Silver Spring Team
 Andy Hubner, Head of School, Silver Spring Campus

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B.A., Pennsylvania State University M.A. Student Counseling, The American University M.A. School Administration & Supervision, McDaniel College Licensed under MSDE as Superintendent, Principal, Pupil Personnel Worker, Special Education Teacher and Political Science Teacher

Andy Hubner, Head of School, Silver Spring Campus

Andy comes to Auburn with over 20 years of experience as a talented special education leader in both private and public school systems. He started teaching as a Peace Corp volunteer in Guatemala, and continued his career as a teacher, principal and central office administrator within the DC metro area. During his tenure in education he also served as a content expert in special education for the U.S. Department of Education Race to the Top State Grant competition. He is currently working on his doctoral studies at Johns Hopkins University where he also served as adjunct faculty. He is licensed through the Maryland State Department of Education with endorsements as a Superintendent, Principal, Pupil Personnel Worker, Special Education Teacher and Political Science Teacher. Andy received his undergraduate degree from The Pennsylvania State University and holds two masters degrees, one in Student Counseling from The American University, and a second in School Administration and Supervision from McDaniel College.

 Jennifer Polkes, Director of Admissions

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M.Ed. Special Education (in progress)

Jennifer Polkes, Director of Admissions

Jennifer comes to Auburn after over a decade of working as a disability advocate in the DC metropolitan area. She has worked with a myriad of local and national disability organizations on lobbying legislative agendas, program initiatives, marketing campaigns, community training, grant writing and research projects. Over the last several years, Jennifer has focused her attention on education advocacy.  She has helped families of children with special needs find appropriate school placement and has acted as a liaison between families and schools while addressing a student’s requirements for success. Jennifer is currently working on her Master’s in Special Education, as well as her BCBA training. She is the proud mother of an Auburn graduate, and two unruly yellow labs.

 Emily Song, Curriculum & Instruction Specialist

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B.A. Psychology, Franklin and Marshall College M.S. Education, Simmons College Licenses: Severe Disabilities

Emily Song, Curriculum & Instruction Specialist

Emily joins the Auburn team with a lifetime of experience in Special Education. Having grown up with a younger brother on the autism spectrum, Emily quickly developed the empathy, adaptability, and good sense of humor required to work in the realm of Special Education. Prior to joining Auburn, she spent 3 years at the New England Center for Children, a residential facility for students with severe autism. She then served for another 3 years in Massachusetts's public schools, where she worked with students with autism, anxiety disorders, emotional disabilities, dyslexia and attention deficit disorders. After 6 years in the Greater Boston area, Emily returns to her home of Silver Spring to start a new chapter at The Auburn School. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Franklin and Marshall College and an M.S. in Education with a licensure in Severe Disabilities from Simmons College.

 Michelle Ivey, Social Learning Specialist

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M.S.W., The University of Pennsylvania Licenses: Social Work (Maryland)

Michelle Ivey, Social Learning Specialist

Michelle returns for her 5th year with the Auburn School as our Social Learning Specialist, after 4 years of serving as Director of Admissions. She has worked clinically with children and young adults with autism and other related diagnoses, ages 2 ½-20, in a variety of settings.  Prior to joining the Auburn team, she worked at the Northeast Treatment Centers in Philadelphia, PA, where she acted as the supervisor for an After School Program and Summer Therapeutic Activities Program that utilized a Social Thinking and Zones of Regulation Curriculum for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Michelle holds an M.S.W from the University of Pennsylvania and is a licensed social worker in Maryland.

 Madeline Magnusson, Social Learning Specialist

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B.A. History, Elon University M.S. Behavioral Psychology, Pepperdine University (in progress)

Madeline Magnusson, Social Learning Specialist

Madeline returns to Auburn this year as the Elementary School's Social Learning Specialist. Prior to Auburn, she served for over 4 years in special education as a behavior therapist and an ABA trainer in schools, homes, community, and social group settings, during which time she worked with students diagnosed with ASD, NVLD, ADD/ADHD and anxiety disorders. Madeline holds a B.A. in History from Elon University and is currently pursuing her M.S. in Behavioral Psychology from Pepperdine University.

 

 Ana McArdle, Behavior Support Specialist

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B.A. Child & Adolescent Development, Juniata College B.A. Social Services, Juniata College M.A. Special Education, Notre Dame of Maryland University (in progress)

Ana McArdle, Behavior Support Specialist

Ana joins the Auburn team this year after 11 years of working with individuals with  Autism and emotional, intellectual and learning disabilities. She began her professional career as a case manager at a social service agency, serving in their Special Needs and Deaf Services Department. There, she organized and championed a social club whose main purpose was to enable and empower teenagers and young adults to form relationships with their peers while developing and enhancing their social skills strategies. Afterwords, Ana transitioned to Sheppard Pratt, where she spent 8 years at The Frost School as an educational assistant before becoming an assistant behavior specialist. For the last 2 years, she taught 4th grade Special Education in another Sheppard Pratt program. Ana obtained her B.A. in Child and Adolescent Development and Social Services from Juniata College, and is working to finish her M.A. in Special Education at Notre Dame of Maryland University.

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 Megan Silfee, COTA/L

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B.S Psychology (with concentration in Child Development), Lebanon Valley College A.A. Occupational Therapy, Trinity Washington University Certifications: Newborn Movement Assessment, Introduction to Movement Lessons, Handwriting Without Tears

Megan Silfee, COTA/L

Megan joined The Auburn School with over 10 years of experience working with special needs individuals in academic, therapeutic, and home settings. She has previously worked as a para-educator and afterschool teacher at The Siena School, and as an ABA therapist at Little Leaves. Megan also spends a few nights a week working as a private occupational therapist in Rockville, MD in order to continue to grow as a therapist. She has extensive experience working with individuals with autism spectrum disorder, behavioral challenges, neuromuscular disorders, and language-based learning disabilities. Megan obtained her B.S in Psychology with a focus in Child Development from Lebanon Valley College, and her associate degree in Occupational Therapy from Trinity Washington University. She also holds certifications in Newborn Movement Assessment, Introduction to Movement Lessons, and Handwriting Without Tears.

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 David King, Teacher

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B.A. Japanese Language & Literature, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

David King, Teacher

David came to the Silver Spring team with 8 years of teaching experience. Before becoming a lead classroom teacher, he served as an instructional assistant. Prior to joining Auburn, he worked for 3 years as an assistant language teacher in various Japanese middle schools under the Japanese government’s Japan English Teaching Programme. He then spent another 3 years as a Guest English Teacher in South Korea’s English Program in Korea. During his time abroad he also studied several martial arts, including Tai Chi, Naginata, Taekwondo, and Haidong Gumdo, the latter of which he now teaches. David holds a B.A. in Japanese Language and Literature from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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 Imani Parker, Teacher

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B.S.W., Oakwood University M.S.W., Morgan State University

Imani Parker, Teacher

Imani is a new addition to the Auburn School team this year and comes with previous experience working with children with disabilities in the foster care system. She has also worked in the summer camp world as a counselor and curriculum director for nearly 10 years. Imani has a strong background working with children in a variety of settings. Imani recently graduated with her M.S.W. from Morgan State University, and also holds a B.S.W. from Oakwood University. When not working, Imani enjoys doing crafts of all kinds, spending time with her four younger brothers, and reading.

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 Tami Raistrick, Instructional Assistant

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B.A. Theatre, University of New Mexico

Tami Raistrick, Instructional Assistant

Tami Raistrick couldn’t be happier to join the team at The Auburn School as an Instructional Assistant this year. She is looking forward to supporting and growing with the staff and the students of the Silver Spring campus. Tami graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Arts in Theatre from the University of New Mexico.

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 Amanda Sickel, Instructional Assistant

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B.A. Psychology, McDaniel College M.A. Applied Behavior Analysis, the Chicago School of Professional Psychology (in progress) Licenses: registered behavior technician

Amanda Sickel, Instructional Assistant

Amanda joins Auburn's Silver Spring team with 4 years of experience in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), and has extensive experience working with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum disorder, attention deficit disorder, and other developmental disorders. Before Auburn, Amanda spent 2 years as a Registered Behavior Technician with Little Leaves Behavioral Services, where she provided in-home and in-school ABA therapy to children of various ages. Amanda received her B.A. in Psychology from McDaniel College, and is pursuing her M.A. in Applied Behavior Analysis from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. In her free time, Amanda enjoys spending time with family and friends, and hanging out with her two labrador retrievers.

 Anna Soares, Teacher

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B.Ed. Elementary Education, Berea College

Anna Soares, Teacher

Anna joins Auburn's Silver Spring team after moving from Kentucky, where she worked as a 4th grade science teacher, planning and implementing classroom instruction and assessments, collaborating with classroom teachers, parents, special education teachers and teacher aids, and managing 4 classes of students with differentiated behavioral and academic abilities. Most recently, Anna served as an ESS (Extended Student Services) teacher, working with small groups of students with special needs in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade to gauge their academic levels, create and provide needed academic supports, track data for the students' lead teachers, and prepare the students for end-of-the-year assessments. Anna received her B.Ed in Elementary Education from Berea College, with certification in grades P-5. With her recent move to Maryland, she is excited to be living close to family again, and is even more eager to continue her teaching career at Auburn, helping to shape and support the young minds that walk through her classroom door. 

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 Scott Swick, Teacher and Camp Aristotle  Director

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B.A. American Studies, University of Maryland- Baltimore County B.Ed. Elementary Education, University of Maryland- Baltimore County

Scott Swick, Teacher and Camp Aristotle Director

Scott joined Auburn's Silver Spring team with more than ten years experience working with exceptional learners, having spent time at the Ivymount School and the Katherine Thomas School. He also has experience working to develop and implement ABA behavior plans in and outside of the school setting. In addition to his time spent in the classroom, Mr. Swick has experience working as a respite care provider for students on the Autism spectrum and has spent the last three years working alongside students working to develop and integrate both community based and social skills. Scott obtained a dual degree/certification in American Studies and Elementary Education from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he graduated with High Honors.

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 Paris Thalheimer, Teacher

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B.S. Social Sciences, Towson University

Paris Thalheimer, Teacher

Prior to joining The Auburn School, Paris retired from the U.S. Army after 20 years of service. While in the Army, he served in various roles, including Logistics Specialist, Combat Medic, and CPR instructor. In the school setting, Paris has experience interning in 3rd through 5th grade levels in Howard and Baltimore County Public Schools, as well as other volunteer experiences with children. He holds a B.S. in Social Sciences from Towson University.

 Katherine Tomb, Teacher

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B.A. Special Education, Universidad Femenina Del Sagrado Corazon M.D. Clinical Neuropsychology, Universidad de Leon M.D. Learning Disabilities, Universidad Cayetano Heredia

Katherine Tomb, Teacher

Katherine is joining Auburn School with 8 years of experience as a special education teacher and learning therapist. Katherine's passion for special education came from years of volunteer work at shelters in her hometown Lima, Peru. Katherine received her B.Ed in Special Education from Sacred Heart University, Peru. She also holds a M.A. in Learning Disabilities from Cayetano Heredia University, Peru, and a M.D. in Clinical Neuropsychology from University of Leon, Peru. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, running and doing zumba.

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Advisory Board

  • Taruna Ahluvalia, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and pediatric neuropsychologist in private practice in Columbia, MD. She has practiced as a pediatric neuropsychologist in the DC/Baltimore region for over 12 years. Dr. Ahluvalia has expertise in evaluation of children and adolescents with autism-spectrum disorders, specific learning disorders, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), executive functioning problems, language disorders, and neurological disorders, and in the assessment of emotional functioning. Dr. Ahluvalia has worked with children and adolescents on the autism spectrum for over 12 years, she has served as a pediatric neuropsychologist on specialized autism teams at Children's National Medical Center (CNMC), and she has presented research on neuropsychological profiles in high-functioning ASD at national conferences.  Dr. Ahluvalia has also presented talks on high-functioning autism-spectrum disorders to state psychological and educational organizations and parent groups. Dr. Ahluvalia holds an academic appointment as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at George Washington University School of Medicine. Prior to opening her private practice in Columbia, MD, Dr. Ahluvalia has served as a pediatric neuropsychologist at CNMC, Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital, and in a group private practice.

    Dr. David Black, Ph.D., National Institute of Mental Health Pediatrics & Developmental Neuroscience Branch, Stixrud Group, is a licensed clinical psychologist and pediatric neuropsychologist. He is skilled in the assessment of a wide range of childhood neurological, psychiatric, developmental, and learning disorders and is an expert is in the diagnosis and neuropsychological assessment of children with autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Black is actively doing research with children who have autism spectrum disorders and regularly publishes and presents his research at professional conferences. Dr. Black received his Ph.D. from George Mason University, and completed his internship and postdoctoral training at the University of California Los Angeles. He has worked in a variety of settings including in private practice, specialty clinics, children’s hospitals and research settings. 

    Jilly Darefsky, Head of School, The Siena School, is an experienced educator and school leader, having previously served as a founding school coordinator. In this role, Ms. Darefsky oversaw all day-to-day school operations and administration. She has implemented highly regarded curriculum and instructional models, with a focus on language-based learning disabilities. She is a member of the National Association of Special Education Teachers and currently serves as vice-president on the Board of the D.C. Capital Area Branch of the International Dyslexia Association. Ms. Darefsky earned a B.A., with honors, in English Literature with Psychology from the University of Surrey, a Diploma in Specific Learning Difficulties/ Dyslexia from Hornsby International Dyslexia Centre and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from Canterbury Christ Church University College. She holds a Master's in specific learning difficulties with merit from Middlesex University.

    Dr. Judith Glasser, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Washington. She has extensive experience with diagnosis and treatment of many different kinds of problems experienced by children and adolescents including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) among others. Dr. Glasser is also experienced working with children who have learning disabilities in addition to anxiety and depression. She has published articles for journals such as the ADHD Report and has presented at many local and national conferences, including the National Chadd Conference, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, and the Association for Conflict Resolution. Most recently her interest has been in the difficulties experienced by families that are going through divorce and/or re-marriage and have children with ADHD or other challenges. Dr. Glasser is a native Washingtonian and holds a BA in Psychology from Oberlin College and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Catholic University of America. 

    Karan Lamb, Psy.D, Psychologist, Alvord Baker & Associates, is a licensed psychologist with experience in individual and group psychotherapy, Dr. Lamb completed her pre-doctoral internship at Woodhull Medical Center in Brooklyn , New York where she worked at the child and adolescent clinic, adult inpatient, and HIV Clinic. She received her doctoral degree from The George Washington University. She has worked at the Adele Lebowitz Center for Youth and Family in Washington , DC as an individual and group therapist. For the past four years Dr. Lamb has worked as a psychologist with the Johns Hopkins University 's Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Family Study, interviewing multi-generations of families with OCD. Dr. Lamb specializes in the assessment and treatment of ADHD, anxiety and depressive disorders. In addition, she has interest and experience with psychoeducational assessments, social skills groups, and school consultations, for children from pre-school to high school age.

    Christopher Waddell, The Waddell Group, is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional, and has dedicated his career to helping employers provide financial education, group retirement and insurance solutions, and business continuity plans; and to providing his clients with financial guidance for more than two decades. Many of his clients are multi-generational families, with complex investment, risk management and estate planning issues. Prior to affiliating in July 2007 with Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., Mr. Waddell was managing principal with Waddell & Reed, Inc., where he supervised 24 financial advisors in the Mid-Atlantic area. He regularly appears in national and local media, including Business Week, CNBC, Comcast CNN, CNN MONEY, and Financial Planning magazine. In June 2011, he completed the Autism Speaks Triathlon in Poolesville, MD to raise funds for autism research, his seventh annual Run for Autism starting with the 30th Marine Corps Marathon in 2005. He is past president of the Autism Society of America Northern Virginia Chapter and incoming president of the Arlington Special Education PTA. Waddell graduated from Georgetown University with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and English. Together with his wife, Theresa, the Waddell's have three boys, two with Autism.