Below is just a sampling of those that are here to support our children through their challenges and to be a pivotal part in helping them achieve their goals to the best of their abilities.
Amy Brandon, Principal
Amy Brandon graduated from Concordia College with a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Brandon started working at Harbor School in 2014 as a paraprofessional. She went on to obtain a dual Master’s in Special Education and Childhood Education. After earning her teaching certifications in Elementary Education and Special Education, Ms. Brandon accepted a teaching position at the Gateway School in November 2014. Ms. Brandon rounded out her educational career with a certification as a Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant (LDTC). She continued her journey at the Harbor School, in July 2020 as the Supervisor of Instruction mentoring our teachers and supporting the needs of our students and families. In July 2022, she became co-principal and in January 2023 became the full-time principal. Ms. Brandon brings exceptional experience and knowledge to this position.
Dawn Cicco- Supervisor of Instruction
Mrs. Dawn Cicco graduated from Monmouth University in 1999 with a dual degree in Special Education and Elementary Education with a focus on reading instruction. After 16 years of teaching both advanced students and special education students at a private school, she began working in public school. There, she worked as in-class support for fifth grade as well as resource room teacher for students who needed intensive support in math. Additionally, in the role of Teacher Leader, she prepared and presented workshops for staff to support their professional development. After obtaining a Master’s in Educational Leadership, Mrs. Cicco sought to further her career in a role as an administrator. To that end, she began as Supervisor of Instruction at Harbor School in April, 2023. She looks forward to continuing to work closely with faculty and families to tailor an appropriate, engaging program for our students.
Nadine Palagonia- Work-Base Learning Coordinator
Ms. Palagonia began her journey in 2019 at the Harbor School. She teaches high school age students and is also Harbor School's WBL coordinator. She holds four certifications: Teacher of Students with Disabilities, Elementary Education grades K-5, Language Arts Literacy grades 5-8, & Social Studies grades 5-8. She enjoys working with all the students and seeing the beautiful smile on their faces when they accomplish goals, they work so hard to achieve. Please reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
Mary Beth Ward, Related Services Supervisor
Mary Beth Ward has had the pleasure to work with the students of Harbor School as an Occupational Therapist for the past 15 years both directly treating students and managing OT, PT, and ST services. Her previous experience was the traumatic brain injury and rehabilitation in various hospital settings. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Boston University in 1981. Sensory integration, functional life skill training, and classroom seating / positioning remain her area of expertise as she continues to assist the students at Harbor School with their educational and medical needs.
Pat Sterling, Transition Teacher
Pat Sterling graduated from Trenton State College with a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education. Pat started as a classroom teacher at Harbor in September of 1989. Starting in September 1997, Pat became the Transition Coordinator for our high school program and has remained in this position since that time. Mrs. Sterling works closely with our high school students and their families to develop appropriate vocational skills to help facilitate job placement after graduation.
Barbara Getz, Administrative Assistant
Barbara Getz has worked for RKS Associates for over 15 years. She has been an administrative assistant for the past seven years at Harbor School. Barbara’s experience at Harbor includes knowledge of students, staff and many other office responsibilities that take place daily. She says that her favorite part of working in a special education school, is greeting students and families, and seeing their joy in being part of this wonderful school.
Isabella Gural, BCaBA, Behavior Therapist
Isabella Gural graduated from Stockton University with a Bachelor's in Psychology with a minor in Childhood Studies. She is currently attending the University of South Florida to complete her Master's degree in Applied Behavior Analysis. Isabella worked as a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) in both New Jersey and Florida, working in the center, home, and school settings. She continued on to earn her Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) certification and work as a BCaBA in a clinical setting to support clients, families, and RBTs. Isabella will join the Harbor School Team in September 2023 and looks forward to working as a team to create a safe and welcoming learning environment.
Debra Shanin, MSW, Social Worker
Ms. Shanin provides individual and group counseling to Harbor students and works closely with all the classroom teachers. She graduated with an MSW degree from NYU and brings almost 30 years of experience in the field of Social Work and Human Services to her position here at Harbor.