Educational Support Services

Education Support Services (ESS) provides support to students eligible for special education.

ESS started in 1991 to share Horizons’ positive practices and expertise with public school students. Our Professional Support creates opportunities for local public school students with IEPs to have an integrated, tailored education with the benefits of facilitated collaboration. It has a keen focus on each student’s individual needs to experience growth and celebrate accomplishments. Horizons Educational Support Services has partners with school districts to provide staff development to enhance staff skills and student outcomes.

Transition Service Provider

Horizons is a Transition Service Provider with the Connecticut State Department of Education. We partner with local public school districts to build the best bridge possible to take their students from being a high school student into their adult life.

‍We help our students and their families to envision a future when they will exit education and move into the adult world.  Each student has unique life goals that we translate into IEP goals in the domains of Life Skills, Employment, Post-Secondary Education and Training.

Our methods focus on identifying and building on each student’s strengths, interests and preferences.  The majority of students’ IEP goals and objectives are addressed in the actual community settings where our students actually use the skills they learn.  Students are provided employment internships with businesses that align with student’s employment goals.  Life skills are taught in the context of real-life needs such as managing money, cooking healthy food, traveling and organizing schedules at the highest level of independence. 

Continuing Education

Some Transition Students are interested in continuing their education as adult learners.  Horizons also has a partnership with Eastern Connecticut State University.  Our students are integrated into college life at Eastern as full members.  They attend classes, join clubs and build relationships with college students and staff.  Through this transition education opportunity the students learn what it takes to be an adult learner, develop necessary life skills and pursue their career goals.

Educational Support Services Team

Steven Schneidermeyer

Steven Schneidermeyer

Director, ESS

Steve leads the Educational Support Services team and provides professional support to individuals in Horizons Support Living and Supported Employment and Options. This is the effort to support and educate our developing and emerging leaders.  Steve has worked at Camp Horizons since our inception in 1979. Through the Horizons Summer Camp experience, he learned the values and mission that makes Horizons amazing. Steve attended Southern Connecticut State University and received his Bachelor of Arts in Special Education in 1985. Since then he has had the pleasure of being in a leadership position, supporting individuals with disabilities where they live, learn and work. 


Steven Schneidermeyer

Director, ESS

Casey Lenihan

Casey Lenihan

Team Director, Horizons/Eastern Transition Education Partnership

Casey is a graduate of Eastern Connecticut State University (BS 2013) and University of Saint Joseph (MS 2020) with degrees in Psychology, Integrated Early Childhood Education, and Special Education. She is a part of a small group of teachers certified to teach special education at any age. Casey chose to return to her alma mater, Eastern Connecticut State University, to act as Team Director of the Horizons / Eastern Connecticut State University Transition Education Partnership. 

Casey loves meeting new students to about their vocational and post-secondary interests, and supporting students to develop and achieve their goals and plans in life. She especially tries to help them develop their independent living skills. In addition to teaching transition students daily, Casey is trained in conducting Situational Assessments.


Casey Lenihan

Team Director, Horizons/Eastern Transition Education Partnership

James Oliver

James Oliver

Team Director, ESS

James has been a part of the Horizons family since 2003. He worked with the Horizons Supported Employment and Options (SEO) program for nine years and then transitioned to working with Educational Support Services (ESS). In 2015, James assumed the role of team director of Educational Support Services and he retains this position to this day.  He works in concert with Rochelle St. Jean to administer the day-to-day operations of ESS’s Transition Education Supports team. James is a certified MAPS/PATH facilitator and is experienced in conducting situational assessments. He is adept at using an individualized approach to work in partnership with students and their team to identify student’s vocational dreams, strengths, and interests; James subsequently recruits businesses/organizations to collaborate with students to provide community-based vocational instruction opportunities that aid them in working on IEP goals/objectives while also bringing their vocational aspirations to fruition. James is a graduate of Windham High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science/history with American studies at Eastern Connecticut State University.

James Oliver

Team Director, ESS

Rochelle St. Jean

Rochelle St. Jean

Team Director, ESS

Hailing from the United Kingdom, Rochelle started her Horizons journey through the summer camp program. After establishing roots in Connecticut, Rochelle continued to work in various departments throughout the agency before becoming team director of the Educational Supports Services Program.  

She brings a holistic and person-centered set of skills to the team with her long-standing background in Special Education, certification in MAPS/PATH facilitation, AAC/total communication expertise via her degree in speech studies and transition, and behavioral supports with her Masters of Science in Psychology.

Rochelle St. Jean

Team Director, ESS

Mary Hamilton

Mary Hamilton

Special Education Teacher

A native of Massachusetts and longtime resident of Connecticut, Mary joined Horizons as a teacher in the expanding Transition Education Program. She brings her extensive experience in a wide range of disabilities and intervention strategies acquired through teaching at public and private schools, supporting students with academic, emotional, and transition goals.

Mary individualizes instruction while addressing the multi-faceted needs of her students, drawing on her background in psychology and Elementary Education. She holds a Masters of Science, as well as Professional certification, in Special Education. 

Mary Hamilton

Special Education Teacher

Mike Spottiswoode

Mike Spottiswoode

Transition Education Teacher

Mike moved to Connecticut from California in 1997. He has been working in education since his move and joined the team at Horizons in 2017.

Mike really enjoys working side by side with the students and support coaches in an effort to foster an environment of teamwork and equality. Mike has a master’s degree in elementary education from ECSU and has been teaching since 2000. He is in the process of completing his special education certification. Before joining Horizons he spent the first 17 years of his teaching experience as an elementary school teacher in Plainfield, Windham and Manchester. Mike brings a person-centered philosophy to his teaching that focuses on each students’ skill set in an effort to foster confidence and independence. 

Mike Spottiswoode

Transition Education Teacher