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Founding Director


Dr. Debra Chiaradonna, MA, Ph.D.

 Dr. Debra Chiaradonna — an esteemed educator, author, presenter, panelist and advocate for children with learning differences — is the Founding Director of Catherine’s Place. Driven by a determination to give youth a voice, Chiaradonna has dedicated her career to working with and educating children with specialized learning needs, building awareness of exceptionalities and learning differences.

For more than 20 years, Dr. Chiaradonna worked with the Lower Merion School District as a director and an educator for Emotional Support and Special Education programs, developing and implementing programs and self-contained classrooms for multiple middle schools and high schools.

For the past five years, Dr. Chiaradonna has served as Chair of Chestnut Hill College’s Education Department while also in private practice as an education consultant and advocate. Her practice provided services identifying barriers to academic achievement and social development for adolescents and young adults; specializing in working with individuals having learning differences and Attention Deficit Disorder. This involves collaboration with clients’ private therapists, advocates, and school districts as well as with parents to encourage implementing at-home strategies for working with their child.

As an educator, parent, advocate, and role model Dr. Chiaradonna embodies our belief that Empowered Women Empower Women