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FOUNDER & Owner

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Joanne Epstein Wolk

Joanne was born and raised in New York City, has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, child and family studies, and a master’s/post professional degree in education with a focus on special education. She has over 30 years of experience as an educator in the schools as a teacher of students with special needs, Supervisor of Special Education and students mandated for services with IEPs or 504 accommodations. She then became Assistant Principal and then Special Education District Administrator, youth development coordinator, and social-emotional/crisis intervention specialist.  Her last position was Guidance/Counseling Manager for 168 elementary, middle, and high schools in New York City.

Joanne has spent years supporting students who are struggling and at-risk.  She organized trainings for teachers, guidance counselors, related service providers, administrators and parents on providing social-emotional mental health support, teaching appropriate coping mechanisms, and training on recognizing students in distress.

Joanne also has 2 nephews with special needs and a son diagnosed with sensory processing disorder, and A.D.H.D. Since he was a baby she dreamed about opening a place like STAR Academy.  She is extremely passionate about creating a warm, welcoming, and inclusive environment in which ALL children are STARS - where they are safe, supported and can have fun!

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