David Finkelstein – To serve the needs of a pre-existing community of special needs young adults, David Finkelstein, a licensed social worker, school administrator, and a pioneer in the field of LD Post-secondary Education founded Giant Step with several colleagues in May of 2008. Giant Step is the seventh program that he started and developed in his career of almost 45 years in Special Education and Mental Health. He was also a psychotherapist in private practice and a teacher at Queens College CUNY and had several years experience in child welfare organizations.
Lauri Alpern – Another founder of Giant Step has almost 30 years experience as a teacher, learning specialist, program administrator and director. Lauri started her career at the Eagle Hill School in Huntington, NY and quickly became an administrator. She then worked at the Vocational Independence Program at NYIT where she again became an administrator for over 15 years. Ultimately, she adminstrated the academic program at VIP and directed the summer program, Introduction to Independence for 8 years. She also maintains a private practice as a learning specialist.
Judy Saunders – Another founding member of the team, Judy is our vocational coordinator. Judy served as vocational coordinator at NYIT’s VIP program for 13 years. She is a child-care specialist who had worked for the Suffolk County Child Care Council prior to becoming an administrator at NYIT and now at Giant Step. Judy is responsible for the development and implementation of all student work placements.