Staff Highlights 2018-2019
The excitement of the new school year has everyone at P.G. Chambers School buzzing with anticipation this month. Our staff are eager to support and guide students through another incredible year of learning and growth. We are so proud of our students at PGCS, celebrating the daily victories and cheering them on as they work tremendously hard to achieve their academic and developmental goals.
Behind the scenes is a dedicated and passionate team of teachers, teacher assistants, therapists, and administrative staff who strive toward excellence in everything they do. During the 2018 – 2019 school year, several of our staff members received recognition for their exemplary work, which we are happy to share with you. The featured staff members are representative of the many talented and dedicated professionals who serve the PGCS mission with passion and expertise every day. Please join us in celebrating and congratulating the following PGCS staff members:
- Julie Haggerty, DPT, ATP, a recognized leader in the assistive technology field, received a promotion to director of assistive technology at PGCS this year. In September 2018, the Neuro-Developmental Treatment Association elected Julie to its board of directors, a high honor in the physical therapy profession, requiring advanced certification and strong mentoring and leadership skills. Julie embodies the ideals of the PGCS approach to education and therapy and she brings incredible passion and dedication to her work. In November 2018, Julie received the “Excellence in Creative School Based Therapy” award from Education Resources in recognition of her work on the “A-TEAM” philosophy (Assistive Technology linking Education, Access and Movement).
- Senior Speech language pathologists Kristin Geraghty and Christine Cayero presented at the America Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) conference in Boston in November 2018, regarding how to teach speech language pathology graduate students about interprofessional practice and collaboration with other disciplines as a means to best treat the whole child. They recently completed this workshop with 50 graduate students from Seton Hall University at PGCS. In March 2019, Kristin and Christine were joined by Kelly Myerson MA, OTR Senior Occupational Therapist, Maureen Devlin, PT, and Joyce Hartnett, special education teacher, to present at New Jersey Council for Exceptional Children on “Interprofessional Best Practice: Making It Work!” At PGCS, we value interprofessional practice and our students benefit from our ability to truly work together.
- Janet Michalowski, RN, BSN, CSN, director of nursing at P.G. Chambers School, received recognition in November 2018 as the NJ March of Dimes Pediatric Nurse of the Year. The award recognized the clinical care provided to students, the growth in the nursing department, an increase in the number of automatic external defibrillators and staff trained in CPR, new health initiatives, including the creation of FITTE plans, and the implementation of a student nurse program.
- Three exceptional staff members received nominations for ASAH awards. The 2018 -2019 nominees were Margey Dwyre for educator of the year; Sarah Vitale for related service provider of the year; and Deb Fresco for paraprofessional of the year. Deb moved on as a paraprofessional of the year finalist, representing Region II in the statewide recognition process. Statewide recipients will be announced this fall.
- In June, Senior Speech Language Pathologists Dana Hall, M.A., CCC-SLP, and Jennifer Jacobs, M.S., CCC-SLP, presented “Communication Partner Training- Boards, Books and Beyond,” a training for Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC).
- Holli Wright, MS, PT, a leader among the staff at PGCS, received a promotion to director of physical therapy this year. During her tenure at PGCS, Holli has worked in all of the organization’s programs and held leadership roles on the Move to Learn, Community Services, and Whole Child Initiative task forces. Holli graduated from the LEAD program in 2015. Her expertise benefits both the students and her fellow staff members. Holli’s outstanding contributions include developing clinical trainings for physical therapists and education staff, leading the Access to Education Clinics, and mentoring numerous staff members, both formally and informally.
- Rebecca Addo-Nartey received a promotion to Senior Physical Therapist. Rebecca is an excellent clinician with more than 30 years of experience working as a PT in various clinical settings. Her life and work experiences in various cultures and countries have made her very sensitive to issues of inclusion and diversity for which she is a role model. Rebecca is truly trans-disciplinary in her approach, often initiating co-treatments with other disciplines and pushing into the classroom. She is a highly skilled clinician especially in the areas of reflex integration and vestibular dysfunction. Her colleagues describe her as the PT department’s “resident OT” or “the bridge” between the two departments, as she is extremely knowledgeable in the area of sensory integration. Rebecca is accomplished in the use of orthotics and splinting, facilitation and handling of the more physically challenged students, and an expert in proper positioning of students for optimal learning and function, including mealtime. Rebecca excels in listening to her students and using AAC devices when communicating with them.
- Annie Clayton, PT, DPT, PCS, received a promotion to Clinical Coordinator. In her six years at P.G. Chambers School, Annie has earned her Pediatric Clinical Specialist credentials (PCS) from the American Physical Therapy Association and has made numerous, significant contributions to PGCS. One of particular note is in the development and implementation of the scoliosis project, which has become an integrated clinical part of our school program. Over the years, Annie has also made valuable contributions to the Equipment Clinic using her strong organizational and communication skills, and problem solving complex issues under time constraints. Annie managed our PT student intern program, providing student interns well-supported, positive learning experiences.
Congratulations to all! At P.G. Chambers School, excellence is the cornerstone of our work and we are proud to share how our staff exemplifies this in all that they do every day.