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Alumni Profiles

Beth Custer

  • Ph.D., Special Education
    17

Beth Custer earned a dual Bachelor of Science in elementary education and special education in 2004 from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Upon completion, she immediately began working as a full-time emotional support teacher at a residential treatment facility for students who require more intensive supports due to significant mental health needs.  In 2009, she completed her Master’s degree in special education from Alvernia University and also obtained a position as a district-level, special education behavior support coach for Exeter Township School District in Reading, PA.  While at Exeter, she worked with teachers, administrators, families and other staff to support students who exhibited challenging behaviors during the school day.

After eight years as a teacher and consultant, she decided it was time to continue her education.  She wanted to pursue her passion of supporting students with emotional and behavioral needs and wanted to find a program that would promote continuous growth.  In 2012, she joined Lehigh University and is currently enrolled in the doctoral program in special education. Her research interests remain in the area of secondary age students with emotional and behavioral difficulties and she plans for a 2017 graduation.

Gina Laura Gullo (Ciani)

  • M.Ed., Special Education
    14

Gina Laura Gullo (Ciani), has been interested in education and the sciences since her youth in Northern New Jersey when she started babysitting, tutoring, and teaching at a preschool during summers.  In 2005 she received her B.A. in Biopsychology with a minor in Deaf Education from the College of New Jersey.  After graduation she complete some Master's level work at Rutger's University- New Brunswick in Behavioral Neuroscience and then moved onto work in the Pharmaceutical Industry.  After re-igniting her passion for education by heading up the "Bring Your Child to Work Day" educational program at the company, she returned to school to pursue her Master's degree in Special Education with certifications in special and elementary education at Lehigh University that she expects to earn in May 2014.  

While at Lehigh, Gina became involved in the community and culture of the school through participation in leadership programs such as the Graduate Student Senate, where she held the office of Communications Officer in the 2012-2013 academic year, and service programs such as V-Day Lehigh where she helped spread knowledge and raise funds for individuals and families surviving domestic abuse locally and around the world.  She also has been involved in research opportunities through the university working with the Center for Adolescence Research in Schools (CARS) program and RAMP-UP reading intervention programs.  Meanwhile, she works as a research assistant in Educational Leadership and is awaiting publication of a co-authored book chapter later this year.  Gina will be beginning the Educational Leadership doctoral program in Summer 2014 and hopes to work in a local school while pursuing her degree. 

Matthew J. Link

  • Ed.D. Educational Leadership
    17
  • Superintendent Letter of Eligibility
    13
  • Supervisor of Special Education
    03
  • M.Ed., Special Education
    01

Matthew Link, a native of Bethlehem, PA and currently residing in Schnecksville, PA is a proud member of the LU College of Education community.  Matthew earned his B.A. in Politics, with a Secondary Social Studies certification from DeSales University in 1997.  He is also a graduate of the LU College of Education with a Master’s Degree in Special Education, earned Supervisor of Special Education certificate, and most recently, the Superintendent Letter of Eligibility.  Matthew has held several educational leadership positions, including the High School Program Coordinator at Centennial School of Lehigh University and Assistant Director of Special Education at Northampton Area School District.  Matthew also has held the positions of Director of Special Education and Assistant to the Superintendent for Special Education and Student Services at Kutztown Area School District (KASD).   

Matthew continues to work to improve student achievement in all areas and teacher effectiveness. Currently, Matthew is Assistant Superintendent, with oversight of Student Services, Curriculum and Instruction, and Human Resources at KASD.  Most recently, he has overseen KASD’s All Hazards Planning process, as well as leading the District through the Comprehensive Planning process.  Matthew is continuing his education at the College of Education as he pursues his Educational Doctorate degree in the area of Educational Leadership. 

Andrew Makhoul

Andrew Makhoul
  • M.Ed., Special Education
    14

Andrew Makhoul, a native of Allentown, PA, learned the value of a high quality education at an early age from his parents, who sacrificed much for him and his brothers.  In 2003, he earned his B.A. in Telecommunications from Penn State University, where he gained vast experience in the field of television production.  During his senior year and upon graduation, he worked for Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics and ESPN Productions before returning to the Lehigh Valley.  His journey towards a career in education began when he worked for a time as a certified nurse aide at an acute care hospital in Bethlehem, PA.  There, Andrew realized his passion for teaching while working with patients who had to relearn how to perform activities of daily living as they recovered from a variety of serious ailments.  This led him to Lehigh University.

While at Lehigh, he worked in field-based programs of the College of Education under the leadership of Dr. Linda Bambara.  There, he supported adults and transition-aged youths with intellectual disabilities and Autism to find meaningful employment within the community.  Currently, he is a supervisor at a human service organization for adults with intellectual disabilities, where he has brought research to practice by taking the teachings of Lehigh University’s College of Education with him.

Dolly Singley

Dolly Singley
  • Ph.D., Special Education
    15
  • M.Ed., Counseling and Human Services
    09

Dolly Singley, native of Bangor, Pennsylvania, has had a passion for helping others for as long as she can remember. Dolly began her career in working with individuals with mental health needs and developmental disabilities in 2000 working as a youth advisor for Children and Youth services. In order to further develop her skills, she then obtained her Bachelors degree in Psychology from East Stroudsburg University. From there, she continued her work obtaining a position with Lehigh University Field based programs in 2006 first as a job coach and social skills coach in a life-skills classroom, then as a supervisor in their residential setting, and then as a program coordinator for transition services for young adults and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. During this time, she continued her studies and obtained her Masters degree in Counseling and Human Services from Lehigh University.

Currently, Dolly is a new mom and is obtaining her Doctoral Degree in Special Education from Lehigh University with all but her Dissertation completed.  She is the Assisting Director for a non-profit organization, SPIN, providing inclusive community services to children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Kristin Smith

  • M.Ed. in Special Education and Special Education
    15
  • Pennsylvania State PreK-8 Certification/Elementary Education Pennsylvania State PreK-4 Certification
    15

My love of teaching began in early elementary school. As a third grader, I wanted to become a teacher and inspire children to love learning, just as my own teacher had done for me.

In 2007, I received a BA in Sociology with a minor in Spanish from Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA. Upon graduation, I worked as a Residential Child Care Counselor for KidsPeace with children experiencing emotional and behavioral difficulties, where I provide direct supervision and care to behaviorally and emotionally disturbed youth in a residential setting, facilitated therapeutic groups/meetings, provided individual counseling, assisted in crisis management, taught basic life skills, social skills, anger management skills, and conflict resolution skills, and collaborated with members of the treatment team in developing individualized treatment plans.

In 2011, I became a teacher at Bethlehem Christian School and had the opportunity to teach 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. In that role, I created engaging lessons for my students, strove to build relationships with my students, and challenged them to think critically about the world around them. Additionally, I collaborated with teachers to develop weekly chapel services, campus-wide events, and both academic and behavioral interventions for students.

In 2013, I became a teaching associate at Centennial School of Lehigh University within the Middle School Program. Centennial School serves children and youth with educational disabilities including emotional disturbance and autism. In this position, I collaborate with members of the middle school team to implement a school-wide positive behavior support system which fosters a positive, safe school environment for all students, provide direct instruction of academic materials to students through engaging and standard-aligned lessons, regularly monitor student academic and behavioral performance, and communicate with families and members of the IEP team regarding student progress on their individualized goals.