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August 24, 2023

Founder of New England Center for Children to retire as CEO

PHOTO/FILE Vincent Strully, founder and former CEO of New England Center for Children

Vincent Strully Jr., founder of The New England Center for Children and CEO of the autism education organization for 48 years, has retired from the position and will step into an advisor role. He is succeeded by Jessica Sassi, effective immediately.

“Helping children with autism has been my life’s work for more than 48 years, and I feel confident that NECC will continue to grow in its excellence under Dr. Sassi’s leadership,” Strully said in a Thursday press release from NECC. “I am proud of the accomplishments NECC has achieved, and the thousands of children and families whose lives we have transformed. I have worked closely with Dr. Sassi for many years and know she has the skills and experience to steer NECC to a bright future. Her background in research enables her to lead from a unique perspective, and it is something from which our NECC students and staff will benefit.”

PHOTO | Courtesy of The New England Center for Children
Jessica Sassi, the new CEO at The New England Center for Children

The leadership transition comes after a three-year succession plan in which Sassi was prepared to take Strully’s position, according to the press release. 

Sassi is the second-ever CEO of the organization. She was previously executive director of NECC’s Southborough campus and became executive advisor in 2020. Before joining the organization, Sassi was a clinical specialist at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore.

“For nearly two decades, through my work as both a clinician and an administrator, I have had the opportunity to work alongside and learn from some of the best researchers and teachers in the autism and behavior analysis fields. I’m proud to be part of an organization that offers premier educational services to children with autism, and I’m committed to holding us to the highest standards. Our commitment to staff professional development and forming the next generation of educators is key to achieving our vision of a world where autism is not a barrier,” Sassi said in the press release.

Strully founded the organization in 1975. NECC has a $120-million annual revenue, according to GuideStar 2022 data. It has 1,200 employees and serves more than 12,000 students in 13 countries, according to the press release.

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