Gianna Colizza – Headteacher Gesher School.
Gesher’s Headteacher is Gianna Colizza – a specialist leader of Education in SEN and Autism. Gianna has worked extensively with children with special needs and their families. She has sat on many government panels in support of SEN, been a parent advocate, and has travelled Europe for the British Council to look at best practice in specialist settings. She is regarded as, “the best Headteacher of any special primary school in the UK”, that Professor Simon Baron Cohen feels he has met. Within the first year Gesher was graded as “Outstanding” in all areas under her leadership.
Tamaryn Yartu – Acting Deputy Headteacher/SEN Classroom Teacher
Tamaryn was formerly the class teacher in Dvash Class, but is now Acting Deputy Headteacher. Tammy has a specialism in SEN, was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa and now lives in London. She is passionate about working with children within specialist early years settings and believes that early intervention is fundamental for future learning and achievement. Her previous role was at a Centre for Autism as a part of a mainstream school where she had the opportunity to start and develop the early years programme.
Chris Gurney – Head of well-being/Dramatherapist
Chris is a Dramatherapist who trained at Roehampton University in London. He joins the team having previously facilitated Dramatherapy sessions at a specialist resource base for Autism, as well as having provided SEN support within the adjoining mainstream school. Chris is passionate about utilising the creative arts to help support both emotional and cognitive exploration within children, with a particular focus on story and metaphor as dramatic tools through which to do so.
Marli Stein – Head of Kodesh/SEN Classroom Teacher
Marli Stein is the classroom teacher in Seorah class. Originally from Toronto, Canada, she graduated from York University where she received an additional qualification in Special Needs Education. Marli has experience working in a range of mainstream and special education settings, most previously supporting students with moderate to severe learning difficulties at an SEN school in London. Marli is focused on making learning accessible, immersive and fun so that every student and succeed and thrive!
Nicola Donaldson – SEN Classroom Teacher
Nicola is the classroom teacher in Gefen class. Nicola qualified as a Teacher from the University of Edinburgh. She has experience in working in a range of special education settings, having previously supported pupils with SEN in mainstream schools in Scotland and at an Autism Resource Base in London. Nicola is passionate about creating an environment which supports all pupils to learn, achieve and flourish.
Rowan Eggar – SEN Classroom Teacher
Rowan is the classroom teacher in Rimon class. Rowan undertook the Teach First Leadership Development Programme from 2016-17, qualifying as a Teacher from the IOE. She has worked in a mainstream primary previously and supported many pupils with a range of SEND needs within that role. Rowan believes passionately in creating classes where all pupils feel secure, safe and can have their voice heard.
Sam Dexter – SEN Classroom Teacher
Sam is the classroom teacher in Seorah class. He undertook the Teach First Leadership Development Programme from 2016-17, qualifying from UCL’s Institute of Education. He has previous experience working in a mainstream setting supporting many pupils with special educational needs. Sam is passionate about ensuring that all the pupils he teaches are given every possible opportunity to achieve their potential.
Danielle Petar – SENCO/Jewish Studies Teacher
Danielle Petar is the Jewish Studies teacher and the SENDCo at Gesher. Danielle graduated from Nottingham Trent University having studied Psychology, with a particular interest in Autism. Danielle then achieved her PGCE from the Institute of Education with a specialism in special educational needs. She has worked with a range of special educational needs in various mainstream settings over the last 15 years. Danielle is passionate about providing rich learning experiences that focus on all areas of development and enable children to achieve and thrive.
Natalie Smalling – Speech and Language Therapist
Natalie Smalling, is Gesher’s Speech and Language Therapist. She has many years of experience in working with children who have a range of speech, language and communication difficulties, including Autism, Specific Language Impairment and speech disorders. Natalie has worked within a variety of educational settings with her last role being within an Autism Resource Base. She is able to deliver interventions and training and works to empower parents and teaching staff by providing them with the skills required to support their children’s communication development.
Dr Hannah Abrahams – Educational Psychologist
Hannah is a Educational and Child Psychologist and a former primary school teacher. She qualified at the Institute of Education, London Hannah has worked for Local Education authorities and in private practice for 15 years supporting children in both mainstream and specialist settings , she has also worked supporting families and children who have suffered trauma and bereavement . She has always been passionate about supporting children with social and communication difficulties including Autism. Hannah believes that each child learns individually, not only cognitively but emotionally and socially too. By using a solution focused approach Hannah hopes to help each child reach their potential whilst working closely with their families and the staff at Gesher.
Claire Bayfield – Occupational Therapist
Claire Bayfield is an Occupational Therapist who graduated from LaTrobe University in Melbourne, Australia, and has an advances Practitioner Certificate in Sensory Integration. Claire has worked in a variety of settings including case management, education (both mainstream and specialist), and community and private paediatrics. Claire has worked for many years as an OT and has a broad knowledge of paediatric conditions and dual diagnoses. Claire love to see children overcoming their difficulties, being happy and achieving their goals.
Carly Wilde – Office Administrator
Carly joins Gesher as an office administrator. Carly comes from an administration background and is a qualified secretary. She has worked in the field of Education for the past 3 years. Carly is passionate about special educational needs after her own son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 4.