Meeting the Unique Needs of Every Student, Every Day
The Helping Hand School takes an integrated approach to education. Academics, therapeutic, and behavioral skills are embedded in our classrooms. We work together as a team through every step in the educational process, from planning and implementation, to assessment, and honing.
The Helping Hand School is approved by the Illinois State Board of Education and a partner of the Autism Society of Illinois.
Meet Our School Leadership
I’m honored to be a part of a team committed to the lifelong success of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The joy I receive working with wonderful families, terrific teams, and incredible students is my greatest motivation.”
Vice President of Education
Joined HH in 2021 | Years of Experience 13
Over the last 13 years, Katina has had the privilege of being called an educator. Along her journey, she has earned degrees in elementary education, special education, and educational leadership. Her education prepared her for experiences as a classroom teacher and school administrator.
Each and every day HH clients or employees make me laugh or smile. I never leave work with an empty heart.”
Director of Clinical Services
Joined HH in 2017 | Years of Experience 9
Sara focuses on a functional approach to individualized treatment and plans for each student based on their needs and family desires. She warmly welcomes each child and family, valuing their unique backgrounds, strengths, and experiences. She writes children’s books in her free time, motivating children to learn through movement and exercise.
Sara graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree from Central Michigan University in Human Development and Psychology, and her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Midwestern University. She has a background in NDT, is a certified children’s yoga teacher, and is a certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist.
As a special education teacher, I believe that every student can succeed when given the right tools. HH provides every student the tools they need to be as independent as possible, and I am honored to be a part of their journey and success.”
Associate Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Joined HH in 2017 | Years of Experience 6
Kelly has a master’s degree in ECE Special Education and has been a special education teacher in various settings throughout Chicagoland for over 10 years. She loves adding new tools to her toolbox through continuing education and experiences. She loves watching students grow and have a passion for bringing engagement and fun to the classrooms. She is currently working on obtaining her EdD in Special Education and Educational Leadership. She wants to help empower teachers to embrace their passion for teaching and bring it to their classrooms in engaging ways.
The only way to do great work is to love what you do. I love the work that I do everyday at Helping Hand and am proud to be a member of such a terrific team.”
Associate Director of School Clinical Services
Joined HH in 2018 | Years of Experience 6
Mia graduated from Midwestern University with her master’s in Occupational Therapy. She has over 5 years of experience working with individuals with disabilities and has a variety of competencies. Mia is a Level 1 Clinical Reasoning in Intervention advanced mentored clinician with the STAR Institute, as well as trained in the Zones of Regulation Curriculum, and Learning Without Tears. She is passionate about educating others and helping students grow in their independence.
I believe by working collaboratively with all school stakeholders including students, parents, and staff, all students can reach their greatest level of independence. I am committed to serving and supporting our Helping Hand community to ensure our students have access to a positive, productive, and caring learning and working environment.”
Associate Director of Administration and Operations
Joined HH in 2019 | Years of Experience 4
Julianna obtained her Bachelor of Science in Special Education from DePaul University in Chicago and began her career at Helping Hand as a High School Special Education Teacher in 2019. Julianna obtained her Master of Arts in Educational Leadership at American College of Education, and she is currently working to obtain her Principal Endorsement.
When Brian first started attending the HH school, everything was new to him. It was a bit overwhelming. Now, he is used to the schedule and being in a new environment. Brian is always willing to complete his work and enjoys positive reinforcement. He is great at finding new words in his device to explain what he needs and wants.
Helping Hand has provided Brian and his family with a collaborative, multidisciplinary and multisensory approach to further his functional independence at school and in the community.
Mason started out as a kindergartener at the HH school and has made incredible strides both in the goals that were created by his IEP team and in learning the functional skills that come with being at school.
Mason quickly picked up on and began using basic sign language for words such as “more,” as well as using his Communication Board to share his wants and needs. Mason continues to show his teachers emerging skills in academics, speech, and occupational therapy.