Pupil Personnel Department

                   Allyson O'Hara
   Director of Pupil Personnel Services

The Pupil Personnel Department is dedicated to helping all students achieve their best by not only addressing academic and vocational needs but also by addressing students' social-emotional and physical well-being.  

Educational beliefs- Students will achieve their best when teachers create clear, consistent, caring environments with high expectations.   In this environment, trust and rapport flourishes and students are able to take academic risks and actively engage in the work, improving outcomes for all.






Pupil Personnel Department Office hours are 7:00am-4:00pm and can be reached at (860) 868-6100

Name Contact Information
Allyson O'Hara 
Director of Pupil Personnel Services


Marilyn Ebreo
Assistant to the Director of Pupil Personnel Services



Special Education Services

The district offers a wide range of special education services based on the needs of individual students. These include an integrated preschool, integrated classrooms K-12, special education classrooms and transition supports.  Many of our students receive special education support within their general education classrooms, while others receive support in a special education classroom.  Through the Planning and Placement Team (PPT) process, the Region ensures that, to the maximum extent appropriate, students with disabilities, are educated with students who are non-disabled. 

School Special Education Teacher Email
Booth Free School Emily Rhew rhewe@region-12.org

Burnham School

Serina Rybos


Washington Primary School

Ann Wescott wescotta@region-12.org
  Anthony Weymouth weymoutha@region-12.org
  Jill Horan horanj@region-12.org
  Lisa Holmes holmesl@region-12.org
Shepaug Valley School Fran Beilinson beilinsonf@region-12.org
  Jennifer Carnes carnesj@region-12.org
  Stephanie Davies daviess@region-12.org
  Corinne Houle houlec@region-12.org
  Amanda Koschel koschela@region-12.org
  James McDonough mcdonoughj@region-12.org
  Sue Nicholas nicholass@region-12.org
Shepaug Valley Partnership Betsy O'Neill oneillb@region-12.org


Support Services

School Counseling

We have four full time school counselors at Shepaug School.  Three counselors support our elementary schools once weekly.  We also have a college and career counselor at Shepaug. 

Our guidance team supports our schools by the following actions:

  • Planning developmental guidance lessons and course of study
  • Addressing student needs through individual counseling
  • Planning an academic course of study for students to meet their goals
  • Collaborating with students and families around college and vocational planning
  • Guiding students to use strategies to enhance their study, time management, conflict resolution and decision making skills.

Kim Laughlin - laughlink@region-12.org

Samantha Steinis - steiniss@region-12.org

Kelly Norris - norrisk@region-12.org

College and Career - Mike McManus - mcmanusm@region-12.org

Nursing Services

There is a full time nurse at each of our four school buildings.

Our nurses support our schools by the following actions:

  • Administering first aid
  • Conducting screenings
  • Ensuring student medical records are up to date- physical examinations and immunizations
  • Monitoring and administering medications
  • Consulting with students, parents and staff
  • Working as a liaison between school and physicians and health agencies

Booth Free School- Sandi DiBella - dibellas@region-12.org

Burnham School- Lisa McQueen - mcqueenl@region-12.org

Shepaug Valley School- Edith Poidomani - poidomanie@region-12.org

Washington Primary School -  TBD


School Psychologists

There are two full time and two part time school psychologists in the district supporting all four schools.

Our school psychologists support our schools by the following actions:

  • Conducting assessments- cognitive, behavioral/social/emotional, adaptive functioning
  • Observing students to understand learning styles/behavioral characteristics
  • Participating in student support teams
  • Collecting and compiling data for clear communication
  • Working directly with a student or groups of students to support needs

Monica Burnham - burnhamm@region-12.org

Gabe Byer-Alcorace - byeralcoraceg@region-12.org


Speech and Language Pathologists

We have two speech and language pathologists who work at all four schools in the district.

Our SLPs support our schools by the following actions:

  • Conducting diagnostic assessments to identify communication problems
  • Observing students to support student support teams and decision making
  • Providing direct services for articulation, fluency, and language deficits

Theresa Gallagher - gallaghert@region-12.org

Jennifer Shab - shabj@region-12.org


Occupational and Physical Therapists

Region 12 contracts with a physical therapist, an occupational therapist and a certified occupational therapy assistant who work at all four schools in the district.

These therapists support our schools by the following actions:

  • Conducting diagnostic assessments to identify motor problems
  • Observing students to support student support teams and decision making
  • Providing services to assist students ability to function in the school setting

Rachel Gerowe - Physical Therapist - gerower@region-12.org

Christine Bradshaw -Occupational Therapist - bradshawc@region-12.og

Deborah Davis – Certified Occupational Therapy Asst. - davisd@region-12.org 

Child Find

According to federal regulations, Region 12  is responsible for the locating, identifying and evaluating all children from birth through age twenty-one who require special education and related services.  This responsibility includes children enrolled in private schools and migrant or homeless students. 

Children who are under the age of three may qualify to receive services through community agencies under the Connecticut Birth to Three System.  Children can be referred to the B-3 System by parents, health professionals and school staff.  Staff from Region 12 participate in transition meetings and planning and placement team meetings with families and B-3 providers to ensure the student has a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in place at the age of three.  Parents are welcome to call (860) 868-6100 for additional information.

Parents of children ages three and above who are not enrolled in Region 12 schools can contact the Pupil Personnel Office at (860) 868-6100 and speak with Allyson O’Hara about any developmental concerns.

Students enrolled in Region 12 Schools are identified by teachers through student performance on benchmark assessmens.  Students who are not meeting benchmarks are given additional interventions to support their learning.  If student progress is limited, the student may be referred to the Planning and Placement Team (PPT).  Parents will be notified of the referral in writing and invited to a PPT meeting to discuss school and parent concerns.  Evaluations may be planned at this meeting.

For any further information, please contact Allyson O’Hara at (860) 868-6100 or oharaa@region-12.org


According to state and federal special education laws, parents/guardians have the right to an independent educational evaluation of their child at public expense if they disagree with an evaluation of the child conducted by the district. The Regional School District 12 Public Schools has established the following procedure for obtaining an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) and criteria for the selection of an appropriate evaluator.  In accordance with applicable law, these criteria also apply to outside evaluations performed by an outside evaluator selected by, and/or, at the request of the Regional School District 12 Public Schools.


An Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) is an evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the Regional School District 12 Public Schools, which is the public agency responsible for the education of the child.

An evaluation means the formal testing and/or assessment procedures used to determine whether a child has a disability and the nature and extent of the special education and related services the child needs.

Public expense means the district either pays for the full cost of the evaluation or ensures the evaluation is otherwise provided at no cost to the parents/guardians.


Upon receipt of a request for an IEE by a parent/guardian, the school district will either:  (a) initiate due process and a hearing to show that the evaluation conducted by the district of the child is appropriate; or (b) provide an independent educational evaluation at public expense.  If the school district requests a hearing and the final decision is that the district’s evaluation of the child is appropriate, the parent/guardian still has the right to an independent educational evaluation, but not at public expense.

If, in response to the parent/guardian request for an IEE, the district decides to procure an independent evaluation, the district will provide names, addresses, and phone numbers of possible IEE evaluators who meet the district’s criteria (as set forth below).  The list will identify those evaluators who, in the district’s judgment, are qualified to perform the evaluation requested by the parents.  Parents may also select evaluators not included on the district’s list, provided they fully satisfy all of the criteria set forth below.

Parents will be expected to contact the evaluator they have selected to conduct the IEE in a timely manner to schedule any necessary appointments. 

Criteria for Outside Evaluators (Independent Evaluators and Outside Evaluators Selected by the Regional School District 12 Public Schools)

Evaluators chosen to conduct independent evaluations must meet all of the criteria established by the district as follows:

  1. Minimum Credentials for Evaluators

For Psychologists:

1.     Hold a valid Connecticut Department of Health license as a psychologist.

2.     Have achieved a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Psychology, Neuropsychology or Clinical Psychology from an accredited university.

3.     Have training and experience in evaluating students of the same age level.

4.     Have clinical background, advanced training, and recent experience in the areas of disability being evaluated. 

5.     Be able to schedule an evaluation in a timely manner and produce a written report within forty - five (45) school days of the evaluation, subject to any contractual arrangement with the district or unusual circumstances which justify an extension of this timeline.

For individuals conducting academic achievement testing, the individual must either:

1.     Fulfill the following requirements:

(a)   Have attained a minimum of a Master’s degree; and

(b)   Hold an appropriate and valid special education or other academic

        specialization (such as reading or mathematics) certificate from the

        Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York or Rhode Island State Departments of Education; and

(c)   Have experience in teaching and evaluating students in the area of suspected



2.   Fulfill the requirements of the psychologist above.


For Speech Pathologists, Audiologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical

Therapists and Physicians:

1.     Hold a valid Connecticut Department of Health license to practice.

2.     Have clinical pediatric experience in evaluating and treating children in the area of disability being evaluated.

3.     In the case of physicians, be Board Certified in the appropriate specialty area (pediatrics, care of children and adolescents, etc.)

  1. Cost:   Evaluators must charge fees for evaluation services which, in the judgment of the school district, are reasonable and customary for such evaluations.  The parent may request specific cost information with regard to specific types of evaluations from the school district. 
  2. The evaluator must not be an employee of the school district.
  3. The evaluator must be permitted to directly communicate with school staff who work with the child in school and the members of the Planning and Placement Team, including the Special Education Director, as well as to obtain information from the school and share information with the school.
  4. The evaluator must obtain and consider school information and observations of the child in the school setting in the evaluation process and the written report. 
  5. The evaluator must agree to provide the assessment information and results, including the results of teacher and parent checklists and surveys, in a written report to the district prior to receipt of payment for services.  The evaluator will be expected to produce his/her written report within forty - five (45) school days of the evaluation, subject to any contractual arrangement with the district or unusual circumstances which justify an extension of this timeline.
  6. The evaluator must comply with all guidelines required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Connecticut State Department of Education regulations regarding the evaluation of children with disabilities.  The evaluator must also comply with all applicable confidentiality requirements under state and federal law.


Location Limitations for Evaluators

Evaluators who will be considered for approval must be located within a radius of seventy-five miles.  Evaluators outside of this geographic area will be approved only on an exceptional basis, provided that the parent can demonstrate the necessity of using personnel outside of this geographic area.  The district shall not be responsible to provide transportation, nor pay any travel expenses, to and from the location of the evaluator.  In the case of low incidence or severe disabilities where qualified evaluators may not exist in the geographic area, this requirement may be reconsidered by the district.

Outside Evaluations Which are Not IEEs

Evaluations and/or assessment obtained by parents/guardians which do not meet the criteria for an IEE are considered outside evaluations for which parents/guardians are not entitled to reimbursement or payment from a public school district.  Nonetheless, if a parent/guardian decides to unilaterally obtain an outside evaluation and to share the results of such evaluation with the district, the school district will consider the evaluation at an IEP meeting, as appropriate.

The results of an independent evaluation procured by the district will be considered at a Planning and Placement Team meeting.


Please contact the Director of Pupil Personnel Services with any questions regarding the criteria for independent educational evaluations.

Special Education Resources

Helpful CT Resources for Families, http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/PDF/DEPS/Special/Resources_Families.pdf

Bureau of Special Education Resources, http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2626&q=320730

A Parent’s Guide to Special Education in Connecticut, http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/PDF/DEPS/Special/Parents_Guide_SE.pdf

IEP Manual and Forms (Third Revision October 2010)


A Tool to Assist PPTs in Addressing the Unique Communication Needs of Students Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Language and Communication Plan, http://www.ct.gov/dph/lib/dph/family_health/edhi/pdf/ppt_communication_plan_3-09.pdf

Secondary Transition (Including Building a Bridge:  A Transition Manual for Students), http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2626&q=322676

Easing Into Secondary Transition: A Comprehensive Guide to Resources and Services in Connecticut

Stepping Forward: A Self-Advocacy Guide for Middle and High School Students

Connecticut IEP Transition Planning Checklist


Transition Assessment Resource

Student Success Plan Crosswalk

Assistive Technology and Postsecondary Transition

Connecticut CORE Transition Skills