Westport Day School

Administration

Dawn Matera, Ed.D.: Co-Head of School. Dr. Matera holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Sacred Heart University, Master of Science Degree in Special Education and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Southern Connecticut State University. She has also completed a teacher training program and obtained her Connecticut State Teaching Certification.

Dr. Matera is also the Founder and Executive Director of A Way to Learn, which has been providing academic coaching, executive function coaching, and tutoring for students of all abilities since 2008. She has over fifteen years of experience delivering specialized instruction and programming for complex learners at Schools like Eagle Hill Southport and Winston Preparatory School in Norwalk. Contact: dmatera@westportdayschool.org

Mark Beitel, Ph.D.: Co-Head of School. Dr. Beitel is a licensed clinical psychologist who provides guidance for WDS students and staff, as well as conducts psychotherapy and psychological testing. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Psychology Honors Program at the University of Michigan, a Master of Arts degree from the New School for Social Research, and a Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Fordham University. He received clinical training at Bellevue Hospital Center, New York University Medical Center, and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital. Dr. Beitel received college-specific training in the counseling centers of Fordham University and Northern Arizona University. Post-doctoral work took place at Yale University School of Medicine.

Dr. Beitel began his career at Yale as a full-time member of the Psychiatry faculty and now serves part-time as an Assistant Clinical Professor. In this capacity, he teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate level, conducts psychotherapy research, and provides supervision to trainees ranging from college interns to medical residents. He is affiliated with the Ethnicity, Race, and Migration program at Yale College. Dr. Beitel also served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medical Psychology (in Psychiatry) in the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University.

He has authored or coauthored more than 30 scientific articles on personality, psychotherapy, substance use, chronic pain, integrative medicine, and culture. His current research interests include 1) the role of personality variables in health, illness, and treatment, 2) complementary and/or alternative mental health interventions, such as acupuncture, mindfulness, and physical activity, specifically yoga, and 3) the theory and practice of behavioral health interventions with Native Americans. WDS students are encouraged to participate in Dr. Beitel’s research activities and/or to develop their own programs of research. Contact: mbeitel@westportdayschool.org

Catherine Cunningham,M.Ed.: Education Director. Catherine has been committed to serving complex learners, their families, and their schools in the Tri-State area since 1995. She brings a unique perspective and breadth of experience to her work, having been part of pre-k, elementary, middle, and high school programs, and having served in both public and independent schools and in private practice.

Catherine has worked as an admissions representative for the Purnell School in Pottersville, NJ and as a learning specialist at St. Luke’s School in New Canaan, CT. She has also been a teacher, staff development coach, and administrator in the Greenwich, CT public schools. She is certified in administration, special education, and elementary education by the State of CT.

Catherine holds both an MA in Learning Disabilities and an Ed.M. in School Administration from Teachers College, Columbia University. As an undergraduate, she attended Hobart and William Smith Colleges, where she majored in English and minored in Education. Catherine is president of Twenty-First Century Minds, LLC, an education services, consulting, and publishing company, and until recently was co-owner of a career development school in Pennsylvania. Her primary areas of interest are school leadership and differentiation of instruction for diverse learners. When out of the office, Catherine is an avid Cross-fitter and tennis player, and a mother to two daughters and two pugs. Contact: ccunningham@westportdayschool.org

Joshua Neitlich, LCSW: Director of Therapeutic Services. Josh holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Science degree in Social Work, specifically in Advanced Clinical Practice, from Columbia University. He has a diverse professional background working with children, families, and adults in a variety of contexts, including schools, camps, judicial-based programs, community support agencies, and hospital settings.

Josh received clinical training while working at the Child Abuse Prevention Center of New York where he provided long-term therapeutic/parental support services to at-risk families in Westchester County, and at New York Presbyterian Hospital Westchester Division where he provided acute psychiatric clinical services on the hospital’s inpatient dual diagnosis unit. Contact: jneitlich@westportdayschool.org

Todd Sudora: Director of Operations. Todd attended Southern Connecticut State University and received an Associates of Science in Computer Network Operations from Gibb’s College. He is responsible for overseeing the daily operation, human resources and finances for the school. Contact: tsudora@westportdayschool.org

Sara Evans: Director of Admissions and Student Affairs. Sara holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, CT. She is responsible for the organization and management of the admissions process, as well as acts as registrar and provides day-to-day support to students and parents. Contact: sevans@westportdayschool.org