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Dr. Ellen Gaske Appointed SESI's Chief Academic Officer
[August 05, 2014]

Dr. Ellen Gaske Appointed SESI's Chief Academic Officer

YARDLEY, Pa. --(Business Wire)--

Specialized Education Services, Inc. (SESI) - a nationwide provider of day schools and programs for special and alternative education students facing significant learning, language, and social challenges - announced today that it has appointed Ellen Gaske, Ed.D., as the company's first Chief Academic Officer.

"SESI has provided exceptional personalized academic and behavioral interventions for students with special needs for more than 25 years," says Michael Kaufman, Ph.D., President & CEO of SESI. "Yet, looking at the trends in data-led instruction in mainstream education, we recognized the need to prepare our students to achieve their best possible outcomes by applying the same level and standards of academics that they would receive from their sending school districts. Accordingly, we appointed Dr. Gaske, a renowned leader in assessment, curriculum, and instruction, to develop a model to standardize our academic approach and interventions across all of our school sites."

As Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Gaske will create model programs to be implemented consistently throughout SESI based on the latest research-based best practices for assessment, curriculum, and instruction. She has devised a three-tiered approach focused on interventions for typical learners (Tier 1), students who require some level of targeted intervention beyond that (Tier 2), and those who require intensive and systematic interventions (Tier 3 (News - Alert)). This model will be customized based on disability type and program location to ensure that state curiculum standards are met.

Dr. Gaske began her career teaching special education in 1975. In 1991, after many years of garnering hands-on classroom experience, she moved into multiple administrative roles, eventually becoming a Special Education Supervisor for the Howard County School District in Maryland. In 2008, she accepted the position of Chief School Director for the Central Maryland Region of SESI.

Dr. Gaske has taught courses on special education at Johns Hopkins University, served as a board member of MANSEF (Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities), and is actively involved in several other organizations, including the Council for Exceptional Children and the International Dyslexia Association. She holds a master's degree in Communicative Disorders and a doctorate in Special Education and Learning Disabilities from Johns Hopkins University.

"Throughout my entire career, I have been focused on how to use data to influence instruction in special education. In my role as Chief School Director in Maryland, my team implemented assessment programs to monitor our students' progress and make adjustments to their instruction based on our findings," says Dr. Gaske. "And now I have the opportunity to take what I have learned in my region and roll it out to all of SESI's other programs across the country to provide each and every one of our students with the latest research-based approaches to academic intervention." Dr. Gaske's expertise and leadership is so valued in Central Maryland that she will be maintaining her function there as she simultaneously serves as the company's Chief Academic Officer.

During the 2013-2014 academic year, SESI established two pilot programs in data-led instruction in Maryland that were based on the model established by Dr. Gaske. Her new model will be launched on each SESI campus over the course of the 2014-2015 school year.

About Specialized Education Services, Inc.

For close to 30 years, Specialized Education Services, Inc. (SESI) has been partnering with school districts and educational organizations across the country to provide services to special and alternative education students presenting with intensive needs, including autism; emotional, social, and learning disabilities; and the most challenging at-risk behavior issues. SESI, which currently serves 12 states and the District of Columbia with 55+ schools/programs, has developed proven methods to successfully teach students with learning and social-emotional challenges, as well as those whose behavior puts them at risk, while tailoring its services to each local education provider's unique and specific needs. For more information, visit

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