September 1, 2022

Sarah Phelan, education coordinator for The New England Center for Children’s (NECC) School Street residential team, has worked for the Center since 2015 in a number of capacities. Phelan joined NECC after completing an internship and worked in Abu Dhabi for a year before returning to Southborough. She was nominated by a colleague because she “goes above and beyond to help staff and students excel! She’s always there to answer any questions and is the first one to jump in and help! She always lets our students be as independent as possible and just wants the best for them!”

How long have you worked for NECC?

I started at NECC as a full-time intern in January of 2015 and returned in August of that same year as a level 2 teacher on Higley Road. I was a core shift manager (CSM) and then the residential coordinator on Higley before moving to Abu Dhabi in 2019 where I worked in a preschool classroom at the Mohammed bin Rashid Center for Special Education operated by NECC (MRC-NECC). I returned to NECC’s Southborough location in 2020 as the residential coordinator for Saddle Hill Road and became the School Street education coordinator the following year. 

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of my job is the students. Specifically, going with students to participate in things like grocery shopping, eating at a restaurant, and swimming, etc.

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

I chose this career because there is a huge need for it and all students deserve to have teachers who are consistently showing up for them and helping them learn. 


NECC was recommended to me by my undergraduate advisor as a place to complete a mandatory 400-hour internship. I continued to work here because I love teaching students in the residential setting. It offers a unique opportunity to teach a wide range of skills across all hours of the day. 

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

Yes, I graduated from the Simmons program in the spring of 2020. 

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

My colleagues might be surprised to learn that my dog is named Norman after the character from the television show Cheers.

Who is someone you look up to?

The people I look up to most are my siblings and my dad. They are all extremely hardworking, selfless, and supportive people who are also pretty fun to be around.

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

“Always be happy with who you are and what you do.”