is a seventh year special education teacher.She
was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago.She
attended Illinois State University where she
BS in Special Education.Her
certification is in the area of Learning Disabilities and Behavioral/Emotional Disabilities.Her
first teaching job was in Kankakee, IL at the high school for a behavior disordered, self-contained class.That first year of teaching proved to be quite a challenge with a class size of 22.Many students in that class had moderate to severe behavior problems stemming from drugs, gangs or crime.This experience Kelly describes as her
Dangerous Minds years.
Two years later, Kelly
decided to seize an opportunity in Downers Grove, IL.She
accecpted a lead teaching position at Premier Rehabilitation Center of Chicago.Her
job was to set up a school program to service children, adolescents and young adults who are recovering from a traumatic brain injury.Kelly
qualified with strong skills in behavior management as well as flexibility and creativity with adapting lessons to meet the individual needs of her
Kelly's vision is to be a pioneer in the area of developing strategies, interventions and curriculum for students with traumatic brain injury.
Working in a Rehab. setting allowed Kelly
to learn first hand all that is involved in rehabilitation following discharge from the hospital.She
was an active team member who worked with the OT, PT, Speech/Language Therapist, Vocational Counselor, Clinical Director and Neuropsychologist.Kelly
did successfully set up a school program that was approved by the State Board of Ed.She
primarily worked with high school students from area schools who could not meet the educational needs of that student in the least restrictive environment.The class size was small which allowed for highly individualized and highly structured lessons.She
worked with students who had deficits in memory, problems with behavior, impulsivity, personality change, poor executive functions which includes time management and organization, lowered math and/or reading ability and other deficit areas.Her
favorite success story involves a college senior who in his
last year of school, rode his
mountain bike without a helmet and had flipped over the handlebars with his
head hitting a large rock.He
was in a coma for weeks.The doctors be not sure he
came out of the coma and spent a grueling time learning to eat, walk and talk all over again.When Kelly
started to teach him, he
could not read the words and nor the.After consistent practice, concentration and memory exercises over a 5 month period, he
was reading Literature out of a high school text book.He
was not able to graduate college but he
did return to school at the community college level.
Because of competition with such major Rehab. programs as University of Chicago, Rehab Institute of Chicago, Schwab and others, Premier was not successful in marketing its school program.Kelly
moved on after 2 years to work as a Clinical Instructor on an adolescent psychiatric unit at a small, area hospital.Her
vision did not die.She
met up with a teacher who taught at another Rehab. center called Marionjoy.Together they talked about dreams to open up their own school to service students with special needs, particularly those with traumatic brain injury.
is back in the public high school setting in Raleigh, NC.She
is teaching another self-contained behavioral & emotionally disabled class.Still interested in brain injury and education, she
will now author a site with articles for students and parents who have concerns about education.
Kelly plans to return to school for an advanced degree, however, she
is undecided as to what because she
is interested in neuropsychology and medicine as well as education.
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