OUR ADMINISTRATION AND SUPPORT TEAM
Penny Lewis, Administrative Director
Penny Lewis is a graduate of Adelphi University with majors in both Biology and Psychology. She received an MSW from Hunter College School of Social Work and took thirty graduate credits in Education at Long Island University. She trained for a year at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Child and Adolescent Inpatient Psychiatric Unit where she worked with the parents of patients as well as the youngsters. Penny has been the Director and Executive Director of private, non-profit, Special Education Preschools in New York for over 23 years.
A Licensed Master Social Worker in New York, she also has School Administrator/Supervisor and School District Administrator Certificates there. She is certified as an Early Intervention Case Manager as well. As a Special Education Director, Penny has worked with children on the Autistic Spectrum as well as children with all types of physical, cognitive, language and adaptive delays. A supporter of ABA principles, she also advocates a multi-modal educational approach that would utilize services such as Speech and Language Pathology, Occupational and Physical Therapies, Art and Music Therapies to enhance language, physical, communicative and adaptive development. She advocates undertaking a thorough assessment before a child begins a preschool program. After ascertaining the child’s strength and weaknesses, teachers and therapists can address those areas which need support. She embraces a philosophy of following the child’s lead, that is to integrate intervention plans with the children’s immediate interest and ongoing activities. She feels that preschool education for all children should be inclusive and the school environment should be structured so that children learn through active exploration and interaction with adults, other children, and a wide variety of materials.
Mandy Butler has helped teach children with and without disabilities for over a dozen years and received her Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential for Preschools. In 2000, Ms. Mandy started working at Grafton School as an Academic Specialist implementing educational programs and behavior plans. In 2006, with extensive training in ABA (such as verbal behavior), she started working as an ABA Therapist at the Aurora School, working 1:1 with students with disabilities and developmental delays. Ms. Mandy held the position of Lead Teacher at ODLC since we opened in 2010 and is excited to now be a part of the Support Team providing classroom and administrative support.
OUR LEAD TEACHERS
Rena Bates has worked with adults, adolescents and children with intellectual, physical and developmental disabilities and special needs since 1998. After several college courses, Ms. Rena began working at Allegheny Valley School in Coraopolis, PA as a Direct Support Professional/Vocational Support Trainer, implementing therapeutic and functional skills to improve the quality of life for individuals. In 2004, Ms. Rena joined the Aurora School team and trained to implement the principles of ABA, to teach children with autism and developmental delays. She started her position at ODLC in 2011 leading the 2/3’s class, and strives to improve the achievements and accomplishments of each individual at school and in society. In 2018 Ms. Rena received her CDA (Child Development Associate) Credential. As ODLC continues to grow, Ms. Rena is enjoying researching grant opportunities which will enhance and improve our program.
Crystal Mills has been working in the preschool education field for almost two decades and has received her Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential for Preschools. Ms. Crystal has worked with children varying in ages from fifteen months to twelve years old. She enjoys hands-on learning and one-on-one time with her students. In the classroom Ms. Crystal enjoys art, storytelling and singing. Ms. Crystal has been part of the The Arc of Loudoun team for three years as a volunteer with her teenage daughter Autumn. When at home she enjoys playing board games and camping with her family as well as reading. Ms. Crystal is excited to be a part of the ODLC team and leading the early 3-year-old class and Kindergarten Enrichment class.
Ms. LaToya has been teaching for over a decade and has enjoyed every minute of it. She currently holds her Child Development Associate (CDA) credential for Preschools. In the summer of 2016 she came to ODLC to further her training in Child Development and immediately fell in love with the ODLC program. She was very excited when an opportunity opened for her to become a teacher at ODLC. Ms. LaToya believes that ODLC represents a positive environment for both children and teachers and is excited to watch her students learn and grow.
Latavia Smith has worked in the field of childcare since 2011. She holds a Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in Psychology from Shepherd University. She discovered her desire to work with students of all learning styles after working at Grafton Integrated Health Network where she was a direct support professional in both the residential and academic settings. Here, she specialized in serving students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Ms. Latavia loves working with children and supporting their dreams and imaginations. She loves getting to know each student personally and having one on one time with each of her students to help them achieve their goals! She believes that ODLC is a great fit for her because the staff and students’ families are one fantastic support group with the children’s best interests at heart!