Beth Kuklinski, Founder & Director


Beth holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from North Carolina State University. She has advanced graduate coursework on Specialized Education. Beth has completing a Master of Arts in English with a focus on Multi Cultural and Transnational Literature from Eastern Carolina University, with two courses remaining. She specializes in working with divergent thinkers, gifted children and children on the Autism Spectrum. Her ability to increase learning for out of the box thinkers, exceptional children, and her experience as a parent of unique kids, inspired her to become the founder of a school especially for them. Beth’s compilation of research, consultations with specialists in educational and therapeutic fields, life experience and vision is the foundation of this original program. Beth was the host of Breathing Underwater: Stories of Autism a radio show airing on WCOM and nationally syndicated on AutismRadio. She is a certified Fast Forward reading program provider. She provides consultation to other agencies and schools and the JLSA program and philosophy inspire many schools who attempt to incorporate these original concepts. She currently completing her first book about autism and education.


Sheena Rapley, Primary Grades Instructor


Sheena Holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Political Science from St. Augustine’s College. She has worked for the City of Raleigh for years in the role as a Before/After-School Care Director and provider. As a care provider for the City of Raleigh she has experience working One-on-One with students that have Autism as well as other students that think out the box and that are very gifted. Sheena worked as a Practicum Assistant with students in a Special Education Program through Peace College where she earned her teaching certification. She has also worked with the students at Millbrook Exchange Center holding different educational events and activities. Sheena has been the Primary Teacher at JLSA for 10 years. Sheena has a passion for helping others and working with students. She is reliable, patient, energetic, and very caring.


Jennifer Calcagno, Language Arts, Humanities & Civics Instructor


Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Boston University in Communications and Public Relations with a minor in Journalism. She began her career in Chicago as an advertising Copywriter then moved to NJ to open a talent management company and host a cable music show. As well as years of direct instruction experience, Jen has been working with children through the Hand in Hand inclusion program, Special Olympic and as a Director at Prestonwood’s Kids Club. She is a published poet and currently lives in Apex with her Pastry Chef husband, son, daughter and golden retriever.


Karina Kopija, Mathematics & Foreign Language Instructor


Karina Kopija was born and educated in Poland where she earned a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration. She is fluent in several languages and enjoys learning and teaching international languages. After she came to US in 2004 she became trained in math instruction and has spent years teaching Math to students. Nothing brings her more satisfaction than to see students succeed and master new math skills. Karina is also a Certified Health Coach and is very passionate about nutrition and healthy lifestyle. She loves spending time with her husband, two daughters and a little Maltipoo Skylar.


Liz Everett-Smith, Academic & Theater Instructor


Liz studied drama at the Long Island, NY High School of the Performing Arts, Lee Strasberg Theater Institute in New York City, Herbert Bergdorf Studio, and The Real Stage. Liz has performed as an actor in numerous venues, was a founding member of the Rogue Theater Company, and has been teaching, coaching, and directing professional and student actors for nearly 20 years. Liz has been teaching specialized academics for years and is trained through the Augustine Literacy Project in reading instruction, utilizing the Orton Gillingham & Wilson methods, as well as a Scientific Learner Certified provider.


Jessica Maynard, Literacy Tutor & Student Support


Jessica is a graduate of JLSA and is currently completing her college degree in Early Childhood Education. She is a trained Augustine Project literacy tutor, utilizing Orton Gillingham & Wilson methods to assist struggling readers. Jessica works one on one with students and also assists supporting students with social and academic learning throughout the school day. She is a talented drummer and enjoys music, anime, traveling and working with children.


Jamiya Allen, Student Support & Afterschool Program Instructor


Jamiya is a graduate from North Carolina Central University, Durham, North Carolina. Jamiya majored in Physical Education with a concentration in teaching as well as completed the Teaching Program in Fall 2011. Graduating from Wallace-Rose Hill high school as a North Carolina Scholar she has always loved academics. She has worked in public instruction as well as Montessori settings. Jamiya has a true love for children and a desire to help them to expand their knowledge.


Dawn Martin, Horizon's Program Instructor & Student Support


Dawn holds a BA in Psychology from Central Connecticut State University. She and her husband Mark have been Rent-A-Center franchisees since 2001. Prior to that she was an agent for the Hartford Insurance Company for 7 years. She serves on the parent committee and assists on all off-campus activities at JLSA. She is trained in the Augustine Literacy Reading Tutoring Program. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, reading and traveling with her family.


Teresa Horowitz, Resident Artist & Art Instructor


Teresa Johnson Horowitz was born and raised in Southern New Jersey. She attended Stockton State College as an undergraduate where she studied painting under David Ahlsted. After a brief stint in New York City, Teresa spent a year in the post baccalaureate program at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. She later moved to Washington, DC, and continue her studies at the Corcoran School of Art under William Christenberry. She then attended the Maryland Institute, College of Art (MICA); Hoffberger School of Painting under the direction of Grace Hartigan. Teresa received her MFA in 1999. She taught drawing and painting at Anne Arundel Community College and in the Continuing Studies department at MICA. Once her special needs son entered elementary school, she created an inclusive art program at his school. Since moving to North Carolina in 2018, she has led the art program at Jordan Lake School of the Arts where she teaches a range of mediums looking to reach each student individually and help them find their artistic energy and direction. She believes art can benefit students emotionally and practically by offering a pathway into developing their fine motor skills as well as providing an outlet to communicate their emotions and feelings.


Liz Everett-Smith, Theater Instructor & Reading Tutor


Liz studied drama at the Long Island, NY High School of the Performing Arts, Lee Strasberg Theater Institute in New York City, Herbert Bergdorf Studio, and The Real Stage. Liz has performed as an actor in numerous venues, was a founding member of the Rogue Theater Company, and has been teaching, coaching, and directing professional and student actors for nearly 20 years. Liz is trained through the Augustine Literacy Project in reading instruction.


Shira W. Rose, Resident Artist & Photography Instructor


Shira is a portrait and lifestyle photographer in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. As the mother of two, one of which is on the autism spectrum, Shira is passionate about sharing stories through the imagery of individuals with disabilities. A portrait photographer for almost a decade, her community service work provides her with the privilege of having a front-row seat in people’s lives whose voices may not oftentimes be heard. She feels it is her responsibility not just to create a beautiful image, but to tell the most authentic story for each moment she is capturing.


Donovan Moran, Music Instructor


Donovan is originally from the Philadelphia area and has always been passionate about an outside the box approach to music education. A self-taught multi-instrumentalist, who has been teaching all ages throughout the Triangle area since moving down to North Carolina in 2015. Donovan has a love for music theory as well as an appreciation for improvisation to express one’s creative self. Seeing students acquire a love for music fills him with joy. Aside from teaching, Donovan also works at a reclaimed woodshop in Raleigh, NC. When Donovan is not playing or teaching music, he also enjoys cooking vegan meals, reading novels and going on long hikes with his dog.


Corrin Carhart, Yoga Instructor


Corrin has been practicing Yoga on and off for years but was really drawn to it about two years ago when she had an injury that was only helped by yoga. At that time she really delved into her own practice and then in February 2015 she decided to start yoga teacher training to try to reach out to others. In August 2015 she became certified as a children’s yoga instructor with Kidding Around Yoga. Corrin is a graduate of Monmouth University with a degree in Psychology. Corrin has seen how transformative yoga can be and is passionate about sharing it with others, especially children. Corrin feels that when we teach children yoga they are not only learning great exercises for their bodies but also coping mechanisms for handling stress, which empowers them to take control of their own emotions and to feel differently about stressful situations. When not teaching yoga Corrin enjoys reading, scrapbooking and spending time with her family


Danan Smith, Project & Team Building Instructor


Danan grew up in the Northeastern corner of the state while developing skills through participation in Boy Scouts, commercial fishing, agriculture, agri-tourism, forestry, colonial history, Athletics, hunting, fishing, foraging, shore combing, and all things outdoors. He received a Biological Sciences Degree from NCSU and has prior experiences working for ASNC, EasterSeals UCP SET as well as in historic preservation, construction & stone masonry. Danan loves to be outside; camping, exploring, tinkering, and sensing each new blessed day. He has a passion for Science, and all it can dream. His favorite domestic hobby is cooking and reading his favorite books: Hippocratic Writings, Hunger of Memory, Death of Vishnu, Ishmael, Brave New World, and anything history or science related.


Alex Pearce, LEGO® Engineering Instructor


Alex Pearce has been a LEGO® Engineering Instructor for several years, and a LEGO® fanatic his entire life. After graduating from UNC Chapel Hill in 2010 and moving to Connecticut, Alex returned to his native NC and brought his LEGOs® with him. Engineering FUNdamentals with LEGO® show students how to design and build motorized machines, catapults, pyramids, demolition derby cars, truss and suspension bridges, buildings and other constructions, explore concepts in physics, engineering, and architecture, while playing with their favorite creations. This is a hands-on and brains-on class suitable for LEGO® novices to “maniacs.” With over 100,000 pieces of LEGO®, students take on real- life engineering challenges while building and having fun!


Linda Pattinson, See Spot Read


Linda Pattison, See Spot Read (SSR) Calendar Organizing Team Chair and School Coordinator, is a retired Spanish teacher. She has been participating in the SSR Calendar events with her two therapy dogs (both rescue dogs) since 2013. Her certification is through Therapy Dog International (TDI). Linda is also the Steering Committee Chair for the Kids 4 Critters program. The Kids 4 Critters program is a 6-week program teaching responsible pet ownership to fourth graders. Additionally, Linda is certified to teach material in the RedRover organization. RedRover organization promotes engaging children in critical thinking, listening and reflection activities designed to promote empathy, respect and responsibility towards animals.