FOUNDER & lead Psychologist
Mandi Croft-Petoskey, Ed.D., NCSP, ABSNP is an Illinois licensed and nationally certified School Psychologist. Dr. Croft earned a doctoral degree in School Psychology with an emphasis in Neuropsychology as well as an Education Specialist degree in School Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, following receipt of her Bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2018, Dr. Croft earned a Diplomate in School Neuropsychology from the American Board of School Neuropsychology. With experience working as a school psychologist, Dr. Croft has conducted hundreds of neuropsychological psychoeducational evaluations, developed and implemented academic and behavioral interventions, made educational placement determinations, and provided consulting services with parents, teachers, and school personnel. Additionally, she has worked extensively with individuals with diverse needs, including children and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, learning disabilities, low-incidence disabilities, ADHD, anxiety, and depression. Dr. Croft takes a multidisciplinary approach to assessment and intervention, utilizing the most current evidence based practices in the fields of neuropsychology and education.
A native of Chicago, Dr. Croft has deep connections in the community and was honored to receive the Illinois State Board of Education’s ‘Those Who Excel Award’ in 2015. Additionally, she is an active member of the National Association of School Psychologists and the American Psychological Association. Dr. Croft is the founder of Neuro Educational Specialists and spearheads initiatives with both private individuals and multiple school districts to integrate neuropsychological and educational principles of assessment and intervention with children and adolescents to foster optimal learning and adaptive behavior. Passionate about raising awareness and empowering all learners, Dr. Croft also delivers professional development presentations to families, educators, and professional associations.
Amanda Moons is an Illinois licensed and nationally certified School Psychologist. Amanda earned a Masters in Education and an Educational Specialist Degree from National Louis University and a Masters in Educational Leadership from the American College of Education, after receiving her Bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois. Amanda has worked in the field of education for 15 years in the northern suburbs of Chicago as a school psychologist, 1:1 special education aide, and special education administrator. She has conducted numerous psychoeducational evaluations for students in early childhood programs through high school, as well as evaluated adults to assist with accessing accommodations for college, graduate school, and law school. While working in the schools, Amanda provided leadership around the development and implementation of academic and behavioral interventions, placement determinations, IEPs, and Section 504 plans. She worked closely with parents, teachers, and school personnel in order to determine how best to support the academic, behavioral, and social-emotional needs of students.
Amanda has experience working with and providing recommendations for individuals with Specific Learning Disabilities, Cognitive Impairments, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Anxiety, and Depression. In order to support the whole child, Amanda is deeply committed to developing relationships with families and helping to educate parents on the Special Education and IEP process. Amanda enjoys providing professional development to both parents and schools in order to help empower all learners and their support systems. She is passionate about helping children and families raise awareness and develop insight into difficulties they may experience, parent education, advocacy, and consultation with school teams to help problem-solve and find solutions to a student’s difficulty with learning. Amanda is an active member of the National Association of School Psychologists.
Sonia Cooper, Ph.D., LCP, NCSP is a dually-credentialed Licensed Clinical Psychologist and a Nationally Certified School Psychologist. Dr. Cooper’s undergraduate studies fueled a passion for working with individuals with autism and inspired her pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Illinois State University, and a master’s and doctoral degree in School Psychology from Northern Illinois University. Her doctoral cognate focused on behavior management as well as low-incidence, emotional, and behavioral disabilities. Dr. Cooper is a member of the National Association of School Psychologists and the American Psychological Association.
As a licensed school psychologist working both in the schools and clinical settings across the suburbs of Chicago, Dr. Cooper has experience working with multi-disciplinary teams and is committed to collaborating with both the families and schools. She worked as a behavior therapist and as an ABA therapist providing direct treatment services to individuals with autism addressing behavioral challenges (functional based assessments and teach appropriate replacement behaviors), social skills, and communication skills. Dr. Cooper’s background working in the schools facilitated extensive knowledge for academic support systems, school-based interventions, IEPs, and Section 504 plans. This background also allows for seamless integration of evaluation results and findings into practical, individualized recommendations for interventions to maximize each child’s potential. Throughout the evaluation process, Dr. Cooper assures that parents feel heard and supported, and provides the resources they need to understand their child’s learning profile.
Dr. Cooper uses data extensively to guide teams in decision making, improve instruction, and enhance student learning. She provides support to school districts on implementing data-based decision making in a Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS) using evidence-based academic and behavioral programming. Her expertise in behavior management allows her to guide teams and families with behavioral planning for students, building capacity within teams to develop proactive structures, respond to, and plan targeted behavioral supports resulting in student success. Dr. Cooper presents at conferences and workshops on utilizing meaningful data to inform curriculum, instruction, and individual student needs.
KIMBERLY MELTON LECHNER
Dr. Kimberly Melton Lechner is currently a Visiting Professor at Governors State University where she teaches graduate students in clinical mental health counseling and psychology. She is also the founder of Kids First Collaborative. She completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. She has a Professional Educator License in School Psychology and School Administration and a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from Northern Illinois University. Additionally, Kim trained as a professional mediator at Northwestern University. Kim has spent the past fifteen years working primarily as a School Psychologist and a Student Services/Special Education Administrator in K-12 school districts. During her tenure, Kim twice received the 'Those Who Excel Award' in the team category from the Illinois State Board of Education. Additionally, she was honored to receive the Crystal Apple- Champion For Children Award for her work as a student services administrator. Kim has provided leadership and staff development in school districts with respect to Special Education, Response to Intervention, Multi-tiered Systems of Support, and Social and Emotional Learning Initiatives. She has facilitated countless IEP meetings related to a wide range of complex student issues. She’s supported both families and school staff as they’ve navigated disagreements and worked collaboratively to support student learning.
Currently, Kim is interested in research surrounding parent engagement in the IEP process as well as the impact of disability on families. Kim is passionately engaged in advocacy efforts on behalf of children with special needs both locally and nationally. Specifically, she co-facilitates the Student Services Parent Advisory Council as well as a Preschool Family Engagement Group for her local school district. Additionally, Kim is a member of the Family Advisory Board for Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Dr. Lechner conducts professional development workshops with Neuro Educational Specialists and provides consultation to the practice around family engagement and Special Education advocacy.