Meet Our Instructors

Kristie Snape: Owner and Program Developer

kristieKristie Snape is a special education teacher with 8 years of professional experience in the public school system. She worked in Gwinnett County from 2005-2011 and Forsyth County Schools from 2011-2013. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Interrelated Special Education from Georgia Southern University in 2005 and her Master’s Degree in Special Education from Walden University in 2011. She has taught kids with many different disabilities ranging from mild to severe including Autism, Asperger’s, Learning Disabilities, ADHD, Emotional/Behavior Disorders, Intellectual Disabilities, Cerebral Palsy, Rhett’s Syndrome, and Significant Developmental Delays. Kristie started what is now Neverland Aquatics the summer of 2013 and has been growing the program ever since. She is a Red Cross Water Safety Instructor and CPR, First Aid, and Aqua Kriya Yoga Certified.

Kristie’s Story:

“After enrolling my 2 year old son, Eli, in an infant swim program, I was immediately impressed with what he was able to do in the water within such a short period of time. Prior to enrolling him into the program, we were using flotation to keep our little daredevil safe while he was jumping off the edge of our neighborhood pool. Little did we know at the time, he was not safe at all. When he was not wearing his flotation he still believed he could jump in the pool unassisted, which led to a number of close calls for us. Eli is still a daredevil, but he now has a healthy respect for water, the proper skills and confidence to play and swim safely.”

“Seeing the success of my own child led me to begin thinking about the families and students with disabilities I teach each day. I immediately began researching available programs in the area. To my surprise, the options were very limited and the only available programs came with little to no adaptive aquatics instructor training. With drowning being a leading cause of death for children with Autism and other disabilities, I knew there needed to be a program in our community that would provide an educated and experienced approach to swim instruction for our students. I made the decision in May of 2013 to start this wonderful program that we now call Neverland Aquatics. Working with children with disabilities is my passion and providing this life saving skill for them is beyond rewarding.”

Theresa Wiist: Adaptive Aquatics Instructor & Office Manager: Scheduling, Payments, & Enrollment

Theresa was a special education teacher for 9 years in Gwinnett County Public Schools before coming to us. She was elected teacher of the year at her local school and in the top 25 for all of Gwinnett County. She was also a mentor teacher for the county where she acted as a role model and coach for new and struggling special education teachers. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Interrelated Special Education from Georgia Southern University in 2005 and her Master’s Degree in Special Education from Walden University in 2010. She has taught kids with many different disabilities ranging from mild to moderate including Autism, Asperger’s, Learning Disabilities, ADHD, Emotional/Behavior Disorders, Intellectual Disabilities, and Significant Developmental Delays. She loves applying all that she has learned and acquired in her classroom on land to her new classroom in the water! Theresa is a Red Cross Water Safety Instructor and CPR and First Aid Certified. You can contact Theresa by e-mail at twiist@adaptedswim.com.

Catherine Warnock: Adaptive Aquatics Instructor

Catherine PictureCatherine is a Special Education teacher with eleven years of experience working with students on the Autism Spectrum, as well as those with ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, and learning disabilities. She received her Master’s Degree in Special Education (with a specialization in Autism and Behavior Disorders) from Georgia State University in 2009. Catherine has worked in Gwinnett County Public Schools since 2005. In addition to her special education background, Catherine is a former competitive swimmer, coach, and swim instructor with 18 years of aquatics experience. Catherine is a Red Cross Water Safety Instructor and CPR and First Aid Certified. Catherine is an amazing instructor and we are so glad to have her on our team!

Rebekah Hook: Adaptive Aquatics Instructor

Rebekah Head ShotRebekah is currently in college working towards a Bachelor’s in Special Education. She has eight years experience working with children with varying needs such as ADHD, Autism, Bipolar Disorder, and learning disabilities. In addition to working with students with special needs, Rebekah is a former competitive swimmer of nine years with experiencing in coaching younger students as well. Rebekah is a Red Cross Water Safety Instructor with abilities to adapt curriculum to meet all students’ needs. She is also CPR, First Aid, and Aqua Kriya Yoga Certified.

Morgan Wojcik: Adaptive Aquatics Instructor

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Morgan has a degree in both psychology and communication sciences and disorders. She hopes to one day receive her masters and become an SLP. She is currently WSI, CPR/first aid, and Kriya Aqua Yoga certified. She has always been passionate about children and enjoys watching them reach their full potential and have fun in the water!

Elizabeth Whitten: Adaptive Aquatics Instructor

Elizabeth is trained in Adaptive Aquatics and is a fabulous addition to our team. Her kind spirit and rigorous lessons speak for themselves. She comes to us with loads of swimming experience and does an excellent job of tapping into the potential of each of our students with a balance of warmth with high expectations.

Some words from Elizabeth: “I love all things water and have loved them since I was a small kid. Starting when I was nine years old, I was on swim teams through high school. When I competed in high school, my main events were the 500m freestyle and the 100m butterfly. I have been teaching swimming since 2009 in a variety of ways, from coaching on swim teams to teaching private lessons. I am a certified Water Safety Instructor and Lifeguard/Professional Rescuer and Emergency Oxygen and First Aid/CPR/AED certified. I am very knowledgeable about the sport, to which I have my personal coaches to thank (several who were in the Olympic Trials at one time). My passion really is to help people of all levels and ages reach their goals to swim and swim well. I love a good challenge and love the smile of another’s success. I’m so thankful to be working with Neverland for the chance to continue to help others swim and be successful in the water.”

Mitsy Merritt: Adaptive Aquatics Instructor

MitsyMitsy Merritt has a B.S in Elementary Education from Kennesaw State University. She taught in a private school in Cobb county and currently home-schools her own children. She has worked with the Tommy Nobis Center, a vocational rehabilitation center for people with disabilities, as a job coach. She also has had a hippotherapy and horse backing riding facility at her farm. When she is not in the pool she is probably riding or caring for a horse. She loves being in the water has a passion for children who learn in exceptional ways. Mitsy is a Red Cross Water Safety Instructor and is CPR and First Aid Certified.

 


Not close to the Metro Atlanta Area? We are working hard to train instructors across the nation in our adaptive aquatics program. If you don’t see your location represented below, have your local swim school contact us about trainings! These instructors have completed our Adaptive Aquatics Training Course and are implementing adaptive aquatics programming at their own locations.

Phyllis Palma
Atlanta, GA
phyllis.palma@gmail.com

Ruth Hubner
Midway, GA
YMCA of Coastal Georgia
http://www.ymcaofcoastalga.org/
ruth.hubner@yahoo.com

Chelsea Ankeny
Mission Viejo, CA
Mission Viejo Nadadores Swimming
www.mvnswim.org
swimschool@mvnswim.org

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