Contact Us


General Contact

Waterloo Catholic District School Board
35 Weber St. W., Unit A
PO Box 91116
Kitchener, ON, Canada
N2G 4G2 Tel. (519) 578-3660

Special Education Learning Services Senior Administration

Laura Shoemaker – Superintendent of Learning – Special Education, St. David Family of Schools (8 schools)
Waterloo Catholic District School Board        

Gerald Foran - Principal Section 23, Learning Services, Special Education
Waterloo Catholic District School Board

Wayne Hobbs – Senior Manager, Learning Services – Student Services
Waterloo Catholic District School Board

Rod Miller - Chief Social Worker, Learning Services – Student Services
Waterloo Catholic District School Board

Special Education Learning Services Administrative Assistants

Judy Aitcheson
519-578-3660 Ext. 2237

Elizabeth Morawski
519-578-3660 Ext. 2346

Erika Ponelies
519-578-3660 Ext. 2203 (AM)


Special Education Support Staff

Autism Support Officer

Linda Roffi
519-578-3660 Ext. 2363
Role Description

  • Acts as the WCDSB contact for the Central West School Support Program-Autism Spectrum Disorders (CW SSP-ASD) services provided by Erinoak, Autism Intervention Program (AIP) and the family when a student with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) begins the Ministry-mandated transition-to-school process (Connections).
  • Consults and collaborates with the CW SSP-ASD Transition Consultant on a case-by-case basis
  • Provides support to Principals and school staff related to transition of students with ASD into their schools from publicly-funded IBI programs
  • Collaborates with and supports the school-level Transition Team as required for students involved with the Connections process.
  • Provides/coordinates ASD/ABA training and resources to schools/school board staff
  • Provide families with resources on Autism Spectrum Disorder

Behaviour Support Team

Maria DeBrouwer, Ext 2278
Megan Delcourt, Ext. 2306
Dr. Coralee Popham Lane, Ext. 2309
Shona Connelly, Ext. 2393

Child and Youth Care Workers - Family

Hollie Rau, Ext 2220
Michelle Burns, Ext. 2397
Denise Parsons, Ext. 2224
Cheryl Greenwood, Ext. 2379
Darquise Robson, Ext. 2461

Role Description

  • Child and Youth Care Workers deliver proactive one-to-one, small group and classwide instruction in topics such as conflict resolution, anti-bullying and social skills.
  • Providing and assisting school personnel with interventions and strategies (ie. incentive programs, social narratives, visual supports, etc.) regarding behaviour management

Community Transition Support Worker

Tracey Fuschino, Ext. 2325

Role Description

  • To familiarize teachers, students and parents with the transition planning process
  • To provide detailed information about the range of services and programs within the community to support the students transition
  • To assist students in making a successful transition from school to work, further education and community living.
  • To establish a working relationship with representatives of agencies and or organizations that will be providing support after the student leaves school.
For further information see Community Resources, Links and Partnerships with WCDSB Section.

Gifted Education Services

Lisa Weber, Ext. 2351
Role Description

Supporting Students:

  • Direct instruction and facilitation during board Elementary Gifted Education Programs
  • Direct instruction as needed for elementary students to support their specific expectations as outlined on their Individual Education Plan (IEP)
  • Facilitation of the Secondary Field Trips Program
  • Advocating for the student as well as teaching self-advocacy skills
  • Identify and monitor the emotional and social development, underachievement, perfectionism, anxiety or other related issues of students with giftedness in the integrated setting
Supporting Teachers/Special Education Teachers/Administrators:
  • Assist in the development of the Individual Education Plan (IEP)
  • Assist in developing and implementing appropriate curriculum modifications
  • Provide strategies related to the learning needs of a gifted student
  • Provide in-service workshops related to giftedness
  • Provide resource materials on giftedness
  • To act as a resource for classroom observations, annual reviews, case conferences, etc.
Supporting Parents:
  • To act as a resource for information regarding the impact of learning needs related to giftedness, educational implications, teaching strategies, available community programs, etc.

Mental Health Lead

Amanda Warne, Ext 2297

Hearing Services

Julyanna Cinti, Ext. 2307
Mary Stecho, Ext. 2353

Role Description

Supporting Students:

  • Direct instruction during class hours to students to support the curriculum expectations or their specific expectations as outlined on their I.E.P.
  • Provision, support, monitoring and repair of FM amplification equipment as required
  • Monitoring of personal hearing aids
  • Teaching of various strategies to deal with the effects of hearing loss
  • Advocating for the student as well as teaching self-advocacy skills
  • Teaching and supporting speech and language skills
  • Provide in-class explanations as needed of hearing loss and its effects, including FM equipment, etc.
  • Identify and monitor the emotional and social development of students with hearing loss in the integrated setting
Supporting Teachers/Educational Assistants/Administrators:
  • Assist in the development of the I.E.P.
  • Assist in developing and implementing appropriate accommodations and modifications
  • Provide in-service workshops related to hearing loss
  • Provide FM amplification equipment through SEA funding
  • Monitor and manage FM equipment
  • Provide resource material on hearing loss and its impact
  • Provide strategies for dealing with a child with hearing loss or central auditory processing problems
  • To act as a resource for annual reviews, case conferences, etc.
Supporting Parents:
  • To consult and communicate with parents regarding their child's hearing loss and educational implications
  • To act as a resource for information regarding the impact of hearing loss, educational implications, teaching strategies, available community resources, agencies, etc.

Psychological Services

Mary Goerzen-Sheard, Ext. 2261
Karen Ferguson, Ext. 2265
Mandy Hurst, Ext. 2289
Diane Stewart, Ext. 2380

Role Description

Psychological Services staff collaborate with school staff and parents in order to support the academic, social and emotional development of students. The services that are provided include:

  • Individual psychological assessment to determine cognitive ability, academic achievement, adaptive and social/emotional functioning
  • Consultation with school staff and parents to program effectively based on students' strengths and areas of need
  • Consultation with school staff and parents to assist in managing behaviour issues
  • In-service programs for school staff regarding child development, behaviour management and learning difficulties
  • Assistance with accessing community agencies or specialists
  • Information about the psychological intervention with a student is discussed only with parents and the people directly involved. When information is shared with other professionals within the Board, it is done carefully and with the intent to help the student.
  • Any reports will be stored in the confidential Psychological files with one copy placed in the student's Ontario Student Record (OSR).
  • Should parents request a copy, it will be provided to them by a member of the Psychological Services Staff. No information will be released to anyone outside the Waterloo Catholic District School Board without written informed consent, except where required by law.

School Attendance Counsellors

Tonya Beattie, Ext. 2358
Jessie Grosz , Ext. 2388

Role Description

  • Assist students/families/schools in the development and implementation of a school attendance plan;
  • Monitor and review plans with students/families and schools;
  • Obtain consent and meet with students to provide support on a one to one basis;
  • Consult with members of a Collaborative Team and community agencies in the provision of family support;
  • Enforce the Education Act Legislation and Regulations associated with compulsory school attendance;
  • Act as a resource for Supervised Alternative Learning for Excused Pupils (S.A.L.E.P.)
Early identification of school attendance issues is as crucial to a child's progress as is early identification of learning difficulties. School attendance is an issue that concerns everyone involved in a child's education: Parents/Guardians, Teachers, Principals, Administrators and Community Agencies, as well as Attendance Counsellors.

When irregular student attendance is identified by school personnel, parents/guardian or a community member, helpful intervention by an Attendance Counsellor at an early stage is most beneficial to the child, parent and the school.

Early referral enables the Attendance Counsellor to determine and deal with the underlying cause(s) of the attendance problem before it becomes an ingrained behaviour and jointly establish a plan of action with students, family and school. When it has advanced to the latter stage it is less likely to be dealt with successfully.

Referral Process
  • If a parent/guardian is concerned about their child's non-attendance, they are encouraged to contact the Classroom Teacher/Principal (Elementary) or the Guidance Counsellor/Administrator (Secondary) to discuss next steps.
  • Schools may access the Attendance Counsellor for additional support.
The Education Act and Attendance
  • The position of Attendance Counsellor is established and required by the Education Act. The Waterloo Catholic District School Board, by law, like all other school systems in the Province, must ensure that each child's right to an education is protected.
  • The Attendance Counsellor has jurisdiction over, and is responsible for the enforcement of compulsory school attendance with respect to every child who is required to attend school. However, as implied by the title, the role is primarily that of a counsellor. It is important, therefore, that the Attendance Counsellor not be expected to act as an enforcer, or used as a threat.
  • Under the Education act, every child must attend school from the first day in September after his/her sixth birthday until the last school day in June of the calendar year in which he/she becomes 18 or until his/her 18th birthday, whichever occurs first. Once a child is enrolled in school, under the age of 6, they are considered of compulsory school age and must attend regularly.
  • Link: Ontario Ministry of Education – Education Act

School Social Workers

Sandra Ayerst, Ext. 2398
Cathy McDonald-Reis, Ext. 2374
Veronique Ribeiro, Ext. 2266
Alison Messmer, Ext. 2566
Michael Whitehead, Ext. 2249

Role Description

School social workers provide service on an urgent basis to students, families and schools in situations of risk. This includes such things as:

  • Suicidal threats or gestures
  • Depression
  • Self-harming (cutting, burning, etc.)
  • Acute mental health issues in students or parents
  • School anxiety / phobia
  • Family violence
  • Violence incidence or serious harassment
  • Substance abuse by student or parents
  • Student pregnancy
  • Provide consultation and direct service to elementary and secondary schools
  • Provide brief counselling to students and families
    • Consultation around parenting issues
    • Sibling conflict and behaviour management
    • Adolescent issues
    • Parenting stress
    • Strengthening family ties and connecting families to community resources
  • Aid students and parents in accessing counselling, support, and recreation
  • Advocate for students and families with schools and services
  • Support the partnership between schools and parents
  • Act as a resource to the Supervised Alternative Learning Experience For Pupils (SALEP) Committees
  • Provide leadership in developing and implementing protocols pertaining to risk issues and healthy relationships
  • Present workshops and seminars to teachers and other school staff related to social-emotional and risk issues.
School Social Workers have a Master's Degree and are registered members of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. We have varied clinical backgrounds including individual, family and group therapy.

School Social Workers work with school communities dealing with trauma, loss and compassionate care:
  • When a student, teacher or other member of a school community dies, many are affected. It is normal for people to experience emotional or stress reaction after a loss or trauma. Sometimes reactions occur shortly after an incident and sometimes they are delayed. The severity and timing of reactions varies from situation to situation and from person to person.
  • Healing occurs most effectively within a community. We recognize this and, therefore, primarily work in the background providing advice, support and resources to the school staff who are familiar with the community.
  • WCDSB school social workers are specially-trained to provide trauma counselling techniques developed by the National Organization For Victim Assistance. This approach combines discussion about the traumatic incident with practical strategies to aid both the individual and community in their healing.

Special Education Assistive Technology Resource Teacher

Chris Runstedler, Ext. 2372
Role Description

  • Coordinate the Ministry of Education Special Equipment Amount (SEA) process at a system level
  • Facilitate in-service and ongoing training of Board personnel in the use of assistive technology and integrating assistive technology into student programs
  • Maintain school staff knowledge of assistive software programs and hardware requirements needed for each program at the school level

Special Education Resource Teachers

Sharon Adie, Ext. 2274
Carol Sullivan , Ext. 2370
Antonietta Leonardo , Ext. 2273
Johanna Dreyer, Ext. 2392

Role Description

  • Facilitate the transition of students with special needs into and within our system
  • Work in conjunction with school personnel in a variety of ways in the development and implementation of Individual Education Plans (IEP's) and educational programming.
  • Function as a resource to schools for Special Equipment Amount (SEA) claim preparation and coordination.
  • Function as a resource to Principals, Special Education teachers and classroom teachers on all matters related to Special Education.
  • Provide ongoing professional development to Special Education teachers and Educational Assistants through in-services and in school visits.
  • Member of a Collaborative Team along with a Social Worker, Speech and Language Pathologist, Psychoeducational Consultant and Child and Youth Care Worker to provide support and assistance to school staff for student programming, assessment, strategies.
  • Liaise with community agencies in relation to services for students.

Speech and Language Services

Maria Ashworth, Ext. 2263
Cara Cressman, Ext. 2267
Stephanie Helwig, Ext. 2385
Jan Littlejohn, Ext. 2308
Vicki Miles, Ext. 2221

Speech and Language Assistants

Dianne Foster-Comeau, Ext. 2243
Donna Oberholzer, Ext. 2365

Role Description

The goal of provision of Speech and Language services is facilitating student communication for classroom participation. Services are provided in WCDSB by registered Speech-Language Pathologists. A communication problem can affect a child's ability at school to listen, speak, read, write and interact with teachers and peers.

  • To provide a system-wide range of speech and language services for all students with priority given to students JK to Gr. 3 including:
    • assessment
    • screening/observation
    • consultation to school personnel and families
  • To support students who demonstrate a variety of specialized communication challenges:
    • language delay/disorder
    • selective mutism
    • dysfluency (stuttering)
    • phonological disorder (speech sounds)
    • nonvocal/nonverbal--augmentative alternative communication [AAC]
    • resonance or voice issues
    • developmental challenges with co-existing communication needs
    • hearing impairment
  • Speech and Language Pathologists collaborate with school personnel in the development of Individual Education Plans (IEPs) and Language related programming
  • On-going supervision including programming for direct intervention provided by Speech & Language Assistants (SLAs)
  • To facilitate and provide inservice and training related to communication exceptionalities and programming with school personnel and parents
  • To participate as a member of a Collaborative Team
  • To make appropriate referrals to community agencies and other professionals for further assessment, and services
  • To liaise with outside agencies which provide services to students with communication disorders
  • To act as a resource for schools within the Special Equipment Amount (SEA) process

Vision Services

Sara Beyerle, Ext. 2295
Shirley Luvisa, Ext. 2594
Linda Wiegers, Ext. 2294 
Donna Watkinson, Braillist, X2296

Role Description

  • Conduct functional vision assessments and interpretation of professional reports.
  • Collaborate with school personnel regarding programming, case conferences adapting materials, providing teaching strategies and assisting with the set up of an appropriate learning environment for students.
  • Provide in-services to school staff.
  • Assist school staff in the development of Individual Education Plans (IEP) for students with visual impairment
  • Consult with parent(s) and outside agencies.
  • Facilitate transcription of print materials into accurate Braille (English, foreign languages, Nemeth [mathematics, science])
  • Prepare tactile and low vision materials (maps, science diagrams)
  • Liaise with C.N.I.B. and W. Ross Macdonald School
  • Upgrade technology and computer programs related to Braille.
  • Facilitate and coordinate the use and repair of specialized equipment including Special Equipment Amount (SEA) claims and equipment repairs.
  • Assist with students who require orientation and mobility training


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