March 21, 2024

Nicole Goldberg, MS, BCBA, LABA, began her career at The New England Center for Children (NECC) as an undergraduate intern in the residential program in 2008. Since then, she has moved through the organization working as a teacher, coordinator, and in the graduate studies department before landing in her current role as a professional development specialist. She was nominated by a colleague because “the amount of work she does to make orientation effective and impactful is often overlooked. She’s a consummate professional who is extremely dedicated to the mission of NECC.”

How long have you worked for NECC?

I started at NECC as an undergraduate intern on Saddle Hill Road (SHR) in 2008 and then came back in 2009 as a level 2 teacher. I was then a teacher and shift manager for SHR, then moved into the role of residential coordinator and then day coordinator on Francine Road and Oak Street. In 2017, I moved over to the professional development/graduate studies department where I started as a coordinator. I am now a department specialist.

What are your duties as a professional development specialist?

In my current role, I deliver trainings across NECC, both for new staff and for existing staff. I also develop and revise trainings across a variety of topics, including various forms of student curriculum and behavioral programming. I also help to ensure that trainings are tracked and documented appropriately so that we meet all of the requirements of the agencies that oversee our program. I provide ongoing support and training for graduate students collecting BCBA supervision hours and work with my colleagues to develop systems to streamline this process. I also help with screening and touring prospective interns and assist in ensuring they receive all of their training once they start with us.

I am also a member of a variety of committees across the school, including the Re-org Committee, the Auto Safety Committee, and the Med Error Committee. I also assist with the Suggestion Box and am part of a group engagement working group and the TA working group. I find my involvement in these various committees to be particularly helpful in ensuring that any trainings I work on reflect the wants and needs of staff and students across different areas of the program. 

What is your favorite part of your job?

There are so many aspects of my job that I love, but I especially love having the independence and autonomy to develop new trainings and tweak older ones to continue to make them the best they can be. I love seeing the impact that our training has on how staff work with their students and seeing that our support and training have set them up to succeed.

Why did you choose a career in helping children with autism?

I always knew I wanted to work with kids, and doing the internship at NECC provided me with my first true experience of working with children with autism. I immediately formed meaningful connections with my students and seeing their progress—even during my short internship experience—was so incredibly rewarding to me. Even though I don’t work directly with students anymore, I love being able to contribute to the betterment of our program. Many of our students are unable to advocate for themselves, and I think it’s incumbent upon us to ensure that they have strong, passionate, knowledgeable voices to advocate on their behalf.


I love the collaborative approach at NECC; I think it’s pretty amazing and unique to see so many different people with different backgrounds and different specialties all come together to provide the best care, education, and services for our students.

Have you taken advantage of any of the grad programs or teacher training at NECC?

I completed the master’s degree in applied behavior analysis (ABA) program through Western New England University (WNEU). I loved that everything I learned about in my classes was immediately applicable to my time spent working with my students.

What is something about you that your colleagues might be surprised to learn?

I love collecting plants and flowers. I love any opportunity to add new plants to the collection in my house and I look forward to growing flowers in my garden each spring. I definitely don’t actually know what I’m doing while I grow them, but something about them makes me happy. I hope to one day have a full, somewhat overgrown cottage garden in my yard—my inspiration is Monet’s gardens in France.

Who is someone you look up to?

This may be a bit cliché, but I look up to my mom. She has always been a role model for me and an unwavering source of love and positivity in my life. She always puts others first, pushes me to be my best, and exudes kindness and generosity.

What is your life philosophy or motto you like to live by?

Lead by example. Model the behavior you’re hoping to see and constantly be open to getting better.