Kassidy has over 14 years of experience in the special education field, having served in numerous capacities including job trainer, paraprofessional, community mentor, life coach, and residential program director. He is a certified CT Department of Education School Business Administrator and has also received his Masters of Business Administration. Working in the non-profit sector, Kassidy has developed a comprehensive understanding of the strategic, operational, and managerial aspects of running a non-profit. He has extensive experience in both special education and non- profit management, specializing in strategic, cross functional roles and has a history of successful and progressive leadership where he utilizes his spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship to match aspirations with finite resources.
As Executive Director, Kassidy’s role encompasses strategic planning, business development, and organizational leadership. He has a deep passion for social entrepreneurship and is a firm believer in the idea that there are always ways to do things better. He thrives on the opportunity to create change and enjoys being able to see a problem, create a solution, and bring ideas to fruition. He believes The Light House not only provides a space for our students to grow but our staff as well. From 9 to 5, he gets to work with some of the most amazing people in disability services who share his vision of creating supports that allow participants to thrive. In his free time, you can find Kassidy working on his house, listening to podcast or going on an adventures with his daughter.
DIRECTOR OF ADULT AND TRANSITION SERVICES
Will has a BA in Sociology and began working at The Light House ten years ago, serving as the co-coordinator of the day program where he was instrumental in developing unique and rewarding vocational training opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental with an emphasis on job coaching and building skills to maintain employment. Will now serves as the Director of Adult and Transition Services where he creates a positive and enriching environment for staff and participants by fostering independence and choice making through community engagement and volunteerism. He enjoys that The Light House offers a person centered customized programming that benefits each individual and that staff work with individuals to help them grow in every aspect of their lives. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, fishing, sports, working around the house, and most importantly, spending time with family and friends.
LIFE CAMPUS DIRECTOR
Catherine has a BA in Sociology from Earlham College and is currently in the process of receiving her Masters of Education in Special Education at the University of Hartford. She has a background in technology Integration at public schools, as well as IT training, and micro farming community coordination. In her position as Life Campus Director, Catherine oversees our Life Campus operations, creates and implements curriculum, monitors progress of our Life Campus participants, and manages all of The Light House’s IT operations. She enjoys the autonomy, flexibility, supportive management, and challenging mission that The Light House fosters. In her free time, Catherine likes to ski and garden.
INTERIM EDUCATION DIRECTOR
Julie received her Bachelor's Degree in Special Education and Elementary Education and her Master's Degree in Education from WGU. Prior to earning her teaching degree, Julie was a Teacher Assistant at Westerly High School for 12 years where she worked within all of their special education programs including mainstream collaboration, The Resource Hub, Applied Academics, Sever Profound and their alternative classrooms on and off campus including, ACE, LINKS and EXCEL. Since becoming a certified teacher, she has taught in both the public and private sectors. Her public school experience includes fifth grade special education in Westerly, RI, and third grade and Kindergarten special education in Stonington, CT. She then taught at Waterford Country School, a private special education school for at-risk youth, grades nine through twelve, before coming to The Light House in 2018. As the teacher at our Annex School, Julie developed programming specific to each student based on their individual strengths and needs and reach their full potential while at The Light House. She became a teacher to make a difference in the lives of kids who do not learn in traditional ways and likes that The Light House allows for flexible thinking, and the use of creative techniques to teaching and learning that is "all about the students". Julie likes to spend her free time with her husband, children, grandchildren, friends and family, shopping, completing home decorating/design projects, or anything that has to do with being on or near water.
SPECIAL EDUCATION DIRECTOR- ANNEX
Doug received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from National University. He also holds a CT State Teaching Credential in Special Education (K-12); a Special Education Credential with Autism Authorization; and Multiple Subject Credentials in K-6 Education. Doug brings over 22 years’ experience in special and vocational education to his position at The Light House. Prior to The Light House, he worked in the San Dieguito and Carlsbad school districts in California as well as owning multiple restaurants. For him, being able to provide the students at The Light House with various educational and life skills instruction is rewarding. Doug likes to spend his free time cooking and playing backgammon.
SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER- MAIN STREET
Rebecca received her Masters of Teaching from Sacred Heart University and Masters of Human Resource Management from UCONN, and is certified in K-6 general education and K-12 Special Education. Prior to working at The Light House, she worked in a variety of special education settings, including as a behavior interventionist, long term special education substitute teacher, educational diagnostician, in-home ABA therapist, and special education teacher and case manager for an in-district, clinical program, as well as in college admissions and corporate recruiting. In her role our Main Street Special Education teacher, Rebecca manages a team of paraprofessionals that work one to one with each student, creates academic materials, monitors student progress, oversees job sites, and provides group instruction. With the help of a very supportive and patient staff, she is learning her role as Special Ed teacher, IEP case manager, and staff coordinator and is thrilled to be working with an organization that has such a tight-knit and compassionate team. In her free time, Rebecca likes to spend time with her French Bulldog puppy Otis, go to the beach, try new restaurants, sing karaoke and explore new local places around town.
DDS PROGRAM COORDINATOR
Kelsey studied nursing at Three Rivers Community College and has been working for DDS for several years. As DDS Program Coordinator, Kelsey is responsible for managing, training, and supporting direct care staff as well as overseeing and coordinating all program activities. In addition to being responsible for all DDS-related administrative tasks, she also acts as liaison to parents and providers regarding plans to meet the unique needs of the individuals we serve. Kelsey loves working at The Light House where she feels like she can be herself, while encouraging those we work with to do the same. Outside of work, Kelsey enjoys spending time with her daughter, hanging out with family, hiking, and the beach.
TEACHING ASSISTANT- MAIN STREET
Julie graduated with a BA in Sociology from UConn and a Masters in Special Education from the University of St. Joseph. Previously, Julie worked at an international school in Thailand teaching second grade. As a TA, Julie functions as “the nuts and bolts of the program.” As a TA, she is one of the supervisors for the after-school program and, on any given day, can function as the Head Teacher or a Paraprofessional. For her, the access to the community of Niantic for her students is one of the highlights of her job along with the opportunity to grow with a program that aligns with her vision and philosophy of being able to not only educate, but to prepare individuals for life. Julie is passionate about giving everyone, regardless of ability, an opportunity and the support to make it in the world. In her spare time, Julie enjoys international travel, music and theater. She has seen at least 25 shows on Broadway and Phantom of the Opera holds a special place in her heart as the first Broadway show she experienced.
TEACHING ASSISTANT- ANNEX
Allison received a Bachelors in Health, Wellness, and Occupational Studies from the University of New England in 2015 and her Masters in Special Education from the University of Connecticut in 2017. Before joining The Light House, Allison interned for Special Olympics CT, worked at Horizons’ summer camp as a camp counselor, health center assistant, and camp administrator and at Horizons' group homes as a Support Coach for 3 years, and provided in-home ABA services to children with Autism. As one of The Light House’s Teaching Assistants, she is constantly flipping into different roles - sometimes she has to assist as a para and sometimes as the teacher, and is always making sure that everything is running smoothly and that paras and teachers have the support they need. She says the best parts of the Light House are the students and the team that she gets to work with. In her free time, Allison loves to hike with her dog, go camping and volunteer with the Special Olympics.
Melissa graduated from Central Connecticut State University with a BA in Psychology and Master of Science in School Counseling. Previously, Melissa was a middle and high school career resource counselor, and has also worked as a transportation coordinator and paraprofessional at a special education school. As our school counselor, Melissa says that getting to know students and families and having time to provide direct services makes all the difference in helping students to work toward and reach their goals. She collaborates with teachers, paraprofessionals, parents, related service providers and community members to deliver a comprehensive program to meet student needs and works closely with students to reach behavior and social goals through individual, small group and large group meetings. Melissa is a Red Cross certified Lifeguard and certified WSI, and enjoys collecting seaglass, reading, doing puzzles, and getting outside either on the beach or hiking with her dogs.
OFFICE MANAGER and BOOKKEEPER
Kellie has an Associate's Degree in General Studies with a Biology focus and came to The Light House with over 20 years of bookkeeping experience in both corporate and non-profit settings. As bookkeeper and office manager, she enjoys the collaborative spirit of The Light House as well as having the opportunity to use her office skills to assist the company in its mission to serve individuals with disabilities. She says that watching clients succeed in their daily lives and being a part of that success has been very meaningful. In her free time, Kellie enjoys live music performances, traveling, entertaining friends and family and going to the beach.
MARKETING AND DEVELOPMENT
Wendy has a BA in Communications from the University of Hartford and an MA in Liberal Studies from Albertus Magnus. She is currently working part-time on an MPhil degree in the Humanities in conjunction with a Master’s in Writing at Wesleyan University. Wendy comes to The Light House with a diverse background in communications including marketing, event planning, public relations, journalism, launching creative businesses, grant writing, fundraising, editing, and book publishing. She has over 20 years of experience working with companies, non-profit organizations, and individuals to develop, execute, and manage communication initiatives. As The Light House’s Development and Marketing Coordinator, Wendy plans all fundraising events, runs The Light House’s online presence, manages grant applications, organizes annual and major giving, and executes the annual Autism Education Conference. She says working at The Light House gives her the opportunity to use her skills to give back to an organization that serves individuals with disabilities; something that is near and dear to her heart. In her free time, Wendy enjoys hiking, gardening, yoga, and hitting the open road in her Jeep with the music turned up.
HR MANAGER AND TITLE IX COORDINATOR
Marlise graduated from Southern CT State University with a B.S. in Communication and serves as our HR Generalist. She has experience working with clients directly in human services, and also in recruiting and likes that this jobs combines the two. She is thankful to be able to help grow and develop the teams of people that are working day to day with our clients and students. Watching the clients succeed is meaningful. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, being outside, and going on hikes or to the beach.
BUILDING AND GROUNDS MANAGER
Eric is a graduate of William M. Davies Technical High School in Lincoln, Rhode Island. Prior to working at The Light House, he was a foreman for American Eagle Painting and owned his own construction company for over a decade. As Building and Grounds Manager for The Light House, Eric is responsible for overseeing and training our custodial staff as well as all building maintenance including repairs, updates, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC. He also ensures all grounds are maintained including landscaping. Eric says that he loves interacting with the individuals we serve and likes that there is a lot of variety in his job responsibilities. In his free time, Eric enjoys spending time with his kids, is always willing to help someone out with a house project, and enjoys fishing.
Jeremy comes to The Light House with a background as an Art Instructor, Operations Supervisor, and Operations and HR Manager. In his role as Operations Manager, he oversees both the transportation and facilities departments, and is in charge of all operational issues within our campuses. He likes the constant changing challenges he faces each day, the wonderful and caring staff that work at The Light House and the amazing students. In his free time, Jeremy enjoys the outdoors, video games, spending time with his fiance and traveling.