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Celebrating Women's History Month: Maureen Manning

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Maureen is the Director of Clinical Services at Green Tree School & Services, located in Philadelphia, PA. She oversees the school’s therapists and nurses with oversight of its unique service offerings including nursing/school health, school psychology, social work, speech language pathology, and occupational therapy. Maureen is a lifelong learner and is deeply committed to growing alongside the students she and her team support. Here is her story:

Q: What inspires you about the work we/our teams do at New Story and our family of companies?

I am deeply inspired by our mission to educate students with significant and complex needs and providing them with the quality education and support they deserve. Our students’ commitment to continuous improvement is a mindset that I believe in and truly value and find inspirational.

Just like we push our students to learn and grow, I’m inspired by our staff who do the same for themselves. We must remain nimble and flexible, constantly evaluating and assessing our program effectiveness so that we are meeting the ever-changing needs of our students. We also cannot do this work alone. We take a holistic approach to care, which requires us to work collaboratively across disciplines, utilizing each professional’s area of expertise with consideration of what our students need to achieve success.

Q: What motivated you to choose a career path in special education?

I was inspired by my aunt, who worked for the School District of Philadelphia as a teacher and reading specialist for 45 years. I grew up hearing her stories of the incredible successes and even the challenges she experienced in her work, and those stories helped me realize that I could make a meaningful impact just like my aunt. As my passion for educating grew, I became especially interested in supporting those who have learning, emotional, or behavioral difficulties.

Q: What advice do you have for colleagues who are just starting out in their careers?

Never stop your quest for learning. Whether that takes the form of mentorship, engaging with our special education community, or learning from peers who work right alongside you or across our organization, we can learn from each other’s shared challenges and successes. Surround yourself with colleagues who inspire you, and seek out mentors who encourage, support, and guide you. Fully commit to having a growth and improvement mindset and take advantage of the many opportunities to learn through joining professional networks, attending educational conferences, and connecting with others in similar positions.

Q: What female leaders, past and present, do you look up to?

There are so many amazing women who have paved the way that I deeply respect and look up to. I admire the integrity of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the persistence of Senator Elizabeth Warren, the ambition of Vice President Kamala Harris, and the grace of former First Lady Michelle Obama. I also look up to those in my immediate circle and frequently meet inspirational leaders at conferences and professional development workshops that I attend. Leaving these events makes me feel connected and empowered. I can’t recommend them enough.

Q: Anything you’d like to share about your family, friends, life outside of work?

I am blessed with 11 nieces and nephews (ages 10 to 21) who remind me every day of why I do this important and life-changing work.  

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