The Arbor Team
MEET OUR ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF
Previous to assuming this role, she served as The Arbor’s Chief Development Officer for two years. As Executive Director, JuliAnna is responsible for overall management of The Arbor, including operations, brand management, business development, and public engagement. Prior to joining The Arbor, JuliAnna spent over seven years in business development and fundraising for public policy and advocacy groups in Arizona, California, and Washington D.C. JuliAnna considers it one of her greatest joys in life to have landed at The Arbor and to serve such a dedicated community of Board members, incredible staff, and the most amazing students and parents around. When she’s not at her Arbor home, JuliAnna can be found at her house home-schooling and chasing her four young kids around while drinking copious amounts of caffeine. She loves the outdoors and the Texas Hill Country is her happy place.
Director of Education
Previous to assuming this role, Tricia served as a Lead Teacher for The Arbor for three years. As Director of Education, she is now responsible for leading the teaching staff and implementing best practices in curriculum and education programs at The Arbor. Tricia has her Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction and has 17 years of education experience with children with special needs – one of her favorite parts about working at The Arbor is getting to know each student and their families because this has truly become her second family! Tricia is also certified in assistive technology for children with special needs, and considers it such a privilege to get to support our amazing teachers in the work that they do in the classrooms! When she’s not at the Arbor, you can find her going on “adventures” (like taking a trip to Lowe’s) with her husband and two little boys or going on a Saturday morning run that somehow always ends at the breakfast taco shop!
Director of People Operations
As Director of People Operations, Katy is responsible for overseeing all efforts as they relate to treating and serving our staff with the greatest care and cultivating a rich sense of community among our teacher and administrative teams. Prior to joining The Arbor, Katy worked in various industries including space medicine, project management, and a nonprofit organization. Now, she is so excited about joining The Arbor family! Katy enjoys spending time with her husband and their three school-age children, preferably near a pool, a lake or the beach!
Business and Facilities Manager
As Business Manager, Morgan is responsible for accounting, compliance, and human resources. Morgan has over 25 years in managerial roles ranging from large corporations to small operations. He has obtained a degree in Computer Science and is A+ and MCP certified. Morgan first found The Arbor as a parent and has a deep passion for The Arbor School. Morgan is an avid motorcyclist and musician. He owns his own studio and works with songwriters across the country. He shares his passion for motorcycling with his autistic son, where you can find them traveling the back roads of Texas almost every weekend. When he isn’t writing or riding, he is catching up with the latest anime with his daughter.
Grants and Outreach Manager
Emily assists in writing grant proposals, planning special events, developing digital and print materials, and more! Prior to joining The Arbor in 2017, she spent over three years working in education and customer-relation offices. Emily brings with her a passion for the special needs community. While The Arbor is one of her favorite places to be, she also loves spending time with her family and taking long road trips – especially during springtime when flowers are in full bloom!
As Administrative Assistant, Cassidy serves The Arbor community so that our students, families, and staff have all they need to have their best day ever on campus! From making that perfect cup of morning coffee, to keeping the office running smoothly, planning dedicated events to spoil our teaching staff, and acting as the first line of communication for existing and perspective families – Cassidy’s reach extends to every aspect of our campus. Cassidy began with The Arbor in July of 2022, has loved joining The Arbor family, and is excited to continue to serve as The Arbor grows and flourishes. When at home Cassidy enjoys spending time with her husband, her two young boys, and is expecting a sweet baby girl this fall. She also loves expressing herself through art and enjoys weaving, watercolor painting, and embroidery. She loves to travel, and the mountains are her happy place.
MEET OUR LEAD TEACHERS
Ms. Sonia has been with The Arbor nearly since its founding! She graduated from Houston Baptist University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education. During her college years, she worked part-time at The Arbor as an assistant teacher before joining the staff as a lead teacher. While she focuses on her students’ well-being, she desires that their parents may in turn find hope, practical help, and guidance at The Arbor. She takes great joy in watching her students successfully master their individualized goals and she has proudly watched many of her former students grow and succeed through The Arbor’s program.
Ms. Mara graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Science degree. She has 8 years of experience in working with special needs children. Prior to working at The Arbor, she worked as a Registered Behavioral Therapist in various ABA settings. In her classroom, she provides an ABA structured, fun, safe, and nurturing environment. She embraces the process of watching her students reach success by mastering new skills and finds it rewarding to be a part of helping each child live their life to their fullest potential by encouraging independence and consistency in the classroom and at home. In her spare time, she likes to travel, go to concerts, read, paint, and spend time with her fiancé, friends, and family.
Ms. Miranda joined The Arbor team in June of 2022. She graduated from UHCL with a degree in psychology and brings with her ABA experience. She believes that love, consistency, and positive reinforcement can help produce extraordinary developmental milestone results. But it is a journey! As Ms. Miranda says, “I believe it takes a village to raise a child, and I believe that The Arbor School contributes to that end.” We are so grateful to have Ms. Miranda as part of our village! When she’s not at The Arbor, you might find her crocheting a masterpiece!
“I absolutely love this school!” Ms. Amy is happy to be at The Arbor for her sixth year! In 2008, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in Special Education. She has experience as both a life-skills and PPCD teacher before joining The Arbor family. She is passionate about teaching children and defying the odds that were set against her students. This is what brings hope to so many families that come through her doors, and that is one of the best rewards!
Ms. Keisha has been at The Arbor for nearly 15 years! She is very passionate about the children and families that she serves. It is her personal mission to ensure that skills learned in the classroom are transferred and carried out in the home. Her goal is for her students to have community awareness and be present and actively part of as many family and community events as possible! Outside of The Arbor, she loves to stay healthy and fit to keep up with her very active boys!
Ms. Aqeela has 36 years of experience teaching children with special needs. After receiving her Masters in Psychology in 1983, she dedicated herself to several different organizations and schools in Pakistan for children with special needs – even including the Special Olympics! Ms. Aqeela has now been with The Arbor for over 10 years. For Ms. Aqeela, this is not “just a job,” it is something that she is called to do! With her unwavering patience and compassion, she feels that she was created to help those who need it most. In her own words, “When I see the light in the eyes of my students and their parents, I feel that I was able to make a difference in their life and that gives me a feeling of fulfillment every day.”
Ms. Purdeep was born and raised in the U.K. She taught special needs children in the U.K. for four years and she even taught English to students in India for a year (she’s trilingual!). Now she has been teaching at The Arbor for over 25 years. She is a loving, caring, fun, supportive, organized, and energetic teacher who loves to bake on the weekends and spend time with her family and dogs. Her goal is to teach all of her students to their fullest potential and to be successful and as independent as possible. Ms. Purdeep is always ready for a challenge in the classroom and has overcome many through the years. She is passionate about helping others and is driven to provide the very best education to her students.
Ms. Jessica joined The Arbor team in June of 2021. She graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelors in Psychology and a Minor in Human Development and Family Studies. Ms. Jessica brings with her a passion for watching her students grow, learn, and become as independent as they possibly can – all while having fun in the process! As she shares, “I love The Arbor! Because of the small student to teacher ratio, I am able to give so much attention to each student and their different needs. They’re all so unique! But my favorite part is not what I have taught my students, it’s what I have learned from working and getting to know each child.” In her free time, Ms. Jessica enjoys reading and trying new coffee shops.
Ms. Deidre is always ready to have fun! She has nearly 15 years of experience in education, working with children from infancy through 12 years old. She has been a lead teacher at The Arbor for four years. She has training as a registered behavioral therapist and an ABA therapist, and is passionately driven to provide an ABA-structured, loving, positive environment for all of the students and teachers. She lives by her favorite quote from Napoleon Hill, “you become what you think about,” and this drives her stellar work ethic in and out of the classroom!
Ms. Jessica’s calling to be a lead teacher began when she was little, and her passion has only continued to grow! She has been working with children since 2018, and she joined The Arbor team in early 2022. Ms. Jessica loves to celebrate every milestone that her students achieve – be it big or small! As she shares, “Working with children with special needs brings with it a host of unique challenges and opportunities. The children I work with make every day fulfilling. I now know firsthand that every family is walking a different journey and we all need to open our hearts and minds to people with all abilities.”
Ms. Madison brings with her over 10 years of experience working with children, both as a nanny and most previously as a Registered Behavioral Therapist which is where she found her passion for special education. Ms. Madison is from New York and has an educational background in both Psychology and Sociology. Her passion for education continues to grow – as she shares, “There is so much growth you get to see each and every day at The Arbor!” When she’s not in the classroom, Ms. Madison enjoys cooking and painting!
MEET OUR THERAPISTS
Ms. Lauri joined The Arbor in 2022 and has since loved working with the students twice a week. She received her Masters in Physical Therapy in 2002 from the University of Tennessee and is NDT trained. She is a strong believer that playing is a child’s job and incorporates play into all of her sessions. She loves working with the teachers to incorporate physical therapy activities in the students’ daily schedule. Some fun facts are that she loves the beautiful beaches on the gulf coast of Florida and spends a lot of time there. She also loves reading, movies, live music, hanging out with friends, and spending time with her family – including her husband, son, daughter, and 2 very spoiled dogs!
Behavior Support Specialist
Ms. Maggy joined The Arbor team in 2014. Previous to assuming this role, she served as an assistant and then a lead teacher in the classroom. Ms. Maggy brings with her a vast knowledge of the classroom environment and a passion to provide the right guidance in a safe place where children can grow in a positive, fun environment that encourages and motivates them to achieve their goals. Ms. Maggy was born in Colombia and in 2007 she graduated with a Bachelors in Psychology. She shares, “I love what I do and I’m thankful every day to have the opportunity to connect with every single child and their family.” When she’s not at The Arbor, she likes to travel, workout, and spend time with her husband, baby boy, and dog!
Ms. Karen joined The Arbor team in 2015, and she loves working with the students twice a week! She has experience in a variety of pediatric settings since graduating as an Occupational Therapist, and she is trained in pediatric NDT and has her certification in Ashtanga Yoga. Along with many other therapeutic techniques, she uses yoga theories regularly when treating clients to help relax or arouse their bodies in preparation for therapy and to strengthen and elongate muscles. Some fun facts are that she loves summers on the East Cost, spending time with family, throwing great parties, and hunting for vintage treasures!
Ms. Megan joined The Arbor team in 2023 and is excited to be working every single day with our students! She is passionate about assistive technology and finding a way for every child to learn to love communicating. In her own words, “I love witnessing the transformative power of tailored communication strategies in fostering a child’s overall well-being and sense of belonging.” Ms. Megan graduated with a Masters in Speech Language Pathology in 2021. Prior to joining The Arbor, she worked in public schools with the early childhood special education program. Outside of her zeal for helping students find their voice, she loves reading, crafting, and spending time with her husband and two dogs.