About Us

Welcome!

We have 7 early childhood educators contributing their thoughts, resources, and stories to this site. Our goal is to bring you continual new and fresh ideas, allow for vertical planning and differentiation, and inspire great teaching!

Here’s how this whole thing got started

As you’ve probably experienced, teachers get to meet and work with a lot of amazing people. Sasha, the author of The Autism Helper, has had the opportunity to collaborate with some incredible general education teachers and thought, “wouldn’t it be great if these teachers got together and shared their ideas on one blog?” The idea was born to have these teachers collaborate on an early childhood education website!

By having 7 teacher authors, readers can expect dynamic subject matter from diverse viewpoints. With a regular stream of new content, there will be something for everyone! Our team is made up of teachers from all over the country, teaching in different grades with different specialties. As you can see from the bios below we have a wide range of experiences and expertise including an administrator, a clinician, the co­teaching perspective, and backgrounds in ESL and special education in both public and private schools.

Our Teachers

Amanda Bustos

Amanda Bustos

Amanda Bustos, (M.S. El.Ed.) is an Instructional Lead (Education Administrator) for New York City schools. With an emphasis on elementary mathematics, Amanda works supporting districts, schools, and teachers in professional learning around a variety of topics and content areas. Previously, Amanda worked as a teacher for 8 years in an elementary Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) classroom setting as well as a K-5 Social Studies classroom. She received her undergraduate degree in History and Theology from Boston College before joining the New York City Teaching Fellows. Amanda holds a Masters Degree in Elementary Education from Lehman College as well as an advanced certification in Education Leadership from the College of Saint Rose.

Jestine Cross

Jestine Cross

Jestine Cross has been an elementary teacher in Chicago Public Schools for 6 years. She has her BA in Elementary Education from National-Louis University. Jestine had the opportunity to teach Kindergarten in a top performing school in Istanbul, Turkey. She has worked with her colleagues to create dynamic and engaging lessons for her students.

Cinthya Quintana

Cinthya Quintana

Cinthya Quintana is a blogger for The Elementary Helper, Inc.  She has seven years of experience in the early childhood grades teaching pre-kindergarten and kindergarten in public, private, and bilingual settings.  Cinthya writes blogs for The Elementary Helper to share strategies, resources, and to have an open conversation about our youngest learners.  She received her undergraduate degree from DePaul University and a Masters in Early Childhood Education from Dominican University.  She is currently an adjunct instructor for the Bilingual Education Program at Dominican University.

Cheyenne Rockey

Cheyenne Rockey

Cheyenne Rockey is a special education teacher and has 3 years of experience working in a public school setting. Cheyenne has worked in a blended preschool program and has collaborated with speech pathologists, occupational therapists, general and special education teachers. Cheyenne is excited to join the The Elementary Helper Blog and writes blogs to share resources and ideas she uses to navigate early childhood special education and a co-teaching environment. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan.

Annie Walsworth

Annie Walsworth

Annie is an elementary educator with experience teaching Kindergarten, First and Third Grades.  Annie has taught in independent, public and charter schools in both urban and suburban areas.  Prior to pursuing a teaching career, Annie spent six years managing and instructing competitive, recreational and adaptive athletic and team-building programs for middle and high school students.  Annie received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in English, and her graduate degree in Elementary Education from Fairfield University.

Rachel Tarnoff

Rachel Tarnoff

Rachel Tarnoff is a pre-k teacher in Chicago. She has a degree in early childhood education from DePaul University. She has an endorsement in ESL and currently teaches in a classroom where the majority of the students are English language learners.

Our Team

Sasha Long

Sasha Long

Founder and President of The Autism Helper

Sasha Long, BCBA, M.A., is the founder and president of The Autism Helper, Inc. She is a board certified behavior analyst and certified special education teacher with nine years of experience in a premier autism program. Sasha manages and writes The Autism Helper Blog, as a way to share easy to use and ready to implement strategies and ideas. Sasha manages The Elementary Helper Blog, bringing together accomplished early childhood educators to share their resources and experiences. Sasha also travels nationwide as a speaker and consultant providing individualized training and feedback to parents, educators, therapists and administrators in the world of autism. She is currently an adjunct professor in the school of Applied Behavior Analysis at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Sasha received her undergraduate degree in Special Education from Miami University and has a Masters Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

Sarah Gast

Sarah Gast

Speech Language Pathologist

Sarah Gast, MA CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist with has nine years of experience working in both the school setting and the home setting with private clients.  Sarah works with children ages 3 – 14 in both the general education and special education setting. She currently writes for The Autism Helper Blog sharing her innovative approaches to helping facilitate communication with her students. At The Elementary Helper she will be sharing ways general education teachers can work on language development in their classrooms. She received her undergraduate degree in Audiology and Speech Sciences from Purdue University and has a Masters in Speech-Language Pathology from The Ohio State University.

Olivia Hallagan

Olivia Hallagan

Product Manager

Olivia Hallagan is an undergraduate student at Marquette University working toward a degree in Speech Pathology. Olivia manages special promotions, assists with product development and facilitates social media implementation for The Elementary Helper.

Katie Paustian

Katie Paustian

Product Manager and Graphic Design

Katie Paustian creates custom clipart and illustrations for The Elementary Helper. She also manages product development, creating individualized and visually-based resources. Katie graduated from Loyola University and has a background in early childhood education.

Gina Crovetti

Gina Crovetti

Director of Social Media

Gina Crovetti helps manage social media blog promotions, advertisements, and product campaigns for The Elementary Helper.  She is currently a second-year student at Adler University working toward her master’s degree in Counseling and Art Therapy.  Gina earned her B.A. in Psychology and Fine Arts from Marquette University, and has worked with children and adults with special needs in the school and hospital settings.

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