Staff Spotlight: Amanda Kelley’s Journey of Passion at Y.A.L.E. School

Fate works in mysterious ways! Y.A.L.E. BCBA Amanda Kelley is the perfect example of being at the right place at the right time, as she was destined to work at Y.A.L.E. School. It all started with a class project.

As a rising senior at Rowan University, Amanda visited Y.A.L.E. School to collect data for a project and fell in love with the population of students, staff, and the school as a whole. Little did she know this experience would imprint itself deeply on her heart.

Amanda had a clear vision for her post-graduation journey: to pursue her passion at Y.A.L.E. School. And that is exactly what she did! Amanda applied and was hired at Y.A.L.E. and started her journey at the Southeast at Marlton Campus in 2014.

Over the next four years, Amanda helped students learn everything from soft skills such as interacting with others to more practical skills, like making a sandwich. “Coming to work and watching a student excel at something and use skills that I helped them learn is such a wonderful thing to experience. Everything new they do is a big deal – preparing their own food is a superpower for them,” says Amanda.

In 2018, Amanda had to relocate for family reasons, but only a year later, she quickly found her way back to Y.A.L.E. School and has been here ever since. “I’m glad I made my way back,” she says. “There are a lot of lifers at Y.A.L.E. and I feel that way too. I was meant to work here.”

Now working at Y.A.L.E.’s Mullica campus, Amanda enjoys the benefits this “school-within-a-school” offers her students, as it allows them to spend time with students outside the program during recess, art, gym, and other activities. This unique model fosters many opportunities for students and their peers to interact, empowering Y.A.L.E. students to apply the skills learned in the classroom in the real world.

”This model gives children with special needs the chance to make friendships and interact with their peers,” says Amanda. “And there’s the added benefit of the other population of students learning how to better engage with their peers who have special needs.”

Beyond her passion for student development, Amanda finds joy in her role as a new mother, cherishing moments spent with her daughter and engaging in activities to support her growth and learning.