I am the Behavior Specialist, and I work mainly within all of Questar III’s special education and CTE classrooms, as well as consult for our component districts. I write and implement much of the TCI (Therapeutic Crisis Intervention) refreshers and curriculum, serve as an external PBIS (Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports) coach and often a listening ear. In theory I am based at the main office, however I really am not there much. I am one of the few behaviorists in the state of NY with a license. (I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, LMHC)
Q: How long have you worked here?
I have been lucky enough to work for Questar III for almost 10 years.
Q: How do you see your role in supporting the BOCES and the school districts it supports?
I provide embedded mental health support for many of my classrooms. I work on developing and writing trainings to teach needed information regarding mental health and de-escalating agitated and aggressive students. I help to structure the classrooms for behavioral student success, as well as individually consult with teams regarding unusual and diverse students. I work with the strengths of our teams to find a way to better support some of the intense struggles our students have.
Q: What is your background like – previous jobs, your education, etc.?
I have my undergraduate degree from SUNY Oswego in Elementary Education and Psychology, and did my student teaching in the City of Syracuse. I then went to work in Environmental Education at Frost Valley YMCA where I first met Special Education Students that would come stay in the Catskills for 3-5 days. There I learned how much I loved that population, and that I was mesmerized learning and watching individuals grow emotionally. From there I went to SUNY Oneonta for a Masters in Community Mental Health Therapy. With my Masters I worked for three years at Equinox Youth Shelter as a Case Manager and eventually a Prevention Case Manager. I then joined the behavioral team at Schenectady ARC in the Ridge Health Services. I worked in Schenectady for a few years and then consulted for Rensselaer ARC in the clinical and residential program. And from there, I was lucky enough to return back to working with children and accepted a position here at Questar III BOCES.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
I love how diverse my job is. I never know from day to day what new thing I might learn, what amazing child I will meet and story I will learn about, as well as witnessing terrific teaching. I learn daily from my staff and students and it’s never boring. I love when we, as a team, figure it out, and really try something a little different to help the lives of our students, and families. It’s incredible to see an idea work, and see a student succeed, and watch how proud the student, families and staff are. It’s a privilege to be a part of that.
Q: Tell us a bit about your life outside of Questar III.
I have been married almost 17 years and am the proud parent of a soon to be 8th grader. I have two dogs. They get a lot of walks and teach me quite a bit all the time about behavioral strategies. It seems as though my life revolves a bit between gardening, walking, and driving my daughter to all of her activities. I read quite a bit, but only really juvenile literature, and watch very little TV. I do however love Jane Austin, Sherlock, and many movies. I am lucky to have a terrific circle of friends that keeps me forever entertained and smiling.