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Executive Director

Tracie Feron is an Educational Consultant/Advocate in the Baltimore area. She began working in special education when her son was diagnosed with autism in 1999. She left her marketing career with the goal of learning everything she could about special education and other programs available. That decision evolved into a lifetime commitment to continuing education, training and certifications to build a comprehensive skill set. Ms. Feron is trained in Orton-Gillingham, Wilson, Visualizing and Verbalizing, Story Grammar Marker and Touch Math to name a few methodologies. She has also previously held the position of Executive Director of a non-public school for students with autism. Ms. Feron’s over-arching goal is to develop individual programs that are implemented with fidelity and integrity while progress monitoring for efficacy. She looks forward to continuing her work with Glenwood Academy and its board members to deliver education programs that meet the needs of students with various learning differences.

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Education Director

Leslie McKay Rufolo has been working as a teacher and learning specialist in the Baltimore area for over twenty years. She has taught all subject areas and been an Orton-Gillingham tutor for Bowman Educational Services for 21 years. In addition to her training and experience with Orton-Gillingham, Ms. Rufolo has worked with students using Visualizing and Verbalizing, Executive Function skills, and Written Language coaching. Prior to joining Glenwood Academy, Ms. Rufolo was the creator and director of a program for students with learning differences at Chapelgate Christian Academy for the last five years. She is also is an experienced dance teacher and performer who continues to choreograph, teach, and work in this capacity. Ms. Rufolo is excited to be joining the team at Glenwood Academy and looks forward to meeting and working with all of the students and their families.

Teacher Profiles

Amanda Shearer, M.S. Ed

As an undergraduate, Amanda studied at Le Moyne College located in Syracuse, NY in Sociology with a dual concentration in Childhood and Special Education. She then continued her studies at the State University of New York at Cortland and received her M.S. Ed in Literacy Education. After graduation, she accepted a position at a not-for-profit, New York State-licensed organization serving people with developmental disabilities. Through her experiences, she found out she thoroughly enjoys working with children and encouraging creative expression in all individuals.

As a teacher, it is important to be lifelong learners, as it is our job to be dedicated, resourceful and goal-driven educators. This includes having a commitment to the social and academic growth and development of every child. It is our job to also be accommodating to individuals and to develop inspiring hands-on lessons that will breed success. In order to accomplish these goals and become the best possible teacher, she continued her education by becoming trained in programs such as Orton-Gillingham, Project Read and Linda Mood Bell’s Visualizing & Verbalizing. With these multisensory programs, she can better meet the learning style needs of all children.

Rebekah Neuman, B.A. Ed

As an undergraduate, Rebakah studied at Spring Arbor University located in Jackson, Michigan. Her emphasis was in Elementary Education with triple minors in Science, Social Studies, and Early Childhood Education.  As a continuation of her educational career, she is currently working on her MAE in Learning Disabilities from Northern Michigan University located in Marquette, Michigan.

After graduating with a BA, she volunteered at several schools in Northern Michigan where she had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of students and found herself drawn to working with children who had learning differences. In 2008, she moved to Maryland where she started working at Glenwood Country Day School. Throughout the past several years, she enjoyed the opportunities she has been given to aid her students in growing both academically and socially, and seeing her students filled with newfound confidence is priceless!

To better aid her students in their understanding of the many concepts covered in language arts, she is trained in the following programs; Project Read Primary Phonics, Framing your Thoughts by Project Read, Handwriting Without Tears, Visualizing and Verbalizing by Linda Mood Bell and the Orton-Gillingham instructional techniques. In addition, she’s familiar with a wide variety of reading curriculum such as: The Merrill Reading Program, The S.P.I.R.E Reading Program, and The Wilson Reading Program. To better aid her students in their understanding of mathematical concepts, she is also trained in Touch Math and On Cloud Nine by Linda Mood Bell.

Laurie Brister, B.A. Psychology and Early Childhood Education

Laurie is an early elementary educator with a degree in Psychology and Early Childhood Education from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She loves teaching young children and always wanted to teach growing up. As she had her own children, it gave her a much better understanding and empathetic perspective for each individual child. She had to take a break from teaching to become an advocate for her daughter as she struggled with serious medical and mental disorders. She became disillusioned with the public school’s lack of resources and support for her child and had to learn what community resources were available. She became involved with NAMI and was an avid volunteer. When she returned to teaching, she took continuing education classes to extend her knowledge of how to help children who face learning challenges. She is certified in Linda Mood Bell’s Visualizing and Verbalizing Program for Cognitive Development and has certification in the Orton-Gillingham methodology.

Ashley Gower, MT-BC, Music Therapist Board Certified

Ashley is from Westminster, Maryland. She received her Bachelor’s in Music Therapy and minor in psychology from Shenandoah University in 2013. During her time as a student, she served two years on the Mid-Atlantic Region American Music Therapy Association Students Executive Board. She completed her internship with Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care in Maryland and went on to obtain her credentials as a Board Certified Music Therapist from the Certification Board of Music Therapists. Ashley remains an active member of the American Music Therapy Association on a national and regional level. During her free time, Ashley enjoys taking ballet lessons and volunteering for the 4-H Youth Development Program.

Nicole Orellana M.S., CCC-SLP

Nicole is a speech therapist and co-owner of the Children’s SPOT Inc. She has been a Speech and Language Therapist working with children diagnosed with, Apraxia, Learning Disabilities, Language Processing Disorder, Auditory Processing Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental delays since 2004. She has completed coursework in Applied Behavior Analysis for Special Education from Pennsylvania State University and uses motivational and reinforcement strategies to help her students achieve their highest potential. Nicole is a strong proponent of the Visualizing and Verbalizing Program, by Nancy Bell, to help children improve oral and written comprehension as well as the Social Thinking Program, by Michelle Garcia Winner, to help children improve pragmatic language and their ability to navigate the social world. Through her work with Angela Liston OTR/L, who also works with students at Glenwood Academy, Nicole has learned to incorporate research-based sensory and motor strategies to improve a child’s ability to focus and attend. Nicole strongly believes in developing relationships with teachers and parents and fostering the “team” approach.

Judy Hagemann, M.S. ED

Mrs. Hagemann has been teaching technology for over 20 years in a variety of Maryland Independent Schools after starting in Prince George’s County Public Schools teaching sixth grade. She received her Master’s of Science in Technology Education from The Johns Hopkins University.

Anne Thigpen, M.S. ED

A career changer, Anne spent the first 15 years of her adult life working in various capacities for the U.S. Department of Defense. She was introduced to the world of special education when her youngest two children were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2014. To better understand and support her children, Anne attended Liberty University and earned both her Master and Educational Specialist Degrees in Special Education. She focused her master-level research on the impacts of autism on teaching and learning. Anne continued her doctoral-level research on the need to develop self-regulated learning for students with disabilities in the mathematics classroom. 

Anne previously worked for a public high school in Virginia as a dually certified math and special education teacher. She believes in a holistic education – helping the students develop their mathematical thinking inside the classroom and finding applications for that knowledge in their everyday life. Anne believes strongly in facilitating school-home communication to support family involvement in student learning. To better assist her students learning, Anne has completed training in Touch Math as well as reviewed multiple resources from experts such as Ronit Bird, Helmy Faber, and Daniel Franklin.