The Shooting Star Program

152 US Route One #8
Scarborough, Maine 04074

Phone:  207-883-5882  |  Fax:   510-1831

E-mail DirectorRuth C. Hughes M.Ed

The Shooting Star Program

152 US Route One #8
Scarborough, Maine 04074

Phone:  207-883-5882
Fax:   510-1831

E-mail DirectorRuth C. Hughes M.Ed.

Meet the Teachers

Ruth Hughes, Director/Owner  
Special Education Teacher, Green/Orange Star Classrooms

Ruth began teaching in 1990 and has a B.A. degree in Elementary Education.  She later obtained a Graduate Certificate in Moderate and Severe Special Needs, and a Masters Degree in Education. She began teaching in Boston at a child development center for toddler and preschool aged children. Here she worked closely with an early intervention team, which sparked her passion for the field of special education. She then worked at The May Center in Arlington Ma. with children 3-5 years old who had been diagnosed with autism and related behavioral disabilities. From Boston, she and her husband John moved to Colorado. Ruth was employed at an elementary school and worked with children in grades k-3. During the next 3 years she created and taught a pilot program; a k-1-2 full inclusive classroom setting, where children with severe needs could remain in a regular classroom setting full time. This program was a success but it was time to move back to New England to raise their 3 children: Jack, Ben and Tansey. In Maine Ruth worked as a Developmental Therapist for CDS and quickly realized the need for a specialized preschool program in our area. She wanted to create a classroom that could service children with special needs but also offer inclusive programming with children without special needs. Here the dream for The Shooting Stars Program became a reality.

Neallie Budway
Lead Special Education Teacher, Orange Star Classroom

Neallie became interested in working with children with special needs as a child when her cousin was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome. She worked during high school and college at Camp Capella through the Cerebral Palsy Center in Bangor, as a counselor and Assistant Director. Neallie began her teaching career at Easter Seals Early Intervention Center in Orlando Florida in 1990 after earning a BS in Rehabilitation from Springfield College. She taught at the Morrison Center, formerly the Cerebral Palsy Center as the classroom Developmental Therapist for 11 years, while earning her Masters Degree in Special Education from the University of Southern Maine and her Teaching Certificate in Special Education in 1997. She started working as an individual Developmental Therapist in 2003 so she could balance her love of working with children with a variety of different needs with raising her own children. She lives in Scarborough with her husband, John and her children, Emma and Cameron.

Lorraine Harvey
Orange Star Assistant Teacher

Lorraine Harvie is a graduate  of  Saint Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont. She earned her BA in Psychology in 1990 and worked at the Saint Michael’s College Child Care Center as a teacher  in both the infant and toddler classrooms. She and her family moved to Maine in 1997. She worked as a nanny and a jewelry designer while she and her husband Michael raised their two children. She has been an assistant teacher in the Orange Star classroom for three years.

Kathleen Dobecki
Assistant Teacher, Orange Star Classroom

Kathleen lives in Scarborough with her husband Dennis and 4 children. She graduated with a degree in business administration from St. Michaels college in Burlington Vermont. Kathleen has balanced raising her children while working for their family business; as well as volunteering at her church teaching Sunday school classes. Outside of work, Kathleen enjoys spending time with her family, walking on the beaches , hiking and biking.

Kelledy Farino
Speech Therapist, Northeast Hearing and Speech Center

Kelledy Farino is employed through Northeast Hearing and Speech Center.  She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Nazareth College of Rochester NY and a Master of Science degree in Communication Science and Disorders from the University of Vermont.  Prior to joining Northeast Kelledy worked in Burlington Vermont with both preschool and school aged children.  She has a special interest in language development and language disorders.  Kelledy is a certified member of The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Jared Swartz
Green Star Assistant Teacher

Jared grew up in Bangor, and worked as a graphic designer for five years before moving to the Portland area. After his daughter Emery was born, he was a stay at home dad for several years before starting at Panera Bread. He was a trainer and zone leader at Panera for two years, and eventually became an overnight baker. In January of 2018, he left Panera and began working as a Behavioral Health Professional for children with special needs. He joined Shooting Stars Program in September of 2019, and he loves working with so many helpful teachers and enthusiastic learners! In his spare time, Jared enjoys cooking, photography, and spending time with his daughter Emery. 

Tara Jacquet
Speech Therapist, Northeast Hearing and Speech Center

Tara Jacquet earned a Bachelor of Arts in French Language and Literature from McMaster University and a Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Vermont. Prior to joining Northeast Hearing & Speech, Tara worked at CommuniCare Therapy in Ottawa, Ontario. In addition to clinical practice, Tara is a speech and language consultant for the Early Reading First Grant through the Muskie Institute and the U.S. Department of Education. Areas of special interest include Early Intervention and Literacy. Tara is a certified member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Nikki Lappin
Regular Education Teacher, Blue Star Classroom

Nikki began her teaching career at Holy Cross School in South Portland as the first grade teacher. She held held this position for five years. Every day was a gift, full of learning and joy. After her fourth child was born, Nikki and her family decided it was time to lead her own class at home! Now that her children are in school Nikki is very excited to be part of the Shooting Stars Program. She knew immediately that the Shooting Stars children, staff and families would be a great fit. In her free time, Nikki enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading and running.

Mardi Taft
Green Star Assistant Teacher

Originally from Georgia, Mardi moved to Maine with her husband and daughter in the fall of 2006. She started subbing at Shooting Stars in 2010 and officially joined the Green Star classroom in 2015. In her spare time, Mardi loves to travel and is an avid reader.  She is very excited to be working with such a wonderful group of teachers and the students who always put a smile on her face.

Megan Honeycomb - MacDonald
Green Star Lead Teacher
Megan has lived in Maine since 2007. In that time she acquired a degree in Early Childhood Education and worked as a lead preschool teacher Children’s Time Child Development Center many years. Megan spends time with her family most days; her 2 boys keep her busy and so happy. Megan started back at school again at SNHU working towards a degree in Child Psychology. In her free time Megan, her husband, boys and pets enjoy being outside, boating and gardening.

Jen Alward
Green Star Lead Teacher

Jen grew up in South Portland and now lives there with her husband Steve and son Dylan. Jen started at Shooting Stars in 2009 as a green stars teacher, after a couple years she went to Orange Stars and is back in Green Stars as a lead Teacher. Jen also works for Woodfords Family Services and is a Family Support Coordinator for the Foster Care Program. Jen went to SMCC and got her associate degree in Early Childhood Education and then went to UMA and got her bachelors degree in mental health and human services. 

Janice St. John
Regular Education Teacher, Blue Star Classroom

Janice St.John is a graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington; she earned her BA in Elementary Education. She is also a busy mother of four children; Julia 15, Christopher 13, Joseph 10 and Sophia 6. She taught in a special education classroom in the South Portland School System for two years after graduation. It was then that she decided to start a family and stay at home and be a mom. In between children she also taught preschool at Lighthouse School in South Portland along with supervise a staff of 10 teachers and help to implement a new curriculum. It was here that she fell in love the preschool level of teaching. This fall her youngest daughter Sophia went off to kindergarten. For her it was time to enter back into the world of education. She started subbing in the fall of this year and quickly became a full time teacher in the orange star classroom.

Aubry Whittemore
Occupational Therapist

Aubrey is originally from New Hampshire. She graduated with her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of New England. Aubrey worked for two years in a pediatric outpatient setting in New Hampshire. Aubrey had the opportunity to learn from Stacy McGuire, OTR/L, at Shooting Stars during her pediatric rotation while at the University of New England. Aubrey has worked with children with many types of disabilities and is diligent and creative in optimizing outcomes for children and supporting families so that children can generalize new skills in their homes and communities.        
Aubrey has a passion for horses and has specialized in a therapy approach that uses the horse’s walking motion as a treatment tool for occupational therapy goals. After two years in New Hampshire, Aubrey has decided to open up her own private practice and is excited to work with the children and staff at the Shooting Stars Program.

Ann St. John Gray

Lead Special Education Teacher, Green Star Classroom

Ann lives in Cape Elizabeth with her husband Shawn, 3 children (Grace, Cole and Willian), and rescue dog (love of her life) Levi. Ann has a master’s degree in Education, Curriculum, and Instruction Programming in Autism. Ann began working at Shooting Stars as an assistant teacher and since finishing her master’s program she gained her certification in special education. She felt that the Shooting Stars Program would be a perfect fit to expand her career in special education. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, watching her kids do what they love, anything outdoors and walking her dog.

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