Ruth Levine Arnold
Ruth Levine Arnold is a certified and licensed speech and language pathologist. She retired from the Brookline schools after sixteen years serving on special education teams evaluating and treating students, developing inclusion classrooms from preschool through grade eight. She designed and coordinated a program for parents, faculty, and students to address expectations for transitioning from K-8 schools to high school. She served as a clinical instructor and supervisor of graduate students in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Emerson College. Ruth has worked as a speech and language pathologist for over thirty years in schools, as an administrator of a Public Health program for children with Oro and Cranio-Facial Anomalies, and in her private practice with parents, children, specialists, and advocates who seek FAPE services. She currently serves on the Clinical Advisory Group through the Asperger Association of New England (AANE). Ruth has extensive knowledge of testing and accommodations for children, young adults, and adults with autism spectrum disorders, Asperger syndrome, Executive Function issues, social understanding, and social pragmatic language and learning differences.
Susan Bruce, Ph.D., is a Professor of Special Education at Boston College. She directs the Masters Degree Program in Severe Disabilities with an optional specialization in deafblindness. She previously coordinated the Masters Degree Program in Visual Impairment at Michigan State University. Susan has more than 25 years experience teaching and consulting in schools and adult settings that serve individuals with severe and multiple disabilities (including deafness, visual impairment, and autism). Susan has experience with student assessment, program evaluation, individualized curriculum development, and program improvement. Susan’s research concentrations are in assessment, communication intervention for prelinguistic learners, and collaborative action research. Susan was certified to teach general education (K-8), and students with intellectual disabilities (mild to severe), and visual impairment/blindness. She was also university prepared in deafblindness. She earned her Ph.D. in special education at Michigan State University.
Gail Simpson Cahill is an experienced public school teacher and administrator who has taught and supervised students and teachers in grades PreK to 12. She has worked as an evaluation team chairperson for special education, an Assistant Director of Special Education for a large urban district, an Assistant Principal, and also served as a Board Member for a foster grandparent program, DCF, and DMH. Dr. Cahill has worked in both suburban and urban school districts. Throughout her tenure in public schools, she has worked with teams of educators and parents to develop varied programs that include those for students diagnosed with ASD, SLD, ED/BD and multiple disabilities. In 1998, she founded Simpson & Associates, a practice which provides educational services for students of all abilities in the areas of reading, written language, study skills, and executive functioning. Her lens of the special education process developed from a school and parent perspective. Currently, Dr. Cahill carries many certifications as a teacher and administrator in Massachusetts to include SEI (Sheltered English Instruction) endorsement, NISL certification (National Institute of School Leaders), and Wilson certification.
Sam Ernst has been working in Western Massachusetts as a special educator for 20 years with students of all ages. For the last 10 years, he has been an administrative coordinator of special education in the Central Berkshire Regional School District, where his primary job function has been to facilitate good communication amongst IEP team members so that consensus IEPs can be written, and to then ensure the implementation of those plans. Prior to his current position, Sam was a special education teacher in a number of schools, spanning the spectrum of placements, from full inclusion settings for students with minimal special needs, to private residential schools for students with profound needs. Sam’s chief areas of expertise lie in diagnosing learning disabilities, designing postsecondary transition plans, and in selecting appropriate accommodations and goals for students of all types of disabilities. Sam holds MA certification for Mathematics (grades 5-9), Elementary (1-6), Special Needs (pre k-9), Moderate Disabilities (5-12), and Special Education Administration. He obtained a B.A. from Wesleyan University, and a M.Ed. in special education from American International College. Sam is the father of three school-aged children.
Margaret Foran-Collins has extensive experience in developing, implementing, managing, and evaluating special education programs for students with severe mental health challenges, aggressive behaviors, and emotional issues, as well as students involved with the Commonwealth’s Juvenile Justice and Correctional systems. In addition, she has expertise in serving students with significant developmental delays and intellectual disabilities, and autism spectrum disorders. Margaret has been an Assistant Superintendent, Principal, and teacher. She has coached teachers in developing good observation skills, and the ability to recognize antecedents to escalating and unsafe behaviors, and to exercise good judgment in providing appropriate interventions to avoid a classroom crisis.
Margaret has been successful working with parents and school administrators in developing appropriate IEP’s for students to assist them in meeting their goals in the least restrictive environment. Margaret has a BA in Social Work and a Masters and Ph.D. in Special Education. She lives in Central Massachusetts and has also supervised programs in Western, Southeast and Northeast Mass.
Barbara Govendo is an Associate Professor of Special Education at Lesley University and is Coordinator for the Brookline-Lesley Collaborative Internship Program. As such, she visits inclusive and special education settings weekly, supervising M.Ed. students. Dr. Govendo has more than 30 years of experience teaching, supervising, designing programs and teaching educators in both general and special education. She has served as a consultant for parents, public school systems and private schools on issues regarding classroom and program placement, reading programs and effective instruction, learning and teaching strategies and adaptations for academic subjects. Certified to teach students with moderate disabilities, Dr. Govendo has extensive knowledge of testing and accommodations for students with Learning Disabilities, Non-verbal Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia and ADHD. She is a skilled observer and interviewer and has a clear understanding of classroom environments, inclusive and differentiated instruction practices, and the collaborative educational process.
Renée Greenfield, Ph.D., is a specialized instructional coach in the Amherst Public Schools. Prior to this work, Greenfield was an Assistant Professor of Special Education at the University of Hartford where she specialized in the areas of language development, learning disabilities, and preparing teachers to educate linguistically diverse students with and without disabilities. As a special educator, Dr. Greenfield taught in substantially separate and inclusion classrooms, working collaboratively with her colleagues. For the last 14 years, she has worked as an independent educational consultant to support students with disabilities, their families, and public school districts. Her work with school districts and families includes supporting elementary and secondary students with specific learning disabilities, attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder, and communication disorders.
Erik von Hahn
Dr. Erik von Hahn is a board-certified Pediatrician and a Board-Certified Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician. In addition to these certifications, he completed a two year fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He has 19 years of experience working with children with diverse developmental and psychiatric conditions. Early in his career, Dr. von Hahn established a special interest in working collaboratively with schools, and in building bridges between the health care system and the educational system. In addition to clinical practice at the Center for Children with Special Needs at the Floating Hospital for Children, Dr. von Hahn consults regularly with Boston area schools. A significant portion of his consultative practice is dedicated to helping families and school teams work together successfully, and to resolve conflicts between families and schools.
Limited availability, please consult SpedEx Administrator
Dr. Alec Peck has worked in special education for several decades, primarily at Boston College. He specializes in students with behavior disorders, ADHD, and ASD and has taught courses on special education for students with behavior disorders for more than 30 years. He has also taught courses on Consultation and Collaboration, and on Working with Families of Students with Special Needs. He has been a faculty member, an administrator, and most recently, the Chair of the Department of Teacher Education, Special Education, and Curriculum & Instruction at Boston College. He has also served as President of the Council for Children with Behavior Disorders, and for 10 years as co-Editor of what is said to be the most widely read journal in special education Teaching Exceptional Children and its online extension Teaching Exceptional Children Plus. He has consulted with many school districts and with many parents, always with an eye on what is best for the child and what constitutes FAPE in the LRE.
Margaret V. Reed
Margaret V. Reed has experienced the special education process as parent, teacher and school administrator in both public schools and collaborative settings. A retired PPS Director, Dr. Reed was granted an Autism Endorsement from the MA Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education Office of Educator Licensure and is currently an associate professor in the graduate department of Fitchburg State University, where she specializes in special education law, collaboration, and instructional research. Her more than 45 years in special education give her extensive experience with IEP Team procedures, compliance and a grounded knowledge of successful student program indicators. One of several Comprehensive Staff Professional Development trainers who consult for the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Dr. Reed works with public, private, and charter school districts as well as human service agencies and parent groups on special education implementation focusing on school program development, parent due-process rights, FAPE, LRE, and IEP construction. She has extensive knowledge of and brings practical experience to assessment and programmatic requirements for students challenged with ASD, SLD, ADD/ADHD, ED/BD, and multiple disabilities.
Part-Time Faculty, Boston College, Lynch School of Education, Teacher Education, Special Education, Curriculum & Instruction.
Don Ricciato was the director for over 30 years at the Boston College Campus School, a private, publicly funded, special education school located at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College. Don has over 35 years of experience in service, training, and research focused on enhancing the lives of individuals with severe disabilities. He emphasizes the importance of ensuring that all students are provided with an opportunity to access the general education curriculum through active and meaningful participation.
Don directed a program providing education, therapy, and healthcare services to children and youth with severe multiple disabilities, and was the co- founder/ administrator of a supported employment program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He is a part-time faculty member at the Lynch School of Education involved in teaching undergraduate students.
Dr. Ricciato is also a current member of the Board of Directors of The May Institute, a national, non-profit organization that provides educational, rehabilitative, and behavioral healthcare services to individuals with autism spectrum disorders, developmental disabilities, brain injury, mental illness, and behavioral health needs.
He has a doctorate in Educational Administration with a focus on the education of students with severe multiple disabilities, a master’s degree in Special Education, and a bachelor’s degree in Education. Dr. Ricciato possesses licensure in Massachusetts as an Administrator of Special Education and Superintendent of Schools. He resides in the Boston metro-west area.
Jerome (Jerry) Schultz, Ph.D. is a clinical neuropsychologist who has for more than 35 years specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of children and adolescents with a variety of learning, behavioral and emotional challenges, including LD, ADHD, NVLD and Asperger Syndrome. A former elementary and middle school special education teacher, Dr. Schultz has been on the special education faculty at Wright State University, Boston College and Lesley University. He has served as the director of several university or hospital-based diagnostic and treatment clinics, and is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School in the Department of Child Psychiatry. He served as Chair of the Professional Advisory Board of the Learning Disability Association of America and serves the Scientific Advisory Board of ADDitude Magazine. Dr. Schultz has written extensively and trained teachers about a variety of topics, including the impact of stress on learning and behavior. His book on this topic that was released by Jossey-Bass Publishers in August, 2011 is called “Nowhere to Hide: Why Kids with ADHD & LD Hate School and What We Can Do About It.” He is an internationally respected speaker and consultant. He no longer does neuropsychological evaluations, but serves as the consulting neuropsychologist for several school districts, and is a content “Expert” at Understood. He provides services to teachers working with students with LD, ADHD, Social/Emotional Disabilities, NVLD and Asperger Syndrome who range in age from kindergarten through high school. For more information and articles reflecting his philosophy visit Jerome’s website. Limited availability, please consult SpedEx Administrator.
Dr. Rhonda Taft-Farrell has an extensive background working with students, professionals and parents. Her professional experience includes direct service, administration and consultation in regular and special education environments in urban and suburban schools. She also served for six years as Head of an independent, approved special education school for adolescents with Learning Disabilities, Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities and Asperger's Syndrome. Early in her career, Dr. Taft-Farrell was an elementary teacher, and school counselor. Her work with teachers, administrators and parents have focused on due process, designing specialized programs and instruction for students across all disabilities with complex learning needs. Dr, Taft-Farrell earned a doctorate in special education and counseling psychology from Boston University. Not available at this time.
Cynthia is a retired elementary school principal from the New Bedford Public School System. Prior to her 8 years as a principal she was a special needs teacher for 18 years. Cynthia has a B.S. in Elementary Education, a M.Ed. in Special Education and a C.A.G.S. in Educational Leadership. In 2014 she began a private educational consultant agency working with families and The Arc of Bristol County as an educational advocate for children. She has completed and holds a certificate from the Federation for Children with Special Needs Parent Consultant Training Program. Cynthia’s specialties include working with social/emotional and ODD behaviors, pre-school special needs populations, ADHD and autism spectrum disorders. She is quite familiar with writing, implementing and working with behavior plans. She also has extensive experience in writing and administrating services for many different IEP’s within the school setting. She has an understanding of common core curricula, differentiated instruction and the classroom environment. Cynthia lives and works throughout the South Coast area.
Diane Trueblood has worked in special education in urban as well as suburban communities for thirty years as a teacher, Team chair, out-of-district coordinator, program director, administrator, and consultant to schools and families. Her particular areas of disability focus are language based disabilities, executive function, Asperger’s Syndrome, sensory integration, and emotional disabilities. Using problem solving skills and creative thinking approaches, Diane has worked in schools with diverse populations from grades K-12 in private schools and public settings, including charter schools. She has a Masters Degree in Special Education and a specific interest in explicit methodology and how it can be used to enhance student learning. She has worked as a program director with students on the Autism Spectrum, students with language based disabilities, and students in inclusion settings with a variety of disabilities. She has extensive experience using evaluative information to understand student learning profiles in order to develop effective IEPs and make programmatic recommendations. Diane also works closely with special educators training them in IEP writing, special education procedures, Team process, and instructional practice. She is currently working with diverse populations in a variety of settings.