Dr. Timothy Flanigan, Founder

Dr. Flanigan is a member of the Division of Infectious Diseases at The Miriam Hospital, Rhode Island Hospital and Professor of Medicine at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He developed the HIV Core Program at the State Prison to provide care for HIV infected individuals and link them to community based resources upon release. He is also associate director of The Miriam/Brown Fogarty Program which trains and mentors overseas investigators in HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Flanigan is a permanent deacon in the Diocese of Providence, and serves at both St. Theresa’s and St. Christopher’s Churches in Tiverton, Rhode Island. Dr. Flanigan was the recipient of a community health leadership award from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for the development of outstanding primary care for underserved HIV infected individuals. In 2005, he received an honorary doctorate from Salve Regina University for his support of educational opportunities for children of incarcerated parents.

Dr. Flanigan went to Liberia for two months in the fall of 2014, where he was instrumental in helping to get the Catholic health clinics, health centers, and hospital up and running again in Monrovia. His expertise in infectious diseases and his many trainings, assessments, mentoring, and guidance were essential in the fight against the spread of Ebola.

Josh Pacos, President/CEO

Joshua Pacos was appointed as the President/CEO of the New Bedford Star Kids Scholarship Program on January 1, 2024. With over 15 years of experience as an innovative educator and leader, Mr. Pacos brings a wealth of expertise to his new role. Josh’s commitment to educational opportunity, student success, and community partnerships is evident in his previous position as the Founding Principal and Director of Schools at Rocketship Public Schools in Washington, D.C. Under his guidance, each school in the network gained recognition for exemplary performance and student achievement. Joshua holds an undergraduate degree from Ithaca College and earned his Master’s in Education from George Mason, along with an MBA from Georgetown University. His professional and personal values align seamlessly with the mission of the New Bedford Star Kids Scholarship Program, emphasizing opportunities for children from families impacted by addiction and incarceration. Joshua’s dedication to the transformative power of education will lead the organization to new levels of success, strengthening community connections and unleashing the power of parents and students to actively shape their own destinies.

Laura McPhie Oliveira, President

Dr. Oliveira’s professional career in higher education has focused on access and equity. She spent more than 25 years as a Chief Enrollment Officer, including 18 years as VP for Enrollment at Salve Regina University. She has 20 years of experience at the nation’s leading higher education consulting firm, working with more than 50 colleges and 20 independent schools. In 2013 she formed Laura McPhie Oliveira consulting, a company committed to supporting institutions that serve underrepresented and disadvantaged students. Dr. Oliveira was President of the National Association of Catholic Admissions Counselors and served on the College Board Regional Council, the NEACAC Governing Board and the NACAC Technology Committee. She has been a frequent speaker at national and regional conferences and has written several articles.

Laura and her husband Greg were one of New Bedford Star Kids’ early sponsors and they have maintained that commitment since 2004. In 2005 Laura joined the board and has been very involved in the growth of the program and the number of children it serves. She is always happy to speak to anyone interested in learning more about the profound impact that New Bedford Star Kids has on students, families and the New Bedford community. 

New Bedford Star Kids Scholarship Program Board of Directors

Timothy Flanigan, M.D., Founder
Laura McPhie Oliveira, Ed.D., President
Julie Lohr, Vice President
Cheryl Fuller Sparks, Secretary
Tanya Alves
Lou Cabral
Merry Conway
Diane Francis
Monica Furtado
Maureen Harrington
Joan Martin
William Martin
Patricia Mello
Noel Pardo
Kathy Wattles


Ann Thomas
Program Coordinator

A lifelong resident of New Bedford, Ann comes to us with over 25 years of professional experience within the local community. Working in banking for many years, Ann built strong connections with local stakeholders, leaders within the community, and her fellow residents. She later found her passion working in the non-profit arena, focusing on serving at-risk youth. Ann has been involved with several community collaboratives and currently serves as a member of the YWCA Red Dress Gala Committee. She looks forward to continuing her work within the Greater New Bedford Community in order to build bridges of success for children in New Bedford.

Dan Higgins, Outreach and Community Engagement Manager

Dan is a graduate of Bishop Stang High School and Salem State University, with a degree in Criminal Justice. Dan is currently working part time as the Alumni Assistant at Bishop Stang. He is also a member of the New Bedford Water Board. Dan was born and raised in the Southcoast and now lives in the area with his wife and three children. He looks forward to meeting and working with families and alumni of New Bedford Star Kids to help further the development and education for all of our Star Kids.

Katie Ferguson, Administrative Assistant

A native of New Bedford, Katie graduated from New Bedford High School and looks forward to meeting and developing relationships with families from the greater New Bedford area. Katie’s responsibilities include assisting families with applying to our program, planning student events, facilitating enrollment and funding for summer and after school programs, tutoring and mentoring, as well as purchasing uniforms, books and supplies.

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