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

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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.

 Jen Polkes, Director of Admissions

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Jen 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.

 Ashley Pawlowitz, Office Manager

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Ashley Pawlowitz, Office Manager

Ashley joins Auburn's Silver Spring team this year with 4 years of student teaching experience in the classroom, where she has worked with a range of students of various ages and backgrounds, assisting teachers in curriculum implementation. Other responsibilities she was assigned included leading classroom units and conducting reports on student behaviors.  Along with her background in education, her most recent experience was as an office administrator for the past 2 years carrying out tasks such as payroll, scheduling and event coordinating. Ashley obtained a dual degree in Environmental Studies and Middle School Science Education from Salisbury University. 

 Eve Margol, Curriculum & Instructional Specialist

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Eve Margol, Curriculum & Instructional Specialist

Eve is joining Auburn with 18 years’ experience in the classroom. Before Auburn, she was a program Director and General Studies teacher at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. She also spent 8 years as lead teacher at the Maddux School in Rockville, Maryland. Eve holds an M.Ed in Early Childhood Education and a concentration in special education, training in the Phono-  Graphix® reading technique, Handwriting without Tears® and Lindamood-Bell® Learning Process, and recent certification in coaching non-medicated strategies for children with ADHD. Eve’s guiding philosophy is to create a specialized learning environment that offers differentiated instruction designed to help students learn. In addition, she is the Co-founder of Yoginos Unbound, a yoga program for children, including those with special needs as well as the Owner of LinkEducation Resources which offers consultation services, professional developments and educational services to meet the individual needs of students and the teams that support them.

 Michelle Ivey, Social Learning Specialist

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Michelle Ivey, Social Learning Specialist

Michelle brings Auburn valuable experience working with children with special needs and their families. 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 a Masters of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania, where she obtained a license as a social worker. 

 Madeline Magnusson, Social Learning Specialist

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Madeline Magnusson, Social Learning Specialist

Madeline returns to The Auburn School as a Social Learning Specialist with the Elementary School. Prior to joining the team last year as an Instructional Assistant, she worked for over 4 years in Special Education as a behavior therapist, assistant teacher, and ABA trainer in schools, homes, community and social group settings, where 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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Ana McArdle, Behavior Support Specialist

Ana joins the Auburn team this year after working with individuals with special needs, specifically Autism, emotional, intellectual, and learning disabilities for the past 11 years. She began her professional career as a Case Manager at a social service agency serving in their Special Needs and Deaf Services Department. 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 skill strategies. She then transitioned over to Sheppard Pratt where she spent 8 years at The Frost School in Rockville as an Educational Assistant and then moved up into the position of Assistant Behavior Specialist. For the last two years, Ana taught 4th grade special education in another one of Sheppard Pratt’s programs at Millersville Elementary School. She attended Juniata College in central Pennsylvania to earn her B.A. in Child and Adolescent Development and Social Services 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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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.

 Virginia Applegate, Instructional Assistant and Spanish Teacher

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Virginia Applegate, Instructional Assistant and Spanish Teacher

Virginia comes to The Auburn School with over 5 years of experience teaching students with learning differences in small classroom/private school settings in Montgomery County, Maryland. She also has social work experience in the fields of Foster Care, Crisis Intervention, Child Protective Services, Adoptions, and Medical Services, and she was a direct liaison for her students with I.E.P.s and 504 plans while working as a foster care social worker in Prince George’s County, Maryland. It was there that she became interested in becoming a member of the teaching profession while continuing to use her clinical skills in Social Work. Virginia obtained a degree in Social Work from Pennsylvania State University, and holds an M.A. in Clinical Social Work from the University of Maryland, where she graduated with Honors.

 Ian Berry, Instructional Assistant

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Ian Berry, Instructional Assistant

Ian returns for his third year with The Auburn School as an Instructional Assistant. He has experience working with children and adolescents in multiple volunteer programs in Maryland and D.C, as well as a part of his college research. Ian holds a B.A. in Psychology from Salisbury University.

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 Kayma Freeman, Instructional Assistant

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Kayma Freeman, Instructional Assistant

Kay joins the Auburn School this year with previous experience working with children of all ages in home,community and school settings.  She has worked as community support specialist with students who have mental health needs and emotional support needs. Kay also has experience working in foster care settings. Kay recently received her M.S.W. from Howard University and holds a B.S. in Applied Behavioral Science (with a minor in Sociology) from Pennsylvania State University. Outside of working with children and families, Kay enjoys going to the movies, travelling and spending time with family.

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 Raven Joyner, Adapted Physical Education Teacher

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Raven Joyner, Adapted Physical Education Teacher

Raven, or "Coach J", joins Auburn this year with a background in physical education, health fitness, and corporate wellness. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, she grew up with an artistic background. She never played sports however she took a liking to athletics and injury prevention in high school. Raven also works at the YMCA in Washington, DC, and has worked training youth and collegiate-level athletes in sports performance. She holds a Bachelors in Exercise Science from Georgia State University and a Masters in Health & Human Performance. Raven is dedicated to our youth and promoting healthy lifestyle choices and we are glad to welcome her to our team!

 David King, Teacher

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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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 Yuri Lubran, Instructional Assistant

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Yuri Lubran, Instructional Assistant

Yuri joins Auburn with over 5 years of experience working in Maryland and D.C. with children who have learning disabilities, sensory regulation and executive function challenges . Previously, he worked as a counselor in an after school program for high school youth, and in schools as a dedicated 1-on-1 aide and behavioral support specialist. Yuri holsd a B.A. in Psychology from Davis and Elkins College. 

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 Gail Peck, Art Teacher & Instructional Assistant

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Gail Peck, Art Teacher & Instructional Assistant

Gail comes to Auburn with a variety of experience working with children in professional and volunteer capacities. Some of these experiences include being a coach for Girls on the Run for several years, a chess club coach and a substitute teacher for MCPS. Gail holds a B.A. in Art from Arizona State University, and has exhibited her artwork professionally since 2003.  She lives with her three school-age children in Maryland.  Gail is thrilled to be a part of the Auburn community.

 Rachel Perelman, Teacher

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Rachel Perelman, Teacher

Rachel joins Auburn’s Silver Spring team with six years of  experience working with individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorder. Specifically, for the past three years she has worked as a behavioral therapist with children of various ages and backgrounds. Rachel assisted with implementing behavioral plans tailored to each individual. Rachel was born and raised in the DC metropolitan area.  After high school, she moved to Israel for two years where she attended college and was involved in volunteering opportunities with children with intellectual disabilities. After her time in Israel, Rachel moved to New York City to attend Touro College. There she earned her B.A. in psychology with a minor in special education where she graduated Magna Cum Laude . A year ago, Rachel moved back to Washington, DC to peruse her masters degree in special education at American University.  

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 Amanda Sickel, Instructional Assistant

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Amanda Sickel, Instructional Assistant

Amanda joins Auburn's Silver Spring team with 4 years of experience in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and has extensive experience working with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum as well as children with various other attention deficit and developmental disorders. For the past 2 years, Amanda has worked as Registered Behavior Technician for Little Leaves Behavioral Services providing in-home and in-school ABA therapy to children of various ages. Amanda received her BA in Psychology from McDaniel College. Currently, she is pursuing her masters degree 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.

 Emily Song, Teacher

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Emily Song, Teacher

Emily joins the Auburn team with a lifetime of experience in special education. Growing 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. After graduating from college with a degree in Psychology, Emily worked at The New England Center for Children, a residential facility for students with severe autism, for 3 years. While working at NECC, Emily obtained a Master’s of Science in Education with a licensure in Severe Disabilities. Emily then moved to work in public school systems within Massachusetts for 3 years, working with students with emotional disabilities, autism, anxiety disorders, 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. 

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 Scott Swick, Teacher and Camp Aristotle Silver Spring Director

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Scott Swick, Teacher and Camp Aristotle Silver Spring 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, Instructional Assistant

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Paris Thalheimer, Instructional Assistant

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.

 Justine Zapin, Performing Arts Teacher

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Justine Zapin, Performing Arts Teacher

Justine comes to Auburn with over 10 years of experience working with children and young adults with myriad needs and abilities. She holds a B.F.A. in Acting and Classical Theater from Marymount Manhattan College, and a M.A. in Literature from American University.  In addition to teaching College Writing at American University, Justine directs an inclusive musical theater program for young adults with special needs in her hometown of Solon, OH. Justine has worked as a professional actor in Chicago, New York City and Cleveland, and is “mommy” to four-year-old, Atticus, and almost two-year-old, Wyatt.

 Wei Zhang, Math and Science Teacher

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Wei Zhang, Math and Science Teacher

Wei returns to the Auburn team with many years of teaching experience in both regular education and special education. During these years, she has adapted and taught different curriculum levels to students ranging from 4th grade through high school, especially working with students with LD, ADD, ADHD, PDD, Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Wei's areas of expertise include developing and implementing individual educational plans, designing and teaching lessons of subjects using a wide range of methods (based on students’ individual needs), performing daily classroom management, challenging each student to reach his/her new potentials academically, and working closely with parents. Most of all, she always keeps in mind that students are her focus. Wei's success as a special education teacher has been an extension of her previous years of teaching experience as a regular education high school teacher in China, where she also received her college education to become an educator. She holds an M.Ed. in Elementary and Special Education from Hofstra University.

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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.