Outreach Staff

Head Clinical Consultant

Cheryl N. Engel, Ph.D. is a NYS licensed psychologist who specializes in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). She has worked as a School Psychologist in public schools in New York and as a clinical psychologist in various clinic setting. Dr. Engel is currently employed as a Clinical/School Psychologist and is the Head of the Clinical Department at the Center for Spectrum Services, where she provides counseling, social skills and behavioral support services to students and transdisciplinary evaluations. In addition, she provides specialized training to staff and serves on the Center for Spectrum Services leadership team. Dr. Engel is approved by the New York State Education Department as a provider of training in the needs of children with autism and is a member of the American Psychological Association (APA), and the Hudson Valley Psychological Association (HVPA).

Clinical Consultants

Sharon Koczaja, L.C.S.W., Q.C.S.W., B.C.D. is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified School Social Worker, and Board Certified Diplomat in Clinical Social Work.  She holds Qualified Clinical Social Worker and School Social Work Specialist credentials, and is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers. Ms. Koczaja has 27 years of experience doing psychotherapy with individuals, families, and groups in settings, which have included an outpatient mental health clinic, a day treatment program, a residential program, and the Center for Spectrum Services. She has worked at the Center for Spectrum Services for the past 18 years. Ms. Koczaja specializes in providing individual counseling and social skills groups for children on the Autism Spectrum along with family counseling and support services.

Sandra Brownsey, MA CAS is the Program Coordinator at Center for Spectrum Services in Ellenville. Prior to this role, she worked with children, families and teachers throughout the Hudson Valley providing Special Education services, trainings and workshops. In addition to DASA, Sandra presents the NY State Education workshop: Introduction to Autism. Sandra is a passionate advocate for high quality education for students with special learning needs.

Juliet Weissberg, MA is a certified School Psychologist who has been working exclusively with children on the Autism Spectrum for the past five years at the Center for Spectrum Services. Her work involves developing positive behavioral strategies, consulting with teachers and therapists, conducting psychological evaluations, and providing counseling and social skills services to children on the Autism Spectrum. More recently, she has specialized in Relationship Development Intervention® as a means to remediate the core deficits of children on the Autism Spectrum. She is currently a Consultant-in-Training in the RDI® certification program, a program which coaches parents in the techniques they need to help their children become mentally engaged in their worlds and experience relationships in more meaningful ways.

Behavior Intervention Specialist

Tiffany Francese-Sears, MA, LMHC, is a psychologist and Licensed Mental Health Counselor.  Tiffany has vast experience working with individuals with Autism and other developmental needs. She also has many years’ experience as an adjunct professor at Dutchess Community College and Marist College specializing in therapeutic interventions. She is now employed at the Center for Spectrum Services as a Psychologist. With over a decade of experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Tiffany is confident that she can provide students, caregivers and professionals with the appropriate information necessary to help them live a more productive life.  Currently, she is completing her BCBA, as well as, her Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

Behavioral Specialist

Niels Hoyt has been a Certified Trainer of Psychological and Physical Management Training (PMT) for six years, a Certified Trainer for Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) for 14 years and has also been trained in (SCIP). Mr. Hoyt has been the supervising Behavioral Specialist at the Center for Spectrum Services for over 20 years, working primarily with students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Annually, Mr. Hoyt trains all Spectrum Services staff on therapeutic intervention and crisis prevention. In addition, he has conducted numerous workshops for school districts and agencies on behavioral de-escalation and strategies for intervention. He is an involved father and grandfather of 7 children.