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Faculty and Staff



Director, Art Faculty, Founder

Emily grew up in Haverhill Massachusetts. She then moved to New York City, studied fine arts she received an associates in arts from Fashion Institute of Technology and received a bachelor of fine arts from the School of Visual Arts. Her undergraduate focuses were painting, art history and art therapy. 

Emily then attended graduate and post graduate school from 2004 until 2020 and earned masters of education in special education, a masters of education in visual arts, a postgraduate degree in applied behavioral analysis with a focus in autism and a doctorate in Education with a focus in administration and leadership.

Emily was a special educator for over a decade as well as a program coordinator. Emily uses a multi-sensory approach based on Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences Theory and Applied Behavioral Analysis in her instruction. In 2009 she was recognized for her teaching and was awarded "2008 Special Education Art Educator of the Year" by the National Arts and Education Association. 

She has organized many art exhibits and collaboration pieces for the students and communities she serves. Connecting the Community Through the Arts is a collaborative mural now displayed in the downtown area of her home city Haverhill that involved over 600 participants. She is actively participating in a current Haverhill public arts project Shoe-la-bration and her own Guerilla Art Project Walking In My Shoes.

Emily is currently the founder and director of Shoe Town Art Center in Haverhill Massachusetts. Being in the field of special education for so many years, Emily has noticed there are not many after school opportunities for children and adults with disabilities, that was the original reason why Emily was inspired to open Shoe Town Art Center in 2011. Since then Shoe Town Art Center has become a place for ALL people to feel welcome, regardless of their skill level or needs.  Emily’s experience and advanced education allows her to work comfortably with students and support a variety of diverse.

It goes without saying that every student is unique and will benefit from individualized and small group instruction. We will do our best to accommodate and modify our instruction to meet the needs of each of our students.



Expressive Arts Coordinator

Colby Patrie grew up in the Haverhill area and currently resides here. Many of his past experiences shaped him into being the artist he is now, such as having a younger brother diagnosed with autism and struggle he had in school. Colby found that he was able to cope with his struggles by expressing himself through art.

Currently Colby studies art and is now pursuing a degree in clinical therapy with a focus in expressive arts. Colby is a practicing artist that excels many forms of art such as drawing, painting, and sculpture. Colby is also a Public Speaker and advocate for Greater Boston PFLAG.  He expresses this advocacy through his drawings and paintings and hopes to inspire the world with his art.

Colby is a great person to work with, he does his best to work with each student as an individual to help them find their voice through art. He excels in working with individuals with disabilities as he grew up and is now the guardian for his younger brother with severe autism.

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Studio Assistant/ Pottery Ceramics

CJ started as a student here at Shoe Town Arts and as he developed his skills as an artist he became interested in teaching as well. CJ excels in many areas in the arts (including music). CJ is currently focusing on his professional artwork in the area of pottery and ceramics.



Art Educator

Julia is new to Shoe Town Art Center. She graduated with a degree in art education from UMASS Lowell. Julia has much experience working with children and loves expressive art such as painting and ceramics.

Emily bio.heic


Assistant Art Teacher

Emily came to the art center after working the summer program in the summer of 2022. Her creative background and long line of family in the art field have given her a lifelong love of art mediums along with her hands-on approach in class to bring out the imagination and creativity of her students. She enjoys being in the classroom at her day job teaching middle school students and seeing the creative side of her students at the art center which brings her the greatest joy.



Art and Education Faculty

Linda Lawrence has been teaching for forty years. She received an undergraduate degree in education from Gordon College, then went on to earn several Masters Degrees in Education from University of Massachusetts. She worked for Haverhill Public Schools for over 35 years. She also teaches piano and is a professional organist. Linda has experience working with all levels of students of all ages. She is trilingual and enjoys visiting and touring other countries to learn about different cultures.

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Home School Arts Instructor

Becky loves being creative, being outdoors and getting messy with little humans. With a Master's Degree in Art & Learning, she's been an educator for over 12 years. Becky has vast experience teaching including being a Curriculum Director at a local children's museum, a tutor, an art teacher at a local art studio, a Lead Teacher in a non-profit after school program and an educator in a nature school. 

More recently, Becky's focus has shifted towards being a mom and bringing all that knowledge home to her own littles. She homeschools her older son and cuddles a lot with her daughter. When Becky isn't drinking excessive amounts of caffeine to keep up with her kiddos, she's reading a scary book, roller skating, outside in the wilderness, in a body of water or baking up a storm.



Therapy dog

Chewy is our resident art therapy dog. Originally he was rescued as a puppy in 2014. You will find him around the studio usually in the arms of a student or sitting on a lap. He is friendly, kind and makes everyone happy. Often the kids will make costumes for him and dress him up. He is a professionally trained and registered Emotional Support Dog.

Team: Team
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