Melissa Heifetz, Executive Director
Melissa Heifetz received her undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland, College Park. She received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law, where she graduated magna cum laude. After graduation, she worked as a Staff Attorney in New York City’s Legal Aid Society, Juvenile Rights Division, where she advocated for children in Bronx Family Court. She later received a fellowship to work in New York University School of Law’s Public Interest Law Center. At Paxton, she works on local and state-wide legislative advocacy issues with Self-Advocates. She also coordinates our Positive Interactions with Law Enforcement Initiative (PILE) and does trainings, advocacy, and outreach on various issues affecting the disability community including: special education, employment, housing, and public benefits. She has served as the Vice Chair of Communication for the Loudoun County Special Education Advisory Committee and sits on the Virginia Ability Alliance and the Loudoun County Juvenile Justice Committee. She lives in Potomac Falls with her husband and 2 children.
YaTonya Abdullah, Chief Operating Officer
YaTonya holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education with a concentration in Emotional Disability/Learning Disability from Hampton University. She has taught in self-contained classrooms for elementary-age students. Upon relocating to New Jersey, she began working with the preschool population, as a liaison between school, families and school districts coordinating special education services for students with disabilities. She essentially obtained her Master’s Degree/P-3 Certification in Early
Childhood Education from New Jersey City University. She comes to Aurora, combining her experiences in Special Education and service coordination for children with disabilities to fulfill the position of Program Support Coordinator. She later took on additional responsibilities as Executive Administrative Assistant. After working in the AWESOMENESS of the Aurora School, YaTonya transition into the position of Chief Operating Officer and now has the great pleasure of working in conjunction with all of the programs on Paxton Campus.
Rachel Roseberry, Director of Communications
Rachel joined the Paxton Campus in March of 2013, coming from The Town of Leesburg’s Parks and Recreation Department. She received her BA in Political Science from George Mason University and her MA in Natural Resource Management from the University of Sussex in England. Rachel is on the Loudoun County Disability Services Board and from there has found a passion in advocating for better public transit services for people with disabilities and our underserved in Loudoun. She now is also a member of the Loudoun County Transit Advisory Board, as a representative from the Disability Services Board.
Eileen Shaffer, Administrative Director of ALLY Advocacy Center
Eileen received her undergraduate degree from Mary Washington College in Sociology where she was awarded the Jean Donovan Award to promote human rights. She received her Master’s Degree in Social Work with a Specialization in Health from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has worked in group homes with adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. As the Resident Services Director of a continuing care retirement community in North Carolina, she worked with individuals across the spectrum from independent adults, assisted living, skilled nursing, adult day care and dementias. She works as a Care Manager in Loudoun and Fairfax Counties. She has experience coordinating care for her clients with community and healthcare resources. As the Advocacy Coordinator at the ALLY Center, she provides resources and referrals to families and clients; empowers families to advocate for their children in the IEP process; works with self-advocates and supports a variety of educational outreach programs to educate families and caregivers. Eileen has been an active volunteer in Loudoun County, initiating volunteer programs with Backpack Buddies, Girl Scouts, the Loudoun Homeless Shelter. Eileen lives in Leesburg with her husband and two daughters.
Christine Favréaux, Administrative Director of Open Door Learning Center
Christine Favréaux has been working in the preschool education field for over a decade and received her Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential for Preschools. During this time she has had the privilege to hold a variety of early childhood education positions including Lead Teacher, Administrative Assistant, Center Administrator and now Preschool Director. As the parent of a young adult with autism, she understands the importance of early intervention and the considerable need for a local preschool and Kindergarten that benefits typically developing children as well as special needs or at-risk children. It’s for this reason Ms. Tine welcomed the challenge to assist with the operational development and launch of such an innovative program as ODLC. She is delighted and honored to be a part of the incredible team of educators who are dedicated to your child’s success.
Kendra McDonald, Director of Clinical Services for The Aurora School and the Advantage Behavior Clinic
Kendra began her career in behavior analysis after her son was diagnosed with autism in 2002. Following the successful implementation of his home program, she worked as an in-home ABA therapist for other families affected with autism. She completed her behavior analysis coursework at UMASS Lowell and she has a Master’s Degree in Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She secured her BCBA in June 2014. Kendra emphasizes the principles and teaching procedures of verbal behavior across all teaching opportunities including communication, social skills, and academics. Her interests also include analysis of complex behavior such as remembering, teaching mediating behaviors, and other private events.
Helen Parker, Clinical Director of Ability Fitness Center
Helen graduated from Columbia University in 1998 with a Master’s degree in Physical Therapy. She received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Marymount University in 2003. She completed her NeuroDevelopmental Training (NDT) in 2001 and has been a board certified Neuro Clinical specialist (NCS) since 2006. She is a Certified Clinical Instructor Affiliate (CCCE/CI) through the American Physical Therapy Association and has been an instructor at Mercy College Physical Therapist Assistant Program. Helen has spent her career as a physical therapist focusing on people with neurological conditions. She has worked in acute-care, inpatient rehabilitation and outpatient facilities. She has been active in community involvement with the Parkinson Foundation of the National Capital Area (PFNCA), with the Stroke Comeback Center (SCC) and with her stroke support group “The Survivors.”
Matt Smith, Director of Facilities