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Exceptional Children/Special Education at NEAAAT

I will forever be grateful for the EC coaches at NEAAAT for looking past the “label” and into the person. They see the personality and the potential in each person and know when to encourage and praise and when to be firm or back down. They get to know and understand each person as an individual and know what may overwhelm them or what may bore them. They know how to teach according to each person’s learning style. They do not take “I can’t” or failure for an answer. Their goal is always success. Because of them, my son is ready to face the world independently and courageously. There are no better coaches/teachers anywhere else.

— NEAAAT Parent Class of 2023

Our Students

Students With Disabilities

NEAAAT currently serves students in the Future Ready Course of Study and Occupational Course of Study.  If the need arises, NEAAAT is equipped to serve Extended Content students.

Our Exceptional Children/Special Education Staff

Carolyn Walton, Director of Exceptional Children

Carolyn began her career working with individuals with disabilities at the age of twelve. She started as a junior camp counselor at Camp Horizons in Windham, Connecticut.  Carolyn obtained her Bachelor of Science in Special Education and Human Services/Counseling from Lyndon State College in 1992.  Carolyn has served as an inclusion specialist, resource teacher, juvenile detention facility educator, self-contained classroom teacher for students with behavioral disorders, IEP Chair, and Exceptional Children's Director.  Carolyn has a Master's in School Administration and is a certified behavior specialist. She is a mother, Mimi, and a plant addict. 

Shelby Hughes, Instructional Coach

I'm Coach Hughes, a dedicated and experienced teacher with a passion for helping students of all abilities succeed. With over 27 years of experience in education, I have spent the last 17 years specializing in working with exceptional children.

My journey in education began with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood/Elementary Education, followed by a Master of Science in Special Education. Over the years, I've had the opportunity to work with students of all ages and abilities, and I've been certified in Early Childhood/Elementary Education K-6, Special Education Cross Categorical K-12, and Middle School ELA Grades 6-9. I have experience providing instruction in self-contained classrooms as well as in inclusion and resource settings. 

In addition to my extensive experience and education, I am also certified in Non-violent Crisis Intervention. When I'm not in the classroom, you can find me hiking and exploring in the beautiful mountains, playing with my dogs Luna and Bear, reading the latest bestseller, or training artificial intelligence chatbots. 

I'm passionate about providing the highest quality education to my students, and I'm committed to helping them reach their full potential. I'm excited to be a part of the NEAAAT community, and I look forward to working with you and your child. Let's make this an amazing year!

Hi, I am Coach Chris Murray. My journey in education began years ago as I taught my younger brother to read during our many sessions of school in our family’s sunporch back in Pennsylvania. As life happened, it took me almost 25 years to fulfill my dreams and follow my passion. I entered the teaching field later in life  with three little ones in tow. 

I have spent 24 years teaching high school students with varying needs. 15 of those years were spent in a bucolic small town in Central Pa. Nine years ago the warmth of North Carolina called my name and for five years I have been blessed to teach at NEAAAT. 

I obtained my  undergraduate degree through Lock Haven University. I have expanded my teaching skills through a variety of graduate coursework ranging from reading, administration and guidance. I hold teaching certifications in the area of elementary education, special education, reading and high school English.

Throughout my career I have taught English at all high school levels including co-teaching. I have taught transition skills classes and curriculum assistance classes. I have supported various classroom settings including English, chemistry, history and Principles of Government and Economics. I have also served as advisor to various extracurricular activities and sat on various school committees. Educationally my passions center around vocabulary and reading development as well as helping students make the transition to “life after high school’. Currently, I coach students in the Occupational Course of Study diploma track. I am proud to teach at  NEAAAT and I am proud of the quality of education I can offer my students and their families. 

When I am not at school, you can find me gardening, crafting, reading, watching football  or spending time with family and friends. I have three grown children and eight grandchildren. I look forward to working with you and your student.

NEAAAT EC Services team is beyond component in skill most important is their desire to ensure all students are successful, valued, and understood not in spite of but wholly inclusive of the exceptionality that makes them the different kinds of thinkers and learners.  The EC Team are advocates for the children. As a parent with a child receiving they help provide additional support, care, and a school community encouraging the achievement of goals. Thank you for also providing clear communication and keeping our child's best interest at the forefront. 

— NEAAAT 8th Grade Parent