The staff at The Darnell School has significant training and experience in using Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) strategies to increase skills and decrease maladaptive behaviors.
Leading each classroom is a Head Teacher who has attained a master’s degree and is licensed to teach by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
Additional staff members include an LPN, a Speech Therapy Assistant, Board Certified Behavior Analysts and paraprofessional assistants.
They work with students on a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio, providing individualized instruction in a highly structured learning environment.
Consultant staff includes an RN, a Speech and Language Pathologist, an Occupational Therapist, a Physical Therapist, and a Doctoral level Behavior Analyst. In addition to academics, occupational, physical, and speech therapies are seamlessly integrated into the school day through this consultation model.
Jan Bolton, M.Ed., BCBA, LABA
Vice President of Children’s Services
Jan Bolton is a Licensed Special Education Administrator and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Jan holds a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Massachusetts, a certificate in graduate work in Applied Behavior Analysis from the University of North Texas and a B.A. degree from Connecticut College. Jan has worked within the area of disability services for more than 35 years in a range of capacities, and with HMEA for more than 20 years in a variety of positions. Jan has also been an Adjunct Instructor at Becker College and coordinates their student practicum program in Applied Behavior Analysis. A published author, Jan has extensive experience in professional development and has presented seminars, papers, posters, and workshops to school districts, families and at state, national and international conferences on a wide range of topics including Applied Behavior Analysis, Staff Training, Transition Services, Community Inclusion, Civic Participation, Person Centered Planning and Self Determination.
Nicole Heidenheim, M.Ed., M.A., BCBA, LABA
Nicole Heidenheim holds a Master of Education in Special Education from Fitchburg State University, and is licensed in Severe Disabilities. She also earned a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from Framingham State University and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Nicole is currently pursuing an Education Specialist degree in Special Education Administration from Bay Path University. She has several years of experience teaching students with autism and other developmental disabilities.
Kari Dunlop, Ph.D., BCBA, LABA
Kari Dunlop recently completed her doctorate in Applied Behavior Analysis at Endicott College. She completed her dissertation research at the Darnell School, focusing on using technology to teach novel vocational tasks. Kari has a Master’s degree in Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis. She is a licensed teacher, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, and a Licensed Applied Behavior Analyst. Kari has taught ABA courses at both the bachelor’s and master’s level, and enjoys supervising prospective BCBA candidates. Kari has over 18 years of experience teaching students with autism and other developmental disabilities in both public and private school settings, and has presented at several state and international Association for Behavior Analysis conferences.
Kelly O’Leary, M.Ed., BCBA
Kelly O’Leary holds an undergraduate degree in Social Work from Wheelock College and a Master of Education with a concentration in Counseling Psychology from Cambridge College. Kelly is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and is pursuing her Masters in Special Education for severe disabilities. She has over 30 years of experience in various educational settings.
Melinda Pizzi, M.S.Ed., BCBA, LABA
Melinda Pizzi holds an undergraduate degree in Communications from the University of Massachusetts and a Master of Science degree from Simmons College. She completed her BCBA coursework at Endicott College. As a licensed special education teacher and board certified behavior analyst, Melinda brings significant experience in teaching students with autism.
Meghan Coullahan, M.Ed., BCBA
Meghan Coullahan is a licensed special education teacher who holds an undergraduate degree in Special Education from Fitchburg State University. Meghan also holds a Master of Education degree in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis from Cambridge College. Meghan obtained her certification as a behavior analyst in November of 2017.
Amanda Laclair, M.Ed.
Amanda Laclair holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Worcester State University and a Master of Education with a concentration in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis from Endicott College. Amanda finished her BCBA coursework in May of 2018 and will sit for the certification exam in August.
Sarah Burke, B.S.
Sarah Burke holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts. She is completing coursework for her master’s degree in Severe Special Education and her BCBA license at Fitchburg State University and will graduate in December of 2018. She has six years of experience working with clients both in school and home settings.
Odemaris Garcia, M.Ed., BCBA, LABA
Odemaris Garcia holds an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of Puerto Rico and a Master degree in Mathematics from Fitchburg State University. She is also a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Odemaris has 11 years of experience teaching mathematics and 14 years of experience working with and teaching children with autism and developmental disabilities.
Katherine Vinson, M.S.
Katie Vinson holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis from Becker College and a Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis with a concentration in Autism from Ball State University. She is currently pursuing certification as a BCBA. Katie has been with the Darnell School since 2011 when she started as an intern. She has also worked in home settings for several years.
The Darnell School has arranged for a variety of specialists to consult to the school on either a regular or as-needed basis.
These consultants include:
- Dr. Robert Shapiro, BCBA-D, Behavior Specialist
- Karla Miller, M.S., CCC-SLP, Speech and Language Pathologist
- Mary Loughlin, M.S., OTR, Occupational Therapist
- Carie Miele, M.S., RPT, Physical Therapist
- TechACCESS, Assistive Technology Specialists
- Amy Neveu, RN, Registered Nurse
- Dr. James Broadhurst, Medical Doctor