Annie DeLeon is a certified paralegal with years of experience in special education and dealing with the NYCDOE. Annie works with both the Business Office Team and the Settlement Team. Annie holds a certificate as a Paralegal and an Associates Degree in Human Services. With Annie’s help, we have improved the efficiency of our hearing and settlement processes. As Annie will gladly tell you, her greatest achievement has been the birth of her beautiful daughter Julia in December 2015.
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Ira Kushin is a valuable member of the Settlements Team. Before joining SLA, Ira worked for several corporations and legal firms as a Legal Records Manager. His skill in managing and collecting records has been very useful in his work here at SLA.
Melissa Machado in the anchor of the Business Office Team. She works closely with Art, SLA’s Business Manager, offering administrative assistance at every turn. Melissa can be relied on to offer support whenever and wherever it is needed.
Before coming to SLA, Melissa worked for the DOE’s Impartial Hearing Office for 10 years as a Senior Case Manager. Her work included helping parents who were going through the hearing process without an attorney. The insight into the process that Melissa provided often resulted in a better outcome for these families.
Now Melissa uses her skills in helping families at SLA. Her dedication to helping our clients is an essential part of what makes SLA work.
Jennifer Shaw comes from a large family and is very used to being at the hub of activity. This makes Jennie a perfect fit for managing our front desk. When she’s not directing calls at SLA, you’ll find her either in the park with a good book or pursuing her passion for illustration and graphic design by doing commissioned work for various publications. While not a native New Yorker, Jennifer has thoroughly enjoyed transitioning from suburban life to the faster pace of the city.
Tom Feola worked for over 20 years for the Department of Education as a school social worker where he coordinated the school guidance team and the school peer mediation program. Tom counseled students with special needs on the high school level and is NYS certified. He also has over 10 years experience working as a caseworker at the Veterans Administration Drug Treament program and was coordinator of the VA Post Traumatic Stress Disorder program.
Ina Miles holds a B.A in Early Childhood Education, an M.S. in both Early Childhood and Special Education, and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Education. She is New York State certified in Early Childhood, Elementary, and Special Education. Ina taught in the New York City school system for twenty-two years, sixteen of them teaching children with special needs. She is a Special Education docent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is an active member of AHA – the Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Association.
As a parent of a child with special needs, Ina is very familiar with the CSE process and understands how difficult and confusing it can be. With her experience and expertise, Ina guides parents through the CSE process helping them get the services required to meet their child’s individual special needs.
Elizabeth has a B.S. in Special Education from the University Of Cincinnati and an M.A. in Deaf Education from New York University. She has 35 years of experience teaching children and adults with special needs. She worked with high school age and adult clients with physical and cognitive disabilities at United Cerebral Palsy of NYC for 5 years; at St. Joseph’s School For The Deaf with elementary school students, utilizing total communication (speaking and signing) skills to implement lessons; and then at the NYC Board of Education, working as a special education teacher for 28 years.
Elizabeth taught in the following special education programs:
- The Bronx Center For Multiply Handicapped Students, where she learned to adapt equipment, position students, and work on range of motion exercises to promote students optimum performance while working on classroom tasks
- P.S. 89, in self contained 12:1:1 K, 1st, and 2nd grade classes teaching students with mild cognitive disabilities, speech and language impairments, and emotional disabilities
- P.S.176 a school for students with Autism, working with middle school age students, developing lessons and activities to increase receptive and expressive language skills and social skills.
Elizabeth has always tried to engage and inform the parents of her students. She believes that parents are an important part of the educational planning team and are essential to implementing a comprehensive program.
Adrienne Schorr received a B.A. in Fine Arts and Secondary Education from Lehman College, C.U.N.Y. and an M.A. in Special Education with a focus on physical and multiple disabilities from Columbia University, Teachers College to fulfill her desire to teach art in a more therapeutic/rehabilitative setting.
Adrienne began teaching art at United Cerebral Palsy of New York City’s Brooklyn Teenage and Adult program and subsequently taught in the New York City public schools for 10 years. Her experience in New York City included teaching art to multiply disabled students 5 – 21 years of age and middle school students with a wide range of learning and emotional disabilities and speech and language impairments. She taught art in the Poughkeepsie City School District for the next 20 years. This experience included elementary school for 5 years and then high school. Throughout her years of teaching the “general population” Adrienne specialized in and advocated for those students with special needs who were mainstreamed into her art classes; working closely with their teachers, families and support professionals, and often attending CSE meetings. In addition to her teaching responsibilities she acted as Advisor and Advocate of the Gay/Straight Alliance at Poughkeepsie High School.
Adrienne was an adjunct lecturer at both Queens College and Lehman College, teaching a graduate course “Visual Arts for Students With Learning Problems”. She held summer positions teaching art to incarcerated youth, mentoring teenage gifted girls, and has given private art lessons to an autistic teenager. One of the highlights of Adrienne’s teaching career was the opportunity to share her knowledge and experience in Japan when she participated in a Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher Program in 2003. She is excited to now use her extensive experiences as an educator to advocate for students with special needs as part of SLA’s team.
Mireille has been advocating for individuals with disabilities and their families for over ten years, working for two nationally recognized non-profit organizations. As a child advocate, Mireille mentored and trained families of children with disabilities to advocate for appropriate educational services for their children including accompanying them to IEP/CSE meetings, and organized and conducted workshops to assist families in those efforts.
Through her experience as the parent of an adolescent with special needs, Mireille believes in understanding and integrating all aspects of care in order to achieve the best outcome for the families she serves. To that extent, she has been a consultant for the NJ Early Intervention System; a service provider for multiple NJ school districts and she has provided private consultations for multiple families by helping individuals from infancy to adulthood across various settings: in-home programs, in schools supports, Extended School Year (ESY) settings and in the community.
Mireille is a graduate of the Special Education Advocate Training (SEAT), a pilot program nationally funded by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) jointly with the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA). Mireille holds a master’s degree in hospitality and a bachelor’s degree in International Trade.
Irina has been practicing law for nearly two decades. After graduating law school in 1999 she worked for premier plaintiff and defense litigation firms as a trial attorney, obtaining successful jury verdicts for her clients. In 2004 Irina started started her own law firm and by 2007 she transitioned exclusively into special education law.
Her firm, the Law Offices of Irina Roller, PLLC is dedicated to the representation of children with special needs, including learning disabilities, speech and language disorders, ADHD and ADD, autism spectrum disorders, emotional issues, behavioral issues, and a variety of other educational and medical needs.
Irina has successfully litigated against the NYC Department of Education, gaining a no nonsense reputation. She has been affiliated with SLA since 2007, fighting for SLA clients to obtain appropriate educational programs, services and tuition funding. She is a tireless and passionate advocate for children’s rights and works aggressively to ensure that her clients’ rights are honored by school districts. Irina and her staff ensure that each family is given personal and unlimited attention. Please visit her website NYCSpecialEducation.com to hear first hand client experiences: http://www.nycspecialeducation.com/testimonials.html
Irina is fluent in Russian, and in addition to her passion for helping clients navigate the special education maze, she dedicates a lot of time to philanthropy. She sits on the Board of Directors of the UJA-Federation of New York, and also serves on UJA commissions and boards including the Autism Task Force as well as the Russian Leadership Division.