Gifted Professionals

Our cadre of dedicated professionals are the best in the business of special education. We are proud they have
chosen to focus their careers at MLA. Each is committed to helping every student reach her or his full potential.
As special education teachers, we recognize the brain can change and accommodate for most learning deficits.
That's why our entire staff constantly strives to keep abreast of the latest learning materials and strategies and
any and all new medical information affecting our students.

Merle Langbord

Merle Langbord Levine, BA, MEd
Director Merle Langbord Levine has been a professional educator since 1959. She began teaching in the field of Special Education in 1969 and earned a Specialist Certificate in Special Education in 1972. Later, she completed a BA in Psychology and a Master of Education in the area of Learning Disabilities.

In 1974, Merle began her practice in the private education sector, opening the first school for Special Education in Ontario. She earned a reputation for innovating highly successful methods to assist students in becoming academically independent and successful learners. Merle has devoted most of her career to advocating for and studying, developing and adapting educational programming for students with Learning Disabilities (LD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). More recently, she has tackled the complex learning difficulties with which students are now being diagnosed, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, non-verbal learning disabilities, auditory processing difficulties, and mood disorders. In 1985, Merle served as Acting Educational Consultant to the newly formed Learning Disability Centre at York University. She is an active member of several professional and parent organizations associated with Special Education and Attention Deficit Disorder, and is widely recognized as an expert teacher-diagnostician and consultant to both parents and professionals.
merle@merlelevineacademy.com

Yuwattee Persaud

Yuwattee Persaud, MA, MEd
Director/Principal Yuwattee Persaud brings to MLA great professionalism, integrity, and teaching acumen. A professional educator since 1982, she also earned a Masters of English and a Masters in Adaptive Instruction. Yuwattee began working in Special Education in 1984 as an associate of Merle Levine. She is recognized by students, parents and colleagues for her ability to program and teach students of all ages and grades. As Director/Principal of MLA, Yuwattee continues to lend her expertise to the classroom, as well as to oversee programming for all students, train teachers, and liaise with parents, professionals and the Ministry of Education.
yuwattee.persaud@merlelevineacademy.com

Bonnie Cook

Bonnie Cook, BA, BEd
Vice Principal Bonnie Cook began working with MLA's Principal and Director in 1998. Working closely with the Principal, she sees that the remedial programs and curriculum are being carried out and assists with behaviour management issues at the junior and intermediate levels. Bonnie's students have great respect for her demanding program in preparing them for high school. In addition, she oversees the physical education program for MLA, as well as special events and the Year Book.
bonnie.cook@merlelevineacademy.com

Robyn Weddepohl

Robyn Weddepohl, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist, Specializing in Social Communication Therapy.
Social Communication Consultant, Robyn Weddepohl joined MLA in 1998. Working with the Principal and the Director she designed a unique Social Skills curriculum and an on-site Social Skills program. Robyn consults with the teachers at MLA so that they integrate and incorporate the student’s social goals within their classroom environment. Robyn Weddepohl is in private practice and she works individually with some of our students. An after school Social Skills program is also offered to our students. With Robyn’s expertise in classroom management and observations, she provides unique insight into understanding our students.
robyn.weddepohl@merlelevineacademy.com

Shohreh Hivand

Shohreh Hivand, MSc
Head of Guidance Shohreh Hivand joined MLA in 2000. As Head of Guidance, she works closely with the Principal to oversee much of the administrative duties at Senior Level. She assists graduating students with their university and college applications. As a classroom teacher, Shohreh teaches the senior school courses in mathematics and computer science technology. Her quiet manner and subject matter expertise have gained her students' respect and devotion.
shohreh.hivand@merlelevineacademy.com

Emma Kamran: BA, BEd
Emma is a graduate teacher who joined the team in 2011 as a behaviour and educational therapist. This school year, Emma is a homeroom teacher who will be working with our high school students.
emma.kamran@merlelevineacademy.com

Marianne Feldman

Marianne Feldman
Office Administrator Marianne Feldman has been an integral part of the MLA staff since 1998. Marianne's warmth and dedication to the school make her a favourite of the staff, the students and the parents.
mla@merlelevineacademy.com

Cindy Slaney

Cindy Slaney, BA, BEd
Intermediate & Senior School Teacher Cindy Slaney came to MLA in 2006, bringing years of experience to our students. Her quiet and patient manner makes it very comfortable for her students to learn. In addition, Cindy is the computer "techie" at MLA where her patience comes through time and again.
cindy.slaney@merlelevineacademy.com

Nadia Favretto: BA, BEd  Nadia is a graduate teacher with extensive knowledge in special education specifically in the field of autism. She joins the junior division of MLA in the 2012/2013 Academic year. nadia.favretto@merlelevineacademy.com

Nadia Favretto: BA, BEd
Nadia is a graduate teacher with extensive knowledge in special education specifically in the field of autism. She joins the junior division of MLA in the 2012/2013 Academic year.
nadia.favretto@merlelevineacademy.com

Jevon Salerno: Hon. BA, BEd
Jevon is a graduate teacher who joined the MLA team in 2011 in the junior division. She is an extremely insightful and caring teacher and her dynamic personality makes her an asset to the team. Her students and parents have nothing but raves for her.
jevon.salerno@merlelevineacademy.com

Deedee Edelstein: Hon. BA, Instructor Therapist
Deedee joined MLA in 2011 as an educational assistant in the junior division. Deedee has more than proven to be an outstanding natural teacher who brings her extensive background in working with autistic children to the MLA team. As a professional actress, Deedee also lends great expertise to our drama classes.
deedee.edelstein@merlelevineacademy.com

Haimshani Persaud
Haimshani had completed the Educational Assistant Certificate program and is currently working on achieving her Diploma. She has been assisting the teachers at MLA for three years now at both the junior and senior levels. She is a favourite of all the students.
haimshani.persaud@merlelevineacademy.com