Liz Morris- BA Psychology, OVT, Director
Liz Morris is a graduate of Queens University with BA in Psychology, with an emphasis on cognitive development. Liz has worked with children with learning differences for more than a decade and spent 5+ years as a vision therapist treating individuals with visual dysfunctions. She is also trained in the Orton-Gillingham/Wilson Method and Brain Gym. Her extensive understanding of how visual perception affects learning led her to create a unique program to develop cognitive skills. Her passion is working with children diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Visual Processing Disorder, PDD, and other learning disabilities.
Susan Mangum- Yoga Teacher
Susan believes yoga is an external practice that has led her to internal peace. Through her 20 year practice of asana, pranayama, mantra and meditation she has learned how to control emotions and clean up the internal environment. The practices of yoga enabled Susan to connect to others on a spiritual level. The practice of yoga has allowed her heart to open so big that she has room for everyone. Having experienced this for herself this has created a passion to lead others to the the same state of consciousness.
Synthia Gerson, MS Ed.- Lead Teacher
Synthia joined the Shands School staff in September of 2018. Synthia earned a BA in elementary education and history from Hofstra University, and her MS in elementary education with a specialization in children’s literature from Queens College. She has completed additional graduate courses in special education from The Center For Integrated Teacher Education (CITE) and The College of Saint Rose, and has experience co- teaching inclusion classes. Synthia has a teaching license in both North Carolina and New York. She has taught 6th grade language arts, social studies, science, and math in public schools in New York City and Charlotte before coming to Shands. Synthia has a 95 hour children’s yoga teacher certification from Asanas for Autism and Special Needs for yoga and mindfulness with children and teens with an Emphasis on inclusion and accessibility. Synthia completed the kids yoga bootcamp from Kids Yoga Stories.
Jeff Mangum, B.A. East Carolina - Science Instructor
Jeff Mangum is a life-long learner and science enthusiast, who taught at various community centers, libraries, after-school programs, and private instruction. Primarily a professional artist and children’s entertainer for over 20 years, Jeff is adept at communicating new information in ways that make it easy for students to understand. Jeff is able to transfer knowledge through a variety of learning styles and is able to differentiate his instruction to keep students engaged in the material. Jeff facilitates a deep understanding of core principles in science through experiential learning and hands on instruction that allows students to not simply learn about science, but see themselves as scientists capable of exploring the world through the scientific method. The challenge that Jeff puts before his students is not merely a test of what they think they know, but how they know it to be true.