Our Team of Autism Specialists
Helping Individuals with Autism in Fairfield County, Westchester County & Beyond
The Center for Social Enrichment and Educational Development is a state of the art, all-inclusive center for individuals with autism and other related disabilities, providing a wide range of therapies and services.
Evan Schermer, MS, Co-Founder/President
Evan Schermer is the Co-Founder and President of the Center for Social Enrichment and Educational Development, LLC (“The SEED Center”). Mr. Schermer received his Master of Science degree in school psychology from St. John’s University and his Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Towson University. He is a New York State certified school psychologist and has worked with children and young adults with autism and related disabilities for 15 years. For the past 10 years he has helped established several private schools and a post-secondary program for individuals with special needs. Furthermore, he has provided consulting services for public schools where he has been effective in helping schools reduce costs while increasing efficiency and effectiveness.
Clinically, Mr. Schermer has received advanced training in Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) and has conducted many workshops and professional development trainings on CPS as well as other topics related to autism and special needs. Mr. Schermer is a certified instructor in Nonviolent Crisis Intervention (CPI) and trains and certifies all therapists employed by The SEED Center. Mr. Schermer has acted as an advocate, providing support and knowledge to families who require guidance. In addition, has been an expert witness for impartial hearings for hundreds of cases in the NY Metro area. Mr. Schermer previously was the Chairman of the Custom Education Foundation, which is a not-for-profit (501c3) organization that provides resources and support to individuals with special needs and their families. Mr. Schermer was also awarded the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Entrepreneurial Success Award in May of 2015. Mr. Schermer’s experience and knowledge clinically and professionally, ensure a solid foundation and strength for The SEED Center to grow on.
Charlene Schermer, MA, Co-Founder/Vice President
Charlene Schermer is the co-founder and Vice President of the Center for Social Enrichment and Educational Development, LLC (“The SEED Center”). Mrs. Schermer received her Master of Arts in Special Education from New York University and her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a specialization in Early Childhood Studies from Long Island University. She holds a dual teaching certification in Special Education and Elementary Education, as well as a NAP Montessori Teacher Certification. Mrs. Schermer has received training in Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS), Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Recipe for Reading and the Wilson Reading Program. She has been working in the field of education for over 12 years and has experience working with individuals with autism and other related neurobiological disorders such as Asperger’s syndrome, bi-polar disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, ADHD, OCD, anxiety, and depression.
Donna Macari, BA
Donna Macari serves as the Director of Operations of The Center for Social Enrichment and Educational Development, LLC (“The SEED Center”). She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Southern Connecticut State University. Ms. Macari has extensive administrative and operations background. Most notably, she spent 11 years running residential programs that serves individuals with disabilities. In that capacity, Ms. Macari was instrumental in bringing clients out of institutional placements and into the community. Ms. Macari has also acted as an advocate to families throughout the years. In her commitment to serve children, Ms. Macari owned and operated a daycare where children with disabilities were welcomed and therapeutic services were integrated into the daycare curriculum.
Lindsay Decima, MEd, BCBA
Lindsay Decima serves as a Clinical Coordinator/BCBA at the Center for Social Enrichment and Educational Development, LLC (“The SEED Center”). She holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Union College and a Master’s of Education from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Lindsay is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and has been providing services to individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities within the public school and home setting since 2007. Lindsay has supervised home and school ABA programs and specializes in staff and parent training, Discrete Trial programming, and behavior management. Additionally, she teaches piano lessons to children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Lindsay is committed to excellence and strives to provide exceptional service to enrich the lives of children with developmental disabilities and their families.
Bethany Sockel, MS, BCBA
Bethany serves as a BCBA at The Center for Social Enrichment and Educational Development, LLC (The SEED Center). She holds a Bachelor’s in Science degree in Psychology from Penn State University and also holds a Master’s of Science degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism from The Sage Colleges – Esteves School of Education.
Bethany has experience in the last 8 years working with individuals (5-21 years old) who have autism, intellectual disabilities, and emotional disturbances. She recently obtained certification from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), and for over 3 years, has been practicing as a Behavior Consultant for a private school in North Eastern Pennsylvania. Bethany has extensive experience and training in conducting Functional Behavior Assessments (FBA), developing Behavior Intervention Plans (BIP), and utilizing such measures in developing proper Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals tailored to that specific student. Bethany also has a significant amount of experience in supervising BIPs that are carried out by all team members involved with her students.
With her recent relocation to Connecticut and joining the SEED Center’s team, Bethany is committed to delivering the best quality of care of individuals with developmental disabilities. Bethany believes that in serving as BCBA at The SEED Center, she will have the ability to work closely with individuals and their team in achieving their goals.
Andres Alvarez, BS, Accounts Receivable/Accounts Payable Specialist
Andres Alvarez serves as a biller and coder at the Center for Social Enrichment and Educational Development, LLC (“The Seed Center”). He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies from Western Connecticut University and an Associate’s degree in Accounting from Norwalk Community College. Mr. Alvarez worked at Elite PT and Rehab in Westchester as a biller and coder before joining our facility. He has also worked in the past with the Westchester County Parks and Recreation and the Greenwich Teen Center where he worked closely with the student governing board and administered activities and successful implementations of fundraisers, and community outreach projects. Mr. Alvarez registered in 2012 and 2013 with the IRS-‐ VITA program to help individuals with preparation of tax returns.
Adam Pakiela, MEd, BCBA
Adam Pakiela is the Transition Manager at the Center for Social Enrichment and Education Development, LLC (The SEED Center). He graduated from Marist College in 2005 with a BA in Psychology. He has worked with the special needs community since 2006 in private and public school, research, and home settings. Adam has authored Behavior Intervention Plans, conducted Functional Behavioral Assessments, created data collection systems, and provided direct instruction. He has trained staff and parents in the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). He believes in pairing technology with education, whenever possible, and basing interventions on empirical research. Adam is a proponent of health and physical fitness. He and his family enjoy being active in their daily lives.
Kristin Anderson, BA, RBT
Kristin Anderson serves as a Registered Behavior Technician at the Center for Social Enrichment and Educational Development, LLC (“The SEED Center”). She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a double major in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Connecticut. Throughout her college career she has had experience observing therapy sessions as an intern at two therapy companies. Kristin was a student research assistant in an autism lab focused on early detection at the University of Connecticut and had opportunities to observe evaluations and evaluation measures. Kristin stresses the importance of early detection and early intervention, her research focus for her honor’s thesis was detecting characteristics of children diagnosed at a later age and what might be the possible cause of the delay. As a Registered Behavior Technician at the SEED Center, Kristin is dedicated to and passionate about helping children reach their optimal potential. She is committed to supporting the development of children and their families with the most appropriate and individualized treatment for their specific needs.
Molly Northrop, BA, Human Resources Coordinator
Molly Northrop serves as the Human Resources Coordinator at the Center for Social Enrichment and Educational Development, LLC (“The SEED Center”). She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from the University of Vermont. While pursuing her degree at UVM, Molly was a team member at the Center for Health and Wellbeing, which provided crisis prevention, peer mediation, and education to students regarding overall health and wellness. Additionally, Ms. Northrop spent summers teaching sailing to individuals with physical and mental disabilities at the Community Sailing Center in Burlington. Prior to the SEED Center, Molly was employed as a Recruitment Specialist at a National Recruiting Agency and then joined a Senior Executive Career Advisory and Private Search Firm. Molly brings to the SEED Center a combination of her desire to work in the business field together with her love and compassion for children.
Kaitlan Gannon, BS
Kaitlan Gannon is a Behavior Therapist at the Center for Social Enrichment and Education Development, LLC (The SEED Center). She graduated from Iona College in 2010 with a BS in Speech Pathology. She has recently finished her course work towards are BCaba through Western Connecticut University program. Kaitlan has worked in the special needs community for the last five years in both private and public school settings. She has helped conducted speech sessions along with conducting Functional Behavioral Assessments. She has helped provide direct instruction, taking data and developed graphs for both program data and behavior data. Kaitlan is passionate about her work in the special needs community and works everyday to make a difference in each child’s life.
Meg Presley, MS, CCC-SLP
Meg Presley serves as a speech-language pathologist at The SEED Center. Meg holds her Master of Science Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Gallaudet University in Washington, DC, and a Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders from the University of New Hampshire. Meg has 21 years of experience across a variety of settings including St. Vincent’s Special Need Services in Trumbull, CT, The North Carolina School for the Deaf in Morganton, NC, and Greenwich Public Schools in Greenwich, CT. Meg has also worked with children in the ABILIS Birth to Three Program in the Fairfield county area.
Meg evaluates and treats children with receptive and expressive language disorder, central-auditory processing disorders, word-finding disorders, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder, apraxia and cognitive delays. She has experience with auditory training therapy, augmentative and alternative communication devices, and the use of PECS. Meg is trained in PROMPT techniques, has experience administering the VB-MAPS assessment, and following functional behavior plans. Meg enjoys working with students of all ages utilizing a team approach including and supporting the family.
Evie Baez, BS
Evie joins the SEED Center as a Behavior Therapist. She graduated from The Pennsylvania State University and received a Bachelors of Science in Psychology with a Neuroscience concentration. During her undergraduate years she worked as a research assistant in a concussion laboratory conducting assessments and computing data used in return to play decisions for athletes. Evie almost went for a Master’s in Neuropsychology. However, she realized after her first experience as a Behavior Therapist she found her passion helping others to learn, navigate toward independence and maintain a high quality of life. Evie is an ABA enthusiast who over the past 4 years has worked in a variety of schools, homes and community settings. She is currently enrolled in a masters program for Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism in order to work toward her BCBA certification.
Cynthia (Cindy) Steele-Pucci, BCBA, LPC
Cynthia Steele-Pucci serves as a BCBA at The Center for Social Enrichment and Educational Development, LLC (“The SEED Center”). She holds a Master’s degree in Counseling from the University of Bridgeport, is certified as a BCBA and has worked as a Licensed Professional Counselor since 1999. Cynthia has experience working as a BCBA in the public school system, home therapy and birth to three services for students with autism and related disorders. Cynthia has written and implemented Functional Behavior Assessments and Behavior Intervention Plans for her students.
Emily Blau, MEd
Emily Blau joins The SEED Center as a Behavior Therapist. She holds a Masters of Education degree from Lesley University and has completed a graduate certificate in Behavioral Interventions in Autism at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She has taught in private schools serving students of diverse backgrounds and needs. As a mother of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder, she has implemented Individualized Education Plans, Functional Behavior Assessments and Behavior Intervention Plans. Emily is passionate about using her knowledge and experience to help children and families coping with the challenges of ASD.
Carly Mappa, BS
Carly Mappa serves as the administrative assistant at the Center for Social Enrichment and Educational Development, LLC (“The SEED Center”). She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sport Management with a minor in Business Management from Springfield College where she was a member of the women’s soccer team. Carly has spent over 6 years volunteering with children and adults with disabilities through summer camps, school programs, and Special Olympics teams. She has interned with Special Olympics CT and coordinated the gymnastics competition at the 2016 Winter Games. She currently serves as a coach and assistant program coordinator for the Weston Westport YMCA Special Olympics swim team. Carly is passionate about serving others and loves seeing individuals with disabilities reaching their full potential.
Emmanuel (Manny) Hidalgo, MS, BCBA
Emmanuel “Manny” Hidalgo serves as a BCBA at The Center for Social Enrichment and Educational Development, LLC (The SEED Center). He holds a Master of Science degree in Childhood Education and Students with Disabilities, Grades 1-6 from Mercy College, completed his coursework in Applied Behavior Analysis at the Florida Institute of Technology, and recently earned his certification as a Behavior Analyst.
Manny has more than 7 years of experience working with individuals with autism and intellectual disabilities. This experience includes conducting assessments using the Verbal Behavior Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP), the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills – Revised (ABLLS-R), Functional Behavior Assessments (FBA), the Functional Analysis Screening Tool (FAST), developing and implementing Behavior Intervention Plans (BIP), and conducting Preference Assessments. In addition, Manny has experience working with augmentative and alternative communication devices (AAC) and the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS).
Manny is dedicated to positively impacting and growing with the individuals and families at The SEED Center.
Caitin Duffin, BS, RBT
Caitin Duffin graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science in Speech Language Hearing Sciences and a minor in Linguistics and Human Development and Family Studies. Currently, she is working on her Master’s degree in ABA therapy at Western Connecticut State University. Caitin gained experience while working and volunteering several places. Most recently, she worked as a paraprofessional in a school environment, assisting young adults with developmental disabilities, and as a job coach in different vocational settings. Caitin also worked as the classroom assistant helping the young adults attain academic success. Previously, Caitin volunteered as a camp counselor where she gained experience working with toddlers on the autism spectrum. In this position she was responsible for running camp activities for a group of children.
Megan Quinn, BA, RBT
Megan Quinn joined the SEED Center as a behavioral therapist. She graduated with her Bachelors degree in psychology from the University of South Florida. After completing her undergraduate degree, Megan pursed a job doing ABA therapy and has worked one on one with children in homes, schools and the community. Megan is currently attending Pace University for her Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. She hopes to earn her doctorate degree in counseling psychology and counsel children and families who are dealing with chronic and genetic illnesses.
Genese Semey, BS, RBT
Rachel Levitt. BA
Rachel Levitt graduated from Manhattanville College with a major in psychology and a minor in creative writing. She has spent the past year and a half working with children with autism in an elementary school setting. Prior to that experience she worked with individuals with mental health issues. Rachel enjoys working with children with autism and plans to obtain a masters degree within the field.
Melanie Porter, BA
Melanie graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from The University of Connecticut. She has worked with children with autism for the past two years within a home setting. Because of this experience, she has begun to pursue her Master’s in ABA at Western CT State University, and is excited to work with this population.
Donna Watkins, MA, CCC-SLP
Donna has over thirty-five years working in southwestern CT as a Speech/Language Pathologist in the private and public school setting. She has also provided compensatory and summer school communication services for Milford, Stratford and Bridgeport.
Donna is a highly qualified Speech Language Pathologist with the current professional credentials: CT Professional Educator- Endorsement-061 in Speech Pathology, ASHA (American Speech/Language and Hearing Association) Certificate of Clinical Competency, and the CT Dept. of Health License – Speech Pathology. She is also a lifetime member of the CEA (CT Education Association) and NEA (National Education Association).
Donnas experience as a Speech/Language Pathologist is diverse, having worked in grades Pre-K to 12 providing appropriate therapy programs for students with the following disabilities: hearing impaired, autism, learning disabled (reading and writing), nonverbal learning disability, cleft palate, students requiring AAC devices, auditory processing, memory, language based learning disabilities, Asperger’s, social skills, fluency, and articulation to identify some of the populations she has serviced. She is proficient in using technology- computer software, Smart phones, Smart Boards and the iPad, to accomplish student goals and objectives. Donna created and implemented a course Psycholinguistic with the School Psychologist for high school students in a private school; combining and addressing communication skills with social emotional needs
As an experienced Speech/Language Pathologist of over 35 years, Donna has worked effectively with school teams: administrators, teachers, para-professionals, parents and students; developed classroom based communication programs at the elementary and secondary levels; and supervised CFY Speech/Language Pathologists. She’s provided extensive evaluations for students with autism, Asperger’s, Learning Disabilities as well as other communication disorders. After retiring for the Greenwich public school system in 2013, she was a parent advocate for parents in a number of southwestern Connecticut towns.
Donna earned a Bachelors of Arts in Communication Arts- concentration in Radio and Television production from Hofstra University, Minor in Speech Pathology and a Master of Arts Degree also from Hofstra University in Speech Pathology. In 2004, I completed a six-year degree in Education- from the University of New England.
Donna looks forward to bringing her many years of experience and expertise in the field of Autism as a Speech/ Language Pathologist to the SEED Center.
Amanda Balducci, MEd
Amanda joins the Center For Social Enrichment and Educational Development, LLC (The SEED Center) as a Behavior Technician. She has worked as a Special Education teacher for the past five years in both public and private school settings. She earned a Master’s Degree in Special Education with a concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorders from Southern Connecticut State University. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology (B.A.), Special Education (K-12 Certification) and Elementary Education (K-6 Certification) (B.S.) also from SCSU.
Amanda is passionate about the field of Autism and has experience creating and implementing IEPs that support academic, social and behavioral growth since 2008. She has experience conducting Functional Behavior Analysis which lead to the creation and implementation of Behavior Intervention Plans. She utilizes the foundation of Applied Behavior Analysis to support individuals with ASD while creating environments that encourage the use of all five senses. Amanda is thrilled to be part of the SEED Center team!
Peter Kozak, BA
Peter Kozak serves as a Registered Behavior Technician at the Center for Social Enrichment and Educational Development, LLC (“The SEED Center”). He graduated from William Paterson University with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a minor in Psychology, and is currently enrolled in a BCBA program through the University of Cincinnati. Peter has worked with Special Needs since 2010, and has experience in many different capacities, including adult-day programs, after-school adolescent programs, and Special Needs adventure camps. He is very passionate about the work he does, and is committed to to helping everyone express their individuality and reach their full potential in this life.
Allegra Themmen-Pigott, LPC
Allegra Themmen-Pigott, BM, MA, LPC, MT-BC, DBPC serves as a Licensed Professional Counselor at the Center for Social Enrichment and Educational Development, LLC (“The SEED Center”). Allegra holds a Bachelor of Music form the Manhattan School of Music and a Masters of Arts in Expressive Therapies from Lesley University. She has over 16 years of experience working in healthcare and has a multidisciplinary background using aspects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Music Therapy for children with Special Needs for individuals, groups and families. Prior coming to SEEDS she worked as a Clinical Supervisor at Heartsong, a non-fee music and art therapy program for children with special needs and as a Treatment Coordinator at St. Vincent’s, a psychiatric facility working with children, adolescents and adults. She has also presented at Regional and National Conferences throughout the country and has taught at the New School. She prides herself in advocating for all children and adapting the therapy to meet the clinical needs of each of her clients.
Alexandra (Allie) Van Duyne, BA, RBT
Allie has been working with children with autism and other related disorders for over four years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a minor in Psychology from Sacred Heart University. She began working with children with emotional and behavioral disorders, but soon discovered her passion for children with autism, and wanted to dedicate herself to ABA. Allie obtained her RBT credential, and is currently pursuing her Master’s of Science degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism from The Sage Colleges – Esteves School of Education. Allie loves seeing the difference ABA can make in children’s lives and truly believes in the principles; she looks forward to becoming a BCBA.
Amanda Brown, MS, LPC
Amanda Brown is a Mental Health Counselor. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the State University of New York New Paltz and her graduate degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Long Island University. Amanda has extensive experience in treating individuals with special needs, as well as adolescents with eating disorders and mental health issues. She specializes in cognitive behavior therapy, mindfulness techniques and behavior therapy. Amanda has previously worked with a team of Behavior Analysts where she helped create social programs for individuals with disabilities. She also has experience developing and implementing Behavior Intervention Plans. She is passionate about working with the special needs community and enjoys taking creative approaches in her work.
Ruva Moyo, MSW, Admissions Coordinator
Ruva Moyo serves as the Admissions Coordinator at The SEED Center. Ms. Moyo holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Framingham State College and a Master’s in Social Work from Boston University. Ms. Moyo is licensed as a Social Worker and also completed the Graduate Certificate program in Behavioral Intervention in Autism from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Ms. Moyo has worked with the special needs community since 2011, and feels strongly about using her knowledge and training to enrich the lives of children and families.
Jennifer McCormick, Ed. D., BCBA
Jennifer McCormick serves as a BCBA at The SEED Center. She holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Elementary Education and Psychology from Western New England College and a Master of Science degree in Behavioral Education and Applied Behavior Analysis from Simmons College. Jennifer, most recently, completed her Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Southern Connecticut State University.
Jennifer has 10 years of professional experience employed as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). She has worked in both the private and public sectors. She has served as a District Behavior Analytic Consultant for West Haven Public Schools. Additionally, she has worked as a Senior Outreach Behavior Analyst for a private agency. Her experience working with individuals (3-16 years old) includes students identified as requiring special education services as well as general education students.
As a BCBA consultant in both the private and public sector, Jennifer has led professional development, coached teachers, and collaborated to create support plans and systems to promote continuity. Jennifer routinely consults with parents, families, caregivers, teachers, and other professionals regarding problem behavior, skill acquisition and development, discrete trial instruction programming, and class management systems. She is committed to helping design and implementing strategies and systems to promote safe, positive environments for all children.
Evan Schneiderman, MA, BCBA
Evan serves as a BCBA at The SEED Center. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Queens College. During his time there, his Master’s thesis focused on staff training, and concentrated on how to increase treatment integrity and overall efficacy across large agencies and programs.
Evan has over 6 years of experience working with individuals with autism, and other co-morbid diagnoses’. He was worked in a variety of settings including schools, residential programs, and home settings. He has extensive knowledge designing and implementing functional living skills for older individuals to effectively transition into independent living. Additionally, he has expertise in conducting Functional Behavior Assessments, designing Behavior Intervention Plans, and training paraprofessionals to carry out the necessary components of each plan.
Throughout his career, Evan has worked as a Paraprofessional, Teaching Assistant, Behavior Specialist, and a BCBA.
Vanessa Smith serves as a Registered Behavior Technician at The SEED Center. She graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, and is currently enrolled in a BCBA program through Simmons College. Vanessa has worked with Special Needs since 2013, and has experience in many different capacities, including Birth-to-Three programs, after-school programs, and liason with several Connecticut school districts. She is very passionate about the work she does, and is committed to helping everyone achieve their goals and bring their dreams to life!