Dr. Patricia Arter

Dr. Arter is an Associate Professor in the Department of Education at Marywood. Dr. Arter received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Towson State University. At Johns Hopkins University, she earned her Master of Science Degree in Special Education-Inclusion and her Doctorate (Ed.D) in Special Education Administration and Leadership in Urban Setting Schools. Dr. Arter came to Marywood from Maryland, where she had taught in inclusive classrooms since 1993. She also served as an adjunct faculty member at Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Arter has served as the project director for the SOAR program since 2008. She has conducted extensive research in her field. Dr. Arter's interests include Universal Design for Learning and creating access to learning for all students. She has made numerous presentations at local, national, and international conferences, and her work has been published in The Middle School Journal, The Pennsylvania Teacher Educator, and Teaching Exceptional Children.


Kristin Samsell

Kristin Samsell attended The Pennsylvania State University where she received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education.  She received her Master of Science Degree in Special Education from Marywood University, where she also continued on for her Special Education Supervisor Certificate. 

Mrs. Samsell was a special education teacher for 11 years and then was the Director of Special Education at the Riverside School District for 6 years.  She is currently employed as a Special Education Supervisor at the Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit 19.  She supervises the Intermediate Units Autism, Life Skill, and Transition Programs.

Mrs. Samsell also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Keystone College and is a member of the Council for Exceptional Children. 

Ellen T. Dente

Ellen T. Dente is a graduate of Marywood with a B.A. in Special Education and Elementary Education. She received her Masters in Reading Education from the University of Scranton. She also has a Certification in Applied Behavioral Analysis from Penn State University and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Mrs. Dente has been a teacher for the past 18 years. In her current position with the Northeastern Intermediate Unit, Mrs. Dente is an Educational Consultant with initiatives in Autism, Competent Learner Model, Verbal Behavior and Child Safety Care. She also provides on-site coaching for programs such as the Competent Learner Model, Verbal Behavior, and the SOAR Program.

She serves as an adjunct faculty member at Marywood and is a member of the Council of Exceptional Children, the National Association of Special Education Teachers, and the Pennsylvania Association of Applied Behavior Analysts. She was recently nominated to the Who's Who among Executives and Professionals. 

Francis J. DeMatteoDr. Francis J. DeMatteo

Francis DeMatteo is an Associate Professor and Director of the School Psychology Program at Marywood University. He is a nationally certified school psychologist and has worked as a practitioner and Director of Student Services in public school settings. Dr. DeMatteo has served as Co-Director of SOAR since 2011. His research interests include: family-school relations, providing feedback results to parents, instructional design and measurement, and post-school transition.



Jack Kirby

Prior to joining the SOAR program, Jack worked at Carbondale Area High School, helping special education students transition from school to employment and independent living. He considers his decision to serve as the SOAR program teacher one of the best best choices he's ever made. Witnessing the positive outcomes for all involved has been very gratifying for Jack. He has watched students go from being dependent and highly supervised to being independent and selfreliant.




Lisa Walters  

Lisa Walters obtained the "Bureau of Special Education Credential of Competency for Special Education paraeducators." She has 5 years of experience as a psycho-educational associate at Friendship House Children's Center, Scranton, Pa. She also has 12 years of experience as a paraeducator for N.E.I.U. on a classroom setting with students with Autism at Waverly Elementary,Clarks Summit Elementary, and the S. O. A. R. Program at Marywood. 






Trina Williams

As the GA for SED, Trina works part- time as the coordinator for the SOAR program. Her duties also include overseeing Undergraduate work- study students who act as job coaches. She feels honored to be able to have the opportunity to work with the SOAR program and enjoys working with the students.

She realizes the impact that the SOAR program has had not only on its students, but on the Marywood community as a whole. The students grow every day, gaining new knowledge and skills while the Marywood community gains insight into a new population and gets to share in their growing experience.

The work supervisors admire the SOAR students for their abilities, organizational skills, and responsible dedication to any given task.

Kelsey Uppling

Kelsey, a GA for SED, works part-time as the coordinator for the SOAR program. Her duties also include overseeing Undergraduate work-study students who act as job coaches. Kelsey is both excited and humbled to be working with such a wonderful program at Marywood.

Kelsey feels that the opportunity to be a part of SOAR, a program that affords students numerous opportunities to grow, has been eye- opening in seeing the Marywood community embrace this population of students.