Letter to Families from Deb Ibanez

What a year it has been! It’s been a year like no other, and we won’t ever see again!  Surviving Hybrid to Full In-Person school programs for all students was difficult for all, including the Students, Staff, and Parents. We all had to learn to do many things differently, and I will say it was not easy. But I would like to commend all of our staff: Teachers, Specialists, Administrators, ESP’s, etc., for doing an amazing job and always keeping the best interest of the students first. Additionally, I would like to thank all families, parents, and guardians for your patience as we all learned new skills last year.  We survived! Our Special Education Department is proud to say that we ran a successful Extended School Year Program this summer, serving approximately 450 students.

I would like to introduce the Administrative Staff who are here to serve and help the Special Education Department reach the goals we have set.  The Assistant Director of Special Education, Forreste Lombard DeGroot, was recently married, and we wish her well.  Hannah Potter is our K-4 Special Education Supervisor. Matthew Scanlon was appointed in early July to fill the role of Grades 5-8 Special Education Supervisor. Karen Szarek is in her second year as the 9-12 HHS Special Education Supervisor.

Some of the goals we hope to achieve this year are more Inclusion opportunities for Special Education Students. We have some excellent Professional Development scheduled for the many different service providers, teachers, other staff, and ESP’s.

I also would like to share that the TEACH Program’s name has changed to the Bartlett School & Assessment Center under the direction of Ken McDowell where he is in his second year as the Principal. We wish him continued success as he continues to make improvements to the program.

We also have an update to our Moody Pre School.  Our Moody School has expanded to a second location on Main Street, offering more children to be enrolled in Pre School Programs. Under the direction of Kristi-Lynn Craig, she has hired a Clinical Assistant, Hailley French, who will run the day-to-day operations at the Main Street location.  Hailley is a BCBA offering her skills to the Autism Programs and is in her second year with the Haverhill Public Schools.

Jami Dion, the former Supervisor of Guidance for the District, is now the Director of Guidance, Counseling and Student Supports; she brings in a wealth of knowledge. Jami will be leading the district with Social Emotional Learning and will work closely with the School Adjustment Counselors and Guidance Counselors in the District.

Lastly, John DePolo, Principal of the Greenleaf Academy, continues as the Principal of the school. We look forward to having him lead his school and return to the excellent programs he has established over the past many years he has lead the helm.

I want to wish all families welcome to the School Year 2021-2022. As a Special Education Department, we are hopeful for a wonderful and engaging year for academics, social/emotional learning, and growth for all students.

Please reach out to any of the Administrators if you need assistance or have any questions.


Have a great year!


Deb Ibanez

Executive Director of Student Support Services