I am a Special Education Teacher for the grade 5-8 Fresh Start Program at the Ellsworth Elementary Middle School. I have been teaching at EEMS for 5 years and have extensive experience in education, behavioral health, and social services. My educational background includes a BS in Elementary Education (K-8) at UMO with a concentration in Psychology, an AS in Human Services: Developmental Disabilities (UMO) and Master’s coursework at USM in Special Education. I worked for many years with adult services and have experience in transition services, applied behavior analysis, job development and employment services, served as an Agency Investigator for the State of Maine Department of MR/MH and Substance Abuse, and pioneered in the design and establishment of residential services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. I was an instructor for Maine’s Direct Service Professional (DSP) course and became certified as a Behavioral Health Professional (BHP).
My Classroom: Children have diverse strengths and needs and as such demand diverse opportunities and supports. At the heart of the Fresh Start Program is a staff centered in the belief that all students can learn and grow given recognition of the context and nature of the challenges and strengths they present. Programming includes academic goals as wells as developmental therapy which assists students experientially with developing greater insight and awareness of how their behavior effects others and teaches alternate, socially-appropriate replacement behaviors. I have found that emotional and social skill development is critical to moving forward academically. As students learn more about themselves and how their behavior effects others and outcomes in their life they have increased feelings of having some control over their lives. This is very important to ones sense of confidence and worth and increased confidence is needed to engage more fully in the learning process.