Andrea Shoap is White Clay School's, Founder and Executive Director. She graduated from Penn State in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and a minor in Biology. Andrea went directly into teaching and taught in various grades for a few years in the Kennett Square and Avon Grove school districts, as well as in the Tower Hill School in Wilmington, DE. Andrea and her husband Michael then spent two years at the Iraklion Air Force Base on the island of Crete, where Andrea taught for the Department of Defense.
Andrea and Michael returned home to the U.S. in 1992. She opened up her preschool in 1993, just after her first child was born, in order to provide the best of schools for her children, as well as other families who were interested in an individualized alternative approach to education. After several years of evolving and perfecting her program, White Clay School became an accredited K-12 nonpublic school in 2000. Andrea over the years has followed the latest science in child educational development and has taken a wide variety of trainings in: Play Therapy, Trauma Crisis Intervention, Developmental Individual Differences Relationship-based/Floortime and specific learning disabilities.
Andrea continues guide her school and certified staff as one that provides excellence in development and growth for neurodiverse learners, through understanding, differentiating and enhancing learning strengths and deficits in all of her students. She is presently working towards her certification in DIR/Floortime. Andrea continues her love of teaching young people and recruiting the most brilliant certified specialists and experts who share her school's approach as they continually introduce the latest in programming at White Clay.
Andrea and her husband Michael have three adult kids (Wesley, Seth and Phoebe), all of whom spent their elementary and middle school years with her at White Clay, being educated by Andrea and her team. Those first White Clay students are now two surgeons and a speech and language pathologist, and her most supportive WC alumni. Michael and she still live in the family's renovated barn in the heart of the White Clay Creek Preserve in Landenberg, PA. Besides her family, Andrea is passionate about running and yoga, riding her horses, knitting, hiking, gardening and always keeping up on the latest that child development and educational research has to offer.
Our Lead Faculty
Jill Kern, M.ED Patti Delaney MS-OTR/L SIPT
Assistant Director Occupational Therapy
Jill grew up in Northumberland County before graduating from Elizabethtown College with a bachelor's degree in Child Psychology. Following Elizabethtown College, she obtained her masters of education degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in reading
disorders from Wilmington University. She has completed her Masters in Applied Family and Child Science with a concentration on Trauma and Resilience through Wilmington University and is certified in Trauma Informed Care (TIC).
Jill has 10+ years teaching children in both the classroom setting and a one-to-one setting. She has worked with individuals with a wide range of diagnoses including autism, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, trauma, and ADHD.
Jill is Orton-Gillingham certified through the Orton-Gillingham Academy. She also has training in vision difficulties and the effect they have on children’s reading abilities. Jill is a trained DIR Professional and is in the process of becoming DIR Certified.
Jill believes that every child has the right to succeed in the classroom despite whatever challenges they may face. She strives to provide children with the tools to enjoy reading in addition to their success with it.
Meghan Perricone MS-CCC-SLP
Speech and Language Pathologist
Meghan is a certified Speech Language Pathologist with professional experience in public schools, private schools, pediatric outpatient, short term rehab and home health therapy settings. She earned her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Penn State University in 2001. Meghan has experience working with children with apraxia, articulation and phonological disorders, executive function disorders, language disorders, fluency disorders, autism, and AAC. She has a passion for teaching social skills and is always researching new content to implement into therapy sessions. She is an ASHA ACE award recipient. Meghan has completed the DIR 101 certification course and is enrolled in the DIR 201 course this spring.
Andrea Sereni, BCBA
We are excited to be adding a new developmental child psychologist to our 2022/23 staff. DIR/Floortime trained. Stay tuned!!
Melissa LaPearl, ES 1 Lead Teacher
Trauma Support Specialist
Melissa moved from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania in 2014 and we’ve never looked back, especially with the much milder winters! I have been part of the White Clay School team for the last five years. I attended Bay Path University and APU and obtained my degree in Psychology. I began my career as a Developmental Therapist assisting children who were experiencing developmental delays. I then moved to the public school system and began working as a Behavior Therapist. During this time, I worked with a variety of grade levels ranging from K through 5th in both general and special education settings. I believe every child is unique and deserves a caring, inspiring and engaging atmosphere to grow emotionally, intellectually and socially. Throughout my career, I have always strived to help the children I’ve worked with to meet their fullest potential. Outside of school, I enjoy reading, going to the movies, traveling to warm beaches, shopping and spending time with my family and friends.
Lead ES-CCN Primary Teacher
ES-CNN Autism Specialist
Justine Kinnaird has an undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh in Rhetoric and Political Science. After a professional career in sales, business management and college recruiting she returned to school completing a Masters Degree in Special Education at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Justine pursued continuous education and training in educational Pedagogy, The Emotional and Social Wellbeing of Children with Autism, the Wilson Reading System, Visualizing and Verbalizing and a year long cohort in balanced literacy. She was also mentored and trained by a PhD Educational Diagnostician to identify and address reading deficits. Most recently, Justine completed DIR-101 training and is a DIR FloorTime professional.
Justine has worked as a Special Education teacher (grades 3-8) for over 13 years. She was state-certified in both Wisconsin and Massachusetts and worked with a wide variety of learning differences in both inner city and suburban environments. She returned to Pennsylvania and joined WC as a Reading Interventionist in 2019. Justine has been married to Malcolm for 28 years and is the mother of three adult children. She is active in a variety of community volunteering efforts including serving as a member on the Advisory Committee for Sensory Friendly Programming at the Brandywine River Museum.
Lead ES-CCN Primary 2
Tracy graduated with a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, Special Education K-8 from University of Delaware (2000). After teaching in a general education classroom for 5 years, she transitioned to working in a therapeutic field and worked for 10 years at Delaware Vision Academy. She worked closely with a team of professionals to treat children and adults with visual related learning difficulties, strabismus, and traumatic brain injuries. She has worked with individuals with a wide range of diagnoses including autism, dyslexia, dysgraphia, trauma, and ADHD.
Tracy joined White Clay School in 2018 and has embraced being able to bridge her therapeutic and academic experience with her students. She strives to foster a loving and nurturing environment for her students to feel comfortable to learn and grow. Tracy is a trained DIR Professional and is in the process of becoming DIR Certified. She is also trained in the Wilson Fundations K-3 Reading and Language program.
Christine Bruno Physical Therapist
Juliana Harry, I graduated from Adelphi University with a Degree in Education, a minor in Speech and Audiology, and a degree in American Sign Language. She is also a Certified Behavior Therapist, certified in the TEACCH Approach and certified in CPR.
Juliana taught as a special Ed teacher in New York for 18 years. She started as a special Ed preschool teacher teaching students through ABA approach , and 5 years taught special Ed middle school students through TEACCH approach. She's led parent-teacher meetings, provided lessons plans, and written IEPs.
Juliana believes that providing an innovative, stimulating learning environment for children can help them achieve so much. She's been a part of the wonderful White Clay Team since December of 2021, and has now embraced their relationship based approach and has since become trained in DIR/Floortime