Teaching Team

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Carly Tegt, M.Ed.

HEAD TEACHER

Carly came to The Helix School from Omaha where she worked as a Special Education teacher at a Title I school, serving on the Intra-Leadership Team and co-chairing the Positive Behavior and Supports committee. She received her Master's in Special Education from the University of Nebraska- Lincoln, with an emphasis on ASD and Emotional/Behavioral disorders. Prior to working with Omaha Public Schools, Carly worked as a Summer Program Coordinator for Wediko Children's Services, a Boston-based organization dedicated to bettering the lives of children with ASD and/or EBD coupled with learning disabilities. There she served as a Summer Program Coordinator for two years and Vice Principal for the Wediko Summer School for one year. 

As an educator who is passionate about reaching children, Carly feels it is her job to facilitate trust between the teacher and student, providing a positive atmosphere in which learning can occur.

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Patrick Giambalvo

Co-HEAD TEACHER

Patrick Giambalvo graduated from Dominican University of California with a B.A. in Humanities and Cross Cultural Studies and holds a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. He has worked in education for over 15 years in various capacities ranging from Kindergarten Assistant Teacher at Marin Waldorf School to Old Adobe District’s K-8th Science Lab Facilitator. He was also a Middle School Teacher at Star Academy serving students with mild-moderate learning differences. He served as an Environmental Educator for the City and County of San Francisco teaching students about environmental awareness. A big driving force behind Patrick’s educational practice is to foster independent living and 21st century skills to his students.

When he’s not teaching, Patrick can be found surfing, shooting landscape photography, playing tennis, writing children’s novels and traveling with his family. Patrick is the author of Patty the Pelican, a short story for every age that shows how resilience and following what you love is central to a life well lived at every age. Patrick is originally from the Sunshine State (Florida), but has called California home for the last 18 years. He currently resides in Novato with with his wife, son and two cats.

“Our ability to handle life’s challenges is a measure of our strength of character.” (Les Brown)

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Jane Nelson, M.Ed.

HEAD TEACHER

Jane fell in love with teaching at a young age.  She gradutated from the University of Colorado in Boulder with a BA in Speech Language and Hearing Sciences.  Both Speech Pathology and Audiology interested her and she majored in both.  During her final two years of the program, Jane had an internship working with disadvantaged children throughout Denver and taught remedial reading skills.  This experience ignited her passion for teaching and she has not looked back since.

Jane continued her education and earned a Masters in Special Education from San Francisco State University.  Her experience working with a wide range of individuals helped her see that each student is unique and special.  She has seen first-hand the tremendous benefits of an individualized approach and for this reason is drawn to teaching in classrooms designed to be smaller in size so that she can provide hands-on learning opportunities which she believes to be optimal for student learning.   Jane enjoys creating curriculum that excites students and she adjusts the curriculum based on her students areas of interest and questions.  "Learning for me is a two-way street: The more I learn from my students, the better I can teach them."

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Keena Melville, M.S.

TEACHER & LITERACY LEARNING SPECIALIST

Keena embarked on her career in education in September of 2007, when she taught preschool while working towards her Master of Science in School Counseling. Throughout her career, Keena has been a Teacher, Assistant Teacher and Guidance Counselor. Each of these positions deepened her understanding of working with children and the different aspects of helping children with self- regulation, a key component to being able to learn.

Keena is delighted to facilitate each student's creative journey, from idea to final product. The creativity of each one of our students is often expressed by their unique sensory experience: some enjoy the smells or the textures while others are drawn to the the patterns and the visual aspects of their composition. The outcome is an original and authentic design. Rather than the finished product, Keena honors the process and the experience of creating.  Student's are stretched in their work by being exposed to techniques, lessons, and inspiration from other artists.

Keena has a vision to combine art and language arts to magnify learning, self-expression and regulation. She has a Bachelor of Art in English Literature and a Master of Science in School Counseling. She is currently undertaking her Ph.D. in Literacy, with a concentration in Special Education.

Clinical Team

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Erin Allen, M.A., SLP/CCC

CLINICAL COORDINATOR &
SPEECH and LANGUAGE PATHOLOGIST

Erin is originally from Oregon and earned her bachelor’s degree in Developmental Psychology at St. Mary’s College of California. After a short stint as a special education teacher, she earned her Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology from Loyola University in Baltimore. She received her Certification of Clinical Competence (CCC) from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association in 2006 and is licensed by the California Speech-Language Hearing Association.  

Erin has worked in special autism day schools, public schools,  home-based early intervention, and outpatient clinic settings. She has provided assessment and treatment of children with a wide variety of diagnoses including ASD, Expressive/Receptive Language impairments, Apraxia, Phonological disorders, and Down Syndrome.

Erin’s main interest is working with children in schools and in a clinical setting. She has experience working with all ages, including transition planning to early adulthood. She enjoys working with children and their families, concentrating on effective verbal and non-verbal communication. She has experience with Augmentative Alternative Communication in low-tech and high-tech form. She believes in working closely with families to find the most functional form of communication for home and school.  

Erin lives in Mill Valley with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys cooking, exercising, hiking, and riding horses. 

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Liz McDonough, M.A., MFT/RDT

CLINICIAN & DRAMA THERAPIST

Liz is a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) and a Registered Drama Therapist (RDT) who specializes in working with t'weens, teens, and young adults on the autism spectrum and their families. Liz has a B.A in Drama from New York University and an M.A in Counseling Psychology with a Concentration in Drama Therapy from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Liz has taken trainings in Sensori-motor Psychotherapy, DIR Floortime, PRT and Mindfulness in Psychotherapy and Education. Of her 18 years of clinical experience, she has spent the past 12 specializing in autism and providing direct service, training, supervision, and consultation in both private practice and school settings. 

Liz leads our Drama Program, which is integrated with our Humanities Class. She leads our Emotional-Regulation groups and has spearheaded our Inclusion Program with a local Elementary School. Liz also pushes into the Science and Employment classes to work with our older students on self-care, vocational skills and readies our students for transitions of all kinds.

Liz was the Lead Therapist and Clinical Supervisor at Oak Hill School and the former Clinical Director of Autistry Studios. She is an Adjunct Professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies and gives day-long workshops across the country, training providers who work with children and teens on the spectrum. As a therapist, Liz uses a combination of drama therapy, mindfulness and somatic approaches to help children and teens navigate their emotions, build strong relationships and develop pride in their unique gifts. Her greatest joys are around working with families and empowering ASD students to advocate for themselves.

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Michelle Rossi, OTR

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST

Michele Dorma Rossi, Occupational Therapist, works with individuals with neurological and developemental disorders and their families to maximize independence in daily life with improved cognition, motor skills, sensory integration and enhance self esteem.

After spending more than two decades in education, early intervention and clinical settings, Michele knows how important relationships are in effectively creating change in the lives of persons affected by sensory processing differences while also broadening her knowledge of neurology and sensory integration/processing.

Michele is trained in Bal-A-VisX, Zones of Regulation Therapeutic Listening and Integrated Listening Systems, Handwriting Without Tears, Astronaut Training and sensory integration with the Collaboration for Leadership in Aryres Sensory Integration (CLASI), pathways to perception and DIR/Floortime.

Michele is a member of STAR institute for Sensory Processing Disorder, American Occupational Therapists Association, Canadian Association of Occupational Therapy and the Bay Area Association of Pediatric Therapists.

Michele holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Alberta and is currently completing Level 1 from STAR institute and Temple University and considered a master clinician in sensory processing. Michele is the proud mother of a teenage son and they enjoy baseball games, local travel and movies together.

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Kristin Hammack

REGISTERED BEHAVIORAL TECHNICIAN

As a behavioral aide and RBT, Kristin provides one-on-one direct behavioral intervention. She works closely with the clinical team and assists in developing and implementing short and long term behavioral goals. Her day to day activities consist of modeling appropriate behaviors for students and overseeing daily student activities including play, academics, physical activity, and outings. Kristin assists teachers and therapists during academics and life skills.

Kristin is pursuing her BA through Ashford University. When she’s not working, Kristin can be found spending time with her daughter and studying.