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Our Team

Joni Bryan

Executive Director

Joni Bryan (she/her) is a seasoned catalyst for change in the nonprofit sector, specializing in human services and social justice organizations for over 25 years. With over a decade of consulting experience, she designs strategies and establishes robust infrastructures to maximize impact and scale social impact organizations.

Although she now calls New England home, Joni’s roots run deep in the heart of Texas. As a 7th generation Texan, she grew up in the Piney Woods of East Texas, cultivating a strong connection to the land, riding neighbors’ ponies bareback, and swimming in creeks, when she wasn’t perched in a tree reading books.

Joni has a lifelong love of horses, and coming from a military family, she’s witnessed firsthand the magical and transformative power of horses in healing wounds caused by emotional trauma and traumatic brain injuries. She is thrilled to bring her passion and skillset to Strongwater Farm.

Joni is happily married to her partner Jace and they are proud parents to three wonderful adult sons, two pups and a cat. During her free time, Joni enjoys practicing meditation, riding horses and her Harley, writing, learning Scots-Gaelic and exploring folklore, myths and legends.

Staff & Instructors

Melissa Salerno

Equine & Operations Manager

  • PATH International Registered Instructor
  • MA Licensed Riding Instructor
  • Certified Special Olympics Equestrian Coach
  • First Aid/CPR Certified
  • Competitive Event Rider through Training level
  • 20 years of Riding and Horsemanship Experience

Kassandra Kehoe

Program Manager / Riding Instructor

  • MA Licensed Riding instructor
  • PATH International riding instructor
  • PATH Advanced Certified
  • Certified Special Olympics Equestrian Coach
  • MA Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, CRCC nationally licensed provider
  • Healthcare Providers Service Organization member
  • BA Human Services, concentration in Early Intervention, minor in Psychology
  • CPR, First Aid and AED Certified
  • CPI Safety Care Certified
  • ASL American Sign Language
  • TIC Trauma Informed Care Trained

Nancy Hurwitz

Receptionist/Board Recording Secretary

  • Bachelor Degree in Management Information Services, Northeastern University
  • Former Senior Executive Assistant at Fidelity Investments in Boston

(978) 851-5540
[email protected]

Ellie Coolidge-Behrstock

Riding Instructor

  • PATH International Registered Instructor
  • MA Licensed Riding instructor
  • Certified Special Olympics Equestrian Coach
  • CPR/First Aid certified
  • Masters in Expressive Arts Therapy
  • Visual Artist
  • Former Event Rider Through Intermediate Level
  • 1979 North American Junior Champion, 3 Day Event

Stacy MacDonald-Tofuri

Volunteer Coordinator / Instructor

  • PATH International Registered Instructor
  • MA Licensed Riding Instructor
  • Certified Special Olympics coach
  • First Aid and CPR Certified
  • 30 Years of Riding and Horsemanship Experience
  • AS in Equine Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst Stockbridge School of Agriculture – 1997
  • Member of the UMass Amherst Intercollegiate Equestrian Team (1995-1997)
  • BS in Equine Business Management, Johnson & Wales University – 1999

(978) 851-5540
[email protected]

Shannon Giguere

Riding Instructor

  • PATH International Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor
  • MA Licensed Riding Instructor
  • BA in Psychology Colby-Sawyer College
  • MS in Animals & Public Policy Tufts University
  • First Aid/CPR Certified
  • 15+ Years of Riding and Horsemanship Experience

Elena Kehoe

Assistant Operations Manager

Liz Kehoe

Office Manager

Meredith Norton


Natilie Cruz

Morning Barn Manager

Jane Kirby

Riding Instructor

Open Position

Facilities Manager

Open Position

Barn Manager

Open Position

Morning Barn Manager

Open Position

Assistant Barn Manager/Program Support

Board of Directors

Martha Gaffney


David Wahr

Past Board President

Chris Perley

Board Vice President

Charles Gaffney


Jennifer C Malizia


James Carter


Julia Eberhart

Director Emeritus

Michelle Feudo


Nancy Hurwitz

Recording Secretary

Mary Jane Marcucci

Director Emeritus

Karen Myatt


Maura Sweeney


Wendy Watson


Maureen Yadgood


Michael Errera


Leadership Council

  • Peter Rodrigues, Chairperson
  • Jay Gaffney
  • Charles Gaffney
  • Libby Gaffney
  • Jim Lane
  • Christina Carter
  • Gregg Murray
  • Maureen Mahoney
  • Carolyn Pelletier
  • Tracie Richardson

Special Events

Follow us on Facebook and check out our events calendar to find out about special events that bring the community together and keep our programs strong, including the annual Strongwater Farm Hoedown, springtime Garden Party, and online fundraising initiatives.