Our carefully planned, developmentally appropriate curriculum and individualized treatment plans provide each student the opportunity to feel successful while learning new skills. Our goal is to ensure each student unlocks his or her full potential and develops a positive sense of self with the confidence and knowledge to be an independent decision maker while functioning within a group.
Our mission is to help our students:
Achieve and maintain emotional and physical self-regulation
Build the interpersonal skills that foster lifelong relationships
Value themselves as non-traditional learners
Employing the Guiding Principles of:
- Positive reinforcement/motivation
- Individualized expectations, approaches, and goals
- Qualitative thinking rather than quantitative thinking, i.e. “How are you smart?” rather than, “How smart are you?”
- A commitment to making a positive impact on our students, their families, and our community (local & beyond)
Philosophy & Approach
The Titus Team
Natalie Brandefine, M.S. Ed.
Natalie is the Head of School and founding team leader of The Titus School. For the past 5 years she served as the Program Director at one of New York City’s premiere acute care therapeutic alternative education programs. In this role she was fortunate enough to lead and work alongside a multidisciplinary team of dedicated and highly sought-after special educators, mental health providers, and related service providers. She honed her administrative skills while supporting the program’s rapid expansion. Natalie has a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Autism Spectrum Disorders from Brooklyn College. She began her career in the field of Early Childhood Education and Special Education, while in high school, in Staten Island, NY working at The Village Preschool, a program established by her mother, Lisbeth Brandefine (“Miss Liz”), in 1991. Since that time, she has worked as head teacher, program director, adjunct lecturer, and educational consultant in Albany, NY, Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Manhattan. Founding a school that services children with special needs and their families has been a lifelong dream for Natalie and she is grateful for the opportunity to continue to grow and learn at Titus.
Tomiko Lyons, MA, LMSW, BCBA, LBA-NY
Tomiko Lyons is the Director of Clinical Services and cofounder of The Titus School. Tomi began her career working with her mother, Kim LaGrange, in a day-hab. program for adults with developmental disabilities in Buffalo, NY. Armed with a desire to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities, Tomi received a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh. She worked as school social worker, in the Pittsburgh Public School system for two years before moving to New York to attend Columbia University’s Teacher’s College, where she received a Master’s in Special Education with a focus in Autism and Behavior Disorders. It was here in New York City that Tomi fell in love with the classroom and the relationships she was able to establish with her students and their families. She brings with her 19 years of experience and expertise, ensuring The Titus School’s staff will be highly trained and our students will have access to the highest quality clinical services available.