Meet our Director Team:
Donald A. Verleur II
President and CEO [email protected]
Donald Verleur has been the Chief Executive Officer of Olive Crest since 1996, overseeing all aspects of the organization's operations, programs, and services. Mr. Verleur gained practical experience and insight by participating in many areas at Olive Crest over the past 30 years, from working as a childcare worker to his present position as CEO. Mr. Verleur fervently believes that education is a vital component of equipping children for lifetime success. Mr. Verleur received his undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of California Irvine, and he received his Masters of Business Administration from Chapman University.
Robert (Bob) Henning, Ed.D (abd)
Director of Education [email protected]
Bob has been a member of the Olive Crest Academy (OCA) family for over 21 years now. It is since he came to OCA that he has discovered his passion for working with children in the education setting. He began his tenure as a one-to-one aide in a classroom. Over that time, Bob has held many positions and been in many roles. Bob shares; "It has been an amazing journey up to this point and I feel every obstacle or challenge presented to me over the years, has prepared me for this new chapter in my Olive Crest book of life."
Bob's willingness and dedication to preserving the educational needs of the students, adds strength to an already strong foundation of the OCA programs. Bob is looking forward to continuing to lead and grow the Academies in the future. As Bob moves from a direct student/staff approach, to a whole program and future focused approach, this will prove to be one of his new challenges. Continuing the CPS model as well as strengthening and empowering students, parents, and staff members to remember; "Kids Do Well If They Can".
Admissions & Relations Coordinator [email protected]
Daniel Casias has dedicated his time and energy into Olive Crest Academy over the last 6 years, filling various roles, which ultimately led him to become a part of our admissions team.
Prior to working at Olive Crest Academy, Daniel had experience in marketing and corporate sales. He jumped career paths and found a new passion working with at-risk and vulnerable children, which led him to pursuing & finishing a Masters level program in the field of Special Education. Daniel is now able to combine both his prior marketing skill set and current passion for our student population to fulfill his current role as the Admissions & Relations Coordinator.
Laura Paloma, M.A., Ed. Principal - Garden Grove Campus [email protected]
Laura Paloma started working with OCA in 2006 as an Assistant Teacher. She became a substitute teacher, a reading specialist and then earned her Mild/Moderate Teaching Credential and Master's Degree in Special Education at Chapman University. She taught for ten years in OCA's elementary autism focused classrooms. Throughout her time with OCA, Laura Paloma served as a Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) for a year and the Assistant Principal of Educational Services for the Garden Grove campus. She also holds an Administrative Credential from California State University, Fullerton. She is honored to be the new principal at OCA-Garden Grove campus.
Prior to working at OCA, She worked for Tustin Unified School District as a paraprofessional for two years as well as an early childhood teacher in Placentia-Yorba Linda. She currently lives in Orange County, with her husband and two school-aged boys. She enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family.
Kelsey Wan, M.A. Ed. Principal - Orange Campus [email protected]
Kelsey Wan joined Olive Crest Academy in 2013 and is the newest member of our leadership team. Kelsey started as an Assistant Teacher while completing her Education Specialist Credential program. A year later, she completed her internship program in one of our elementary classrooms and earned her Education Specialist Credential. Kelsey taught in middle school as well as elementary classrooms until she became our first Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA). During her two years as the TOSA she launched the annual Science Fair, Writer's Workshop, Computer Science and Robotics Program, Student Leadership as well as organized state assessment administration. Most students associate Ms. Kelsey with her Therapy Dog, Kodi, who accompanies her to work at least once a week.
Prior to working with Olive Crest, Kelsey worked as a long-term substitute in a fully self-contained classroom in Hawaii, earned a Master's in Education from the University of Nottingham, and spent six years working in an Early Childhood Development program for young students on the autism spectrum in San Marcos. She currently lives with her husband in San Clemente, CA, and enjoys traveling, running, and spending time with their huskies.
Elizabeth Caglia Assistant Principal of Educational Services - Orange Campus [email protected]
Elizabeth Caglia realized she had a desire to work in the field of education when she was in high school and was part of her school's Careers in Education Program. During her time as a volunteer, tutoring students with learning disabilities, is when she narrowed her focus to working with students with learning disorders.
She started working at Olive Crest Academy in 2016 teaching middle school and is excited to be entering into a new position taking on the role of Assistant Principal. During her time working at Olive Crest, she has had the privilege to be part of the school's transition into a therapeutic, trauma informed approach through the use of Collaborative Problem Solving, and Positive Behavior Intervention Supports.
In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys watching sports, spending time with family and friends, and going to museums.
Tammy Olsen, M.A. Ed. Assistant Principal of Educational Services - Garden Grove Campus [email protected]
Tammy attended Chapman University and graduated with her Bachelor's in Movement and Exercise Science and Master's in Special Education. Since that time, she has accumulated over 15 years of experience in the NPS (non-public school)/alternative education classroom settings.
Tammy loves OCA for its whole child approach and the new collaborative problem solving model. She is most excited about working with the new administrative team to better support our amazing staff who work with the students every day. It's Tammy's desire that every child who comes through OCA's doors will know they are loved, they are heard and they are valued.
In her free time, Tammy loves spending time with her family (a husband, three adult children and one adorable grandson), reading and watching sports of any kind.
Mayra Garcia, M.S., PPS. Therapeutic Services Supervisor - Garden Grove Campus [email protected]
Mayra Garcia began working part-time at Olive Crest Academy in 2012 as an Assistant Teacher while completing her Master's degree and PPS Credential. After 3 years of working in the classroom as an aide, Mayra joined the therapeutic department in 2016 and began her journey down her career path. This school year, Mayra has joined the administration team at our Garden Grove site as the Therapeutic Services Supervisor, where she continues to provide social-emotional support to her students while guiding the therapeutic team.
Prior to working at OCA, Mayra worked as a Site Coordinator at a Boys and Girls Club as well as a Site Coordinator for an after-school program in the South Whittier School District. She graduated from Cal State Fullerton with her Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a minor in Child and Adolescent Development. In her free time, she enjoys baking, reading, hiking, and going to Dodger games.
Andrea Winters Clinical Program Supervisor - Orange Campus [email protected]
Andrea Winters joined Olive Crest Academy in 2008 as an Assistant Teacher and later received her sub credential allowing her to substitute teach as well. She continued her education at Pepperdine University receiving a Master?s Degree in Clinical Psychology. She joined the therapist department in 2012 as a DIS Counselor and ERMHS Therapist. Additionally, she helped develop OCA?s Reconnect Program for students with chronic truancy and recently began a trainee program within the therapeutic department. Andrea became a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in 2017, and is now our Clinical Program Supervisor. In her free time, Andrea enjoys spending time with her family and friends, shopping, and enjoying life!