Employee Spotlight

Michael Bushy

Michael Bushy

The inaugural BCC 40 Under 40 event honored an impressive group of young individuals in the Berkshire community who are making a positive impact. Included in this group was Hillcrest’s art teacher, Michael Bushy.

Aside from serving on Pittsfield’s Cultural Development Board, Berkshire Art Association as VP, and the Berkshire Museum’s New Roots Committee, Michael brings his teaching out of the classroom with printmaking/bookbinding workshops through IS183, the Clark, Miss Hall’s School, and demonstrations at the Berkshire Museum. He also offers development workshops to the Pittsfield Public Schools and at 3rd Thursdays, where he guides children, teens and adults in creating art. Kudos to Michael for donating his art and his time to our community and advocating for the importance of the arts in the lives of our youth.

Interning at Hillcrest – By: Jasmine Chee

IMG_9852This fall will be the start of my senior year as an undergraduate at Western New England University. I am currently majoring in psychology with a minor in education. With only one year left of undergrad I decided it was time for me to gain some experience in the vast field of psychology to help me decide which career path would suit me best. Most students have trouble deciding what to go to school for, but I have trouble deciding the opposite.

If school was free and aging was optional I would get degree after degree! I am interested in about five different fields of psychology one of those being Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), which Hillcrest conveniently uses to treat their students in the Autism Spectrum Disorder Program (ASD). I originally applied for a summer job at Hillcrest and received an interview with Timothy Johnston, Hillcrest’s employment manager. During our interview, Tim suggested that I consider applying for their internship program in human resources because I would be returning to school in the fall. I was both delighted and surprised to hear about the internship and decided to apply. Once I had been accepted into the program I was asked if I would like to be a part of a split internship instead. This meant I would divide my hours between working in the human resources department and ASD. I agreed right away because it seemed too good to be true! This internship would give me a taste of two different fields of psychology in one summer.

During my time spent at ASD, I was able to shadow the clinicians, sit in on meetings with parents/clinicians, and spend time working in direct care with the students. I even was able to tag along on a joint meeting with another campus to meet a new student and his family. I was able to see the process of student enrollment from start to finish. I especially enjoyed working in direct care with the students because I really got to know them as individuals. It can be difficult as times, but the amount of good moments I had with the students far outweighed the difficulty.

During my time spent in human resources I learned a lot of valuable skills. I was able to sit in on interviews, trusted with new hire references, and another intern and I were even assigned to our own project. Together we worked on laying the ground work to develop an internship program that would take place during the academic school year for college students. We reached out to local schools, drafted program and job descriptions, and we even were able to sit in on the meetings with the program directors of Career Services at each of the colleges. The best part about being included in the meetings was that I saw my whole project through from the beginning to the end. I actually was able to meet the people that I was contacting via phone and email for weeks. Who knows, I may even be able to continue working on this project after the summer ends, which makes this experience more than I could have ever hoped for!

Interning at Hillcrest – By: Kelsey Ryan

Kelsey RyanIt is impossible to know if you are making the right career choice until you have had the opportunity to experience it. The Hillcrest Educational Centers Internship Program provided just that. Starting off my college education I was not sure if I wanted to take the psychology or business route. As a matter of a fact I still am torn between the two. Fortunately Hillcrest allowed me to split my internship working alongside business development as well as spending time at the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) campus.

My first initial thought was that I would be sending emails and making copies, but my time with the Business Development office was more than I could have expected. I was afforded the responsibility and opportunity to contribute to the growth and production of Hillcrest. On the first day, my supervisor, Mike Supranowicz, showed how thankful he was to have me on board to work alongside him on his summer research project. Throughout my time here I was carrying out an extensive project on the current state of Adult ASD Programs. I worked vigorously to create a finalized research report. I got a great deal of experience working with the ARC map computer program and learned just how much it can do. Upon finishing the research project I will be presenting it to, Jerry Burke, the president of Hillcrest Educational Centers. This gives me the feeling that my time here was important and that I made a positive contribution to the Educational Center.

Arriving at the ASD campus I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a place well suited for me. But, as soon as I hit the floor, the staff treated me with the utmost respect and helped me grow every step of the way. The director, teachers, supervisors, teaching assistants, clinicians, and nurses collaborated together as a team and made decisions based on each others concerns. Their dedication and passion was something that amazed me more each day. I was not treated as an intern who was getting in the way, but as another team member. They trusted me with the responsibility to work one-on-one with the students and to assist in anything that the campus needed. Being granted the opportunity to get a hands-on experience with Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) taught me more than any college course or textbook ever could. The students at the campus are truly who impacted me the most. Through the various interactions I had with them, I learned a tremendous amount about how to work with students with ASD. The most important outcome I gained from this experience is that success is measured by the amount of positive impact you bring to the world, not the amount of money you make.

Overall my experience with Hillcrest Educational Centers was one that I will never forget. Hillcrest Educational Centers has helped reassure me that I am headed in the right direction. The knowledge I gained is something that I will take with me while I further my education. I am more than thankful for the opportunity I was given to work with such a great organization.

Interning at Hillcrest – By: Katelyn Monteleone

Katelyn Monteleone“What do you want to do with your life?”

This is the question that always seems to be hovering in the air that surrounds any college student, or any young person for that matter.

It’s a question that continues to haunt me as I progress through my college career, still having very little certainty about what I want to do. Some kids grow up wanting to be a professional soccer player or a doctor or a marine biologist or a pilot or an ice-cream flavor scientist, but even as a kid, I never really had an answer to the “what do you want to do?” question. I’ve always floated in the category of just hoping I’ll figure it out eventually, that I’ll one day stumble across something that I love and know that it is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Of course, I know it’s not as simple as just “stumbling” across something – to find what you enjoy doing, you have to be willing to give things a try. Accordingly, when I heard about the summer internship program at Hillcrest, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to explore some of the careers that may interest me in the future when I inevitably step out into the real world.

On my first day of work, any anxiety I had about the experience quickly dissipated as I was introduced to the dozens of kind and friendly Hillcrest employees. After taking a brief tour of the Administrative Offices, I headed next door to Hillcrest Dental Care, where I would be an HR intern for the summer.

Before this summer, I did not know much about Human Resources, and I definitely did not know much about the Dental world, but I was excited to learn. I met my supervisor, Kristen Elcox, the HR manager for Hillcrest Dental Care, and I immediately knew that I would be able to learn so much from working with her. Kristen is sort of like the queen of Human Resources – she has an incredible amount of experience in HR, has worked in many different HR settings, and she handles what can be an extremely stressful and demanding job with grace and ease. I feel so lucky to have gotten to work with her.

Over the course of the summer, I got to observe what happens behind the scenes in the dental office and I spent time researching, learning how insurance credentialing works, writing office policies and procedures, creating various spreadsheets and employee evaluations, and completing other office tasks. The internship helped me to gain confidence in my skills along with giving me an understanding of what it is like to work in an office setting.

As my internship comes to an end and I get ready to return to school, I still don’t know exactly what I want to do with my life after college, but I feel so fortunate to have gotten the opportunity to explore a new field that I probably would not have considered before. I’d especially like to thank Kristen, Tricia, Trina, Mike, and Eileen for all of their guidance throughout the summer, and extend my best wishes to the rest of the HDC team and HEC staff.

Hillcrest represents a truly incredible group of people, and I now feel an even greater appreciation for the organization and all for which it stands. I could not imagine a more valuable and engaging experience than interning at Hillcrest this summer.

Hillcrest Launches Dual M.Ed. & BCBA Graduate Program

ECLogo_WM_BlackHillcrest Educational Centers and Endicott College’s Van Loan School have partnered to offer a local graduate program.  The program will provide both a Masters in Special Education and training required for Board Certification in Behavior Analysis (BCBA).

The Certificate Program in Applied Behavior Analysis at the Van Loan School is a unique, advanced-level teacher preparation program focused on the application of behavioral principles in addressing the needs of exceptional learners. The program fulfills the educational requirements to sit for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) examination.

Individuals who hold a graduate degree in Special Education, Psychology, or a related field and who are seeking certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), may also enroll in Endicott’s BACB-approved, six-course sequence in preparation for the certification examination.

Todd Castine, Director of Autism Services stated, “This is an exciting time for Hillcrest and the local community.  Hillcrest will have the opportunity to recruit high quality candidates to study Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis with the hope that they will also be interested in working in the Autism Spectrum Disorder field.   It is our hope that graduates will develop their skills with us and then continue to work here at Hillcrest and throughout the Berkshires”.

For more information about this program please contact Todd Castine, Director of Autism Services at Hillcrest Educational Centers at 413-637-2834 ext. 225 or

Letter from Chairman of the Board – 
John J. Martin, Jr.

John Martin

John J. Martin, Jr.

To our Hillcrest family:

I’m very pleased to have the opportunity to continue to work with Hillcrest’s talented and dedicated staff in my new role as Chairman of the Board of Directors. As many of you know, the Board’s primary responsibility is (i) to provide senior management guidance with respect to executive decisions; (ii) to assist with fundraising; and (iii) to evaluate the President and CEO’s performance, on a annual basis. In addition to those fundamental responsibilities, I have four personal goals with respect to my Chairmanship, they are:

1. To “Challenge” our current Directors – Hillcrest is well served by a long-standing and committed Board. I will attempt to capitalize on each respective member’s individual strengths and skills, tapping into their  wealth of institutional and historical knowledge, while at the same time challenging them to accept new responsibilities, with a likely ask for even more of their time and talent on behalf of Hillcrest;

2. To “Learn” from the Senior Management Team – Hillcrest is a complex and multifaceted charitable social service agency and we are fortunate to have a superior executive staff in place. In my role as Chairman, I will endeavor to learn as much as I can from them so as to hopefully develop the skills necessary to provide valuable guidance during my tenure;

3. To “Support” the Staff – I fully recognize the nature and difficulty of the various staff positions here at Hillcrest. I applaud each staff member’s attentive, caring nature and attribute our success to their day-to-day effort. During my term, I pledge to support our staff and to recognize their genuine and sincere commitment, as well as their accomplishments, in every way possible; and

4. To “Serve” the Students & Clients – The sole reason Hillcrest exists is to help the students who have been entrusted to our care, their families and the clients of our community support services. Each decision we make, or action we take, should first and foremost be for the betterment of those students and clients. Our organization delivers desperately needed services and assistance, and we need to ensure that we are doing all we can to improve the lives of those we serve.

This year we have a unique opportunity to share our story with the community. You will observe our efforts to ensure that the mission and accomplishments of Hillcrest become more public. Whether you are an employee, volunteer or contributor — be proud of our organization and of your association with it and know that as you continue to support Hillcrest, we will continue to support our students and clients.

With heartfelt gratitude for and from our children,

John J. Martin, Jr., Chairman