Undoubtedly, Lionheart’s greatest asset is its staff. The school’s concentration and caliber of teachers and licensed therapy professionals is unmatched by any other Special Education program in the Southeast.
Tamara B. Spafford, M.B.A.
Tamara serves as the Executive Director for Lionheart and is a founding parent. Tamara has a concentration in computer information systems, marketing and small business administration, working in various areas both as an employee, business owner and consultant. For the past 20 years she has attended continuing education seminars in learning disabilities and special education areas. Tamara attends to the managerial aspects of Lionheart, maintaining financial records, hiring professionals, negotiating contracts, overseeing professional development and extending awareness of the Lionheart approach to others in the professional and parent communities. Tamara is passionate about expanding the reach of Lionheart and providing a place for parents to receive the best possible education and support for their child that deserves a respectful, nurturing and quality education. It is her feeling that all children should have a place like Lionheart where they are loved and supported through their journey in life, and where parents’ hard work and support is carried through in school.
Elizabeth Dulin, M.Ed
Elizabeth is the Co-Founder and Head of School. Elizabeth is certified to teach special education, pre-K to 12th grade in the state of Georgia. She received both her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and her master’s in Early Childhood Special Education from Vanderbilt University. Elizabeth has worked for over 30 years with children in various settings; including private school, public school, and private practice with families. Elizabeth, along with Victoria McBride, oversees every aspect of the student’s programming at Lionheart. She works closely with families to carefully identify individual needs and address them accordingly. She has a blend of sound teaching practices and specialized training to work with children. Elizabeth is a training leader and expert DIRFloortime™ provider and supervises the implementation of DIR® principles into the curriculum. She has a remarkable understanding of children, and uses the relationship-based approach to foster the growth and progress of each child. She also works with children in small groups utilizing Floortime™. Elizabeth is a fully certified service dog handler for Lionheart’s two facility dogs, LANGLEY and BURKE.
Victoria A. McBride, M.Ed., CCC-SLP
Victoria is the Co-Founder and Head of Therapeutic Services. Victoria has a Master’s Degree from the University of Georgia and is a certified and licensed Speech and Language Pathologist. She has worked for over 30 years with children in various settings; including private school, public school, and private practice with families. Victoria, along with Elizabeth Dulin oversees every aspect of the child’s programming at Lionheart. She works closely with families to carefully identify individual needs and address them accordingly. Her many years of experience has afforded her the opportunity to work with the students to evaluate and assist them in successful transitioning to adulthood; overseeing the vocational and therapeutic aspects of the Lionheart for Life program. She also works with children on their pragmatic language skills, articulation and oral-motor difficulties, as well as other language based challenges. Victoria mentors and supports the teachers and therapists at Lionheart. She is a DIR® certified specialist, embedding DIR® principles in her intervention strategies while working with the students and supervising curriculum objectives.
Tracy Burke, B.S., M.B.A
Tracy joined Lionheart in the Spring of 2018 as our Director of Operations. She received her degree in Nuclear Medicine Technology from the University of Dayton and earned an M.B.A. from the University of Cincinnati Lindner College of Business. She has been an active parent volunteer since 2013 and a Lionheart WORKS job coach since 2016. Tracy has a varied background in operations, education, nuclear medicine imaging and sales. Her experience in education includes working as an assistant teacher in various school settings. Her operations background with two software start-ups has fine-tuned her ability to plan, organize and execute.
Heather Wagner, BSW, MA
Heather is the Director of Lionheart WORKS. She graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and from Union Presbyterian Seminary (VA) with a Master of Arts in Christian Education with an emphasis in community building and experiential education. Heather is a certified Supported Employment Professional (ACRE trained) and is an active member of TASH and APSE on the national level. She has been with Lionheart since 2009.
Ashley Cheek, M.Ed.
Ashley is the Events Coordinator for Lionheart. She has a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Georgia State University and received her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Child Development from the University of Georgia. Ashley has been with Lionheart since 2008. She was a classroom teacher at Lionheart for 7 years and now organizes and executes Lionheart’s events, seeks new opportunities for funding, and works to expand Lionheart’s reach in the community.
Ali Curtin, B.A.
Ali is Lionheart’s Office Manager. She supports the executive team, as well as the teachers and therapists, helps maintain Lionheart’s facility operations and oversees our various social media platforms. Ali received her degree in English at the University of North Carolina, and has over fifteen years of office management experience. She has received her assistance dog trainer/handler certification through paws4people™ foundation and is the secondary handler for Lionheart’s facility dogs. Ali joined Lionheart in the fall of 2011.