Special Education

  • Special Education refers to “specially designed instruction (SDI)” to meet the needs of an exceptional student whose school performance is adversely affected. The term “exceptional” includes children with a physical, emotional, or mental disability.

    Special Education supports and services in the Bethlehem Area School District (BASD) includes a full continuum of services and are in compliance with both the federal - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and state - Chapter 14 of Pennsylvania School Code laws. BASD strives to build special programs specifically tailored to the assessed needs of a student and attempts to deliver those programs in the regular education environment as much as possible. BASD is committed to creating programs that are integrally involved with and delivered through general education.

    A student with a disability, who is in need of specially designed instruction (SDI) within BASD, is supported by a Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) and an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Per state mandates, all students deemed eligible for special education services with an IEP are re-evaluated every three years, except those students identified with an Intellectual Disability, every two years. All IEPs are reviewed and/or revised at least once a year. BASD is committed to working with parents to design and identify the supports and services that most appropriately meet the individual needs of students through district services and resources through outside agencies.

    The Who’s Who of Special Ed...


    Leigh Kuenne Rusnak
    Director of Special Education for BASD
    Phone: 610-861-0500 ext 60422 ; lrusnak@basdschools.org


    Daniel Burkholder
    Special Education Coordinator for K-12 : Speech, Autistic Support, and Gifted. Responsible for all CIU20/Out of District placements, IU Meetings, and LEA planning, etc.
    Phone: 610-861-0500 ext 60017 ; dburkholder@basdschools.org

    Julie Matla
    Special Education Coordinator for K-12 : Emotional Support (in-district) and also supervises 6-12 learning support and 504s.
    Phone: 610-861-0500 ext 60012 ; jmatla@basdschools.org

    Brenda Solitario
    Special Education Coordinator for K-12 : Life Skills Support (in-district) and also supervises K-5 learning support and 504s.
    Phone: 610-861-0500 ext 60004 ; bsolitario@basdschools.org

    Educational Support Teachers:

    Kristin Amato
    6-12 Learning Support, Students with Autism and coaching special education instructional model 6-12
    610.861.0500 EXT 60023 ; kamato@basdschools.org

    Megan Stocker
    K-12 Behavioral/Emotional Support and coaching the special education instructional model 6-12
    610.861.0500 EXT 60015 ; mstocker@basdschools.org

    Rachel Karba
    K-5 Learning Support, Students with Intellectual Disabilities and coaching the special education instructional model 6-12
    610.861.0500 EXT 60014 ; rkarbar@basdschools.org

    Katie Souders - Behavioral Support K-12, FBA Support
    610.861.0500 EXT 60018 ; ksouders@basdschools.org


    Tania Bermudez Althouse
    Case Managers / IEPs / GIEPs / NOREPs / Error Reconciliation / Out of District students
    610.861.0500 EXT 60419 ; tbermudezalthouse@basdschools.org

    Jessica Benedetto - Psychologists / ReEvaluations / Permissions / Reports / Early Intervention / Risk Restraint
    610.861.0500 EXT 60423 ; jbenedetto@basdschools.org

    Mardie Q Rivera - Counselors / Transfers / Change of Placements / New Referrals (SAP/Gifted) / 504s
    610.861.0500 EXT 60008 ; mqrivera@basdschools.org