Dr. Patrick Tierney – Superintendent of Schools, Roxbury Board of Education
Dr. Patrick Tierney is formerly from Rockaway Borough Public Schools, where he served as Superintendent of Schools and Middle School Principal. He holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Staff Development from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Tierney also holds a Master degree in Administration and Supervision and Special Education from New Jersey City University. His Bachelor degree is in Business Management from St. Peter’s College. Dr. Tierney has served in numerous areas of administration at the district, secondary and elementary levels. Prior to becoming an administrator, he was a special and business education teacher and coach at Hackensack High School.
Dr. Elizabeth Matheis – Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Certified School Psychologist
Dr. Matheis (a.k.a. Dr. Liz) specializes in assisting children with autism and other learning/behavioral disorders and their families. She serves as an expert consultant for public schools and private institutions, providing psychological support and treatment, program evaluation, and advocacy. She also leads the mental health and support division at a premier school for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, learning and behavioral challenges. Dr. Matheis focuses on well-aligned parenting styles, consistent home environment, and the establishment of boundaries and behavioral expectations in helping children and families to realize their fullest potential. Dr. Matheis is a featured contributor to a number of popular press magazines, where she provides real-world, pragmatic solutions to complex problems.
Dr. Jill Harris, Director of Program Development, Children’s Specialized Hospital
Dr. Harris specializes in psychological assessment and intervention for children and youth with autism spectrum disorders. She has been with Children’s Specialized Hospital since 2006. Dr. Harris holds a Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor degree in Psychology from North Carolina State University.
Marci Spadafora – Principal, Park Lake School, ESC of Morris County
Park Lake School focuses on the needs of a special education population, which includes children with autism, pervasive developmental disorders, and multiple disabilities. Classrooms are structured for small group instruction and infused with occupational and speech therapies. Park Lake is a place where academics and therapeutic activities, social growth, and feelings of belonging create an optimal environment for each child to grow and develop to their fullest potential. Ms. Spadfora oversees Park Lake School, ensuring that parents and staff partner to create optimal learning experiences for children and youth. She is certified as a Learning Disabilities Teacher and has worked as a part of Child Study Teams, alongside School Psychologists and School Social Workers.
Caroline Waterman – Licensed and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor
Ms. Waterman has over 25 years of experience working with special needs populations, including nearly seven years of teaching swimming and directing an aqueducts program at a special needs summer camp hosted by Ohio University.
Brielle LaCosta - Miss East Coast International and former Miss NJ
Brielle is a Rutgers University Graduate- Douglass College, as well as a Rutgers University Outstanding Alumnae of 2010. Brielle had the honor of speaking about her work with Autism at the prestigious Annual Zagoren Lecture.
Life was turned upside down for her 2006 when she was in a near-fatal car accident. She says that car wreck was a real wake-up call to appreciate everyday and take nothing for granted. She opened a company in 2011 called House of Motivation, dedicated to helping teen and college girls through difficult times.
Brielle has been honored with some of the most prestigious awards and has experienced once in a lifetime events. She serves as the International Spokesperson for the Luca John Foundation, a 2010 & 2011 Chair for Central NJ Autism Speaks, a NJ Spokesperson for the American Lung Association, recognized by the State Assembly & Senate twice for her work, a popular radio show guest, and the 2010 Pageantry Spirit Award Winner. She is a popular Motivational Speaker in which she focuses on an array of topics. She also writes a blog for Autisable.com which has become popular.
HALI SIMON - HALI PUBLIC RELATIONS
Hali Simon is a public relations veteran with 20 years experience in the entertainment industry. She formed HALI PUBLIC RELATIONS, specializing in television and entertainment clients, in 2001 and has represented such clients as USA Network, the Hallmark Channel, SCI FI Channel, PBS documentary filmmakers Two Cats Productions and Santa Fe Productions, popular cable networks E! Entertainment Television and WE: Women's Entertainment, Los Angeles production companies Digital Ranch, Stone Stanley and Hallock/Healey Entertainment, among others.
Prior to the formation of HALI PUBLIC RELATIONS, Simon was the Vice President of Communications at Broadway Television Network where she successfully launched the pay-per-view premiere presentation of Smokey Joe's Cafe: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller. Before that, Simon was Director, Corporate Communications at Flooz.com, where she devised the public relations strategy for the creator of the world's first online gift currency.
Simon spent four years at USA Network, lastly as the Director of Media Relations & Corporate Communications. Previously, Simon served as Senior Account Supervisor for Entertainment and Corporate Communications at The Lippin Group, responsible for publicity on such television series as Homicide: Life On The Street (NBC), New York Undercover (FOX), Law and Order (NBC), and Later…With Bob Costas (NBC).
Currently an Ambassador Family for the March of Dimes, Simon serves on the organization’s Communications Network and is dedicated to spreading the word about the March of Dimes and their work to save babies and find a way to prevent premature births. For her work on behalf of The March of Dimes, she received the 2002 Triangle Award for Excellence in Communications.