OUR BOARD

Laurie Sessa

President

Laurie Sessa works in software sales for Charleston’s largest corporate employer, Blackbaud LLC.  She brings 13 years of experience in the “social good” sector, working with nonprofits to streamline and enhance their fundraising, marketing and social media strategies.


Most recently, she works with Blackbaud’s “Corporations and Foundations” team to help companies to manage Corporate and Social Responsibility Programs. As a member of the board, Laurie contributes these skills to Pattison’s, and leads our fundraising and marketing efforts.


Laurie is a certified leadership coach, and is a parent to Eric, a graduate of PACE and and current summer camper.  

Maureen Cannon, MBA 

Vice President 

Maureen Cannon has a 35-year career in Strategy, Business Management and Operations and Investment Banking. Early in her career, she worked as a Strategy Advisor for McKinsey & Company as well as for multinationals Monsanto Company and Eastman Chemicals Company. She later worked in Investment Banking/M&A and venture-funded technology and continues to provide Strategic Advisor consultancy on organizations striving for growth. She received BS and MS degrees in Chemical Engineering and an MBA from Duke University.  Having recently relocated to the Charleston area and is passionate about assisting Pattison’s achieve its full operational and growth potential.  

Melissa Kelly

Treasurer

Melissa Kelly is a project manager for Chesapeake Health Education Program. CHEP was founded in Maryland in 1996 and provides continuing education credits for healthcare professionals as well as transitional housing for homeless veterans. She has been managing the Charleston transitional housing project for 20 years, which provides transitional housing and partnership with the local VA for drug and alcohol and mental health counseling. She is also part owner of her family business, Charleston Coffee Exchange which is a coffee shop and wholesaler since 2006.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, with honors from Towson State University in 1996, with a minor in secondary education. Together with her husband, she and their daughter Madigan have been involved with Pattison's Academy since 2006, enjoying first the summer camp program with enrollment at PACE at its inception in 2010.  Melissa remains heavily involved in Pattison's Academy, heading up the POPS committee, fundraising, and volunteering. 
 

Tom Reilly, PhD

Secretary 

Dr. Reilly spent the majority of his career in the high school classroom.  His commitment to the profession spans over fifty years and includes regular and special education teaching, coaching high school soccer and experience in school administration.  He is an advocate for the classroom teacher and believes that the teacher is a vital component in the teaching-learning process.  He believes in continually improving the role and function of the teacher so that they can teach and students can learn.  He currently teaches at the Citadel in the Education and Psychology Departments, in addition to his role as the Director of Internships and Field Experiences for the Zucker Family School of Education.  Dr. Reilly brings years of special education, as well as a wealth of connections and resources within the public school and post-secondary education communities to Pattison’s Academy.

John Belissary, Esq. 

Member

John serves as Administrator of New Generation Adult Day Centers located in Florence and Marion and is the owner of Club Horizons of Charleston.  He currently serves on the SC Alzheimer’s Board of Directors, and is the Alzheimer’s Ambassador to Congressman Tom Rice and a panelist on the Implementation Leadership Council convened by the South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health.

As a sibling of two brothers with disabilities, John is a staunch advocate for both children and adults of special needs.  After practicing law for years, John realized the purpose of his life was to help exceptional individuals. 

Jeff Crudup, Esq. 

Member

Jeff has practiced civil trial defense since 2006.  He is currently the Charleston managing partner of the law firm Clarkson Walsh & Coulter where he defends civil lawsuits and offers corporate counsel to growing local businesses.  In addition to trial work, Jeff is often engaged to speak to other lawyers and healthcare professionals on current legal-medical issues.  Prior to joining the Board, Jeff served as legal counsel to land trusts and educational funds in the Boston, MA area.  His legal expertise is a valuable addition to Pattison’s Academy as it continues to grow and mature.

Dr. Cheryl Belcher

Member

As a 37-year veteran special educator, Dr. Cheryl Belcher brings a deep knowledge of special education to the Pattison's Academy/PACE Board of Directors. Her formal education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Marshall University and a Master of Arts in Education from the West Virginia College of Graduate Studies.  She completed her formal education by earning a Doctorate of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Marshall University. Dr. Belcher possesses diverse education experience that includes K-12 public school where she taught students with cognitive, learning, and behavioral impairments as well as multiple disabilities.  She is most recently retired from Berkeley County School District where she served as a coordinator, providing leadership in special education and related services to more than 400 teachers and therapists and over 6,000 exceptional students.  Cheryl has been a loyal servant to Pattison's as a past board member, interim principal, and active advisor as well as a valued friend of Pattison's Academy. As a current Board member for Pattison's Academy, she continues to connect with parents, agencies, and community representatives to explore support networks and transition opportunities for students with disabilities. 

Dr. Jennifer Perdue

Member

Jennifer Perdue was born in Iowa City, Iowa and grew up in Wisconsin. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a Bachelors in Science & Kinesiology. She received her Doctor of Chiropractic degree from the founding school of chiropractic, Palmer College. While at Palmer, she was the President of the Pediatric Club helping students continually increase their skills when helping children and pregnant women. Dr. Perdue is the sole owner of Live for Wellness, which she opened in January of 2013. Her clinic currently sees thousands of patients per month and will be expanding soon to a second location on Johns Island. She was honored to win Best of Charleston- Chiropractor in 2019.

 

Dr. Perdue is the President of the Lowcountry Referral BNI Chapter in West
Ashley and has been an active member for over 7 years. Family members, students and staff from Pattison's Academy visit Dr. Perdue for wellness care. She enjoys seeing the
children and their families have relief and feel better with chiropractic care. The Live
for Wellness team enjoys participating in events for Pattison's, such as Keeping the PACE and annual Block Party.