The cornerstone of any effective educational program is its staff, and nowhere is that more evident than at REED Academy.

At REED Academy, our instructors play a crucial role in enhancing each child’s fundamental, academic, leisure, and vocational skills, while providing individualized curriculum that caters to their specific needs. Our instructors also lend a personal touch, bringing their dedication and passion to their relationships with their students. This special bond builds a positive relationship and creates a welcoming environment.

We recognize every student with autism learns differently and our instructors acknowledge this by focusing on each child’s individual needs,” said Principal Leah Farinola. “Our instructors and their one-to-one relationships are unrivaled, both in and out of the classroom. I couldn’t be more proud of our staff, our students, and our program in its entirety.”

Highlighting these unique relationships are three remarkable instructors, who have worked tirelessly to ensure the success of their students each and every day.

Chase and Anthony
Chase, 15, started at REED Academy in 2006. Anthony Cabrera, his instructor, and Chase have a longstanding relationship which has helped them to build an important bond throughout the years. With Anthony’s support, Chase has continued to learn how to use assistive technology to express himself and navigate an iPad easily. Chase has mastered a variety of important functional skills and continues to flourish every day. Anthony is especially proud of the progress Chase has made in the last year, and Chase loves all the positive feedback from Anthony. Not only do Chase and Anthony have a strong working relationship, they are also best buds!

Georges and Julia
“Georges has taught me to never underestimate a child’s capabilities — he has so much potential waiting to be uncovered and every day, we do just that,” says Julia DiClemente, Georges’ instructor. Julia has been able to create a structured routine for Georges where he is now succeeding with trying new foods, learning to socialize with friends, and riding a bike. He has also gained a sense of independence, which has given him confidence to try new things. Of all his activities, Georges is especially fond of the pool. He enjoys learning swimming techniques such as floating and treading water. “Every instructor who has worked with Georges has been such a strong support system for him to overcome many difficulties and bring him to where he is today.” Georges’ mother, Luz says, “He had so many behavioral challenges that we were able to eliminate with the knowledge and caring guidance from his instructional aides and classroom consultants. Every teacher he has had thus far has left such a positive impact in his life.” For Julia, Georges’ infectious personality and wonderful sense of humor make working together a joy.

Chris and Tiana
Chris, 20, began his REED journey back in 2003, as the child of one of the founding families. A testament to the strength of their relationship, Tiana Pappas, his instructor, has been able to help Chris overcome challenges in his everyday life like visiting the dentist and getting haircuts. Using REED Academy’s dental chair and barber shop, Tiana set up mock dentist visits and haircuts to help Chris become more comfortable with these hygiene routines. Chris is also excelling in his vocational training where he is creating visitor badges for a nearby hospital and labeling bags for surrounding businesses in the area. “Working as an instructor can be challenging, but seeing Chris feel a sense of pride in his success makes my job all the more worth it,” Tiana said.

Inspiration is all around us. When it comes to education, an instructor’s connection and dedication to his or her student is the catalyst for ensuring success and overcoming  everyday challenges. REED Academy’s instructors are passionate, dedicated and love what they do.

Giving to REED Foundation for Autism supports programs at REED Academy, as well as helping to build our new REED Next adult program. Help us help give the gift of meaningful employment by donating to the REED Foundation for Autism today.