OUR FACULTY

Meet the team that drives Connections School of Atlanta.

Jackie Hornbeck Wall, Head of School

Jackie believes in presuming competence, relationship as the foundation of thinking and learning, and school communities built on insight, creativity, knowledge, and commitment. She is a Licensed Associate Professional Counselor and has served as a classroom teacher, resource specialist, DIR/Floortime therapist, and school administrator. Jackie has a bachelor’s degree from Southwestern University in child study and language development and master’s degrees in Montessori education from Loyola University of Maryland and mental health counseling from Mercer University. She lives in Decatur with her husband Kent and their children Jameson, Isak and Maya.

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Heidi Schaffner Sanders, Program Coordinator
CSA Founding Faculty Member

Heidi holds a master’s degree in psychology with a concentration in life coaching and creative expression from Sophia University, and has extensive experience in education, art and yoga. She majored in studio art and psychology at the University of Vermont. Heidi has been an educator since 1999, beginning as an Americorps member with local literacy programs. She was a lead teacher for nine years in Atlanta-area DIR schools, most recently coming from The Hirsch Academy. She is a certified yoga instructor with additional training in special needs and yoga therapy for students of all ages. Heidi serves as our program coordinator, art and yoga instructor, and is a founder of CSA.

MKukler2Michele Little Kukler, Instructional Coordinator, Lead Teacher
CSA Founding Faculty Member

Michele holds a degree in child and family development from the University of Georgia, and is currently earning her master’s in youth development leadership at Clemson University. Michele was a First Honor Graduate from UGA and worked with a student organization serving the autism community of Northeast Georgia while in college. She came to Connections from The Hirsch Academy, where she received training in DIR/Floortime, supported neurodiverse learners, and taught children’s yoga. Michele is a graduate of the Accessing Community Through Spelling professional development program. Before Hirsch and Connections, Michele was a community- based educator in DeKalb County School District and taught in the full-inclusion program at Coralwood School.

Steve McInaney, Lead Teacher

Steve received his M.Ed, in educational leadership from Montana State University in 2008, where he mentored aspiring teachers as an adjunct faculty member. He has taught high school biology in both public and private schools, utilizing fly fishing to excite students about applying relevant science, technology, engineering, and math, and to learn more about the places, environments, and ecology where fish are found. Steve has also been a Montessori middle school science and math teacher, a wilderness instructor and supervisor for the National Outdoor Leadership School, a professional river guide in Idaho on the Middle Fork of the Salmon, and is trained as a wilderness EMT and First Responder. In the summer, he operates a small business in Bozeman, Montana integrating the time-honored experience of fly fishing to rekindle heartfelt connections for families, friends, and businesses. Steve and his wife Nancy-Clair have two sons Will and Nicholas, ages 13 and 11 years old.

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Rebecca Richter, Associate Teacher
CSA Founding Faculty Member

Rebecca has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Goucher College, and more than 15 years of experience in the DIR/Floortime community as both an individual facilitator and a teacher. Her training includes formal DIR classes and participation in Floortime Atlanta and ICDL conferences. Rebecca has nine years of experience teaching high school students at The Community School. Rebecca comes to Connections from The Hirsch Academy, where she further expanded her skills with a variety of communication methods.

Carolyn Roberts, Associate Teacher
CSA Founding Faculty Member

Carolyn graduated from Roanoke College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, with a concentration in human development, and a minor in sociology. She is a part of the Sociology National Honors Society and has an extensive musical background in voice and piano. After graduating college, Carolyn worked as a support teacher at a Montessori school in Salem, Virginia. She then moved back to Atlanta and worked as a teacher’s assistant at a DIR/Floortime school in Atlanta for three years. Carolyn is currently completing the Accessing Community Through Spelling professional development program.

Jess Sibley, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist

Jess graduated from New York University with a master’s degree in occupational therapy in 2011. In addition to being the occupational therapist at The Hirsch Academy, she started her own practice in 2015. She works closely with her clients to develop more strength, coordination and independence in daily living skills. She also studied under Soma Mukhopadhyay and Elizabeth Vosseller to learn more about methods to support students in communicating. She is eager and excited to join the team at Connections this year!

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The officers, directors, committee members, employees, and persons served by this corporation shall be selected entirely on a nondiscriminatory basis with respect to age, sex, race, religion, national origin, and sexual orientation.  It is the policy of Connections School of Atlanta, Inc. not to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, ancestry, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical disability, veteran’s status, political service or affiliation, color, religion, or national origin.
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