Special Education

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My name is Catherine Havens, and I am the speech-language pathologist at Pelham Elementary. I have been working in this field for 5 years, all of them here at Pelham. I grew up on Long Island and earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Disorders at Long Island University. Following my undergraduate degree, I attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where I earned my Master of Arts degree in Communication Disorders. I am a licensed SLP in the state of Massachusetts, and have my Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. I love to talk about my dog and my family, and I enjoy running, reading, and watching sports (Go Mets!). In my speech room we work hard to accomplish our speech and language goals, but I also love to keep things as fun as possible. My speech room is a large space, so I love incorporating movement into our activities (i.e. hopscotch, bowling, fishing, beanbag toss, etc.). I enjoy creating themed activities (by season/holiday) but will most often connect my activities to the curriculum/units being taught in the classroom. My favorite week of the entire year happens every September, when I celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day by expanding it into a week-long theme. Pirate Week features costumes, cardboard pirate ships, treasure hunts, and more as the students work on their speech and language goals through themed activities! There are several aspects of Pelham that drew me to this special community, but mostly I have always loved the “small school” environment. I have the unique opportunity to walk down the hallway and know every single student that passes by, not just the students on my caseload. One of the most important aspects of my practice is to build strong rapport and working relationships with my students, and the close-knit environment at Pelham makes this an easy part of my job. Pelham Elementary is a wonderful place to encourage and facilitate communication skills, both in my speech room as well as in the classroom setting!


I’ve been teaching for 15 years and this is my 8th year as a 5th and 6th grade, special education teacher at Pelham. I teach for many reasons. I teach because I absolutely love children. I teach because I think school is hard for lots of kids who don’t fit into a certain mold. I want to be the teacher who helps kids to be (and feel) successful and happy in school. I love Pelham because I start to get to know my students in kindergarten! I also love that because it’s a small school, I know my colleagues so well and I am so impressed by all of them! If you come into my room you will meet my awesome roommate- Ms. Darling, who is a 3rd and 4th grade special education teacher and you will notice the Knit Club boxes, overflowing with yarn. You will also see a large portrait of me nuzzling my favorite chicken. Oh, and of course you’ll see photos of my 3 teenagers!


Kelly Carlisle

Leanne Hunt

K-2 Special Education Teacher/Interventionist

For the first 18 years of my teaching career I was a paraprofessional here at Pelham Elementary School. After finishing my masters degree in special education in 2013, I was hired as the 2nd and 3rd grade special education teacher at Pelham. In the fall of 2015 I switched to the K-2 position here at Pelham, and have never been happier. So in total, I have spent 26 years in the local school system and I have been lucky enough to spend 25 of those years at Pelham.

In my teen years and into my twenties I worked at sleep away camps for 10 summers in a row. It was my happy place! I knew that working with children was something that I wanted to do. I found working with children incredibly satisfying. The main reason that I teach is because everyday I feel like I  learn from my students, and hopefully they learn something from me. Watching children discover their potential, and seeing their excitement for learning is what keeps me going in this profession of choice.

Why do I teach at Pelham and what do I love about it? Pelham Elementary is very unique. It is a small school that prides itself on community. Everyone gets to know each other, and that is very special. Our school and community activities are frequent and enjoyable. We strive to make Pelham a second home to all of our families. Another thing I love about teaching at Pelham is the team of staff that I work with. 

I love that I get to work in classrooms as well as in my own classroom with students. While I work with students in my room on reading and math I also get to be a part of many other units in the three grades that I work with.

One of the goals of my room is to make learning fun! And what is more fun than Mickey Mouse? You will see that my room has a bit of Mickey all around. My other goal is that all my students feel safe in my room. Safe to learn, safe to ask questions, and safe to make mistakes.