The teachers and staff who work with children with autism at The New England Center for Children come from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. Many of our teachers come from fields other than special education, and find the training and support they need to succeed at NECC. This month we feature Junior Landestoy, a Level 2 teacher. Junior is pictured in the Career Development Center with NECC student, Brian. As part of Brian’s vocational training, they are working on sorting, labeling, and prepping mail to be distributed to the hundreds of staff mailboxes in the building. We asked Junior about his background and what makes his special education teaching job special.
Where did you go to school?
I graduated from Union College and majored in biology and history. I am currently enrolled in the on-site Western New England University ABA graduate program under the supervision of Dr. Chata Dickson. I plan to obtain my BCBA licensure upon graduation.
What is the best part of your job?
Being able to make a significant difference in my students’ lives and working with my peers. I try to ensure that teachers feel comfortable, safe, and excited to work with our students.
Tell us about your experience outside of NECC.
I am a board member at the Kerry Jon Walker Fund. This nonprofit helps shape future humanitarian leaders by funding financially challenged teens from Boston Public Schools to attend a service trip to Rwanda, Africa. I chaperoned one of the mission trips last summer and it was amazing. I was a mentor, an educator, and a friend to three students. I was honored to be a chaperone because I knew I was helping the students learn more about themselves and the struggles that others face daily.
I worked for two years as a counselor at Double H Ranch, a camp for children with life threatening illnesses, in Lake Luzerne, New York. It was important to help create an environment where children can be children and not a patient.
Prior to that, I was an Immigration Fellow at the Upstate NY Global Collective. I conducted analytic research on the working conditions of seasonal migrant workers and the hardships these individuals faced while working in different sectors of the dairy industry in Upstate New York.
The New England Center for Children is currently hiring teachers and overnight specialists. To become a teacher or learn about other available opportunities, please go to our Work page.