SAJE Leadership

Debbie Disney, MSW, LCSW-C


Debbie Disney LCSW-C’s decades of experience in public and private schools systems, and as a psychotherapist in private practice started the wheels turning. Recognizing the need for a program that was specifically designed to bring self-awareness, psychoeducation, practical and proven strategies and techniques to adults, teens and children who struggle with Attention Deficit and/or executive functions, Debbie sought team members who understood her vision. Collaborating with seasoned educators, learning specialists, school administrators, and innovators in technology, the foundation for SAJE was formed.

Debbie has an extensive background in experiential education working with children, teens, and adults creating and running a Leadership Training program for a summer day camp. Through Debbie’s years of thoughtful program development, many children have become successful leaders with confidence and self-esteem.

Combining her years of experiential programming in educational settings with her clinical social work background, Debbie has created a program that will support individuals in all areas of their lives.

Lauren Disney, BS

Director of Admissions

Lauren is passionate about supporting children, adolescents and adults who struggle socially, emotionally, or academically. As SAJE’s Director of Admissions, Lauren’s degree in psychology and training in the field of the neurodivergent learner provides the insight to the challenges our SAJE Scholars face. Lauren is the first point of contact for SAJE inquiries. During the initial phone conversation, Lauren’s wealth of knowledge about neurodiversity, learning challenges, brain development, attention deficit disorder and executive functions often brings a sense of relief and hope to the individual who has faced a lifetime of challenges. As the Director of Admissions, Lauren is eager to answer questions, assist in the application and enrollment process, and coordinate series sessions between Scholars and their Learning Specialists.

Lauren is an ADHD/Executive Function Teacher Trainer. She is a graduate and licensed provider of the training workshop Managing ADHD, EF and Behavior in the Classroom, a professional development series created by Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ADHD-CCSP, PTS Coaching LLC.

Lauren graduated from Virginia Tech in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She has also earned her EMT -B and EMT-A certifications. Lauren is a proud military wife, married to an awesome young man (who is the “J” in SAJE; their son is the “N” in SAJEN, our summer series.)

Stephanie Ziman, MA

Director of Programming and Professional Development

Stephanie brings twenty years of expertise in Education, Business Administration and Program Development to SAJE. Stephanie’s journey as an Educator, Mentor, Artist and Director was not scripted. Imagining a career in the world of business and finance, she devoted five years managing and supervising adults in the business sector. When she was offered the opportunity to delve into the field of Education, she accepted the challenge and never looked back.

Stephanie has become a well-respected leader in developing, teaching and training others to implement creative social, emotional and academic programs for adults and children who learn differently.
Certified as a Maryland State Department of Education Trainer, Stephanie has written and taught curriculum that integrates the Arts in learning. She is recognized by colleagues for being innovative in the design of curriculum that promotes problem-solving, cooperation, collaborative relationships, community culture, curiosity, creativity and empathy.

In her role as the Director of Programming and Professional Development, Stephanie’s “out of the box” teaching methods and collaborative approach enhances the ongoing professional development series for our SAJE Learning Specialists. She also has a pivotal role in designing research-based curriculum and activities proven to enhance the Executive Functions and Attention skills SAJE Scholars find challenging.

Masters of Arts in Jewish Education – Towson University

Bachelors of Science in Human Development and Family Studies – University of Maryland

Pronouns – She/Her

Learning Specialists

Brittani Green, BFA

Do you remember that one teacher in your life who brought joy to your experience as a student? Brittani is that teacher for many students who found themselves in her classroom, programs or productions. Brittani began her journey as an educator creating curriculum and community programs for Howard County Public School’s Child Development Program. Throughout her career, Brittani sought professional opportunities that placed her in positions of leadership and direct service for children from infancy to high school age.

Her students ranged from traditional learners to developmentally or cognitively challenged learners. Brittani’s intuitive recognition of her students’ needs made it possible for her to design curriculum and activities that incorporated music, dance, instruments, storytelling and movement through a social-emotional lens. Even in her capacity as a virtual teacher for high school students preparing for SATs and college prep courses, Brittani infused creative strategies that encouraged engagement and excitement from her students.

Brittani’s love for theatre and acting has been and continues to be a constant in her life. For the past four (4) years, Brittani combined her years of experience as an educator with her experience, knowledge and passion for theatre. Brittani developed and taught 9th-12th graders the study of Theatre Arts as well as designed a pre-Advanced Placement Theatre curriculum. Brittani was the teacher students and parents requested every year. She recognized that many of her students were able to express their thoughts and feelings in an authentic manner through expressive modalities and were able to use positive strategies in social, academic and work environments.

Brittani’s experience and training is ideal in her role as Learning Specialist with SAJE. Challenging her Scholars to explore their areas of function that cause the most distress, Brittani designs activities for her Scholar that allow for alternative ways to find confidence and competence in areas that previously were a point of frustration.

Bachelors of Fine Arts in Theatre – The Theatre School at DePaul University

Pronouns – She/Her

Grant King, MS

Grant hails from the small town of Benton, Arkansas, where his love for learning and exploration was nurtured by his family. His educational journey led him to the University of Arkansas, where he embarked on an exciting academic adventure. During this time, he had the incredible opportunities to study abroad, expanding his horizons and deepening his understanding of diverse cultures, peoples, and learners. He also embarked on a path of research, working as a Research Assistant at the Center for Research on Aggression and Victimization, honing his analytical skills, and developing a passion for data-driven insights to support scholars in schools. 

His pursuit of knowledge eventually brought him to his new home in Baltimore, where he pursued a Master of Science in Elementary and Special Education at Johns Hopkins University through the Urban Teachers program. This chapter marked a significant turning point in his career, equipping him with the tools and knowledge to make a meaningful impact in the field of education.  

For six years, Grant dedicated himself to serving the students of Baltimore City Public Schools as a dedicated special educator and elementary school teacher. It was here that he developed a reputation as a highly effective educator, committed to the academic and socio-emotional development of his students. Grant loved empowering students to take charge of their brain’s development, and equipping students with strategies, such as mindfulness techniques and sentence stems for addressing conflict, to help them navigate difficult social and emotional situations. 

Grant is thrilled to embark on a new chapter with SAJE as a Learning Specialist. His passion for empowering individuals who learn differently perfectly aligns with SAJE’s mission. He’s excited to continue supporting scholars’ unique learning processes and contributing to their social, emotional, and academic growth. 

Master of Science in Education – Johns Hopkins School of Education 

Bachelor of Arts Psychology and Sociology – University of Arkansas 

Certificate – Education Policy  

Maryland Educator Certificate – Special Education; Early Childhood Education 

Pronouns – He/Him 

Lindsey Spencer is a learning specialist at SAJE.

Lindsey Spencer, M.Ed.

Lindsey always knew that education was her passion, but her path initially took her into customer service, human resources and retail. Lindsey recognized how easily she connected with people and how she loved to learn from others.

After seven years in the corporate world, Lindsey followed her dream to become a teacher. The transition to becoming a reading intervention teacher strengthened Lindsey’s commitment to provide inclusive learning and advocacy for children and those unable to advocate for themselves.

Lindsey prides herself in her ability to differentiate lesson plans that fosters a learning environment where her
students are comfortable to learn, make mistakes, and grow from the mistakes.

She is proud of the healthy environment she creates for her students to thrive.
In her own words, Lindsey explains why she is so excited to be a Learning Specialist with SAJE.

“I was floored with the work SAJE is doing. It reminded me of why I decided to become an educator. I stand behind SAJE’s mission of providing alternative learning strategies to help all learners.

Learning can not be boxed into one curriculum for all students; it requires learning how your student learns, having conversations with them, listening and connecting with them. Building a relationship and helping them feel comfortable with learning how they learn while being willing to try new strategies. I cannot wait to grow with SAJE and my Scholars.”

Master of Science in Education – Grand Canyon University

Bachelor of Arts Public Relations, Advertising and Media Sales – Morgan
State University

Manika Panwar is a Learning Specialist for SAJE

Manika Panwar, MS

Manika’s extensive knowledge of and experience with executive function challenges is imbedded in her personal and professional successes. Manika’s earliest engagement with children began as an assistant preschool teacher. The opportunity to help create and implement curriculum designed to spark children’s social, emotional and intellectual growth convinced Manika that she found her calling.

Manika’s undergraduate studies in psychology and biology sparked her interest in combining the fields of education, mental health and research. Fast forward to 2023, Manika specializes in utilizing applied behavior analysis techniques in special education programs.

Manika uses positive reinforcement strategies to teach children and young adults time management skills, organizational skills and attention skills along with other daily life skills.

Manika is excited to support SAJE Scholars in their journey to learn how they learn by creating activities to highlight each Scholar’s strengths while exploring alternative strategies for the areas that are challenging.

Master of Science Applied Behavior Analysis – Regis College

Bachelor of Arts Psychology and Biology – Hood College

Kelli McClelland, MA

Kelli describes herself as a creative problem solver. Kelli found that she thrives in positions where she can support individuals to learn skills that bring confidence and competence in all areas of their lives. Kelli’s close to twenty (20) years of experience in education, counseling and program development gives her a depth and wealth of knowledge in areas of social, emotional, mental and academic learning that has proven to be most beneficial to those under her guidance.

Kelli transitioned early in her career from providing direct and indirect services in mental health agencies to education and program development. As an educator, Kelli taught students from elementary to postsecondary schools. Kelli recognized the impact she could have on students when she was able to develop curriculum and lessons specific to each student’s learning style and learning challenges. Incorporating creative, out-of-the-box activities along with her engaging personality proved to be rewarding for the students and colleagues working with her. Kelli not only advocated for her students’ needs, but she also taught her students and their family members how to advocate for their own needs.

Shifting from education to program management, Kelli was recruited as the Program Manager to design a support program for the non-profit organization Truck Safety Coalition. Through perseverance, Kelli facilitated meetings for family members to share their stories with Congress members. She established a peer support network, established and maintained an outreach forum for family members to access resources, and she redesigned the organization’s website and social media programming. After five years in the position, Kelli realized she missed the relationships she developed with students and the impact she was able to have on students’ confidence, learning and life skills. Kelli is excited to come full circle as she joins SAJE as a Learning Specialist. The collaborative nature of SAJE, rooted in meaningful exchange between the Scholar and Learning Specialist, is a natural return into the realm of teaching and guiding individuals who learn differently.

Master of Arts in Applied Sociology – University Of Maryland Baltimore County

Bachelor of Arts in Sociology – Metropolitan State College of Denver Pronouns – She/Her

Dr. Jamie Willis, Ed.D, M.Ed.

“Dr.Jamie” has been supporting, coaching and teaching children in various settings for ten years. Jamie found herself drawn to working with children with special needs, developmental delays, intellectual delays and Autism.

Jamie is known as the teacher who challenges her students to “try it a different way and see what happens.” Jamie’s favorite experiences as an educator are those “aha” moments when her student finds a solution after
trying Dr. Jamie’s suggestion.

Jamie’s experience working with children started at the YMCA in Wilmington, DE. In her seven years with the YMCA,
Jamie encouraged positive changes for the hundreds of children from 4 years old to teenagers she worked with. Jamie was able to incorporate social, emotional and communication skills into the many activities she facilitated, even teaching American Sign Language (ASL).

Jamie recognized the value of combining routine, patience, creativity and fun into
each of the programs she facilitated at the YMCA, as a Head Coach with Girls on the Run and as a special educator. After two years as the team leader in an elementary school in Delaware, working with children with Autism and disabilities, Jamie was recruited to join the team of educators and special services professionals at Sheppard Pratt’s Glyndon campus school.

Jamie is quick to share her enthusiasm about the cohesive and supportive environment she found at Sheppard Pratt’s school. As she continues to build her skills and resources, she is most excited to infuse her passion for creating those “aha” moments with her SAJE Scholars.

Jamie is proud of her academic achievements as well. As a lifelong learner, she has earned the following degrees and certifications:

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Educational Leadership -Wilmington University

Master of Education – Wilmington University

Bachelor of Arts Elementary Education – Neumann University

Certificate – Foundations in Behavior Analysis

Certificate – Teacher of Students with Autism or Students with Disabilities,
Grades K-12

Pronouns – She/They

Alan Iampieri, MA

Alan describes himself as curious by nature. Alan’s education in undergraduate and graduate school focused on the impact social,
emotional, academic and interpersonal challenges molded the individual’s
sense of self.

As a graduate research assistant, Alan worked on a qualitative study about adolescents on the Autism spectrum and their transition into adulthood.

Alan began his journey as a therapist during his psychotherapy internship at a community mental health agency. Alan combined his interest and knowledge of neurodiversity, gender identity and the limited resources available for young adults and adults who felt unheard or

Alan recognized the positive impact he was able to have on individuals in the therapy setting and chose to continue his studies to become a therapist. Alan quickly identified the executive function challenges many of his therapy clients struggled with daily. He was able to combine his research background with his ability to develop resources and strategies that proved to be helpful to many of his therapy clients.

Becoming a Learning Specialist with SAJE is the perfect venue for Alan to help Scholars believe in their innate ability to be resourceful, resilient and confident. Convincing his Scholars to embrace the unique way they experience the world as they learn how they learn is Alan’s goal as a Learning Specialist.

Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology – Towson University

Bachelor of Science in Psychology – Rochester Institute of Technology

Pronouns –  He/Him

Amy Marson is a learning specialist for SAJE

Amy Marson, MA

Amy brings a unique blend of personal understanding and professional expertise to her role as a SAJE Learning Specialist. Amy’s journey into the world of special education was ignited by the social, emotional and academic struggles her own children experienced.

Amy was determined that each of her children’s school experience be infused with skills they would need for self-advocacy, mindfulness, effective organization, forward planning, improved focus in learning and living environments and social engagement with peers. Disappointed with standards available in the local schools, Amy took her children’s education into her own hands. Amy successfully home schooled her children, proudly supporting each child as they successfully completed high school and entered college.

Amy became a fervent advocate for inclusivity, personalized learning, and holistic growth. Combining her expertise in curriculum development with her passion for providing support for students who learn differently, Amy founded an online instructional program that served a student base of over 500 Pre-k through 12th grade learners. She crafted online classes that celebrated the unique strengths of each learner, especially those navigating the complexities of ADHD and Executive Function challenges.

Amy brings her rich tapestry of experiences and creativity to SAJE, along with her infectious energy, warmth, and smile. Her commitment is unwavering – to help every Scholar, regardless of learning differences, not just succeed, but thrive and unlock their boundless potential. On a side note, she is proud to share some stories from her adventures as she an expert white water raft guide.

Masters of Arts in Teaching – National Louis University

Bachelor of Science in Marketing – Illinois University

Pronouns –  She/Her

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