Our Teachers


Standing:  Ms. Johnson, Mr. Niegro, Mr. Valenti, Mr. Mills, Mrs. Brown
Sitting: Ms. Kostedt, Ms. Ward, Mrs. Dietz, Ms. Janca, Mrs. Alexander

Our Approach

At Lionheart our teachers are trained in methods and strategies specific to the needs of the target population. These include the ongoing daily use of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Social Thinking® (developed by Michelle Garcia Winner); methodologies for building upon their learning styles and strengths; a specific daily class period for Project-Based Learning (for application, generalization, problem solving, and learning to work as part of a group); two daily check ins and an abbreviated class period at the end of the day to address executive functioning skills, as well as the specific strategies for academic success. 

Lionheart is proud to offer specialized educational programming and teaching strategies specific to the research based needs of diploma seeking students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Lionheart offers a smaller school environment and classroom sizes of 15 students with one lead teacher and one assistant teacher.

The smaller school size minimizes distractions and provides a sense of safety as they pass from grade to grade increasing their ability to make friendships at school and relieve the anxiety of starting over each year with new teachers and often, entirely new classmates.

Universal Design of Learning Model and Instructional Systems Design will provide the framework for teaching. Major instructional methods include: 

  • Direct Instruction
  • Interactive Instruction
  • Experiential Learning
Technology will be incorporated throughout the instructional day as appropriate and meaningful. Content will be differentiated ensuring that those below grade level, on grade level or academically gifted can achieve academic growth.

Meet the Team

Lorie Dietz

Head of School




Marco Valenti

Teacher Assistant

Mary Janca

High School Teacher



Jeffery Mills

Teacher Assistant


Mary Ellen Suggs

Teacher Assistant




Daisha Brown

Teacher Assistant

Allison Kostedt

 Middle School Teacher


Amanda Johnson

Teacher Assistant


Wesley Niegro

Teacher Assistant