the talented and dedicated CPO staff, board members, volunteers and students. He has an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management and a B.A. from Trinity College.
John Pallies, Treasurer, is President and CEO of Delta Projects, a non-profit organization providing residential supports to over 140 adults with developmental and other disabilities. Prior to joining Delta Projects, John was Chief Financial Officer of a number of venture-backed biotechnology companies, including Syndax Pharmaceuticals, which he took public in 2015, and most recently TCR2 Therapeutics, a Cambridge-based immuno-oncology company. As a volunteer for CPO, John led classes in Parenting and Non-Violent Communications before joining the board in 2015. In addition to CPO, John was a volunteer Big Brother with Big Brothers of Mass Bay for ten years and has volunteered for a number of other organizations including Hands on Bay Area, Boston Cares, St. Bernard Project and Special Olympics. John earned a B.S. in Marketing from Boston College and an M.B.A. from the Carroll School of Management at Boston College.
Raju Datla is a technology professional and a resident of the Greater Boston area. Raju has taught Computers and Non Violence communication at MCI concord and is involved with the CPO website tasks and related projects. He has been with CPO since 2012 and his other volunteer interests include, mentoring at-risk teens, animal welfare and wildlife rehabilitation. He is passionate about using technology to solve real world problems.
Larry Green has been teaching classes at both MCI Concord and NECC for five years and is currently teaching an Entrepreneurship class at NECC with two colleagues. Larry has had a long career in the Clinical Laboratory field and was Vice-President of Bioran Medical Laboratory in Cambridge. Larry lives in Swampscott with his wife, Joyce, is the proud father of three remarkable individuals and has four wonderful grandchildren.
Sonia Holley has been volunteering in the Concord prisons since 2011. She currently teaches Beacon (an emotional awareness program) and volunteers in the Outside Library program. Prior to that she taught ESL and tutored math. Sonia has a degree in Public Health and has always been interested in bettering lives within the prison population.
Eustace Payne, Jr. is a native of Boston, Massachusetts. He is a graduate of Framingham State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. Reverend Payne is an ordained minister at Bethel AME Church in Jamaica Plain. Professionally, Rev. Payne worked as a U.S. Probation Officer and as a state (MA) Probation Officer for over 20 years. He continues to working with returning citizens as the Founder and Executive Director of the Massachusetts Community Outreach Initiative (MCOI). MCOI is a nonprofit agency designed to assist the transition for individuals from the Department of Corrections to the community. He is a member of the Black Ministerial Alliance (Boston) and is vice chairman of its Criminal Justice Committee as well as a criminal justice reform advocate with the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO).
Concord Prison Outreach 23 Bradford Street West Concord MA.