The People Who Make The Difference

Pinnacle faculty and staff work tirelessly to support each student to become an enthusiastic learner and an engaged member of the community. We are dedicated to creating a program individualized to meet each child’s academic and social needs.

Our staff is comprised of highly trained professionals with extensive teaching experience in special education, school counseling, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and classroom and behavior management.

Leadership Team

alisa-dror-head-of-school-the-pinnacle-school.gif

Head of School

+ Read Bio

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.

Manos.gif

Director of Education

+ Read Bio

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-academic-division-leader-the-pinnacle-school.gif

Stephanie Biebel, MPS

Lower & Middle School Division Leader, Academic Division Leader, Reading Specialist

keara-conway-upper-school-division-leader-clinical-psychologist-the-pinnacle-school.gif

Upper School Division Leader, Clinical Psychologist

+ Read Bio

Stephanie holds an MPS in Special Education from Manhattanville College. Stephanie has also received certification as both a Reading Specialist and Administrator from Sacred Heart University. She has been working as a special education teacher for nine years. Stephanie joined the Pinnacle staff in 2015 as an ELA teacher and transitioned into the role of Academic Division Leader in 2018. In 2019 Stephanie also became the Lower and Middle School Division leader. With a passion for learning and staying up to date with the most current 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-Gillingham training. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys working out, eating donuts and playing with her chocolate lab, Taylor.

+ Read Bio

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-director-of-admissions-pinnacle-school.gif

Sunan Jones, BA

Director of Admissions

 

+ Read Bio

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.

 
 

Teachers

michelle-aulenti.jpg

Michele Aulenti, MS, MAT

Physical Education Teacher

+ Read Bio

Michele Aulenti grew up in Stamford, Connecticut. She attended Westhill High School where she was a 3-sport athlete. At Southern Connecticut State University, she was a pitcher on the softball team. Michele has coached many sports including softball, soccer, track, swimming, and weight room. She is certified in Physical Education and Sports Pedagogy from Manhattanville College and obtained a Health certification. Michele enjoys teaching from the perspective of building individual skills, then transitioning to small group and large group competition and games. She believes students need to learn the cognitive information of the skills, as well as the kinetic movement. Her greatest accomplishment to date has been finishing Ironman Florida in under 15 hours! Michele enjoys going to the gym with friends, reading books, kitting, and crafts. She looks forward to teaching students many new skills this year and building upon previously learned skills!

kris-bauman-special-education-teacher-the-pinnacle-school.gif

Kris Bauman, ma

Middle & High School Math Teacher

+ Read Bio

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 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 the Brooklyn Bluegrass Collective. 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").

mineko-chiba-japanese-language-culture-teacher-the-pinnacle-school.gif

Mineko Chiba, MA

Japanese Language & Culture Teacher

+ Read Bio

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.

leslie-craig-music-teacher-the-pinnacle-school.gif

Lesley Craigie, MMus

Music Teacher

+ Read Bio

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-technology-teacher-the-pinnacle-school.gif

Greg Frierson, MBA

Technology Teacher

joanne-gallie-english-language-arts-teacher-the-pinnacle-school.gif

Joanne Gallie, MA

English & Language Arts Teacher, Department Head

+ Read Bio

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.

+ Read Bio

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.

IMG_1667.jpg

Juliana Garofalo, MA

Middle & High School Teacher

+ Read Bio

angelique-grathwohl-art-teacher-the-pinnacle-school.gif

Electives Department Head, Art Teacher

+ Read Bio

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.

Screen Shot 2019-09-18 at 1.14.32 PM.png

Keri Keaveney, MA

Teacher

+ Read Bio

Keri received her Bachelors of Arts in English from Rhode Island College and a Masters of Arts in Education from Sacred Heart University. Keri has over fifteen years of teaching experience in grades 5, 6, 7 and 8 in the Fairfield and Greenwich Public School systems as well as grade 5 at Greenwich Catholic School. She enjoys reading, needlepointing, exercising and traveling with her husband and children.

lindsay-krause-the-pinnacle-school-teacher.jpg

Lindsey Kraus, MS Ed

Teacher

+ Read Bio

Lindsey holds a Bachelor's degree in Childhood Education from The College of Saint Rose and a Master's degree in Inclusion Education from The University of New England. She is certified in the state of New York to teach Early Childhood Education, Childhood Education, and Students with Disabilities. Prior to starting at The Pinnacle School, Lindsey taught preschool and pre-kindergarten for 7 years. Last year, she taught preschool in a special education setting and she discovered that special education is where she belonged. Lindsey lives in New York and loves playing and watching soccer. She traveled to France this past summer to watch the USA Women's soccer team win the World Cup!

Cecilia-Madden.jpg

Cecilia Madden, MA

Spanish Teacher

+ Read Bio

Cecilia received her Bachelor of General Studies and English Literature from the University of Connecticut and her Masters in Education from Manhattanville College. A New York State certified teacher, she loves teaching world language, culture, reading and writing. Her experience in education spans 10 years. A New York native of European Spanish decent, she lives in Old Greenwich with her daughter, Melissa, a Sophomore at Bucknell University. In her free time she enjoys running, practicing yoga, painting, sewing, riding her beach cruiser and learning new languages!

kate-morin-teacher-the-pinnacle-school.gif

Kate Morin, MS Ed

Teacher

+ Read Bio

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.

Screen Shot 2019-08-27 at 8.25.30 PM.png

Manju Khatri

Math Teacher

+ Read Bio

lopez.gif

Donna Lopez, MEd

Culinary Arts Teacher

+ Read Bio

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.

IMG_1661.jpg

robert Moore, Med

Teacher

+ Read Bio

Robert has fourteen years of educational experience teaching high school science. In those fourteen years, he has largely been teaching in international schools throughout the world. He has had stints in The Gambia, Taiwan, Mainland China, and Indonesia. During that time abroad, Robert continued to develop himself professionally earning a Masters in Education from the College of New Jersey. He also has worked at many types of schools and with many parents and students. Robert understands the daily challenges students face at school and seeks to act as a teacher and mentor to help students learn difficult science topics but also practical life skills. In his spare time Robert enjoys watching sports, especially soccer, playing video games, and traveling.

IMG_4192.jpg

Kristin Morell, MS

Teacher

+ Read Bio

morgan-olmstead-special-education-teacher-the-pinnacle-school.gif

Morgan Olmstead, MS Ed

English & Language Arts Department Head, Teacher

+ Read Bio

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.

placeholder.gif

Michelle Rexhouse, MS Ed

Math Department Head, Lower & Middle School Teacher

+ Read Bio

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 faculty, 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.

marc-papini-special-education-teacher-the-pinnacle-school.gif

Marc Papini, MS Ed

Teacher, Behavior Support

+ Read Bio

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.

IMG_1665.jpg

Stuart Spitz, MPS

Middle & High School Teacher

+ Read Bio

cezanne-strate-special-education-teacher-the-pinnacle-school.gif

Cezanne Strate, MST

Middle and High School Teacher

erin-steimle-curriculum-leader-math-special-education-teacher-the-pinnacle-school.gif

Erin Steimle, MAT

High School Teacher

+ Read Bio

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.

ashley-treat-pinnacle-school-teacher.jpg

Ashley Treat, MAT, MA

Lower & Middle School Teacher

+ Read Bio

I'll get a picture to you tomorrow, but here's the bio:

Ashley holds an MAT in Social Studies Education from Union Graduate College and an MA in Science Education from Western Governors University. She is currently pursuing the Educational Administration and Supervision Sixth Year Certificate through the University of Bridgeport. Prior to joining The Pinnacle School, Ashley taught at Woodhouse Academy and Maplebrook School. Ashley takes an interdisciplinary approach to teaching, and emphasizes the context of scientific developments and historical events. A Western New York native, Ashley likes to explore Connecticut when she’s not reading, sewing, gardening, or playing with her cats.

+ Read Bio

Erin is entering her 5th year at Pinnacle, and her 11th year of teaching in special education. She earned her BA in Mathematics from Mount Saint Mary College, and her MAT in Reading from Sacred Heart University. Prior to joining Pinnacle, Erin taught for 3 years as a public school elementary resource teacher and for 3 years at Eagle Hill School in Greenwich as a middle school math teacher. She has primarily taught high school math at Pinnacle, giving her a variety of valuable experience from K-12. Sharing her love of math is Erin's passion, no matter the age level of the students. She has found that the majority of her students over the years dislike math, struggle with it or both, so she aims to guide them in strengthening their self-confidence and developing the math skills they will need to apply in the real world. Erin administers diagnostic assessments and has created the Strategic Math curriculum for middle and high school students. She specializes in teaching students who have unique math needs and in developing math skills progressions that break down larger concepts into manageable chunks for students to master. In her spare time, Erin enjoys reading, board games, the Olive Garden, swimming and playing ultimate frisbee. She is kept busy at home with her husband, 2 dogs, 2 birds and their baby girl Brianna.

jane-turner-building-substitute-teacher-the-pinnacle-school.gif

Jane Turner, BA

Building Substitute Teacher

+ Read Bio

Jane received a Bachelor's Degree 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.

john-weaver-pinnacle-school-teacher.JPG

John Weaver, BS

Lower & Middle School Teacher

+ Read Bio

John holds a BS in elementary and early childhood education from the State University of New York at New Paltz and received his teaching certificates from New York. Prior to Pinnacle, he taught at the Eagle Hill School in Greenwich, Connecticut as the permanent substitute where he was responsible for overseeing the classes of students in the absence of the classroom teacher. He also taught at the C2 Learning Center in Greenwich, Connecticut, teaching elementary school students all general subjects, as well as high school English and Language Arts and literature. A self proclaimed nerd, reader and comic book fan, John also loves to relax by playing or being a dungeon master for games of Dungeons and Dragons or being more hands on as a hobbyist blacksmith.

 
 

Related Service Providers

Behavioral Services

kaitlan-gannon-senior-behavorist-the-pinnacle-school.gif

Kaitlan Gannon, MS, BCBA

Senior Behaviorist

+ Read Bio

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.

IMG_9304.JPG

Senior Behaviorist

+ Read Bio

Brittney O’Rourke has a M.S in Clinical Counseling from Post University, a M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis from Western Connecticut State University, and has completed her course work and supervision for her certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Brittney is going on her tenth year working in the field of special education. Prior to joining the Pinnacle faculty, she provided behavioral consultation to various public schools throughout the state of Connecticut and implemented Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy in schools and homes. She joined the Pinnacle staff in 2017 as one of the Senior Behaviorists. Brittney helps develop and implement the behavioral program at Pinnacle through collaboration with the Head of School and other Senior Behaviorist.

dinoto.gif

Behavior Specialist

+ Read Bio

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.

donna-lopez-behavior-specialistthe-pinnacle-school.gif

Behavior Specialist

+ Read Bio

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.

kate-donohoe-behavior-specialistthe-pinnacle-school.gif

Behavior Specialist

+ Read Bio

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 holds the registered behavior technician (RBT) credential and plans to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in the future. In her free time, Kate enjoys making art, researching science, hiking, and discovering new music.

Screen Shot 2019-09-18 at 1.14.32 PM.png

Mariana Lopez, BA

Behavior Specialist

+ Read Bio

Screen Shot 2019-09-18 at 1.14.32 PM.png

Wendy Misle, MS, RBT

Behavior Specialist

+ Read Bio

paul-smith-behavior-specialist-the-pinnacle-school.gif

Behavior Specialist

+ Read Bio

Paul is a behavior support specialist 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 Therapists

kerry-dolan-occupational-therapy-assistant-the-pinnacle-school.gif

Occupational Therapy Assistant

+ Read Bio

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 both in the USA and abroad. After completing her Master's, she worked as a museum education professional in the New York City area for 15 years. Her past positions include Director of Education for a historic site in Manhattan, Museum Educator at the Museum of the City of New York, and Museum Educator at the New York Botanical Garden. Throughout her career, Kerry has been dedicated to tailoring programs and improving access for children and adolescents with learning and developmental differences. This passion led her to pursue a second career in pediatric occupational therapy in 2014, and she completed her degree in 2017. In her free time, Kerry enjoys hiking, music and traveling the globe with her husband and two beautiful children.

kim-stewart-ot-1.jpg

Kim Stewart, MS, OTR/L

Occupational Therapist

+ Read Bio

Kim has been working as a Sensory based occupational therapist for 9 years. She is a compassionate therapist who has worked with children of all ages. Kim graduated Summa Cum Laude from Western New England College in 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Psychology. She graduated from Sacred Heart University in 2010 with a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. Kim has taken courses for higher level training in praxis, integrating reflexes, Integrated listening systems auditory programs, handwriting without tears, and feeding therapy. Kim lives with her husband and two children and enjoys being outdoors, and spending time with her family.

Counselors & Psychologists

Conway.gif

Upper School Division Leader, Clinical Psychologist

+ Read Bio

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.

kathyrn-crosby-pinnacle-school-lcsw.jpg

Kathryn Crosby, MSW, LCSW

Social Worker

+ Read Bio

Kathryn is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 20 years of experience working with children, adolescents, and their families in support of optimal mental health. For the past 10 years, she has worked in independent schools in New York City, including as the Upper School counselor at Sacred Heart and as the director of Freedom Institute/Hallways’ school-based prevention program. Kathryn received her BS degree from Georgetown University and her MSW from NYU. Additionally, she received training at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy and at the Ackerman Institute of Family Therapy. In her leisure time, Kathryn enjoys running,hiking, yoga, playing tennis, and keeping up with her active sons and husband.

nikki-bazie-hayes-college-counselor-the-pinnacle-school.gif

Career and College Counselor, Registrar

IMG_1723.jpg

Ashley sasso, MS, MS Ed, PD, NCSP

School Psychologist

+ Read Bio

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.

+ Read Bio

Ashley is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist and currently holds a dual teaching certification for students with disabilities and elementary education in both New York and Connecticut. Additionally, she earned a Master of Science in Multicultural Education and a Master of Science in Therapeutic Interventions from Fordham University, as well as the Professional Diploman in School Psychology. Ashley has extensive experience providing comprehensive school-based psychological services in both urban and suburban settings, working with a diverse population of students in grades K-12 in Emotional Support Programs, Academic Support Programs, Applied Behavior Analysis Programs, and an Expanded Collaborative Program. Her previous roles also include the pre-school setting, where she served as a special education consultant and early intervention specialist. Ashley strives to proactively address student concerns, overcome obstacles that pose a threat to their success, and foster social and emotional well-being. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, going on culinary adventures, and petting as many dogs as humanly possible.

 

Speech & Language Pathologists

sanaa-keith-speech-language-pathologist-the-pinnacle-school.gif

Sanaa Keith, BS, CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist

+ Read Bio

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.

jenna-wylie-speech-language-pathologist-the-pinnacle-school.gif

Speech-Language Pathologist

+ Read Bio

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.

sarah-leheay-speech-language-pathologist-the-pinnacle-school.gif

Speech-Language Pathologist

+ Read Bio

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 Riverside, CT with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys reading, running, and spending time with family and friends.

 

Administrative Staff

deepthi-gopi.jpg

Deepthi Gopi, BE, MS

IT Administrator

+ Read Bio

lori-hyl-admiistrator-pinnacle-school.gif

Lori Hyl

Administrative Manager

+ Read Bio

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 and grandson.

brenda-grover-pinnacle-school.JPG

Brenda Grover

Special Projects Administrator

+ Read Bio

Brenda has a history as a business development leader in the publishing industry with demonstrated success in sales growth, advertising & marketing, talent management, organizational redirection and development, fostering productivity, business expansion, cost containment and revenue growth strategies while working for publishing giants Gannett, Tribune and Digital First Media at their properties in Connecticut and Westchester, New York. In more recent years, Brenda has had the opportunity to recreate herself as a Legal Assistant in the Family Law arena working for the premiere Family Law attorney in the Greater Danbury area, where clients’ care and the responsibility of putting children first in the process was paramount. Brenda is energetic, creative, a problem-solver who is extremely goal oriented. She is passionate about building and growing relationships. When she is not working out at Boot Camp, she enjoys her two British Shorthair cats (the Girls) and spending time with her partner Bob, family and friends. She lives her life trying to remember to always be humble and kind, and that one act of kindness can start the ripple which can make a difference, one person at a time.

IMG_5344.JPG

Josh Warner, BA

Facilities Manager

+ Read Bio

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.

 

Nurse

novak.gif

JoAnn Novak, RN

School Nurse

+ Read Bio

JoAnn was born and raised in rural South Dakota and moved to CT in 1995 and hasn’t looked back since! She has traveled all over the world and looks forward to doing that again (someday). JoAnn has been a nurse for almost two decades, working at Stamford Hospital in the Newborn ICU, and most recently at a Pediatric office as the Nurse Manager. She looks forward to being the first full-time School Nurse. JoAnn is currently pursuing her Masters in Nurse Education.