MELISSA SORNIK, LCSW
Melissa Sornik is the co-founder and president of Twice Exceptional Children's Advocacy, Inc. (www.teca2e.org) and has been working with gifted and twice exceptional (2e) children and their families since 2003. A licensed clinician, Melissa earned her Master of Social Work degree from Fordham University with a specialization in children and families. She has developed programs for 2e children and adolescents, facilitated professional development sessions for the Achilles Project for 2e college students at Nassau Community College, has authored several articles on the subject of twice exceptionality, and has conducted lectures and parent workshops at local school districts and national conferences including the first online course on 2e for NASW (National Association of Social Workers) NY Chapter. Melissa has served on district and county Special Education Parent Teacher Association (SEPTA) boards and is a member of the Long Island Progressive Education Alliance. She is a 2e consultant for school districts and private schools, and has been a parent education workshop facilitator for Ramapo Training, conducting workshops focused on behavior management, social skills and relationship building for children with ASD. She has conducted professional development workshops for Ramapo staff. Melissa is a SENG SMPG certified parent support group facilitator. She is an adjunct professor at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, NY where she teaches undergraduate social work students a systems approach to working with children with special needs and their families. Melissa is also the former director for admissions and outreach at a school for gifted and 2e learners in NYC. She resides in Sea Cliff, New York where she maintains her private practice. Melissa has raised her own twice exceptional child.
Lisa Zaretsky is a NYS licensed social worker and certified teacher in special education, reading education and elementary education. She specializes in gifted, twice exceptional, and special needs students and their families. An independent practitioner, Lisa is currently working toward her clinical license under the supervision of our practice. She also volunteers her time and expertise to Twice Exceptional Children’s Advocacy, Inc. (TECA), Brooklyn Free School, and her local community where she spearheads three forums a year for special needs families and multidisciplinary professionals through her school district's local Special Education Parent Teacher Association (SEPTA) chapter. Lisa provides professional development and parent workshops on the subject of 2e, cognitive diversity, social emotional development, assessment tools, and compassionate parenting. A central tenet of her work is identifying and expanding best practices within the education and mental health systems. Lisa has presented at numerous national conferences and on a variety of panels, and has co-presented (with Melissa Sornik) the first online course on 2e for NASW (National Association of Social Workers) NY Chapter. She is a contributing writer for the upcoming book, Auditory Processing Disorders: Assessment, Management, and Treatment 3rd Edition, authored by the renowned expert in APD, Dr. Donna Geffner (November 2017). Lisa is the mother of three twice exceptional children.
Jacob Greebel holds a dual degree of Master of Education, for general and special education, from Bank Street College, a Master of Social Work degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin. He has taught at the Brooklyn Free School, an alternative and progressive educational setting that allowed him to meet each child's individual needs to accommodate their diversified learning needs. Inspired by his own struggles as a 2e student, Jacob went unidentified until his senior year in college. He is a certified dyslexia tutor and consultant, working 1:1 with students with dyslexia and central auditory processing disorder. Jacob strives to raise awareness and change perceptions of 2e children and adolescents by furthering his knowledge in both scope and depth as he continues to gain experience and share his discoveries with his students, peers and parents alike. Jacob is also the curriculum coordinator, head teacher and social cognition group co-facilitator at the Talent Development Cooperative, a program of the practice of Melissa Sornik, LCSW PLLC, in Sea Cliff, New York where he is involved in curriculum development and program design and facilitation, as well as counseling for gifted and 2e students ages five through eighteen.
Dorothy Bennett has over 30 years of experience researching and developing educational media, curricula and outreach programs for informal and formal education institutions in the U.S. and abroad, including the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, Sesame Workshop, IBM, City College and Virgina Tech Schools of Engineering, and the American Museum of Natural History. Using a child-centered approach to learning. her work has focused on how design and making can serve as powerful pathways into science, technology engineering, and math (STEM) for diverse and reluctant learners. As Director of Creative Pedagogy at the New York Hall of Science and as Senior Project Director at EDC’s Center for Children and Technology, she has created innovative educational programs and museum family learning experiences that inspire curiosity and playful exploration, build confidence with new skills and tools, and foster creative problem solving and divergent thinking. With numerous federal research grants from the National Science Foundation, her most notable work has involved creating narrative-rich tinkering and mentoring environments that develop children’s technological imagination and draw diverse learners into being creators not just consumers of technology and the world around them. She holds a Masters of Science from Bank Street College of Education, with a focus on pre-adolescent development.