Select Page

Vanessa Cohen Gibbons

Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer

Dr. Vanessa Cohen Gibbons became Milton Academy’s first chief equity and inclusion officer in July of 2021. She joined Milton in 2016 as an upper school math teacher and dorm faculty member after spending seven years at a day and boarding school in Maryland. Throughout her independent school career, Vanessa has led many DEIJ endeavors, including affinity spaces, training and professional development programs, policy creation task forces, and strategic planning teams. In her current position, she leads the team of Lower, Middle, and Upper School directors of equity and inclusion. Vanessa is responsible for developing and implementing Milton’s institution-wide vision while promoting alignment and integration of DEIJ strategic initiatives throughout the school. Vanessa is a current Milton Academy parent, and she lives on campus with her wife, four kids, and two puppies.

Melissa Lawlor

Upper School Director of Equity and Inclusion

Melissa leads the Upper School team’s justice, equity, and inclusion efforts. An independent school veteran with over 15 years of experience, Melissa arrived at Milton from Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, NH. At Brewster, Melissa served as the director of equity and inclusion, where she also directed the upper school Social Emotional Learning program, was the faculty advisor of the BIPOC Student Union and the Trey Whitfield School Mentoring Program, and the head coach of the Girls Varsity Lacrosse team. She is the co-founder of the Network for Independent School Equity (NISE), an affinity focused group in Northern New England for faculty who identify as BIPOC and/or LGBTQ+. During the summer, she is the lead faculty for the Association for Independent Schools in New England’s Leadership and Racial Justice Fellows Program. A Northern California native and former 3-sport college athlete, Melissa is currently working toward her doctorate in Educational Leadership at Boston College.

Angelina Howard

Middle School Director of Equity and Inclusion

An experienced educator, Angelina has taught and served on the leadership teams at various independent and charter schools. Prior to Milton, Angelina served as the Assistant Principal at KIPP Academy in Lynn, Massachusetts. Previously, Angelina was the Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging and the Middle School Dean of Students at Ranney School in Tilton, New Jersey. She also worked as a middle school and upper school counselor at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in Princeton, New Jersey and the Conservation Lab Charter School in Boston, Massachusetts. Angelina holds a Bachelors in Psychology from Providence College and Masters of Social Work from Simmons College. Angelina enjoys traveling, reading, and exploring the community around her when she is not working. She is passionate about DEIJ and has participated and facilitated multiple workshops and discussions in various settings.

Matthew Cobb-Ferrara

Lower School Director of Equity and Inclusion

An experienced trans-identified educator, Matt has taught in various lower school grades in a variety of school settings including, public, charter, and independent schools. Matt previously was the director of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging at the Chapin School Princeton. In this role, Matt led the school’s DEIJ efforts including faculty professional development and curriculum development. Matt earned a bachelor’s degree from Smith College in sociology and the study of women and gender and his M.Ed from the University of Pennsylvania in educational leadership where he researched “Stakeholder’s understanding of belonging in independent schools.”