Katerina Watson

Co-Founder, Head of School, Special Education Teacher

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

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, Head of Administration

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.

Bartosz Milewski

Operations Associate

Kathleen Cronin

Special Education Teacher

Katie Bio
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.

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.

Theo Winston

Speech Language Pathologist

Screen Shot 2019-07-26 at 11.56.25 AMTheo is a New York State licensed Speech-Language Pathologist and holds a Certificate of Clinical competence in Speech­Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) from the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA). He received his Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Adelphi University and his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Theo has spent the majority of his career working in the NYC Early Intervention program. He has worked with school-aged children through private practice. He ran a social group for high school students with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the Hy Weinberg center for communication Disorders.  He started playing music when he was five years old. He has performed professionally live in various settings and has taught guitar and piano lessons to adolescents and adults. For speech-language therapy, he specializes in expressive/receptive language development, pre-language skill, articulation and phonological disorders, and social-pragmatic skills. Theo has worked with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, expressive and expressive and receptive language disorder, CHARGE syndrome, and Down’s syndrome. He speaks Japanese fluently and has treated children in both English and Japanese.

Alexandra Buwalda

Pediatric Physical Therapist

Alex Bio Pic

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 Special Education 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).

Drew Lawrence

Special Education Support Professional

Erin Harris

Special Education Teaching Assistant

Erin is a lover of kindness, creativity, and authenticity. She attended Montclair State University where she majored in Theatre Studies, then further pursued her passionIMG_8058
the craft of Acting and continued her education at The William Esper Studio. Erin spent two years as the in house choreographer for The Saddle River Youth Theatre as well as multiple summers running the children’s acting class for the YMCA Musical Theatre Summer Camp in Bergen County, New Jersey. Erin believes in motivating all individuals to discover and embrace their own unique gifts and to exude true inner confidence through practicing understanding, empathy, acceptance, and JOY! She is ecstatic to be a part of the team at EPIC! 

Kaylah Saiz

Special Education Teaching Assistant

Screen Shot 2019-11-01 at 1.01.47 PMI’m Kaylah, Kay to most, and I am originally from New Mexico, a small town called Carlsbad. I left home at the age of 18, moved to LA and got involved in a nonprofit called the Dream Center. After going through their intern program involving team building and self improvement, I got the opportunity to continue as a leader there myself. I was involved in administrative work around families involved with PCS. The plan and arrangements were set up to help families stay together, and I loved getting to see these kids grow and flourish while assisting the adults in getting their lives back together. I’ve since then worked as a nanny while also being involved in volunteer work through a local church here in NYC. My heart wants to love on all people, but kids in particular. I want to help them know their worth and that they have an important place; especially those who may have gone unseen by the world.

Jeremy Stone

American Sign Language Teacher

IMG_4889 (2)Jeremy 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

Jodi Karem

Music  TeacherIMG_20191008_205816311_BURST000_COVER_TOP

Jodi Karem fell in love with music at an early age,
and has spent the last 20 years both performing Opera and teaching kids of all ages.  Jodi has sung throughout the United States, Europe and the Middle East. She has also taught in schools, summer programs and after school programs in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Louisville.  Jodi loves to instill her love of music in the hearts and minds of children.

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.

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.