The SUPAC has full time experienced and knowledgeable staff many who have personal and professional experience with the special education process.
Amy Schlegel, Director, grew up in CNY and is a graduate of Liverpool High School. She has her BA in Psychology from University at Buffalo and her MA/CAS in School Psychology from SUNY Plattsburgh. She has worked with children from the pre-kindergarten to college level, their families, and professionals for over 10 years. Her experience working with children diagnosed with ADHD, Autism and other comorbid disorders inspired her to become an advocate. For four years, she aided families in understanding the special education system and provided families the information they needed to effectively advocate for their child. Amy has worked extensively in her community to develop awareness, implement programs, and train professionals. Amy has also functioned as a behavior specialist and completed many psychological assessments. Her goal is to empower parents and help give them the tools they need to feel like an equal partner in their child's education, as well as, work to get each and every child an appropriate education through the implementation of best practices, collaboration and communication.
Kristine O'Brien, Parent Outreach Specialist has resided in the CNY area all of her life and is a graduate of Auburn High School and Le Moyne College. She is has been employed with SUPAC since early 2010. Kristine is very involved with the Central New York Autism Society of America (CNY ASA), and has served on the Executive Committee for the past five years. She assisted in developing the CNY ASA Inclusive Summer Camp Program and is currently the CNY ASA Programming Co-Chairperson. She is a board member with the Friends of Jowonio, a local inclusive preschool in CNY. She volunteers at her son’s elementary school and is actively involved in the Parent Teacher Group. Currently she is the Co-President of the PTG, and serves as a CPSE/CSE Parent Member in her school district. Having a child with special needs has given Kristine insight into special education processes. She is a strong advocate for her son and has helped many other families navigate the Special Education process. She has presented at many local schools, colleges and hospitals on the topics of advocacy and Autism.
Shana Lewis, Bilingual Parent Outreach Specialist. Shana has had numerous years of experience working as a counselor and administrator of services in a public school setting. Her experience as both a Committee on Special Education Chairperson and School Counselor has allowed her to see students through the eyes of a practitioner and an administrator. Shana’s professional development has taken a unique course. After completing a BA in Psychology from Oswego State, Shana lived and taught abroad for three years. Upon returning to the states, Shana completed an MA in Educational Counseling from the College of Saint Rose and began her work in the public school setting. In her dual position at a public school, Shana saw the difficulties parents experienced navigating through the special education process.
Rachael Zubal-Ruggieri, Web-Based Outreach, is Coordinator of Computer & Technology Outreach and Information Coordinator at the SU the Center on Human Policy, Law, and Disability Studies. In 28 years working at the Center, her work has evolved into the coordination of informational materials for the Center and its funded projects, specifically websites, Internet mailing lists, and the design and production of promotional materials. She is also knowledgeable about web design and accessibility, and has published two articles on web accessibility for people with developmental disabilities. Mother to a 10-year-old child with special needs, Rachael is currently enrolled in the Child and Family Studies program, with a Disability Studies Minor, at Syracuse University.