We are committed to finding practical and individualized solutions. Your child does not have to “fit” into a program or approach - we will create a customized program for your child and your family. Whether your child needs a single, direct service or broader, multifaceted support from The Center’s interdisciplinary team, he or she is the focal point.
We favor a capability-based approach designed to develop a student’s strengths instead of focusing solely on areas of weakness. Our goal is to involve and engage the student in the learning process, and emphasize self-knowledge, self-confidence, and self-advocacy.
We believe that all children want to learn and can learn. It is our responsibility to foster an environment in which we facilitate current success and develop the necessary skills to enable future successes.
In addition to working directly with children and their families, we are also committed to supporting schools and other organizations which work with children to better differentiate and serve students with innovative programs and personnel to support and augment your activities.
Our team is comprised of full-time credentialed and compassionate educational professionals and therapeutic practitioners with a common belief in the effectiveness of individualized services and supported differentiated learning. We are knowledgeable in current research-based methods and techniques, and employ a student-centered philosophy. While working to form strong relationships with students, we strive to offer support to families and schools, recognizing that success is truly a collaborative effort.
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+ Diane Ferber, MA C.A.S., MBA — Executive Director
Diane, a School Psychologist who has worked in both public and private settings, is responsible for developing and overseeing programs and supports for students with learning differences and social/emotional needs, and ensuring that our expertise is customized for your child. Diane’s experience IEP and 504 planning, individual and group counseling, teacher and parent consultation, and whole-class workshops on social/emotional skills, safety, and test anxiety. She has also conducted private psycho-educational and neuro-psychological assessments for students K - 12, helping identify strengths and areas requiring support. She believes strongly in providing scientifically based, customized and understandable assessment recommendations which are actionable by parents at home, and by teachers and service providers.
Diane received her Master’s degree and Certificate of Advanced Study in School Psychology from Fairfield University, her undergraduate degree in Economics from Brandeis University, and an MBA from The George Washington University. Diane sits on several local advisory committees focused on inclusion, student success and collaborative support.
+ Nancy Grejtak, MA, MBA —Director
Working with specific outplacement programs, Nancy leads the team responsible for developing and implementing best practice assessment and educational instruction for students in these alternative settings. Prior to joining GEG and launching Specialized Learning Services, Nancy was the Director of Pupil Services in the Los Altos School District in California, where she was responsible for administration of the special education and psychological services programs for the district. Nancy also was a Resource Specialist and Inclusion Specialist teacher in Sunnyvale School District for nine years, where she was honored as Teacher of the Year. Nancy received her undergraduate degree from University of California at Santa Barbara, a Masters in Business Administration from Pepperdine University, and a Masters in Special Education from Santa Clara University.
+ Laura Conte, BS, MPS — Director
Laura Conte holds a BS in Management from Hartwick College, an MPS in Elementary and Special Education from Manhattanville College, and a Sixth-Year Diploma in Educational Administration from the University of Connecticut. Over the past fifteen years, Laura has served as a special education teacher and an administrator in private and public education. As a special education teacher, she has developed expertise in language-based learning disabilities and executive-functioning deficits. Laura began her teaching career at Eagle Hill School in Greenwich, and then continued as a resource teacher and individual learning needs coach in the Stamford Public Schools. Laura’s passion to make a difference in her students' lives led her to become Assistant Director of Special Education for the Darien Public Schools. Laura served as Director of Assessment and Instruction at King, a private school in Stamford, before joining GEG as the Educational Director for the Pinnacle School. Laura has also worked privately as an educational consultant to help families navigate the special education process.
+ Sarah Morris — Administrative Manager
Prior to joining The Collaborative Center, Sarah was the Administrative Coordinator for the Pinnacle School and Specialized Learning Services at Greenwich Ed Group. Sarah helps coordinate scheduling changes, and ensures that parents have a knowledgeable contact that can quickly handle inquiries, issues, and questions that may arise.
+ Shannon Evelyn Matthews, MS, BCBA — Behaviorist
Shannon earned her BA in Psychology from Central Connecticut State University, and her MS in Educational School Counseling from National University. Shannon brings over 10 years of experience working with students of all ages, abilities and needs. With specific expertise in Early Intervention Programs and children with ASD’s, Shannon works with parents, students and schools to complete FBA’s, and provide at school and home based behavioral support.
+ Stephanie Perell, LCSW — Social Worker
Stephanie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Connecticut and New York who has worked extensively with children, adolescents and their families. After receiving a Masters of Science in Social Work (MSSW) degree from the Columbia University School of Social Work, she has pursued advanced trainings in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness, Social Skills-building and trauma informed care. Undergraduate studies at The George Washington University earning a B.A. in both psychology and art history formed a lifelong interest in the relationship between these disciplines.
Her approach to practice blends behavioral, psychodynamic, expressive art and play therapy interventions to support growth and change. Stephanie has been effective when working with children and adolescents who experience: generalized anxiety, social anxiety, depression, ADD/ADHD, school avoidance, anger/impulse control, trauma and grief. As a therapist working with young people, Stephanie has found that active parent participation is a key factor for success and will consistently encourage open communication.
+ Joanna Frank, MPS —Reading Specialist, Director of Specialized Test Prep
Joanna, a special education teacher and reading/literacy specialist, heads our Reading Skills Program and our Specialized Test Prep for the SAT, ACT, and ISEE. She also provides direct instruction to students who are completing admissions essays to independent college preparatory schools and to colleges. Joanna graduated from Manhattanville College with a BA in Psychology and English, and an MPS in Special Education and Childhood Education. In addition, Joanna has Multisensory Reading Instruction certification. Prior to joining The Collaborative Center, Joanna taught at Solomon Schechter School of Westchester, Eagle Hill School, Windward School, and the Yonkers Public School system. Joanna is able to help students improve accuracy, fluency and comprehension, support struggling, emerging readers, and engage even the most reluctant readers in the reading and writing process. In addition, as head of the Specialized Test Prep, Joanna adds to excellent quality test prep by providing oversight of customization for students with learning differences and high anxiety to ensure that each student receives individualized test taking strategies specific to their learning profile.
+ Alicia Gerbert, MPS — Reading, Assistive Technology, Math
Alicia earned her Masters in Elementary Special Education from Manhattanville College, and is an Orton Gillingham certified instructor. Prior to joining The Collaborative Center, Alicia worked with students at Pear Tree Point School and the Scarsdale Public School System. Alicia has specific experience with teaching students with ASD’s and medical issues, and is able to turn school avoidant students into confident learners. She also has experience in helping students integrate assistive technology into their academic reading and writing. Alicia is able to draw from a wide variety of math and reading/writing programs and customize them for each student, and works with both day students after school students for math/reading skills, executive functions, study skills, and homework completion.