2014 Speaker Biographies….2015 Speaker Biographies coming soon


Robert C. Pianta (Fordham Award Recipient), PhD, Dean, Novartis Professor of Education, & Founding Director of the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning, Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, VA

Robert Pianta joined the Curry School of Education in 1986 in the Clinical and School Psychology Program and was appointed dean in May 2007. The Novartis U.S. Foundation Professor of Education and a Professor of Psychology, he serves as director of the National Center for Research in Early Childhood Education and is the founding director of the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning at the University of Virginia. Dean Pianta's recent work focuses on the assessment of teacher quality, teacher-child interaction, and child improvement, using standardized observational assessment and video feedback. He has also extended his work into design and delivery of professional development using Web-based formats and interactive video. Pianta is the senior author and developer of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), a method for assessing teacher/classroom quality being used in many district-, state-, and national-level applications. His assessments of teacher effectiveness are the national standard for Head Start classrooms and are included in the Gates Foundation’s Measures of Effective Teaching study.

Serena Wieder, PhD, Clinical Director, Profectum Foundation, NJ

Dr. Wieder is the Clinical Director of the Profectum Foundation. Dr. Wieder, a clinical psychologist, has dedicated her career to understanding developmental challenges and created innovative intervention approaches, including the DIR® Model with Stanley Greenspan. They co-authored Engaging Autism, The Child with Special Needs, and Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health. She publishes extensively and has just completed a new book with Dr. Harry Wachs, called Visual Spatial Portals to Thinking, Feeling and Movement: Advancing Competencies and Emotional Development in Children with Learning and Autism Spectrum Disorders, including a Manual. She was the co-founder of the Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders (ICDL), serves on the Board of Zero to Three – the National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families, and the Scientific Advisory Boards of First Signs. In addition, Dr. Wieder offers national and international training programs. Her research has focused on diagnostic classification, emotional and symbolic development, integrated intervention approaches, and the long term follow up of children treated with DIR®. Dr. Wieder currently consults to programs and practices in New York City.

Ami Klin, PhD, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar Professor & Chief, Marcus Autism Center, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta & Emory University School of Medicine, GA

Ami Klin, PhD, is Professor and Chief of the Division of Autism and Developmental Disabilities at Emory University School of Medicine, Director of the Marcus Autism Center, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta,
and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of London, and completed clinical and research post--‐doctoral fellowships at the Yale Child Study Center. He directed the Autism Program at the Yale Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine until 2010, where he was the Harris Professor of Child Psychology & Psychiatry. The Marcus Autism Center is one of the largest centers of clinical care in the country, providing a broad range of diagnostic and treatment services, and is now growing a comprehensive interdisciplinary program of research in clinical science. Collaborative projects include several departments at Emory and others institutions such as the CDC and the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, as well as care--‐providing agencies in the community. The Center also provides training in a broad range of disciplines, and is strongly committed to advocacy at the local, national and international levels. Dr. Klin’s primary research activities focus on the social mind and the social brain, and on developmental aspects of autism from infancy through adulthood. These studies include novel techniques such as the eye‐tracking laboratories co-directed with Warren Jones, which allow researchers to see the world through the eyes of individuals with autism. These techniques are now being applied in the screening of babies at risk for autism. He is the author of over 180 publications in the field of autism and related conditions. He is also the co-editor of a textbook on Asperger Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorders in Infants and Toddlers published by Guilford Press, the third edition of the Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders published by Wiley, and several special issues of professional journals focused on autism spectrum disorders.

Edward Hallowell, MD, EdD, Founder, The Hallowell Centers for Cognitive and Emotional Health, MA

Edward Hallowell, MD, EdD (Honorary), is a child and adult psychiatrist, NY Times bestselling author, world-renowned speaker and leading authority in the field of ADHD. He was a faculty member at Harvard Medical School from 1983 to 2004, graduated from Harvard College and Tulane School of Medicine, and is the founder of The Hallowell Centers for Cognitive and Emotional Health in Sudbury, MA, New York City and San Francisco. These Centers offer comprehensive mental health diagnostic and treatment services to patients and their families. Dr. Hallowell is best known for the ground-breaking books he co-authored with Dr. John Ratey, Driven to Distraction and Delivered from Distraction, which have sold millions of copies. With decades of experience working with people who have ADHD, Dr. Hallowell has long argued that ADHD is too often misunderstood, mistreated, and mislabeled as a “disability” and that the gifts of this condition are easily lost amid negative comments. He is also a revered authority on lifelong personal betterment and fulfillment. He has authored eighteen books on various psychological topics including the childhood roots of happiness, forgiveness, worry, and managing excessive busyness. Dr. Hallowell is a highly recognized public figure and has appeared on Oprah, Dr. Oz, and Good Morning America and interviewed for The New York Times, Newsweek, Time and many other leading publications. Learn more at www.drhallowell.com or Facebook.com/Dr.Hallowell

Catherine Lord, PhD, Director, The Center for Autism and the Developing Brain, NY

Catherine Lord, PhD is the Director of the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain a joint project of New York - Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in partnership with New York Collaborates for Autism. She completed degrees in psychology at UCLA and Harvard, and a clinical internship at Division TEACCH at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Lord is a licensed clinical psychologist with specialties in diagnosis, social and communication development and intervention in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). She is renowned for her work in longitudinal studies of social and communicative development in ASD. She has also been involved in the development of standardized diagnostic instruments for ASD with colleagues from the United Kingdom and the United States (the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) an observational scale; and the Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R) a parent interview), now considered the gold standard for research diagnoses all over the world. Dr. Lord was the Chair of the National Research Council’s Committee on the Effectiveness of Early Intervention in Autism and is a member of the DSM5 Neurodevelopmental Disorders Committee. Her work at the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain involves continued research in validity and longitudinal studies, early diagnosis of children with autism, and regression in children with autism and clinical evaluations and diagnoses of children and adults who may have autism.

Michelle Gielan, MAPP, Founder, Institute of Applied Positive Research, VA

Michelle Gielan, Founder of the Institute for Applied Positive Research, is an expert on the science of positive communication and how to use it to fuel success. She works with Fortune 500 companies and schools to raise employee engagement, productivity and happiness at work. Michelle is a Partner at GoodThink, a positive psychology consulting firm, and she holds a Master of Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Michelle is an Executive Producer of “The Happiness Advantage” Special on PBS. She formerly served as the anchor of two national newscasts at CBS News, as well as a correspondent for “The Early Show.” In 2009, Michelle produced “Happy Week”, a series focusing on fostering happiness in the midst of the recession. In 2011, she appeared in her own weekly health and wellness segment, “Manic Monday” on FOX News Chicago. Michelle graduated cum laude in Computer Engineering. Her research and advice have received attention from Forbes, USA Today, CNN, FOX and NPR.

2014 Speaker Biographies

Miriam Aframe, PsyD, Clinical Coordinator/Licensed Psychologist, Rebecca School, NY

Miriam R. Aframe, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist and the Clinical Coordinator at Rebecca School. Dr. Aframe has been a psychologist at Rebecca School since 2009, where she currently oversees mental health services and engages in a range of clinical work including play therapy and Floortime. She received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from The George Washington University. Prior to coming to Rebecca School she worked with a broad range of child, adolescent and adult populations, providing individual and group counseling as well as psychological assessments. She has worked in residential, day treatment, foster care and school settings, including beginning to work with children with autism-spectrum disorders in 2001.

Jacqueline Aidenbaum, MA, United Nations, NY

Jacqueline Aidenbaum of Argentina, has been a United Nations staff since 1993. She holds a degree in Education and a Masters in International Communications. Jacqueline has completed courses in ABA, and was trained by the NYS Health Department as an Early Intervention Advocate. In 2007, she started the concept that led to the establishment of World Autism Awareness Day. Recently, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon bestowed her with the UN21 Award for …“contributing to the introduction of World Autism Awareness Day and helping inspire [its] observance”... She’s been featured in CNN, CBS, Washington Times and the New York Times among others.

Helene Alalouf, Education Consultant, NY

Helene Alalouf has over 30 years teaching experience in urban middle level, secondary, and higher education. As the differentiation and cognitive coach and national presenter for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, she presents engaging workshops with collegial conversations in literacy, active student engagement, standards, assessment, and leadership. She guides collaboration with teachers and administrators for sustainable change to support achievement by closing the gap and building capacity. Since attaining National Board Certification in 1995, Helene has mentored candidates and new teachers. Her professional contributions include designing and facilitating education courses and consulting for several Holocaust and human rights organizations and museums.

Maria Jesus Ampuero, LMFT, Behavioral Counselor with Desert/Mountain Children’s Center, Apple Valley, CA

Maria Ampuero was born in Peru, South America. Maria received both her Bachelor in Psychology, and Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. Maria is also currently finishing her PhD in Clinical Psychology. Maria has also received training in Theraplay®, Parent-Child Interactive Therapy (PCIT), and has been working with children and families for the past 12 years. Maria is Bilingual Spanish being her first language. Maria has presented previously at Schools, Churches, local conference sites and internationally.

Brian Armstrong, MSEd, President, Sensations Charitable Foundation, Inc, CT

Brian has worked with children and families since 1997 as a special education teacher, assistive technology coordinator, consultant, speaker, and Playmaker©. In his 17 years of helping families manage difficult behaviors, he has focused his efforts on home/school partnerships, behavioral supports, ILEs, and accessible play. He has planned successful workshops on behavior management, assistive technology, parent/school bonds, and play for regional parent support groups, State Education Resource Center (SERC) conferences, and CTAEYC. In July 2009, he left the classroom and created Synergy Center, LLC, empowering the disabled, dysfunctional, and dedicated. He also serves as President of Sensations Charitable Foundation, Inc.

Kenneth A. Bodkin, AuD, BC-ABA, PASC, Manager, Department of Audiology, Hackensack University Medical Center, NJ

Dr. Kenneth Bodkin is the Manager of the Department of Audiology at Hackensack University Medical Center, the COO of Hackensack Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates, LLC, and an adjunct instructor at Montclair State University. Dr. Bodkin has been practicing audiology since 1996, focusing primarily in pediatrics. He received his Doctor of Audiology degree from the University of Florida. Dr. Bodkin is Board Certified with a specialty in Pediatric Audiology by the American Board of Audiology. Dr. Bodkin has contributed to journal articles, a book chapter and has participated in presentations and posters at national association meetings.

Anine Booth, MA, Coordinator of Professional Development, Wildlife Conservation Society, NY

Anine Booth works at the Bronx Zoo (WCS) in the Professional Development division, focusing on teacher training. She spent two years at the Queens Zoo (WCS) as an Instructor for school programs, summer camp, teen courses, and family programs for children aged 10 – 23 months, 2-3 years, and 4-5 years. She has previous experience in early childhood education as a Teacher’s Assistant at the Wimpfheimer Nursery School and as the Lead Teacher and Activities Coordinator at Wild Blue, where she created and taught a series of nature classes for two-year-olds. Anine holds a master’s degree in Animal Behavior and Conservation.

Brenda Buzzell, MEd, BUILDING BLOCKS FOR LITERACY® Coordinator, Stern Center for Language and Learning, VT

Brenda Buzzell, MEd, BUILDING BLOCKS FOR LITERACY® Coordinator, for the Stern Center for Language and Learning, instructs trainings/workshops and college courses. She co-authored the BUILDING BLOCKS FOR LITERACY®12-hour online course and co-presented a series of webinars sponsored with the National Center for Learning Disabilities. Buzzell has presented at NAEYC Professional Development Institutes, International Dyslexia Association, Houston Area AEYC, and Vermont AEYC. She received a BS in Elementary Education from University of Vermont and a MEd in Educational Leadership from Union Institute & University. A former first grade teacher, she has over 21 years of classroom experience teaching children to read.

Harriet Cabelly, LCSW, Social Worker, NYC Department of Education, NY

Harriet is a social worker and life coach. She worked in the NYC public schools for twenty years as an early childhood social worker. She is now in her own practice as a parent coach, life coach specializing in working with people to create good and meaningful lives beyond their personal challenges, as a workshop presenter and blogger at her site, Rebuildlifenow.com.

Clare Camacho, PhD, CCC-SLP, Professor, Guam Community College, Guam

Dr. Clare Camacho teaches undergraduate early childhood, education, and speech courses. In addition, she has continually provided training to caregivers in home and center-based settings, Head Start teachers and aides, as well as graduate and teacher certification courses to in-service teachers. Dr. Camacho is a licensed speech-language pathologist and works with young children with communication disorders on a part-time basis. She has over 20 years of experience in the field of education, including speech and language therapy, post-secondary/adult education and working with children and adults with disabilities.

Kathryn Casella, MSEd, Special Educator, P188X, District 75, New York City Department of Education, NY

Kathryn Casella is an early childhood educator for the NYCDOE with over ten years of experience, educating children presenting with severe behavioral-emotional needs, in addition to children on the autism spectrum. Kathryn believes collaboration and communication with students’ home environments are keys to success. She passionately designs learning experiences for children without sacrificing the integrity of both standards and performance tasks. Kathryn presented at the District 75 Social Emotional Learning Conference. Her vision for PBIS in early cognitive and developmental stages developed, and has now expanded across the school’s early childhood unit due to its evidence based gains.

Ray Cepeda, BCaBA, Director and Quality Control Supervisor, ABAskills, LLC, NY

Ray Cepeda is the Founder and Director of ABAskills, LLC, a group that provides consultation to families, schools and school districts in NY, NJ and Long Island. He is a former clinic supervisor for the Lovaas Institute and has twenty years experience supervising home-based programs, working in schools that specialize in the education and treatment of children with autism, consulting with school-based programs, integrating and mainstreaming learners with autism into typical learning environments, training parents, and speaking on topics regarding the use of behavior analytic teaching methodologies and program individualization for children with autism.

Michelle Childers-Beck, LMSW, LADAC, PAX/GBG Program Coordinator, Farmington Municipal Schools, NM

Michelle Childers-Beck is a native of Colorado, where she completed her BA in Psychology from the University of Colorado. She relocated to New Mexico after receiving her Master of Social Work from New Mexico Highlands University. She has over twenty years of clinical experience in working with diverse populations in family and child therapy. She has taught higher education for over fifteen years and currently is the Program Coordinator for the PAX-Good Behavior Game for Farmington Municipal Schools. She is married with two young boys at home and a 75-pound golden doodle that thinks she is a lap dog.

Ellen Jaffe Cogan, MSEd, Adjunct Lecturer and Consultant, CCNY/Hilltop Early Childhood Services, NY

Ellen has been in Early Childhood Education many years, a presenter multiple times on National, State, and Local levels including NAEYC, a teacher at CUNY undergraduate and graduate level including child development, and a former member of the Teaching Strategies’ Staff Development Network presenting 1-4 day training on Creative Curriculum for Infants, Toddlers, Twos and Preschool. By April, Ellen will be in the 15th year as a consultant on Early Childhood Education and center management topics. She is also the author of a forthcoming book, “The Planning Solution: Meet Standards and Preserve Play”.

Anna Coles, MSEd, ABA Director, Imagine Academy Brooklyn, NY

Anna Coles is a specialist in Applied Behavioral Analysis, related to students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Anna received her Master’s degree from the University of New Orleans in Special Education. She is completing the courses for certification as a Behavior Analyst. Ms. Coles has over twenty four years of experience in special education; training and supervising teachers and working with families. She is currently employed at a private school in Brooklyn, NY. Ms. Coles is a fervent believer in addressing students’ behavior through positive support methods. She trains staff and supervises programming, utilizing various aspects of ABA methodology.

Debra Collins, PhD, NCSP, RYT, Doctor, Broward County Schools, FL

Dr. Debra Collins, licensed psychologist, nationally certified school psychologist, and registered yoga teacher, earned her PhD at Syracuse University. At Broward County Schools in Florida, she earned the Phil Seat Award. Previously with the Child Development Project, the Ministry of Education, and Education Planning Team in Bermuda, she taught psychology at Bermuda College and later at Broward College. She trains psychologists in autism spectrum disorders and interdisciplinary evaluation of preschoolers and has presented at Learning & the Brain and the Autism Society of America. Her collaboration in developing the S.T.O.P. and Relax method was inspired by children with autism disorders.

Amy Conforti-Kelly, MSEd, SAS, BCBA, Director of Clinical and Program Development, Theracare of New York, NY

Amy Conforti-Kelly, MSEd, SAS, BCBA has over 15 years of experience working with children and young adults with special needs. Amy currently holds a Masters in Special Education, School Administration and Supervision and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has been on the staff of TheraCare since 1999 and is currently the Director of Clinical and Program Development, overseeing all clinical programs at TheraCare. Amy has focused her career towards program development for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families, consulting in both the home and school settings throughout New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Megan Connolly, MA, Teacher, Caldwell College, NJ

Megan Connolly has been a second grade teacher at the Linden Avenue School in Glen Ridge, NJ for the past 15 years. She has worked on numerous curriculum committees, authoring two grade level curricula. Ms. Connolly is active in her local Education Association, having chaired several committees during her tenure. She served, for eight years, on the Board of Trustees of her alma mater, Lacordaire Academy, in Upper Montclair NJ. Ms. Connolly has presented numerous workshops on the topics of implementing a multisensory approach to learning, using multicultural children’s literature in the classroom and integrating SMART Board activities into the curricula.

Diane H. Craft, PhD, Professor, State University of New York (SUNY) Cortland, NY

Diane H. Craft, PhD, Professor, is on the faculty of the Physical Education Department at State University of New York at Cortland. In additional to teaching courses in adapted and elementary physical education, she has been working for over a decade to improve the physical activity opportunities for preschool children. She has given over 100 presentations and co-authored four books on preschool physical activity. Her book, co-authored with Craig Smith, titled Active Play: Fun Physical Activities for Young Children includes the Telly Award winning DVD showing children participating in 30 of the book’s 52 physical activities.

Susan DeCarlo, MA, Region III Infant/Toddler Resource Coordinator, Syracuse University, NY

Susan DeCarlo is the Infant/Toddler Specialist for Region III in New York State working at Child Care Solutions. Throughout her early childhood career she has been a Nationally Accredited Family Child care owner and operator. Undergraduate work at University College in Psychology with concentration in child development. Susan’s graduate studies at Syracuse University in the Child and Families study program. Susan has recently been awarded the New York State Early Learning Trainer Credential. She truly has a passion creating a community where adults and children experience a sense of connection and new possibilities and find this work to be both rewarding and challenging.

Alexandra DeGeorge, Med, PsyD, Assistant Professor, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York Presbyterian Center for Autism and the Developing Brain, NY

Dr. DeGeorge , MEd, PsyD is a clinical psychologist with expertise in diagnostic assessment and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders as well as cognitive behavioral interventions for children and adolescents with anxiety and mood disorders. Dr. DeGeorge is the lead for early childhood services at the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain, a collaborative program between New York-Presbyterian, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She conducts diagnostic assessments in individuals with ASD across the lifespan, and offers treatment to young children and their parents at the center.

Connie DiMedio, EdD, Head of School, The West Hill School, PA

Connie DiMedio is Head of School at West Hill Preschool in Pennsylvania. Her career started as a teacher then she transitioned to Guidance Director after receiving her MA in Counseling. After completing additional degrees in administration, including a Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility, Connie was a Professor of Graduate Education at Rosemont College and spent 29 of 39 years in education as an elementary principal. Connie received the PSEA “Innovative Teaching Award,” PSTA “Award for Outstanding Leadership in Science Education,” and “Friend of Education Award” given by Lower Merion Educator’s Association. Connie was First Runner Up for “National Distinguished Principals Award.”

Diana DiPiano, MA, Special Educator, P188X, District 75, New York City Department of Education, NY

Diana DiPiano is an early childhood special educator at P188X, a Bronx District 75 school. Diana’s experience ranges from Pre-K through Grade 8 as both a self-contained teacher and content area Mathematics specialist. She firmly believes that “ALL children are capable of learning – No excuses!” Her beliefs are embedded into all that she does, coupling positive behavioral supports with the “Big 5” domains of early learning. She presented at the District 75 Social Emotional Learning Conference and continues to be an integral part of collaborative inquiry work and professional collaborative learning communities within and outside of her school community.

Deborah Discenza, MA, Co-Founder & Partner, Preemie World, VA

Deb Discenza is the parent of a 30-week premature baby, now 10 years old. Combining a career in technology and publishing, Ms. Discenza founded and published the successful parenting magazine Preemie Magazine. In addition to co-authoring The Preemie Parent’s Survival Guide to the NICU, Ms. Discenza runs PreemieWorld, publishes two newsletters directed at the parent community and the professional community, writes columns for various neonatal-related publications and is the moderator of a 16,000+ network of parents of preemies at www.inspire.com

Eileen A. Dolan, MD, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician, Hackensack University Medical Center, NJ

Dr. Eileen Dolan is a Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician at the Institute for Child Development at Hackensack University Medical Center, New Jersey, where she is involved in clinical work and teaching. Dr. Dolan is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics in General Pediatrics and Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. She a member of the Society of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Dolan completed her Fellowship training at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where she wrote the medical guidelines for children with Rett Syndrome and co-authored publications on Prader-Willi Syndrome. Dr. Dolan has presented at workshops and lectured at local and national academic meetings.

Rick Ellis, MEd, Professor/Early Childhood Consultant, Bank Street College of Education, NY

Rick Ellis has been involved in the fields of early childhood and elementary education for 40 years. He has taught infants through nine-year olds and has also worked in educational supervision. Trained through Bank Street College, Rider University, and The College of New Jersey, he also has served as the Head Teacher and Project Director for the East Coast Migrant Head Start Project. He was trained in The Responsive Classroom through The Northeast Foundation for Children. He has developed a course about the Reggio Emilio approach at Bank Street College.

Susan Ellis, BSAC, Co-owner/Director of Operations of The TV Teacher, LL/Mother of 2 Boys with ASD, The TV Teacher, LLC, GA

Susan Ellis is co-founder of The TV Teacher, LLC and mother of two children on the Autism spectrum. Motivated by her oldest son’s breakthrough using video modeling in 2005, she has produced and directed five professional award-wining video modeling handwriting programs that are used by parents, teachers, and therapists around the world. Ms. Ellis is an avid user and advocate of video modeling and video/visual resources for children with Autism. Ms. Ellis gives presentations on a state, and national level. She has written articles on video modeling, and has been interviewed on CNN, NBC, CBS, FOX, and various radio stations.

Kelli Esteves, EdD, Assistant Professor of Special Education, Butler University, IN

Kelli Esteves is an assistant professor at Butler University. She has a BA in Learning Disabilities from Hope College, an MA in Teaching Children with Visual Impairments and an EdD in Special Education from Western Michigan University. Kelli speaks on the topics of RTI, children’s literature, literacy assessment and instruction for struggling readers, and various topics related to special education. Before joining the faculty at Butler, she directed the Learning Disabilities program at Aquinas College and was a special education teacher and literacy specialist in the K-12 public schools. She is the parent to two lively, creative, and fun-loving children.

John Filler, PhD, Assistant Professor/ Coordinator of Early Childhood Education Programs, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV

Dr. Filler received his PhD in Developmental Psychology from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University in 1974. He has published 9 book chapters, 29 refereed journal articles in prestigious tier one journals and edited or co-authored several books in the field of special education. He has twice been elected UNLV Faculty Senate Chairperson, elected Chair of the Nevada Council of Faculty Senate Chairs, and served as Faculty Associate to the NSHE Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Currently his research interests are focused upon variables that influence the acquisition of pro-social skills in very young children with multiple disabilities.

Meaghan Fleming, MEd, Regional Outreach Manager, Committee for Children, NY

Meaghan Fleming, MEd is a Regional Outreach Manager who specializes in curriculum implementation and sustainability at Committee for Children (CfC). She works with current and potential educational partners to help foster understanding of the importance of social-emotional learning (SEL) and the efficacy of CfC's programs and services. Meaghan holds a Masters in Education Leadership and Policy from the University of Washington, and formerly taught elementary schools in Seattle, WA and Munich, Germany.

Nick Foley, Director/Founder of Celebrate the Hero, Celebrate the Hero, Canada

Nick is the founder of Celebrate the Hero, an initiative that helps schools, organizations and sports team propagate good in their communities, through seminars, weekly missions, technology and social media. His initiative was featured in Trend Hunter magazine as one of the most progressive thinking self-esteem initiatives available. Nick has had the privilege of speaking to many schools, conferences and organizations about the importance of celebrating our inner hero. Nick is the author of three books, “Act Like You’ve Been There: Rules For My Brother” “Celebrate the Hero” And the children’s book “Kapernakus.”

Jim Forgan, PhD, Associate Professor of Special Education, Florida Atlantic University, FL

Dr. Jim Forgan is a licensed School Psychologist in Jupiter, Florida. He is a tenured associate professor at Florida Atlantic University where he teaches teachers how to instruct students with learning disorders. Dr. Forgan has written four books that are published by national publishers and in bookstores. Dr. Forgan has the ideal background for evaluating and helping students in pre-k through college because he started his career as a special education teacher. Prior to earning his PhD from the University of Miami, Dr. Forgan was a teacher of students with learning disabilities and emotional disorders.

Leigh Fox, MLIS, Youth Services Librarian, Brooklyn Public Library, NY

Leigh Fox has worked in the Youth Services departments of public libraries for nine years. Originally hailing from libraries on the West Coast of Florida, she has also worked at the Washington D.C Public Library before ending up in New York City. Leigh is currently a librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library Central Youth Wing, where you will often find her conducting first five years programs (with her favorite fish puppet) for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. She is interested in incorporating children’s literature, art, storytelling, music, puppetry, crafting and early childhood education into library early literacy programs. She is also, of course, a huge fan of the Muppets.

Terri Gabriel, BFA, Early Childhood Specialist, ArtStrides, NJ

Presenter is Head of Program Development for Eastside Westside Music Together where she teaches babies, mixed-age, and Big Kids classes, as well as Music Together In School and Big Kids In School. In 2009, Terri co-founded ArtStrides, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the achievement of children from all walks of life. ArtStrides brings arts-based educational programs to parents and children who otherwise could not afford it. In 2006, she co-founded CollaborationTown a non-profit theatre company that has gone on to win various awards in the Indie Theatre community, BFA, Boston University. Music Together Certification Level II.

Roíco Galarza, MA, Senior Director, Community Engagement, International Education, Sesame Workshop, NY

Rocío Galarza serves as Senior Director, Community Engagement for Sesame Workshop. She manages the development of educational content and research for initiatives addressing the needs of military families during complex transitions, providing strategies to promote early language development, and engaging families in emergency preparedness. As an expert in early childhood educational development and the emotional needs of young children, Rocío works with advisors to ensure the content of Sesame Street’s outreach initiatives is age-appropriate, appealing and effective in motivating families to use every day routines as learning moments for young children. She holds a MA from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Jeff Gelfer, PhD, Professor/Coordinator of Early Childhood Education Programs, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV

Dr. Gelfer is a professor and serves as the coordinator of early childhood programs at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He teaches courses in early education programs, play development, curriculum development, strategies in early childhood education, program administration, child development, literacy math and science methods, program administration and parent education. Dr. Gelfer serves as the program editor for the Early Childhood Education Journal Teacher Education Division. He has been a school psychologist, learning disability specialist, kindergarten teacher, preschool director and administrator for the Easter Seal Society. He has published over 30 articles, co-authored one textbook and developed administrative program manuals for early childhood programs.

Liza Geonie, MSED, BCBA, Autism and Behavior Consultant, PBIS, NY

Liza Geonie is an experienced educator and Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She provides services for individuals of all ages with autism and other developmental disabilities. Mrs. Geonie has served as a school consultant in districts all over Long Island and the Tri state area, and presents on a variety of topics related to language and behavior for staff and parent trainings. She provides parent training as well as team guidance and support for home and school programming. Her work with adults includes organization skills, social skills, lifestyle management and wellness coaching.

Cheryl Goldberg-Diaz, LCSW, Program Manager with Desert/Mountain Children’s Center, Apple Valley, CA

Cheryl Goldberg-Diaz, LCSW Masters degree in Social Work at San Diego State University. Worked in mental health field for 24 years, working with children and families in a variety of settings; currently Program Manager for Desert/Mountain Children’s Center. Provides therapeutic services to children ages 0-21; multiple programs SART (Screening, Assessment, Referral and Treatment) for children ages 0-5, CARE (Comprehensive Assessment Research and Evaluation) children on the Autism spectrum; School based therapeutic counseling program; and Residential Case management. Trainings/presentations, presented at NTI Zero to Three conference in 2008, Children’s Network Conference in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 10th Annual Child Expo and Conference 2013, and Student Wellness Conference 2013.

Cindy Goldrich, EdM, ACAC, ADHD Coach and Parent Training, PTS Coaching, NY

Cindy Goldrich, EdM, ACAC, is a Certified ADHD Coach specializing in parenting children and teens with ADHD. She received her Master’s in Education in Counseling Psychology from Columbia University, Teachers College. She received her ADHD Coach Certification from the Institute for the Advancement of AD/HD Coaching. Additionally she is a Certified Mentor for Think:Kids, formally The Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) Institute dedicated to understanding and helping challenging children and adolescents.

Ellen S. Goldring, LPC, ATR-BC, CCLS, Section Chief Child Life, Hackensack University Medical Center, NJ

Ellen Goldring has been an employee of Hackensack University Medical Center for 20 years. She is Section Chief of the Child Life/Creative Arts Department within the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center. Ellen is Licensed as a Professional Counselor and Certified as a Child Life Specialist and Art Therapist.
She is co-author of a Grief Workbook for children, a chapter in the Oxford Textbook of Palliative Social Work and contributed to art therapy books such as: Working with Images and Art Therapy and Health Care.

Ezequiel Dario Goldschmidt, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Medicine, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Ezequiel Goldschmidt was born in Buenos Aires Argentina. He studied Medicine at Buenos Aires University and graduated being the best student of his promotion in 2009. He entered the Neurosurgery residency program that year at the Italian Hospital in Buenos Aires and currently he is about to become a licensed Neurosurgeon. He obtained a PhD in Medicine studying the biology of the dura mater in 2013. With another college, he developed a basic research unit at the Neurosurgical Department of his Hospital with interests such as the healing process after surgery and the genetic and biochemical changes that occur in the hippocampus after brain surgery. Recently he became part of Daniel Orlievsky´s team researching the biological changes that take place in low functioning ASD patients after they acquire language through writing.

Emilie Jayne Hanson, Educator/Performer, Wildlife Conservation Society, Central Park Zoo Education Department, NY

Emilie Jayne Hanson works as an Educator/Performer at the Central Park Zoo. After receiving dual degrees in theater and education from North Dakota State University and Valley City State University, respectively, she worked as a classroom teacher in New York City while pursuing her acting career. She now combines both of these passions in her role at the Central Park Zoo, where she designs curricula, games, and activities and performs in educational shows. Emilie is passionate about education and conservation, and is an avid actor, improviser, and painter. She is recently married and looking forward to a wonderful honeymoon.

Kelly Hantak, MEd, Adjunct Faculty/Early Interventionist, Lindenwood University & Missouri First Steps, MO

Mrs. Hantak has been involved in the field of Early Childhood Education Special Education for over twenty years. She has collaborated primarily with transdisciplinary and Early Intervention teams as well as local Lead Educational Agencies. She is an adjunct faculty member at Lindenwood University primarily teaching courses with a strong focus on theoretical concepts embedded with practical teaching strategies when working with children of all abilities. She is also actively involved in local, state, and national programs focusing on early childhood education, including the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Council for Professional Recognition.

Kathleen Harris, PhD, Assistant Professor, Seton Hill University, PA

Dr. Kathleen Harris is an Assistant Professor in Early Childhood and Special Education at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Kathleen received her doctoral degree in Special Education at Kent State University, master’s degree in Early Childhood Education at Kent State University, and undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education and Psychology at Notre Dame College of Ohio. Her research interests are peer-mediated interventions, children’s spirituality, project-based learning, and mobile technology for young children. Kathleen has also taught young children, toddlers to pre-kindergarten, directed early childhood programs, and does professional development trainings for early childhood professionals and families.

Roxana Hartmann, Private Autism Consultant/Parent Advocate, Montgomery County Schools, VA

Roxana Hartmann is disabilities rights advocate autism consultant with twenty five years of experience in the field of autism. Her interest in seeking education en the least restricted environment for her son Mark took her all the way to the United States Supreme Court (1997). She has been featured in the Today Show, The “News Hour” with Jim Lehar , CBS This morning, New York Times, People Magazine and the AP World Wide. She is an International Speaker and a guess lecture at several universities in Virginia. She is the Author of the book “A Live Controversy” a Book about Autism and Inclusive Education.

Michele Havens, EdD, ABA Director, Imagine Academy Brooklyn, NY

Michele Havens received her EdD degree from Rutgers University. She is currently the DIR/Floortime Director of the Imagine Academy, an Autism program in Brooklyn, NY, (DIR-Floortime and ABA). Dr. Havens is also a Professor at Kean University, Montclair State University, and Daemen College. She works privately as an advocate for families of children with disabilities. Dr. Havens is also a private interventionist for children with special needs and has spoken at numerous conferences. In addition, she currently works as a facilitator of an Autism parent support group. Dr. Havens was previously the coordinator of the Verona, NJ Preschool Disabled Program.

Stephen J. Hernandez, EdD, Director of Early Childhood Special Education, Hofstra University, NY

Stephen J. Hernandez, EdD, is the director of Early Childhood Special Education at Hofstra University. Dr. Hernandez teaches a number of courses in special education and also provides supervision to student teachers completing their graduate degrees in Early Childhood Special Education. In addition to Dr. Hernandez’s work in academia, he has served children and adults with special needs for over thirty-five years in the classroom as well as in a number of administrative capacities. Dr. Hernandez’s areas of research include the characteristics of successful collaborative teaming and the management of challenging behaviors in children with special needs.

Nancy Isaac, MSEd, Special Educator, P188X, District 75, New York City Department of Education, NY

Nancy Isaac is a Bilingual Early Childhood special educator in the NYCDOE with over 15 years of experience educating children on the autism spectrum, with intellectual disabilities and with developmental delays. Trained in TEACCH, ABA and PECS, Nancy believes “Every child is able to learn” and “Families being our children’s first educators”, motivating her to create adaptive learning tools, engaging students in learning and communication within and outside of school. Nancy presented at the District 75 Social Emotional Learning Conference, and collaborated with her Assistant Principal on a Bilingual Transitional Program Grant supporting bilingual special education children and their families.

Joanne Jasmine, EdD, Professor of Education, Caldwell College, NJ

Dr. Joanne Jasmine is a professor of Education at Caldwell College in Caldwell, NJ. She is also a coordinator of the MA program in Curriculum and Instruction. Dr. Jasmine’s recent publications include using word walls to improve spelling, peer and teacher conferencing through writing workshop, and using prayer in school to stay attentive. She has also presented at numerous conferences nationwide focusing on topics of diversity and children’s multicultural literature, word walls to improve spelling, peer conferencing through writing workshop, teaching social justice through young adult multicultural literature, varying homework to increase completion in math class, using prayer to stay focused in school, and implementing a multisensory approach to teaching.

Kayli Joseph, Founder and Creator of FeltSongs Stories, FeltSongs, NY

Kayli Joseph first demonstrated her gift for educating young children with music in Israel on the live TV show “This Is It.” Kayli majored in music composition and conducting. She is a singer, composer, consultant, teacher and producer of music series for young children. Kayli developed a unique curriculum with music for children ages 3-5, and currently teaches in several NY schools, leads inspiring FeltSongs workshops and is the founder of the FeltSongs Stories at feltsongs.com, a story time and teaching resource.

Israel Kalman, MS, Clinical Psychology, Director, Bullies to Buddies, Inc, NY

Israel “Izzy” Kalman is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist and psychotherapist with 35 years experience. He created the Bullies to Buddies Golden Rule System that empowers kids to deal with bullying without anyone help and without getting anyone in trouble. He is author/creator of books, CDs and DVDs that teach the solution to anger, bullying and relationship problems. He writes a Psychology Today blog called The Anti-Bullying Critic.
More than 40,000 mental health professionals and educators have attended Izzy’s full day seminars on bullying and anger control under the auspices of Cross Country Education.

Mady Kaplan, R LCSW, Certified Profectum Professional/Certified Early Childhood Group Therapist/ School Social Worker, Profectum, Celebrate the Children School, NY

Mady has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a specialization in children and families for over a decade. Certified from JBFCS as a play therapist and from Profectum as a mental health professional, focus on autism. At Celebrate the Children School, I work individually with parents and autistic students, run groups and offer parent and staff trainings. I presented on working with parents at the Profectum/CTC’s hugely successful Educator's Conference: Raising the Bar: Educational Approaches that Go Beyond Labels last spring. I continue to consult and have a small private practice for children and families in New York City.

Punam Kashyap MD, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician, Hackensack University Medical Center, NJ

Dr. Kashyap is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics in General Pediatrics, Neurodevelopmental Disabilities and Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. She is also a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She is a member of the Society of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. Dr. Kashyap has presented workshops and lectured at local and national academic meetings. Her special interests are: the impact of technology on children, neurodevelopmental outcomes of prematurity.

Bonnie Keilty, EdD, Adjunct Associate Professor, The City College of New York, CUNY, NY

Bonnie Keilty, EdD is Co-Owner of B2K Solutions, Ltd., a practice supporting the early intervention community, and Associate Adjunct Professor at City College, CUNY. Dr. Keilty’s research focuses on family-professional partnerships, home visiting, assessment practices, prenatal supports, and professional development and preparation. She authored articles published in national journals and the book, The Early Intervention Guidebook for Families and Professionals: Partnering for Success. She is currently Past President of the Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children and serves on the Editorial Boards of Infants and Young Children and Topics in Early Childhood Special Education.

Gigi Khonyongwa-Fernandez, MS, Founder & CEO, Families Blossoming, LLC, NY

Gigi Khonyongwa-Fernandez is a preemie and special needs mom, Professional Life Coach, experienced speaker and Founder of Families Blossoming LLC, a company that specializes in providing coaching-based emotional support/services to both preemie and special needs parents and organizations who serve these unique families. Gigi received her BSc (honors) in Occupational Therapy (USA), her MSc in Health, Population and Society (UK) and her Diploma (Distinction) in Personal Performance Coaching (UK). She’s a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF), Preemie Parent Alliance (PPA) and National Premature Infant Health Coalition (NPIHC) and writes a monthly column for March of Dimes.

Zsuzsanna Kiraly, PhD, Associate Clinical Professor, Fordham University, NY

Zsuzsa Kiraly, PhD, is an associate clinical professor and director of the Hagin School Consultation Centers, at Fordham University Graduate School of Education. She is also a certified yoga instructor and a licensed trainer for Yoga4Classrooms. Dr. Kiraly has worked as a school psychologist for 20 years in school and university settings and conducted numerous workshops on children’s learning and emotional difficulties. In the past several years, she has been integrating her yoga practice with her knowledge of school psychology and delivered professional and parent trainings on the use of yoga and mindfulness in improving children’s attention and self-regulations.

David Kisor, MM, Creative Director/Music Director, KY

David Kisor is a multi-award winning singer, songwriter, performer and teacher that composes songs that translate key findings from recent child development research into practical and entertaining music CDs for children, teachers and parents. "David" tours all over the United States singing with children and training teachers on how to use music in early learning classrooms. David holds a Masters of Music from University of Cincinnati and a Bachelors of Music from the University of Miami. He has been a featured presenter at many national, state and regional conferences including NAEYC, NHSA, AMS, Zero to Three and others.

Ellen Kogan, MA,OTR/L, Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Hallen School, New Rochelle, NY

Ellen Kogan, a professional dance artist turned Occupational Therapist, has had extensive involvement with movement and dance for over 30 years, teaching and performing worldwide. She holds MA's in Dance and OT and a certificate in Dance Therapy. In 2007 she created a movement program for children with disabilities to help them move more effectively. The program currently services between 30-50 children at the Hallen School in Westchester, N.Y. In August, 2013 Ms. Kogan's program was presented as part of the “Intersection: Arts and Special Education Conference”, a VSA program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Renee Krochek, PsyD, School Psychologist, Barkai Yeshivah, NY

Dr. Renee Krochek is a school and clinical psychologist who earned her PsyD at Pace University. Dr. Krochek’s experiences are diverse and include working in schools with regular education and special education students, and inpatient and outpatient clinics with individuals across the lifespan. Currently a school psychologist at a private school in Brooklyn, she strives to help children do well in school academically, behaviorally, and emotionally. To accompany her school and clinical work, Dr. Krochek’s research interests and publications evaluate the relationship between parenting and child development. She is also an adjunct faculty member at Pace University.

Rachel La Piana, MS Ed, BCBA, Clinical Director of Autism and Behavioral Services, Achieve Beyond, NY

Rachel La Piana is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with over 10 years of experience working with children with autism and developmental disabilities. She is a certified special educator with credentials both in New York and California. Rachel has worked hands on with a wide age range of students from birth through 18 years of age. She specializes in the Verbal Behavior methodology to teaching children with autism; and has presented at a conference for the International Association for Behavior Analysis. Rachel is the Director of Autism and Behavioral Services for Achieve Beyond, New York.

Amy Davies Lackey, PhD, BCBA-D, Educational Coordinator, Manhattan Childrens Center, NY

Dr. Amy Davies Lackey received her PhD in Special Education from Columbia University Teachers College. She was the recipient of the Nelle Taylor Award in Special Education, and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Her diverse teaching experiences include regular education, incarcerated juvenile violent offenders in special education, mainstream settings, parent education, and teaching children with autism using Applied Behavior Analysis. Dr. Davies Lackey is currently an administrator Manhattan Childrens Center, Adjunct Professor of Education at Fordham University and a behavioral consultant to organizations and families.

Rae Leeper, MA, Educational Supervisor, Rebecca School, NY

Rae is the Educational Supervisor at the Rebecca School where she has taught since it opened in 2006. She received her Master’s Degree from Columbia Teachers College in Special Education. She has a background working in schools and developmental settings including students ranging in age from birth to adolescence.

Beth Levy, LMSW, Social Worker, NYC Department of Education, NY

Beth is an early childhood social worker with the NY Department of Education Office of Early Childhood. She has been employed with the DOE for over twenty years. Her passion is helping families learn the tools that are needed to raise strong and healthy human beings.

Monica Levy, Credentialed Trainer/Founder of LeapSmart, LeapSmart, NY

A certified trainer through NYSAEYC, Ms. Levy is the founder of LeapSmart™, an organization dedicated to bringing kinesthetic educational programs to children. LeapSmart’s in- school programs provide classes for hundreds of children each week throughout the NY area. Each program is designed to educate the whole child: focusing on children's physical, cognitive, social and psychological growth. In addition to Ms. Levy’s workshop and consulting engagements, she offers exclusive products especially designed for educators to use in their classrooms. LeapSmart also offers an on-line training program designed for individuals who want to become Leapsmart instructors in their schools or community.

Robbie Levy, MA, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist, Director of Dynamic Kids, NY

Robbie Levy founded Dynamic Kids in 1998 and serves as the Director/Owner. Actively involved in industry associations, Robbie has been a presenter at three national AOTA conventions and two NYSOTA conventions. Robbie has also made countless regional and local presentations to professional, school and parent groups in the areas of general pediatric Occupational Therapy, Sensory Integration/Sensory Processing and Motor Development. Robbie earned her B.S. in Occupational Therapy from the University of Pennsylvania in 1981 and her MA Advanced Masters in Occupational Therapy specializing in Developmental Disabilities from New York University in 1982.

Sascha Longstreth, PhD, Child and Family Development Program, San Diego State University, CA

Dr. Longstreth is an Assistant Professor in the Child & Family Development Department, at San Diego State University. She received her PhD in Human Development and Education from the University of California, Berkeley in 2004. Dr. Longstreth teaches courses in infant/toddler development, developmentally appropriate practices, theories of social-emotional development, and positive behavior support for children with challenging behavior. She has conducted numerous workshops for parents and teachers on how to address challenging behavior in young children.

Catherine Lyons, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV

Catherine Lyons is an assistant professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) in the Department of Educational and Clinical Studies teaching early childhood special education undergraduate and graduate courses. Additionally, she is the Executive Director of the UNLV Lynn Bennett Early Childhood Education Center (LBECEC). The LBECEC houses the UNLV/CSUN Preschool an inclusive program serving children birth to five in 11 separate classrooms. Catherine is a member of numerous statewide councils and committees including the Early Childhood Advisory Council and the Interagency Coordinating Council. Catherine is passionate about preparing future teachers to work with all young children.

Maria C. McGinley, JD, Special Education Attorney, Mayerson & Associates, NY

Maria is a special education attorney dedicated to promoting the rights of individuals with disabilities and has an excellent track record in due process cases at both the administrative and federal levels. Maria previously worked for the NYCDOE as a special education teacher in a 6:1:1 class of students with autism. Maria also provided early intervention services. Maria regularly presents at local and national conferences, publishes on many special education topics and has been interviewed by media outlets in connection with special education related topics. Maria also is involved with Autism Speaks.

Maryrose McInerney, PhD, CCC-A, Adjunct Associate Professor, St. John’s University &Montclair State University, CEO, Hackensack Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates, LLC, Audiologist, Hackensack University Medical Center, NJ
Dr. Maryrose McInerney is the Chief Executive Officer of Hackensack Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates, LLC, an audiologist at Hackensack University Medical Center, and an adjunct professor at LI AUD Consortium, St. John’s University, and the Montclair State University. Dr. McInerney has been practicing audiology since 1979. She received her PhD in Hearing Science from the CUNY Graduate Center of New York. She has published in various professional journals, served as editor of several books and journals, and has presented nationally on a variety of audiology topics.

Carol Messmore PhD, LMFT, Core Faculty, Capella University, MN

Dr. Carol Messmore has over 15 years of diverse experience working in community mental health, social service consultation, higher education and is an AAMFT approved supervisor. In addition to her Family Therapy master and doctoral degrees, she also completed a two year post graduate Infant Mental Health training program and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She has presented at national conferences on family issues and clinical training and supervision as well as multiple publications in the field of infant mental health and family therapy. She currently holds a fulltime faculty position in a COAMFTE accredited family therapy program.

Barbara Mowder, PhD, Director of Graduate Psychology Programs, Pace University, NY

Dr. Barbara Mowder is the Director of the Graduate Psychology Programs at Pace University-NYC. In addition, she was a founding member of the Association of Early Childhood and Infant Psychologists (AECIP) and directs the Parent Child Institute (PCI) at Pace University-NYC. The PCI is a research oriented group focusing mostly on parenting, parent-child interactions, and parenting in relation to child development outcomes. She has written extensively on topics such as parenting, parent development theory, and evidence-based practices in infant and early childhood psychology.

Brian Muni, MA, OTR, Executive Director, Theraplay Developmental Resources, LLC, NYC Dept. of Education, Art Beyond Sight, NY

Brian Muni is an occupational therapist, multi award-winning songwriter (First Prize, 2011 UK Songwriters Competition) and performer, who for twenty years has developed techniques Using Music (tm) to help children with special needs improve academic and pre-vocational life skills. He specializes in working with populations who have learning disabilities, autism, sensory processing, sensory deficits and behavioral concerns. An award-winning songwriter, performer and producer who has collaborated with legends like Allen Ginsberg and Woodstock icon Melanie, Brian is the founder and executive director of Theraplay Developmental Resources, LLC, working privately with children and adults in the Tri-State area and as a Senior Occupational Therapist at D75 of the NYC Department of Education.

Dana Murphy, MS, Coordinator of Early Childhood Education, Birch Family Services, NY

Dana has been working in the field of special education for over 12 years. She began working with Birch Family Services in 2001, as a classroom teacher and mentor at the School for Exceptional Children. Dana joined the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in 2007, as a Coordinator of Early Childhood Services where she provides classroom consultation and staff development for Birch, as well as, for private and public schools in New York City. Dana holds a BS from C.W. Post in Special and Elementary Education and received her Master’s degree in Literacy from St. John’s University.

Cara Nemchek, Center Director, Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes, NY

Cara Nemchek received her bachelor's degree from Cornell University, and is in the process of pursuing her master's from Teachers College of Columbia University in New York. She is currently a Center Director for Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes, overseeing the operations, instruction, and outreach for the Manhattan learning center. Ms. Nemchek has been with the organization for nine years, and has worked in various learning centers across the country. She has worked directly with hundreds of children helping them improve their reading and comprehension skills.

Lisa Nostrand, AuD, CCC-A, Audiologist, Hackensack University Medical Center, NJ

Dr. Lisa Nostrand has been practicing audiology and dispensing hearing aids for over 25 years. She received her Masters degree in audiology from Columbia University's Teacher's College and her Doctor of Audiology from the University of Florida. Dr. Nostrand enjoys working with a broad range of patients, from infants through the geriatric population. She currently divides her professional time between Hackensack University Medical Center's Pediatric Audiology Department and Hackensack Audiology and Hearing Aid Associates.

Patty O’Grady, PhD, Professor, University of Tampa, FL

Patty O’Grady’s work in the field of education and psychology spans 30 years and has included classroom teaching in both K–12 general and special education, as well as higher education, where she is currently on the faculty at the University of Tampa. She writes a blog about positive psychology in education for Psychology Today; she is also the author of numerous articles and a popular trainer and presenter. She earned her PhD in education and psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Leigh Anne O'Malley, MSEd, ABA Field Program Supervisor, All About Kids, NY

Leigh O’Malley, MSEd currently provides ABA Services on a part time basis for All About Kids, and previously served as an ABA Field Program Supervisor. Leigh has over ten years of experience working with special needs children in a variety of settings, trained teachers and T.A.’s in School Wide Behavior Management Systems and conducted effective formative assessments in instruction. Leigh holds a BS in Childhood Ed, an MSEd in Competencies in Autism & Special Ed.: C.A.S.E., and an Advanced Certificate in ABA. Leigh is also certified as an Early Childhood, Childhood & Special Ed. Teacher, and has completed approved BACB coursework.

Stephanie Omens, LCAT, MA-RDT, CCLS, Senior Child Life Specialist, Hackensack University Medical Center, NJ

Stephanie Omens, LCAT, MA-RDT, CCLS is a licensed creative arts therapist in New York State, registered drama therapist and certified child life specialist. Ms Omens has worked at Hackensack University Medical Center over the past 12 years with chronically ill hospitalized, bereaved and prematurely born infants and children. Ms Omens is an Adjunct Instructors, Department of Drama, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. She is co author of a chapter in The Health Professions: Trends and Opportunities in U.S. Health Care, 2007, Chisolm and her chapter in Trauma Informed Drama Therapy: Transforming Clinics, Classrooms and Communities, Johnson & Sajnani, (to be published).

Daniel Orlievsky, Psychologist, Director of the Outreach Program about Language Habilitation Through Writing in Autism/Professor of Child Psychology/Co-Director of Research Projects: Writing and Language in Autism, School of Psychology, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Daniel Orlievsky is a Child Psychologist. He is the Director of the Language Habilitation Through Writing Program at the Infantile and Adolescent Psychiatric Hospital “Dra. Carolina Tobar García”. He also runs the Program at the Pediatric Mental Health Unit at the Hospital Italiano in Argentina. He has been Co-Director of Research Projects related to Writing and Language in Autism at the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Buenos Aires and received an award in 2005 for the “Contributions of Psychology of the Problems of Children”. He has been dedicated to helping low functioning autistic children learning to communicate.

Rebecca Panagos, PhD, Professor, Lindenwood University, MO

Holding a PhD in Special Education from the University of Missouri, Rebecca Panagos taught and worked with children with autism and all abilities and their families for 24 years, leading professional development for 2500 special education teachers in St. Louis County Special School District. She continues teaching undergraduate and graduate early intervention and special education methods courses, researching family centered practices and parent-professional collaboration in the field of early intervention, developing collaborative partnerships in early intervention settings, and designing a theory to application model for preparing future specialists in early interventions.

Seth Pearl, DC, Epic Pediatric Specialized Chiropractor, Optimal Health and Development Center, NY

Seth has been working in the field of special needs for over 15 years and worked with many pioneers like Dr. Ned Hallowell, MD. His expertise is the detection and correction of nervous system imbalances, utilizing hand on therapies like Chiropractic and Cranio-Sacral Therapy. Seth is an Epic Pediatric Specialized Chiropractor and has special training helping these amazing kids.

Beth Peller, MS, PD, Director of Curriculum, Executive Leadership Institute, NY

Beth Peller is currently Director of Curriculum at the Executive Leadership Institute (the professional development affiliate of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, NYC.) Beth provides oversight for all PD activities for school leaders and teachers in New York City. Prior to this position, Beth worked for 34 years at the NYCDOE as a teacher, a teacher leader, a school librarian, a Director of Literacy for a Community School District, an Administrator of Literacy Initiatives for the NYCDOE, a principal of a Kgn-8th grade school and as a Local Instructional Superintendent, supervising a cohort of 9 Kgn-8th grade public schools. Beth holds an undergraduate degree (BA) in History from CCNY, a Masters of Elementary Education from NYU and a Professional Diploma in School/District Leadership from CCNY. Beth has presented at local, state, national and international conferences on various literacy and leadership topics.

Sarah Pousty, LCAT, ATR-BC, ARTogether Facilitator & Supervisor, Children’s Museum of the Arts, NY

Sarah Pousty is a Registered, Board Certified Art Therapist and NY State Licensed Creative Arts Therapist. Sarah facilitates and supervises CMA’s ARTogether Program. She is also an art therapist at a domestic violence shelter where she provides services for families healing from trauma. Sarah & Rachel presented “Invisible Communities: The Role of the Museum in Nurturing At-Risk Children” at the 2010 NYCMER Annual Conference.

Anne Provet, PhD, Licensed Psychologist, New York Medical College, NY

Dr. Anne Provet is a psychologist that began in the field of Early Childhood and maintained this focus through work with Head Start, out-patient programs, as director of the Child In-Patient Unit at Westchester Medical Center, and most recently, as an evaluator for Early Intervention and CPSE. Anne received her doctorate from Boston University and completed Post-doctoral training at Columbia University. Dr. Provet has had the privilege of teaching preschoolers, parents, teachers, graduate students and psychiatry fellows. Current interests include developing models of care that integrate traditional therapies, trauma focused care, and alternative practices of wellness and healing.

Alyssa Weiss Quittner, MSEd, PhD, LMFT, Core Faculty, Capella University, MN

Dr. Alyssa Weiss Quittner has over 5 years of diverse experience working with families who have children with special needs, teaching in higher education and engaging in private practice. In addition to her Family Therapy doctoral degree, she also completed a Masters in Early Childhood Special Education and as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist consults for families who have children with special needs. She has also presented at national conferences in research. She currently holds a fulltime faculty position in a COAMFTE accredited family therapy program.

Rachel Rapoport, MA, Director of Community Programs, Children’s Museum of the Arts, NY

Rachel Rapoport joined CMA as the Director of Community Programs in 2008, after completing her MA in Arts Administration from Columbia University. At CMA, Rachel has launched new program initiatives for special needs and at-risk populations. Rachel & Sarah presented “Invisible Communities: The Role of the Museum in Nurturing At-Risk Children” at the 2010 NYCMER Annual Conference.

Dolores V. Reig, MSEd, Early Childhood Consultant, Staten Island Early Childhood Direction Center, NY

Dolores Reig has worked in Early Childhood Education for over 30 years. After founding a Montessori Preschool in 1981, she served as its Director for 27 years, and taught in a Montessori Teacher Training program for 12 years. She developed a Child Care Curriculum at the College of S.I. and taught there for 17 years. In 1993, Dolores established and directed a therapeutic supervised visitation program for S.I. Family Court. She joined the S.I. Early Childhood Direction Center in 2007 and maintains a private practice, Kid Pro Consultations, providing workshops, coaching and private consultations. Her book, 101 Activities to Enhance Social-Emotional Development will be published in 2014.

Alpin Rezvani MA, CCC-SLP, Private Practitioner NSLP, Gift of Gab Resources, NY

Alpin Rezvani, MA, CCC-SLP, graduated from New York University with a Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology. She holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech, Language, and Hearing Association (ASHA) and has New York licensure in Speech-Language Pathology. She is a speech-language pathologist for the New York Department of Education and was an adjunct instructor at New York University. She co-authored two chapters (Community-Based Speech-Language Pathology and Joint Action Routines) in "Cutting-Edge Therapies for Autism”, and is PROMPT trained. She is also the founder of Gift of Gab Resources and has been in private practice since 2008.

Shulamit N. Ritblatt, Professor and Chair, Child and Family Development Program, San Diego State University, CA

Dr. Shulamit Ritblatt, Professor and Chair of the Child & Family Development Department at SDSU, received her PhD in Child and Family Development from Florida State University. She worked as a clinical child psychologist after completion of her master’s. She has received numerous teaching excellence awards: San Diego State Senate Excellence in Teaching, The Monty Award, and the College of Education Dean’s Excellence Award. She was awarded a grant for the Early Childhood Socio-Emotional, Behavioral Regulation Intervention Specialist (EC-SEBRIS) Certificate Program. It focuses on professional preparation and skills enhancement of early childhood professionals to support mental-health, school-readiness, and socio-emotional development.

Christine Roberts, BFA, Founder and Director Nurturing Pathways, Inc, Nurturing Pathways, Inc, WA

Christine’s message that ‘movement is the gateway for learning because of its positive impact on development and school readiness’, reaches over 1,500 people annually at early childhood conferences and parent education workshops. She is a featured speaker with National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Head Start Association and National Training Institute with ZEROTOTHREE. Christine consulted with ZEROTOTHREE to develop the first national online degree course, Mentoring Infant and Toddler Teacher project for Head Start.

Maria Victoria Rodriguez, EdD, Associate Professor, Lehman College, NY

Maria Victoria Rodríguez, EdD, is an associate professor in the Departments of Early Childhood & Childhood Education as well as Counseling, Literacy, Leadership, and Special Education at Lehman College, CUNY. She received her doctoral degree in education, with a specialization in early childhood special education and bilingual education from Teachers College. Her research interests include: home language and literacy experiences of Latino children with and without disabilities, and how to incorporate their home experiences into the school curriculum. She is also interested in the perspectives of parents and teachers regarding bilingualism in young children and how to support the native language and English at home and in early childhood settings.

Jessica Rodriguez-Gibson, MA, MS, BCBA, ABA Clinical Supervisor, Achieve Beyond, NY

Jessica received a Masters of Arts from Queens College (2004) and a Master of Science in Education from Touro College (2008). In 2005, she became a certified behavior analyst and have worked in the field of autism for 13 years. Jessica first worked with students in a residential/ school ages 13- 21 where she taught vocational skills. For several years, she worked in specialized schools in NYC with children ages 5-12 as a head teacher. As a clinical supervisor, Jessica ensured that quality services were provided to children from birth to 5 years old.

David Rosenberg, Black Belt and MBA, Owner/President, Kicking The Spectrum, NY

David has a Bachelor of Arts from Hobart College and a Masters of Business Administration from The Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College. He is also the Resident Board member of The Grand Central Partnership, The BID of the midtown Manhattan area. David is a coach for the USA Olympic team as well as the head of the Special Needs Division of the Arnold Classic.

Nancy Rowe, MS, FAAA, CCC/A, Audiologist, Founder/Developer of NeuroNet Learning, NeuroNet Learning, FL

NeuroNet’s founder and developer, Nancy Rowe, has over 30 years of clinical experience. Nancy created the NeuroNet Programs to address learning disabilities through vestibular and auditory therapy procedures that develop temporal processing. She has been a featured speaker at educational and brain-based learning conferences in cities throughout the US, Europe, Central, and South America. Nancy has a degree in speech education from NYU and a graduate degree in speech and hearing science from Washington University in St. Louis.

Marilyn Rubenstein, MS, Director, Early Childhood Direction Center/ New York Presbyterian Hospital, NY

Marilyn Rubinstein is the Director of the Early Childhood Direction Center (ECDC) in Manhattan at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. The ECDC, funded by the New York State Education Department, provides free, confidential and neutral information and referral services to families and professionals working with young children diagnosed or suspected to have special needs. She has an MS in Early Childhood Special Education and has been both a teacher and an administrator in programs for children with typical and atypical development.

Stephanie Willis, MSW, MPA, First Things First Senior Program Specialist for Family Support and Literacy– Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board, AZ

Stephanie has served in several systems of care for children and families including: child welfare, behavioral health, developmental disabilities, education, juvenile probation and family support. In her current role as Program Specialist, Stephanie is the content expert for the division and works to develop programs, policies, and standards to support families and caregivers as they parent young children. Stephanie has master’s degrees in Social Work and Public Administration from Arizona State University. Stephanie is licensed as a Licensed Master Social Worker.

Celine Saulnier, PhD, Clinical Director for Research, Marcus Autism Center, GA

Celine Saulnier, PhD, is the Clinical Director for Research at the Marcus Autism Center and Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine. She obtained her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Connecticut, after which she worked within the Yale Child Study Center’s Autism Program for almost a decade. At Marcus, Dr. Saulnier oversees the clinical research program of the nation’s largest center for clinical care of autism and related disorders and now an NIMH Autism Center of Excellence. She is co-author of the book, Essentials of Autism Spectrum Disorders Evaluation and Assessment.

Jean Schreiber, MSEd, Early Childhood Educational Consultant, Bank Street College of Education, NY

Jean Schreiber is an early childhood educational consultant who, for over two decades, has developed and directed early childhood programs and parenting centers. She earned her MS in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College of Education where she is an instructor in the Continuing Professional Studies Program. Jean presents her workshops across the country on topics such as fostering the social and emotional development of young children, creating developmentally appropriate classroom experiences, and supporting the emotional and professional growth of parents and educators. She serves as a consultant to a wide variety of early childhood and elementary school programs and provides guidance to parents in both individual and group settings.

Alyson H. Sheehan, PhD, Post-Doctoral Fellow, ASPIRE Center for Learning and Development, NY

Alyson H. Sheehan, PhD is a post-doctoral fellow at ASPIRE Center for Learning and Development. Her current focus involves CBT for autism spectrum and disruptive behavior disorders. Dr. Sheehan has co-authored peer-reviewed articles and led national and local presentations on family psychotherapy and high-functioning autism.

Debbie Shiwbalak MA, CCC-SLP, Private Practitioner SLP, Gift of Gab Resources, NY

Debbie Shiwbalak, MA, CCC-SLP, is an undergraduate of St. John’s University where she received her Baccalaureate of Arts in Speech Pathology in 1999, and is a graduate of Long Island University-CW Post Campus, where she received a Master of Arts in Speech Pathology in 2001. She holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and is licensed by the state of New York to practice speech-language pathology. Debbie has had 13 years experience as a speech pathologist in the New York City. She is also the co-founder of Gift of Gab Resources.

Michael Siller, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Hunter College/ Hunter Autism Research, Practice, & Policy (HARPP) Center, NY

Dr. Siller is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Hunter College and co-directs the Hunter Autism Research, Practice, & Policy (HARPP) Center. His research includes two clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of innovative education programs for parents of young children with ASD. In addition, Dr. Siller is developing and evaluating programs for educating primary care providers (i.e., family physicians, pediatricians) about early identification toddlers with ASD. These educational programs include conventional Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses, an academic detailing approach, and the use of learning collaboratives. To date, more than 300 primary care providers in NYC have participated in these programs.

Milena Skollar, LCSW, Marietta City Schools, GA

Milena Garcia Skollar is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, ScreamFree Certified Leader, and Radkids Instructor. After receiving a BSW from BYU and her Master's from Columbia University, she attended the Ackerman Institute for the Family where she specialized in Family Therapy. Her work history includes family therapy centers, hospitals, schools and private practice. Her focus has been child and family work in the areas of trauma due to loss/death, sexual abuse, violence, addiction and divorce. Milena also has been featured in health videos for the Connect With Kids Network aired throughout the nation. Watching families grow and heal from difficult life circumstances is both professionally and personally fulfilling and allows her to love the work she does.

Mindy Small, MA, Coordinator of Autism Services, Birch Family Services, NY

Mindy Small has been working with individuals on the autism spectrum for over 30 years. She graduated from Teachers College, Columbia University. Mindy is the Coordinator of Autism Services at Birch Family Services in NYC. She provides staff development and consultation throughout New York and is a member of the intake and assessment team for Birch’s New Frontier program. New Frontier provides comprehensive services for individuals with ASD that have aged out of school based programs. Mindy co-authored Everyday Solutions: A Practical Guide for Families of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and was a contributing author to Top Ten Tips: A Survival Guide for Families with Children on the Autism Spectrum.

Melissa Sornik, LMSW, Director for Admissions & Community Relations, The Lang School, NY

Melissa is the Admissions Director at The Lang School in NYC, and co-founder of Twice Exceptional Children’s Advocacy. A clinical social worker, Melissa received her master’s degree from Fordham University specializing in children and families. She has authored articles and lectured on the subject of twice exceptionality at local and national conferences. Melissa is an adjunct professor at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, NY where she teaches a course on social work and children with special needs. She is a SENG parent support group facilitator, a parent trainer for Ramapo for Children, and maintains a private practice in Sea Cliff, NY.

Lois Spangler MEd, Educator/Author, Great Meadows Regional, Centenary College, NJ

Lois Spangler, MEd, is an author and educator who received many honors, and awards including science teaching award Sigma XI, the N.J. Governor’s Teaching Award, and Rudolph Industries Science Awards. During her 32-year career, she taught science and reading and was an adjunct professor at Centenary College. She served on various committees, including ones for NSTA and NSF and provided presentations at NSTA National Conferences and NJSTA state conferences. Her publications include 6 ancillary science books for Scott Foresman, workbooks, reviews for NSTA. Her early childhood science book The Fort on Fourth Street by Sylvan Dell was released in September.

Jennifer Staple-Wax, PsyD, Associate Professor, Division of Autism and Related Disorders/Department of Pediatrics Emory University School of Medicine, NY

Dr. Jennifer Stapel-Wax is an Associate Professor in the Division of Autism and Related Disorders in the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine. She is also the Director of Infant and Toddler Clinical Research Operations at the Marcus Autism Center at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Dr. Stapel-Wax’s clinical and research interests are in the areas of development and assessment of young children, neurodevelopmental disorders, and teaching, training and supervision. Her primary role is leading a team that is working to build capacity for community viable screening, detection and intervention for at risk infants and toddlers.

Nan Sumner, AA, BA Psychology, Assistant Director of Education, Barnert Temple Preschool, NJ

Nan is the Assistant Educational Director at the Barnert Temple Preschool in Franklin Lakes, NJ. She designed the curriculum in her pre-kindergarten class and has been teaching for 20 years. The annual art gallery is the culmination of her exploring the Fine Arts curriculum in early childhood. She has previously presented at conferences for creating a developmentally appropriate writing center as well as the art gallery curriculum at ECE-conferences in Ohio and New Jersey. She currently leads staff development workshops in documenting and displaying children's work and parent teacher communication. She has three children and loves being in the classroom.

Amy Tarreto, Instructional Technology Specialist, Teq, NY

Currently, as an Instructional Technology Specialist at Teq, Amy provides professional development for educators. Having been a classroom teacher; she relates her professional development to the Core Curriculum Standards and helps teachers make effective use of technology to engage and motivate students. Amy has designed webinars and courses to promote instructional technology as well. She continues to research educational models and philosophies. Amy’s passion for teaching, learning, and technology radiates and empowers participants.

Cindy Terebush, Early Childhood Education Consultant/PINJ Approved Assoc. Instructor of Adults, Schools at Temple Shalom of Aberdeen, NJ

Cindy Terebush has spent more than 15 years working in education. She has experience teaching and directing in daycare, preschool and school age programs. Cindy is the author of the popular blog “Helping Kids Achieve with Cindy Terebush.” She is an online reporter for “The Shriver Report.” Cindy has been interviewed for and written for The Asbury Park Press. She has facilitated workshops in venues including the Brookdale Early Childhood Education Conference, the NJAEYC Conference in Atlantic City, schools and parent groups. She was the keynote speaker at the 2012 NJ Division for Early Childhood Annual Conference at Kean University.

Samara P. Tetenbaum, PhD, Licensed Psychologist, ASPIRE Center for Learning and Development, NY

Samara Pulver Tetenbaum, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist at ASPIRE Center for Learning and Development. She specializes in autism spectrum disorders and cognitive behavioral therapy for children with social learning disorders. Dr. Tetenbaum speaks locally and nationally, writes for local publications, and is a co-author of Girls Growing Up on the Autism Spectrum.

Gil Tippy, PsyD, Clinical Psychologist, Rebecca School, NY

Gil Tippy, PsyD, is one of the founders of, and is the Clinical Director of the Rebecca School in Manhattan, a school for children and young adults with neurodevelopmental disorders of relating and communicating. He has been a teacher, a psychologist or both for 33 years. He is the co-author, with Stanley Greenspan, MD, of Respecting Autism (Vantage Press, 2011). Dr. Tippy also has a large private practice in Oyster Bay, NY.

Shauna Tominey, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate, School of Medicine/Child Study Center Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, NY

Shauna Tominey, PhD, is a postdoctoral research associate for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Dr. Tominey is the project director for the development of Preschool RULER, an early childhood program integrating social and emotional skills into the lives of children and the key adults in their lives, including teachers, administrators, and family members. Her background includes a diverse range of experiences within the field of early childhood education, including teaching, working as a parent educator, and conducting research focused on developing and implementing interventions targeting social and emotional skills and self-regulation across diverse settings.

Angelo A. Truglio, MA, NYU, Education Consultant/Atmotivate, NY

Angelo Truglio, founder of Atmotivate and www.icandothatkids.com. Mr. Truglio was a music educator for 33 years in the Connetquot School District in NY and is now an education consultant. His instructional strategies are offered through the Eastern Suffolk BOCES, (Boards of Educational Cooperative Services) in Long Island, NY, and Mr. Truglio has been recently added to their Instructional Coaching Network as a master teacher - coach. His teaching experience spans from pre-school to college. He was an Adjunct Professor at NYU and a recipient of the U.S. Department of Education Christa McAuliffe Award. In 2010 his website was a Software Information and Innovation Association (SIIA) Incubator finalist. His presentations offer hands-on practical tools to teachers and parents for meeting today's education expectations.

Evangelia C. Tsaoussis-Carter, MSEd, Kids by the Bunch, NY

Evangelia has always had a passion for animals and education. She began working with children when she was 14 at the Glen Cove Boys and Girls club. In 2010 She graduated SUNY Purchase with honors and a B.S. in Sociology of Education. Her thesis entitled Canines in the Classroom: Four paws on Literacy won an award from the Southwestern Social Science Association. In the fall of 2010 Evangelia started her Masters at Bank Street College of Education in General and Special Education. She is currently finishing her thesis entitled: Animals as a therapeutic outlet for children with social and emotional disorders.

Janine Tubiolo, MA, MSEd, Assistant Principal, P188X, District 75, New York City Department of Education, NY

Janine Tubiolo is an Assistant Principal at P188X, a District 75 school serving students with special needs, ages 3.5-21, directly supervising Grades PK-5. She oversees Curriculum and Instruction, Related Services, Compliance and ELLs. A powerful, passionate staff developer and community builder, Janine leads by example, believing in “Education for ALL, not SOME”, emphasizing “Teaching, learning and development grounded in evidence and teamwork” making certain that through learning experiences “ALL children CAN!” Previously, Janine was a District 75 Instructional Coach and special educator. Janine is a certified behavioral specialist, an Autism Specialist – TARA Scholar, and is currently pursuing her doctoral studies.

Jessica Vanacoro, LMSW, Program Director, Camp Herrlich, NY

Jessica is an educated, enthusiastic director and staff trainer, and credentialed through the New York State Association for the Education of Young Children. Her background in social work, education, psychology, and performance combines to make her an engaging workshop leader with an emphasis on collaborative discussion, activities, and instruction geared toward the individual participant’s experience. Jessica’s goals are to keep participants involved while giving them practical applications of the concepts being discussed. She has trained for Camp Herrlich, the NYSAEYC, the Capital District Child Care Council, and Carmel Central School District.

Christie Virtue, PhD, Director, Early Intervention and Preschool Services Program, Hudson River HealthCare, NY

Christie Virtue, PhD Clinical Psychologist, has been the Director of the Early Intervention and Preschool Services Program at Hudson River HealthCare in Peekskill, NY since 1999. Previously, she was the co-Director of the Adolescent Depression and Suicide Clinic at Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center. She is a Faculty member for Profectum Academy and teaches the Basic Course in the DIR®/FCD™ Certificate Program. She has a private practice specializing in the assessment of children and youth with neurodevelopmental challenges.

Melissa F Vitarelli MSEd, BCBA, ABA Field Program Supervisor, All About Kids, NY

Melissa Vitarelli, MSEd, BCBA, All About Kids’ ABA Field Program Supervisor for NYC/L.I. has 15 years of experience working with children and adults with special needs in the home, school, and community settings, and extensive experience in Applied Behavior Analysis, Verbal Behavior, behavior management, family/parent training, staff training, and mentoring teachers, professionals and paraprofessionals. Melissa also provides consultation services and workshops to School Districts on behavior management with techniques that can be utilized in the classroom. Melissa holds a B.A. in Child Study, an M.S. in Literacy, and BCBA certification, as well as permanent certificates in Literacy and Special Education (K-12).

Trudy Vriend, BPE, BPT, Educator, The Kaust School, Saudi Arabia

Trudy Vriend is an experienced Educator and Physiotherapist with 20+ years of international experience in Canada, Lesotho, Tanzania and Denmark. Specializing in physical education for young children, she is currently responsible for the PE program for young students at The Kaust School, Saudi Arabia. In addition to many teaching qualifications and experiences, her degree in Physical Therapy complements her deep understanding of movement and the human body. Trudy is an expert observer and facilitator, always encouraging her young learners to discover and explore. Motivated and inspired by children, she creates fun, diverse and challenging environments for playing and learning.

Tsang Wai Hung Wallace, MSW, Field-Work Supervisor, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Wallace Tsang is now the Honorary Lecturer and field-work supervisor at the Department of Social Work and Social Administration of the University of Hong Kong. He is a registered social worker with 18 years of experience in family counseling and social service management. He has extensive counseling experience for the families with domestic violence and child abuse problems, marital problem, parenting difficulties and mental health problems. Wallace Tsang also has rich experience in providing psychotherapy for the abusers using EMERGE & VISTA model, as well as for children experienced abuse using expressive art and adventure-based approach.

Carol Wertheimer, MS, PD, Coordinator, Executive Leadership Institute, NY

Carol Wertheimer has served as an educator with the New York City Public Schools for 37 years, 15 of which was a principal of a pre-k -5 school. Carol has had articles published in the TESOL Journal, The Idiom and Teaching K-8. She has also coauthored a reading manual, Learning in Style for Struggling Readers Grades K-1. Ms. Wertheimer has presented her work at local, national and international conferences. Since her retirement she has been instrumental in facilitating principal study groups, lead workshops on the Common Core Learning Standards, mentored assistant principals and supervised student teachers. She presently serves as a Queens Coordinator for the Executive Leadership Institute. She holds two master degrees and a professional diploma in administration from St. John’s University.

Clay Whitehead, MBA, Co-Founder/Co-CEO of Presence Learning, PresenceLearning, CA

Clay is the Co-Founder, Co-CEO, and chief student advocate at PresenceLearning. He is also a member of the company’s board of directors. Clay leads the company’s school partnership efforts, driving its commitment to ensuring the best care possible for all students. Clay was inspired to found PresenceLearning in part by the role of technology in his own struggles with learning disabilities as a young child. His background spans consulting, successful startups, and venture capital. Clay holds a BA from Princeton University and an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

Arlene Wilson, MPA, ABD, Field Director for Mission Delivery – Key Markets East, The American
Diabetes Association, NY

Arlene Wilson is the Field Director of Mission Delivery for the American Diabetes Association. She provides training, quality assurance and program management for thirteen major metropolitan areas on the East Coast and Mid West.
Mrs. Wilson holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Ohio State University. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh in Public Administration, and is a Doctoral Candidate in Management from the University of Phoenix. Mrs. Wilson is fluent in Spanish and American Sign Language. Mrs. Wilson is an Adjunct Professor at Medaille College, and teaches courses in management, introductory science and art.