Providing a professional administration that helps our students throughout the therapeutic process.
We were very fortunate that the school system was aware of New Alliance Academy. I can’t tell you how happy I am.
Parent of a New Alliance Academy student
New Alliance Academy is home to a caring group of professionals who work together throughout the therapeutic process.
Rebecca Oelkers holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from New York University and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Pine Manor College. Ms. Oelkers is a licensed clinical social worker with experience in providing child, adolescent and family therapy.
Prior to joining New Alliance Academy, Ms. Oelkers was the program director at an inpatient, regional Children’s Crisis Intervention Service (CCIS) for children and adolescents suffering from acute emotional distress. There she was responsible for the daily operation and service delivery of acute and intermediate psychiatric services. She worked closely with the New Jersey Department of Child Behavioral Health Services on initiatives to ensure patients and families received appropriate access and coordination of support services.
Ms. Oelkers is a Crisis Prevention Institute Certified Instructor. Her global understanding of the challenges facing students was enhanced by her role as community relations coordinator for a freestanding psychiatric hospital, during which she was liaison/resource for community providers, local government agencies, and schools.
As a hospital behavioral health performance improvement coordinator, she worked with efficiency measures focusing on program design and delivery. She participated in the development of outcome assessment parameters and clinical performance monitors, with the goal of improving individual and organizational effectiveness.
Dr. David Leigh began his education as a psychology major at the S.U.N.Y at Stony Brook where he graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in psychology. Having thoroughly enjoyed his undergraduate experience as a psychology major, Dr. Leigh pursued a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology and Certification as a School Psychologist from Montclair State University. He went on to pursue and earn his doctorate from the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP) of Rutger’s University and holds a license to practice psychology in New Jersey. Dr. Leigh earned his principal’s certificate from the Foundation for Education Administration.
With 26 years of experience as a school psychologist and director of special services, Dr. Leigh has a wide range of experience in working with students who have experienced social, emotional and behavioral challenges that have substantially impacted learning. Prior to joining the New Alliance team, Dr. Leigh focused on developing tiered interventions and programs that would support students so that they were better able to access educational opportunities and maximize potential for learning. Having spent most of his career at the secondary level, he has developed extensive understanding of the issues and challenges facing teenagers who struggle to navigate their years as high school students.
In addition to working as an educator, Dr. Leigh has worked for the past two decades as a child and adolescent psychologist offering a cognitive-behavioral approach to mental health issues. Dr. Leigh works closely with parents to understand the nature of the condition that is impacting the functional behavior of the client, while establishing targeted goals that require specific, practical interventions.
Board of Directors
Gabriel Kaplan, M.D., trained at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center and is a Board Certified Adult and Child Psychiatrist, a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a former researcher with published work in the fields of suicide, aggression, affective disorders, autism, and ADHD. A Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Dr. Kaplan has been a member of many New Jersey State committees addressing child psychiatry treatment issues. He received the 2005 Golden Bell Award for Child Advocacy from the New Jersey Mental Health Association.
John Reilly, LCSW, is the Executive Director of Sage Day Schools. He is a licensed clinical social worker, a certified child and adolescent psychotherapist and a certified psychoanalyst. Mr. Reilly’s leadership has been instrumental in developing the clinical programs at Sage Day Schools, New Alliance Academy and several indistrict programs. He maintains a psychotherapy practice in Ridgewood, N.J.
Christopher J. Leonard, LCSW, M.Ed., Educational Director of New Alliance Academy, has been Educational Director of the Sage Day Schools and Principal of Sage Day’s first campus, Sage Day at Rochelle Park, since 1998. A cum laude graduate of Boston University, Mr. Leonard earned his MSW from New York University. He gained experience at the Division of Family Guidance, as a member of the Ho-Ho-Kus Child Study Team and in private practice. Mr. Leonard earned his certification in Group Psychotherapy from the New Jersey Institute for Training in Psychoanalysis and received his M.Ed. from William Patterson University.
Bennett Silver, M.D., a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, is one of New Jersey’s noted child and adolescent psychiatrists and is on the U.S. News & World Report Top Doctor list. He completed a psychiatric residency and a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Dr. Silver has served as Medical Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services, offering a full range of continua at various hospital systems. He is also the co-founder and co-director of a large multidisciplinary psychiatric practice in New Jersey.
Robert S. Wolk, Former Director of Barnstable Academy and Sage Educational Enterprises, has been in the field of education for more than 25 years, both as a classroom teacher and school administrator. Mr. Wolk did his undergraduate work at Boston University and the American University in Washington, D.C. His Master’s degree is from New York University with studies in Paris, France and Kyoto, Japan.