Michael Lafasakis, Ph.D., LBA/BCBA-D
President and CEO
Dr. Lafasakis is the owner, President and Chief Executive Officer of Saint Paul’s Autism Research & Training Academy (SPARTA), a non-profit organization (501c3 designation pending) with a NY office and based in Episkopi, Rethymno on the island of Crete in Greece.Dr. Lafasakis is currently preparing SPARTA’s applications in the United States (US) and Greece, office and land leases, business accounts and educational/treatment materials to begin research grant solicitations in the Spring of 2018.
SPARTA is expected to obtain grant funding between 2019-2020 and possibly begin soliciting research subjects between 2020-2022.Nonrandom sampling will be used to identify a maximum of 4 nonverbal children between ages 2-5 from rural and/or agricultural areas of Rethymno or other nearby cities of Crete.SPARTA’s research will consist of applying current and innovative ABA treatment practices for a full day at the child’s home and school.
Philip Adikimenakis MS, CPA, RBT
Board of Directors -Vice President
Mr. Adikimenakis graduated in 2016 from the Bernard M. Baruch College of the City University of NY with his Masters in Accountancy with a minor in Psychology. He is a CPA and consultant for Tax Accounting and IRS related matters.
George Meskouris, BA
Board of Directors - Secretary
Mr. Meskouris serves SPARTA as the Secretary and Direct Support to the CEO and has a strong and well-rounded background in healthcare service management. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Queens College, and has a strong and well-rounded background in management of healthcare services. In his free time, Mr. Meskouris enjoys spending time with loved ones, going to the gym, and playing the drums
Benjamin Thomas, Ph.D. BCBA
Co-Chief Clinical Research Director
Dr. Benjamin Thomas is Associate Clinical Director of the Claremont Autism Center at Claremont McKenna College and has been a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) since 2007. He holds a master’s degree in psychology from Queen’s College of the City University of New York, and recently completed his doctorate in developmental psychology at Claremont Graduate University. Ben has over 16 years of experience providing service and training to individuals with developmental disabilities, as well as their families and educators in a variety of settings. Ben has also published research in peer-reviewed journals and presented at local, state, national, and international conferences on topics related to behavioral assessment, intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder.
Stamatios Gianoumis M. Phil, BCBA
Clinical Research Director
Stamatios has dedicated his professional career to the treatment of individuals with ASD and the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. He attained a Masters in the Clinical Application of Behavior Analysis through Queens College/CUNY and attended the Learning Processes and Behavior Analysis PhD program through The Graduate Center/CUNY. Stamatios furthered his education at Hunter College/CUNY studying Special Education. Driven by the ever-growing ASD epidemic and the limitation of having only two hands, he focused his research and clinical practice in the training and supervision of interventionists for individuals with ASD, so they may deliver the highest quality of services possible, using peer-reviewed research-validated treatments. Stamatios also enjoys applying this training/supervision model to the families of the children he works with, giving them the tools they need to be active proponents of positive change in their child’s life.
Nicolle Tursenovic, M.S., LBA-LP
Clinical Research Director
Ms. Tursenovic is a NYS Certified School Psychologist and NYS Licensed Behavior Analyst holding a limited permit. Ms. Tursenovic received her Master’s in School Psychology from St. John’s University in New York in 2010 and an advanced certification in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) from the Florida Institute of Technology in 2014. Ms. Tursenovic has practiced ABA under the supervision of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) since 2007 within various settings, including schools, homes, and hospitals. Within these settings, Ms. Tursenovic has worked with children, adolescents, and adults with Autism, Developmental Disabilities, and Psychiatric Disorders.
Ms. Tursenovic has worked as a School Psychologist since 2010, providing counseling and crisis intervention to students of varying disabilities, district-wide parent training to parents of students with Autism, as well as providing psycho-educational evaluations. Ms. Tursenovic has extensive experience working with non-verbal children with Autism, teaching basic communication and self-help skills. Ms. Tursenovic also worked as part of a unique team developed by the Department of Justice, within an acute psychiatric in-patient hospital setting, developing behavioral management systems and protocols, as well as educating staff on principles of behavior and teaching behavior management strategies. This was part of an initiative to improve the quality of patient care in hospital settings, as well as reduce problematic or dangerous behaviors among patients. As a Clinical Director of St. Paul's Autism Research and Training Academy, Ms. Tursenovic looks forward to continuing to provide quality ABA services to children with Autism and their families.
Joanna Spartinos, MS Ed.
Clinical Research Director
Joanna Spartinos graduated from Adelphi University in 2011 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a double minor in history and education. She also received her Master’s degree in Childhood Education from Adelphi University in addition to an Advanced Certificate in Special Education in 2012. In May 2018, Joanna received an Advanced Certificate in Applied Behavioral Analysis from Queens College. Joanna currently has her NYS Professional Certification, Students with Disabilities, Grades 1-6 as well as a NYS Professional Certification, Childhood Education, Grades 1-6. She taught as the General Education teacher for five years in a community school in the Bronx. During this time, she taught fourth grade for one year and first grade for three years, three of those years in first grade were in an ICT classroom. The classroom experience allowed for her to develop her teaching skills as well as effectively design and differentiate curriculum in all subject areas for all learners.
For the past six years Joanna has also been providing ABA services to students diagnosed with ASD or other disabilities under the supervision of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). This experience has led for her to develop skills in discrete trial training, incidental teaching, and implementing activity schedules. Joanna is currently on track to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and Licensed Behavior Analyst (LBA).
Maria Kalesiou, BA
Clinical Research Director
Maria Kalesiou graduated from University of Crete in 2009 with her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. She then graduated with her Master’s Degree in Special Education from the University of Tourino in 2012. Maria began to work in the classroom from 2012 as a Special Education teacher for children with special needs. She has experience working as a self-contained teacher with a class of five students as well as a 1:1 Special Education Teacher pushing into classrooms to support her student. She has worked with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as well as ADHD. Maria is also certified by the country of Greece to teach individuals aged 18 and older who are pursuing completion of their middle school or high school diplomas. As of 2018, Maria is a Doctoral student at the University of Crete. She is studying sibling relationships/interactions/self-esteem in families with a child diagnosed with Autism, ADHD, or is intellectually disabled. She has collaborated on research projects with her professors at the University of Crete. She has published two research publications.
Her first publication is entitled, “Fatherhood in families with a disabled child``. She was also a co-author for the publication titled, “Basic aspects of imitation in mother-twin infants’ triangular interactions from 2nd to 6th month of life”. She has presented numerous presentations and posters at conferences in Greece and Europe.
Dimitra Lionaki, BA
Dimitra Lionaki graduated from University of Crete in 2018 with her Bachelor's Degree at school of Philosophy in the department of History and Archaeology. She is a certified teacher at middle school and high school and a private teacher in the primary school. She has attended a 1-year seminar titled "Training in Intercultural Education" which was completed on March in 2019. She has worked with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD and Dyslexia since 2012. Also she attended a variety of seminars for Special Education. Now she is a student in her Master's Degree in Special Education at the University of Nicosia. She will graduate by the end of 2020. In her free time, Dimitra Lionaki enjoys traveling, spending time with family, friends and decorate her home.
Georgia Manolioudi, BA
Georgia Manolioudi received her Bachelor’s in Early Education from the University of Crete in 2015. She has participated in several seminars and conferences on psychology, education and autism. She has attended a program on Intercultural Education for students with refugees and migrant background form University of Aegean. She has been teaching children ages 4 to 6 with autism and ADHD. She has been teaching in summer camps since 2016, as a teacher and as an assistant director. Georgia is also attending a master in special education in University of Nicosia. Moreover, she is a traditional dancing teacher.
Katerina Fragiadaki, BA
Katerina Fragiadaki graduated from University of Crete in 2012 with her Bachelorʹs Degree in Early Childhood Education. She then graduated with her Master’s Degree in School Psychology from University of Nicosia in 2018. She began to work in classroom from 2014 as a teacher and at the same time as 1:1 Special Education Teacher pushing into classrooms to support her student with special needs and especially autism.
Manos Kouratoras, BA
Mr. Emmanuel Kouratoras is a primary school teacher. He got the bachelor degree on July 2015 after 4 years of studying at University of Crete (OUC). In this four-year period he had one and a half year of practical work in several schools which helped him adapt to different working environments. He is also an electric guitar teacher after completing his studies at Athens conservatoire (Department of Rethymno) city. In his free time he likes to play the guitar, listen to rock music and go for jogging. He also loves designing and building shisha/hookah devices and taking care of his African-cichlids Aquarium.
Sofia Drakaki, BA
Sofia Drakaki comes from a small town of Crete, Sitia. She was born in 1984 in Heraklion,Crete and she is 35 years old. She studied in Rethymnon and has lived there for 16 years. She is communicative, social and she loves children very much.She graduated from University of Crete in 2009 with her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. She holds a C2 level Test of Interactive English from the service of Quality of Qualifications Ireland (ACELS) in 2015 and a B2 level Certificate of practical application of the French language “Understanding and Expression” from University of Paris-Sorbonne in 2016. Also, she is certified in the use of computers in the following “ Word Processing, Spreadsheets, Internet Services, Databases, Computer Practice & File Management”. In 2018, she is participated and successfully completed the annual 500 hours training program from University of Aegean with a theme “ Training in Intercultural Education”. In this year 2019, she participate in the annual 420 hours training program from University of Aegean for “Special Education”.
Vaso Makraki, BA
Vasiliki Makraki is a teacher in special education. She received her Bachelor’s in Greek Philosophy from University of Crete in 2012. She completed her Masters Degree in Special Education in 2019 and she has attended numerous seminars on special education. Vasiliki has worked with autistics children on first grade as a support teacher. She has also experience in students with learning difficulties as private teacher since 2012. She has been involved in research on the emotional management of children in the context of Erasmus+ Project in University of Crete, in which greek teachers have been training on affective education. Moreover, she has attending a program in teacher training in intercultural education for students with refugee and migrant backgrounds from University of Aegean.
Christos Korompilis, BA
Christos Korompilis graduated from University of Crete in 2016 with his bachelor’s Degree in Department of Primary Education. He has worked as a teacher at school for eighteen months. In 2018, he started attending a certified seminar with title “Training in Intercultural Education” from University of the Aegean and he completed his studies in 2019. Afterward, he attended various educational seminars in the field of Special Education and Child Psychology. In 2019, he started attending a seminar in Special Education from University of the Aegean and he will be certified as a special education teacher by the end of March in 2020. Also, he has experience as a tutor teacher and especially children with learning disabilities in writing and reading. In his free, he enjoys playing basketball and going to the gym.