MEET THE TEACHERS

Dianne Pennings

Director of Children’s Services

As a prior educator, Dianne holds SAIL close to her heart.  She has over 25 years experience in the field of special education.  Dianne began her teaching experience in a self-contained classroom and within a year was visiting schools to implement inclusion programs.  Her passion for educating youth has never wavered, even as she has stepped into an administrative role.

“I now have the opportunity to continue following my passion as I support staff, teachers, and parents in meeting the needs of children.”

Chris Middlemore

Baldwinsville School District, Special Education Teacher

Chris Middlemore is a Special Education teacher at Van Buren Elementary School in Bladwinsville, where she has been teaching for the last 26 years.  She began her teaching career in Gainesville, FA 33 years ago.  She has taught students with a wide range of abilities and needs in a variety of educational settings.  She resides in Baldwinsville with her husband David.  They have two sons, two daughters, a son-in-law, and four granddaughters.  Chris loves the outdoors, camping, swimming, kayaking, and spending time with her family.

Katie McCabe

Katie has taught for 5 years as a special education teacher, working with students in grades 1 to 6. Katie went to St. John Fisher College for her undergrad and In 2013 Katie completed her masters in Inclusive Education from Syracuse University.  She currently works in the Weedsport Central School District. She looks forward to teaching writing this summer. She believes writing opportunity to allow students to express feelings and individual creativity. It also will be a chance for all students to practice skills they will use for their whole life.   She believes hands on and exploration is a wonderful way for students to learn.  In her time outside of school she loves to spend time with her friends and family, including her dog Dublin! Katie lives for delicious baked goods, a run with a view, exploring new places, and a book she can’t put down

Katie Seeley

I was born and raised in Camillus, NY which is also where I decided to settle down. I attended LeMoyne College for both my undergraduate and graduate studies. I majored in English with a dual concentration/certification in Childhood Education (B-6) and Students with Disabilities (B-6). For my Masters I studied and received a degree in Literacy for grades K-6. This is will be my 7th year of teaching and I currently work for Little Lukes as an early intervention special education teacher working with students ranging in age from 6 months-5 years old. Prior to Little Lukes I taught as a long term sub at West Genesee, Westhill, and Baldwinsville Central School District. I have taught full school years in Pre-K, first, second, and fourth grade. I have over 5 years experience working in special ed and inclusive settings. One thing that I picked up in my many years of teaching and schooling is American Sign Language. I enjoy using it in my classroom and passing that skill onto my students.

Kelly Abrams

I have been teaching for 12 years; I have been a special education teacher for the past 8 years in the Baldwinsville School District.  Prior to teaching in B’ville, I taught in Liverpool for 4 years (various levels.)  This is my seventh year teaching SAIL.  In addition, I have experience working as a resident counselor at a group home for adults with traumatic brain injuries and mental health issues, as well as with adults with autism and intellectual disabilities in the community. I am a busy mom and have three children: ages 8, 6, and 3. I obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Cortland.

Suzanne Trombley

Educational Consultant

Suzanne Trombley is currently working at LDACNY as an Educational Consultant. Suzanne received her bachelor’s degree in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology from SUNY Cortland and a master’s degree in Special Education from the College of Saint Rose. Prior to coming to the LDA, Suzanne has over ten years’ experience as a speech therapist and special education teacher with children ages pre-school through high school. When not at work, Suzanne enjoys spending time with her husband and children. Her family loves sports and you can usually find them enjoying whatever is in season… playing or watching!

Nicole Backes

Assistant Program Director

Nicole graduated from Syracuse University this past May with a BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is returning to SU in the fall to pursue a master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology. This is her 3rd summer as the Assistant Program Director of SAIL and LWB. She works to organize the program and provide support to the students and teachers in the classroom. Her favorite part of the program is getting to know each student. “I love that I get to know each one of our students. It’s fun to see each of their personalities and learning styles. I learn something new from them every summer!”

Brandie Finger

Brandie teaches second grade at Stonehedge Elementary School. She has experience working in both general education and special education settings. She acquired her Bachelor’s Degree in Childhood Education from SUNY Oneonta and her Master’s Degree in Special Education from SUNY Oswego. She enjoys working as the Art teacher at SAIL and this will be her fourth summer! Her favorite thing about Art is how flexible the class can be to student interest and creativity.  She also loves theater and singing which makes the yearly production at SAIL an absolute pleasure! Brandie enjoys working out and Zumba! She can also been seen coaching her son’s soccer team in Cicero during the spring and fall.

Karen Gross

Karen attended Oswego State University and currently lives in North Syracuse.  Karen has a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education and a Masters degree in Literacy Education.  This past year, Karen has worked with the Syracuse City School District and the Solvay Union Free School District as a substitute teacher.  Karen has also taught as a Universal Pre-K teacher within the Syracuse City School District.  Karen is very passionate about teaching and loves all new teaching experiences.  This is Karen’s third year teaching the technology class for SAIL.  Karen loves to work with the children at SAIL and see the creativity that comes with each of their projects.  Karen looks forward to another great summer at SAIL!

Rachel Korzyp

Rachel Korzyp is currently a Special Education teacher for the Liverpool Central School District. She works with students in kindergarten through sixth grade.  Rachel has been teaching for the past five years and prior to working in Liverpool, Rachel worked as a kindergarten teacher for four years in the Syracuse City School District. Rachel went to SUNY Cortland and majored in Inclusive Special Education; she graduated in 2011 and immediately began working on her masters. Rachel received her masters in Literacy Education in 2015 and is certified in the following areas: Students with Disabilities (1-6), Early Childhood and Childhood Education (Birth-Grade 6) and Literacy Education (Birth-Grade 6).  Outside of teaching, Rachel enjoys running, reading, and spending time with her family. Rachel is excited about joining the SAIL team.

Lauren Sauve

Lauren is a Literacy Coach/Tutor  at LDACNY during the school year, she has a Masters Degree in Education (Learning Disabilities) from Syracuse University. She loves working with students of all ages and abilities.  For most of her teaching career, she taught at a private K-12 school in Syracuse, 20 of those years with students with learning challenges in a resource room setting. “It is extremely rewarding for me to assess my students’ abilities, determine their learning styles, and then take them to the next level of literacy! I look forward to working with students in the SAIL program this summer!” – Lauren