Transitions Program Supervisor
Jay proudly joined the Transitions Program staff in 2014. Prior to this, he spent 44 years in public education. He taught at Simon Gratz High School in Philadelphia for 28 years and Cherry Hill High School East for 16 years. As valedictorian of his graduating class, he holds a Bachelor’s degree from La Salle University and a Master’s degree in Special Education from Temple University. As a trained concert pianist, having studied at Curtis Institute in Philadelphia with Rudolf Serkin, Jay served as chief pianist at Valley Forge Music Fair for ten years. He also served as Music Director of convention services at Caesar’s Hotel in Atlantic City for three years. Jay is married and is most boastful about his two daughters and granddaughter.
Cherry Hill Location
Transitions Social Worker-Cherry Hill Location
Kathy is a school social worker in First Children’s Transitions Program. Her role is to aid students in coping with their emotional challenges such as anxiety and school refusal. Kathy began her career as a child welfare case manager before obtaining her MSW at Rutgers University. Then, she pursued a career as a child/adolescent therapist working with youth in the foster care system. Kathy has also worked as an outpatient therapist helping youth and families dealing with mental health issues, parenting, as well as adjustment issues. Kathy uses eclectic therapies to individualize her treatment to meet her client’s needs including creative arts therapies. She has extensive training in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, which she uses to teach children/teens how their thoughts influence their feelings and behavior. This empowers the youth to change their faulty thinking leading to a more positive outlook of their lives and themselves. She also employs mindfulness and meditation practices, which reduces stress and anxiety leading to both a healthier mind and body.
Middle School Teacher-Cherry Hill Location
Margaret has been educating students with school refusal and anxiety for over ten years as a middle school teacher with the Transitions Program which originally was part of the Regional Enrichment and Learning (REAL) Center. She started with the REAL Center as a supplementary education services (SES) tutor, teaching English and math after school to elementary students in public school districts such as Camden and Pine hill. She quickly advanced to lead teacher and then to supervisor of REAL’s SES programs. While supervising the SES programs, Margaret took on the additional role of part-time middle school teacher for the Transitions Program. Realizing the importance of helping students with anxiety get a good education in a safe anxiety free environment, she devoted herself to making the Transitions Program middle school teacher role her full-time career. Margaret graduated from Rutgers University-Camden where she earned a bachelors degree in psychology and minored in education to obtain a New Jersey teachers certificate for K-8 Elementary Education.
East Windsor Location
Certified School Social Worker-East Windsor Location
Eric is a school social worker in the Transitions Program who works with students to help them cope with anxiety challenges and school refusal. Eric is a New Jersey certified school social worker. He received his M.S.W. from the University of Pennsylvania with a concentration in School Social Work. He also received a Principal/Supervisor certificate from Rowan University and completed the three year clinical program at the Family Institute of Philadelphia. Eric joined First Children Services after retiring from the Burlington County Special Services School District after 38 years. He encouraged district use of nationally accredited crisis training (he became a trainer) and the use of excellent clinical and ethical social work practices. He supervised scores of graduate students from various local and regional social work programs, including students from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia and Temple Universities. Eric’s clinical practice was significantly influenced by the addition of mindfulness to his professional services after attending the 2011 Peace in Education Conference in Newark, featuring presentations by the Dalai Lama, among others. He has received training experiences with mindfulness field luminaries and researchers such as Doctors Dan Siegal and Deepak Chropra. Eric believes in empowering students and staff with knowledge about how their brains function so that students and staff can influence how they feel and act by learning and practicing mindfulness techniques, enabling better decision making.
Lenny Washington, MEd
Teacher-East Windsor Location
Lenny is a United State Air Force veteran with experience in corporate training and classroom education. Lenny is a New Jersey Department of Education Certified Teacher for Students with Disabilities and has his content certification in Psychology. During his career, Lenny has served as Psychology and Education adjunct faculty for various colleges and universities in NJ and PA. These schools include Temple University, Rowan College at Burlington County, Mercer County Community College, and Monmouth University. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in University Studies with a focus on Psychology and Health Education from Southern Illinois University- Carbondale. His Master’s degree was awarded w/ honors in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Educational Technology from Strayer University. Through his success in the classroom during his master’s studies, Lenny has earned the honor of being inducted into Alpha Chi National Honor Society. He is currently in his dissertation phase of an EdD in Educational Leadership at the University of Phoenix. Lenny utilizes differentiated instruction philosophies to assist his students in learning through technological and non-technological means; preparing students for real-world application of knowledge.