My sister and I grew up in a poor farming and blue-collar town in the Appalachian Mountain region of Pennsylvania. I struggled through undiagnosed hearing loss and subsequent school issues, including difficulty learning to read, along with many other obstacles typical of poor rural areas. Eventually I too become the first in my family to attend college and move from the area for a better life.
A childhood spent in an economically struggling area led me to become deeply committed to the importance of access to public services; strong forward-thinking schools; and protection of at-risk individuals including single mothers, elderly poor, families and individuals struggling with domestic violence and addictions.
My husband Adrian Koren and I met in graduate school at UMASS Amherst and decided to stay in Massachusetts for its high-paying jobs and access to cultural and natural assets. We initially chose Shrewsbury because of the large number of new homes available. Though we came for the house, we stayed for the great community and schools!
I became a full time stay-at-home parent when my eldest daughter was 2 years old. A few years ago I returned to the work world as a fundraiser for a textile and clothing re-use company. I spent many of my working years employed in a full-time job in addition to a part-time one as well. Long, hard work was always a part of my normal life! When I became a stay-at-home parent it also brought me into the world of unpaid volunteer work and I never looked back. I found a niche in which I could help in many different arenas depending on the need. Many friends would joke that I didn’t know the word, “no”.
I am not afraid to take on those causes which might not be popular or sexy but are vital to the success of the community. I have a particular dedication to protecting the environment for everyone, not just my own children. Clean air, water, and soil and safe food should be a right for everyone, not a privilege.
My supportive family includes my husband of 23 years, Adrian Koren, a software engineer; Aurora, a senior at Shrewsbury High School; Cecilia, a 6th grader at Sherwood Middle School; lovable poodle Snowy, and rescue cats Cody and Batty.
I love talking to people, gardening, reading, traveling, hiking and recycling. Oh, and volunteering of course!
Education & Youth
- Involved in planning and set-up of school gardens at Floral Elementary, Sherwood and Shrewsbury High School.
- Shrewsbury Education Foundation (SEF) President,treasurer board member, who initiated and created the John Collins Award for Excellence. 2007 to 2013
- General member and board member of numerous Parent Teachers Organizations (PTO) in town initiating new programs and fundraising. While at Parker PTO helped them achieve full 501(3)C non profit status, thus allowing them to increase fundraising. 2006 to present
- Shrewsbury Montessori Parent Group overhauled the entire school’s Scholastic Book Club; increased free books to the school by 400% created a sustainable program to last for years even though her daughter only attended for 3 years. 2002 to 2005
Environment & Agriculture
- First town in Central Massachusetts to create a by law to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags was successfully brought to Shrewsbury Town Meeting by Missy as the co leader of the initiative. 2016
- Started Shrewsbury Recycles in 2010 to help the town when long-time Department of Health Director Nancy Allen retired and recycling program needed help. She attended Mass DEP meetings on the town’s behalf, filled out survey and grants from Mass DEP for recycling bins and educational materials. 2010 to present
- Founder and President of 501 (3) c non-profit Worcester County Environmental Community Agricultural Network (WECAN). The regional group is the umbrella group for Shrewsbury Farmers Market and Shrewsbury Recycles. 2015 to present
- Shrewsbury Farmer’s Market Founder and manager. Missy, at the urging of current Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matt Beaton, created a committee to start the Shrewsbury Farmers Market. Worked with Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Board of Health, Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources to bring fresh and local farm products to Shrewsbury. Missy and other volunteers run the market. 2012 to present
- Waste Watchers, a support group for the eco-conscious to support each other and to educate others in our communities. 2006 to 2011
- Promoted and worked with Mass DEP and town Health Dept to get Pay As Your Throw Trash program passed (PAYT). 2007
- Sherwood Middle School Building (2009) and Renovated and Expanded Shrewsbury Public Library Building Override 2014
- Shrewsbury League of Women Voters President, Education Director, and Board Member. Missy initiated a year long Water Series to education Shrewsbury about water issues ranging from stormwater to drinking water. Missy wrote a grant for an Eleanor Roosevelt presentation and another to purchase yard signs reminding people to vote. 2009 to present (resigned as president of non-partisan group following run for office)
- Shrewsbury Town Meeting Member from Precinct 9. 2008 to present
- Yes 4 Shrewsbury Ballot Prop 2 ½ Override Initiative for 2008. Missy was a volunteer coordinator for over 300 volunteers. Lessons learned from that effort helped to refine data and enhance the Get Out the Vote techniques used by the Shrewsbury High School building override. This effort resulted in the historically highest voter turnout for Shrewsbury municipal election. 2008
- Girl Scouts of Shrewsbury, Leader, Cookie Manager, Treasurer. 2005 to present
- Acted as consultant for Eagle Scout solar project and Girl Scout Gold badge sytrofoam reduction project. 2003 and 2015
- Citizens for a Better Shrewsbury, general member of civic group providing accurate information and analysis of town government. 2006 to 2009
- Regional Coordinator Bag2School, a textiles recycling and fundraising company. 2013 to present
- Retail Sales and Management. 10 years experience
- Office Manager and Administrative Assistant. 10 years experience
- Union Organizer and Researcher, UMASS Internship Director, Library Aide
- Elmira College, BS Business Admin. 1985
- UMASS-Amherst, MS Labor Studies. 1992