JTB was built by four educational professionals who have seen the growth and joy within their students through social opportunities and community involvement. After years of seeing students go from having fulfilling social lives, to graduating, and then having very little opportunity to do so, these professionals took a small idea and developed it into something very special. JTB embodies the idea that all individuals should have access to a fulfilling social life, and opportunities to be a part of their community, even after graduating high school.
Jessica is a full-time teacher for an 18-21 special needs program in Bergen County. She graduated with her undergraduate degree in English and Education from Ramapo College, and then went on to obtain her Master’s Degree from Long Island University in Special Education with a concentration in Autism. Jessica feels very passionately about meeting the needs of individuals in a post-21 world, where resources are limited and state programs can be difficult to navigate. She is excited to be a part of JTB and to create opportunities for advocacy and socialization amongst young adults living in a post-21 world.
Tina Marie is a full-time teacher for an 18-21 special needs program in Bergen County. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in political science and history from the University of Scranton. She then went on to obtain her Teacher of Students with Disability certification from William Paterson University and eventually her Master’s Degree in Special Education. Tina Marie has been working with the special needs population for 13 years in multiple capacities. She feels very passionately about giving individuals with disabilities every opportunity to become successful in their lives after their formal education has ended. Tina Marie is thrilled to be a part of the JTB team and to get the chance to help promote opportunities for socialization, advocacy, and lasting memories for adults living in the post-21 world.
Brianne got her start in education by accident (or perhaps divine intervention) when she decided to “try” teaching for a year or two before deciding on her next step. Her first classroom experience was in 2007, working at the Maywood campus of The South Bergen Jointure, as a paraprofessional in a Transitional Kindergarten class. This was her first experience with the world of autism and confirmed her passion for working in the field of special education.
For 11 years she worked as a high school special education teacher, specializing in English language instruction and social studies. Brianne made the jump to the world of 18-21 education two years ago, when she took on the role of transition counselor for a local public school district, allowing her to pursue her passion of helping special needs families build the future of their young adults deserve. Brianne has a double bachelors in English and history from The City University of New York, a Master of Arts in Teaching Special Education from New Jersey City University, a Masters Of Education in School Administration from New Jersey City University, and post-graduate credentials in Orton Gillingham and toward certification as a Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant.
When she’s not working with the most amazing students and staff (ever) or planning with her JTB Team she enjoys spending time with her husband, two children, and her menagerie of pets exploring and going on adventures.
My name is Alexis Avellan and I have been in the field of special education since 2002. I was fortunate enough to begin my career in special education as a paraprofessional at a public school program for students on the Autism Spectrum. While teaching, I also attended school at Montclair State University where I obtained a bachelor's degree in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice at MSU.
I loved working with my students and helping them learn new skills so much that I decided to earn my teaching certification. I was accepted into a grant program at New Jersey State University where I earned my Master’s Degree and Teaching Certification in Special Education. After graduating in 2005, I was employed as a special education teacher and continued my education by becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.
My students' ages have ranged from 6 years old to adults, but my favorite age group has always been working with adults. My greatest concern has always been about how well my students will acclimate to society after they graduate. Being a part of JTB allows more opportunities for me to assist adults with special needs to successfully assimilate as upstanding citizens within their communities and form meaningful relationships with their peers.