The Alpha School Team
Meet a few members of our school family.
Since I was a very small child, I have always wanted to be a teacher. I attended Marywood University in Scranton PA and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Special Education and Elementary Education. This enabled me to obtain certification as a Teacher of the Handicapped and Elementary teacher with the New Jersey Department of Education. I was the first teacher hired to work at the Alpha School in 1980. Previously, I had taught at the Early Chilhood Learning Center in Madison, New Jersey for 3 years. I taught various mutiply disabled classes at Alpha for my first five years. The administration encouraged me to pursue my Masters Degree in Supervision and Curriculum Development which I received from Georgian Court College. This allowed me to become the vice-principal of the school in 1985. I left the school in 1986 and spent 10 years working at another private special needs school as a teacher, supervisor and vice-principal. It was also during my time away from Alpha that in 1992 I became a mom to my son Colin. In 1996 I was welcomed back to Alpha to take on the role I had when I left, vice-principal. I continued in my role as vice principal for three years and then I became the principal. This is a role that I had dreamt of having. I am fortunate to be doing what I know I was meant to do.
Alpha School is a very special place. The teachers, assistants, therapists and support staff are very dedicated to our students. Going above and beyond what is required, is something that our staff members do everyday. It is my job to give them the tools they need to help each of our students reach their individual potential. It is a great privilege to work with this special group of people who are totally committed to the children that we provide services for.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”.
— Margaret Mead
Anne Marie Leahy Hall, Supervisor of Instruction
I have been with the RKS group since 1999. I am currently serving as the Supervisor of Instruction at the Alpha School. I am a summa cum laude graduate of Boston College with a BA in Elementary and Special Education and a Masters of Education in Special Education /Generic Learning Specialist. I began my career in education as a fourth grade teacher at Oak Knoll School in Summit, NJ. After obtaining my masters from Boston College, I was a resource room teacher for students in sixth through eighth grade at Weston Jr. High School in Weston, Massachusetts. Upon my return to New Jersey, I taught first and second grades, as well as Intermediate Neurologically Impaired Classes for third though sixth graders for the Millburn Public School System.
I joined the Harbor School in Eatontown after a twelve year hiatus spent raising my two daughters, Caitlin and Megan. There I taught multiply disabled students and served as Harbor’s Learning Disabilities Consultant prior to becoming the Supervisor of Instruction at Alpha School. I continued my education at Rutgers and Georgian Court College where I earned a Supervisor’s Certificate. I hold certifications from the New Jersey Department of Education as an Elementary School Teacher, Teacher of the Handicapped, Learning Disabilities Consultant and Supervisor. I also hold Elementary and Special Education Certification in Massachusetts. I am dedicated to improving the lives and instruction of children with special needs.
Murae Vogler, Social Worker
My name is Murae Vogler and I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I have been happily working at the Alpha School for the past 15 years. I started my journey into special education and developmental disabilities when I was in grade school. I have known since I was young that I wanted to help children and adolescents manage their special challenge, to be a voice for them. I obtained both my undergraduate and graduate degrees from Rutgers University. I received my Masters in Social work in 1999 and my clinical certification in 2003. I have been trained in the “Handle with Care” behavioral management system every year since 2004.
My role in the school is to provide individual counseling and crisis service to our students. Using a CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) approach in sessions, I help students learn to manage their emotions and behaviors using fun and unique modalities. I also manage our crisis team, who work hard to help our students with severe behavior issues. My role also entails helping parents and families by providing information on referrals and resources to community programs, doctors and mental health agencies. I recognize that having a special needs child can be challenging and I enjoy providing families with the emotional support and the means necessary to navigate through the educational and mental health system.
When I am not happily working at Alpha, I am home with my two wonderful daughters, Mackenzie and Mikayla and my loving husband, Mike. I love to read, garden, listen to music and socialize with my family and friends.
Linda Barich, School Nurse
I have enjoyed being the Alpha School nurse since 2003. I became a registered nurse after completing the nursing program at St. Vincent’s Medical Center of Richmond School of Nursing and I earned my Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Kean University. I completed the NJ School Nurse certification program at New Jersey City University. My favorite aspect of nursing is the interaction with the students and the challenges of acting as an independent practitioner in the school setting which requires responding to diverse nursing situations. I keep current with best practice standards in nursing including asthma management approaches as developed by the Pediatric/Adult Asthma Coalition of New Jersey and seizure management practices from the Epilepsy Foundation of America. I work with an interdisciplinary team that includes teachers, teaching assistants, parents, therapists, our social worker, students’ physicians and administration to provide care which focuses on both the health and academic needs of our students. I admit that it is a very different type of nursing, moving from hospital based care to community nursing, but now I couldn’t imagine doing anything else!
“You can’t educate a child who isn’t healthy and you can’t keep a child healthy who isn’t educated”.
— Dr. Jocelyn Elders, 15th Surgeon General of the United States
Eileen Trainor, Transition Coordinator
I graduated from Kean University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Special Education. I have been an educator at the Alpha School since 1989. Currently, I am the high school Career Education teacher and I work with our students to develop various work and age appropriate social skills to succeed in the working world. Within our classroom we have created businesses such as napkin and stationary imprinting, balloons and personalized mugs and ornaments, commercial embroidering and heat press machines. In addition we run an office skills program where the students make copies, collate, shred papers and participate in large bulk mailings for various organizations. We also run our Otis Spunkmeyer cookie program several days a week.
I also work as the Transition / Structured Learning Experience Coordinator. Students 14-15 years old are assigned a work experience within our school setting to prepare them with the skills necessary to function on a job. When students turn 16, I work closely with the job coach to place our students in various local community businesses that provide them with the opportunity to sample career choices and field experiences.
Working with our students continues to be the best part of my job. I especially enjoy when our former graduates come back to visit and share their successful work experiences.
When I’m not at work I enjoy spending time with my son Joseph, my husband Patrick and our Wheaten Terrier Tucker. My favorite hobbies include photography, shopping, decorating and vacationing, especially on Long Beach Island.
When not at work I enjoy photography, shopping and spending time with my husband Patrick and my son Joseph.
Kathy Moore, Health and Physical Education Teacher
I began teaching at Alpha School in 1985, as the Health and Physical Education instructor. My responsibilities include developing, strengthening, and implementing the health and physical education curriculum. I enjoy helping my students strengthen appropriate social interactive skills with their peers during activity. I have established a strong rapport and respect with my students, which I am very proud of. In addition, I have established athletic programs for our students to participate in Special Olympics competitions – both bowling and bocce. Beginning this year, I have established an Alpha School Alumni bocce team for participating in Special Olympics. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Trento State College(presently the College of New Jersey), and I hold a New Jersey teaching certificate to teach Health and Physical Education – grades K-12. I reside in Brick Township with my husband Tony, and have three wonderful children, Amy/husband TJ, and twin sons Michael and Ryan.
Wanda Pratola, Secretary
I first started at the Harbor School (our sister school) in 2001 and I transferred to the Alpha School in 2004, and have been here ever since. My job is diversified which makes it interesting on a daily basis. I am the first person everyone sees when you enter our doors. I have a positive attitude and I am always happy to greet all our visitors. My duties consist of answering the telephone, taking care of students’ records, scheduling all meetings, and speaking with many of our students’ parents on a daily basis. I also assist all our staff with their needs as well. I feel that being positive, compassionate and getting along with administration as well as my co-workers is very important in our setting. The Alpha School has become my second family and I enjoy coming to work everyday. I feel that I make a real difference in the lives of our students and their families.
Denise E. Kumpel, M.A. CCC/SLP, Speech and Language Pathologist
I have been a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist since 2002. I initially earned an A.A degree through Ocean County College and a B.S degree in Speech from Stockton University, before going on to acquire an M.A. degree from The College of New Jersey in the area of Speech and Language. I was employed on an emergency certified basis in a special needs school in N.J., while continuing to pursue my education. Following the completion of my Master’s Degree, I joined the Alpha School family, and have provided speech and language services to children and students from the ages of Preschool-21. I primarily service the High School students at Alpha, and enjoy focusing on increasing social and pragmatic skills, and further transferring those skills over into community settings. In addition, I work for Early Intervention servicing the birth-3 population, and also do part-time private therapy work as well. When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with and taking walks with my dog, drawing, exercising, and cooking/baking.
I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences from Kean University in May of 1992. I went on to receive my Master of Arts degree in Speech Pathology in August of 1993. My first job experience was as a Speech-Language Pathologist at the Children’s Center of Monmouth County. I have worked for a private practice in Monmouth County as well as for several agencies throughout Ocean County. I currently have a part-time private practice.
Beverly Holborow, Speech and Language Pathologist
Related Services Specialist
I began working at the Alpha School in September 1996 as a staff Speech-Language Pathologist and Related Services Specialist. As the Related Services Specialist, I am responsible for coordinating Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy for all the students that attend the Alpha School. In addition, I act as a liaison between the therapy staff and the administration. I provide information regarding our therapy programs to parents and case managers looking to place students at our school. I collaborate with therapists from our sister schools, Harbor School and Gateway School, to gain new information and ideas to keep our therapy program dynamic. As a staff Speech-Language Pathologist, I provide speech and language therapy for Elementary through High School aged students. I have mentored and supervised many students from various undergraduate and graduate programs in Speech Pathology. I developed a dog therapy program here at Alpha School. My therapy dog Vegas works with students in individual speech therapy sessions as well as larger class group sessions. Additionally, she assists students experiencing anxiety and emotional difficulties. I have attended numerous continuing education courses in the areas of augmentative communication, oral-motor/feeding and autism. I received formal training in the use of PROMPT (Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets) method. In 2002 I received the Ruth K. Newman award for Excellence for teaching special needs students.
I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences from Kean University in May of 1992. I went on to receive my Master of Arts degree in Speech Pathology from Kean University in August of 1993. My first job experience was as a Speech-Language Pathologist at the Children’s Center of Monmouth County. I have worked for a private practice in Monmouth County as well as for several agencies throughout Ocean County.
Mary Jo Mongaliri, Art Teacher
I started at Alpha School in 1983 as a full time employee, after subbing for two years in the classrooms. All together I have 34 years of experience working with students who have a variety of disabilities. My art room is always busy with classes as well as individual specialty art groups. The inspiration and chatter while my artists work is such a great thing to view as well as hear. Students are always encouraged to experiment and exchange opinions to create their art. I see my job as more of a facilitator and mentor to the artists at our school, helping them to build their skills and techniques through the elements of art. Along with regular artwork during the year our students have the opportunity to enter state and local art contests. We have had winners and received honorable mention for their work. We also present our artists work at the local library, galleries, and in a traveling art exhibit through Brookdale Collage. One of my privileges is to also coach the Alpha Cheerleaders and Stompers, who perform at school events and intermural games. I have also presented at the ASHA Conference where I was privileged to share my skills with my peers. My experience at Alpha School has been an enriching one for me and I hope for my students.
Debbie O’Hara, Teacher Assistant
My career at Alpha School started in 1993. I really enjoy my job and still find it very rewarding after all these years. I love working with the students and the staff. We are a family here at Alpha! I help in running the cooking and baking club for a number of years. At the present time, I am a teacher assistant in the high school, working with Mrs. Tomaine. We teach Science and Culinary Arts, two subjects I enjoy very much.
When I’m not busy working, I enjoy spending time with my family. I have been married to my husband John for 46 years. We were blessed with four wonderful children, and five beautiful grandchildren, ranging from 5 to 19. My favorite hobbies are crocheting, along with baking and decorating cakes. At Alpha, I’m known as Debbie O., the cake lady!
Jorie Sanzone, Paraprofessional
I started working at Alpha School as a paraprofessional in February of 2000. I have worked with students in preschool through high school and have enjoyed working with all of the age groups. I also currently work in the after school program and we have a lot of fun. I have three children, two girls and a boy. In my free time I like to go to the beach and watch the sunrise and look for sea glass. Traveling is also something I enjoy. I like working at the Alpha School because we are one big happy family and work together to meet the needs of our students.
Jess Perricane, Elementary teacher
Hi! My name is Ms. Jess Perricane. I am an elementary teacher at Alpha School. I am a first year teacher and it has been a wonderful year thus far. I have been working with special needs students for the past four years. I was born and raised in New Jersey. I attended Georgian Court University and graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor’s Degree, teaching certification (K-6) and a TSWD Endorsement.
A little bit about myself, I love being outdoors submerged in nature. I truly enjoy hiking especially when my two dogs tag along. I am an avid traveler. I have traveled to Guatemala, Honduras, Thailand, Cuba and across the United States. I love the sense of adventure when traveling and learning about different cultures. I have learned and grown with every trip that I have taken. I look forward to all of my future adventures that lie ahead.
I am so thankful to be able to work with such exceptional children. Being a part of my students’ journeys to achieve their goals has been the greatest joy of my life.
Katherine Frustieri, Job Coach
I started working at the Alpha School in September of 1998. I was a Para-professional for three years in the High School before taking on the position of Job Coach. I take our students, ages 16-21 to a variety of local businesses for job sampling. Our students volunteer for these work experiences. I train the students on how to complete the tasks and appropriate social skills needed for job placement. Since acquiring this position, I have added several new businesses that participate in our program. I believe that my enthusiasm for this program translates to our student’s performance and their eagerness while on the job sites. I also run the weekly pizza program and the annual Mother’s Day plant sale. All proceeds are used for the end of the year luncheon to reward our students for all their hard work.
Beth Mulholland, Physical Therapist
Beth Mulholland has been working at Alpha School as a Physical Therapist for more than 15 years. Her previous experience includes working in pediatric and adult inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation as a therapist and supervisor, and in home care. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy from Russell Sage College in 1982, and her Masters in Public Administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1994. She enjoys working with her students at Alpha, focusing on improving their motor skills, balance, fitness and functional mobility in the school setting. She has extensive experience in evaluating and recommending orthotics, and has developed an orthotic program here at Alpha School. She has assessed many students for durable medical equipment, strollers, and adaptive bicycles. Her goal for her students is to help them maximize their movement potential, and develop healthy movement and fitness habits that they can carry on after they complete their schooling.
Amanda Latham, MT-BC, Music Therapist
Amanda Latham received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Therapy and her minor in Psychology from Montclair State University. She completed her internship at the Center for Discovery in Harris, NY; and went on to receive her Music Therapy Board Certification in December 2012. She was hired as the Music Therapist at Alpha and Harbor School in September 2014, where she uses music to address goals such as increasing socialization skills, communication, and self-expression. Amanda is currently a member of the New Jersey Task Force for Music Therapists, working toward state recognition for music therapists in New Jersey.