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April 6, 2021

Special EDition: Spotlight on AUSL Case Managers

CMEvery school has that special person who knows everything there is to know about the development and implementation of IEPs.  This person interprets assessment results, coordinates referrals, facilitates IEP meetings, advocates for the needs of diverse learners and their families, and the list goes on and on. That special person is your case manager.  This job is incredibly important in ensuring that all students have access to a quality, individualized education. As a former case manager, I am familiar with the challenges and joys of this work and I recognize the unique skills that effective case managers must possess.  Because of this, I dedicate this month’s post to all AUSL Case Managers.  Let’s learn a little bit more about these special individuals who keep us on our toes!

What do you enjoy most about your job as Case Manager?

Chris Brown Chrissy Brown, Dewey

Chrissy Brown: Doing the impossible!

Jennett Tempone: The ability to be an advocate for ALL of our kids.

Maureen McClelland: Getting to know families and seeing how exactly I can help them advocate for their children in the best possible way.

Brittany Price, Marquette Brittany Price, Marquett

Kristina Lunger: I get to help teachers and administrators problem solve and find authentic solutions.  I get to advocate for students’ needs and support parents. 

Brittany Price: Communicating and collaborating with family members in order to ensure that we are working together as a team to support our students.

  Jamie Doss, Carter

Jaime Doss: Working with parents and ensuring students get the services they need.

Kathleen Lance: Talking with our parents and helping them understand the IEP.

Laura Arrington-Rose: Assisting in the process of removing barriers that have prevented students from reaching their full potential.  Parents are appreciative of their children’s growth since AUSL has become a part of O’Keeffe.  

Cynthia Mack, Orr High School Cynthia Mack, Orr High School

Cynthia Rossi-Mack: Watching the students grow beyond their fears – the difference 4-5 years can make… AMAZING!

How would your colleagues describe you?

Ayanna Peden: Relentless and driven. I have those hard conversations and don’t mind if you hate me now because you are going to thank me later. 

Melvina Maisonette, Chicago Academy High School Melvina Maisonet, Chicago Academy High School

Melvina Maisonet: A hard worker that strives to advocate for students.

Amy Franklin: Professional, diligent, effective, personable and devoted. 

Nicole Brown: Very assertive and organized. 

Melanie Thompson: Approachable and very organized.

Cynthia Rossi-Mack: Militant and devoted. 

Robert Bachman, Tarkington Robert Bachman, Tarkington

Robert Bachman: An angel or the devil – it depends who you ask and what day it is. I really hope they see me as a dedicated professional who strongly desires to make positive changes in the lives of children.

Brittany Price: A learner. I am always willing to learn from others.

Kathleen Lance: An open, happy, easy to talk to, dependable, lovable, and busy person.

What do you appreciate most about your staff?

Courtnie Scharf - McNair, Lauren Bollini - Sherman, Amy Franklin,  - Piccolo, Ayanna Peden - Solorio HS Courtnie Scharf, McNair; Lauren Bollini, Sherman; Amy Franklin, Piccolo; Ayanna Peden, Solorio HS

Courtnie Scharf: McNair’s cluster program teachers are always willing to do whatever it takes to meet all deadlines.  Their classroom instruction also rocks!

Ayanna Peden: Solorio’s dedication and caring for the well being of our students. The staff taps into that unlimited supply of energy and tenacity to get things done. I love how they go above and beyond their outlined job description for our students. 

Jennett Tempone: Collins teachers LOVE their students. I have never worked with such dedicated and devoted teachers.

Christina Romo: The Casal staff’s flexibility and willingness to go above and beyond their jobs.  They really care about ALL students.

Maureen McClelland, Gresham Maureen McClelland, Gresham

Maureen McClelland: Gresham teachers put the students first!  Ms. Brittany Anderson and Ms. Christine Hurley always perform with our students’ best interests in mind, and that is the motivation that drives every phenomenal teacher.  I am very thankful to be working among such professionals who do what it takes to get the job done and done well!

Nicole Brown: At Phillips, we work together as a team no matter the circumstances. 

Kelly Anchors: The special education team at Howe is so incredibly top-notch! I feel infinitely lucky to be able to work with such a dedicated group. My principals always open their doors to me (or don’t get upset when I bust in), are advocates and create an atmosphere of open dialogue and trust. 

Erin Vandermore, Harvard Erin Vandermore, Harvard

Erin Vandermore: Their ability to step when help is needed.  Harvard always puts the needs of the students first! 

Jaime Doss: Carter’s open communication and willing to come to me with issues and concerns.

Robert Bachman: Tarkington is an amazing place. We have incredible grounds and facilities, caring staff, and bright, sensitive children. I am proud to call this school my home.

Brenda Newbern, Johnson Brenda Newbern, Johnson

Brenda Newbern: I want to give a “shout out” to the entire staff, students, and parents at Johnson.  We could not be as wonderful as we are without the support of Team Johnson.

Kate Picinich:  All of the Learning Behavior Specialists at Fuller are proactive and care so deeply about their kiddos.  They go above and beyond – meeting with students before school, after school, during their lunches and preps, as well as lead clubs and engage in building relationships beyond just academic pursuits.  Laura Gangichiodo, Kirsten Cobb, and Katie Engelking are true rockstars. They make my job one thousand times easier and I am really thankful for them.  

Laura Arrington-Rose, O'Keeffe Laura Arrington-Rose, O’Keeffe

Laura Arrington-Rose: O’Keeffe’s general education teachers and their assistance in providing information to complete section 7 of the IEP.  I also appreciate them attending and staying for the full meeting so they understand how they can best support diverse learners in the general education setting.

What do you wish all educators knew/understood about special education?

Chrissy Brown: Everyone is a diverse learner.

Melvina Maisonet: A “cookie cutter” method of instruction does not work for all students.  Our students deserve educators that can deliver specially designed instruction and are always reflective.

Valerie McKee,  Chalmers Valerie McKee, Chalmers

Valerie McKee: Students with social/emotional disabilities need to be addressed based on their individual needs which requires a large amount of knowledge, understanding and empathy towards the specific disability.  

Christina Romo: It takes a village!

Courtnie Scharf: Special education teachers have a special gift, it takes a lot out of you day by day and I am so appreciative of their support!

Kristina Lunger, Stagg Kristina Lunger, Stagg

Kristina Lunger: My vision for our diverse learners is that every child will grow up to be have a positive impact on society and have full, rich, and independent life. 

Kara Barber: You can learn a lot about people who view the world differently than you do. At NTA, we are working to create a departmentalized schedule that best supports our students in their LRE and allows us to implement the co-teaching model with fidelity.

Erin Vandermore: Diverse Learners have many strengths that general education teachers can use to help all students reach their potential. 

Kimberly Carter, Bradwell Kimberly Carter, Bradwell

Melanie Thompson: Students with special needs can learn, but they learn in different ways.  Many famous people who have made great contributions to society had learning challenges.

Kelly Anchors: Special Education is not a magical “cure” for students with special needs. Some teachers feel that if a student gets identified they are now someone else’s responsibility. All students have a right to an education in the least restrictive setting possible and I wish more teachers would advocate for that.

To our AUSL Case Managers, we thank you for all you do for our students and families and we celebrate your leadership, collaboration, and advocacy!


Not pictured: Christina Romo, Casals; Jennett Tempone, Collins; Erica Smith, Curtis; Sheronne Hill, Deneen; Elayne Smith, Dodge; Zipporah Jones, Dulles; Charlo Jordan, Dvorak; Kate Pinich, Fuller; Alicia Marsh, Herzl; Kelly Anchors, Howe; Melanie Thompson, Lewis; Kathleen Lance, Morton; Kara Barber, NTA; Nicole Brown-Vinci, Phillips HS; Deirdre Pallasch, TCA


Who is your case manager?  Share what you appreciate about them here!


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