The Pinnacle School’s faculty and staff is comprised of highly regarded professionals with extensive experience in educational leadership, special education, behavior management, counseling, speech and language, 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.


 
 

Leadership Team


Alisa Dror, PhD, BCBA
Head of School

Dr. Alisa Dror 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, she collaborates daily with her leadership team to ensure program individualization and customization for each student. 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 Pinnacle, 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. Alisa has been with The Pinnacle School since the very beginning in 2011. 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. Charlie joined Pinnacle in 2017. 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.

 

Stephanie Biebel, MPS
Academic Division Leader, Reading Specialist

Stephanie holds an MPS in Special Education from Manhattanville College and a Reading Specialist certification from Sacred Heart University. She has been working as a special education teacher for eight years and is currently pursuing certification for literacy consulting. Stephanie joined the Pinnacle staff in 2015 as an ELA teacher and transitioned into the role of Academic Division Leader in 2018. With a passion for learning and staying up to date with the most currently research, Stephanie is a longstanding member of both the International Literacy Association (ILA) and the Learning Disabilities Association (LDA). 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, eating donuts and playing with her chocolate lab, Taylor.

Trish Broadbent, PsyD
Lower & Middle School Division Leader, School Psychologist, NCSP

As School Psychologist, Dr. Trish Broadbent 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 joined Pinnacle in 2012 and is currently a member of the Pinnacle Leadership Team. Trish enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, knitting, and being a lifelong learner.


Keara Conway, PsyD
Upper School Division Leader, 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. Keara has worked at The Pinnacle School since 2013. She conducts neuropsychological, academic, and personality assessments,  and provides individual and group therapy for children and adolescents struggling with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and other psychological distress. Keara has also worked extensively with students and parents from The Spire School and Collaborative Center for Learning and Development. 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.

 

Joanne Sabato, MS, CCC-SLP
Social Cognition and Speech and Language Division Leader, Speech & Language Pathologist

Joanne 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. Joanne has worked at The Pinnacle School since its founding.


Administrative Staff

 

Lori Hyl
Administrative Manager
 

For nearly 22 years Lori worked as an administrative assistant for the Brookfield Public Schools, Brookfield Middle School and Brookfield Special Services. In her free time, Lori enjoys music, concerts and spending time with my family, especially her granddaughter!

 

Josh Warner, BA
Facilities Manager

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

Behavioral Services

Kaitlan Gannon, MS
Senior Behaviorist

Kaitlan holds a masters in applied behavior analysis with a certification in Autism. She has 8 years experience working in different school districts in CT providing behavior consultation, as well as, providing in home training for parents and their children by developing in home ABA programming. 

Brittney O'Rourke, MS
Senior Behaviorist

Brittney holds masters degree in clinical counseling as well as a masters in applied behavioral analysis. She has 9 years of experience providing school consultation to various school districts across Connecticut. Brittney also has experience providing parent training, creating in-home and school ABA programming, and training school staff on behavior intervention plans and strategies.

 

Philip DiNoto, BS
Behavior Specialist

Philip received his degree in behavioral support from Eastern CT State University with a concentration in child psychology and business. Philip is PMT trained and previously worked for Cooperative Educational Services (CES), Wilton Public Schools, and Windham High School. In his free time, Philip enjoys sports and playing music.

 

Kate Donohoe, BA
Behavior Specialist

Kate is a behavior support technician with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Prior to joining Pinnacle, she completed a clinical practicum program at Pace University's Speech and Hearing Center where she worked with diverse populations. Kate plans to become a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst. In her free time, Kate enjoys making art, learning science, hiking, and discovering new music.

 

Donna Lopez, MEd
Behavior Specialist

Donna holds a Masters Degree in Elementary Education from University of Bridgeport. Her undergraduate degree is from UCONN, where she majored in General Studies and has a minor in Human Development. Donna also has an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts from NYC Technical College. Prior to working at Pinnacle, Donna worked in a special education school where she taught cooking classes and had a diversified position. In her free time, she enjoys spending her free time with her children and friends.

 

Adriana Pensiero, BA
Behavior Specialist

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.

 

Paul Smith, BA
Behavior Specialist

Paul is a behavior support technician with a Bachelor of Arts in Administration. For the past 10 years, he worked for various schools as a case manager and a family advocate working with students with special needs. Paul plans to continue his education and obtain a masters degree in behavioral studies. In his free time, Paul enjoys spending time with his family, performing with his band and cutting hair.


Occupational Therapy

Kerry Dolan, MSEd, COTA/L
Occupational Therapy Assistant

Kerry has an Associates Degree in Applied Science in Occupational Therapy from Maria College, a Bachelor of Science from Emerson College and a Masters of Science in Education from Bank Street College. Kerry started her career teaching English language learners abroad. She lived in the Czech Republic for four years teaching English to children and adults before deciding to pursue a master's degree in education. After completing her Master's, she worked as a museum education professional in the New York City area for 15 years. Her past positions included Director of Education for a historic site in Manhattan, Museum Educator at the Museum of the City of New York, and most recently, Museum Educator at the New York Botanical Garden where she coordinated and taught plant science workshops and tours for children in grades K-8. Throughout her career, she has been dedicated to tailoring programs and improving access for children and adolescents with special needs. She created touch/tactile tours for museum visitors with vision impairments and designed sensory garden tours for children with sensory processing dysfunction. In 2014, Kerry decided to return to school to pursue a degree in OT, and graduated from Maria College in May 2017. She completed her supervised clinical fieldwork in pediatric OT at The Pinnacle School and at Sensational Achievements, LLC in Stamford, CT in spring of 2017. She is thrilled to be back at Pinnacle School! In her free time, Kerry enjoys hiking, taking long walks, traveling, cooking and playing music (saxophone and clarinet). She lives in Westchester with her husband, 2 wonderful kids and 3 cats.


Counselors & Psychologists


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. 

 

Trish Broadbent, PsyD  (Leadership Team)
Lower & Middle School Division Leader, School Psychologist, NCSP

Dr. Trish Broadbent 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 joined Pinnacle in 2012 and is currently a member of the Pinnacle Leadership Team. Trish enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, knitting, and being a lifelong learner.


Keara Conway, PsyD (Leadership Team)
Upper School Division Leader, 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. Keara has worked at The Pinnacle School since 2013. She conducts neuropsychological, academic, and personality assessments,  and provides individual and group therapy for children and adolescents struggling with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and other psychological distress. Keara has also worked extensively with students and parents from The Spire School and Collaborative Center for Learning and Development. 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.

 

Hillary Rubin, MS
School Psychologist
hrubin@pinnacle-ct.org

Hillary joined The Pinnacle School 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 counseling, as well as assessing student’s cognitive and academic capabilities and functioning. Hillary was thrilled to return to Pinnacle as a school psychologist to focus on mental health.  She also had a critical role in developing and implementing the school’s Social Cognition program. Hillary is proud of and passionate for the community Pinnacle has become. In her leisure time, Hillary enjoys cooking, traveling to visit friends near and far, and being with her family.


Speech & Language Pathologists

Sanaa Keith B.App. Sc, CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

Sanaa received her Bachelor of Applied Science in Speech Pathology from University of Sydney, Australia. Prior to joining the Pinnacle faculty, Sanaa worked as an SLP in Sydney, Australia and Bridgeport, CT. She has experience in working with students from two to eighteen years of age in private practice as well as in schools. Sanaa is an ASHA certified Speech Language Pathologist who holds additional certifications in ABA, TEACHH and PROMPT.  She lives in NYC with her husband and cat named Zazu. Sanaa enjoys travelling, cooking, reading and swimming.

Sarah Leahey, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist

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.

 

Joanne Sabato, MS, CCC-SLP (Leadership Team)
Social Cognition and Speech and Language Division Leader, Speech & Language Pathologist

Joanne 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. Joanne has worked at The Pinnacle School since its founding.

 

Jenna Wylie, MS, CCC-SLP, TSSLD
Speech-Language Pathologist

Jenna joined The Pinnacle School in the summer of 2016 as a speech-language pathologist.  She earned her B.A. in Communication Disorders & Sciences, with honors, and a minor in Psychology in 2013 from SUNY Plattsburgh.  In 2016, Jenna graduated from Mercy College with her M.S. 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.  She is a licensed through ASHA in both Connecticut and New York. Jenna is a certified provider for CAPDOTS (Central Auditory Processing Disorders Online Therapy System), an online dichotic listening training program, as well as "Fast ForWord," a language and reading intervention program. She is also involved in the facilitation and implementation of the Social Cognition program at Pinnacle.  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, NY, 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.


Teachers

Janet Andrews, MPS
Special Education Teacher

Janet is a special education teacher who recently returned to The Pinnacle School 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. Previously, Janet taught for five years at various Greenwich Education Group schools. She 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. He has a B.A. in Special Education from Western Governors University and is currently finishing up a masters degree in mathematics education for grades 5 through 12. 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").

 

Marguerite Cattan, BS, MA
Spanish Language & Culture Teacher

Marguerite holds a BS in Business Administration and a MA in Spanish Literature. She is a lecturer at Manhattanville College and part-time teacher at Pinnacle. She has lived in several countries across three continents, and taught Spanish language and culture at all grade levels. She has co-authored a Spanish Textbook and Workbook, and she has several publications in academic journals. Research topic: 16th Century Spanish American Colonial Literature.

 

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.

 

Lesley Craigie, M.Mus
Music Teacher

Lesley Craigie holds degrees from The Royal College of Music, London, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. As well as teaching at Pinnacle, Lesley serves as a voice teacher on the faculty of the Amadeus Conservatory of Music and Music Academy International – Europe’s largest Young Artist summer program for musicians in Italy. Born and brought up in Scotland, Lesley is also a trained opera singer and has performed extensively in Europe and the USA including venues such as the Festival Theater, Edinburgh, The Royal Albert Hall, Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, and most recently at Capitol Hill, Washington DC. In October she will perform a recital at Trinity Church, Wall Street. In her spare time, Lesley and her husband enjoy hiking, running half marathons and traveling.

 

Greg Frierson, MBA
Technology Teacher

Greg holds an MBA in Finance from Wharton and a BS in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). Prior to beginning a 2nd career as a STEM teacher, Greg had over 25 years experience at IBM and GE leading information technology and data analytics initiatives. He also held leadership positions, including President, in the Boys and Girls Club of Redding Easton. As a teacher, his focus is fun, engaging instruction in robotics and computer programming for students, grades 5-12, individually tailored to each student's interests and abilities. He has seen first hand how these activities teach 21st-century skills including coding, engineering and the scientific method in a fun and engaging way. Because these activities explore so many learning pathways it’s amazing to watch students’ passions grow in subjects that they never knew they would love. In his free time, Greg enjoys golf, tennis and boating.

 

Joanne Gallie, MA
English and Language Arts Teacher

Joanne received her BA in English Literature from the University of New Hampshire and her MA in Education from Sacred Heart University. Previously, she held long-term ELA substitute positions at The Morgan School in Clinton, Danbury High School and Waterford High School. She also taught two summer school sessions at Norwich Free Academy. In her free time, Joanne enjoys playing with her dog, Belle, and is an avid reader and movie lover.

 

Jesse P. Glaude, MAT, SYD
Special Education Teacher

Jesse received his Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development from the University of Connecticut, his Master of Arts degree from Sacred Heart University and his Sixth Year Diploma from Southern Connecticut State. He is also certified in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention. Jesse is currently earning his Ph.D. in Education with a concentration in Distance Learning from the University of the Rockies. Jesse has been a Special Education Teacher, Science Teacher, and a Computer Science Teacher. He has taught in Connecticut and Nevada. For 6 years, he was the director of the YMCA Camp Sunrise in Norwalk. Over the past 5 years, he has invested many hours into learning how to integrate technology into his teaching through the Google for Education program. He is a Google for Education Certified Educator and Trainer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading science fiction, coding, and hiking, all over Connecticut, Maine, and New Hampshire, with his wife, daughter, and puppy.

 

Angelique Grathwohl, MPS
Art Teacher

Angelique is an art teacher with a master's degree in art therapy. She is also an experienced behavior support technician whose previous experiences include working at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, providing individual ABA to children with high risk behaviors. Angelique's background also includes working in psychiatric hospitals where she utilized cognitive behavioral therapy and explored art therapy modalities with adult and adolescent patients. Angelique attended The School of Visual Arts, where she received a Masters in Professional Studies in art therapy. When she isn't working Angelique spends her time remodeling her home, cooking, traveling, backpacking, hiking, and making art.

 

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 Paltz. 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.

 

Kate Morin, MS Ed
Teacher

Kate Morin received her Bachelor of Science in Education from Boston University and her Masters in Education from the University of Bridgeport. She has been a teacher in private schools for the last 25 years.  Most recently she held the position of Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Elementary students at The Beacon School, where she taught ELA, Science and Math. Kate also taught early elementary classes at Rippowam Cisqua. Kate took the Windward Reading training in 2005 and the Writing training with Judith Hochman and Betsy Duffy in 2009. She has taken courses in Language and Reading with Lydia Soifer, also at Windward, and Orton-Gillingham, PAF and Responsive Classroom training. She has participated in the Teachers College Reading and Writing project. Kate lives in Norwalk with her children Torie and Alistair and 2 rescue dogs, Buffett and JillyBean. In her free time, she loves to read and garden and hang out on the "stoop" with her neighbors.

 

Morgan Olmstead, MSEd
Special Education Teacher

Morgan joined Pinnacle 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
Special Education Teacher

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
Teacher

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.

 

Daniel Shoemaker, BS
Science Teacher

Daniel received his Teaching Certification in Biology and his BS in Cellular and Molecular Biology from Central CT State University. Previously, he worked at Columbia Hospital in the Department of Pulmonary Research and for Mannkind Biopharmaceuticals as a Microbiologist. Daniel was also the Director of Junior Tennis at Hardscrabble Club in Brewster, NY and the Building Substitute at Bethel Middle School in Bethel, CT. In his free time, Daniel is a photographer and artist and enjoys playing and teaching tennis. He also enjoys reading about origins of life and the universe.

 

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.

 

Cezanne Strate, MST
Special Education Teacher

Cezanne is a certified Special Education Teacher who has worked with a broad range of learners.  She has specific experience developing programs for students with developmental delays and students struggling with math.  She also has training and experience using ABA.  Cezanne earned her BA in Psychology from Purchase College, and her MST in Childhood Education and Special Education from Fordham University.  Prior to joining Pinnacle, Cezanne worked at The Collaborative Center, another branch of Greenwich Education Group, where she worked directly with students and their other tutors to improve academic programming and outcomes. Cezanne took the lead in ensuring instructional collaboration, data collection, and IEP goal tracking for their transitional Day students. She has also worked with students in the Rye City School District, St. Mary’s Catholic School, Pear Tree Point School, and Devereaux CARES.

 

Jane Turner, BA
Building Substitute Teacher

Jane received a BA in Elementary Education (k-8) from the University Of Miami. She joined Pinnacle in 2014 as a substitute teacher. Previously, Jane had been a substitute teacher for many years at the Westchester School for Special Children (WSSC) where she worked with the classroom teachers to help implement instructional and behavioral instruction for special needs students. More recently, she completed the Lindamood-Bell reading intervention program and has been tutoring students using their method of visualization and verbalization. This year, Jane will be a permanent staff member at Pinnacle, working as the building substitute teacher. In her spare time, she enjoys golf, tennis, and spending quality time with her family.

 

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, Kate Morrissey, Human Relations, 44 Commerce Road, Stamford CT 06902, 203-661-1609.