LET US BE
KATI HEFFERON, PSY.D.
CIC Training Director
Dr. Hefferon is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who earned her master's and doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology - Chicago in 2009. She has worked in group practice and community mental health settings, and spent 5 years as a Clinical Administrator and Clinical Supervisor for South Campus Day School. In 2015, Dr. Hefferon became an owner of Connections Day School, South Campus, and New Connections Academy. Dr. Hefferon also is currently on the executive committee of the Association of Chicagoland Externship and Practicum Training (ACEPT) as the Past President of the Association. In clinical practice, she specializes in those struggling with high-risk behaviors, trauma histories, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and features of personality disorders.
CONNECTIONS DAY SCHOOL
KRISTEN POLLINA, PSY.D.
Site Director, Connections Day School
Dr. Pollina started her career with CDS as a Post-Doctoral Fellow 1999 and became the Clinical Director, Director of Clinical Training, and Site Director in 2000. All of Dr. Pollina’s training and professional experiences have been with children, adolescents and their families, with a primary focus on high-risk populations, and a strength-based, integrative focus to case conceptualization, treatment, and supervision. As a result of these experiences, Dr. Pollina is able to teach Interns to emphasize the unique strengths and needs of students with social, emotional, and behavioral disabilities. Her broad experience and deep knowledge base enables Dr. Pollina to prepare future professional psychologists to become proficient in the delivery of high quality, culturally competent, clinical services to schools, families, and communities.
GIOVANNA VITULLO, PSY.D.
Assistant Site Director, Connections Day School
Dr. Vitullo has been with the CIC since 2011. She became the Diagnostic Coordinator at Connections Day School in 2015. Dr. Vitullo has an extensive background in working with children, adolescents, and their families through her clinical training and professional experiences in various settings. Before becoming a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, much of her training was in settings with a focus on Cognitive Behavior Therapy, though there was always an integrative focus. Her training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy allows Dr. Vitullo to provide Interns with comprehensive and individualized clinical training that facilitates the acquisition and refinement of clinical and therapeutic skills in evidence-based assessments and treatment. Dr. Vitullo brings this integrative focus to much of the work she does including her supervision approach.
SOUTH CAMPUS DAY SCHOOL
VANESSA DAVIDSON, PSY.D.
Site Director, South Campus
Dr. Davidson is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Clinical Director, and Site Director of South Campus. She obtained her Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, in Illinois. She completed her Internship and Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the CIC program Connections Day School. Following which, she served as the Assistant Site Director for South Campus until moving to Ohio. In Ohio, Dr. Davidson's experience broadened as the Clinical Director and Director of Clinical Training at a residential treatment program for adolescent males involved with the juvenile justice system. Her return to Illinois 4 years ago brought her the opportunity to become the Site Director for South Campus. In training, Dr. Davidson focuses on teaching Interns to emphasize the unique strengths and needs of students with social, emotional, and behavioral disabilities.
CAROLINE NOVOTNY, PSY.D.
Assistant Site Director, South Campus
Dr. Novotny has been affiliated with the CIC member schools since 2016. She completed her Post-Doctoral Fellowship at South Campus and then worked as a staff therapist at Connections Day School for the following academic year. Dr. Novotny gained the title of Assistant Site Director, Diagnostic Coordinator, and Clinical Supervisor at South Campus in 2018. Dr. Novotny has worked with children, adolescents, and their families in multiple settings, assisting and supporting them in advocating for their psychological, emotional, and educational well-being. Her work with children, adolescents, and their families enables her to prepare future professional psychologists to become proficient in the delivery of high quality, culturally competent, clinical services to schools, families, and their communities. Dr. Novotny works closely with Interns to identify the various ways in which the various settings that children, adolescents, and their families interact in impact their overall functioning and their clinical presentations both in and out of school.
NEW CONNECTIONS ACADEMY
GWEN GRANT, PSY.D.
Site Director, New Connections Academy
Dr. Grant has been with the CIC since 2017 as the Site Director for NCA. Dr. Grant is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist as well as a Nationally Certified School Psychologist. Dr. Grant has worked with children, adolescents and their families for 20 years within a variety of settings including inpatient, private practice, community mental health, public schools and therapeutic day schools. She specifically specializes in evaluation and treatment of individuals with Autism. Dr. Grant has supervised psychologists for 13 years and taught graduate courses as an adjunct professor. As a result, Dr. Grant works closely with Interns to identify evidence based approaches that can be used with students on the Autism Spectrum. Additionally, Dr. Grant’s background as a School Psychologist enables her to prepare future professional psychologists to become proficient in the delivery of high quality, culturally competent clinical services to schools, family, and community settings.
CHARLOTTE EDWARDS, PSY.D.
Chief Clinical Autism Consultant, Connections Internship Consortium
Dr. Edwards is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, who has worked in the field for over 25 years with children, adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities and mental health issues in various settings such as, inpatient hospitals, outpatient treatment centers and therapeutic day schools. Her areas of speciality include; neuropsychological evaluations for children and adolescents, individual and family therapy for clients with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Dr. Edwards has been a part of the supervisor team for Connections Day School and South Campus Day School for 20 years. She is currently the Chief Clinical Autism Consultant and supervisor for the clinical teams at all programs. Dr. Edwards works closely with Interns to identify how even the smallest of successes that students experience translate to a student strength that can serve as a building block to continued social emotional growth and development.
CONNECTIONS ACADEMY EAST
RUTH TOMPKINS, PSY.D.
Site Director, Connections Academy East
Dr. Tompkins was the Assistant Site Director/Diagnostic Program Coordinator and clinical supervisor at Connections Day School starting in 1999, before becoming the Site Director of CAE in 2015. Dr. Tompkins has been supervising trainees for 20 years and has extensive experience and knowledge in working with children, adolescents, and their families. Through the various group supervisions that Dr. Tompkins leads throughout the year, as well as her keen ability to help Interns identify the strengths and needs of each of their students, she is able to work with Interns to develop treatment approaches that builds on student strengths to address each student’s unique needs.
CARLOS (CJ) GARCIA, PSY.D.
Assistant Site Director, Connections Academy East
Dr. Garcia began his timeline with the organization at Connections Day School as a therapy extern in 2012. He continued his training at CDS through Doctoral Internship and Post-Doctoral Fellowship, before becoming the Assistant Site Director and Assistant Clinical Director at CAE in 2015. Before attaining his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Adler University in 2014, Dr. Garcia worked as a Psychosocial Rehabilitation Specialist in Post Falls, Idaho, where he taught clients social skills and self management skills. Additionally, Dr. Garcia worked as a floor staff in a residential treatment facility in Hayden, Idaho serving students with a wide variety of presenting problems, including suicidal ideation, psychotic disorders, depression, and anxiety. Throughout his graduate training, Dr. Garcia received formal training in family therapy and providing treatment to Children and Adolescents with Disruptive Behavior Disorder and ADHD. Dr. Garcia works with Interns both in group and individual supervision to identify and analyze issues of diversity that are salient among their relationships with their students as well as identify the way that diversity factors are informing their case conceptualizations and impacting their clinical work with the students that they work with.
AUXILIARY CIC SUPERVISORS
SOL RAPPAPORT, PH.D., ABPP
Board Certified in Clinical Psychology and Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Dr. Rappaport is an owner of the 4 CIC member programs and he specializes in Forensic Psychology, consulting with attorneys nationally for the purpose of work product review, cross examination and expert witness testimony. Dr. Rappaport has presented nationally on custody, relocation, alienation, psychological testing and other topics to various state bar associations, including the American Bar Association's Family Law section and the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Dr. Rappaport is also the President-Elect of the Illinois Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. He also performs psychological testing, risk assessments, and fitness for duty evaluations for local school districts and law enforcement agencies. Dr. Rappaport’s background in working with the courts and conducting psychological testing enables him to provide Interns with comprehensive and individualized clinical training that facilitates the acquisition and refinement of clinical and therapeutic skills in evidenced-based assessments and treatments. Through the weekly assessment supervision that Dr. Rappaport provides to all CIC Interns, he provides them with opportunities to review scholarly literature for each assessment, which is then reviewed and applied to current Intern cases.
CHRISTINA BAILEY, PSY.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Dr. Bailey acts as a secondary supervisor for Connections Day School Interns and trains and oversees all CIC Interns as they administer and interpret in various assessments. She earned her doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology from The Illinois School of Professional Psychology - Chicago in 2007. In her practice, Dr. Bailey provides individual and family therapy to clients with Anxiety, Depression, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder as well as other emotional and behavioral concerns. Her areas of interest include self-esteem issues, social and peer relationship issues, and family issues.
HEATHER DIGBY, PSY.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Dr. Digby acts as a secondary supervisor to Connections Day School Interns and trains all CIC Interns in various assessment protocols including the ADOS. She has specializations in child and adolescent psychology and a background in working with youth and their families within a variety of settings, including residential treatment facilities, therapeutic day schools, inpatient and partial hospitalization programs, medical centers, and community outpatient centers. She earned a Masters in Psychology from Pepperdine University before pursuing a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Adler University. In her practice, Dr. Digby provides individual and family services for children, adolescents, young adults, and families dealing with a range of mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression, ADHD, trauma, and autism spectrum disorder. In addition to therapeutic services, she also conducts neuropsychological assessments and diagnostic evaluations at the 4 CIC member programs. Dr. Digby is well versed in providing Interns at all CIC affiliated schools with comprehensive and individualized clinical training that facilitates the acquisition and refinement of clinical and therapeutic skills in evidence-based assessments and treatment. She also works closely with Interns to identify ways to communicate a variety of assessment and intervention outcomes to families in a way that is user friendly and easily understood.
SHAZIA TAYYAB, M.D.
Dr. Tayyab is a child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist who conducts monthly Individual Psychiatric Supervision for Interns at South Campus, New Connections Academy, and Connections Academy East. She completed her Child and Adolescent Fellowship at Children’s Memorial Hospital where she was the Chief Resident. Dr. Tayyab is Board Certified in General Psychiatry and Board Certified in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Her outpatient practice specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of children and adolescents for a variety of psychiatric concerns. As a result of her background, Dr. Tayyab is well versed in providing Interns at CAE and NCA with comprehensive and individualized clinical training regarding the Autism Spectrum population. Dr. Tayyab works with Interns to identify the salient medical issues that are impacting the clients, provides them with evidenced based literature and feedback regarding the medication regimens, and helps Interns identify how medications may be helping or hindering student progress.
MICHAEL GREENBAUM, M.D.
Dr. Greenbaum is a Board Certified Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist who conducts monthly Individual Psychiatric Supervision with Interns at Connections Day School. He has been practicing in Lake County, IL since 1993 and completed both medical school and his psychiatric residency at the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago. He completed his Child Psychiatry fellowship training at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Greenbaum specializes in working with children and adolescents. In addition to his outpatient psychiatric practice, Dr. Greenbaum is President and Principal Investigator at Capstone Clinical Research in Libertyville, IL, where he conducts Clinical Trials for psychiatric medications. Dr. Greenbaum works with Interns to identify the salient medical issues that are impacting their clients, provides them with evidenced based literature and feedback regarding various medication regimens, and helps Interns identify how medications may be helping or hindering student progress.
CHINA OUGHTON, MFT.
Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist
Ms. Oughton leads monthly Individual Family Therapy Supervision with Interns from all programs as well as leads the monthly Family Seminar Training at each program. She completed her Masters of Science in Marital and Family Therapy at The Family Institute at Northwestern University. She acquired a diverse range of clinical experience through her training in The Family Institute's Bette D. Harris Family and Child Clinic and the Parents In Charge (PIC) Clinic located in Chicago, IL. She is also a Pre-Clinical Fellow member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and a member of EMDRIA. China provides a monthly group supervision to Interns in which she reviews the theories of family therapy and provides Interns with the opportunity to role play family therapy sessions, based families Interns are working with, using the provided theory. During her family therapy supervision with Interns, she is able to help Interns identify the strengths of the family systems in order to promote change and growth.