AHEAD is led by Mishelle Ross and June Raffle, experts in their respective fields of Special Needs Learning and Educational Therapy. With over 50 years of special needs experience between them, June and Mishelle provide on-going training for AHEAD’s outstanding specialists using research-based methods and materials, as well as positive behavior management.
All of AHEAD’s educational therapists hold Masters degrees in special education and are active members of the Association of Educational Therapists. They have accrued many years of experience helping children and adults work through dysfunctions of all types in order to realize their fullest potential. Our licensed speech and language professionals are also of the highest caliber, available to work with students of all ages on an individual or group basis. AHEAD’s behavioral intervention staff is similarly well-educated and trained in research-based methods for working with individuals who face abroad range of behavior challenges.
Beyond providing exceptional service to students, our professionals are also committed to seamless collaboration with schools, families, and additional outside professionals.
Mishelle Ross, EdD, BCET
Dr. Mishelle Ross, the President and CEO of AHEAD, has been a special educator for over 30 years. She has been a classroom teacher as well as program administrator, and continues her educational therapy practice. In addition to her work at the Kayne Eras Center, where she held positions from classroom teacher (serving students with learning, emotional, behavioral, and developmental challenges) to Vice President of Educational and Therapeutic Services, Mishelle is an instructor at UCLA Extension, teaching a number of their courses leading to the California State Teaching Credentials. These include Educating and Supporting Students with Autism; Advanced Study: Provisions and Strategies for Special Needs Learner Instruction; Characteristics of Students with Special Needs; Intervention Strategies in Reading Instruction; Special Needs Learners; Issues, Policies, and Practices; and Planning and Implementing Curriculum and Instruction in the Inclusive Classroom.
Mishelle completed her graduate education at Columbia University- Teachers College, where she received a Doctorate in Education in Curriculum and Teaching, with an area of specialization in Reading and Language Arts; a Master of Education in Urban Education; and a Master of Arts in Special Education of the Neurologically Impaired/Learning Disabled. Mishelle’s Bachelor of Arts degree is from UCLA. She holds hour California State Credentials (Learning Handicapped/ Physically Handicapped, Severely Handicapped, Reading Specialist, and Multiple Subjects).
Mishelle is privileged to have served on the IDEA roundtable called by the (federal) Office of Education for the reauthorization of IDEA, as well as serving as a member of the Board of Directors for the California Association of Private Special Education Schools (CAPSES), “a statewide professional association of nonpublic schools, agencies, organizations and individuals who specialize in the delivery of quality special educational programs to students with special education needs.”
June Raffle, MsEd
June Raffle, the Director and Vice President of AHEAD, has been a special educator for over 30 years. She began this journey working with Ivar Lovaas’ procedures in San Diego, working with children with Autism, while simultaneously studying with Carl Rogers at UCSD. In 1979, June finished one of two Master’s degrees at USC, in Special Education, and followed the next year with her Master’s in Counseling.
June spent more than 20 years as a special educator at the Kayne Eras Center. There she enjoyed the privilege of being a classroom teacher, a counselor, a senior behaviorist, an administrator, and a designer of a community based on instruction program for children with Autism and other developmental delays. The joy of watching these children grow into independent adults has been the highlight of her professional life.
Ms. Raffle has also been an instructor at UCLA Extension, teaching a number of their courses leading to California State Teaching Credentials. These include Educating and Supporting Students with Autism; Advanced Study: Provisions and Strategies for Special Needs Learner Instruction; Characteristics of Students with Special Needs; Intervention Strategies in Reading Instruction; Special Needs Learners: Issues, Policies, and Practices; and Planning and Implementing Curriculum and Instruction in the Inclusive Classroom. June also has taught at the Pathways program at UCLA; An Independent Living Skills Program for adults with developmental delays of all kinds.
Teaching children with learning differences has always been a passion for June. Helping children with Autism and other developmental disabilities grow and become self-sufficient socially and in school or the work world is another delight for her. AHEAD offers June just the right venue to do what she loves most: dedicating herself to the Uniqueness of all Kinds of Kids and Helping Them Thrive.