Administration

Sandra Spicher, Principal

Dan Nilson, Dean of Students

Rabbi David Rosenberg, Coordinator of Jewish Education

Allison Stevens, Social Work Clinical Director

Katie Fiore, Asst. Principal

Tracey Lewis, Asst. Dean of Students

Sandra Spicher is the Principal of the JCFS Therapeutic Day School. Her tenure at the school began in the high-school classroom and later she served as Assistant Principal.  To her current leadership role, Sandra brings 14 years of experience in the social service field, where she has provided rehabilitative services to individuals with cognitive and developmental delays, mental illness and behavioral/emotional disorders.  She has held positions in high-school special needs education, early childhood direct service, daycare, development and fundraising.  Sandra holds a Master of Arts degree in Education and also has studied therapeutic educational program development, general education, special needs education, school leadership and administrative training. She holds several teaching certifications.  “I am highly dedicated to my work, and to the field of therapeutic education for urban youth with special needs,” she says.

Dan Nilson is the Dean of Students of the JCFS Therapeutic Day School.  He holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Secondary Education for History from Loyola University of Chicago and a Master of Arts degree in Special Education from Northeastern University.  He has been involved in the Special Education field in various capacities for over the past 14 years.  He started his career as a Special Education teacher working with both elementary and high-school age students and advancing to administrative positions such as Program Coordinator, Vice Principal, and now Dean of Students.  Dan has been in Therapeutic Day School settings his entire career and feels strongly that certain students thrive and are more successful with this level of support and guidance.  Dan started with JCFS in October 2014 and has been supporting program and practices within the school as well as developing relationships with the staff, students, and their guardians.  This position has been a wonderful opportunity for Dan and he looks forward to contributing to the continued success and growth of the students and school.

Rabbi David Rosenberg is the Coordinator of Jewish Educational Services at JCFS Therapeutic Day School. Previously, David was rabbi of Congregation Beth Tefilah in London, Ontario, and executive director of the Newberger Hillel Center at the University of Chicago.  David received his rabbinical ordination from Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. He also received a Master of Arts degree in Bible from Yeshiva University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Russian and East European studies from Yale College.  About his work at Therapeutic Day School, Rabbi David says, “For the sake of children with special needs, let’s work together to create opportunities for student success.”

Katie Fiore is the Assistant Principal at JCFS Therapeutic Day School.  Katie joined TDS in 2008 as a teaching assistant.  She then went back to get her certification at NEIU in special education.   She has worked as an Elementary Teacher at TDS and started the room for students with Autism and the Life Skills Transition Program. Katie has a bachelor’s degree in Early and Elementary Education from Arizona State University.  She earned her Special Education degree at Northeastern IL University and then went on to DePaul University for a Master’s degree in Education Leadership. Before joining TDS at JCFS, Katie was a kindergarten teacher.  “I have worked with students with special needs in the summer since I was 16, as camp supervisor, counselor and as a tutor, to support their educational needs as well as helping students build social skills.  I am always looking at how to better serve students with Autism, including attending a TEACCH Autism Program in Chapel Hill.”

Tracey Lewis is the Assistant Dean of Students at JCFS Therapeutic Day School, and a member of the crisis team that supports students who require time away from the classroom environment. Tracey has worked at Therapeutic Day School since 2007, beginning her career here as a teacher’s assistant.   Before working at Therapeutic Day School, Tracey was with the Uhlich Children’s Network for 11 years.  She held several positions there, including serving as a Residential Treatment Specialist, and as a Case Manager for a program that helped prepare teens and young mothers to transition to adulthood and independent living.  Tracey earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, with a concentration in Social Work, from Eastern Illinois University.  “I love my job, the students and professionals I work with, and the family environment here,” she says.

Lisa Haber is the Clinical Department Supervisor at the JCFS Therapeutic Day School. She has worked at TDS since 2003 as a school social worker, the Clinical Coordinator and now as Supervisor. Lisa is also a trainer for the agency, and has been teaching the “Clinical Treatment of Trauma” to Child Welfare clinicians for the last 8 years. A Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Lisa has completed extensive training in complex trauma and PTSD with specialties in the areas of sexual and physical abuse, neglect as well as neurodevelopmental responses to childhood trauma. She has also completed comprehensive training in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and has taught workshops on that treatment modality. Lisa previously worked at JCFS’s Response Center and at Niles West High School; and earned her MSW from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration.

Allison Stevens is the Clinical Director at JCFS Therapeutic Day School. She has worked at our school since 2002, serving in the functions as a school social worker, intake coordinator, and clinical coordinator, prior to moving into the Director position. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Allison’s specializations include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and collaborative problem solving (CPS). She is also the leader of the school’s internal CPS Committee, which is working to bring the concepts of the collaborative problem solving model more widely into the JCFS educational environment. Previously, Allison worked with youth ages 5-21 in a residential treatment setting, a different therapeutic day school, and in a community mental health agency, all in the Chicago area. Allison earned her Master of Social Work degree from the Jane Addams School of Social Work at University of Illinois, Chicago, specializing in School Social Work.