Exceptional Children

Exceptional Children Staff | Exceptional Children Contract Personnel | Dispute Resolution | Helpful Parent Links | Transfer Students | Child Find|

Exceptional Children Staff:

Angie Rardin – Exceptional Children Coordinator/Teacher (236-9441 ext. 231)

Angie has been teaching for over 30 years. She received  both a B.A. in psychology and an  M.Ed in Special Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Angie became involved with Francine Delany on day one in 1997 as a parent, and in 2002, joined the Delany faculty as an Exceptional Children’s Teacher. Being a member of this uniquely supportive learning community has been a true gift! Away from school, Angie enjoys spending time with her three grown children (all FDNSC alums) and her husband. Her hobbies include tennis, reading, hiking, traveling, and of course, watching Tar Heel basketball!

Melissa Murphy-Exceptional Children Teacher  (236-9441  ext. 234)

Melissa Murphy began her teaching career in south Texas in 1996 with Teach for America. She then moved to Austin to continue teaching and completed a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Texas in 2001. In 2001, she moved to North Carolina, taught a year in Henderson County, and began teaching at Francine Delany in 2002. She has experience ranging from the primary grades through middle school and has worked as both a teacher of exceptional children as well as general education teacher during her career. She completed National Board Certification in literacy in 2008.  At FDNSC she has taught first, second, third, and sixth grades. She currently serves as the exceptional children’s teacher and curriculum specialist.

Amy Powchak, Exceptional Children’s Teacher (236-9441 ext. 230)

Amy grew up in New York state and attended SUNY Brockport, where she graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Science. She spent the next two years working at an outdoor therapeutic wilderness program for adjudicated youth in Lowgap, North Carolina. This experience changed her career trajectory and inspired her to become an Exceptional Children’s teacher. She then pursued this passion, earning a Master of Arts in teaching through Western Carolina University. Amy has worked in Buncombe County and Asheville City Schools at the elementary and middle school levels prior to joining the Francine Delany team. She lives in the West Asheville neighborhood with her husband and 2 teenage children and enjoys spending time in nature running, camping, and traveling. She is delighted to be part of the Francine Delany New School for Children community.


Exceptional Children Contract Personnel:

Michael Grandis – Psychologist

Melodie Meadows and Kristen Kershaw Swanson – Speech/Language Therapists

Ariane Piercy – Occupational Therapist

David Downing – Physical Therapist

Nita Smith – Teacher of the Visually Impaired

Amy Whitworth – Hearing Impaired Teacher


Dispute Resolution:

Concerns for the education of students with special needs can be addressed by following Francine Delany’s Parent Grievance Procedure. If the concerns are not resolved with satisfaction or a parent wants Exceptional Children dispute resolution information, the information can be found on the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction – EC Division’s website here.


Transfer Students:

When a student transfers to or enrolls at FDNSC with an Individual Education Plan (IEP), the school will provide Exceptional Children’s (EC) services that are comparable to those being received at the student’s previous school. FDNSC EC and 504 Coordinator will request the student’s record from their previous school(s) and will determine if the  records are complete. If the student’s current IEP is from North Carolina, then the IEP team will meet as soon as possible to review and revise the IEP. If the student has moved from another state, the school will convene a referral meeting to determine if the IEP team has enough information to continue services without new evaluations or if evaluations are necessary in order to determine eligibility in North Carolina.

Child Find:

Francine Delany New School for Children follows all state and federal regulations governing locating, identifying, and evaluating children with disabilities who are in need of special education and related services. This effort also includes highly mobile children with disabilities (such as migrant and homeless children) and children who are suspected of being a child with a disability and in need of special education, even though they are advancing from grade to grade. FDNSC will inform parents and or guardians of the Child Find Process and the services available from FDNSC, local school systems, and other state and community agencies. The EC coordinator will assist with communication between home, school, and community services. NC Department of Public Instruction Child Find Posters are posted in the main office and EC office areas. Brochures are available in the Main Office.


Helpful Parent Links:

Department of Public Instruction: Dyslexia and Dyscalculia–This DPI page provides information and resources regarding dyslexia and dyscalculia.

What is Dyslexia? – A short video describing dyslexia. Here is the same video with Spanish subtitles.

Annual Public Report For Students With Disabilities — 2012-2013

Handbook on Parents’ Rights — This handbook will help you understand the legal rights provided for you and your child with a disability.

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction: Exceptional Children Division — The State Board of Education site provides links to Exceptional Children policies, parent resources, DPI staff, etc.

ECAC: Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center — ECAC is a private non-profit parent organization that provides information, education, outreach, and support to families across the state of North Carolina.

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities — NICHCY acts as a source of information on disabilities in infants, toddlers, children, and youth. This site also provides easy-to-read information on IDEA, the law authorizing early intervention services and special education.

LD OnLine — This website provides information on learning disabilities and ADHD.

Autism Society of North Carolina — ASNC is a statewide organization, supporting North Carolinians affected by autism.

TEACCH Autism Program — The TEACCH program creates community-based services, training programs, and research for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and for their families.