Henry County Middle School
166 Holly Smith Drive
McDonough, GA 30253
Shille Ellison began her career in education in 2001. She started as an adult education teacher for a non-profit organization that served adjudicated juveniles in Riverdale, Georgia. She began working for her alma mater district, Clayton County Public Schools, in 2003. Shille was a teacher for students with Autism at Tara Elementary in Clayton County for 3 years before transferring to Harper Elementary to be a Teacher for Students with Autism there. She took on the role of Autism Specialist in 2008 and managed and coordinated the self-contained program for students with Autism at various schools in the district. After 4 years, she joined the Fulton County Schools Behavior Team and specialized in classroom supports for students on the autism spectrum and litigation support for the district in special education legal cases. She returned to Clayton county schools after one year in Fulton County Schools and resumed her position as Autism Specialist. In 2013, she became a Coordinating Supervisor for the South Metro GNETS Program and coordinated and supported the therapeutic services offered in Fulton county schools and Atlanta Public Schools. Finally in 2017, she became the therapeutic services Coordinator for the South Metro GNETS in Henry County Schools where she currently coordinates the center-based GNETS services. Shille has a bachelor’s degree in Special Education Mental Retardation from the University of West Georgia, a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Western Governor’s University in Salt Lake City, Utah and a Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from Columbus State University. She is a part of the Local Interagency Planning Team (LIPT) in both Fulton County and Henry County. She began working with the GTTAPP project in 2014 and enjoys sharing her knowledge of students with autism and mental health supports for school aged children with teachers from around the state.
Samantha Hebenstreit (HAY-bin-strite) is an Autism Specialist at Tapestry Public Charter School in Dekalb County. She began her work with students with autism while attending The University of St. Thomas in 2000. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Family Studies, Samantha spent several years working as a Behavior Therapist before moving to Atlanta. While pursuing her Graduate Degree in Education from the University of Georgia, Samantha began teaching in a Self-Contained Autism Classroom in Cobb County. In 2011, she transitioned to the Special Education Liaison position in Dekalb County School District, where she supported teachers and students with autism, ages preschool through 21, focusing on classroom set-up, data collection, and positive behavior supports. This is Samantha’s second year working at Tapestry Public Charter, where she serves middle and high school students with autism, as well as supporting teachers and other staff members to implement Inclusion best practices.
Dr. Rachel McCann
Dr. Rachel McCann is currently the autism coordinator for Fulton County Schools. She began her career in education as a one-on-one aide for a student with autism before stepping into the role of a teacher. Dr. McCann has worked in many areas of special education from inclusion to self-contained. She also served two years on Henry County Schools’ behavior intervention team providing interventions and supports to teachers in various special education classrooms across the district. She has had the opportunity to provide supports to students with disabilities in the eligibility areas of autism, emotional behavior disorder, traumatic brain injury, and intellectual disabilities. In 2016, Dr. McCann was named Teacher of the Year at Callaway Elementary School in Clayton County Public Schools. Additionally, she was one of six finalists for Clayton County Public Schools’ District Teacher of the Year in 2016. Dr. McCann has had the opportunity to take her work outside of Georgia by volunteering with a school for orphaned students with disabilities in rural Argentina, providing positive behavior and academic supports for classrooms. Dr. McCann received her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction at Valdosta State University and her doctoral degree in special education from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. In June 2018, she became a Certified Autism Specialist with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards.
Megan Sayago is a Learning Support Coordinator for Rockdale County Public Schools. Her teaching career began in 1998 in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, where she started the first classroom specifically for children with Autism. After enjoying “island life” for 4 years, she taught children with Autism in Athens-Clarke County and Clayton County Schools. She was Teacher of the Year at Roberta T. Smith Elementary in 2011 and was a finalist for Clayton County Teacher of the Year. She served as Autism/Behavior Specialist for three years in Clayton County before taking on her current role as Coordinator with Rockdale County. Mrs. Sayago has a Bachelors degree in Multiple Handicaps and Developmental Handicaps from Miami University, a Masters degree in Special Education from The University of Georgia, and an Educational Specialist degree in Educational Leadership from The University of West Georgia. She became a GATTAP facilitator in 2014 and has enjoyed working with the GADOE to provide professional learning for teachers.
J. Brock Tarno
J. Brock Tarno began his career in Clayton County Public Schools in 2007. He received his M.A.T. and Ed.S. in special education from Valdosta State University. Mr. Tarno spent six years working in self-contained adapted curriculum classrooms at the elementary and middle school levels. He transitioned from the classroom to the district level in 2014 as the Autism/Intellectual Disability Specialist in Clayton County. As AU/ID Specialist, he was a Georgia Alternate Assessment district testing assistant, Extended School Year Program Manager and Supervisor for the Adapted Physical Education, Special Olympics, and Music Therapy departments. In the summer of 2016, he transitioned to Behavior Coordinator for Henry County Schools. As the Behavior Coordinator, he managed 6 Behavior Intervention Coaches as well as all district Emotional Behavior Disorder (EBD) self-contained program classes (K-12) and 3 disciplinary hearing facilitators. Presently, he is still working in Henry County Schools as the Coordinator for Autism classroom programming and supports.