Our Faculty and Staff

The staff members at Invictus Academy Tampa Bay are the key to every aspect of daily operations. All staff are trained to support each student’s sensory and motor differences in addition to supporting reliable communication to access the curriculum.

  • DANA JOHNSON
    Founder/ President of Board of Directors
    Read Bio
  • JENNIFER MULRY
    Co - Director
    Read Bio
  • MADELINE ISHMAEL
    Co - Director
    Read Bio
  • MELISSA ELLIOTT
    Lead Communication Specialist and Academic Supervisor
    Read Bio
  • KATELYN ARCARO
    Elementary Teacher
    Read Bio
  • KATLYN BILLUE
    High School Teacher
    Read Bio
  • SEAN DEGRAW
    High School Teacher
    Read Bio
  • IVY DUBATOWKA
    Middle School Teacher Assistant
  • JASMINE FORBES
    Occupational Therapist
    Read Bio
  • BRIANNA GRASSI
    Elementary Teacher Assistant
  • JOEY OTERO
    High School Teacher
    Read Bio
  • HEIDI PULEO
    Elementary Teacher
    Read Bio
  • KINSEY SHOWERS
    Middle School Teacher
    Read Bio
  • TANYAH THOMAS
    Elementary Assistant Teacher
  • TAMARA THOMAS
    High School Teacher Assistant
  • MEGAN WYATT
    High School Teacher Assistant
  • DANA JOHNSON
    Founder/ President of Board of Directors

    Dana Johnson is an Occupational Therapist and the founder of Invictus Academy Tampa Bay. She has a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy and a PhD in Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Development. She is an ACTS (Accessing Communication Through Spelling) practitioner and trainer for Spelling to Communicate. Dana is also on the executive leadership cadre of I-ASC (International Association for Spelling as Communication) to support the non-speaking community through education, advocacy, research and training. Dana has been working with the non-speaking community for almost 18 years, but had a paradigm shift 7 years ago which changed her perspective and the way she practices.

    “Presuming competence and providing reliable communication opens up a whole new world for families and their children. Communication is a right for all and it is now my mission to ensure that all non-speakers are respected, have autonomy, and a way to communicate reliably.”

    Dr. Johnson owns her own practice in Trinity, Florida. Please visit her website for more information. https://interplaytherapycenter.com/

  • JENNIFER MULRY
    Co - Director

    Jennifer Mulry is the Administrative Director at Invictus Academy Tampa Bay. Jennifer has a rich background in the field of advocacy and services for children with autism and their families. She has worked extensively with Tampa Bay Surfers for Autism, The Autism Community in Action and in 2012, opened up the L.I.F.E Academy. Jennifer initially found Invictus in the search for a school for her son, who also has autism. Jennifer is most passionate about S2C, serving her community, and helping those with autism find their voice.

  • MADELINE ISHMAEL
    Co - Director

    Madeline Ishmael is the Director of Compliance at Invictus Academy. She began her tenure at Invictus as a teacher assistant then transitioned to teaching high school. Madeline earned her Master’s degree in Public Health with a focus on Health Promotion & Policy; which emphasizes improving the environments and educational settings in which we live, work and play through effective policy and advocacy. She has previous teaching experience, as well as, involvement in research/internship working with individuals with autism. She is currently enrolled in the I-ASC cohort to become a S2C practitioner. Madeline is also a Communication and Regulation Partner for students in high school and 7th grade. She is passionate about this powerful and groundbreaking form of communication and is constantly working to hone her skills to support the students. 

  • MELISSA ELLIOTT
    Lead Communication Specialist and Academic Supervisor

    Melissa Elliott is the lead Communication Specialist and Academic Supervisor at Invictus Academy. She has a degree in Elementary Education from the University of Central Florida, is TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certified and has a reading endorsement. She is also a graduate of the ACTS training course for the use and training of the letter board process. While Melissa has been working with the nonspeaking community for a relatively short amount of time, she knows this is the population she will be working with for the rest of her career. The first time she saw fluent communication using Spelling to Communicate she knew this was what she was meant to dedicate her life to. Melissa plans on building upon her current skills as well as becoming a better advocate.

  • KATELYN ARCARO
    Elementary Teacher

    Katelyn Arcaro is a teacher in the elementary classroom. She has been working with children for about 7 years now through babysitting and leadership roles. She has lead small groups at her church and traveled to Africa to work with children in a school setting. Her passion for children led her to Invictus Academy Tampa Bay and she is so excited to be working in such an amazing environment. She is a Communication and Regulation Partner and is continually working to improve and hone her skills so she can be of great value to her students. 

  • KATLYN BILLUE
    High School Teacher

    Katlyn Billue is a high school teacher at Invictus Academy and enjoys working as a Communication and Regulation Partner for her students. She is also a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant – Licensed working at Interplay Pediatric Therapy after school. She has a love and passion for working with the pediatric population and is thrilled to be able to utilize her occupational therapy skills throughout her day when working with her students. 

  • SEAN DEGRAW
    High School Teacher

    Sean DeGraw is a high school Language Arts teacher as well as the Media Specialist at Invictus Academy Tampa Bay. Sean has a BFA in Digital Filmmaking & Video Production from The Art Institute of Tampa. He is a former 4th grade teacher who taught in Thailand and loves planning hands-on science and music activities to support our students’ purposeful motor skills in class. Sean has been a Communication and Regulation Partner utilizing Spelling to Communicate since early 2019.

  • IVY DUBATOWKA
    Middle School Teacher Assistant
  • JASMINE FORBES
    Occupational Therapist

    Jasmine Forbes is the Occupational Therapist at Invictus Academy. Jasmine earned her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree from the University of Toronto in Canada. In 2018 she moved to Southern California where she worked at a pediatric occupational therapy clinic. Here she gained experience in a variety of settings including clinic, home, and schools. Jasmine has always been passionate about working with the pediatric population and is excited to be able to help students reach their goals and increase their independence in the school environment.

  • BRIANNA GRASSI
    Elementary Teacher Assistant
  • JOEY OTERO
    High School Teacher

    Joey Otero is the high school US and African American History teacher. He graduated from the University of Central Florida with a B.S. in Social Sciences. Joey began his teaching career as an English teacher in Thailand. He is also a graduate of the ACTS training course for the use and training of the letter board process. Joey enjoys incorporating his musical and artistic interests into his lessons and he has even conducted a school wide art project for one of our fundraisers. 

  • HEIDI PULEO
    Elementary Teacher

    Heidi Puleo is an elementary school teacher at Invictus Academy. She is also a graduate of the ACTS training course for the use and training of the letter board process. She has a Bachelor’s in Nursing and specialized in Pediatrics. She was exposed to many types of therapies and diagnoses and first learned about Facilitated Communication through her nursing practice. She changed careers when moving to Florida after learning about presuming competence. She was driven by the lack of knowledge and services for the nonspeaking community and aims to help educate not only the children but their communities as well. 

  • KINSEY SHOWERS
    Middle School Teacher

    Kinsey Showers is the lead teacher for the middle school classroom at Invictus Academy. She began her career at Invictus Academy as an assistant in various classrooms in the school while working on her bachelors degree. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with endorsements in TSOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and Reading. She is currently working towards her Masters in Education with a specialization in cultural contexts in education. She is most passionate about advocating for individuals with motor/sensory differences and helping students access reliable communication so they can reach their greatest potential.

  • TANYAH THOMAS
    Elementary Assistant Teacher
  • TAMARA THOMAS
    High School Teacher Assistant
  • MEGAN WYATT
    High School Teacher Assistant

Make a difference. Help a child be heard, donate today.

Donate Now