Erika Bird, MS - Sp. Ed. TOD
Erika received her special education degree from LeMoyne and has a Masters from Canisius College and is certified in Deaf Education (Birth-21yrs). In addition to her EI and preschool experience at Sprout, Erika also works for OCM BOCES as a Teacher of the Deaf for 3 and 4 year olds. She has treated and evaluated children who have mild to profound hearing losses and wear hearing aids and cochlear implants. While at Canisius, Erika worked at St. Mary’s School for the Deaf where she was responsible for assisting the students in preparing for their academic day.
Michelle Kasouf MS - Sp. Ed.
Michelle Kasouf is a New York State Certified Special Education teacher with a Master’s Degree from SUNY – Cortland. She recently complete her advanced special instruction certifications for birth through age 6 at Lemoyne. Prior to joining Sprout Therapy Group, Michelle had teaching positions in the East Syracuse and Fulton School Districts. In addition, she worked at the American Red Cross. Michelle did her undergraduate studies at SUNY – Plattsburgh where she majored in Biology. She is also a New York State Certified biology teacher. Michelle has a 3 year old daughter and lives in Liverpool.
Jennifer Callaghan is a New York State Certified Special Education teacher with a Master’s Degree from Syracuse University with a concentration in Early Childhood Special Education. She has a New York State permanent teaching certifications in special education. Prior to joining Sprout Therapy Group, Jenny spent nearly 20 years at Jowonio School functioning in a wide variety of teaching capacities. Most recently, Jenny worked at SU’s Bernice Wright Child Development Lab as a special education preschool teacher. She has also worked in early intervention and as a SEIT through Jowonio’s ENRICH program. For many years, Jenny had her own preschool classroom at Jowonio and also pushed into Bellevue Heights Preschool. Jenny has extensive experience working with children with a wide array of diagnosis and challenges, including specializing in medically fragile cases. She has worked closely with parents, care-givers, social workers and other team members in collaborative efforts in the home, community and classroom settings. Jenny’s undergraduate degree is from SUNY- Cortland. She lives in Camillus with her family.
Kelly Rotella is a New York State Certified Special Education teacher with a Master’s Degree from Lemoyne College. She has special instruction certifications in Early Childhood Ed (birth through 6), Childhood (Grades 1-6), and Middle Childhood (Grades 5-9). Since 2004, Kelly has held teaching positions within the Syracuse City School District, at Westside Academy, Webster Elementary, HW Smith and Bellevue schools. Additionally, Kelly has supported homebound students within the SCSD district. She has also acted as a co-chair as CSE meetings. Kelly also did her undergraduate studies at Lemoyne where she majored in Psychology and was captain of the soccer team. She lives in Westvale.
Kristen Baleno is a New York State Certified Special Education teacher with a Master’s Degree from Fitchburg (Mass.) State College with a concentration in working with children with severe special needs. Kristen is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), earning this certification in 2007 from UMass – Boston. She earned her undergraduate degree from Oswego State with a double major in Linguistics and Human Development. Prior to joining Sprout, Kristen spent the previous 6 years as a Preschool Special Education teacher at the SPICE program in Syracuse where she was involved in all aspects of special ed., including teaching, evaluations, training and supervising aides, Before returning to Central New York, Kristen four years as an Intensive Special Needs Teacher in the Quincy (Mass.) School District.
Megan Howell is a New York State Certified Special Education teacher with a Master’s Degree from Nazareth College with a concentration in Early Childhood Education. She also earned her undergraduate degree from Nazthareth with a concentration in Inclusive Education. She has New York State teaching certifications in early childhood (birth to 6) as well as teaching students with disabilities at the early childhood level (birth to 6). Prior to joining Sprout, Megan spent 7 years as an early intervention and preschool teacher at Little Lukes, primarily in Oswego County. In this capacity, Meg worked on all aspects of the preschool process – evaluation, goals, treatment, family interaction, collaboration with therapists, and creating and implementing IEPs. Megan also spent a year as a universal pre-K teacher at Learn as You Grow in Syracuse and three years as an EduCare teacher in the Greece Central School District. Megan lives in Baldwinsville with her husband.
Melissa Desmond is a New York State Certified Special Education teacher with a Master’s Degree from University at Albany with a concentration in Special Education and Literacy. She earned her undergraduate degree from SUNY Potsdam with a major in Sociology. She has New York State teaching certifications in teaching students with disabilities as well as a Birth to Grade 6 certification as a Literary Specialist. Prior to joining Sprout, Melissa spent 10 years as a preschool to grade 8 Special Education teacher at the BOCES program in Rensselaer where she was involved in all aspects of special ed., including teaching, evaluations, training and supervising aides. Additionally, she served as on BOCES’s mentor committee. Melissa also spent three years as a literacy teacher in the Albany City and Niskayuna School Districts. Melissa lives in Manlius with her husband and two children.