Carolyn became interested in the problem of inequality in educational opportunity as a high school student while working on student rights and responsibilities issues in Massachusetts. At Hampshire College, she studied history / philosophy of education and educational policy studies. She spent some time pursuing philosophy of education in the graduate school of education at the University of Illinois. Her undergraduate thesis was a study of turn of the century working class and immigrant education in Holyoke, Massachusetts. This began an intrigue with urban mill towns and education that later drew her to work with youth in Central Falls where she coordinated community projects, youth run businesses and workshops throughout the Central Falls Schools. She left to become Executive Director of The SPIRIT Educational Program in the late 1980s and grew the program from a summer program to a year round educational enrichment program for middle and high school students in the Providence area. She served briefly on the Central Falls School Committee.
In the mid-nineties, SPIRIT merged with Rhode Island Youth Guidance Center, Inc. and she became Associate Executive Director where she continued with SPIRIT and oversaw school based and after school prevention programs. She coordinated the planning team for Blackstone Academy and has been an active participant in the Rhode Island League of Charter Schools.
At Blackstone Academy, Carolyn shares administrative responsibilities with Kyleen Carpenter while focusing on the non-profit management and supervision of the non-teaching staff and out of school programs.
Head of School
Kyleen served as a founder of Blackstone Academy through her role as a Teacher Leader in the Spirit summer program. Kyleen was a Spanish and Psychology double major at Amherst College and became inspired to teach. She began her career at Dana Hall School and moving to Providence Country Day School. While there she was awarded a summer fellowship in teaching and learning at the Klingenstein Institute at Colombia University. She spent an intense year at Harvard School of Education earning her Masters in Education. One of her projects during her year of study there was the design and execution an evaluation of the SPIRIT Educational Program. She later taught and became a Dean at The Rivers School in Weston, Massachusetts. After several years of planning with the team, Blackstone opened in 2002 with Kyleen as Head of School. Since then, Kyleen has become a certified principal through the Antioch New England School Leadership Program. She is trained in leading Critical Friends groups and has been an active participant in leadership for service learning projects.
At Blackstone Academy, Kyleen shares many day to day administrative responsibilities with Carolyn Sheehan while focusing on teaching and learning, supervision of teachers and curriculum oversight.
Evelyn Soto is an administrative assistant who joined Blackstone in 2013 and works with Olga in the front office.
Melissa Cornejo joined Blackstone in 2012 and serves as both the Director of Finance and as the Business Manager at the school. She studied accounting at the University of Rhode Island.