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Special Education Staff List

Jana M. Ruiz
Director of Special Services

Jana has been in the field of education for over 20 years.  She graduated with her Master's Degree in School Administrative Social Work from the University of Kansas in 1990.  She has been the Director of Special Services since 2004.  She loves working with children and their families and feels very fortunate to be part of such a wonderful community. 

Patty Serrano
Preschool and Kindergarten Teacher
Special Education Manager

Patty has been teaching children between the ages of 3 and 8 for more than 30 years. She has been teaching at Chester Academy since 2003.  Patty has a Master’s Degree in early childhood special education from UNH and is passionate about helping all students reach their full potential. Patty has a strong background in assessment and evaluation and uses this knowledge to guide instruction. She uses both developmentally appropriate practices and specialized instruction to promote development of social skills, language acquisition, fine and gross motor skills, cognitive skills, and problem solving skills.

Cheryl Taylor
Elementary Special Educator
2nd and 4th Grade Case manager

Cheryl received her Bachelor Degree from Gordon College in Biology and her Master’s degree in Education from Wheelock College. She is certified as a General Special Educator and has both her initial and advanced certification in Orton-Gillingham. Cheryl is also trained in the Linda-Mood Bell Sequencing for Phoneme Instruction in Reading and Spelling, Precision Teaching, and The Essential Word Knowledge Program. In addition to working full time at Chester Academy, Cheryl teaches reading intervention strategies to graduate students as an adjunct professor at a nearby college.

Katelyn Foley
6th Grade Case Manager
Special Education Teacher

Deb Wamsley
8th Grade Case Manager
Special Education Teacher

Deb has her undergraduate degree in math and a Master’s in Education with a concentration in Special Education. She is highly qualified to teach math in grades 5-8 and in grade 7-12.

Aimee Belanger
Speech and Language Pathologist

Aimee received her Bachelor's of Science and Master's of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders from University of New Hampshire in Durham.  She has worked nine years in an elementary school.  She started working at Chester Academy in July 2018. 

Dellene Watt
Speech and Language Assistant

Jane Grimm
Special Education/ School Counselor Secretary

Jane, a Chester native, joined the Special Services and School Counseling department in August of 2014. She has been an active member of the school community since 2000, including 4 1/2 years as a member of the school board.  She started working in special education in 2004.  She and her husband Bob have three children: Jackson, Lily and Travis.

Mary Verreault
Elementary Special Educator
1st and 3rd Grade Case Manager

Mary has a Master’s Degree in Education from Lesley College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Northeastern University. She has been employed at Chester Academy since 1986 and has taught Preschool through 4th grade during her employment at Chester Academy. Mary’s training includes early intervention, academic assessments, specialized reading, math and writing instruction and behavioral intervention strategies.

Amy Campo
5th Grade Case Manager
Special Education Teacher 

Amy is starting her first year at Chester Academy and is very excited to be a part of this wonderful school family.  She received her Bachelor's Degree at the University of Maine in Farmington in the field of Speech and Language.  Later on, she earned her Master's Degree in Special Education and Learning Disabilities. She  was recently trained and certified in Reading Recovery through Lesley University.
Amy lives with her husband John and their two children Abi and Eddie.

Leann Nelson
7th Grade Case Manager
Special Education Teacher

Leann has been working at Chester Academy for the past 8 years. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education and Elementary Education with a minor in Psychology at Keene State College. Currently, Leann is pursuing her Master’s Degree at Granite State College specializing in Specific Learning Disabilities. In addition, Leann is certified Orton Gillingham and provides specialized instruction.

Michele Belanger
Behavior Specialist

Michele received her Bachelors of Science in Speech and Hearing from Elmira College.Michele went on to get her Masters of Education in Elementary Education and General Special Education from Notre Dame College and is also certified to work with students who have Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities receiving degrees in these areas from Granite State College. Michele has also received her C.A.G.S. in Special Education Administration from Plymouth State University.

Christina Rousseau, OTR
Occupational Therapist

Tina has worked at Chester Academy since being hired as the district’s Occupational Therapist in 2016 and brings over 20 years of clinical experience.  Tina began her education at The University of New Hampshire where she received her Occupational Therapy degree, graduating with honors.  She developed an interest in working with children early on while completing her fieldwork experience at Children’s Hospital of New Orleans, LA.  Tina received NICU training while working at her first job at Lowell General Hospital.  She helped develop an inpatient pediatric unit while working at Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital in Salem, NH and provided OT services to children and adolescents recovering on the traumatic head injury unit.   Tina developed an interest in the treatment of low vision/ vision therapy and worked with a team of doctors and therapists to develop NRH’s Vision Clinic.  She successfully transitioned from the clinical practice setting to the school environment in 2014 where she worked with grades K-5 with a collaborative school district. While working at the elementary school with the EBS/PDD programs, Tina was responsible for evaluations, providing integrated treatment groups and individual sessions for children benefiting from OT services in the areas of fine motor, gross motor, visual motor and sensorimotor/regulation strategies to improve their access to the general curriculum.  She has received training's with Handwriting Without Tears, Pediatric Vision Therapy, and Yoga for children.  Tina loves to read and try new recipes and crafts in her “free time”.  Tina and her husband have two daughters and enjoy spending the summers at the lake boating, kayaking, swimming, hiking, viewing wildlife, and attempting to stay on their stand up paddle boards!