Director of Therapeutic Schools and Residential Treatment
BA Cal Poly Pomona
Elin served as the Executive Director of North Hills Prep School for 12 years before it joined The Help Group in 2011. She has over 30 years of experience working with children in various levels of settings ranging from non-public schools, foster family care, and residential treatment centers. Her energy and commitment to NHP’s Mission ensures that students and staff receive the best tools possible for great education to happen. Elin oversees Parkhill School and North Hills Prep School and the Project Six Residential facility on the Van Nuys campus.
Frank Shapiro, MA LMFT
Head of School
BA University of California, Santa Cruz
MA Antioch University, Los Angeles
Frank is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has been with North Hills Prep since 2001. He is the author of six published books, most recently How To BE GREAT and A Call To GREATNESS. Previous titles include Parenting Outside The Box and The Oppositional Teenager. Frank’s philosophy toward school and schooling is heavily influenced by William Glasser, founder of Reality Therapy, Choice Theory, and The Quality School, who emphasizes clear thinkiing, smart actions, and personal responsibility. Frank has worked with Parkhill School since 2012 and took over as Head of School in 2015.
BA Edinboro University of Pennsylvania
MA California State University, Northridge
Gayle has been with The Help Group over 26 years, starting by teaching nearly every subject in the high school program for the first 10 before becoming assistant principal in 1996 and then principal in 2001. She received her Credential in Art Education from Edinboro State University of Pennsylvania, and then headed west and received both her credential and graduate degree in Special Education from Cal State Northridge while at THG.
IEP Coordinator and School Secretary
Veronica attended College of the Canyons. While in college she worked on school sites in after school programs, and following college continued working in a pre-school setting. She has been with Parkhill School for 4 years and The Help Group since 2012.
Laurie Owens, MA, LMFT
BS UC Santa Barbara
MA California State University, Northridge
Laurie attended UC Santa Barbara where she received a B.S. in Psychology and later completed her M.S. in Counseling Psychology at CSUN. Laurie is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has counseled children, adolescents and families in a variety of settings. She has over 15 years of experience working with special education students. Laurie emphasizes a strengths based approach when working with our students. Her experience includes working with youth facing a variety of issues such as depression, anxiety, identity issues, trauma, substance abuse, self-injurious behaviors, eating disorders and transitioning to adulthood. As Clinical Director, Laurie supervises the clinicians and Behavioral Interventionists.
Lauren Dimaggio, MA, LMFT
Ms. DiMaggio has worked with children and teenagers with emotional disturbances for over 8 years. She has worked in several residential facilities and is knowledgeable about the foster care and juvenile justice systems. Lauren looks at each student as an individual with unique characteristics and needs therefore tailoring their therapy to each student. Lauren is currently passionate about finding resources for students as they start transitioning out of high school and into college or jobs.
Susan Paul-Klein, MA, LMFT
Susan has been licensed and practicing psychotherapy since 1996. Susan has worked as a school based therapist at The Help Group’s Parkhill School since 2005, providing students with individual and group counseling. She has been running a weekly drug education group since 2013.
Lead Behavior Interventionist, Behavioral Intervention Case Manager (BICM)
B.A. Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles
Ms. Jurado has been working for the past fourteen years as a Behavioral Interventionist. She has worked with many at-risk youth since the age of twenty-four. She also has her substitute credential and has experience working within the classroom as an elementary/middle school teacher.
B.A. California State University Monterey
Ari graduated from Cal State Monterey with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Ari has always been passionate and committed to working with children and youth. She has worked with children as an assistant occupational therapist as well as a therapeutic behavior specialist. Ari has been with Parkhill as a Behavior Interventionist for one year.
Director of Education
BA Clark University
Mike has been a part of the North Hills Prep community for 17 years. As a former teacher and dean, he has helped North Hills Prep develop its academic programs and curriculum into a WASC accredited high school with a supportive educational environment for a diverse student population. His current role as the Director of Education for both North Hills Prep and Parkhill School is to provide the teaching staff with the support and resources for the continued development of creative educational opportunities for its students.
BA California State University, Northridge
Jan has been teaching at Parkhill School for the past 30 years. In addition to classroom teaching, Jan has developed standards-based curriculum, coordinated CST and CAHSEE testing, and mentored intern instructors. Jan’s passion is teaching reading to students who are struggling and finding creative ways to reach all students.
BA California State University Northridge
Grace Lee earned her Bachelor’s degree in Child Development and a minor in Psychology in 2008. She returned back to California State University Northridge to get her Preliminary Mild-Moderate Disabilities Credential and began working at The Help Group as a teacher assistant for two years. She has been teaching students from elementary through high school in different subject areas and will be going into her 4th year of teaching.
BFA California Institute for the Arts
After receiving his BFA in 2004, Ryan got into substitute teaching as a way to earn money. After becoming a long term substitute and teacher’s assistant in a special education classroom, Ryan fell in love with working with students with special needs. He went back to school to receive a multi subject teaching credential and has with The Help Group since 2006. Today he teaches English and Music at Parkhill school and lives in Santa Clarita with his wife and son.
BA University of Maryland, Baltimore
Steven Rubain has been teaching at Parkhill School for the past 9 years. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and received his teaching credential from CSUN. He has worked for the past 20 years in a variety of capacities with individuals having special needs; residential placements, adolescent and adult group homes, public schools and nonpublic schools. Steven finds the challenge of working in this field rewarding as he sees the long term growth and successes of the individuals with whom he has worked.
BA California State University, Long Beach
Casey has worked with the youth for over 10 years. He has worked for The Help Group for two years. He has experience with children with Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, PANDAS, Down’s Syndrome, PDD-NOS, speech delays, behavioral issues and other related disorders. He has a degree in Business Management from Cal State Long Beach, where he also played colligate basketball. He has coached at local parks and worked youth camps for organizations such as the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers. He currently holds a personal training certification through American Aerobic Association International. Casey aspires to reach out to as many children as possible and provide them with the knowledge to live a healthy lifestyle.
BA California State University, Los Angeles
Tony Varela has worked in an educational setting for the last 15 years. He started at The Help Group in 2011 when North Hills Prep joined THG family. Tony assists teachers in the classroom and specializes in all levels of Spanish with an emphasis on real world applications including the rich Visual Arts of Latin America. Tony joined the Parkhill Team in 2015.
BA UC Santa Barbara and California State University, Northridge
After completing his undergraduate education at U.C. Santa Barbara and Cal State Northridge, Justin (Coach) began his career in the field of special education. To date, he is completing his 8th year in this field. During his tenure, he has held a variety of positions at The Help Group’s Parkhill School. Currently he holds a position as a Transitional Teaching Assistant where he instructs classes including Physics, Biology, and Physical Education under the direct supervision of our credentialed teachers. In addition, he coaches team athletics, performs long term substitute teaching assignments as needed; and assists in coordinating and administering district and state testing such as the CELDT, Woodcock Johnson, and Fitness-gram.
Ingrid Garcia has worked for the school going on 19 years. Her creative interests are making and selling jewelry. Besides working as an aide in the classroom, she enjoys working with the students in the student store every day. Ingrid’s passion is helping students become responsible and productive in the school setting.
Certified Bus Driver
Michelle has worked at Parkhill School for 18 years. Along with being a certified bus driver, Michelle enjoys working with the students one to one, in and outside the classroom.