Meet the Teachers
Kelli Caraway - Kelli graduated from Youngstown State University in 2001 with a BA in Special Education with a license in mild to moderate and moderate to severe handicap. She started her teaching career at Fairhaven in 2002. For 11 years, she taught children who ranged in ages from 5 through 22. In 2007, she earned her Master's degree in Special Education at Grand Canyon University. Then, in 2013, she earned her Early Intervention Specialist certification and taught in the Fairhaven Early Intervention program for 3 years. She is currently teaching elementary and continues to take additional course work in special needs education to further her knowledge. Kelli is married with two children and resides in Mineral Ridge.
Kristina Angelo - Kristina graduated from Youngstown State University with a Bachelor of Science in Education as an Intervention Specialist (K-12): Moderate/Intensive. She also recently graduated from Grand Canyon University with a Masters of Arts in Autism Spectrum Disorder. She has 6 years of teaching experience and has been with Fairhaven for the last 5 years. She enjoys volunteering at a local animal shelter and spending time with friends and family.
Jill Puckett - Jill graduated from Youngtown State University in 2001 with a BA in Special Education (Moderate/Intense, K-12) and has a Masters of Science in Education (Special Education) from Grand Canyon University. She has been a teacher at Fairhaven for 16 years. Jill enjoys spending time with her husband, Marty, and their two sons, Ty (14) and Kyle (10).
Marie Standohar - Marie graduated from Youngstown State University in 1985 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Education. She recently retired from Leonard Kirtz School with 32 years of experience. She has taught students with multiple handicaps across all grade levels. She has completed TEACCH (Teaching and Education of Autistic and Communication-related Handicapped Children) training through the University of North Carolina. After being retired for 2 months, she realized it wasn’t for her and is grateful for the opportunity to come back into the classroom and is proud to call herself a Bulldog!
Amanda Collins - Amanda has a Bachelor of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from Kent State University and a Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction (K-12, Moderate/Intensive) from Cleveland State University. She has 14 years of experience in Special Education across all grade levels, working as an ABA therapist, a classroom assistant and now a teacher. Amanda has a brother on the Autism spectrum that has inspired all of her work. Outside of teaching, Amanda enjoys spending time with her husband and two children and the rest of her family.
Elizabeth Bequeath - Elizabeth has a BA as an Intervention Specialist with a concentration in Moderate/Intensive (K-22) from Kent State University. She has a Masters in Reading and Literacy from Walden University. She has completed TEACCH (Teaching and Education of Autistic and Communication-related Handicapped Children) training through the University of North Carolina. Elizabeth has 16 years of teaching experience. Before joining the teaching staff at Fairhaven, she taught for Warren City Schools, and TCESC. During her time at TCESC, she spent 7 years as a part of the Autism Transitional Team assisting students with ASD throughout Trumbull County.
Marie Downs - Marie received a Masters of Science in Education and a Bachelors of Science in Education, both from Youngstown State University. She is currently in her 10th year of teaching Special Education. She is proud to be a Fairhaven Bulldog! She believes "Where ever you are, be there!" as you will typically find her at the Special Olympics basketball games running the scoreboard. Outside of Fairhaven, Marie enjoys time with her husband, Casey, and their two daughters, Abigail (5) and Anna (2).
Joe Shewell - Joe graduated from Kent State University in 2006 with a BA in Integrated Social Studies (7-12). In 2010, he started working at Fairhaven as a substitute teacher. He then went back to school and received his degree as an Intervention Specialist (K-12) from Kent State University. Joe became a full-time intermediate teacher at Fairhaven in 2014. Outside of school, Joe enjoys spending time with his wife, Elizabeth, hiking and playing the piano.
Karen Thomas - Karen has an MBA in Special Education (K-12), and Early Childhood from Youngstown State University. She has also completed the TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication-related Handicapped Children). Karen has 35 years of teaching experience across grade levels from elementary through high school.
Deborah Snipes - Deborah holds a BS in Music Education (K-12) and a Masters of Science in Early Childhood Education and Special Education certification (K-12) from Youngstown State University. Deborah has been trained in TEACCH and has completed coursework from YSU, Kent, Walsh, Drake, and VESI and has received the Walter Horn Excellence in Education award in 2004. She has taught in Youngstown City Schools, YSU (as a part-time instructor), and Fairhaven for a total of 38 years.
Jessica Mazei - Jessica has a BA in Special Education (Mild/Moderate and Moderate/Intensive, K-12) and a Masters degree in School Administration both from Youngstown State University. Jessica has also completed courses from Wright State University towards her Principal licensure. Jessica has 8 years of teaching experience at the Intermediate level.
Pat Heenan - Pat took a half-century to decide what he wanted to do in life. He became a teacher at age 52, after receiving a degree from Youngstown State University. Much of his education really came from having a wife who is a genius with kids, and having a daughter with disabilities. Pat taught primary grades at Fairhaven before moving to the Secondary level. Pat likes reading and history. In the past year, he found a new hobby in hiking. A basic part of Pat's approach to teaching people with disabilities is to help them express what they enjoy in life, and work towards it.
Carol Kirsch - Adapted Physical Education Teacher
Carol earned her Masters degree in Adapted Physical Education from Slippery Rock University. Carol obtained her Step Up To Quality certification for advanced preschool instruction in 2017. Carol has been a Special Olympics coach and volunteer for 30 years. She is currently our Fairhaven Golf coach and enjoys volunteering with the Bulldog basketball, bowling, track and swim teams.
Angela Verostko - Angela has a BA in Special Education (K-12) from Cleveland State University. She has been teaching for 5 years at Fairhaven. She is the Lead-Teacher for the Summer Enrichment Program (a summer camp for special needs students). She is also the Special Olympics Swim coach for TCBDD.