Our Board & Staff

Amy Albert lives in Middletown, and also serves on the Board of the Middlesex County Historical Society. A graduate of UConn ’04 (M.A. History), she is originally from Oakland, California and lived in France for three years.
Professionally, Amy has taught High School, was an Instructor at Albertus Magnus College, and worked as a Community Outreach staffer at the Connecticut General Assembly (CGA) for the House Democratic Caucus. More recently she has moved into Digital Communication, first at the CGA, and now at MetroHartford Alliance/Hartford Chamber of Commerce. Amy also participated in the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce Small Business (MEWS+) incubator Spring ’21 and owns her own business, Ammari Communications LLC. Ammari is a consultation service for Communications services, including social media, and counts the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering among its clients. In her work, she believes that, Tradition is the transmission of fire, not the worshiping of ashes, and enjoys helping non-profits and other organizations modernize for the digital age to reach new audiences.
Fluent in French, Amy’s passions include visual art, and is a member of the Wadsworth Atheneum and the New Britain Museum of American Art. In addition, live performance including theater and music count among her interests. In her youth, she spent a year in Ashland, Oregon immersed in the Ashland Shakespeare Festival, and was raised by two English teachers who specialized in Shakespeare.
Nanette Fresher is a public accountant, project manager, Middletown resident, oil painter, gardener, and yoga enthusiast passionate about sharing the arts and getting our community involved! She has had her oil paintings displayed at the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery at Wesleyan University and won several prizes from the Hamden Art League for her artwork.
Nanette has recently started a new initiative to bring art opportunities to members of the Middletown community. She brings the easels and paint to the people, increasing foot traffic, bringing attention and pride to our town, in order to let the positivity GROW with ART. She comes not as an instructor, but as a friend who sees the artist in you! 
Ken Burtis, a native of Brooklyn, NY, moved to Connecticut in 1976 after spending 8 years in the Navy. What followed was a 31 year career servicing computers finishing his career after working 24 years at Hewlett-Packard. He was elected to the Zoning Board of Appeals in Clinton and Marlborough, serving a total of ten years. Since retirement he’s served on the board at his condo, and TBT. 
A fan of most music, jazz is what first brought Ken to the Buttonwood Tree, first as a guest, then a member and now on the Board of Directors. Live performances are a favorite and food, wine and anything to do with railroads are his hobbies.
Amber Busari is a Goodwin University student and Assistant Museum Manager at Kidcity Children’s Museum here in Middletown. She has an Associate’s Degree in Theater Arts from Capital Community College. Amber likes hiking, foraging/plant identification, and gardening for fun. She also likes movies, cooking, music, podcasts, and trying new foods.

Having spent formative years as a child exploring and trying to get lost in French castles with her family, Renée Tribert developed an interest in historic buildings, architecture and art. Since moving to Connecticut in 1988 she has worked at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, the New Britain Museum of American Art and now Preservation Connecticut. She enjoys biking, hiking, and travel, often in pursuit of her adult children. With nary a creative bone in her, she instead appreciates the creativity of others, and discovered The Buttonwood Tree upon moving to Portland in 2019.

Kelly Dougherty holds a passion for both serving, and connecting, diverse and underrepresented communities and is driven to inspire needed change, which she has strived to do through her volunteer work through the Middlesex United Way Young Leaders Society and Hartford Young Professionals & Entrepreneurs (HYPE), as well as through her professional endeavors, having worked in the nonprofit sector for the past two decades, including the Northern Middlesex YMCA, the Valley Shore YMCA, and Hands On Hartford. 

Kelly’s expertise lies in development, member/customer service, and social media marketing, but she has a range of personal interests and talents outside of these about which she is passionate, including dance, music, singing, comedy, animal & human rights activism, veganism, traveling, basketball, martial arts, holistic wellness, energy healing, spirituality, drum circles, photography, and poetry, many of which she enjoys pursuing or experiencing at The Buttonwood Tree. 

In addition to her professional and personal pursuits, Kelly truly enjoys getting to know people on a deeper level and uplifting them to see the best in themselves; she finds great joy in listening to people’s stories, lending a voice of self-empowerment, and helping people laugh.  She also loves inspiring others to try new experiences (like Vegan cuisine) and to support local businesses and nonprofits, as well as encouraging others to explore our state for all of the natural beauty, unique social activities, and hidden gems that await those with an open mind.

Melinda Brainerd graduated from Loyola Marymount with a B.A. in Theater and has done community theater in Connecticut. An accounting assistant for an Architectural Firm, as well as private bookkeeping, Melinda is serving as our Treasurer. While her passion is theater, she loves live music.

Derrik Bosse is our web and marketing coordinator, and booking manager. He studied at CCSU and earned a B.S. in Management Information Systems with a minor in music performance.

His passions include playing, composing, and teaching music in many styles. He is currently a principal member of Middletown-based group Merganser, an Irish-trad inspired folk group that rehearses and performs at the Buttonwood Tree.