CEOs You Should Know

CEOs You Should Know

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Jessica Sassi, CEO and President, The New England Center for Children

Jessica Sassi, PhD, BCBA-D, LABA, was named CEO of The New England Center for Children® (NECC®) in 2023 to succeed the organization’s founder who served in that role for 48 years. She brings more than 25 years of experience in the research and practice of autism education and applied behavior analysis (ABA), making her uniquely qualified to run this multinational nonprofit.

Dr. Sassi completed her BS, MS, and PhD at the University of Florida where she specialized in the assessment and treatment of severe behavior disorders. Her professional experience includes three years at the Kennedy Krieger Institute as a clinical specialist and more than 16 years at NECC in various roles including program director, clinical director, and executive director.

Dr. Sassi has taught and mentored numerous graduate students through Western New England University’s master’s and doctoral programs in behavior analysis as well as in Simmons University’s master’s program in severe special needs. She and her graduate students conducted research on the reinforcement-based treatment of behavior disorders, with lines of research on dental desensitization and factors that impact treatment effectiveness. Her research is widely published in academic journals, and she has served as a guest on the editorial boards of several of those journals. Dr. Sassi is on the board of directors for the Massachusetts Association of Approved Private Special Education Schools (MAAPS).

About NECC

NECC is a nonprofit autism education and research center, headquartered in Southborough, MA with programs and services around the world. With more than 1,200 employees and a $120 million annual budget, NECC operates a day and residential program in Central Massachusetts, a day school in Abu Dhabi, UAE, three clinics in the Middle East, 67 public school classrooms throughout New England, consulting practices in six states and a patented technology providing NECC’s curriculum to 12,453 learners across nine countries.

For nearly 50 years, NECC has been training special education teachers and behavior analysts, providing ongoing professional development and graduate degree programs on our campus. Affiliations with Simmons and Western New England universities provide on-site classes and research opportunities under faculty advisors, among the most respected in the field, stationed at NECC. Our Autism Curriculum Encyclopedia® (ACE®) ABA Software System contains lesson plans for more than 2,200 skills, is used in all our programs, and is commercially available to learners with autism anywhere in the world.

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