Katerina Watson

Co-Founder, Lead Teacher, Head of School

Katerina & StudentOriginally on track to become a lawyer, a part time job tutoring kindergarten students during her freshman year at NYU opened Katerina’s eyes to her true passion: Working with children. She immediately switched focus, earning her Bachelor’s Degree from NYU in History, Music, and Education before going on to pursue a Dual Master’s Degree from Teacher’s College, Columbia University in Inclusive Education & Teaching Students with Disabilities. Katerina has been an educator in New York City for over 10 years and has designed the curriculum and program materials for myriad special education programs across the city.

Joshua Askildsen

Co-Founder, Head of Operations
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Joshua has a passion for advocacy and a dislike of bureaucracy. Since graduating from Pace University with his Bachelors Degree in English, he has enjoyed working exclusively for organizations that provide services he finds ethically important and close to his heart. To this end, he has been a team member of All For One Theatre and the National Coalition Against Censorship, two New York City nonprofits, as well as the Chief Operating Officer of Allied Achievement, a center-based instruction program for students with special needs.

Emily Thulier

Co-Founder, Lead Administrator

IMG_3818Until recently, Emily taught elementary education at a public school in Washington, D.C. She specialized in teaching children with Emotional Disturbance. After nine years of teaching, she decided to return to school to increase her capacity to meet the needs of students who require more support than academic intervention. She is currently pursuing an MA in Mental Health and Wellness counseling at NYU Steinhardt. She believes that learning should start with understanding and recognizing a person’s individual strengths as well as their needs. She is excited to work for an organization that values these beliefs as much as she does.

Cathy Reid

Occupational Therapist

Cathy BioCathy is the director of Gowanus Treehouse, a dynamic sensory gym and private pediatric therapy practice in Brooklyn.  Originally from the suburbs of D.C., she has been an OT for 18 years. Her go-to frame of references including growth mindset, cognitive social learning, play, and collaboration stem from her OT background and playing both college and semi-professional soccer career. She is currently enrolled in a graduate extension program at Harvard for Learning and Design Technology. Much like the children she works with, when not at work, Cathy is also in constant motion.  She enjoys, walking her dog, tennis, yoga, surfing, cooking, travel, volunteering, and design projects. With passion for lifelong learning, she is grateful to be able to work with children of all abilities and their families.

Gail Stephens

Occupational Therapist

Gail BioGail Stephens is a graduate of the Columbia University Occupational Therapy program. Her mission is to foster opportunities for children to grow into successful, empowered individuals. She is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist, and firm believer that your environment shapes your access, emotion, behavior, and participation. Gail loves working with and learning from children of all ages and abilities. She is a member of the circle of advisors for the American Occupational Therapy Political action committee (AOTPAC), and is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association Emerging Leaders Development Program 2016 cohort. Gail is a native Brooklynite. When she isn’t practicing or advocating for Occupational Therapy, you can find her riding her bike, practicing yoga, or enthusiastically rapping her favorite 90’s hip hop jams.

Alexandra Buwalda

Pediatric Physical Therapist

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Alex is a seasoned pediatric physical therapist with over 25 years of experience. Having previously trained and worked in the United Kingdom and Belgium,  she moved to  New York City  more than 17 years ago. Her goal is to help children gain confidence and achieve their highest level of independence within their environment.Alex enjoys working with children and their families of all abilities and needs. During her free time Alex enjoys running, traveling, walking her dog and spending quality time with her husband and two teens.

Michael Bellamy

Associate Teacher

Michael BioMichael Bellamy was born and raised in a small town named Phenix City, Alabama. As a kid, he took the phrase, “knowledge is power” to heart, and after graduating from Columbia University in 2016, he began his work as a special educator.  He has worked in schools and programs in New York City, Alabama, and the Bahamas and working in the classroom is his favorite way of building and contributing to learning experiences alongside his creative work in other domains. His hobbies include drawing, music production, composition, d-jaying, writing poetry, reading, and gaming (when he has the time).

Kathleen Cronin

Associate Teacher

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Katie Cronin hails from upstate New York and has lived in Brooklyn for 3 years. Her passion for helping others led her to student teaching in high school before studying education at SUNY Ulster. After moving to Brooklyn she worked in the film industry before reconnecting with her love of teaching and now she can’t imagine doing anything else.

Jeremy Stone

American Sign Language Teacher

Jeremy BioJeremy was born and raised in New York City. He attended a school for the Deaf and his interest in language continues to guide his learning experience. He began to understand that ASL could be used as an artistic expression and simultaneously provide a different perspective. Using Social media as platform to launch his storytelling videos; the impact was evident with the growing number of followers and traffic that his page was receiving. Seeing the passion for the language, he quickly became energized to provide a comfortable and applicable curriculum that would give students on opportunity to develop language skills while maintaining the artistry and creativity of ASL.

Orlando Lopez

Jiu-Jitsu Teacher

Orlando Bio PicAttracted to the martial arts at an early age, Orlando briefly studied various styles until he found Aikido. Practicing “the art of peace” for nearly 30 years he now holds the rank of Yondan (4th degree black belt). Wanting to make his Aiki do better, he began cross training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu 13 years ago.   Practicing “the gentle art” quickly became an obsession. He recently competed in the New York Spring Open and after winning a gold medal in his division, his teacher, Ailson “Jucao” Brites, awarded him his black belt at the podium. He enjoys teaching and believes all children should practice BJJ because of the positive benefits that include learning respect, discipline, confidence, socialization, coordination and body awareness.

Rebecca Mayzck

Special Education Tutor

Rebecca BioRebecca provides educational support at Epic Academy. Rebecca is a native of Brooklyn, NY  and has worked in the special education community as a Behavioral Technician for the last five years. She received her AS in Education from Touro College in New York City. Rebecca developed a strong sense of devotion for the special education community after years of volunteer work in a Lasallian educational community, working with students who exhibited emotional and behavioral issues. This experience has given her an extreme sense of dedication to some really cool students who happen to learn differently.

Chelsea Watson

Volunteer Fundraising Coordinator
Chelsea Bio

Chelsea is currently a clinical Social Worker with Mount Sinai SAVI in Queens, NY.  She received her Masters in Social Work from Columbia University in 2017. Previously, she was the Director of Port Chester Cares, a community-based substance use prevention program at which she supervised over 100 volunteers.  Her responsibilities there also included managing the program’s budget as well as fundraising.