dr mcguffog

My 30+ year career has been devoted to helping children with learning, social-emotional, developmental, and behavioral disabilities. To that end, I earned two doctorates from Teachers College Columbia University, one in Special Education and the other in Psychology. Prior to becoming the Superintendent of Greenburgh North-Castle Union Free School District (GNC), I created highly-regarded, inclusive, special education programs for students with autism spectrum disorder, severe emotional disturbance and learning disabilities. I also created a school-based American Psychological Association (APA) approved psychology internship program and served as a college professor and clinical supervisor. In my private practice, I conduct psychotherapy, neuropsychological evaluations, and educational consultation. I am passionate in my belief that administrators, teachers, therapists, counselors, and paraprofessionals must utilize evidence-based interventions to assure all students achieve optimally.

Under my leadership, the four Academies compromising the Greenburgh North-Castle Union Free School District (GNC) have expanded academic, social-emotional, and vocational opportunities for students with emotional, developmental, behavioral and learning disabilities from grade 7 to age 21. In the academic realm, our special education teachers differentiate instruction in accordance with students' learning profiles. Student progress is monitored, and instruction is data-driven. We have added Advanced Placement (AP) courses to our full complement of Regents-based classes, as we strive to challenge our students.

In the social-emotional and behavioral realms, our students are explicitly taught social skills and strategies for self-regulation. To that end, we implement components of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS), Restorative Justice, and Trauma-Focused Therapy. These programs provide students with the tools needed for success in life.

I am also passionate about affording students meaningful, interest-driven, vocational opportunities. As such, GNC now has a team of transition specialists providing support in developing community-based internships, school-based enterprises, and Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes. We offer opportunities in computer technology, barbering, cosmetology, culinary, auto-mechanics, retail, senior care, maintenance, horticulture, animal science, music production, DJ’ing, personal training, and commercial graphic arts. This list grows in accordance with students’ interests. Our students are also afforded driver’s education classes.

Some highlights by Academy:

The Kenneth B. Clark Academy (KCA) in Dobbs Ferry, NY now houses a therapeutic program for students on the autism spectrum and for fragile students with severe emotional/behavioral dysregulation. The program is staffed by special education teachers and a Licensed Behavior Analyst. Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) are utilized to manage behavior. KCA also now houses a bona fide middle school program. Enrichment activities offered in KCA include Robotics and 3-D Printing, as well as a broad range of art and music instruction, as well as CTE classes and internship opportunities. A growth mind-set is fostered among staff and students. A complimentary residential program is provided by St. Christopher, Inc. as appropriate.

REACH Academy in West Harrison, NY is renowned for its warm environment, as well as, its 90-minute block of community-based life and vocational training. REACH students are typically emotionally fragile due to autism spectrum disorder and/or severe emotional disturbance and may have learning and/or cognitive deficits. REACH has an active Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and students and families participate in social events. Students are afforded instruction in horticulture, animal science, senior care, culinary arts, bell choir, vocal training, DJ'ing, video production, art therapy, mindfulness etc. Self-determination is promoted. St. Christopher, Inc. offers a complimentary residential program on the Jennie Clarkson Campus in Valhalla as appropriate.

Kaplan Career Academy, located in New Windsor in Orange County, offers a comprehensive program for students with severe emotional disturbance, developmental disorders and learning disabilities. Kaplan is a Trauma Sensitive School that utilizes Tranquility, Animal Sensory and Fitness rooms to help students regulate their behavior. A supportive, wrap-around program is available for fragile students. Kaplan offers swim lessons, art, music and theater clubs, driver's education, culinary, cosmetology and animal assisted therapy. Reading and writing workshops and credit recovery classes are available. A complimentary residential program for girls only is provided on the New Windsor campus by St. Christopher, Inc. as appropriate.

Greenburgh Academy (GA), located in Yonkers NY, serves students with emotional, behavioral, developmental and learning disabilities. GA offers Advanced Placement courses, CTE classes and has implemented the SMARTS Executive Functioning Program. GA houses an art gallery of students' work and has an active Student Council and Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). GA students are afforded academic remediation, credit recovery and hold membership in the National Honor Society, National Arts Honor Society, Phi-Delta-Kappa, President’s Education Awards, and Educators Rising. Grit in overcoming obstacles is promoted.

In sum, it is truly an honor to be afforded the opportunity to 'pay it forward', as I share my many years of training and experience with the talented and committed staff members of the GNC Academies. In turn, my GNC staff and students contribute to my quest as a life-long learner.

Warmest regards,

Carolyn McGuffog, Ph.D., Ed.D.
Greenburgh North-Castle Union Free School District