Valere is an alliance of parents, entrepreneurs and business professionals who have come together with one mission in mind: help children with communication or behavioral disorders be able to improve their ability to socially connect, grow and thrive.
Christie Ann Acosta an Education Specialist, is a full time educator and has completed graduate work with an emphasis on children on the autism spectrum. Each day she works to help her students realize their personal identities and relationships with others. Christie has witnessed the impact of Kula Ed in her classroom, and was instrumental in encouraging Joan to “go public” with her product concepts. Christie holds a B.A. from Penn State University. Christie’s post-graduate work includes a Master’s Degree in Special Education from the University of Saint Joseph, and a Master’s Degree in Autism and Applied Behavioral Analysis from the University of Saint Joseph (December 2015).
Helen Donaher has spent 38 years as an educator within the public school system in several Connecticut towns within the Farmington Valley. Thirty-four of those years were spent as a special educator serving the needs of students with disabilities as a special education teacher and followed by administrative positions within the field. Most recently, Helen has served as the Director of Special Services for the Simsbury Public Schools, serving in that capacity for the past twelve years. Recently retired, Helen now hopes to utilize her skills and knowledge advocating for the special education needs of children requiring family representation in school proceedings throughout the state of Connecticut working with the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF). Helen holds a Sixth Year Degree in Educational Administration from UCONN, a M.A. in Educational Curriculum and Supervision from CCSU, as well as, a B.S. in Special Education from CCSU.
Jacqueline Haywood spent most of her 35 years at Aetna Inc. in management. During her tenure, Jackie led new business development and sales retention efforts, change management and implementation management initiatives, and service agreement negotiations with internal and external partners and 50+ vendors. As a director, she was relied on for her creativity and ability to deliver a best-in-class customer experience.
Recently, as Program and Property Manager for Barkan Management Company her responsibilities included program execution, budget preparation, long range strategic planning, comparative rate analysis, benchmarking, marketing, and community outreach.
Ellen Matos has over 25 years of experience working with children and adults who have a variety of special needs and disabilities ranging from mild too severe and profound. She has 11 years experience working in a reverse mainstream preschool, 13 years teaching students on the autism spectrum and currently works with high school students.
Throughout her teaching, language development and alternative augmentative communication strategies have been essential to her success as a teacher. Ellen holds a B.S. in special education and child study and an M.A in early childhood special education- birth to five from St Joseph College. She also holds an M.A. in Multiple Intelligences from University of St Joseph.
Ellen J. Stoltz, PhD is founder of ImproveYourSchools. As a Classroom Teacher, Special Educator, Literacy Coordinator, Special Education Director and Chief Academic Officer in Connecticut’s rural, urban and suburban communities - Ellen’s life work contributes to her deep understanding of the benefit in capturing each moment in a child’s life to maximize learning. With Every Student, Every Day, Every Classroom in mind, Ellen continues to advocate for ways to ensure all students reach high expectations through the purposeful collaboration of adults.