Roadside Markers Forum Bios
Andre Strongbearheart Gaines, Jr. - Andre is a citizen of the Nipmuc people and the Creative Director for No Loose Braids. He serves as a cultural steward for his Tribe, is a father, public speaker, traditional dancer, Indigenous Activist for Indigenous rights, carpenter by trade and educator. With 15 years in recovery from drugs and alcohol, Andre is a recovery sponsor and integrated life coach for those in need. Andres work focuses on bringing traditional knowledge back to Indigenous Peoples. Some of this consists of how to flesh and brain tan hides to make items such as drums, buckskin, and blankets. This work is focused on cultural revitalization and preservation. Andre is a resident artist for the Ohketeau Cultural Center.
Rev. Kathleen Hepler - Rev. Hepler began as the contract minister at Sudbury First Parish in August 2022. She was ordained in 1984 and served most recently as Interim Minister at First Parish Church United of Westford. Prior to that, she held the position of Senior Minister at First Parish of Framingham from 2007 to 2018. During her 38 years in ministry, she served in many states, including CA, PA, NJ, and MD. She began her career in social work, before making the move to ministry. She earned a B.S. in Social Work from Ohio State University and attended graduate school at Antioch University (Community Education) and Hamline University (Community Education).
Jan Hardenbergh - Jan was appointed Sudbury Town Historian in 2021 and is the author of Historical Maps of Sudbury, Massachusetts. He provided input to the letter from the clergy as a member of First Parish. Jan is semi-retired from a career in the rendering side of medical imaging.
Debbie Howell - Debbie is a 27-year resident of Sudbury. Even before her children were enrolled in the public schools, Debbie became involved with the METCO program, seeing a real need for support of Boston students while in our Town. Seeking like-minded individuals who are passionate about racial equity, she then joined the Sudbury Race Amity committee (now Sudbury for Racial and Social Justice) to continue educating herself on how to be antiracist. SRSJ was created to provide a space to facilitate and encourage conversations and education. This work seeks to advance access, equity, social justice and unity by supporting participants in their efforts to interrupt the cycle of racism and to use their sphere of influence in seeking justice for historically disenfranchised people.
Rachael Robinson - Rachael started at the Sudbury Historical Society as the Executive Director in 2020, right as COVID was taking ahold of the US. Since then she has helmed the organization through a move from Sudbury Town Hall into the historic Loring Parsonage, a pandemic, and the creation of an entirely new museum. She has a BA in archaeology from the University of Bristol, and MLitt in aerial photography and geophysical survey in archaeology from the University of Glasgow. She has worked in several museums including, most recently, the MIT Museum, the MFA, and the Abbe Museum. Rachael has participated in several archeological excavations and explorations throughout Maine, Massachusetts, England and Scotland. Her niche in the field is photography. She lives in Littleton and is a member of the Littleton Historical Commission.
Katina Fontes, Ph.D. - Katina is the President and Founder of Athina Education, Inc. She previously worked for The Wayside Inn Foundation as the Education Coordinator, where she designed educational programs to engage a broader audience, including families and youth. Katina received a Ph.D. in Education from Lesley University in 2021. She is the former Director of the Heritage Studies Graduate Program and Museum Studies Certificate at Regis College and has taught a wide range of university-level courses in history and education throughout the Boston metro region. An active volunteer in the community, Katina is currently a Goodnow Library Trustee.