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Our Leadership

Julia Smith MA, BCBA, LBA

Founder & East Greenwich Program Director

Julia is a board-certified behavior analyst who has worked in the field of early childhood education and behavior analysis for 15 years. She received a BS in Special Education-Early Intervention from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a MA in Applied Behavior Analysis from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She has experience as a preschool teacher as well as a clinician; working with young children and adolescents with special needs across school, home, and clinic-based settings. She has worked closely with teachers to develop curriculum and behavior intervention plans that support every student. Julia is passionate about early childhood education and research-based practices that facilitate learning through play, healthy environments, and meaningful relationships.  


Kaitlin Hendrickx MA, BCBA, LBA

Portsmouth Program Director

Kait is a board-certified behavior analyst who has worked in the fields of special education and behavior analysis for 13 years. She received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Johns Hopkins University and a master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis from Western New England University. She has worked with individuals aged 2-22 across a variety of settings, including hospitals, private and public schools, and clinics. Most of her career has been spent working

with neurodivergent children, and she loves being a part of their big and small successes as they grow and learn. She is passionate about helping children reach their potential, and is excited to bring her experience and enthusiasm to Paper Crown Preschool.


Emily Smith, BS, RBT

Pre-Kindergarten Lead Teacher & Assistant Administrator

East Greenwich Program

Emily received an AA in Child Development from CCRI in 2013 and a BA in Psychology form Rhode Island College in 2022. She has worked with children from infancy to adolescence over the course of 26 years in both private and public schools as a teacher’s assistant and as a special education paraprofessional. She is also the mother of two teenaged children. Emily is honored to have the opportunity to nurture and teach young children as they play and form social connections, both in the classroom and outdoors in nature.


Hadley Colman, MS

Pre-Kindergarten Lead Teacher & Assistant Administrator

Portsmouth Program

Hadley is from Portsmouth, RI and has experience working with children of all ages through babysitting, summer camp, and school internships. She received a B.A. in Psychology from URI in 2015 and a M.S. in Recreation – Outdoor/Environmental Education from SUNY Cortland in 2019. Hadley is now working towards becoming a RBT. She has a passion for child care and is excited to bring her knowledge and love of nature to Paper Crown Preschool.

What Sets Our Educators A Part...

Our Interview Process

When adding to our team, we consider more than just previous experience and level of education. Through a series of interviews, we also look to assess commitment to teamwork, willingness to learn and accept feedback, level of engagement, and style of interaction with young children.  


Hands-On Training and Ongoing Professional Development

All newly hired staff members, regardless of educational background, are required to complete 22 hours of new hire training that focuses on Health & Wellness, Safety & Emergency Procedures, Developmental Milestones, Wellness & Nutrition, and Behavior Management. All new team members are also required to complete an in-classroom training series that is broken down into measurable goals throughout their first three months of employment to ensure quality of care is maintained as our team grows.

Additionally, Paper Crown Preschool provides 14 hours of lecture-based professional development trainings throughout the school year for all staff members, as well as ongoing, direct training within the classroom by our BCBAs and Curriculum Coordinator. Trainings focus on skill-development related to caring for young children, our curriculum, and behavior support guidelines. 

Behavior Support Coaching

Significant, ongoing challenging behavior can lead to teacher burnout and a reduction of learning within the classroom. When teachers are given the tools needed to prevent and respond to challenging behavior, everyone wins.

Our teachers are trained in the principles and concepts of Behavior Analysis and are provided ongoing support from our Board Certified Behavior Analysts to ensure both students and teachers have a positive classroom experience. 

Teacher Highlights


Ainsley Almeida, RBT

Toddler Lead Teacher

East Greenwich Program

Ainsley joined the Paper Crown team in 2020 as one of our first teacher assistants. Through her time as a Teacher Assistant in our toddler program, Ainsley demonstrated a natural gift for working with young children. Her gentle approach and ability to turn any moment into a learning opportunity has made her a invaluable member of our East Greenwich team. Ainsley was promoted to Lead Teacher in 2022 after receiving her certification as a Registered Behavior Technician and has excelled in her most recent role.

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