Deb Natale – President – Board of Directors & Co- Founder – Debra holds 30 years of business experience and charitable, non – profit organization background.
- Co-owner and operator of 3 successful businesses with her husband
- Payroll Manager for a $75M staffing company
- Billing Manager for a $425m staffing company
- Assistant to the Director of IT
- Executive Assistant in a Healthcare Management Company
- Office Manager at Oglethorpe Inc
- President of a Charitable Organization for 2 consecutive terms (4 years)
- Vice President, Treasurer, Trustee and Recording Secretary (total 10 years)
- Vice President, Homeowners Association
Debra became increasingly curious about the makings of Special Needs schools when her youngest granddaughter was diagnosed with a developmental delay. Hailey was 2 when she was placed in Early Intervention and has since been battling with her speech impairment, fine and gross motor skills, and the ability to keep up with children her own age. She began public school in a special needs classroom; but, once she reached Kindergarten, problems arose.
The search for a more suitable program for Hailey started when the public school system assigned the child to a traditional public school that was located over 10 miles away from her home. Child’s parents chose to send their special needs daughter to a very small, private, non-profit school with wonderful possibilities. A talented teacher was able to provide her with a way to communicate by using sign language. Ms. Natale and her family were overjoyed.
Unfortunately, the school had a hard time keeping up with the increasing financial burden; having one big donor was not enough to keep the school open. Once the school closed its doors, parents and teachers got together to brainstorm possibilities of opening their own educational establishment for their special needs children. New L.E.A.P.S. Academy was born. This dream has quickly turned into a positive life event for Ms. Natale and the families of the children who attend the school today. Debra is proud to be President and a co-founder of New L.E.A.P.S. Academy.
Savino (Sam) Natale
Savino (Sam) Natale – Vice President – Sam has worked and continues to work very hard at keeping our school in good condition. He’s painted the entire school, added 2 classrooms and continues to make repairs as needed. His heart of gold when it comes to the children is amazing. He also helps raise money working his Ad Book campaign each year and meets 100’s of people throughout the year and tells about our great school.
Jim Stine – Treasurer – Board of Directors – Jim sits on our BOD as our Treasurer and brings not only his financial wizardry but also a passion to get the school to the next level. Jim volunteers for fundraising, donates to the school and helps out wherever he can.
Jasmine Ferrara – Co-Founder- 2nd Vice President – Co-founder of New L.E.A.P.S. Academy, wife and mother of 2. Our youngest daughter Hailey was diagnosed with a Chiari Malformation type 1 at 3. Secondary to her diagnosis she has developmental and speech delays. She utilizes American Sign Language as her primary form of communication.
We have struggled with meeting her educational and developmental needs for years in both the public and private school settings. We needed a better option for her to achieve her individual goals for growth and development. New L.E.A.P.S. Academy was created with staff with specialized credentials to match the needs of our exceptional children. I see New L.E.A.P.S. Academy as a “family” that enriches every day by working hard, teaching and encouraging our children to reach their full potential.
Annette L Becklund
Annette L Becklund, MSW, LCSW, NBCCH – Member Director – Annette L Becklund is a clinical social worker licensed in both NJ and Fl specializing in Autism, Asperger’s & Unique Ways of Being. She currently has a private practice in Florida and New Jersey. Annette consults and provides training for hospitals and community organizations regarding Autism and co-occurring conditions.
James Carner – Member Director – James Carner is highly accomplished account executive with over 20 years of successful new business development, competitive market expansion, and sales experience. He leverages finely-honed interpersonal and time management skills to successfully manage and increase profitability, while achieving personal and corporate goals and objectives.
Dale L. Akins, MBA – Dale’s passions include education and children. “I am passionate about the education of children and volunteering to see my passions realized.” Her passions were not fully realized until her daughter was diagnosed with learning challenges that required individualized learning plans and specialized teachers. She volunteered at the schools her daughter attended. Motivated by the desire to set a good example, Dale enrolled at St. Leo University where she attained her MBA. Through the SLU MBA program, Dale toured Europe and attended the 2007 Global Business Conference. The experience inspired her to write an article that was published by Franklin Publishing Company. She proceeded to attain her B.S. in Accounting from the University of Tampa. During this time her daughter achieved her B.S. in Elementary Education and currently uses her knowledge to help young children with challenges similar to her own. Dale volunteered as a teaching assistant until she became the full time care giver for her two grandchildren. “Humanity has no greater treasure than its children.”
Sacha Carner, MBA – Secretary – Sacha Carner brings a diverse range of accounting principles, tax, financial, and business consulting experience and education. Her specialties include working closely and communicating with clients as well as consulting and auditing companies on accounting systems and compliance.
Charles Pini – Member Director – Charlie has worked and helped out with New Leaps Academy since 2013 even when he lived in Boston; he now resides in Wesley Chapel. Charlie has dressed as Santa Claus for our kids at Christmas time to spread the joy to them.
Charlie worked in marketing and advertising most of his life and then drove a limo for Boston Coach before he retired. As the President of Order of Sons of Italy for two terms he served in the community and in his lodge raising money to give scholarships to children going off to college and other charitable organizations. He has a big heart, always willing to help, he is a good addition to our already fabulous board.