Thanks to Boston Voyager for the awesome article
Nadine Briggs, CEO of Simply Social Kids and managing partner of Social Success Central, LLC is co-author of the bestselling How to Make and Keep Friends book series and an accomplished social educator.
Nadine has dual graduate certifications in Coaching Children & Teens and Coaching Children & Teens with ADHD. She has expertise and certifications in bullying and cyberbullying prevention, Foundations of Positive Psychology including learned optimism and resilience, and sibling relationships (Sibshops). Her training includes collaborative problem solving to teach children conflict resolution and training in child anxiety at the Child Anxiety Network at Boston University. She is certified in the Girl Meets World curriculum which addresses relational aggression in girls and in Cognitive Behavioral Coaching. Much of the Simply Social Kids social skills program has been created by Nadine and her team. They specialize in creating fun games and activities that entertain as well as educate group participants on social skills.
Nadine has two adult children who are the catalyst for her current career. She has a daughter with Down syndrome and a son with ADHD. She has a personal passion for helping kids find true friendships. She created Simply Social Kids in 2007 to provide a sensory-simple, safe, accepting environment for all kids. Her goal is to help kids find true friendship and connectedness.
As Managing Partner of Social Success Central she co-authored the bestselling books: How to Make & Keep Friends: Tips for Kids to Overcome 50 Common Social Challenges, How to Make & Keep Friends: Helping Your Child Achieve Social Success, I Feel Mad! Tips for Kids on Managing Angry Feelings, I Feel Worried! Tips for Kids on Overcoming Anxiety, Tips for Teens on Life and Social Success, I Need to Win! Tips for Kids on Good Sportsmanship and Bully Busting and Managing Meanies: Tips for Kids on Managing Conflict. She is a parent/educator consultant and public speaker. Top 5 character strengths according to the VIA character strengths survey: honestly, humor, love, perspective, and social intelligence.
MEET THE STAFF
Christie Cleaver joined Simply Social Kids in 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from Kent State University. She spent the first part of her career in youth and teen-serving organizations and the last 15 years in disability-focused organizations. In these organizations, she ran middle school after school programs, summer camps and specialty programming, developed character and leadership development curriculum and programs for teens, facilitated social and recreational programming for children, teens, adults, and families, and developed social skills groups for teens and operated a family support center.
Top 5 character strengths according to the VIA character strengths survey: gratitude, kindness, humor, honesty, and love.
Kellie Scott is currently a special education teacher for the Westford Public Schools. She previously worked as a preschool teacher, in the special education department and as a first and fourth grade teacher for Westford Public Schools. She has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Masters in Special Education.
Kellie is known for her ability to connect, and often entertain (this girl can do the floss!) with group members of all ages. Top 5 character strengths according to the VIA character strengths survey: love of learning, kindness, perspective, prudence, and teamwork.
Social Coach Assistant
Bette has both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Manufacturing/Process Engineering from University of Lowell. For fifteen years she worked in a few high tech companies traveling both domestically and international. The trip to China was amazing!
Bette has two older teenage children. Both of her children have ADHD and Anxiety while her son also has Learning Disabilities in Reading, Writing, & Math. Since having children, Bette decided to transition to part time employment so she could spend more time with her family. Some of her part time jobs include police dispatching, town election worker, Federation for Children with Special Needs, MA Department of Health, Early Intervention, and church secretary.
Bette is a trained Surrogate Special Education Parent advocating for children in DCF custody.
The top 5 character strengths according to the VIA character strengths survey: fairness, forgiveness, honesty, kindness, and hope.
Bethany Knoettner has been a School Psychologist since June of 2000 and resides in Westford, Ma with her husband and two sons. Holding a Master’s degree in School Psychology and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study from Northeastern University, Bethany’s passion lies in facilitating social skills groups, friendship counseling, and individual support for students.
Bethany’s career roles have included conducting psychoeducational evaluations, collaborating with school IEP teams, and facilitating counseling groups. She has also contributed to the development of psychological assessment tools as an assessment field tester at Pearson Assessments. Her top 5 strengths according to the VIA character strengths survey are honesty, judgement, social intelligence, teamwork and kindness.
Social Coach Assistant
Amanda Siano is currently a second grade teacher for the Westford Public Schools. She has 28 years experience teaching kindergarten, first, and second grade, 19 of those years have been in Westford.
She also teaches at Camp Invention, a STEM summer camp, working with campers in grades one through grade six. Amanda has two grown children of her own. She enjoys working with children of all ages! Amanda has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s of Arts degree in Education.
Top 5 character strengths: Love, gratitude, fairness, honesty, and hope.
Marzooq Jeje currently attends Umass Amherst where he is pursuing a degree in computer engineering. He hopes to work with his older brother in the future who is also a computer engineer.
Marzooq loves music. He has participated in band class 4 years in a row, 4 years of Jazz band, 2 years of marching band, and 2 years of pit orchestra. Along with music, Marzooq is interested in creating a closer community in his school. Top 5 character strengths: Humor, fairness, bravery, creativity, and teamwork.
Shane Manning is an experienced and dedicated educator with a passion for early childhood education. With a track record of creating engaging lesson plans and fostering a culture of discovery, he has successfully helped students succeed in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program at Greater Lowell Technical High School in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts since July 2021.
In his current role as an Early Childhood Education Instructor, Shane excels at establishing clear objectives for educational activities, preparing students for local and national skills competitions, and evaluating students’ academic and social growth.
Prior to their current position, Shane served as an Education Support Staff member in the HS ECE Program at Greater Lowell Technical High School from October 2019 to June 2021. During this time, he developed and implemented a comprehensive Social/Emotional curriculum, tailored lesson plans for students with diverse needs, and delivered personalized support to enable positive learning outcomes. Their expertise in behavior modeling and specialized teaching techniques helped students develop essential social skills.
Shane also has experience as the Lead Preschool Teacher at Growing Places NH in Lee, N.H. and as a School Age Site Director at Growing Places.
With a proven ability to create engaging learning environments, provide personalized support, and foster social and emotional growth, Shane has made a significant impact on the students they have served throughout their career.
He enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with family and friends. Top five character strengths: humor, honesty, social intelligence, prudence, and kindness.
What families are saying
about Simply Social Kids
“I wanted to let you know that Harry said that was the most fun ever. Thanks so much for always making him smile, feel accepted and for making his social experience so awesome for him. You guys are so great and your program is so special.”
“Also, thanks for the amazing job you’re doing with Trey! I can already see positive changes in him and it’s only been a couple of weeks. You’re helping make our long quarantine more bearable in so many ways and I can’t thank you both and Nadine enough!!”
“Simply Social Kids is a warm welcoming place for children to develop their social skills and grow. It is also a wonderful resource for families. My son loves his weekly social group with Nadine and Christie and we highly recommend SSK!”