Special Education

Ps 261 provides students with disabilities the supports and services indicated on their IEPs

School Assessment Team, Room 217 (718) 875-9525

Wilma Merced – School Social Worker –  [email protected]

Wilma completed her Masters at Hunter College School of Social Work. She received her post graduate supervision certification from NYU School of a Social Work. She is a certified clinical social worker who worked at Park Slope Center for Mental Health and Sunset Park Mental Health Center. She began her career with the NYCDOE in District #15 schools. After working on CSE Review Teams in various districts throughout Brooklyn she returned to the schools because of her desire to work with children, parents and teachers. Wilma was born and raised in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn. She attended PS32 and Nathan Hale Junior High School in District 15. She now resides in Bay Ridge. She is thrilled to be working at PS261, PS32 and MS442. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, reading, going to the movies, cooking for her family and friends, listening to music, reading and doing yoga.

Reneé Sherman – School Psychologist –  [email protected]

Renee began her career with the Department of Education in 1998. She has been the P.S.261 School Psychologist since 2001. Renee is thrilled to be working in the elementary school she attended as a child and now has the pleasure of having her son, Benjamin be a P.S.261 student as well! She received her Bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College, where she majored in Sociology. A strong desire to help children with learning difficulties led Renee to pursue a graduate degree in School Psychology. She holds an M.S. Ed in School Psychology from Long Island University. In addition, Renee is a New York State Certified Special Education Teacher and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Renee enjoys spending time with her husband, Adam, son, Benjamin, daughter Serena; as well as with extended family and good friends.

Related Service Providers


Speech Therapist – Jodie Park Room 316 – [email protected]

This is Jodie’s fifth year at PS 261 as a speech-language pathologist.  Jodie grew up in Central Florida where she attended University of Florida for her Bachelor’s degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology.  Go Gators!  She then attended the University of Central Florida to receive her Master’s degree in Speech/Language Pathology.  She has taught in the public school system in Florida, Georgia, and now New York City.  She has also taught in the private school setting working with children diagnosed with Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders.  She has also conducted speech therapy in clinic and home health care settings in her own private practice.  Jodie has a daughter, Ayla, who attended PS 261 for 2 years and is now at MS 51.  Her son, Reed, is currently attending PS 261.  In her spare time, Jodie enjoys spending time with her husband, Jimmy, and children traveling, rock climbing, surfing, and going to Gator football games.  She also loves yoga and running.

Speech TherapistAziza Altaheri – [email protected]

This is Aziza’s fourth year as a speech language pathologist at PS 261. She grew up in Boerum hill, Brooklyn and attended PS 261 from k-5th grade. Aziza holds a BA degree in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology from Brooklyn College and an MS degree in Communication Disorders from Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, NY. She received an extension to her Master’s degree in bilingual/bicultural language development from Teacher’s College, Columbia University. Aziza enjoys research, writing, spending time with her family, traveling, and cafe hopping with her husband Mohammed.

Occupational TherapistSabrina Ann Kenny, MS, OTR/L – Room B2 [email protected]  working at PS261 Monday, Tuesday & Thursday.  Senior Instructional Therapist Brooklyn, NY, Wednesday & Friday

Sabrina has been an occupational therapist working in school systems for 12 years. She also works part-time as a professor of occupational therapy.

Occupational TherapistAlla Zlotnikov [email protected]org

Alla has over 7 years experience in the field of pediatric occupational therapy.  She has worked in several schools in New York, but has been happily working at P.S. 261 for the past 5 years. In addition to working as a senior occupational therapist, Alla conducts occupational therapy evaluations in diverse settings throughout the borough of Brooklyn. She strongly believes that the collaboration between teachers, parents and all related service providers is essential to helping our students gain new skills and improve independence. She earned her Master of Science degree in occupational therapy form New York University. She has been living in Brooklyn since she was 11 years old and has no plans to ever move away. Alla currently lives in Ditmas Park with her husband, and toddler son, whose questions are becoming increasingly harder to answer.

Physical TherapistMaria Madrid

Hearing Education TeacherDonna Kafko

Counseling Services – Marlene Pendergast – [email protected]

This is Marlene’s first year as Guidance Counselor at PS 261. After receiving both her BA and MA degrees in Allied Health/Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Florida, she attended St. Thomas University for her second MA degree in Guidance/Counseling, and then went on to finish her post MA degree in Bilingual Pupil Personnel Services at Touro College in New York City. She is fluent in English and Spanish and has an advanced level of French along with 14 years of experience as a guidance counselor in both Florida and New York public school systems. In her personal life she loves exercising, music, movies, art, traveling and spending time with family and friends. Some of her favorite places she has been to are Thailand, Japan, Bora Bora, Cuba, Iceland and France. She’s an animal lover and volunteers her time with different animal shelters in New York, Florida and most recently in Thailand. Her three dogs Dudley, Sofie and Havana are all from shelters around the world.