:: About us - Teachers and Staff


Rekha Suryanarayana

Founder, Managing Director

rekha@itsasensoryworld.org

After working for 6 years in the semi-conductor industry, Rekha stayed home to focus on her son with autism. The quest to provide appropriate physical and social activity for her own son made her aware of the need for a gym such as "It's a Sensory World". She is passionate about making such a facility available and welcomes children of all abilities.

Educational Qualifications: Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Dallas.


Angela Stephens

Founder, Program Director

angela@itsasensoryworld.org

With over 9 years experience working with special needs and learning different children of all ability levels, Angela is a preschool teacher at a private school for learning different children and has conducted several social pragmatic groups. "It's a Sensory World" is a place where Angela plans to bring together her background as a teacher, her skill as an athlete, and her passion for working with children.


Educational Qualifications: Bachelor's degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Baylor University.


Played four years of Division I women's collegiate soccer.


Priya Patel

Program Director

priya@itsasensoryworld.org

Priya has over 12 years of experience in the world of Special Education holding many different positions including: Behavior Therapist, Inclusion Program Supervisor, Speech Language Pathology Assistant, and Special Education Teacher. She has a passion for teaching children and loves being able to individualize learning for each and every child.

Educational Qualifications: Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Social Behavior from the University of California Irvine and a Masters Degree in Special Education from Cal State University of Northridge.


Tiffany Meier

Consultant

OTR-SIPT certified, a pediatric occupational therapist who specializes in sensory integration, Tiffany has been instrumental in choosing and floor planning all the equipment for "It's a Sensory World". She offers orientation classes to teach parents to use our facility in a manner beneficial to their children.





Other staff members


Christina Briseno

Staff Member

Miss. Christina Briseno grew up in Coppell, TX and graduated from Coppell High School in 2009. She then went on to attend Baylor University, where she graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Three months after graduation, Christina began working at It's a Sensory World! (ISW) as an intern throughout the summer of 2013. In fall of 2013, Christina accepted a position as a lead teacher in the S.M.A.R.T. school program at ISW. In addition, she holds a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant license with the Texas State Board of Examiners and works part time for Dr. Julie Ray at Speech Life. Christina is proficient in Dr. Julie Ray's Communication and Language program, SVO Power.  During her spare time, Christina enjoys working out, being a mom to her 3 year old puppy Gizmo and spending time with friends. She is a huge Baylor Bear fan and you will usually find her wearing green and gold during football season. Christina is extremely passionate about her students and feels she has found her calling in life.  We are thrilled that Christina will be entering her third year at ISW, teaching in our educational program, ISW Academy.


Amber Vanderlin

Teacher

Miss. Amber Vanderlin grew up in Mesquite, Texas and graduated from Mesquite High School in May of 2006, where she played 4 years of varsity volleyball. After high school, Amber went on to play Division II college Volleyball at Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee for two and a half years. Amber has over 4 years of experience working with children with special needs of all ability levels.  She was a nanny for a child with severe Autism before joining the team at It's a Sensory World! (ISW) in 2011.  Amber began her journey at ISW as the lead teacher in our Kid Care program.  She also has experience as a Staff-Guided Circuit instructor and is now our senior-most staff member.  Amber has been an assistant teacher in our school program since its inception 4 years ago.  She hopes to return to school to earn her Bachelor's Degree in Special Education in the Spring of 2016.  Amber has found her passion working with children of all ages and ability levels and continues to draw inspiration from her older sister, who has learning differences.  Combining her life experience, her drive to make a difference and her love for our students, Amber continues to be a crucial part of our ISW team.


Virginia Scott

Teacher

Miss Virginia Scott grew up in Sulfur Springs, TX and graduated from high school in May of 2007. After graduation, she attended University of Texas at Dallas where she earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology. Virginia has a vast experience of 12 years working with children with special needs. Her journey began on a humanitarian trip to Guatemala, where she lived for one year and worked in an orphanage for children with special needs. Since living in Mexico, Virginia has returned to Guatemala 13 times and has lead a week long mission trip for the past 7 years to the very same orphanage where she began her journey.  In addition, Virginia has had the pleasure of being a nanny to a child with Autism during her years at UTD and has 3 years of experience working in an after school program for children of all ages. Virginia is the proud sister to 19 siblings! 11 of her siblings are adopted, 6 of whom have special needs.  She continually draws inspiration from not only her siblings, but her Mother, who she states is her hero. She has been a member of our team at It's a Sensory World!since 2014 and we are thrilled that she has accepted a teaching position for the 2015-2016 school year for our ISW Academy.  Virginia plans to earn her Master's Degree in Special Education. She feels she is able to truly fulfill her life's mission through her work at ISW.



Presley Newman

Teacher

Miss Presley Newman grew up in Midlothian, Texas and graduated from Midlothian High School in 2009. After graduation, she attended Baylor University. Sic’em Bears! Presley graduated in May of 2013 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Immediately after graduation, Presley started a career in Public Relations. She quickly realized that her passions remained within the special needs community. Presley gained her Speech-Language Pathology Assistant license and began her career as a speech therapist. After working individually with children in a home health setting, she felt called to do more. Fortunately, she began volunteering at It’s a Sensory World! in the summer of 2015 and fell in love with the children, the staff, and most importantly, what It’s a Sensory World! stands for. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family (especially her brother and sister), reading, going to concerts, and watching college football. Presley is proficient in American Sign Language and hopes to start a class at It’s a Sensory World teaching parents sign language to improve their communication skills with their children. Presley feels an overwhelming sense of joy to start her journey at It’s a Sensory World!. She is ready to begin the 2015 school year as a lead teacher in the S.M.A.R.T program! 


Alexandra Corazzini

Teacher

Alexandra Corazzini is born and raised in Massachusetts however moved to Texas last 
year to be closer to her older sister. Alex spent over 16 years riding, training, and working with horses. In addition, she taught children about how to care for and the safety precautions while being around horses. Over the past few years Alex has worked 
in different special needs settings learning new things every day. She worked in a
specialized classroom in the Brockton public school systems, this classroom catered to lower functioning children on the Autism spectrum from the ages 8-11. Alex worked with these children daily to work on life skills functions, math and writing. She was also responsible for bringing certain students to chorus for practices and performances. Once Alex moved here to Texas she once again found a job working with wonderful children that have special needs. These students were learning life 
skills and were about the age of 10-12. Alex worked at this facility as a therapy associate for just under a year. Alex has her bachelor’s degree in English but has taken classes in Special Education. Alex also hopes to get her Masters in Psychology.
She is excited to join the ISW Academy teaching team as Lead Teacher of Pre-Primary 2!

Ashley Deaver

Staff Member

Miss Ashley Deaver is a recent graduate of Texas A&M University. Ashley received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and played 4 years of competitive volleyball. Upon graduation in May 2015, Ashley decided to pursue a Master's Degree in Occupational Therapy (particularly outpatient pediatrics).  She has experience shadowing an OTR, for graduate school applications, at Our Children's House Baylor.  Ashley fell in love while observing her supervising Occupational Therapist. Recently, she worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Medical City Dallas Children's Hospital. In addition, Ashley coaches a 14-year-old competitive volleyball team. She began working at It's a Sensory World! (ISW) in May of 2015, under the supervision of ISW Directors, Angela Stephens and Priya Patel.  Ashley plans to continue working at ISW during the 2015-2016 school year, with plans to apply to graduate school at TWU. She has been a wonderful addition to our team at ISW, where she is a camp teacher, Staff Guided Circuit instructor and helps to lead our kid care program. 


Matt Giles

Staff Member

Matthew Giles, grew up in Rowlett, Texas and has lived in Denton, TX for 2 years while attending the University of North Texas.  Currently Matt is working towards a degree in Development and Family studies and his projected graduation date is spring of 2017. Matt's goal is to attendthe University of Washington in Seattle to earn a Master's degree in Occupational Therapy. Throughout his life, Matt has played several sports such as soccer, basketball, track, pole vault, and gymnastics, but his favorite sport was baseball. He has also taught gymnastics to children for the past 3 years and has been in charge of "fun products" (parties, camps, parents night outs, and open gyms) at the gymnastics facility where he currently works part-time.  Matt has found his passion working with children of all ability levels. He has 3 years of experience working with children with special needs. Given his love of sports, his intention to enroll in OT school and his passion for helping children, Matt found the perfect home at It's a Sensory World!. We are so pleased to have Matt as a part of our team beginning in the Fall of 2015.  Matt will be a Staff Guided Circuit instructor, as well as a coach in our specialized sports program. 


Samantha Howse

Office Manager

Ms. Samantha Howse was born in Dallas, Texas but later relocated to southern New Jersey. She graduated from High School in 2008 where she played field hockey and rowed on her high school crew team. Samantha has over 12 years of experience working with children of all ability levels, including babysitting, Vacation Bible School, as well as raising her two children, McKenna and Landon. While living in New Jersey, Samantha opened "The Learning Tree," a daycare facility, where she worked with children of all ages. In December of 2014, after relocating to Richardson, TX, Samantha joined the It's a Sensory World!(ISW) team as Office Manager. The skills she gained while operating her own daycare center enables her to effectively communicate with parents, interact with the children, and manage the day to day operations of ISW. Samantha has found the best of both worlds here, where she can be around children, her passion, but also use her organizational skills as Office Manager. In her spare time, Samantha enjoys spending time with her fiancee, Maurice, and her children, McKenna and Landon, and step-daughter Taelynn.

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