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The Dr. Charles P. Conroy Speakers Series

The Dr. Charles P. Conroy Speakers Series is focused on bringing members of our community together for lectures and discussion on a wide range of topics related to  the various programs and services we provide at Perkins. We invite you to attend one or more of these informative sessions. Please be sure to register as space is limited.


Thursday, November 30, 2017 – 6 pm to 8 pm
Lynn Lyons, LICSW, Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents: Strategies to Interrupt the Worry Cycle

Lynn will provide an overview of managing anxiety and will then delve deeper into how to manage anxiety in both adults and children. She will explain why it is much more important to answer “how” questions than “why” questions in managing the fears that lead to anxiety. She will then offer productive solutions and strategies resulting from asking how. Lynn Lyons is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist in Concord, New Hampshire specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders in adults and children. Lynn has traveled globally as a speaker and trainer on the subject of anxiety and its roles in families and the need for a preventative approach in the home and in schools.



Thursday, February 15, 2018 – 6 pm to 8 pm
Ruth Potee, MD, The Physiology of Addiction


Dr. Ruth Potee will discuss the physiology of addiction and explain how addiction is a brain disease. Using layman’s terms and easy to understand slides and graphics, Dr. Potee will explain the way the brain works and why certain substances – including opioids – are so appealing to the user once the brain has experienced them. Dr. Potee is a board-certified Family Physician and Addiction Medicine physician at Valley Medical Group in Greenfield, MA. She is a native of western Massachusetts and attended public schools in the North Quabbin region. She attended Wellesley College, Yale University School of Medicine and did her residency at Boston University where she remained as an assistant professor of Family Medicine for eight years.

The Committee and Board of Trustees are committed to raising funds to permanently underwrite the Series through a designated fund. Underwriting the annual cost of running The Dr. Charles P. Conroy Speakers Series will ensure access at no cost to members of the public. The Speakers Series supports Perkins’ continued leadership in facilitating discussion, engagement, and learning in areas of education, mental health, and disabilities.

To make a donation, please visit or contact Kerry Flathers, Perkins Director of Organizational Advancement, at 978-368-6449 or

Charles P. Conroy, Ed.D.

Dr. Charles P. Conroy

In recognition of his dedicated service and numerous accomplishments as Executive Director and CEO of Perkins (1987-2015), the Perkins Board of Trustees has named its new speakers series in honor of Dr. Charles P. Conroy. During the course of his twenty-eight years at Perkins, Dr. Conroy advanced the quality of services, as well as the number of individuals served. The census grew from 34 upon his arrival to Perkins to over 900 served at the time of his retirement. The 2.3 million dollar budget of 1987 grew to 20 million dollars in 2015. During this time, the staff grew from a workforce of 104 employees to 360 employees. Charlie led the expansion of the campus with 11 additional buildings that provide residential, educational, and recreational services.

In addition to his impact on Perkins’ growth and services, Dr. Conroy was an involved community member and thought leader in the fields of education and human services. He was an active member of not-for-profit boards, as well as civic and community agencies. In addition, he taught for twenty-five years in the Educational Leadership and Management graduate program at Fitchburg State University that prepares professional to serve as public and private school administrators.

Charlie compiled a formidable record of speaking, writing, and educating those in the fields of education, human services, nonprofit leadership and community relations. He was a champion for inclusiveness and fully integrated Perkins in the community. A key feature of his presentations often was commentary, critiques, and advocacy on behalf of the children, adults, and families Perkins serves. Charlie frequently encouraged those in his audience to advocate for those who otherwise might not have a voice.

The Dr. Charles P. Conroy Speakers Series is designed to continue the dialogue and encourage new champions in the years ahead.