ASUA takes pride in cultivating a highly skilled, experienced, and caring staff. Comprised of dedicated teachers, instructional assistants, related service providers, administrative assistants, business operations professionals, and administration, the ASUA staff is highly diverse and brings their knowledge and skill to ASUA to help support our mission, vision, and continue our unique task of building of inclusive communities.
Jamie Jenkins, M.Ed.
Head of School
Master of Education in
Special education, advocating for students with disabilities, and supporting families are my passions. Since joining ASUA as Head of School in 2018, I have been proud to lead a talented and caring team of vision- and mission-driven professionals as we have expanded to serve our community from Preschool through 12th grade utilizing ASUA’s progressive, compassionate, and effective methodologies. In my time away from ASUA, I am a mom of three amazing young men ages 26, 23, and 19. I enjoy hiking, cooking, traveling, and spending time with my loved ones.
Jillian Winn, M.Ed., BCBA
Associate Head of School
Masters of Education in Foundations Behavior Analysis, Board Certified Behavior Analyst
I started my career at ASUA in the summer of 2015 as a behavior specialist. I now have worked my way up to the Associate Head of School. I love being a part of our growing community of staff, students, and families. We are paving the way to create a more inclusive world together one day at a time! Outside of work I love spending time with my niece and nephews, traveling, or just relaxing with a good book or movie.
Kay Stauffer, SHRM-CP
Chief Operations Officer
B.F.A. in Painting and
Metals & Jewelry
I have been with ASUA since the founding of the school and I am so honored to be a part of such an amazing place. I oversee the Operations, including HR, facilities, finance, graphic design and marketing, as well as the Spectrum Greenhouse Program. I love ASUA and it's exciting to work here - no two days are the same! Outside of work, I love spending time outdoors with my husband and dogs and I am an active artist creating conceptual work and wearable jewelry.
Jeanne McCarthy, Ed.D
Director of Educational Programming
Bachelor of Fine Arts and Art Education, Masters of Educational Administration, Doctor of K-12 Educational Leadership, Pennsylvania Art Teacher Certification Level II, Pennsylvania K-12 Principal Certification Level II
ASUA is a place where all learners can experience the flexible, personalized, holistic learning environments they need to grow and achieve. As a parent of a child with Autism, I am inspired by ASUA's affirming school community which honors the unique experience and qualities of each child.
Emma Fisher, M.Ed.
Director of Research & Development
Master of Education in Secondary Education; PhD Student in Special Education
I joined ASUA in 2022 because I wanted an opportunity to utilize my experiences as a classroom teacher and my expertise in special education research. My goal is to help our staff use the most current research-based practices, while also sharing with the world the wonderful work we do here! Outside of work, I love to bird-watch, hike, and spend time with my pets.
Emily Gramlich, M.Ed
Director of Behavioral Programming
Master of Education in
Hi my name is Emily Gramlich and I am the Lead Behavior Specialist of ASUA! I have a Master's of Education in Special Education from Penn State University and an Undergrad in Autism Behavioral Studies from St. Joseph's University. I am currently studying to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analysis certification examination. I love working at A Step Up because I love to support my students make behavior progress in small and big ways. Every step is progress towards something greater! All of our staff are extremely dedicated and our administrators go above and beyond to provide guidance and support for all staff and students.
Director of Advancement
M.A. Journalism, M.Ed. Education (May 2023 Anticipation Graduation Date)
From the moment I walked in the door, I fell in love with ASUA and knew it was where I needed to be. Seeing the students and staff accomplish what they do every day, makes me want to work even harder to receive the funding that will support all that they do. In my role as the Director of Advancement, I oversee all fundraising operations and community relations.
Tim Kurpiel, B.S.Ed
Assistant Director of Educational Programming
Bachelor of Science in Education, PreK-4th. Dual certified in GenEd PreK-4th and Special Education K-12th
I began working at A Step Up Academy in 2015 after graduating from Temple University. I began my time at ASUA as an Instructional Assistant before fulfilling roles as an Assistant Teacher, Lead Teacher, and eventually my current role as the Lead Inclusion Support Teacher. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I am blessed with a loving wife, a healthy son, and 2 crazy dogs. I am an avid fisherman, golf addict, and lover of all Philly sports.
Master of Science in Business Administration, Certified Treasury Professional
Retired business and financial professional who has a deep passion for teaching and mentoring those with a true interest in learning. Avid golfer and licensed pilot who enjoys traveling and spending time with his family and friends.
B.A. Art/Digital Fabrications
In my roles at A Step Up Academy, I support the team as Operations Coordinator, assisting with business office tasks. As Diversity & Equity Specialist, I am working with the entire team to ensure that ASUA stays up to date with our understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion. In my free time I regularly speak and write about my personal experiences being an Autistic adult, and actively work towards making the world a better, more accommodating, and accepting place for others on the spectrum. I also love kayaking, hiking, camping, sewing, and making art.
M.S. in Special Education
I have been a part of the ASUA community since the 2018 school year as a student teacher. I have learned so much during my time here in the various roles I have been in, and I look forward to continuing
to learn and grow alongside our students! I love staying active and being outdoors. I also love
playing sports and watching my favorite teams.
Karin Fortin, M.Ed.
Transition Behavior Specialist
M.Ed. Applied Behavior Analysis
I have a passion for working with individuals that have different abilities. I enjoy working with school-age children as I prepare them to become more engaged with social skills and the community.
Bachelor's Degree in Psychological and Social Sciences. Currently obtaining Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis.
Throughout my studies at Penn State University, I took a strong interest in conducting research to understand human behavior. My goal has always been to provide support and apply my knowledge to those in need, and ASUA has given me that opportunity. Those who know me know I thoroughly enjoy all outdoor activities, making ASUA's mission of community inclusion one of my favorite parts of working with this team!
I enjoy the reward of workin with the children i get to work with everyday and helping them work through every day challenges. ASUA has had a supportive environment from the start, in large part to the staff I have gotten to know and had the pleasure of working with so far.
Brendan Schluth, B.A. Music
Creative Therapy Coordinator & Music Specialist
Bachelor of Arts in Music
Music has been a positive force throughout my life and a tool in which I have used for educational and therapeutic purposes within my own self. I am a proud member of
A Step Up Academy because they promote the importance of music in their programing and are dedicated to the musical development of
Emily Stefankiewicz, M.Ed.
Master of Education in Reading
My name is Emily Stefankiewicz and I am the Transition Specialist. I have worked in special education for almost 20 years. As the Transition Specialist, I have the opportunity to help students develop skills
needed to be successful adults in the real world.
B.A. in Education Studies
I started at ASUA as a volunteer back when I was in high school and now here I am 9 years later. I've held many positions here from instructional assistant, to IT, to now Materials Specialist. As a Materials Specialist my goal is to help create unique and meaningful instructional materials in hopes to make education a more enjoyable and relatable experience for the students. ASUA is a second family
to me and it's been a joy to watch this school and its community grow and flourish.
Amanda Savastana MS, OTR/L
Lead Clinical Specialist & Occupational Therapist
Master of Science in Occupational Therapy
The best part of my role at ASUA is watching our students gain confidence throughout the school year and find joy and meaning in their lives. Outside of work, my most important role is being a Mom to my 2 year old son who is curious, fearless, and determined.
Meghan Dearstyne, PT, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
My name is Meghan and I am the physical therapist at ASUA. I love using movement and play to help achieve goals and improve function. In my free time, I spend my time traveling, camping, and hiking with my dog!
Alynna Williams, OTR/L
Master of Science in Occupational Therapy
I have always enjoyed working with kids within a school setting! I had the opportunity to complete fieldwork in a school like ASUA and absolutely loved it there. I truly enjoy helping a child to able to participate part in a typical school day.
Kelsey Van Horn, MS, OTR/L
Master of Science in Occupational Therapy
My name is Kelsey and I am very passionate about sensory integration and inclusion! My favorite part of being an Occupational Therapist is watching students participate in meaningful roles in school, at home, and out in the community. I love seeing students reach their goals and live fulfilling lives! I am very happy to be a member of the ASUA team because everyone's passion radiates making it a comfortable, fun space for children to grow in. In my free time, I love hiking, camping, and photography!
Alyssa Hughes M.S. CCC-SLP
Masters of Science in Communication Disorder Sciences
Being an SLP is an important job because I love to give students creative and functional ways to communicate with others. I was drawn to ASUA because of the supportive staff and the desire to build and enhance their students communication. In my free time, I enjoy walking my dog, Otto, and relaxing at the Jersey Shore!
Allie DiFelice MS. CCC-SLP
Master of Sciences in Speech- Language Pathology
Prior to receiving my master's degree from Emerson College, I worked at A Step Up Academy as an instructional assistant for five years. I am so excited to be back at ASUA as a Speech- Language Pathologist to help our students improve their communication skills. In my free time I love playing sports and traveling with family and friends!
Master of Sciences in Speech-Language Pathology
Hi! My name is Grace McInerney, and I am a Speech-Language Pathologist at ASUA. I joined the ASUA team at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year. I am looking forward to fostering confident communication and language skills with our amazing students. In my free time, I love to spend time hanging out with my friends, family, and my three dogs!
Bachelor of Arts
I started at ASUA in the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year and it has been such an amazing experience! I love supporting our students and learning from our incredible staff. I am so thankful to be apart of such a great team of individuals!
Bachelors of Arts in Early Childhood Education &
My passion and love for working with people with autism stems from love and interest they see in the world.
I want to be able to maximize the love that they have and give them the ability to show it to the rest of
Bachelor of Arts in General and Special Education
I have been working in special education for the last 7 years but I've always had a particular fondness for working in autistic support. I'm really excited to be entering my second year with ASUA and I am excited for the new challenge of working with the high schoolers this year!
BA in Special Education
I have been teaching special education for 30 years. I came to ASUA because I love their mission and small family feel. When I'm not in school I love doing various arts and crafts and spending time with my nieces and nephews.
Bachelors of Science in
Early Childhood Education
I love helping others succeed and I get to see that everyday at ASUA!
Bachelor of Science in
Music Education for
I graduated from Temple University with a degree in Music Education K-12 for inclusive populations, but quickly fell in love with special education throughout my program and during substitute teaching. In September, I started working on my Master’s for Special Education. Outside of my school life, I enjoy all aspects of food. I like finding new recipes and getting creative in the kitchen. I also enjoy being challenged in competitive video games. Finding new strategies and ways to improve my skills is both fun in my free time and a useful skill here at ASUA.
Bachelor of Science
I enjoy making a impact on many children lives. I also enjoy watching the children learn through the creative ways we teach them.
Associate's in Business / Currently Perusing Bachelor's in Inclusive Education with a Minor in Psychology and an
I am thrilled to become part of the team at A Step Up Academy! My own schooling experiences have brought me into the special education field. I am beyond grateful for the amazing teachers that I had in high school, thanks to them I found my calling to help special education students reach their greatest potential.
Bachelors of Science in Early Childhood Studies
Hello! I love working with children, especially in ECE. I have spent most of my career working in Special Education and can’t wait to get back into it! I have a 10 year old son named Brayden and am currently in a Masters program to obtain my BCBA. I am excited to start this new journey with ASUA.
Lead Instructional Assistant & Auxiliary and
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
My name is Robin and I am a Lead Instructional Assistant/ Auxiliary and Logistic Coordinator. I am a very organized person who loves planning things and is very creative. After planning the summer camp, Around the World of 2022, I was placed in the dual position of Auxiliary and Logistics Coordinator/ Lead Instructional Assistant. With this position, I will not only be planning this next summer camp, but I will also be planning field trips for the whole ASUA community. I have a passion for working with children and love working in the school setting. Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my family, friends, and my puppy. I also spend a lot of my free time on the Delaware River riding my jet ski during the summer.
Lead Instructional Assistant
Bachelor of Science
My love for kids is what truly brought me here. Being one of eight siblings I have had the pleasure of being an older sibling and taking care of my siblings. Being about to work with kids and help them in a larger way has truly made me so happy!!
Lead Instructional Assistant
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting
Hi! I’m Rylan, and I am uniquely linked with ASUA because both my brother and mom are employees at the school! I have worked doing many different things for ASUA, but working in the classroom with the kids is what I love to do.
Art Specialist &
Bachelors of Arts in Art Therapy
I'm excited to be the Art Specialist at ASUA so I can make art accessible to our students. Psychology and art are my two passions, so I feel blessed to be able to pursue a career in
art therapy. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, hiking, being outside, caring for my orange tabby cat, and getting creative with friends.
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
I grew up with a brother who had special needs so that is what initially brought me to this field. I love interacting with the kids and being able to help them achieve their goals. When I am not at work I love spending time with my 2 guinea pigs and being outside.
Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences & Disorders with a
Minor in Psychology
I decided to take a year off from school before I enter my Masters program for Speech Pathology and was looking for something rewarding to do in the meantime. I enjoyed working with students with Autism and helping them communicate in any way I can for the IU and wanted to continue doing that and gain more experience with this population. I stubbled upon ASUA and fell in love with the mission. I am excited to begin my journey and learn and help as much as I can.
Matthew Chlebda, BA/MA, CYT, CMT
Masters of Arts in Sociology
I am very happy to have accepted the role as Instructional Assistant for the school year. I love having the opportunity to help children learn.
Currently in School for Early Childhood Development.
I have been working with children since I was 14. I love teaching and watching children grow their critical thinking, social, motor, and cognitive skills. I've always enjoyed the psychology of children and couldn't imagine working in any other field. I think this position will not only allow me to help the children learn but can also be a learning experience for me.
Master of Science in Psychology
What brought me to ASUA is my desire to work in the field of psychology. Recently graduated with my Masters in General psychology, I had a wide range of interests and ASUA seemed like a great place to start! Outside of work I enjoy yoga, shopping, and spending time with my cat.
In Arcadia University's dual-certification program for early and special education.
I have been interested in special education since first being exposed to it in high school, leading to me pursuing it as my major in college. I'm interested in learning more about, and furthering, advocacy, inclusion, and accessibility.
Bachelors of Social Work
I am a Temple University Alumna. Working with students of all abilities is a true passion of mine, so I am very happy to be working here at ASUA. Today’s children are tomorrow’s future. It is truly rewarding to be able to support and shape the minds of children.
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Master of Education in Counselor Education
I'm autistic, so I have a personal interest in helping other autistic people, especially those who are younger than me. As an aspiring school counselor, I'm also very interested in working with children in an educational setting, so ASUA was an obvious choice to work with both populations at once.
Bachelor of Arts in Humanities
I am excited to be a part of ASUA as an Instructional Assistant and to build relationships with students and staff! In my free time I like to read, hike, and bake.