Meet our People2018-05-07T17:43:15+00:00

Meet our People

Jill Nadison
Jill NadisonExecutive Director
Fun fact: In my previous life I was a camp bus driver and in my next life I want to be a cross between a dolphin trainer and an undercover FBI agent.

Jill has been the Executive Director of REED Academy since 2012 and prior to that she served on the Board of Directors. Jill’s leadership philosophy is that innovative thinking and respectful collaboration can solve any problem. She leads the organization with an open door policy to her staff and families in order to create a warm caring environment. She makes it her priority to be abreast of the latest organizational trends and technologies so REED can implement best practices administratively and clinically.

Prior to joining REED, Jill worked at Symantec, a high-tech company based in California, where she managed internal global events, worked on a marketing team for a start-up incubator project and was a team member on a global “Change Management” team. Before Symantec, Jill spent many years running operations for a New Jersey-based Professional Staffing company where she learned how to take risks and manage diverse teams of people.

Jill does a great deal of volunteer work which includes organizing events for her kid’s school district, spends her weekend’s knitting on the sidelines of her son’s soccer games, loves to cook up a storm and always has a spot at the table on Sunday for anyone who needs a place to sit. Jill lives in Montclair with her husband and youngest son while her two older boys are away at college.

Leah M. Farinola, MA
Leah M. Farinola, MAPrincipal
Fun fact: I do not think I will ever retire as a few part-time jobs are still on my bucket list including (but not limited to) zookeeper, comedian, professor.
Leah began working with the families at REED in 2001 before REED was even founded. Starting as a full-time instructor in 2006, Leah has held various positions including instructor, lead teacher, assistant to the executive director, classroom consultant, curriculum coordinator and became principal in 2009. She completed her undergraduate coursework at William Paterson University and graduated with honors holding a degree in psychology and elementary education. Leah completed her post-baccalaureate special education certification and also obtained a master’s degree in educational administration with principal and supervisor certification from Caldwell University. She is currently completing her doctorate at Seton Hall University. Leah’s dissertation is focusing on women’s roles in educational leadership. Upon completing her doctorate Leah would like to begin teaching at the collegiate level. In 2016, Leah and her husband built their dream home in Secaucus. They love to travel and spend time with family and friends. Leah loves all types of animals and wishes she could manage her very own animal sanctuary. Leah enjoys adamantly discussing grammar rules with the Assistant Clinical Director, Joe; currently their big debate is the Oxford comma.
Kelli Fowler, MA, BCBA
Kelli Fowler, MA, BCBAClinical Director
Fun fact: I secretly wish I had a soundtrack playing throughout my daily activities that changed music depending on my mood.

Kelli Fowler is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who holds a Master of Arts of Special Education from Caldwell University. In addition, she is a certified general and special education teacher. Kelli has worked in both public and private programs, in addition to home and community based settings for over 10 years. She has worked with children ranging from early intervention through age 19.

During her time at REED, Kelli has developed several programs, including the Bridge Program, social skills groups and transition programming. Her current research interests include identifying new social skills procedures to facilitate meaningful relationships for children with autism.

Prior to her career with individuals with autism, Kelli worked in the world of television and film. She was a part of numerous casting projects seen on television and in theaters today.

Kelli lives with her two sons, Jaxson and Hunter, and rescue dog Cabo.

Joseph Novak, EdD, BCBA-D, CCC-SLP, ATP
Joseph Novak, EdD, BCBA-D, CCC-SLP, ATPDirector of Curriculum and Technology
Fun fact: I would literally buy anything with an Apple logo on it. Seriously. Like even a roll of toilet paper if it had an Apple logo on it.

Joe Novak is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, ASHA certified Speech & Language Pathologist, and RESNA Certified Assistive Technology Professional who obtained his Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology from Kean University and a Doctorate of Education in Special Education from Nova Southwestern University. Joe’s completed dissertation was “The Effects of Aided Language Modeling Procedure on Adolescents with Autism Who Use AAC.” Joe is also an adjunct professor at Kean University where he teaches a graduate course in ABA to speech-language pathology students.

Joe consulted at REED for augmentative and alternative communication and speech and language programming prior to joining REED full-time in July of 2015. Since joining REED, Joe has helped to spearhead various initiatives including: a new data collection system (Catalyst), the development of an advisory council, and the creation of various trainings related to speech and language.

Joe’s research interests include: using functional communication training and antecedent strategies to reduce problem behavior, teaching phonics-based reading to students with autism, and maximizing the use of assistive and instructional technology.

Prior to working at REED, Joe worked in well-respected ABA programs at Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center and Bernards Township Public Schools as a speech and language pathologist. Joe has worked in the school setting with individuals ages 5-20 and privately with individuals from 3-23. Before working with individuals with autism, Joe worked as a writing center tutor at Seton Hall University. There, he learned the value of the Oxford comma among other great marks of punctuation (e.g., the semicolon).

Joe lives with his husband and two cats that were adopted from animal shelters.

Kim Donaghy MA, BCBA
Kim Donaghy MA, BCBADirector of the Bridge Program
Fun fact: In my next life, I want to be a dog walker.
Kim Donaghy has been working at REED since 2006. She has held several positions during her tenure, including instructor, classroom consultant, Bridge Program case manager, and most recently, became the Director of the Bridge Program in 2015. Kim graduated from William Paterson University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. After working at REED for several months, she returned to William Paterson to obtain her elementary and special education teaching licenses.

She then attended Caldwell University, obtaining her Master of Arts in Special Education, as well as her Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant license. Immediately following graduation, Kim began completing the coursework necessary to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst at Florida Institute of Technology. Kim became a BCBA in August 2015. Kim lives in Oakland with her husband, their daughter and dog.

Lisa Manolis
Lisa ManolisGo the Distance for Autism Event Manager
Fun fact: I grew up in South Dakota.
Lisa oversees all of the fundraising for the bike event and is the event leader for all four schools for the 2016 event.

Prior to joining REED, Lisa worked as Logistics Manager at the AT&T Corporate Briefing Center in Bedminster New Jersey managing all of the logistics for top clients visiting the Briefing Center.

Lisa was partner and owner of Bartola & Manolis, Inc. for six years, an advertising agency that catered to travel and hospitality clients in New York and New Jersey. Prior to that, she worked as Sales Manager for The Hudson Reporter News Group in Hoboken, NJ.

Lisa lives in Verona with her daughter, Allison, who recently graduated from The Journalism School at Rutgers.

MyrtleSnuggly Service Dog
Fun fact: I like tennis balls and long walks around campus.

Myrtle joined REED Academy in January 2017 as part of a partnership with Guiding Eyes for the Blind New York to create a one-of-a-kind pilot program for children with autism in a school setting using a service dog. She is our furry best friend that loves attention, playing in the gym and making the kids (and adults) smile. Students have daily opportunities to learn the basics of taking care of a dog; such as feeding, walking and brushing. She is truly a joy to have at REED and we cannot thank The Guiding Eyes for Blind enough for their partnership in this endeavor.