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I began my journey in special education in 1999.  I started at New Beginnings working in a preschool class as a 1:1.  It was very early in my experience that I came to the realization that I wanted to pursue a career in the field and believed strongly in the mission at the school.  After receiving a promotion to head assistant in 2000, I sought to obtain my teaching degree in special education and a master's as well.  Having only been a head assistant for a brief time I was asked to take over a teaching maternity leave and quickly got my first experience as the leader of a classroom.  I worked collaboratively with members of related services, administration, and other experts in the field to better develop my teaching craft.  In 2004 I was promoted to a head teacher position.  The role of head teacher was to work with and train novice teachers while executing various other administrative duties. As the program continued to grow both in size and in age, I was asked to pursue education in the field of transition to help develop a program for our young adults.  In 2009, I was promoted to transition supervisor and was tasked with creating a brand new program for our high school which involved community-based and work experiences for our students.  As the transition program continued to grow and flourish, I was then approached to potentially pursue my principal certification.  In 2011 I was then promoted to vice-principal of the New Beginnings program.  I spent one year in that role before being promoted to Principal in 2012.  This is now my tenth year as principal in the program I began in as a personal aide.  Since my career started in 1999, I have watched New Beginnings develop from a preschool program to a 3-21 school with an exceptional transition program.  I was instrumental in the development of our first adult, day habilitation program for students after age 21, called New Beginnings for Tomorrow.

 I was hired in August 2001 as a General Aide.  For the first week of September, I participated in my first GFS Teambuilding activity and had PD sessions to learn how to work with students on the Spectrum.  My first day with the students was on September 11, 2001- where we were all sent home due to the events in NYC.  While I was working as an aide, I was approached by the Head Teacher, Heather Kaiser, and she complimented me on my job performance and said I should go back to school and obtain a teacher’s certification. I worked as an aide until June 2003 and for the 2003-2004 school year I was promoted to a classroom teacher and worked under an emergency certification while I attended school.  During the next 2 years, I taught at the Fairfield location and subbed, when needed, up at The West Milford NB Annex.  In 2005, I won the GFS Teacher of the Year Award and was asked to move permanently to the NB West Milford Annex.  The Annex is where I spent the next 13 years of my career- during this time I obtained my Masters Degree in Developmental Disabilities and a Supervisor Certification.  I became a Head Teacher in the 2007-2008 school year and also had my first Team Teacher. As a Head Teacher, I supported the Annex teachers by providing professional development in the areas of instruction and behavior management.  During my time at the Annex, I opened up 6 classrooms at 3 different locations in West Milford.  I became the Supervisor of the Annex programs in 2014.  At the end of the 2016-2017 school year, I was asked to move to the Fairfield location to become the supervisor at Glenview Academy and The Gramon School.  That takes us to the present day where I continue to be the Supervisor at GG working with staff and students to ensure GG is providing innovative and effective instruction to meet all of our student needs.

 I began my career at GFS in the summer of 1999 as an Instructional Paraprofessional. Having recently graduated from college with a degree in music, it wasn’t long before I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in special education. After my first year of employment, I became a classroom head assistant where I learned valuable instructional and leadership strategies. In 2001 I had made the decision to go back to school and obtain my teaching certification. At this time, I was promoted to classroom teacher under the supervision of a mentor, and I remained in the classroom for eleven years. It wasn’t until 2012 that I decided to apply for the Head Teacher position. For the next five years I worked closely with the classroom staff, faculty, and administration as I flourished into a more supervisory role. It was in 2016 that I decided to further my education and enrolled and completed my master’s degree in School Administration. Upon graduation in 2018, I was promoted to Supervisor of Special Education and presently remain in this position at GFS. 

I started working for the Gramon Family of Schools in the fall of 2000 as an instructional paraprofessional.  After my first year of employment, I was promoted to the position of Head Assistant.  It was during this time that I made a life-altering decision by taking advantage of the tuition assistance program and enrolling in graduate school to obtain a teacher of the handicapped certification. In the years following, I have gained an abundance of personal and professional experience that I have had the pleasure of sharing with those whom I have taught, supervise, and mentor.  I am and continue to be grateful for all the collaborative and essential relationships I have forged throughout this journey. 

In 2014, I discovered a job as an instructional paraprofessional. Initially, I was not sure what the job entailed, but I was ready for a new experience. I started as a 1:1 with a student for two years. In my third year, my flexibility with students began to be noticed, so I was asked to be a floater alongside two other paraprofessionals to help multiple classes and select students. During my fourth year, I was promoted to Head Assistant for an elementary school class and worked alongside phenomenal staff with a fun bunch of students. My time eventually came to an end when I had to leave for college and complete my associate degree to become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). I branched out to embark on my new journey and gather experience working with other students in a different setting.  

After some time learning the field of occupational therapy and building my experience, I returned to the Gramon Family of Schools to return as a 1:1 while figuring out my outside endeavors with continuing education. After a few months working with a student, I was given the most amazing opportunity to be a COTA for the Gramon school and the Glenview Academy. For the past two and a half years working alongside the OT/PT department, we have been successful in promoting and implementing numerous sensory-based strategies that are being seen on a day-to-day basis.  

Currently, I work with every class and engage students in functional and purposeful activities that are reinforcing academic and life skills, in a multi-sensory approach. In addition, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with other departments, such as the behavior team and the speech department, to provide individualized assistance for students who benefit from sensory integration. In the next few months, I will be in my 8th year working at the Gramon Family of Schools and it has been the best learning experience, but overall, a rewarding one.

I began my career at New Beginnings as a Speech-Language Specialist in May 2003.  I had already been working with students with autism for some time, and during the interview process, I knew in my heart that this school offered something extremely unique and special.  Some of the first teachers and head assistants I met quickly became mentors and friends, and we have grown together in this organization.  In May 2004, I was named Therapist of the Year and had the opportunity to represent New Beginnings at an annual autism conference.  In July 2005, I was promoted to Speech Department Coordinator and focused on building relationships with local universities to develop a graduate student internship program at NB.  In 2007, I completed the coursework to earn my Supervisor Certification.  Over the years, I became more involved in the enrollment process for new students and families seeking out-of-district placement. In June 2009, I was named the Ruth K Newman Award Recipient. In July 2016, I was promoted to Supervisor of Clinical Services & Enrollment

When I joined the Gramon Family in 2010, I began in a classroom alongside a few seasoned employees that helped me understand the culture of the organization. After a short time, I realized the warm family atmosphere that was fostered from the top down within the organization. I fully bought into their philosophies and values and looked to assist in anyway I could. In 2012 I joined the transition team with the goal in mind of expanding on the program and adding services for our students. I was very fortunate to have a team that shared the same mission, and we began to build work programs that would provide our students the experiences they needed to become successful for their post-school life. In 2020, I stepped into my dream job where I could continue to work with the amazing team at the schools and assist with providing them updates to the facilities that would help foster a better learning environment for out students. Regardless of what position I have been in over the years, I have been honored to work alongside fellow educators that are all working towards providing the best education possible for our students! 

When I began working at New Beginnings in July of 1999, I had little knowledge and exposure to students with special needs. I had just finished working in the beauty industry, and prior to that, hotel/restaurant management and animal care. Nevertheless, my sister, who was a head teacher at New Beginnings, highly recommended I apply for the available teacher’s assistant position. At this point, I needed a change, a new challenge. I had nothing lose and was still hoping to find my niche in life. Who knew that this teacher’s assistant position, which was supposed to be a temporary stop on my journey, would turn into my true passion. At first, it was quite intimidating, yet as uncomfortable as I may have been, I felt this unexplainable desire to embrace it. I diligently observed seasoned staff members and began working side by side with the classroom teacher. The next thing I knew, I was actually looking forward to going to work each day. I knew this was where I was meant to be. As I continued my higher education, I worked my way up the ranks from a teacher assistant to teacher, from teacher to Head Teacher, from Head Teacher to Program Coordinator, from Program Coordinator to Supervisor of Special Education, and now…Principal. ☺