Devereux Center for Resilient Children (DCRC)
Susan Damico, M.A.
Debi Mahler, LCSW
Director of Professional Development
Rachel Wagner, MSW
Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist, National Trainer
Rachel received her Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Sociology from Ithaca College and received her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Albany. Rachel is a Lead National Trainer and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist for the Devereux Center for Resilient Children (DCRC). She is the author of FLIP IT! Transforming Challenging Behavior. She is also the co-author of Your Journey Together: Building the Resilience of Children and Families, and the Devereux Resilient Leadership Survey (DERLS). Rachel travels the country speaking to groups on topics related to social-emotional health and resilience. Rachel began her career as a preschool teacher and then worked as a teacher and counselor at a therapeutic preschool. She also served as an Early Childhood Mental Health Coordinator and Consultant for several Head Start programs. Later in her career, Rachel began one of New York’s first early childhood mental health consultation services. In her work at DCRC, Rachel enjoys a variety of responsibilities including adult learning design, live and web-based professional development, resilience resource creation, technical assistance, and long distance reflective supervision to groups and individuals providing early childhood mental health consultation, coaching and leadership services. Rachel embodies the characteristics of a great reflective practitioner as she helps others explore the emotional content of their work in order to grow and improve their practices and confidence. She is also endorsed by the MI-AIMH to provide reflective supervision for applicants applying for Endorsement® for Early Childhood Family Specialist (II) – both Bachelors and Masters-prepared applicants. Rachel currently resides in the Syracuse, NY area with her family. She is a passionate speaker, a dedicated listener and an advocate for children who communicate in unique ways.
Nefertiti B. Poyner, Ed.D.
Early Childhood Specialist, National Trainer
Rudee received her bachelor’s degree in business administration/marketing from the LeBow College of Business at Drexel University. Rudee joined the Devereux Center for Resilient Children (DCRC) in 2017 to take on DCRC’s branding/marketing activities, from communications and social media, to collateral design and website upkeep. She also helps manage DCRC’s web-based version of its DECA Program (e-DECA), and serves as a primary point of contact for customer service. Prior to joining DCRC, Rudee worked for a financial firm for over two years, where she worked her way up from an intern to a marketing assistant and, finally, a marketing coordinator. Rudee has experience in event marketing, branding, communications, design and project management. In addition to working for DCRC, Rudee worked for her hometown township’s fall basketball camp for grade-school children for over 10 years, and was the director of the camp for the last four of those years.
Aperture Education, LLC – Research Affiliate Staff
Paul LeBuffe, M.A.
In addition to the assessments mentioned above, he has authored numerous research articles and chapters on resilience and related topics. Paul has presented to varied audiences including psychologists, teachers, school administrators, out-of-school-time professionals, and parents throughout the United States and internationally on promoting resilience in children, youth, and adults.
Alyssa Ciarlante, M.A.
Karen Cairone, M.Ed.
Mary Mackrain, M.Ed., IMH-E (IV)
Debbie Alleyne, M.S.
Early Childhood/Child Welfare Specialist, Certified Trainer
Debbie has worked in the field of Early Childhood, Special Education and Mental Health for over 35 years. Some of her experiences include early childhood special education teaching, administration, mental health consultation, foster parent training and consultation, early childhood educator training and resource development. Debbie currently resides in Tampa, Florida, where she has worked in collaboration with a lead child welfare agency to develop a resilience-building and social-emotional wellness program for foster parents in the Polk, Highlands and Hardee Counties. She is the lead author of the DCRC resource, Your Journey Together (YJT), a strength-based parenting curriculum designed to promote the social and emotional well-being and resilience of vulnerable children and their families. Debbie provides training and technical assistance on a variety of DCRC resources.