Lynn Schoeneck – Head of School; Occupational Therapist
Lynn earned a M.S. in Occupational Therapy from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Psychology (graduated with honors) from Wake Forest University. She is certified and licensed to practice occupational therapy. She has attended continuing education courses in the areas of handwriting (Handwriting Without Tears and Solving the Handwriting Puzzle), executive function, auditory training (Integrated Listening Systems, Therapeutic Listening), auditory processing, visual processing, sensory processing, information regarding specific learning differences, and course relating to administration. She has given presentations to parents, staff, and at the annual GISA conference. Lynn joined Porter Academy in 2004.
Barbara Richard – Assistant Principal
Barbara earned a M.A. in Educational Administration and a B.A. in Elementary Education. She has 20 years experience teaching Kindergarten-grade 4. She was a Vice Principal for two years in Florida. Barbara has teaching certification in FL and MA. She is trained in Orton-Gillingham, Handwriting Without Tears, Sensory Integration Disorders, Math Their Way, and Differentiated Instruction. Barbara joined Porter Academy in 2003.
Pam Higginbotham – Business/Operations Manager
Pam earned her B.S. in Corporate Finance and Accounting. She has seventeen years experience working with all aspects of accounting from large corporations to small businesses. Pam joined Porter Academy in 2008.
Tracye Purchase – Lead Teacher
Tracye earned her Doctorate (EdD) in Special Education from Northcentral University, her Masters of Science in Special Education from Long Island University, and her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Lincoln University. She has 11 years experience as a resource teacher , 5 years experience as a preschool owner, and 12 years experience as a general education teacher. She has worked with children preschool through fourth grade. Tracye joined Porter Academy in 2016.
Stacey Edwards – Lead Teacher
Stacey earned her Master of Behavioral Science from Cappella University and her Bachelor of Arts from Maryland Institute College of Art. She holds a license in Art Education and through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horseman (PATH Intl). Stacey has over thirty years of experience teaching grades K-12, most recently teaching a 4th/5th grade special education class at The Cottage School. She is also a lead instructor at Special Equestrians of Georgia. Stacey joined Porter Academy in 2021.
Natelya Hayden – Lead Teacher
Natelya earned her Master of Education in Elementary Education from Grand Canyon University Online and her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with a Concentration in Education from Bethune-Cookman University. She has experience teaching preschool, elementary, middle, and high school students, leading classrooms of students with learning differences, providing 1:1 assistance to students with learning differences, and providing assistance to both teachers and students regarding behavioral situations. Natelya joined Porter Academy in 2018.
Laura Corn – Lead Teacher
Laura earned her M.A. in Special Education. She took additional coursework in Autism. Laura earned her Georgia certification in level 4. Prior to Porter Academy, she had 5 years experience with special needs children, specializing in Autism. She is trained in Orton Gillingham and has sign language skills. Laura joined Porter Academy in 2006.
Amy Wilson – Lead Teacher
Amy earned her Bachelor of Arts in Educational Studies in Mild to Moderate Exceptionalities Sped from Western Governors University, earning Excellence Awards, and an Associate of Arts LAS/Social Studies from Camden County College, earning Permanent President’s List. She has six years of experience as a special education paraprofessional at L.R. Tippens Education Center. Amy joined Porter Academy in 2021.
Cecilia Giordano – Lead Teacher
Cecilia earned her Masters in Special Education from the University of Louisville and her Bachelor of Education in Special Education, Elementary and Middle School from Eastern Kentucky University. She has 21 years of experiences in private and public education settings, from preschool through middle school with over 10 years assisting preschool teachers and students in the Atlanta area. Cecilia joined Porter Academy in the spring of 2019.
Hannah Cha – Assistant Teacher
Hannah is finalizing her Early Childhood Education at Kennesaw State University. She teaches violin. Hannah joined Porter Academy in 2003.
Melissa Young – Assistant Teacher
Melissa earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Kennesaw State University. She earned her Masters in Professional Counseling from Argosy University. She has worked in the higher education field for over 15 years. She is currently working on completing her certification to become a teacher in the state of Georgia. She also teaches Sunday School for the 4-5 year olds at church. She joined Porter Academy in 2021.
Mike Hohl – Assistant Teacher
Mike earned his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences with a minor in Education from McGill University. He took courses in Contemporary Issues in Education, Instruction in Inclusive Schools, Educational Psychology, Equity and Education, and Media Technology and Education. He has worked with children aged 4-13 as a special education teacher aide and 1:1 special education teacher at Mary Cariola Center and East Rochester Union Free School District. He has also worked as a before and after school counselor and camp counselor for elementary aged students at the YMCA of Greater Rochester. Mike joined Porter Academy January 2022.
Bernell Wesley – Assistant Teacher
Bernell earned his Bachelor of Arts in History and Anthropology from Georgia State University. He holds certifications as a paraprofessional from the Georgia Association of Certified Educators (GACE), Georgia Clearance Certificate from Georgia Professional Standards Commission, North American Missions Board ESL Instructor, Georgia Department of Corrections Volunteer GED Program Coordinator, and American Chaplains Association certified Chaplain. He has worked as a substitute teacher for seven years in Clayton County and Atlanta public schools and has volunteer experience with Clayton County and Georgia State Correctional Facilities, Clayton County Jail and Prison Ministries, and as an annual summer camp coordinator. Bernell joined Porter Academy in 2021.
Michelle Goldman – Assistant Teacher
Michelle earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences from Northeastern Illinois University. She has experience as an assistant teacher at Castle Mount Montessori School and as a Nanny. Michelle joined Porter Academy in 2021.
Marcie Schultz – Wilson Reading Specialist
Marcie earned a B.S. in Computer Technology and an A.A.S in Computer Programming. She is certified as a Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner. Marcie has experience tutoring children with dyslexia in reading and spelling and worked at Pathways Academy. Marcie joined Porter Academy in 2004.
Rebecca Ciccarelli, MS CCC/SLP – Speech Therapist
Rebecca earned her Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology from Northeastern University and her Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders and Spanish from University of New Hampshire. She is a certified Speech Language Pathologist. Rebecca has worked with Kids Therapy Networks, in the Boston Public Schools, in early intervention programs, and in hospital rehabilitation. Rebecca joined Porter Academy in 2018.
Sarah Kachur – Art Teacher
Sarah earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Florida State University and studied Fine Arts at the School of Visual Arts in NYC, including drawing, painting, printmaking, puppet making and B/W photography. She has worked with various populations of students age range from 4 to 15 years old since attending FSU. She uses proponents of DBT especially mindfulness in her teachings. Sarah has been making and selling art since 2001. She joined Porter Academy in 2022.
Tammie Partridge – Art Teacher
Tammie earned a Master of Art Education from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Certification in painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, photography, ceramics, and art education from Tyler School of Art. She has earned additional Masters credits in ceramics, glass, bookmaking, mosaics, and Photoshop. She has studied abroad in Studio Arts in Italy. Tammie has worked as an art teacher for 27 years. She joined Porter Academy in 2016.
Jody Kershner – Music Therapist
Jody earned a B.A. in Music Therapy from FSU. She is a Board Certified and State Licensed Music Therapist with pver 30 years of music therapy experience in education and mental health settings. Jody is a Member of American Association for Music Therapy. She trained with Dr. Gary Mesibov and Dr. Stanley Greenspan. She is also trained in ORFF music education. Jody collaborates with teachers to incorporate music into the classroom. She joined Porter Academy in 2003.
Justin House – Physical Education
Justin completed coursework for a Bachelors of Science in Health and Physical Education from Troy University, earned his Bachelors of Science in Sports and Fitness Management from Troy University, and is certified to teach through the Alabama Prospective Teacher Testing Program (APTTP). He has experience teaching both elementary and high school students with learning differences, and he has instructed students in the areas of reading, writing, math, science, home economics, and physical education. Justin has coached freshman football at Murphy High School, worked as a physical education director at the Boys and Girls Club at Gilliard Elementary, and worked as an events manager at Troy University. Justin joined Porter Academy in 2015.
Liana Valentin-Scott – Sign Language
Liana earned an A.S. in Early Childhood Education. She is certified as a M.I.L.E. math instructor, skilled in Advanced American Sign Language, and has experience as a classroom Teacher and Assistant Teacher. Liana has over 20 years experience in Office Administration. She joined Porter Academy in 2004.
Claudia Porter – Founder, Retired
Education/Licensure: M.A. in Speech/Language Pathology; Certified Speech/Language Therapist since 1971, GA license in Speech-Language Pathology; CA Life Teaching Certificate
Experience: Developed L.D. program at High Meadows School; Program Director of North Fulton Child Development Center in Roswell; Speech Language Therapist & teacher/coordinator for the Georgia Challenge Grant Program; Kindergarten teacher in L.A. public schools. Founded The Porter School with Muriel Lange in 2000.
Associations: Member of ASHA, GSHA, PEO, International Dyslexia Association (IDA)
Awards: Presenter at the Annual GISA Conference, 2007-2011; Hand-in-Hand Award 2008 presented by The Leita Lift Foundation; Who’s Who in the South and Southwest; ACE award presented by ASHA for outstanding accomplishments in Continuing Education; Fellowship for Master’s degree at Occidental College; Certificate of Excellence by Occidental College Speech and Reading Clinics
Student Internships and Fieldwork ExperiencesWe are proud to work with the following college/universities' student internship and fieldwork experience programs:
Special Education Programs
- Liberty University
- Georgia State University
- Grand Canyon University
- University of Phoenix
- Nova Southeastern Program
- University of Georgia
- University of Scranton
- Nova Southeastern University
- Georgia State University
- Kennesaw State University
- Georgia State University
- Cabarrus College
What Sets Us Apart
- Developmentally Grouped Homerooms
- Differentiated and Individualized Academic Instruction
- Utilization of a Variety of Well-Supported Academic Programs and Multi-Sensory Instruction
- Small Groups for Core Academics
- Group Speech-Language, Occupational, and Music Therapy for all