Our Team

Holly Alperin

Holly Alperin has over 20 years’ experience in both public health and education and holds an Ed.M. in Policy, Planning and Administration from Boston University, a B.S. in Health Education/Health Promotion from Central Michigan University, and is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES). Currently, at the University of New Hampshire she is a faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology’s Health and Physical Education teacher preparation program. Prior to UNH, she worked for 16 years with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in a variety of roles that supported schools in their efforts to strengthen policies and increase capacity around school health education and programs, school nutrition programs, and improving professional development for educators. Through work at the local, state, national and international levels she supports the implementation of a skills-based health education program and collaborates with schools and communities as they create a culture of health and well-being for all young people. Ms. Alperin’s research interests include skills-based health education, creating a culture of health and well-being in schools that ensures safe and equitable health education experiences, and enhancing school-based physical and health education programming. Ms. Alperin currently serves in a variety of volunteer roles including the Publications Committee and Health Education Council for SHAPEAmerica and as the past-vice president for health education of the NH Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. She lives in Atkinson, NH with her husband and two daughters. In her free time, she enjoys the beach, outdoor adventures, skiing with her family, and taking time to enjoy a good book.

Sarah Benes

Sarah Sparrow Benes

Sarah Sparrow Benes received her Ed.D. in Curriculum and Teaching in 2010 and her Ed.M in Human Movement in 2006 from Boston University. She is on track to earn her Master’s in Public Health in 2021. She went to Boston University from the University of Connecticut where she earned her B.S. in Athletic Training. Sarah worked as a graduate assistant athletic trainer and an Assistant Athletic Trainer at Boston University before transitioning to teaching full time and running the Physical and Health Education Programs for 6 years. Dr. Benes is now at Merrimack College as Associate Clinical Professor in the School of Health Sciences. She has taught a range of courses from curriculum and teaching methods, student teaching practicums, health education for elementary educators to, more recently, health behavior theory and introduction to public health. Dr. Benes developed and led the first short-term study abroad course in the School of Health Sciences taking students to Scotland as part of a course comparing public health in the US and abroad. Dr. Benes’ research interests include skills-based health education, physical activity in the classroom, and enhancing school-based physical and health education programming. Dr. Benes is currently on the Board of SHAPEAmerica and she has served as Chair of the Health Education Council of SHAPE America. She has done curriculum development with many districts in Massachusetts, has conducted skills-based health education professional development in multiple states across the country and internationally and has many health education presentations and publications. She currently lives in Natick, MA with her husband, two daughters and a yellow lab! She enjoys reading, hiking and going on adventures with her family.

Team collage