Administration Team & Department Heads
Brehm administrators embrace the holistic model used to ensure the success of our students. The Executive Leadership Team, with over 100 years of combined experience in their respective areas, represents a fresh approach to educational leadership. The Team of Directors and various coordinators exemplifies the industry standards as leading experts in their particular fields. This dynamic team leads the charge to fulfill the Brehm mission, empowering each member of the Brehm community to learn and grow!
Head of School
Start Date: 2019
Prior to joining the Brehm Preparatory School Community, Jeremy served as the Assistant Principal at Green Chimneys Childrens’ Services, overseeing the Clearpool campus of a New York State approved school for students with learning difficulties, autism spectrum disorders, and social/emotional and behavioral challenges. Green Chimneys is an internationally recognized program with a unique animal and nature based approach.
Jeremy grew up in the Hudson Valley of New York State and after gaining an undergraduate degree in Literature, History, and Philosophy from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, began his career teaching French at Oakwood Friends School, an independent boarding school in Poughkeepsie, NY. After four years, he completed the Klingenstein Center Private School Leadership Masters program at Columbia University Teachers College and returned to Oakwood Friends to serve as the Dean of Students for an additional four years. Subsequently, Jeremy became Director of Camp Dunnabeck at the Kildonan School, a boarding school in Amenia, NY for students with dyslexia and language-based learning differences. Ultimately, Jeremy took on the position of Associate Head of School, serving the school for seven years. He was trained in the Orton-Gillingham approach, and taught Science, Robotics, and woodworking. He led several service learning and cultural immersion trips and formed partnerships with schools overseas. He has presented at NAIS conferences on supporting students with learning differences and promoting cultural exchange.
In addition to his over sixteen years of experience as an educator, working with students pre-K through 12+, Jeremy is a father to three boys, Sawyer, Emmett, and Zeke, aged 11, 9, and 2, respectively. His wife, Melissa, is expecting their fourth child this November. Melissa is a certified teacher, and has worked as a wildlife teacher for special education students at Green Chimneys for 6 years. Originally from Eastern Ohio, Melissa’s career as an outdoor science educator brought her to New York, and she and Jeremy met one summer while working at an educational dairy farm. Along with their boys, Jeremy and Melissa enjoy hiking, biking, and skiing. They have a dog named Wylie.
Jeremy also holds a Masters from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in Design and Preservation of Historic Architecture. He enjoys woodworking, carpentry, automotive repair, and plays the five string banjo.
Terri Douglas, M.S. Ed
Head of Education and Student Services
Start Date: 1992
“Experience has proven that an academic family-styled boarding school environment is the most effective way for students with learning challenges to break old patterns, foster independence, and achieve their full potential.”
Terri Douglas has been a part of the Brehm family since 1992. Throughout her career at Brehm she has served in many different aspects of the program; from teacher to Associate Director and currently as Head of Education and Student Services. She has worked in the education field for more than 30 years as a teacher and administrator.
A native of Nebraska, Terri received her Bachelor of Science degree from Hastings College in Elementary Education and Special Education. As a member of the Carbondale community, she earned a Master’s Degree in Education and then her Administration Certification from Southern Illinois University. Terri has a teaching certification as a Learning Behavior Specialist Unlimited, which qualifies her to teach K-12 special education students.
Charlene Reed, B.S.Ed
Head of OPTIONS
Start Date: 1982
“The best part of my job is the people I work with – students, staff, families – knowing that our team makes a difference in the lives of our students.”
Charlene (Char) Reed is a former special education teacher with certification in Learning Disabilities Education. She is very proud that she was one of the original teaching staff members of Brehm Preparatory School when it opened in 1982. During her tenure at Brehm, Char has worked in many capacities. She has been an instructor of several courses and has also served as Admissions Director and Supervisor of Educational Services at Brehm. In 1995, she became the Coordinator of OPTIONS Transitions to Independence. In 2012, she was named the Director of OPTIONS. In that capacity, she supervises staff and students; creates teaching materials and staff training materials; presents at conferences at the local, state and national levels; recruits new students; manages OPTIONS admissions and guides the growth of the OPTIONS. Currently, Char serves on the Executive Leadership Team as the Head of OPTIONS.
Char received a Bachelor’s in Special Education from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Jennifer Phillips, MS, CRC
Director of the Foundation
Start Date: 1998
“I love the passion and the commitment of the Brehm team.”
Jennifer Phillips joined the Brehm family in 1998. Prior to her full-time employee status at Brehm she completed an internship at Brehm through Southern Illinois University. She has filled many roles during her time here. Prior to her current role, she served as the Associate Director at OPTIONS Transitions to Independence which is Brehm’s post-secondary program for students with learning disabilities. Instrumental in creating the program she co-directed, she helped post-high school students with disabilities locate internship and paid employment opportunities and provides transition services to empower students to recognize and optimize their lives. In her work as a disability and employment advocate, she also serves on the Center for Independent Living, (CIL) the IL Association of People Supporting Employment First (ILAPSE), and the Brehm School Foundation boards.
Jennifer earned a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Pam Altman, LCSW, MSW
Director of Health and Well-Being
Start Date: 2006
“No two days are ever the same at Brehm.”
Pam Altman started at Brehm in January of 2006 as a Masters of Social Work Intern. In June of 2006, she began working as part of the residential team both scheduling recreation and supervising dorm parents.
Pam received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Saskatchewan, Masters of Social Work from the University of Missouri (Columbia) and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
Scott Donovan, B.S.
OPTIONS – Director of Independent Living
Start Date: 2005
“I enjoy working in a supportive environment with a team of like-minded individuals with a common goal to move our students towards independence.”
Scott Donovan started at OPTIONS in 2005 as Independent Living Supervisor. Scott main goal is to see the OPTIONS students gain the skills necessary to live a more independent life. Scott is now the Director of Independent Living at OPTIONS.
Scott received his Bachelor of Science in Recreation from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Aaron Lee, B.S.
Director of Student Life
Start Date: 1993
“Changing the world one kid at a time is what inspires me.”
Aaron Lee has been a part of Brehm since 1993. Aaron has always been a community advocate in many different aspects; he serves on the Executive Board of the Autism Society of Southern Illinois, he is a member of the American Association for People with Disabilities, the Regional Director of Mid-America Youth Basketball and the founder of Titans Foundation and Skills Academy.
Michael Sims, M.S.Ed., CCC-SLP
Director of Speech and Language
Start Date: 2003
“Daily I am inspired as I see evidence of being a positive influence in the lives of others.”
Michael (Brad) Sims joined the Brehm family in 2003, prior to that he spent 7 years teaching special education, 2 years as an SLP consultant for the Prentke-Romich Company and 14 years in private practice.
Brad earned his Bachelor of Science in education, Master of Science in communication disorders and sciences both from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and his Certification of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
Brian Taylor, M.Ed.
Director of Admissions, Former Parent
Start Date: 2008
“The best part of my job is helping families. When most families call the admissions department, they’re at a low point with their child. Working with families to get their child enrolled at Brehm and seeing the change(s) in the students is very fulfilling.”
Brian Taylor joined the Brehm family in 2008 as a dorm parent and in 2012 moved to the admissions department. Prior to working at Brehm, he was a police officer and a teacher.
Brian earned his Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and his Master of Education in Instructional Design from American Intercontinental University.
Margaret Taylor, B.A., B.S.
Director of Human Resources
Start Date: 2015
“The most inspiring part of my job as Director of Human Resources is the staff’s dedication to helping students achieve their potential.”
Margaret Taylor started at Brehm in 2015 as the Director of Human Resources, prior to that she spent 3 years as a paralegal at a law firm that focused on employment, business and civil rights laws.
Margaret received a Bachelor of Art in administration of justice and a Bachelor’s of Science in paralegal studies both from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Jonathan Cohen, M.S.
Coordinator of Information Systems and Technology
Start Date: 2005
“I like that my career path is not defined. When I first started here, I had no intention of making this my career. Brehm has a way of growing on you, melting into your identity. As a school, we have a unique, or seemingly unique, ability to take ownership of the projects that we undertake. It can be daunting at times, but I really do feel like I have a direct impact on the organization and its success with students.”
Jonathan Cohen started at Brehm in 2005 in the IT department. His role has shifted from intern to coordinator during his time at Brehm. Jonathan was a driving force in implementing Brehm’s one-to-one program and the school’s first wireless network.
Jonathan holds a Master of Science from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
John Hays III
Start Date: 2017
“I enjoy being able to work with the students and provide them and my coworkers with a safe and healthy facility for all to enjoy.”
John Hays III first started on the OPTIONS campus in 2017 as a driver, in 2018 he joined the Brehm facilities department. Prior to 2017 he worked in the trades as a Union Carpenter and Millwright for 40 plus years.
John is a member of the Carpenters & Millwrights local 716.
Charity Finley, B.F.A.
Coordinator of Communications
Start Date: 2014
“I love the people I work with and also the time I get to spend with students and families.”
Charity Finley joined the Brehm family in 2014. Her background in graphic and web design, event planning, and knowledge of the public and private school sectors made her the perfect fit for the Communications department.
Charity received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in multimedia and web design from the Illinois Institute of Art Schaumburg.
Kenya Govan, M.S.Ed.
Director of Student Life, Dorm Parent
Start Date: 2009
“I love working at Brehm because of the students.”
Kenya Govan joined the Brehm family in 2009 as a member of the boarding staff. She has held various positions during her time at Brehm from Dorm Parent to her current role as the Associate Director of Student Life.
Kenya received her Bachelor of Science in criminal justice with a minor in sociology from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She also earned a master's of science in education - Specialization in Adult Education at SIUC.
Guadalupe Montoya M.S., CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP), Coordinator of Summer Program
Start Date: 2015
“Contributing to a future generation of leaders is the most rewarding part of what I do.”
Guadalupe (Lupe) has been a part of the summer program and a Speech and Language Pathologist at Brehm since 2015. Lupe accepted the role of Coordinator of Summer Program in 2018.
Lupe completed her Master’s Degree in Communication Disorders and Sciences at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and her undergrad is in Business Administration.