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Our Team


Our Leadership Team


Erin Johnson


"...every child can be successful when given the right tools and support..."

Erin believes that every child can be successful when given the right tools and support.

She knew from a young age that she wanted to be a teacher. Her experiences helping her brother with Williams Syndrome have given her a well-rounded perspective with regards to enriching the lives of individuals with disabilities. Watching him struggle throughout his school career solidified her decision to become an educator.

Erin graduated from Elmhurst College in Illinois with her Bachelor's Degree in Special Education. While earning her degree, she worked as a 1:1 aide in a private special education high school. Upon graduation, Erin became the Life Skills Teacher at that same school. From there, she went on to teach pre-k and then elementary-aged children as a self-contained classroom teacher and at the resource level.

Recently, Erin and her family relocated to Florida. In their spare time, they enjoy swimming in their pool, going to the beach, and exploring their new state. Her eight-year-old son is attending virtual school, and he loves it! Erin is looking forward to tutoring online and helping her students learn and grow in a way that focuses on their strengths and interests.

Melissa Barto


"...every child has the ability to learn and become a lifelong learner..."

Teaching is understanding that every child is unique. Through specially designed instruction and differentiated instruction, Melissa believes every child has the ability to learn and become a lifelong learner.

As an educator, she is dedicated to enabling each child to critically examine the world around them. She strives to provide learning experiences that allow students to make personal connections, remain engaged, and celebrate their individual skills, talents, and abilities.

Melissa has been in the field of education for over 20 years. She holds a degree in Special Education K-12 from Millersville University in Pennsylvania. Through the years, she has taught all ages from preschool to adults. She is a certified Wilson Reading instructor but loves teaching math as well. Melissa has extensive experience in online education and strongly believes in the effectiveness of online education.

Melissa has been married to her husband, John, for 19 years. She has three children- Morgan (17), Kyler (14), and Reese (12). She loves scrapbooking, travel, and is a competitive cheerleading coach.

Amanda Wagoner, MAT


"...all students can learn regardless of ability..."

Amanda Wagoner is a compassionate, caring, and hardworking educator who received her Master of Arts in Teaching: Special Education: K-12: General and Adaptive Curriculum from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

Amanda has a vast knowledge of the Special Education world ranging from early childhood, elementary, middle, and high school. Amanda has a strong background in assistive technology and working with students in all disability categories. Amanda’s personal journey through the world of Special Education has made her the educator she is today.

Amanda believes all students can learn regardless of ability. She believes each student learns at his/her own pace, and rapport is established when a nurturing positive environment is present. Amanda knows each student has strengths and weaknesses and learning takes place when focusing and building on their individual strengths.

In her years as a Special Education teacher, Amanda has utilized technology to increase students’ success. Amanda’s past and current experience teaching online has opened a world of opportunity for the students she teaches. Amanda’s love for and positive outlook about technology, has enabled her to make online learning fun and exciting for each and every student she teaches.

Amanda is excited to be part of the Special Ed Resource Team who share the same common values and ideas that she holds near and dear to her heart! She is thrilled to be teaching your child.

Sarah Franklin


"...wants to enable students to not only be successful but enjoy the process of reading..."

Sarah Franklin specializes in building relationships with students to help increase motivation. She comes from a family of special education teachers and works hard to find out what makes each student unique and designs lessons to meet each need. She loves reading and wants to enable students to not only be successful but enjoy the process of reading. As a child, Sarah struggled with math, which makes her excellent at relating to student struggles and having the patience to work through every strategy to find the one that clicks.

Sarah earned her Masters of Arts in Teaching: Exceptional Student Education at the University of South Florida St Petersburg and has taught at-risk students and students with special needs for the past ten years in Florida. She has micro-credentials for behavior intervention strategies, teacher mentoring, English as a Second Language, and Gifted education.

She specializes in meeting each student at their instructional level and teaching them how to feel success with content.

Rebecca Alsip


"...all students are capable of success, but the path for each student is different..."

Rebecca believes that all students are capable of success, but the path for each student is different.

Special Education Resource allows students to discover their potential and how they learn best through individualized instruction.

Growing up in a family of teachers, Rebecca knew early in life she wanted to work with special needs students. She has a bachelors in psychology with an emphasis in child and adolescent development and a masters in teaching special education. She is currently pursuing a second masters as a literacy specialist. She loves finding ways to incorporate student’s interests in reading and math content. She feels that engagement in content impacts retention. Because of this, Rebecca prides herself on getting to know her students on a personal level; creating lasting connections with each one.

Rebecca’s teaching philosophy is that each student is unique and our approach to teaching should be tailored to their individual learning needs. Great teachers can help break the barriers that prevent a student from learning. When this happens, students become confident in their education and are excited to learn!

The quote from Walt Disney, "if you can dream it, you can do it" keeps Rebecca continually aspiring to do more. Her love of teaching extends to her spare time where she teaches gymnastics at her local parks and recreation. She also enjoys being outdoors and working in her garden.

Karen Hoelker


"...all learning should be both positive and fun..."

Karen Hoelker believes that all learning should be both positive and fun! Karen believes that special education should include not just the teacher and student, but the family as well for true success. She has a passion for finding the key to unlock every child’s learning style to help them grow and flourish.

Karen has a BA in Psychology from St. Mary’s University and then obtained her Sped Certification K-12. She is a highly motivated and energetic person who loves working with children of all ages. Karen has been in education for over 10 years and worked with a wide variety of children with special needs.

Karen loves children, animals, her two awesome sons and family, and reading! Her motto is “Create your own Sunshine!”

Whitney Small


"...all children can succeed when taught in a way that meets their learning styles..."

Whitney Miles-Small is described as a caring, charismatic educator who has dedicated her professional career to increasing academic confidence and achievement in children. She holds an advanced professional certificate in special education grades 1-8 and general elementary education 1-5. She has worked in the field of education for 14 years teaching students in a variety of educational settings and disabilities. The last seven years she mentored and trained special education teachers at the elementary and middle school level.

She firmly believes that all children can succeed when taught in a way that meets their learning styles and engages them.

Andra Fust


"...the impact educators have on others can be contagious..."

The impact educators have on others can be contagious. It wasn’t until I worked under an amazing teacher as a paraprofessional that I found my passion for working with students with very unique needs. Through my experience in working with students with disabilities, I have grown to love being on my student's team to break down obstacles and challenges they face with learning. The ability to make learning fun and engaging through creative ways for each individuals’ needs gives me a great sense of fulfillment.

I graduated from Southwest Minnesota State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Special Education in 2019. While working on my B.S. degree, I was able to teach full time under a special license, which allowed me to immediately apply what I was learning to my classroom and students. I plan to obtain my Master’s degree in Special Education-Developmental Disabilities in May of 2021. For the past six years, I have worked with students with a variety of disabilities, mostly with severe developmental disabilities, to reach their full potential in academic and life skills goals.

As a teacher, I find it essential to be my students' biggest advocate and cheerleader to help them learn and grow--not only academically but physically and mentally as well. The feeling of wanting to do more to work with students who need extra help has to lead me to the opportunity to provide support services in an online format through tutoring.

Colleen Gallagher


"...discovering teaching strategies that assist students in learning..."

Prior to her career in education, Colleen was a lawyer for the NYC Police Department. She felt the law was not truly her passion and, after moving to North Carolina, she decided to pursue a career in education. She has a Master’s Degree in Special Education and an Advanced Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Colleen has taught Special Education kindergarten through 12th grade and various exceptionalities. The diversity of her students has helped Colleen develop as a teacher who differentiates instruction based on the needs of her students. Her favorite aspect of teaching is discovering teaching strategies that assist students in learning.

Colleen strives to encourage lifelong learning in all her students. This is accomplished through a variety of instructional strategies including: considering the learning styles of her students, using technology for instruction and actively engaging her students. She teaches her students responsibility, critical and creative thinking, problem solving and communication skills. She engages in reflective practice and encourages open communication with parents. It is Colleen’s
belief that every child can learn and we must communicate high expectations for all of our students.

Colleen enjoys spending her free time with her husband and two daughters. She loves animals and has a small “petting zoo”, including beagles, cats, a guinea pig, a rabbit, turtles, goats, ducks and chickens. She likes to spend her weekends participating in dog shows with her beagles. Colleen doesn’t look at teaching as a job, but as an experience to help all students reach their maximum potential.

Michelle Gregg


"...Michelle's desire to never stop learning has led to her earning a Bachelor's of Education..."

Michelle Gregg is described as a compassionate educator who believes that all students are capable of learning. She is passionate about trying all avenues to help students learn and reach their full potential. She believes in building relationships and encouraging students to keep trying even when learning is difficult. Michelle's analytic, strategic and "lifelong learning" approach in all areas of her life is something she uses every day to help students feel successful in their learning.

Michelle's desire to never stop learning has led to her earning a Bachelor's of Education in Biology (and quickly realized special education is where her heart resided,) so she went on to earn a Master's Degree in Education in Secondary Administration, an Educational Specialist Degree in Elementary Mathematics, and finally an Educational Doctorate in Educational Leadership. Michelle is going to be published very soon and she is constantly learning new ways to encourage students to continue their learning in the classroom. She believes this approach has greatly impacted the students she's worked with who are particularly apathetic to the learning process.

Michelle taught for 13 years before accepting her current role as process coordinator where she works with educators regarding compliance of special education. Michelle looks forward to continuing to build strong relationships through tutoring individual students in this one on one setting that Special Education Resource provides.


Special Education Experts


Taylor Fulcher


"...all students are capable of learning and making growth..."

Taylor Fulcher is described as a kind, compassionate, and loving educator. She is passionate about reaching her students in any way possible. Taylor believes that all students are capable of learning and making growth. She can be described as “an out of the box thinker, flexible, and someone who truly cares about her students”. She believes what George Evans has to say about students “Every student can learn, but not in the same day or same way.” She is a huge reader and enjoys children book authors such as Beatrix Potter, Roald Dahl, Drew Daywalt, and Dr. Seuss.

She has an Undergraduate Degree in Early Childhood and Development from Liberty University with a minor in Psychology and a Masters in Special Education K-12 General Curriculum. Although she has only been an educator for a few years, she has many different experiences working with children who have Special Needs. She has been a huge supporter and active participant with The Special Olympics. She is currently the Lead SPED Teacher at her elementary school, an active member on the Virginia Tiered Support System, and she is also on the Assistive Technology Team for her School System.

Through engagement, a strong relationship, and fun skill based lessons, Students can be successful and enjoy learning new things.

Erin Frye


"...success looks different for each individual child..."

Erin Frye is someone who believes whole-heartedly in the success of each student. She understands that success looks different for each individual child. Erin is committed to differentiating instruction to serve every individual and unique need. One of Erin’s inspiring mottos is “Learning through laughter,” which encourages academic growth in a positive and fun environment.

Erin graduated from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC with her Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education: General Curriculum. Erin has worked with middle and high school students for the past four years. Even though Erin has only been in the education field for a few years, she has worked with a plethora of disabilities. It is through these experiences that she has embraced a mindset of differentiating instruction to best fit individual needs.

Erin is excited to be on a journey of positive change with the Team and strives to encourage, uplift, and inspire success.

Michelle Mayes, MSED


"...every child is equally entitled to a quality education..."

Michelle earned a Masterʼs degree in Inclusive Education at Binghamton University in New York State. In 2009, she began working as a special education teacher at The Institute for Child Development, specializing in providing ABA therapy for students, ages 6 thru 11, with ASD. During her years of teaching, Michelle has demonstrated a commitment to the families she serves, an instinct for perceiving and appreciating the unique qualities and characteristics of her students, and above all, a belief that every child is equally entitled to a quality education.

Michelleʼs enthusiasm and love for learning are infectious! Michelle takes pride in developing engaging and entertaining ways to meet her studentsʼ individual needs; every endeavor is met with the same enthusiasm and every student is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. Michelle is a willing collaborator. Some of her best ideas have been born through a combination of team meetings, talking with parents, consultations with specialists and good old fashioned google searches! A quote that she lives by daily is, “Leave your ego at the door.”

Michelle has embraced the opportunity to reach her students in a new way. Becoming an online tutor has opened up new doors for her continued growth as an educator. She is grateful for every planned and incidental teachable moment in her life, especially those that have originated from the smallest souls with the biggest hearts.

Allison Sutton


"...acknowledging that success looks different for each person..."

Allison has a passion for giving each student the tools they need to be successful and acknowledging that success looks different for each person.

For Allison, the most critical components of education are to increase independence, communication, and collaboration for all stakeholders for each student. Allison desires a team-minded approach for collaboration and communication.

Allison’s love of special education started in high school through volunteer experiences and has been unwavering. She graduated with a Bachelors in Elementary and Special Education in 2013. She went on to earn a Master’s in Low Incidence Special Education in 2018 from Wichita State University. Through teaching, Allison has taught students in grades kindergarten through 8th grade.

Christina Henderson


"...every child can learn in some capacity..."

Christina Henderson has been passionately teaching in the Special Education field for the last twenty-four years.

She believes that every child can learn in some capacity and it is the job of an educator to find the magic to make it possible. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and certifications in Special Education k-12, LD and handicapped, Transition to Work and Regular Education 1-8. Christina spent two summers working at the Rich Center for Autism which was located at Youngstown State University. Christina earned her Masters of Educational Administration with a Supervisor certification and is currently pursuing her EDD in Educational Leadership.

Christina has taught grades Kindergarten up through adult learners. Christina is very passionate about helping students work on the transition part of their IEP to help develop a plan for their future. She sits on a county committee in her state to help individuals with disabilities be successful in the community once they leave the school environment. Christina believes that communication between the student, teacher, and parent is a major key to ensuring the success of the student.

Christina has been married twenty-three years and has twelve-year-old twins. Christina’s family is very involved in sports all year round. Christina has coached track and volleyball and now follows her own children's sports careers on the courts and fields.

Pam Hague


"...all students can learn when provided the appropriate supports..."

Pam Hague is described as patient, empathetic, and a natural teacher. While working as a classroom assistant, Pam was inspired to become a special education teacher after seeing positive results in students following the implementation of special education instructional strategies.

Pam believes that all students can learn when provided the appropriate supports. Dedicated to lifelong learning, her love of learning motivates and inspires her students to learn and grow.

She has a Bachelor of Arts in Management from Malone University and then obtained an Intervention Specialist Mild/Moderate K-12 license through Notre Dame College. Five years co-teaching Integrated Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, and Science for grades 6-12, plus five summers tutoring at an Extended School Year program for grades K-12, have given her experience in working with a wide variety of students with special needs.

Pam is dedicated to getting to know her students and using that knowledge to create meaningful and motivating lessons that are unique to each child.

Julie Kuhn


"...helping children reach their full potential and not focus on their labels..."

Julie Kuhn believes in helping children reach their full potential and not focus on their labels. In her eyes, all children can learn! She believes in the importance of a strong relationship to know how a child learns best and at what pace.

She loves to lead children in discovering their love of learning. She has taught in both a self-contained and resource setting within grades k-4. Her first teaching job was in a Montessori school and, though she wasn’t officially trained, she loves to incorporate some of their methods when working with children.

She has her Bachelor’s degree in Special Education, Mild Interventions for grades k-12, and minored in Organ Sacred Music from Ball State University in Indiana. She loves to play the piano, read books, and go to the zoo with her three-year-old son, Landon.

Samantha Williams


"...before a child will care to learn, we should learn to care..."

Samantha Williams, better known as Sam, began her “superhero” journey to help all children once she graduated from Brewton-Parker College in Georgia with a degree in Psychology. As a Child and Adolescent Counselor, she enjoyed the interaction with children but after some time wanted to do more and teaching was her calling.

So back to school she went to pursue a degree in Education. Sam received a degree in Interrelated Special Education, entered the classroom in 2000, and has never looked back. She is certified to teach in all subject areas and through the years has taught 6th grade through 12th along with Adult Education. She currently teaches in the Middle School setting as an inclusion/co-teacher in math and science classes. She has taught all subjects but thinks…. let’s change that to KNOWS math is the greatest!

Sam’s teaching style is driven by two statements:
1. Before a child will care to learn, we should learn to care.
2. If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.
Along with teaching experience, Sam also brings 26 years of parenting to the table. Raising four children (two are adults now) and adding a grandson to the mix 4 years ago has helped with being able to interact with children. Sam is excited to become a part of the Special Education Resource team and looks forward to your child becoming a “superhero” as well!

Ryan Larson


"...making connections with students and families is the key to learning..."

Ryan is described as a nurturing and supportive teacher. Ryan believes that making connections with students and families is the key to learning. Ryan enjoys forming positive relationships with students as well as families and believes in getting to know the whole person.

Ryan has bachelor's degrees in History and Philosophy as well as Master’s degrees in the areas of specific learning disabilities and Emotional and behavioral disorders. Ryan also has an interest in technology as well as counseling. Ryan has years of experience working with students who had a difficult time attending school in a traditional setting. Ryan believes that each student's education should be individualized to meet their specific needs and that each student has a unique learning style.

In his years as a special education teacher, Ryan has helped many students graduate in alternative settings who might not have earned their diploma without individualized support.

Maria Willis


"...guiding students to information so that they can discover knowledge..."

Maria’s goal as an educator is to help students meet their fullest potential by providing a supportive and safe environment. As a leader, she believes in guiding students to information so that they can discover knowledge and answers to their questions. Maria believes each student should be treated as an individual and their particular strengths should be applied in guiding students to work at their own best. Her desire is to provide an environment where students feel safe in sharing ideas in a respectful manner. Teaching provides Maria with an opportunity to be a lifelong learner and continue to grow both as a person and as an educator. It is my aspiration to motivate a passion for learning in my students and to help them discover their own potential as an individual.

Maria has been in the field of education for 15 years, which began in early childhood education later pursued special education. She now holds a BA in Special Education from University of New Mexico as well as an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Multicultural Education from Central New Mexico Community College. Maria currently teaches for her local education school system and has had the pleasure of working with a wide range of students with special needs and continues to learn more about the field of education.

Megan Gallegos


"...every student learns differently and has personal goals..."

Megan has earned her bachelor’s degree in Special Education and Early Childhood Education. She has been working with students with various learning and intellectual disabilities for over 6 years.

Megan’s educational philosophy is that every student learns differently and has personal goals that they want to accomplish. Her goal as an educator is to nurture those different learning styles so that students can be successful. Megan believes that positive relationships with students and their families are crucial to student success. She also has prior experience successfully teaching and tutoring online.

Megan enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and their 2 dogs. In their spare time, they enjoy soaking up the Florida sunshine.

Jodi Crawfis


"... each child has a different learning style and are each gifted in special ways..."

Jodi has earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education, Mild Interventions for grades k-12 from The University of Akron and is a licensed Interventionist in the state of Ohio. She also earned a Masters of Arts in Education from the University of Akron in 2004. At the beginning of her career, Jodi began working as 3rd-5th grade resource room teacher. Over her 10 years in a brick and mortar setting, she has taught a variety of students in the resource room setting as well as team taught in an inclusion setting.

After taking a few years off to be a stay at home mom, Jodi returned to the classroom, but this time in the virtual setting. For the last five years, Jodi has worked as a 4th-6th grade Intervention Specialist for an on-line school and has learned how to take some of the traditional ways of teaching a concept and incorporate them into an on-line environment. Even though she does not get to see or work with her students in a traditional setting, it is important for her to build a relationship with each of her students and to help them enjoy learning on-line. It is Jodi’s belief that each child has a different learning style and are each gifted in special ways. It is when these qualities are discovered and nurtured that a child is able to learn and grow into their own unique person.

Mary Simmons


"...The Best Teacher Educates with Their Hearts, Not Just Their Minds..."

Mary has been teaching Language Arts for 18 years at the same amazing middle school she was lucky enough to attend when she was a student.

She earned a Master's Degree in Special Education from West Virginia University. Being a teacher was a lifelong dream.

Mary’s true passion has always been reaching students at their level, because that’s where true education can begin. Creating relationships with students first, makes reaching and teaching children much easier. Mary absolutely loves being a part of the Aha moments in the journey of education! Her life’s work is best summed up in the motto, "The Best Teacher Educates with Their Hearts, Not Just Their Minds!"

Seth Thomas


"...all children deserve great educators who can reach them on their level..."

Seth Thomas is a compassionate special educator who has been working with folks with disabilities for over 10 years. Seth teaches with joy and laughter on the basis that relationships are key to building investment. He believes that all children deserve great educators who can reach them on their level.

Seth has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Saint Mary's College of California and a Masters of Teaching, Learning, and Leadership in Special Education from Oklahoma State University. He has worked in a variety of settings with infants-adults both with and without disabilities. He has worked as an elementary special education teacher for the last 4 years and previously at a special education middle and high school.

Seth loves to read, especially science fiction, and is passionate about sharing the joy of reading with students. Seth is excited to utilize interactive online learning tools to engage students on an individual basis.

Madison Lund


"...fair is every child gets what the need to succeed..."

Madison Lund is an educator raised by educators. From a young age Madison found her passion in teaching Special Education. After graduating from St. Lawrence University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Madison went on to attain her master’s degree in Moderate Disabilities ages PreK-12th grade from Lesley University.

Her experience in the field has helped her to gain true understanding of what her professors had preached during her grad school days that is that when it comes to educating students fair is not equal, fair is every child gets what the need to succeed!

Madison taught her first four years in Boston, MA and is currently on her second year of teaching in the English Language Arts field at the Middle School level in Charlotte, NC. After Covid-19 impacted the lives of educators, students, and families Madison has truly fallen in love with the potential of remote learning and is excited to join the team at SpecialEducationResource to continue to make strong students even stronger!

Tracy Moore


"...the most important role as an educator is making a positive difference in a child’s life..."

Tracy Moore believes the most important role as an educator is making a positive difference in a child’s life. Making a difference begins with providing students equal opportunities so they perform to their fullest potential.

Tracy has been teaching in the classroom for over twenty years. She has many years of experience as both a general educator and a special educator. For the last eleven years, she has worked for the Pass Christian Public School District as the Assistant
Reading Interventionist and a Special Education Teacher. As a special educator, she co-taught in the general education setting, tutored individual students, and worked in small-group settings in the resource room. She received the State Exemplary Inclusion Program Award from the state of Mississippi. This award honors educators who work to ensure students with disabilities have the opportunity for inclusive education.

She received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of New Orleans. She holds certifications in k-12 Special Education (mild to moderate), 7-12 Social Studies, and k-6 Elementary Education. Tracy has served on multiple
school leadership teams and professional learning committees. She has a true passion for struggling students and wants to help them be successful.

Tracy lives on the Gulf Coast in Pass Christian, Mississippi. She has been married to her husband, Donald, for 30 years. They have two children- Elizabeth (27) and
Jon-Tyler (23). She enjoys boating, watching college sports, and spending time with her family.

Kimberly Kincaid


"...every child can learn and that education can and should be a positive experience..."

Kimberly has a passion for differentiating instruction to fit each student's needs. She has 17 years of experience teaching special education in public schools. She believes every child can learn and that education can and should be a positive experience.

Kimberly is certified in all levels of Special Education as well as Elementary General Ed and holds an English Language Learner supplemental. She has coached and participated in Special Olympics for over 15 years.

She has in-depth experience developing, interpreting, and implementing IEPs. Building bridges for students to access school curriculum is her specialty!

In her spare time, Kim enjoys spending time with her fur babies, reading, and traveling.

"Tell me, and I'll forget; show me, and I may remember; involve me, and I'll understand" (Chinese proverb)

Dina Fly


"...building a positive relationship with students and making the learning fun..."

Dina is originally from Norfolk, Virginia but eventually found her way to Southern Louisiana, where she discovered her passion for education. Dina earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Special Education from the Old Dominion University. Before teaching, she worked as an Applied Behavioral Therapist in the school system, where she witnessed firsthand the joy and dedication teachers give their students and the impact a teacher can have on an individual.
Since moving from her position as an ABA therapist to an educator, she has taught grades PK through 5th in both self-contained and inclusion settings with various students and a variety of subjects.
Dina is very passionate about education and believes it works best when she, the student, and the student's family come together as a team. She understands the importance of building a positive relationship with students and making the learning fun!
Dina loves to incorporate student interests to keep lessons engaging, and wants them to have the same joy for learning as she has for teaching. She designs learning experiences for each student as an individual and builds on their strengths to help them find success and confidence in their education.
Dina is currently busy pursuing her Master’s Degree in Special Education at the University of Holy Cross in Louisiana and taking courses in American Sign Language. When she’s not teaching, she enjoys traveling and exploring the history and culture southern Louisiana offers.

JoAnn Brito-Riel


"...JoAnn tends to have high expectations for her students and feels that each student..."

JoAnn has been teaching Special Education for 20 years with the Los Lunas School District. She has both a Bachelors of Science in Special Education/General Education and a Masters of Arts in Special Education from the University of New Mexico.

Currently, JoAnn is the Community Enhance Learning Teacher, where she works with students at the severe and profound level of Special Education. She believes that her students need to be taught strategies in order to cope with their disabilities. These amazing children need to be taught how to use the resources around them so that they are able to achieve their goals and objectives as stated in their IEPs.

JoAnn tends to have high expectations for her students and feels that each student is able to learn in their own unique way. She hopes that the skills and strategies that these children are taught will assist them in their life’s journey!

If JoAnn finds any spare time, she greatly enjoys partaking in family dinners with her two sons and their wives. Even more exciting is that she is expecting her first grandchild in August! JoAnn is truly grateful that she is able to play such a big role in the education of such incredible children and the success that countless students have had as they make a positive contribution to society.

Dana Palmer


"...If you are not willing to LEARN, no one can help you..."

Dana has a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and a master's degree in Special Education, with an emphasis on Specific Learning Disabilities from Mankato State University, Minnesota. Dana has had the pleasure of teaching students with a wide range of disabilities in the public school setting for the last 30 years. In addition to her full-time teaching position, she has had the opportunity to work with students through various tutoring opportunities. She has tutored both small and large groups and 1:1 in-home and online tutoring.

Dana lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her husband and has three grown children and four granddaughters. Dana enjoys golf, scuba diving, and boating on Minnesota's 10,000 lakes.

Dana's core belief is that in order to ensure that every child she has the opportunity to work with succeeds to the best of their abilities, she needs to continually learn herself and adapt to new teaching methods, styles and ideas. She strives to create a love of lifelong learning in every individual she teaches.

Dana's favorite quote perfectly sums up her philosophy on helping all of her students reach their fullest potential: "If you are not willing to LEARN, no one can help you. However, if you are DETERMINED to learn, no one can stop you!" Dana is looking forward to continuing to help as many students as possible in her role with Special Ed Resource.

Aimee Garza


"...teaching is a tough job, but it is her gift and her purpose..."

Aimee earned her BA in Spanish and her post-BA degree in Elementary Education at The University of Texas at San Antonio. She spent the first half of her career teaching in the Rio Grande Valley. Aimee’s family later moved to Houston where she taught full time for 13 more years. Aimee has been married for 28 years and has 2 grown kids. Her family is her happy place - so much so that she spends a lot of time helping elderly family members and currently resides on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

After retiring in 2020, Aimee quickly missed the joy of working with kids. She missed the moment when a spark of learning lit up a student’s face. She missed the daily high fives and sharing encouraging words. She missed seeing her students grow socially and realize they had become independent thinkers with choices. She also missed hearing sweet stories about pets, and silly stories about bothersome siblings. Overall, she just missed being a teacher!

Aimee knows that teaching is a tough job, but it is her gift and her purpose. Her benefits aren’t riches, but giggles, smiles, hugs, and precious homemade cards. This summer she begins her next chapter as a teacher at SER Academy.

Francesca Ortiz


"...Francesca earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Spanish in 2015..."

Francesca understands that each student learns differently, which means helping each of them will look different. She feels it is so important to make connections with her students and their families to ensure they feel comfortable while working with her. When learning in safe environments, students can achieve all they set their minds to, with just a little bit of assistance.

Francesca earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Spanish in 2015. After changing careers and going back to school, she graduated with her Masters in Teaching Spanish and Special Education from Notre Dame of Maryland University. Since then, she has worked with middle school students in various classroom settings.

Aside from helping students, Francesca loves cooking, eating, and taking long walks with her husband, one-year-old son, and dog!

Leah Bellendir


"...Leah has been a special education teacher for the last 7 years but decided to branch off..."

Leah believes that every student learns at a different pace and in their own unique way. Being able to teach in a one-on-one setting allows for a truly individualized program that is geared towards the specific needs of a learner. She also believes that by setting high expectations and building self-confidence in her students, they can conquer anything they set their minds to. Perseverance and internal motivation are key! “Reach for the moon. If you miss, you will land in the stars”.

Leah has been a special education teacher for the last 7 years but decided to branch off when she saw the benefit of one-on-one instruction. With an immense passion for working with students and a desire to help them achieve their goals, she decided to leave the school system and work as a tutor after 7 years in the classroom.

Leah graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 2014 as a Special Education Teacher for K-21 students. She then went on to graduate with a Master's in Applied Behavior Analysis in 2019, with the ambition of becoming a BCBA.

Leah lives in Colorado with her husband and two dogs. She enjoys hiking, swimming, biking, and curling up with a good book or movie.

Holly Brooks


"...Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow..."

Holly Brooks believes firmly that all students are capable of reaching high levels of success when given the correct supports and accommodations. She knows that each student has innate gifts and preferred methods of learning, and that high levels of success can look different for each child. Holly also believes that education is not limited to the classroom and should be fun and engaging for everyone involved.
Holly earned an Associate of Science in Early Childhood Education from Dalton State College. After that, she received a Bachelor of Science in Christian Education from Lee University. Both her Associate and Bachelor degrees were earned with Honors. Holly rounded out her formal education with a Master of Arts in Teaching, Special Education General Curriculum with a focus on Young Adult Literature from the University of West Georgia. With a more than 15-year history of working with students preschool-12th grade, Holly has worked alongside children and families experiencing a wide variety of disabilities and learning deficits. This broad background equips Holly especially well for helping target specific strategies and tactics for helping students grasp new concepts and increase their own educational goals.
In the words of Plato, “Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.” Holly enjoys celebrating each positive stride ahead for every student and is excited to be part of the forward progress at

Anna Rivera


"...building rapport and having a genuine concern for students are two of the most important aspects of teaching..."

Anna Rivera can be described as a compassionate and understanding teacher who is willing to go the extra mile to help her students. She enjoys helping children overcome challenges and be successful in learning. She tries to create a calm and caring environment where children feel safe taking risks. She pushes her students to grow and reach their goals.

Anna received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education/Special Education and her Master's degree in English from the University of Memphis. She has been a Special Ed teacher since 2008 but has worked with children with special needs far longer than that. She has volunteered with the Special Olympics and was a personal assistant for a child with cerebral palsy before becoming a teacher. Anna has taught grades 5-12 in public education both as an Inclusion teacher and a Resource teacher. She has also worked as both a teacher and principal in a residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. Her teaching experiences have helped her realize that building rapport and having a genuine concern for students are two of the most important aspects of teaching.

Anna enjoys spending time with her husband and son. She also loves reading, traveling, and watching movies. Anna feels like all of the time she has spent with children and teenagers has helped to keep her young. She is looking forward to continuing her education journey as a tutor.

April Lindsey


"...April believes that every student can succeed no matter the obstacles..."

April earned her bachelor’s degree in Multicategorical Special Education from Anderson University. Since then, she has been working with students with various learning, emotional and intellectual disabilities for over five years.

April believes that every student can succeed no matter the obstacles. She believes in forming positive relationships with students and helping them grow not only academically but socially and emotionally as well. She believes that learning should be fun and that students should enjoy their academic journey. Her goal as an educator is to help students grow their confidence in themselves and their abilities.

April enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, musicals, and anything Disney-related. She is extremely excited to have the opportunity to help other students and build connections with a variety of families.

Jamie Krukowski


"...takes pride in finding new activities and ways for students to demonstrate their success..."

Jamie Krukowski is a passionate, driven, and caring educator who believes all students learn differently. That is why Jamie strives to differentiate instruction, lessons, and activities so that all students have the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding and be successful.

Jamie graduated from Lebanon Valley College with her Bachelors in Elementary and Special Education and her Masters in Educational Leadership from Montclair State University. She has been a Special Education teacher for over ten years and has worked at all levels of schooling. Through her career, Jamie has learned many new skills and takes pride in finding new activities and ways for students to demonstrate their success. It is her goal to provide a positive learning experience for all her students and to find different strategies to help each student be successful.

Jamie is very excited to be part of the Special Ed Resource tutoring team. In her spare time, she likes to spend time with family and friends, her dog, working in the garden, reading, and relaxing down the shore.

Lauren Brunner


"...helping children with their different needs while building relationships to earn their trust and dedication..."

Lauren Brunner is a hard-working, dedicated, and passionate educator who believes the most important role is making a positive impact in a child’s life. It is very important to develop a strong relationship with both the student and their family to help them be successful and confident.

Lauren graduated from National Louis University in Wheeling, IL, with her master’s degree in Special Education. Lauren currently works with elementary-aged students at a virtual academy in Wisconsin. Lauren has worked with a variety of disabilities and knows how to support students through a virtual setting. She enjoys using a variety of technology to help students learn while staying engaged in the lesson. Lauren found her passion for teaching when she worked as a Special Education teacher assistant helping her students learn basic skills they would use in their everyday lives. She has always enjoyed helping children with their different needs while building relationships to earn their trust and dedication.

In her spare time, Lauren enjoys spending time outdoors, biking and hiking in Wisconsin, spending time with family and friends, and going to various sporting events. She is a huge Notre Dame and Chicago Bears Fan! Lauren is excited to join the Special Education Resource family and continue building confidence in every student.

Think Differently About Education.

We Believe…





All children are born with the innate ability to reach their OWN excellence.

That a growing group of children don’t fully prosper in overpopulated classrooms.

Through technology and one on one learning, their future path to success can be made clear again.