Kelly Eppler   I am the Assistant Director at Illuminate and I am a registered and licensed occupational therapist with over 14 years of experience working with children with autism and other special needs. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from MTSU and a Masters of Occupational Therapy degree from TSU. I have received formal training in sensory-based feeding therapy, Hippotherapy, and SCERTS. I also have completed a Level I Mentorship experience through the STAR institute in Denver, CO, the leading center for treatment, research and education for Sensory Processing Disorder.  I have worked in many different settings with many different frames of reference and approaches, but nothing has sparked my passion and purpose as much as the community of families and staff at Illuminate. I want to continue being an advocate for building relationships and developing strong emotional regulation and social-communication skills within the autism and special learner communities. I look forward to being a part of the continued growth both at Illuminate and the Nashville area.

Kelly Eppler

I am the Assistant Director at Illuminate and I am a registered and licensed occupational therapist with over 14 years of experience working with children with autism and other special needs. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from MTSU and a Masters of Occupational Therapy degree from TSU. I have received formal training in sensory-based feeding therapy, Hippotherapy, and SCERTS. I also have completed a Level I Mentorship experience through the STAR institute in Denver, CO, the leading center for treatment, research and education for Sensory Processing Disorder.

I have worked in many different settings with many different frames of reference and approaches, but nothing has sparked my passion and purpose as much as the community of families and staff at Illuminate. I want to continue being an advocate for building relationships and developing strong emotional regulation and social-communication skills within the autism and special learner communities. I look forward to being a part of the continued growth both at Illuminate and the Nashville area.


 
Meghan Farrell   I am originally from Birmingham, AL, but moved to Nashville in 2013 to attend Belmont University. My passion for mental health and love of children brought me to Illuminate three years ago, through an ad on Craigslist of all things!. I began working in the after-care position, and quickly fell in love with Illuminate, the children, and the families. It wasn’t long before I was helping out in the classrooms. My favorite thing about working with children is learning from them. I believes that all children have valuable lessons to teach us, if we just stop and listen. When I’m not working, I’m spending my time writing, painting, doing yoga, and cuddling with my cat, Phoebe.

Meghan Farrell

I am originally from Birmingham, AL, but moved to Nashville in 2013 to attend Belmont University. My passion for mental health and love of children brought me to Illuminate three years ago, through an ad on Craigslist of all things!. I began working in the after-care position, and quickly fell in love with Illuminate, the children, and the families. It wasn’t long before I was helping out in the classrooms. My favorite thing about working with children is learning from them. I believes that all children have valuable lessons to teach us, if we just stop and listen. When I’m not working, I’m spending my time writing, painting, doing yoga, and cuddling with my cat, Phoebe.

 
Scott Solomon, M.A.   “Music melts all the separate parts of our bodies together." I utilize this philosophy in my work as a music therapist; I passionately use music as a therapeutic tool to foster holistic growth and positive change. I am originally from Goodlettsville, and have more than 15 years of experience with special needs children, mostly with younger populations. As a music therapist I seek to provide a safe space for clients to creatively express themselves within a structured framework. I studied human behavior and music at Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, TN and then studied music psychotherapy at New York University. I have been practicing music therapy for 5 years and I’m thrilled to be working in a school setting again. In my free time, I love traveling, spending time with my dog, Memphis, and teaching people how to juggle!

Scott Solomon, M.A.

“Music melts all the separate parts of our bodies together." I utilize this philosophy in my work as a music therapist; I passionately use music as a therapeutic tool to foster holistic growth and positive change. I am originally from Goodlettsville, and have more than 15 years of experience with special needs children, mostly with younger populations. As a music therapist I seek to provide a safe space for clients to creatively express themselves within a structured framework. I studied human behavior and music at Martin Methodist College in Pulaski, TN and then studied music psychotherapy at New York University. I have been practicing music therapy for 5 years and I’m thrilled to be working in a school setting again. In my free time, I love traveling, spending time with my dog, Memphis, and teaching people how to juggle!

 
Hanna Elder   Hailing from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, I made the move to Nashville in 2011 to earn my degree in Theatre Performance from Belmont University. During my time at Belmont, I had the opportunity to combine my love of theatre with my love of service by volunteering with a local non-profit serving adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Over the next five and a half years, I taught music, coached life skills, and created an inclusive touring theatre troupe for individuals with varying abilities. I am now thrilled to begin a new journey working in the classroom at Illuminate Academy. When I am not working, I enjoy writing and performing original music in Nashville and beyond alongside my husband, Jameson.

Hanna Elder

Hailing from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, I made the move to Nashville in 2011 to earn my degree in Theatre Performance from Belmont University. During my time at Belmont, I had the opportunity to combine my love of theatre with my love of service by volunteering with a local non-profit serving adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Over the next five and a half years, I taught music, coached life skills, and created an inclusive touring theatre troupe for individuals with varying abilities. I am now thrilled to begin a new journey working in the classroom at Illuminate Academy. When I am not working, I enjoy writing and performing original music in Nashville and beyond alongside my husband, Jameson.

 
Sherri Greer   I graduated from Union University in 1993 and began teaching in a classroom that fall. My deep interest in special education began about four years later when my oldest son turned one, and his developmental delays were confirmed. As he grew and eventually was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, I became an expert in sensory processing disorder, and started teaching educators and parents effective strategies to work with children on and off the spectrum. Through the years, I have led support groups for parents, headed up Vacation Bible School for children with special needs, created a special needs ministry at my church, and taught in the public, private, and home school arenas. Additionally, I have been an advocate for children through the foster system. I am the mother of three fabulous children; two sons, ages 21 and 17, and a seven year-old daughter who blessed our family when she arrived as a fourteen month-old surprise in 2012.

Sherri Greer

I graduated from Union University in 1993 and began teaching in a classroom that fall. My deep interest in special education began about four years later when my oldest son turned one, and his developmental delays were confirmed. As he grew and eventually was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, I became an expert in sensory processing disorder, and started teaching educators and parents effective strategies to work with children on and off the spectrum. Through the years, I have led support groups for parents, headed up Vacation Bible School for children with special needs, created a special needs ministry at my church, and taught in the public, private, and home school arenas. Additionally, I have been an advocate for children through the foster system. I am the mother of three fabulous children; two sons, ages 21 and 17, and a seven year-old daughter who blessed our family when she arrived as a fourteen month-old surprise in 2012.

Jess Haedge   I have played many roles in the Autism community in the past 17 years. While earning my degree in Psychology, I started my career training in early intervention and ABA with the Lovaas Institute. I continued to work with the midwest branch of Lovass as a Senior Behavioral Therapist for nearly 10 years following college. After moving to Tennessee, I began working in an early intervention clinic first as a Behavior Therapist, and then as the Clinical Director. Throughout my time in the autism community, I have found the most joy here at Illuminate Academy. I enjoy working both in the classroom and as a member of the LEAD Team creating data systems and programs. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, camping, cooking, and creating resources for the special needs program at my church.

Jess Haedge

I have played many roles in the Autism community in the past 17 years. While earning my degree in Psychology, I started my career training in early intervention and ABA with the Lovaas Institute. I continued to work with the midwest branch of Lovass as a Senior Behavioral Therapist for nearly 10 years following college. After moving to Tennessee, I began working in an early intervention clinic first as a Behavior Therapist, and then as the Clinical Director. Throughout my time in the autism community, I have found the most joy here at Illuminate Academy. I enjoy working both in the classroom and as a member of the LEAD Team creating data systems and programs. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, camping, cooking, and creating resources for the special needs program at my church.

 
 
Erica Gittens   I was born and raised in Naperville, Illinois, a suburb just outside of Chicago. I completed my Bachelors degree from Northern Illinois University in Rehabilitation Services. While in school, I found my passion for working with people with special needs. I worked for a special recreation association doing day out programs and Special Olympics. Before coming to Illuminate, I had previously worked in preschool settings with toddlers. I am currently working on completing a second degree in special education. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family, painting, and binge watching Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or Game of Thrones.

Erica Gittens

I was born and raised in Naperville, Illinois, a suburb just outside of Chicago. I completed my Bachelors degree from Northern Illinois University in Rehabilitation Services. While in school, I found my passion for working with people with special needs. I worked for a special recreation association doing day out programs and Special Olympics. Before coming to Illuminate, I had previously worked in preschool settings with toddlers. I am currently working on completing a second degree in special education. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family, painting, and binge watching Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or Game of Thrones.

 
Colby Miller   I discovered my enthusiasm for children with enhanced learning needs over ten years ago when I worked both as a wilderness and residential instructor at The Stone Mountain School. I was intensively trained in crisis intervention at Stone Mountain, a therapeutic boarding school designed to address a wide range of learning and behavioral challenges of boys ages 11-17. After earning my degree in nursing at South College and working in both ICU and ER areas, I felt called to return to my passion for working with exceptional children. Prior to finding a place at Illuminate Academy, I worked as a private caregiver for a child with a range of developmental disadvantages. During that time as a caregiver, I traveled to Villa Santa Maria, a residential community for children with Reactive Attachment Disorder in Cedar Crest, New Mexico. There I completed training in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy. I am passionately devoted to the academic and social successes of each unique learner using an evidence-based, holistic approach.

Colby Miller

I discovered my enthusiasm for children with enhanced learning needs over ten years ago when I worked both as a wilderness and residential instructor at The Stone Mountain School. I was intensively trained in crisis intervention at Stone Mountain, a therapeutic boarding school designed to address a wide range of learning and behavioral challenges of boys ages 11-17. After earning my degree in nursing at South College and working in both ICU and ER areas, I felt called to return to my passion for working with exceptional children. Prior to finding a place at Illuminate Academy, I worked as a private caregiver for a child with a range of developmental disadvantages. During that time as a caregiver, I traveled to Villa Santa Maria, a residential community for children with Reactive Attachment Disorder in Cedar Crest, New Mexico. There I completed training in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy. I am passionately devoted to the academic and social successes of each unique learner using an evidence-based, holistic approach.


 
Meagan Florentino   I was born and raised in South Boston, MA where I stayed until I moved to Oxford, MS to attend college at Ole Miss. I graduated with a degree in Elementary and Special Education. During my time in Oxford, I was a lead teacher for a Mother's Morning Out program and assisted in developing an after school program for a local day care. I spent my senior year teaching general education in a Kindergarten classroom. I had always planned on making a move to Nashville after spending time here each year with friends and family; I officially made the move in July of 2018.  I've wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember, but my passion for working with children with special needs started when I was 14 when I began to teach dance lessons at an inclusive dance studio. I am now excited to have found a place at Illuminate in the Little Lights classroom. I look forward to seeing the growth in these little learners and sharing progress with their families

Meagan Florentino

I was born and raised in South Boston, MA where I stayed until I moved to Oxford, MS to attend college at Ole Miss. I graduated with a degree in Elementary and Special Education. During my time in Oxford, I was a lead teacher for a Mother's Morning Out program and assisted in developing an after school program for a local day care. I spent my senior year teaching general education in a Kindergarten classroom. I had always planned on making a move to Nashville after spending time here each year with friends and family; I officially made the move in July of 2018.

I've wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember, but my passion for working with children with special needs started when I was 14 when I began to teach dance lessons at an inclusive dance studio. I am now excited to have found a place at Illuminate in the Little Lights classroom. I look forward to seeing the growth in these little learners and sharing progress with their families


Crockett Goode   You can call me Crockett, Crock, or Rocket. Born and raised in a small town in West Tennessee, I moved to the big city of Nashville in 2005. I have degrees in Ministry and Graphic Design from Lipscomb University, but found a home in the field of autism services over the past 8 years and have never looked back. I joined the staff at Illuminate Academy in 2014, during the first full academic year. My current role is Operations Coordinator, but I also spend time during the day with the children and families at Illuminate. Hopefully I can answer any questions you may have about Illuminate Academy!

Crockett Goode

You can call me Crockett, Crock, or Rocket. Born and raised in a small town in West Tennessee, I moved to the big city of Nashville in 2005. I have degrees in Ministry and Graphic Design from Lipscomb University, but found a home in the field of autism services over the past 8 years and have never looked back. I joined the staff at Illuminate Academy in 2014, during the first full academic year. My current role is Operations Coordinator, but I also spend time during the day with the children and families at Illuminate. Hopefully I can answer any questions you may have about Illuminate Academy!

 
 
 
Jess Long   I am a Nashville Native and I graduated from Trevecca University with a degree in Communications. After working in the music business industry for a few years, I was given an opportunity to explore a different direction. I am somewhat new to the autism world, but I have worked with kids for quite a few years. I joined the Illuminate staff in the spring of 2017 and am excited to continue into this year. I will be sharing my strengths in social media coordination, event organization, and family/client/worker relations.

Jess Long

I am a Nashville Native and I graduated from Trevecca University with a degree in Communications. After working in the music business industry for a few years, I was given an opportunity to explore a different direction. I am somewhat new to the autism world, but I have worked with kids for quite a few years. I joined the Illuminate staff in the spring of 2017 and am excited to continue into this year. I will be sharing my strengths in social media coordination, event organization, and family/client/worker relations.

 
Marie Holzer   I am originally from Chicago, but moved to Nashville to attend Belmont University. I graduated from Belmont with a degree in Exercise Science, with aspirations of becoming an occupational therapist. Most recently, I have been teaching English to children in Spain, in a town right outside of Barcelona. Through this experience, I became interested in social, economic, and environmental sustainability. As I continue my education, I would like to find creative solutions to employ marginalized people, such as people with disabilities, but doing so in an ecological and sustainable way.

Marie Holzer

I am originally from Chicago, but moved to Nashville to attend Belmont University. I graduated from Belmont with a degree in Exercise Science, with aspirations of becoming an occupational therapist. Most recently, I have been teaching English to children in Spain, in a town right outside of Barcelona. Through this experience, I became interested in social, economic, and environmental sustainability. As I continue my education, I would like to find creative solutions to employ marginalized people, such as people with disabilities, but doing so in an ecological and sustainable way.