The Pinnacle School’s faculty and staff is comprised of highly regarded professionals with extensive experience in special education, behavior management, related services, and our respective curriculum areas. The team works tirelessly to help each student become an enthusiastic learner and an engaged member of the community. We are passionate about creating a program as unique as your child.
Alisa Dror, PhD, BCBA
Chief Administrator, Head of School
Dr. Alisa Dror joined Greenwich Education Group in 2011 as the Head of School and Chief Administrator of Pinnacle. She collaborates daily with her leadership team to ensure program individualization and customization for each student. Alisa has an MA and a PhD in Special Education and is a New York State-certified special education teacher, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), and a Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) program-certified consultant. At Pinnacle, Alisa participates in the admissions process, supervises the behavioral staff, and interacts with parents, community members, and school districts. She helps develop and implement Pinnacle’s academic, social, and therapeutic curricula and oversees student behavioral assessments and support plans. Prior to joining GEG, Alisa worked for fourteen years developing curricula to meet the behavioral, educational, and social needs of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). She served for nine years as the Director of Clinical Services for Tri-State Learning Center in New Rochelle and five years with the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) as a behavior therapist and clinical supervisor. In her extensive work with families of children with ASD, she has provided training and support to address behavioral and social development. She has conducted social groups, consulted with public and private schools, provided community and professional training, and currently serves on the board of a parent advocacy group. She is also an adjunct professor in the Applied Behavior Analysis Graduate Program at Manhattanville College. In her leisure time, Alisa enjoys traveling, especially exploring new destinations with family and friends. She is an avid runner, hiker, and connoisseur of great food.
Charles Manos, MS, LMFT
Director of Education
Charles (Charlie) Manos has over 35 years of experience in education, special education, and mental health. For the past seven years he served as the Director of Special Services for Brookfield Public Schools, where he oversaw Special Education and Related Service Programs. Prior to joining Brookfield, he spent many years working in the Danbury Public Schools as a School Psychologist and Administrator. Charlie is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in working with families and couples. Charlie has served on the Western CT Board of Positive Discipline, the National Board of Educators for Collaborative Problem Solving founded by Dr. Ross Greene, and is a special advisor to the CARES Group, which builds awareness in the areas of mental health and addiction. Additionally, he is an Adjunct Instructor at Western CT State University. Charlie is a frequent public speaker specializing in learning, developmental challenges in children and teens, mental health, and addictions. He also facilitates organizational coaching and staff development, which he has done for Pinnacle staff in the past. Charlie lives in New Milford with Lynne, his wife of 28 years.
Joanne Sabato, MA, CCC-SLP
Dean of Faculty, Director of Program Development, Director of Speech-Language Services
Joanne has been a part of Greenwich Education Group since 2010, and she is currently a member of the Pinnacle Leadership Team. She is an ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist who has been serving children with speech, language, and hearing disorders for over 35 years. Joanne is licensed in Connecticut, New York, and Florida. She is the former Executive Director of Central Speech, a multidisciplinary therapy center that provided speech therapy, occupational therapy, and special education to children from birth to age 21 in Westchester County. Joanne has extensive experience with a wide range of speech and language disabilities, including auditory processing disorders, autism spectrum disorders, language-based learning disabilities, developmental delays, social language (pragmatics), and literacy. She is trained in several programs, including Lindamood-Bell, Visualizing Verbalizing, and Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking. Joanne also worked in TEACCH, ABA, and Greenspan’s Floortime, and developed a program combining all three to provide interventions to preschool children on the autism spectrum. She has developed programs, supervised professionals, presented workshops for parents, and created and led in-service training for therapists and teachers. She has worked as a speech-language pathologist in private practice and in public, charter, and Montessori schools. Joanne’s philosophy is holistic; she strives to understand how the complexities of communication difficulties impact the whole child. She believes that evaluation is an ongoing process and involves collaboration among the parents, teachers, and child. This approach allows her to zero in on the child’s needs, strengths, and unique learning style, and then enables her to use those strengths to develop areas of challenge, all the while building self-esteem and self-efficacy. Joanne considers the integration of these necessary skills and strategies across settings, in collaboration with the child’s whole team, as most important to the success of the child.
Trish Broadbent, PsyD
Dean of Lower and Middle School, School Psychologist
Dr. Trish Broadbent joined Greenwich Education Group in 2011 and is currently a member of the Pinnacle Leadership Team. As School Psychologist, Trish works with students to help them build trust, self-esteem, and self-advocacy skills. She is an alumna of Western Connecticut State University, Fairfield University, and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She is a national and Connecticut state-certified school psychologist. Trish integrates her experience and training as a school psychologist with expertise in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), executive functions, social cognition, and collaborative problem solving. Trish enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, knitting, and being a lifelong learner.
Keara Conway, PsyD
Dean of High School, Clinical Psychologist
Dr. Keara Conway is a clinical psychologist who earned her doctoral degree in School-Clinical Child Psychology from Pace University, where she was honored with the university’s Outstanding Doctoral Student Award. At Greenwich Education Group, she works with students and parents of the Spire and Pinnacle schools and is a member of the team at the Collaborative Center for Learning and Development. Keara conducts neuropsychological, academic, and personality assessments. She provides individual and group therapy for children and adolescents struggling with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and other psychological distress. Prior to joining Greenwich Education Group, Keara completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Westchester Institute for Human Development, a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. As a postdoctoral fellow, she conducted psychological assessments for children of all ages, assessed foster homes and biological parents whose children had been placed in foster care, conducted individual and group therapy sessions, and participated in evaluations for the Committee on Preschool Special Education. Through the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities program, she participated in a research study examining the prevalence of physical and sexual abuse among children with disabilities. Keara has worked with children, adolescents, young adults, and families in school settings, residential treatment centers, hospital settings, and outpatient clinics. She enjoys dance classes, running, traveling, and spending time with family.
Sunan Jones, BA
Director of Admissions
Sunan has a Bachelors of Arts in Politics and History from Oberlin College and brings over a decade of experience in independent schools and admissions. Prior to Pinnacle, she served as Director of Admissions, Financial Assistance and High School Placement at Presidio Hill School in San Francisco for five years. She also worked at Castilleja School in Palo Alto, CA, as Assistant Director of Admissions. After returning to the East Coast, Sunan applied her professional experience to help educational non-profits in her local community with strategic planning and grant writing, and most recently served as an admissions consultant.
Charlotte Arbogast, BA
Charlotte graduated Magna Cum Laude from Colgate University with a double-major in Spanish and Theater. At Colgate, she acted in a variety of plays and worked in the theater’s Scene Shop. She stage managed LONETheater/TeatroSOLO in New York and, most recently, Charlotte worked as a lighting intern at Theater for the New City, also in New York. Charlotte also has experience mentoring elementary school students through a program she helped lead for three years. In her free time, Charlotte enjoys knitting, playing guitar, and reading.
Lauren Broadbent, MA
Lauren joined the Pinnacle team after receiving her MA in Education Technology from Marlboro College in Brattleboro, VT. Lauren earned her bachelor's degrees from Curry College in both Child, Youth, & Community with a Community Concentration, and Communications with a Theatre Concentration. At Curry College, Lauren participated in the theatre program in various roles, from building sets to writing and directing shows. While engaged in her studies, Lauren worked as an administrative assistant in the Dean’s office at Fordham University Westchester and EN Productions NYC. Lauren has also worked extensively with young children and their families as a professional nanny. She was the Education Specialist for The Love Note, an anti-bullying off-Broadway musical, which opened September 2014. In addition to theatre, Lauren enjoys singing, reading, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
Amy Daniels, BA
School Marketing & Outreach Director
Amy holds a bachelors degree in English and American Literature from Lafayette College and brings over 15 years of experience in senior marketing roles. Prior to joining Pinnacle, she oversaw marketing initiatives for brands including The New York Yankees (NYY Steak), China Grill Management, Back Bay Restaurant Group and The Prudential Center in Boston. As the School Marketing & Outreach Director, Amy is tasked with building awareness and brand recognition for The Pinnacle School, ultimately resulting in enrollment growth, through various marketing channels including advertising, public relations and community outreach. When not at work, Amy can be found cooking, reading, skiing, coaching, playing tennis and paddle, and chasing around her two children.
Michelle Vitaglione, BS
Student Program & NEASC Coordinator
Michelle holds a liberal arts degree from New School University, where she focused on creative writing, psychology, and art therapy. She joined Pinnacle in 2015. She helped to launch and continues to coordinate the After School Program, which provides homework help and fun enrichment activities that enhance students' socialization and executive functions skills. Michelle also helped to launch the new Service Learning Program and is spearheading Pinnacle’s accreditation for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Previously, Michelle worked as an event coordinator and office manager for a premier Manhattan floral design company. Prior to that, she coordinated music lessons at a Long Island school, where she created programs to bring music into local schools and designed group lessons to develop socialization and cooperation in the learning environment. In her free time, Michelle enjoys jewelry making, craft projects, gardening, spending time with her family, and traveling.
Josh Warner, BA
Josh is a Communications major with a Bachelors Degree from William Paterson University. He joined Greenwich Education Group in March of 2013. In his free time he enjoys watching movies and sports.
Related Service Providers
Nikki Bazie Hayes, MA, MEd
Career and College Counselor, Registrar
Nikki holds a bachelor’s degree in Geology from Colgate University, a master’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy from Clark University, and a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Boston University. After several years in the environmental education and business arena, she realized that counseling students in a school setting was her calling. Throughout her nine years of school and college counseling in public, private, and charter school settings, Nikki has worked closely with students of varying academic and social-emotional profiles and has guided many families through the postsecondary process. Outside of school, Nikki loves animals and has participated in many ASPCA walks and fundraising events. She currently lives in Hartsdale with her husband Walter, daughter Alina, and kitty Rachel.
Michelle Cardone-Bunker, OTR/L
Director of Occupational Therapy
Michelle earned a BS in Health Sciences and Occupational Therapy in 2001 and has been a pediatric occupational therapist specializing in sensory integration, neuro-developmental treatment (NDT), and praxis skill development for over fourteen years. She is also a certified Child Light Yoga instructor, integrating a sensory approach, reflex integration, and vision skill development with yoga principles. Michelle worked in various school districts and early intervention programs in New Jersey, where one of her successes was the creation of an evaluation team in which parents and educators across multiple disciplines collaborated to assemble holistic pictures of individual students. She next served as Educational Coordinator at a Connecticut pediatric sensory clinic, where she was responsible for program development to support embedding sensory integrative techniques into the curriculum, providing staff and teacher training, and individual consultations with a child’s educational team. She contributed to the book Body Activated Learning: A Sensory Based Program to Support Attention and Engagement in the Classroom. At Pinnacle, Michelle is implementing a sensory-based approach to learning in the occupational therapy program, and she designed the new Sensory Gym, an innovative addition. She facilitates advanced sensory integrative treatment, carries over the approach into the classroom setting, and collaborates with parents and staff to customize student-specific programming that enhances the Pinnacle learning experience.
Sarah Leahey, MS, CCC-SLP
Sarah received her BS in Communicative Disorders and Sciences from the State University of New York College at Geneseo and her MS in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of the District of Columbia. A PROMPT-trained clinician, Sarah has fifteen years of experience working with children ranging in age from two to sixteen years of age. She was a parenting educator for three years at the nonprofit Room to Grow, where she worked with low-income families in New York City. Sarah resides in Old Greenwich with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys reading, running, and spending time with family and friends.
Hillary Rubin, MS
Hillary joined Greenwich Education Group in 2011 as a behavioral specialist. Concurrently, she enrolled at The College of New Rochelle to pursue a master's degree in School Psychology. In 2014, she left Pinnacle to fulfill an internship in the Valhalla, NY public school district for students in grades K-12. There, she gained extensive experience in individual and group counseling and had responsibility for administering the district’s psychological, socio-emotional, and academic testing and comprehensive reports. Hillary also led district Individualized Education Plan (IEP) conferences, working alongside the school superintendent and the district’s Committee of Special Education. Additionally, she was a part-time consultant in a non-profit Birth to Three program, where she provided in-home and preschool ABA and psychological support to children and their families. Hillary was thrilled to return to Pinnacle as a school psychologist in 2016. In her leisure time, she enjoys SoulCycle and Zumba.
Jenna Wylie, MS, CCC-SLP, TSSLD
Jenna joined Greenwich Education Group in the summer of 2016 as a speech-language pathologist. She earned her BA in Communication Disorders with a minor in Psychology in 2013 from SUNY Plattsburgh. In 2016, Jenna graduated from Mercy College with her MS in Speech-Language Pathology. She is certified as a Teacher of Students with Speech and Language Disabilities (TSSLD) in the state of New York and a Level II American Sign Language tutor through the College Reading and Learning Association. Jenna participated in a research study through New York Presbyterian’s Center for Autism and the Developing Brain where she aided fellow researchers in obtaining validity and reliability for the Brief Observation of Social Communicative Change (BOSCC), a treatment outcome measure for capturing variations in behaviors related to social communication for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders receiving intervention. In addition, Jenna completed an internship at a non-profit organization in Yonkers, New York, where she provided speech and language services to children with emotional and psychological trauma. During her free time, Jenna enjoys reading, running, going to the beach, and spending time with her family and friends.
Janet Andrews, MPS
Special Education Teacher
Janet is a special education teacher who taught for five years at the Greenwich Education Group School. Janet recently returned to GEG after serving for two years as the director of the High Road School of Norwalk. At Pinnacle, she teaches social studies, ELA, social cognition, and life skills. She enjoys being in the classroom and feels that her students are a constant source of inspiration and enjoyment. Janet holds a master's degree in both History and Special Education as well as a bachelor's degree in Economics. In addition, she is a certified yoga teacher and has taught yoga to children and teens. In her spare time Janet enjoys spending time with her husband and her teenage children. She is an avid yoga practitioner who enjoys the outdoors, cooking, creative writing, and attending live music events.
Kris Bauman, BA SpEd
Special Education Teacher
Kris began teaching music at Pinnacle in 2011, and in 2015 he expanded his instructional repertoire to include mathematics, technology, the science of cooking, and drama and improvisation. He studied jazz performance and composition at The New School’s Jazz and Contemporary Music program. His musical performances can be heard on many rock, jazz, and R&B albums, and he was featured with bassist Alexis Cuadrado on NPR’s Studio 360. He currently performs with his award-winning band, The Dang-it Bobbys, a contemporary bluegrass and Americana band; Rana Santacruz, a mariachi-meets-Tom Waits group; and Roy Williams’s Human Hands, a gypsy jazz sextet. He has collaborated with producer Mike Barnard (Christina Aguilera, The Strokes), recording artist Bilal (Def Jam, Interscope), Ilhan Ersahin (Nublu records), and choreographer Zach Morris ("Then She Fell").
Stephanie Biebel, MPS
Head of English Language Arts Department, Special Education Teacher, Reading Teacher
Stephanie holds an MPS in Special Education from Manhattanville College. She is certified to teach in Connecticut and holds New York State certifications for literacy and students with disabilities. Prior to joining the Pinnacle faculty, she taught for five years at Eagle Hill School in Greenwich. Stephanie specializes in teaching reading to students with language-based learning disabilities through an individualized, systematic, multi-sensory program. Her literacy background includes Orton-Gilligham training. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys working out and playing with her chocolate lab, Taylor.
Sean Brinckerhoff, BS
Physical Education & Health Teacher
Sean received his BS in Physical Education with a minor in Health from Eastern Connecticut State University. Before joining Pinnacle, he worked as an instructional aide for five years in the Darien Public Schools at the middle and high school level. In his spare time, Sean runs special needs fitness classes and personal training at the Darien YMCA. He enjoys working out, spending time with family and friends, watching the Yankees and the New York Giants, and playing with his dog, Riggins.
Mineko Chiba, MA
Japanese Language & Culture Teacher
Mineko graduated from Atomi College in Saitama, Japan with a BA in Art History. During her studies, she travelled all over the world to visit art museums and galleries for her thesis project on contemporary art. She also received a curator certification for the Museum of Arts from Atomi. After graduating, Mineko taught English at AEON Amity English School in Japan for five years. She loved to work with her various students whose ages ranged from pre-school through high school. In 1999, she moved to the United States and received her MA in Communication Studies from New Mexico State University. In her graduate program, she focused on intercultural communication, language and culture, and interpersonal and family communication. Upon completion of her master's degree, Mineko was employed as a residential advisor and a school nursing administrator by a Japanese boarding high school in New York. She joined the Greenwich Education Groups Schools in 2010. Throughout her lifetime, she has practiced Chado (Tea Ceremony); she earned a teaching certificate for this traditional practice from The Urasenke Foundation in Japan.
Michelle Hengst, MSEd
Special Education Teacher
Michelle holds a BA in Education and an MS in Special Education from the State University of New York at New Plats. Prior to joining the Pinnacle staff, she taught students with special needs in North Carolina, where she was responsible for creating language arts and math lessons aligned with the Common Core. She also collaborated with regular education teachers in a co-teaching environment, developed and modified IEPs and behavior intervention plans, provided classroom accommodations, and advocated extensively for students.
Nicole Landen, MSEd
Nicole (Nicki) holds a BA from Temple University and an MSEd from West Chester University, previously West Chester Teacher's College. Prior to joining the Pinnacle faculty, she taught in West Philadelphia and the surrounding area. Nicki has experience working with students from diverse socio-economic, social-emotional, and educational backgrounds. During her time in Philadelphia, Nicki acquired certification in Lucy Calkin's Writer's Workshop curriculum from the Teachers College Reading and Writing Program at Columbia University. She also became proficient in teaching A and AS Level Linguistics and Phonetics through Cambridge University. Outside of school, she enjoys rock climbing and spending time with her dog Mason, a Mountain Cur-Lab mix.
Nan Lenore, MPS
Nan received her BFA from The Cooper Union and her MPS in Art Therapy from Pratt Institute. She worked at Briggs High School in Norwalk for fifteen years. After retiring, she missed working with kids in a creative and productive environment and began the rewarding experience of teaching at the Greenwich Education Group Schools. Nan feels that art brings out the best in all of us: independence, discipline, focus, self-esteem, and a great sense of joy. Her training and experience as both an art therapist and an art teacher help her encourage children to grow, communicate, and do their best. She learns so much from her students, who are consistently creative and thoughtful in their work, and she loves having the opportunity to put her ideals to good use. Nan feels fortunate to be part of this supportive community, and when she goes home to see family and friends, knows she has had a productive day.
Morgan Olmstead, MSEd
Special Education Teacher
Morgan joined the Pinnacle team in 2013 as a special education teacher in reading, writing and math. She holds a master's degree in Elementary and Special Education from Hunter College. In addition, she holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology with a minor in Special Education and a specialization in Developmental Disabilities & Human Services from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Morgan is certified to teach in Connecticut and holds dual certifications in New York for Students with Disabilities and Childhood Education. As a young teacher, Morgan had an invaluable and life-changing experience interning at The May Center for Children with Autism and Developmental Disabilities in West Springfield, Massachusetts, where she provided intensive 1:1 ABA instruction to students on the spectrum. She also worked as a substitute teacher and a 1:1 aide in a 3rd grade inclusion classroom at Carrie E. Tompkins Elementary School, where she helped create and implement behavior plans and instruction for students with special needs. Most recently, Morgan worked in a 2nd grade classroom as a teaching assistant at Promise Academy II in Harlem. During her down time, Morgan enjoys traveling, spending time with her friends and family, and playing with her puppy, Kenzie.
Marc Papini, MSEd
Marc has a BS in Human Services with a minor in Adolescent Behavior from Southern Vermont College. He attended Lehman College and received an MSEd as well as professional certification in Special Education and General Education. Marc is currently engaged in a course of study in applied behavior analysis at Mercy College, pursuing a path to board certification. He is trained to assess and adapt to various learning styles and to maximize student motivation. His skills include classroom management, cooperative learning, creating individualized educational plans, incorporating technology into teaching, and integrating the principles of applied behavior analysis in the classroom. He also effectively applies a multisensory approach to learning by using various stimuli and manipulatives. Marc strongly believes that learning should be viewed as fun, rather than as a chore. He understands the challenges that learners face, and he strives to help them do their best academically. Marc is married to Elisa and is the proud parent of two wonderful children, Eliana and Jason.
Alexandra Radano-Formisano, MA
Alexandra joined the Pinnacle faculty in 2015. She graduated from Sacred Heart University with a BA in Psychology and an MA in Elementary Education and has earned teaching certifications in New York and Connecticut. Her decision to become a special education teacher was inspired by her experience working with individuals on the autism spectrum. She has been an educator in private and public schools in Westchester and Fairfield Counties, where she worked collaboratively to implement research-based teaching, learning, and behavior modification strategies to help individuals with various disabilities overcome their learning challenges. In her free time, Alexandra enjoys participating in athletics and plays for the Westchester Women’s Soccer League.
Erin Steimle, BA, MAT
Head of Math Department, Special Education Teacher, Math Teacher
Erin is a special education teacher who teaches lower school math, geometry, algebra II, and a high school writing and literature class. She is certified in Connecticut in Elementary Education K–6, Special Education K–12, and Math 7–12. Prior to working at Pinnacle, Erin taught at Eagle Hill in Greenwich and in the Trumbull Public Schools. Erin also teaches special needs swim lessons at the Greenwich YMCA.
Behavioral Support Staff
Alexandra Sherburne, MEd, BCBA
Alexandra is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and completed the Applied Behavior Analysis program with Penn State. Alexandra also completed a Masters Degree in Education and holds a Colorado State Teaching License in Special Education, Elementary Education, and Social Studies. She received a Bachelors Degree in Sociology from the University of Colorado Denver. Alexandra holds PMT and CPI certifications and also was awarded The Craemer Shae Professional Scholarship in 2015. Alexandra has worked with diverse populations in multiple settings. In Connecticut, before joining the Greenwich Education Group, Alexandra worked in Westport Public Schools and Connec-to-Talk in Wilton. In her free time, Alexandra enjoys running, yoga, traveling and great food.
Angelique Grathwohl, MPS
Angelique is an experienced behavior support technician with a master's degree in Art Therapy. Her previous experiences include working at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, providing individual ABA to children with high risk behaviors. At Four Winds Hospital, Angelique worked with adolescents admitted to inpatient psychiatric care. It was there that she utilized cognitive behavioral therapy and art therapy interventions to manage high rates of self-injurious behaviors and suicidal ideation. Rockland Psychiatric Center provided an opportunity for Angelique to explore art therapy modalities working with adults who had been admitted to long-term outpatient psychiatric care. Angelique attended The School of Visual Arts, where she received a Masters in Professional Studies in Art Therapy. Her undergraduate studies took place at Cedar Crest College, where she received her Bachelors of Arts in art therapy. Angelique lives in Yonkers, NY with her husband. They are currently in the process of adopting a puppy with hopes of training it to be a therapy dog. Angelique’s free time is spent traveling with her husband, reading, and making art.
Adriana Pensiero, BA
Adriana is a seasoned behavior support technician. Prior to joining the Pinnacle team, she worked as a 1:1 aide in a special education school in Norwalk for two years, served as a tutor for children who struggled with reading and math in the Stamford public schools, and held a leadership role at the Boys & Girls Club of Stamford.
The Pinnacle School does not discriminate in any employment practice, education program, or educational activity on the basis of race, color, religious creed, sex, age, national origin, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability (including but not limited to intellectual disability, past or present history of mental disorder, physical disability or learning disability), genetic information, or any other basis prohibited by CT state and or federal nondiscrimination laws. The Pinnacle School is committed to a policy of equal opportunity/affirmative action for all qualified persons and equal access to Boy Scouts of America and other designated youth groups. Inquiries should be directed to GEG’s Title IX coordinator, Robyn Whittingham, COO, 44 Commerce Road, Stamford CT 06902, 203-661-1609, email@example.com.