The Lawrence History Center Board of Directors represent the Lawrence community as residents (current and former), employees, business owners, educators, artists, scholars, and local historians. Their collective efforts to enrich art, culture, education and overall sense of place and identity in Lawrence are unparalleled. Please take a moment to learn more about this talented group! (Current board slate approved on Saturday, September 23, 2023 at the LHC Annual Meeting.)

Sara Morin Barth, President

Sara was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala and was adopted at 8 months old. Growing up she spent a lot of time with her grandfather, grandmother, and great grandmother at their home on Prospect Hill. Her grandfather, an immigrant from Sicily, enjoyed taking her for walks in the area and taught her about the community around her. She has life long ties to Holy Rosary Church on Essex St., Lawrence. Her love of history began at an early age from reading and visiting museums with her parents. Sara headed up the community content team for the Mass Humanities Expand Mass Stories project "Somos Latinos" (granted to the Friends of the Lawrence Heritage State Park) and comes from a background in both museum studies and human services. She earned a BA in History from Salem State University and an MA in museum studies from the Harvard University Extension School. She has worked on collections and educational projects and programming for the Harvard Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, Historic New England, and The John Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. She is currently the Development Strategist at Elevated Thought, an art and social justice organization, in Lawrence, MA.

Andy Kelley, Vice President

Andy Kelley hails from Lawrence, Massachusetts, where he attended Central Catholic. He holds a B.S. in finance and marketing from Boston College's Carroll School of Management and founded the successful marketing firm, ESM Digital. This venture thrived until he sold it to a publicly traded firm in January 2020, just before the pandemic. In his early career, Andy worked at Merrimack College's media center, contributing to the production of "Dreams and Plans. Lawrence the Planned City" for the Immigrant City Archives, collaborating with pioneers like Eartha Dengler, Gene Declercq, and Pat Hennessy. In 2008, Andy established the popular Facebook group, Mingya Valley, boasting over 21,000 members. Currently, he serves as a marketing consultant at his own firm, AKA, LLC, where he develops marketing and social media strategies for a school in Northern California. During his personal time, he enjoys the company of his dog, Milo, and cherishes moments with his grandson, Gabriel Kelley. Lawrence, Massachusetts, holds a special place in Andy's heart, as it's where his great-grandfather settled after serving in the Union Army during the Civil War. When asked about his origin, Andy proudly responds, "I'm from Lawrence, Massachusetts."


Mark Svendsen, Treasurer

Mark grew up in North Andover, MA. He attended Merrimack College and received a BA in Mathematics in 2009. Upon graduating from Merrimack College, Mark stated working as a Mathematics teacher at Lawrence High School. It was here that his students told him about a trip to the Lawrence History Center and he went and visited LHC for the first time to look at their scouting collection. He has continued the work of a long-time volunteer at LHC, Al Koch, with respect to that collection. In 2012, Mark moved to Central Catholic High School. In his spare time, Mark serves as a member of the Advisory Board of the Spirit of Adventure Council, Boy Scouts of America, volunteers with the North Andover High School robots club, and serves as a moderator for the Central Catholic Student Council.


Karen Van Welden-Herman, Secretary

"Vitally interested in history, community, architecture and material culture, I look for ways to blend those interests into my volunteer activities and my art practice. I believe that preservation of community character helps people discover a pride of place and develop a new sense of awareness about where they live and/or work. My hope is that everyone will take time to be engaged in making our communities stronger. I hold a deep admiration for Eartha Dengler's vision and determination to build LHC as an important cultural resource for the people of Lawrence." Karen is an artist who earned her B.A. in History from the University of Colorado and her Masters in Bilingual/ESL Studies from UMass Boston. She is active with the following local organizations:

  • Chair, Andover Preservation Commission, Andover, MA
  • Member, Essex Art Center Board of Directors, Lawrence MA
  • Member, Lawrence History Center Board of Directors, Lawrence, MA
  • President, Memorial Hall Library Board of Library Trustees, Andover, MA

Karen received the 2015 Virginia Cole Community Service Award at the Andover Town Meeting in May. In 2016, Karen was a YWCA Tribute to Women Honoree.

Mark Cutler, Immediate Past President Faculty at Phillips Academy, Spanish Instructor

Mark Cutler is a member of the Phillips Academy Andover Spanish and Interdisciplinary Studies departments and director of Learning in the World, the school’s global and intercultural programs. As an educator, he relishes making connections between his students and communities “beyond the bubble” of the campus. He has striven to bring people together through partnerships with Merrimack Valley schools, non-profit organizations, and hardworking change agents. Most notably, Mark has developed a rich and robust ongoing oral history project called Nosotros, el pueblo: Voces de la Ciudad de Inmigrantes (We, the People: Voices of the Immigrant City) in collaboration with Lawrence High School, Lawrence CommunityWorks, and the Lawrence History Center. When COVID-19 changed the way we engage with one another, the Remote Oral History protocols that Mark developed were just the right adaptation to keep advancing the program and to capture stories of the pandemic as people were living through it. Mark is married to his hometown friend, Melanie, a successful environmental science teacher at Andover High School, and the couple has two daughters and a dog.


Kathleen Curry 

Kathleen joined the LHC board in 2011 and recently received her Masters in Organizational Leadership from Wheelock College. As co-founder of Imajine That, an interactive children’s museum located at the Riverwalk in Lawrence, and her years of work with Little Sprouts Child Enrichment Centers, she has expertise in early childhood education. Kathleen has family ties to Lawrence and first learned about LHC when doing genealogical research. She lives in Haverhill with her four children.


Mary Guerrero

Mary, a resident of Lawrence, is a retired public school teacher. She, along with her family, has two businesses in Lawrence -- Cafe Azteca, featured on Neighborhood Kitchens on WGBH, has been serving Mexican food since 1994. El Taller a bookstore cafe opened in 2012 and is dedicated to supporting literacy and fueling the pulse of human creativity in downtown Lawrence and beyond. Mary earned her Master of Arts Degree from the Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English and founded our summer program, Lawrence Student Writers Workshop: The Rising Loaves. Her passion for teaching and place-based learning had a tremendous impact on the middle school participants.


Ellen Minzner

Ellen is the Director of Outreach, Community Rowing, Inc., Boston and has her Master's Degree in Urban Planning from Tufts University, and has been involved with the History Center for nearly 10 years. She served for two years as Community Development Manager Department for the City of Lawrence before taking over as Executive Director of Greater Lawrence Community Boating in 2009, where she introduced rowing to the Lawrence Community. A two-time World Champion rower and recipient of USRowing’s Isabel Bohn Award, Ellen has been on a personal crusade to expand the opportunities rowing has given her to all people, regardless of background or disability. She has coached the US Paralympic Team to multiple medals at the World Championships and Paralympic Games, and serves on the FISA Para Working Group. Ellen also served as race director for the Lawrence History Center’s annual North Canal Classic 5k Run and Walk (2014-2019). She was born and raised in Lawrence, and currently resides in Haverhill.

Stelvyn Mirabal

Stelvyn was born in 1971 in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, son of Rafael Antonio and Clara Josefa Mirabal. He and siblings José Rafael Mirabal, Siordaliza Mirabal and Cecilia Mirabal came to the United State of America in 1983 -- directly to the city of Lawrence. Since coming to Lawrence, Stelvyn has been involved in folkloric groups at the Dominican Club Los Trinitarios doing folkloric dance theater and singing. Throughout the years, he has joined many local music bands with various friends and community members. He is married to ("his lovely wife") Leonor Mirabal and they have three ("wonderful") kids -- Melissa, Leonardo and Clara Sofia Mirabal. They have been members of the Lawrence Latin Lion’s Club and he is the founder and president of the Asociación Carnavalesca de Massachusetts. In 2023, he and his wife were honored as parade grand marshals of Semana Hispana in Lawrence.

Michael W. Morris, Jr., Esq.

Lawrence born and Andover raised, Mike practices law with Morris, Rossi & Hayes in Andover having graduated from The Johns Hopkins University and The Boston University School of Law. In addition to the practice of law, Mike has served as a volunteer or board member for several non-profits in the Greater Lawrence area including The Lawrence Boys & Girls Club, The Merrimack Valley YMCA, the Andover Center for History & Culture, the Professional Center for Child Development and the Andover Chamber of Commerce, having served as Chair of the Board of Managers of the Andover/North Andover YMCA and the Andover Chamber of Commerce. Mike has been honored for his volunteer service having received the Billy Robertson Service Award from the Lawrence Boys & Girls Club and the Cynthia Wright Chairman’s Award from the Merrimack Valley YMCA. In addition to his volunteer service, Mike is passionate about history which has resulted in him being selected as the keynote speaker at the Town of Andover Memorial Day Ceremonies in 2015; working with the Andover Center for History & Culture and Phillips Academy to help bring noted civil war historians Drew Gilpin Faust and Gordon Rhea to Andover to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War; graduating with Honors in History from college; and receiving the Webster History Prize while a student at Phillips Academy. Mike presently lives in Andover with his wife Kristen and his two children, Tim and Katie.

Christian Nuñez

Christian was born in Lawrence and grew up between there and Methuen. He works as a real estate investor and developer, focusing on the city of Lawrence and surrounding Merrimack Valley. He also works alongside his family at their real estate development business Syramad Properties Inc. covering Residential, Commercial, and Industrial real estate. As a natural lover of history, Christian hopes to play a major role in the revival of Lawrence’s downtown while maintaining the city’s historical architecture.

Glennys Sánchez

Glennys is a Senior Associate at Great Schools Partnership, a non-profit school-support organization working to redesign public education. She has extensive experience as a community activist, K-16 education professional, and community-engaged researcher. Sánchez has devoted her professional career and personal journey to integrating the voices and participation of historically marginalized communities in different spaces ranging from nonprofit leadership, higher education, to community engagement research. Glennys earned an associate’s degree in business from Northern Essex Community College, a BA in economics from University of Massachusetts Boston, and a M.Ed. in Community Engagement from Merrimack College. She lives in her adopted home of Lawrence with her partner and three children and often travels to her native Dominican Republic.

Brian Sheehy

Brian is the History Department Coordinator at North Andover High School in North Andover, MA, where he teaches AP European History, AP US History, and Sports of the Past. He is the 2020 Organization of American Historians: Mary K. Bonsteel Tachau Teacher of the Year Award winner and Williams College: Olmstead Secondary Teacher of the Year Award winner. In 2018 he created the North Andover High History Learning Lab, which focuses on enriching and enhancing the history curriculum through object based learning. Brian has also presented at several conferences on the merits of and pedagogy behind the use of object based learning in the classroom. He also developed and published a lesson plan that National History Day published focused on Baseball, WWI, and Patriotism. Brian is also a sports historian who has traveled all over the country giving presentations at conferences, symposiums, historical societies, and museums. He wrote a chapter in the book Stories of Sport: Critical Literacy in Media Production, Consumption, and Dissemination entitled, “Selling Patriotism On and Off the Field: Media Connections Between Baseball, the Military, and the Government". He has designed and created professional development on a variety of topics including local history and how to incorporate sports themes in their classrooms.

Dr. Ellan Spero

Dr. Spero is a historian of science and technology, professor of the practice, instructor, and social entrepreneur. Dr. Spero is co-founder, and Professor of the Practice at Station1, a nonprofit higher education institution focused on socially-directed science and technology based in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and an instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Dr. Spero’s expertise and research takes a multiscalar approach to materiality of infrastructure systems, and technologies of resilience, narratives of human progress, systems of production, and academic-industrial ecosystems. Her areas of focus include technological landscape and systems of production through cases of railways in Portugal, water systems in Lawrence, and circular economy in reuse of waste materials in American applied chemistry at the turn of the 20th century. At both MIT and Station1, Spero leads an instructional team in the development of an integrative, interdisciplinary curriculum bringing the history of science and technology and a material culture approach to collaborate with scientists and engineers. Spero was recently a visiting scientist at the Smart Living Lab at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Fribourg, Switzerland and prior a joint researcher between MIT and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). Spero holds a Ph.D. from MIT in History, Anthropology, Science, Technology and Society, a B.S. and M.S. from Cornell University in Fiber Science and Apparel Design, and M.A from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in Museum Studies and Textile Conservation.

Jineyda Tapia

Jineyda Tapia is a 1st generation daughter whose mother and aunts settled in the City of Immigrants looking for a better life. She attended Lawrence High School and during her senior year had two seminal experiences that made her fall in love with her city. The first was Mr. Meehan’s Art class, where he walked students around the city and made us see the beauty of its architecture and through it the influence of different immigrant groups. The second was a volunteering opportunity at the Lawrence History Center where she saw the dynamic nature of a city that constantly changed as different immigrant groups left their mark. It is these experiences, and a American Studies class with Mr. Gorham and Mr. Dunlevy, that cemented her desire to come back and make a difference. She received her Bachelor’s at UMASS Lowell and would later attain her Master’s at Middlebury College. Once back as a teacher at her alma mater, Jineyda worked passionately to help 1st generation students to attain a college education through Upward Bound programs in Maine and Salem that serviced Lawrence. She then joined Andover Bread Loaf which focused on literacy programs throughout various partnerships in the city, including Movement City, the Boys and Girl’s Club, the Public Library, and various schools throughout Lawrence. Professionally, Jineyda joined other 1st generation and young professionals in the area as they formed the Greater Lawrence Young Professionals Network. Their programming geared towards creating a community of young professionals across the Merrimack Valley that came back to make it better in the areas of business, education, and civil engagement, to name a few. Simultaneously, she was part of a cohort of young Lawrencians that provided trainings at Lawrence High School on cultural competency for teachers who were new to the community. During this time, a Boston Magazine article attacked the city and students wanted to engage in their civic duty by protesting and telling their stories of their beloved Lawrence. Ms. Tapia, along with other young Lawrencians, coordinated these efforts in conjunction with various non-profits and school administrators. Ms. Tapia is currently teaching English at Phillips Academy and is the Associate Director of Andover Bread Loaf. Through ABL, she implements and supports programming in Lawrence throughout the year, including summer opportunities at the Lawrence History Center, the Lawrence Public Library, and the Boys and Girls Club. Her elders still reside in the city that enabled the younger generation to have a better life. As her mother says, “I raised a nurse and a teacher in these projects—this is my home.”


Chet Sidell, Board Member Emeritus (1941-2018)

Chet was a long time supporter of the Lawrence History Center and of the city. Originally in the ladies' garment industry, he and his wife, Faye, opened the KGR clothing store in Lawrence in 1975, naming it for their children, Kara, Gary, and Randy. The store was known for selling quality clothes at affordable prices. Since that time, Chet has been credited with bringing new development to the city by purchasing, renovating, and preserving nearby mill buildings. Among his accomplishments are Bell Tower Square at 60 Island Street and 56 Island Street, which has been occupied by the Essex Art Center since 1993. Chet was active in numerous organizations in Lawrence as a mentor, friend, and supporter and will have an impact on the people of Lawrence for years to come. May he rest in peace. Chet Sidell leaves lasting impact in Lawrence, December 26, 2018


Claudia Dengler, Honorary Member

Claudia is the daughter of Eartha Dengler, LHC's founder. Like her mother she is committed to strengthening communities and the organizations that serve them. Claudia enjoyed a 35+ year career in executive, board & consulting roles at a variety of nonprofit health and human service organizations in Massachusetts and Minnesota. She is in her second career as a sailor: teaching sailing, coaching new owners and commissioning and delivering boats up and down the East Coast and between France and the Caribbean. Claudia shares her expertise with the History Center as a longtime supporter and contributor. Claudia lives on an island off the coast of Maine with her partner Doug Fincham. Together they have 19 chickens, 3 ducks and 5 lobster traps.

Outgoing/Former Board Member(s)




Whimpper Barahona (served four consecutive 3-year terms or 12 years, 2009 - 2021)

Whimpper is a teacher at Lawrence International High School. During the summer of 2012, he co-taught along with Professor Robert Forrant a summer enrichment program using a new curriculum piece, The Great Strike, Lawrence, Massachusetts 1912, developed by Small Planet Communications of Lawrence. Since then he has been instrumental in making sure the curriculum is taught at the high school. Whimpper is an immigrant from Ecuador and became U.S Citizen in 2011. He lives in Lawrence.

Anil 'Nilly' DaCosta, M.Ed.

Nilly completed his undergraduate studies at LeMoyne College and received a Masters of Education in Community Engagement from Merrimack College. In his role as Lawrence’s first Homelessness Initiatives Coordinator, he presented at the LHC public health symposium in April 2018 about health disparities of the chronically homeless and its correlation to community health as a whole, as well as his role coordinating services and initiatives that lessen service gaps and identifies systemic barriers that perpetuate homelessness. Since coming to Lawrence in 2014, he has worked with multiple non-profit organizations focusing on food access, homelessness, and other health disparities. Nilly has recently transitioned to the Department of Public Health as a Field Epidemiologist, where he still works with the Lawrence community. Nilly lives in Lawrence, MA.


Professor Robert Forrant (served three consecutive 3-year terms or 9 years, 2013 - 2022)

Robert is a UMass Lowell Professor of History. In August 2016, he awarded the title of University Professor, the highest distinction bestowed on a UMass Lowell faculty member, recognizing exemplary contributions to teaching, research and service. In 2015, Robert received the Mass History Commendation at the Mass Humanities History conference at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester in June. Robert is on the editorial board of Mass Benchmarks, a joint publication of the UMass President’s Office and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston; co-editor with Jurg Siegenthaler of The Great Lawrence Textile Strike of 1912: New Scholarship on the Bread & Roses Strike (2014); and co-author of Lawrence, Massachusetts and the 1912 Bread & Roses Strike, along with LHC director Susan Grabski. Prior to becoming a professor, he worked as a machinist and as Business Agent for International Union of Electrical Workers Local 206 and ran a community economic development project in Springfield, MA. He resides in Lowell, MA.


Mike Hearn

Mike is the Assistant Dean of Library Services for Northern Essex Community College (NECC). His affiliation with the Lawrence History Center began back in 2002 when he wrote the finding aid for the LHC’S largest individual collection, the Records of the Essex Company. He went on to write the book, The History of the Essex Company, which was published in 2014. A year later, he joined the LHC board as a member moving quickly into the role of 2nd Vice President in 2016 and then President in 2017, succeeding Pamela Yameen who had served in this leadership role for the 12 years prior.