Last Friday, Crane Country Day School hosted its annual gathering of learning specialists, psychologists, educators, administrators and resource professionals who successfully support families and the academic growth of students. Crane learning specialist Theresa Gorey founded the Supporting Success Forum and is responsible for assembling this group of experts. This year, she presented on “The Architecture of Learning.”

Dr. Ron Brooks began the day’s presentations with “Recent Findings in Adolescent Cognitive Development.” His content-rich lecture focused on current discoveries in cognitive neuroscience and implications for classroom learners and educators. A former Crane parent, Dr. Brooks is a clinical psychologist in private practice locally. He specializes in psychological and psychoeducational assessment.

Dr. Jordan Witt’s presentation, “Understanding and Supporting Working Memory,” made a complex topic comprehensible while his entertaining delivery delighted the audience. Dr. Witt is a clinical psychologist specializing in child and adolescent neuropsychology. He works with children, adolescents and young adults. His practice includes both individual and family therapy, as well as parent guidance and behavior modification.

Dr. Irina Kerdman presented on “Neurocognitive Benefits of Neurofeedback: ADHD, ASD, and LDs.” Dr. Kerdman’s expertise includes psychotherapy, neurofeedback, psychoanalysis, play therapy, and mindfulness for children, adolescents and young adults. She is a Crane parent and psychologist whose private practice is located in Santa Barbara.

The day continued with a remarkable local resource introduced by Elika Shahrestani, M.S, B.C.B.A, and founder of PeerBuddies. Shahrestani’s presentation, “Peer-Mediated Strategies for Social Skills Support,” offered valuable insight and strategies for successfully building social-emotional awareness and peer skills for students with developmental delays, as well as those on the autism spectrum.

Shahrestani is a board-certified behavior analyst and director of PeerBuddies. This local organization pairs special-needs individuals with peer buddies who teach, model and support social skills growth in community-based settings. Her specialties include social skills training, pivotal response treatment, applied behavior analysis, functional analysis, positive behavior supports and parent education.

This year’s forum ended on a high note. “College Admissions and the LD Student” was jointly presented by Judy Oberlander, M.A, M.ED, and Kate Pincus-Whitney. Oberlander, a former college counselor, is an educational consultant in the field of college admissions and a member of the Western Association for College Admission Counseling.

Pincus-Whitney is an eloquent Crane alumna recently accepted to Sarah Lawrence College. Her inspiring story of educational challenge, intelligence, resiliency and triumphant outcome stands as a model for all students determined to pursue successful university-level study.

Each year, Crane’s forum includes time for collaboration, conversation and best-practices exchange. Forum attendees are encouraged to bring ideas, articles and adaptive technologies used to effectively help students, teachers and families.

For more information about the forum and presenters, or to inquire about the Eighth Annual Supporting Success Forum next May, email

— Julia Davis is an admissions associate for Crane Country Day School.