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.
Jolene M. Perry, M.S.Ed., BCBA, LABA
Vice President of Children’s Services
Jolene Perry is a Board Certified and licensed Behavior Analyst and holds a Master’s degree in Behavioral Education from Simmons University, Boston, MA. Jolene has worked within the area of disability services for more than 23 years in a range of capacities. She has been with HMEA for 20 years in a variety of positions, starting as a Behavior Therapist and promoting to Vice President. Jolene has extensive experience in functional behavioral assessment, creating and implementing social and academic home programs, parent training, working with school districts, staff training, the IEP process, and the development and implementation of behavior support plans. Jolene finds working with parents and families of learners fulfilling and an important part of promoting lasting change and generalization of a learner’s skills. Her interest lies with the improvement and implementation of organizational behavior management strategies to address team/staff member efficiency, effectiveness and satisfaction.
Stefanie Salome, M.S.Ed., BCBA, LABA
Stefanie Salome is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Licensed Applied Behavior Analyst. She has worked with students with disabilities for 20 years, 16 of which have been with HMEA. Stefanie was the very first head teacher at the Darnell School. She has spent the past two years working as part of the quality learning and performance team where she helped to ensure that all treatment plans and clinical notes met the criteria set by individual insurance companies. Stefanie also supervises prospective BCBA candidates and enjoys helping the candidates apply their knowledge directly to the clients they work with.
Nicole Heidenheim, Ed.S., BCBA, LABA
Nicole Heidenheim holds an Education Specialist degree in Special Education Administration from Bay Path University. She also earned a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from Framingham State University and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. 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.
Jacob Strout, M.Ed.
Jacob Strout is a special education teacher with experience in home and school settings. He has worked with a diversity of clients with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other disabilities. He completed his undergraduate degree in History at University of Massachusetts Lowell. He completed his graduate degree in Special Education at Fitchburg State University. He will be sitting for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam in 2021.
Kimberly Borys, B.A.
Kimberly is a certified special education teacher who holds a bachelor’s in Sociology from North Adams State College. She also holds a certificate as a Community Health Worker. Kimberly has over 20 years working with individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities.
Meghan Palombo, M.Ed., BCBA
Meghan Palombo 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 BCBA certification in November of 2017.
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.
Tayla Niemiec, M.S., BCBA
Tayla Niemiec holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Worcester State University and a Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Bay Path University. While at Bay Path University she also obtained a certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Tayla has several years of experience working in adult services as a job coach, teaching individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities.
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
- Elizabeth Thacker, M.S., OTR, Occupational Therapist
- Danielle O’Shea, PT, DPT, Physical Therapist
- TechACCESS, Assistive Technology Specialists
- Marbella Leal, RN, Registered Nurse
- Dr. James Broadhurst, Medical Doctor