The New England Center for Children® (NECC®), a global leader in education for children with autism, announced today that Kathy Foster was honored for Inspirational Leadership at an awards ceremony at the annual Children of Gala fundraiser held on November 17 in Boston. Ms. Foster, a resident of North Easton, has served at NECC for 42 years in a number of roles, including as Director, Chief Operating Officer, Executive Advisor, and member of the Board of Directors. She retires from NECC this year.
“My gratitude and respect for Kathy is boundless,” said Vincent Strully, Jr., President and CEO of The New England Center for Children. “She has helped to grow NECC in ways we couldn’t have imagined when we started working together forty-two years ago. Speaking for all of us at NECC, she will be missed.”
Ms. Foster has played an important role in NECC’s major strategic initiatives including the expansion of services on its Southborough campus, the development of ACE® – an award-winning autism education software system, and the opening of NECC-Abu Dhabi.
“I have been privileged to have a career that makes a difference, helping transform the lives of children with autism and their families,” said Ms. Foster. “I have enjoyed working with so many talented teachers and administrators, and of course, our students. I know NECC will continue to help thousands more children and families whose lives are affected by autism.”
As Chief Operating Officer, Ms. Foster was responsible for oversight of all aspects of general program administration, including educational and clinical program planning, development, evaluation, and monitoring. Ms. Foster has worked continuously at NECC since it opened in August 1975. She was one of the first 10 teachers employed at NECC (then known as ERI). By 1987, she had served as team coordinator, family services specialist, and finally executive director of ERI of Taunton when ERI of Framingham was established. She was essential to the development and successful implementation of the comprehensive and complicated plan that merged the two programs and created The New England Center for Autism (NECA) in 1987-1988, before the school was re-branded as The New England Center for Children.
Ms. Foster holds a master’s degree in special education with moderate and severe special needs certification from Northeastern University, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology, history and education, with elementary education (K-6) certification from Marietta College in Ohio.