Our goal is to teach children to be successful, strategic learners by utilizing our unique metacognitive strategies. The majority of our staff are seasoned, certified general and special education teachers dedicated to supporting students and their families.
Jeffrey Kassinove, Ph.D
Dr. Kassinove is an expert in the treatment of child, adolescent and young adult problems. He specializes in the use of cognitive behavioral treatments (CBT) and behavior modification to improve functioning and help families achieve positive goals. He is actively involved in research and the dissemination of psychological knowledge to students. During the early part of his career, he was a full-time faculty member, where he taught and conducted research. At present, he serves on the faculty at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine where he teaches cognitive behavioral therapy to psychiatry residents. Dr. Kassinove holds a license in the State of New York as a psychologist, marriage and family therapist, and mental health counselor. In addition, he is certified as a school psychologist in New York State. He spends the majority of his time collaborating with parents, families and other professionals to improve the lives of his patients. He is well-known for handling challenging cases and creating positive changes in the individual’s life.
Evan Flamenbaum, MA, DSW
Head of School
Dr. Flamenbaum is an advocate for children, adolescents and young adults who experience mental health and academic issues. He holds a doctorate in clinical social work as well as a MA in school counseling. As a former Dean of Students at a prestigious private school he used his clinical knowledge to help students stay in school during periods of difficult psychological adjustment. As the current Head of School of Academics West and co-founder of Therapy West, Dr. Flamenbaum continues to integrate his clinical knowledge and background in education to train and guide professionals and parents. He is a nationally recognized lecturer and considered an expert on the treatment of learning issues and ADHD. Dr. Flamenbaum also co-created Clinically Informed Academics® (CIA), a research-based model that provides a framework to improve the overall functioning of students socially, emotionally, and educationally.
Sloan Strike, Ph.D
Director of Externship Program
Dr. Strike is a clinical psychologist who specializes in evidenced-based therapies with children, adolescents, and young adults. She obtained her B.A. from Harvard University and received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from St. John's University. Dr. Strike has worked in a range of settings to provide supportive treatment for children and adolescents and their families. She has extensive experience with individual and family therapy in outpatient facilities and has also provided treatment for adolescents in the acute inpatient hospital setting. Dr. Strike specializes in cognitive-behavioral strategies and has received training in the treatment of a wide range of social, emotional, and behavioral issues. In addition, she is trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Her research interests include strategies to promote growth and recovery following exposure to trauma in adolescence and young adulthood.
Rachel Tennant, Ph.D
Dr. Tennant is a psychologist who is passionate about working children, adolescents, and young adults. She specializes in cognitive-behavioral therapy and other evidence-based treatments that target a wide range of social, emotional, and behavioral issues.
Dr. Tennant obtained her PhD from Northeastern University. She has received extensive training across a multitude of settings, including outpatient clinics, school systems, day treatment programs, and inpatient settings.
David Friedlander, Pys.D
David Friedlander received his Doctorate of Clinical Psychology (Psy.D) from the University of Hartford in September, 2019. He completed his pre-doctoral internship at The Guidance Center in Leavenworth, Kansas. He worked primarily as an individual and group therapist with emphases on cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness-based interventions.
David has provided community outreach for schools, prisons, and other community support organizations. His research and publications have centered primarily on cultural competency topics including the mental health needs of ethnic minorities. In his free time, David enjoys playing video and board games, learning the guitar and bass, and writing music. He is thrilled to be back in the city where he grew up, and excited to complete his postdoctoral fellowship at Therapy West and Academics West.
Sandy Rios-Monsante, M.S. ABA, MHC-LP, MFT-LP
Clinical Advisor and Behavior Consultant - Lower Years
Sandy is passionate about providing evidence-based treatments to children and families. She received her Bachelor's degree from Barry University and earned three Master's Degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and Behavior Analysis from Long Island University. Sandy has extensive experience working in a variety of clinical settings, school systems, therapeutic-educational settings, and in both private and public outreach programs across New York City. She specializes in childhood trauma, anxiety, autism spectrum disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and other disruptive behaviors. Sandy earned an advanced certificate in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and is dedicated to creating integrated, evidence-based treatments that cultivate socio-emotional and academic success.
Jessica Callegari, LCSW
Upper/Middle School Clinical Advisor
Jessica Callegari is a New York State Licensed Clinical Social Worker and former special educator. She received her MSW from Fordham University and her MA in the field of education from New York University. Jessica has over ten years of experience working with students with a variety of challenges in specialized Manhattan private school settings. Supporting these students and helping them reach their academic and social-emotional potential is the primary reward of her profession.
Jessica assists students with their executive functioning and emotion regulation skills, by addressing the cognitive and emotional processes that interfere with their learning and social relations. In her clinical meetings, she helps students’ access and implement strategies to more effectively cope and manage academic and social demands. Jessica values an individualized approach that fosters student resilience and independence. As a school-based clinician, she is accustomed to collaborating with parents, teachers, and other professionals to ensure student success.
Sarah Mosteller, ATR-P, LCAT-LP
Sarah Mosteller is a compassionate art therapist dedicated to providing psychological and emotional support to individuals through the powerful means of art making and creative expression.
She has experience working with a wide range of populations, including, eating disorders, autism spectrum disorder, children, adolescents, and adults. Sarah has worked in both school and outpatient treatment settings, which has given her the opportunity to collaborate with multidisciplinary teams and learn about a variety of therapeutic modalities. Her experience with individual and group work involves client centered approaches valuing curiosity, openness and imaginative storytelling.
Sarah earned a B.A. in Studio Art and Art History from the College of Charleston and a M.A. in Art Therapy from NYU. As a professional artist and clinically trained art therapist, Sarah encourages the individuals she works with to nurture their own artist identities as they discover new ways to express themselves. Sarah's work combines her training in art therapy along with evidence-based interventions, like Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and mindfulness practices.
Lexi Hill, M.S.Ed
Director of Admissions
Lexi Hill is the Director of Admissions at Academics West, where she oversees the admissions process and supports families seeking reimbursement with the Department of Education. Lexi graduated from Lehigh University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Education. After returning to New York City, she received her Master’s Degree in Special Education from Hunter College. Lexi worked as a preschool teacher before joining Academics West in 2016. Working in special education for several years, Lexi understands the importance of supporting all students both academically and social-emotionally. Lexi has grown with Academics West, having started as a part-time academic and executive functioning coach before becoming the academic coordinator. Lexi also spent a year as the Dean of Programming before becoming our Director of Admissions. Lexi strongly believes in setting each student up for success by providing them with the best individualized education and therapeutic support to meet all of their needs.
Scott A. Apgar, BS
Director of Community Relations
Scott Apgar is a born facilitator. He left a long-standing career in the fashion industry to be of service to children and teens in need of education and therapeutic options. As Director of Community Relations, he draws on his experience as a father to understand the needs and concerns of families pursuing satisfaction of the individual needs of their children. His enthusiasm and “make it happen” approach to the mission of Academics West help assure that our students will be understood, respected and elevated by their experience as a part of our family.
Jane Toddy Magee, BSEd
Jane Toddy Magee is the Academic Dean at Academics West, where she oversees the educational programming of the middle and upper schools. Jane worked as a middle school English teacher in Atlanta before moving to New York City and starting at Academics West in 2017. As a former teacher in traditional schools, and having seen the deficiencies of those environments, Jane understands the need to offer and provide therapeutic services congruent to educational programming for students needing a break or an exit from traditional settings. Jane has grown with Academics West, having worked within the company as a part-time academic and executive functioning coach, a fulltime English Department Head and teacher, an Educational Coordinator, and an Academic Dean. Jane is committed to ensuring students receive an individualized, quality education along with a flexible, supportive, and empowering learning experience.
Jessica Pickett-Coleman, M.S.Ed
Academic Advisor for Lower School
Jessica Pickett Coleman is the Academic Advisor for the Lower School at Academics West. She graduated with a Masters in Special Education (Birth through Grade 6) from Plattsburgh State University. Since graduating, she has taught in many different areas across Long Island, Queens and Manhattan; concentrating on different aspects of the special education world. Jessica co-taught in an integrated kindergarten classroom, worked under a BCBA as a Behavior Interventionist and finally joined the Academics West family in 2019. This was an amazing opportunity for Jessica since she is now able to combine her love for serving students with customized academics that fits their learning and emotional needs. Jessica is applauded by her colleagues for being a caring and dynamic teacher with a strong expertise in curricula development.