Our teachers at Diverse Abilities understand the complexities of the different disabilities and are trained to educate, motivate and help students.



Maria Preston, M.S. Ed, BCBA is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Florida Certified Exceptional Education teacher with over 20 years’ experience working with individuals with autism and related disabilities.

She is Clinical Director of MP Behavioral Consultants which is a therapy-based center that provides ABA therapy in the home, schools, and community and she is the Director and owner of Diverse Abilities Center for Learning and Therapy (formerly Broward Academy) which is a center that serves individuals with autism and related disabilities ages 3 years through adulthood.

In addition to serving as a classroom teacher, Maria has also served as grant writer, Curriculum Specialist and Trainer for Special Needs services in Orange County Schools, Inclusion Specialist and consultant in Monroe County Schools, and ESE Specialist and Behavior Specialist in Osceola County Schools.

Maria assisted in designing the discipline guidelines for Osceola County Schools and she served on the Alternative School Committee. In addition to providing therapy and advocacy services for individuals who need it, Maria travels throughout the US as a consultant and even as far as India, the Caribbean Islands, and France to design programs for individuals with special needs and consult with other professionals.

In South Florida, Maria Preston served as adjunct professor and consultant with Miami Dade College to assist in developing their Exceptional Education teacher program. Maria’s hobbies include spearfishing, surfing, wakeboarding, painting, and teaching spin and boot camp classes.


Heather Spicer has been a Teacher at Broward Academy since the school opened in 2006.
Before this she worked with a local agency that specializes in individuals with developmental
Heather is also a Registered Behavioral Technician and holds current certifications in
PCM, First Aid, and CPR. She has worked in school, home and clinical settings for 19 years.


Born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida 39 years old, Kesha has been working with troubled teens and kids. As an assistant pastor at Lighthouse of Faith Ministries evangelizing and pastoring for over twelve years. She is the mother of three boys (21, 19, 15), a wife, and the youngest of two children. She has spearheaded a women’s outreach group Women’s of Integrity Care Group of over twenty five people, and is also a leader in her community. She is extremely passionate about her work in the school helping children succeed and become productive citizens. She enjoys motivating, encouraging, and pushing the children to their destiny. She also is a entrepreneur of her own skin care line All Natural Body Beauty scrubs. She is currently working on her Master’s in theology. And she looks forward to work with your children. It takes a village!


My name is Miryam Alarcon and I have dedicated the past 28 years of my life to teaching and being in various leadership roles in preschool and elementary school institutions. I gained a Bachelor’s Degree in the Science of Education from Saint Augustine National University and Bachelor Degree in Physical Education. In 2004 I received a Director’s Credential from Nova University, following a Master’s Degree in Instructional Design and Diversity Education in 2010. For the past 18 years I have been a Director of two prestigious Preschool and Kindergarten and have successfully maintained a high level educational results for students, as well as guided teachers to improve classroom techniques to suit the individual needs of each child within their classroom.
My passion for sports led me to be a Physical Education teacher.


My name is Maribel Montenegro. I completed my studies in Special Education with a Degree in Educational Psychology with Specialization in Learning Disabilities and Emotional Disorders. I am married and have 3 wonderful children. I have worked with children for the past 27 years. For the last 5 years, I have been working with kids and adults under the Autism spectrum. I am a Register Behavior Analyst as well, which allows me to combine my special education teaching skills with behavioral management in the classroom. I feel very passionate about my job, and I love working with kids with special needs. It really makes me feel super complete!
Additional Courses: CDA, CPR and First Aid, Behavioral Observation and Screening, Infant and Toddler Appropriate Practice, Preschool Appropriate Practices, Special needs appropriate practices, Supporting Children with Developmental Disabilities, Early Literacy for Children Age Birth through Three, Basic Guidance and Discipline, Emergent Literacy for VPK Instructors, Computer Technology for Child Care Professionals, Florida VPK Assessment, DOE Standards for Four Years Old, Life coaching for a Happy and successful life, communication with cognitively impaired clients, Confidentiality responsibility, HIV, FDOH Blood borne Pathogens, Zero Tolerance.


I am currently a teacher at Diverse Abilities Academy. Prior to my employment here I taught at another ABA school here in S. Florida and before that I had been employed by other ABA agencies and group homes in the New York area where I implemented ABA therapy. I am currently enrolled at Nova Southeastern University where I am pursuing a Master of Science in Developmental Disabilities with a concentration in ABA. My plan is to become a BCBA. It is with profound gratitude that I have the privilege to join Broward Academy now Diverse Abilities for my second year. I enjoy teaching and working with the students as well as together with our group of amazing staff that make our school the special place that it is and the experience it offers. I look forward to another great year!


I’m Madeline “Ms. Maddie” Marius. I am an Registered Behavior Technician. I have been working with children who have autism and Asperger’s since 2017. I specialize in one-on-one therapy time and social learning.

I have a bachelors degree from the University of New Mexico and I’m still continuing my graduation at Broward College. Before getting into Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). I was a cheer-leading coach, this is where I knew I loved working with children and young adults. I love seeing progress being made. That is the most rewarding part of my jobs.

I enjoy what I do and love working with children and young adults, and seeing them achieve their own goals.


Hello and Welcome! I’m Ms.Jackie I have been working with children since 2000.Born and raised in Brooklyn N.Y. In 1999 the sun and fun drew me to Florida. I currently live in Miramar and I enjoy reading, watching old movies and spending time with my family and friends.
My Educational and Professional Background-BCC-Nova University/ Directors Credentials CDA -VPK First Aid/CPR Certified
My Educational Philosophy-I believe in a learning environment in which students feel comfortable where expectations and rules are consistent and clear. It is important to me that students feel comfortable enough to ask questions and be themselves. I also believe that all children can and will learn. I let children know that I want them to always do their PERSONAL BEST!!


Born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 21 years old, Mr. Mike has been working and volunteering with troubled teens and kids for three years. As an Minister at Lighthouse of Faith Ministries evangelizing and outreaching for over 8 years.
He is the son of two wonderful parents, and the oldest of two children. He has spearheaded as President of Solfege Overload an Chorus group with over twenty five people, and is also a leader in his community. He is extremely passionate about his work in the school helping children succeed and become productive citizens. He loves motivating, encouraging, and pushing the children to their destiny. He also is a entrepreneur of two business.
Which is his flyer making business ( Duke Designs) and his cooking business ( Dukes Cook House).
He is currently working on his Master’s in Education and he looks forward to working with your children.


Sandra Paredes has been with the school for over a year. Has gained experience assisting students with a range of disabilities and Learning differences.
Providing teacher/classroom support; and assisted students with classroom learning, task execution, instructional activities, learner engagement and behavior modification goals. Classroom & Teacher Assistance, Special Education Support, Learning Differences, Student Safety & Supervision, Self-Contained & Inclusion Classrooms, Learning Center Organization, Class Material Preparation, Student Progress Monitoring.


By Scott Lentine

Wanting to be free
Wanting to be me
Trying to make people see
And accept the real me

Some people think my voice is too loud
And that my mannerisms strike them as being odd
This perception of me by others keeps me feeling blue
But there are plenty of struggles in life that I must get through

I am determined to show my critics my true personality
Hoping that people move away from their narrow-minded mentalities
I want them to know that I am a bright young man
Who is willing to take on as many challenges in life as I can


By Temple Grandin

I think the mistake I made when I first started giving talks was that I said everybody who’s labeled autistic is a visual learner,” Grandin said. “Only a portion of them are. You want to build on the things that a kid is good at. And when kids get labeled, whether it be with autism, Asperger’s, dyslexia, ADHD, whatever, they tend to have uneven skills.
We’re [focusing] so much on academics that we’ve taken out things like art and sewing and cooking and woodworking and music and other things that introduce kids to careers.
Kids have to be exposed to different things in order to develop. A child’s not going to find out he likes to play a musical instrument if you never exposed him to it.



Teaching children with autism and related disabilities including intellectual disabilities, hearing/visually impaired, behavioral difficulties, language delays, traumatic brain injuries, and learning disabilities.