Main Menu

Our Team

John Ficca

John founded Hands On Educational Services in 1998. He spent 10 years in the US Coast Guard, and has a combined 25 years in special education and vocational rehabilitation; including classroom teaching of all grade levels and abilities. He has received local, state and national recognitions / awards, and is a recipient of the Presidential White House Champions of Change Award. John’s higher education includes a BA in Special Education - Behavioral Disorders from the University of South Florida, a Graduate Certificate in Disabilities in Society from the University of Florida, and several ASL courses. He is an avid sports fan, music aficionado, and enjoys hiking with his family.

 

Brittany Alers

Brittany received her Mass Communications degree from the University of South Florida in 2016. She previously worked with USF Student Wellness’s communications department. After starting with Hands On Education as a Media Assistant, she became inspired by the “Hands On” approach our team takes when developing personalized work experiences for our students. She now wears many hats as Media Assistant, Training Manager, and Project Coordinator for our Hillsborough County partnership. Brittany brings her education experience and creativity to the Hands On table. In her spare time, she enjoys music, movies and pursing continued education.

 

Dima Ayoub

Dima comes to Hands On with 10 years of professional experience in Retail and Customer Service. Her college education focused on Public Health and Nutrition, but the reason she excels is because she truly cares about the students we serve. Dima lives in Tampa and enjoys spending time with her family and close friends. She comes to every event with a warm smile and a delicious side dish as she is an awesome cook.

 

Judi Berland

Judi Berland is a retired vocational rehabilitation counselor having worked in the field for over 30 years including a year in Israel working with people with intellectual disabilities. She was also Jewish educator working as the Education Director of a Hebrew School in the Washington, D.C. area.

Now she has the time to volunteer, Judi works with young children in the Early Readers Program and residents of Jewish Foundation for Group Homes, and helps a Syrian refugee family. Judi loves to travel. Next stop Cuba!

 

Sue Bronislawki

Sue Bronislawki has been associated with the Orlando hospitality industry for over thirty years. She has had the pleasure of working both sides of this program; she has worked as the employer for the clients we serve and also as the provider with Hands On Educational Services and Hands on Employment Services since 2004. Her experience is with employment, supported employment, pre placement training, and vocational exploration.

 

Linda Brown

Linda’s professional career spans many years, and both sides of Vocational Rehabilitation. She worked as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor with FL Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, then transferred to the FL Division of Blind Services. Linda retired as a well-respected District Administrator, and received a state-wide award for her innovative approach to career development for the individuals served by DVR/DBS. Hands On is lucky to have Linda as Q&A Consultant who wants to remain involved in the World of Rehab.

Caitlyn Bukaty

Caitlyn A. Bukaty, PhD, brings nearly 20 years of experience working with individuals with disabilities to her work with Hands On Educational Services and Hands On Employment. After years of work in classrooms and communities, Caitlyn earned her doctorate in exceptional education focusing on secondary transition and post-school outcomes. Her research interests include infusing technology and Universal Design for Learning to optimize students’ post-school living, learning, and earning.

 

Jacob Causey

Jacob Causey joined our team as an intern of the Hands On @Hyatt program in the summer of 2015. He has worn several different hats with Hands On including technology specialist, classroom instructor, and accounts administrator. Jake earned his BS in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida and has extensive field research experience. His science background has given him valuable interpersonal skills and experience managing and evaluating large data sets which he now brings to the Hands On team. Jake enjoys backpacking, birding, and wildlife photography. In his community Jake mentors students with ASD, and is involved with the Dungeons & Dragons club at his local library.

 

Mike Cornelius

Mike has been a social services professional in Tampa since 1984. He has much experience in the mental health field working with children with developmental disabilities and their families. Mike previous experience includes Management and Program Development. He attained his Master’s Degree in Organizational Management & Leadership in 2001. Mike uses his 38 years of professional management and administrative experience in being a Training Manager for Hands On Education.

 

Debi Dato

Debi brings our team 25+ years of Office Management experience – including the Foundation of the YMCA, Environmental Consulting firms and Optical Manufacturing. Debi started working with Hands On in 2005, as the Assistant to the Director, and she is a valued member of our team. She works diligently with the counselors, training managers, and the clients / families that we serve.

 

Jackie June

Jackie June studied Early Childhood Education in her hometown of Shaftesbury, England. After moving to the US, Jackie worked in the DC area and her career eventually led her to the Tampa Bay Area. In 2009, Jackie’s husband was diagnosed with ALS which thrust her into the role of caregiver and disability advocate. This experience changed Jackie’s professional outlook and she wanted to do more for adults with ALS, and other disabilities that created barriers to work. Jackie has been working with Hands On Education for three years, and she has two wonderful children.

 

Susy Nelson

Susy Nelson joined Hands On Education in the Spring of 2019. Before joining the team with Hands On Education, she sold her latest business venture which she co-founded as a specialty finance lender but transitioned the business to a Financial Technology company. Susy also enjoys being a community volunteer with many organizations in Tampa, but the one most dear to her heart has always been Metropolitan Ministries serving the children and families through volunteering and chairing fundraising events. She is also a very proud mom to her son and daughter.

 

Tonya Sanchez

Tonya Sanchez is third generation Tampa Native. After graduating from USF, she married her high school sweetheart and embarked on a 15-year career in sales and marketing. Tonya is the proud mother of a son and daughter. She enthusiastically joined Hands On Education in November 2018, after a 12 year hiatus from the paid workforce. Tonya stated, “I’m passionate about helping my clients, I feel like they all are my children and I want the very best for them.”

 

Rana Shahrouri

Rana serves as a Training Manager with Hands On Education and as teacher/tutor with Orange County Public Schools. She holds a Master’s degree in Health Services Management and a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health. Rana previously worked with non-profit NGO’s, running and implementing international social/health programs offered by the UN and EU. Her experience included promoting and providing training and technical assistance to clinics, and child health care agencies. She also has experience in managing small private businesses. When she’s not working, she is also a mom to a 15-years-old son.

 

Morgan Shupsky

Morgan started with Hands On as an intern in the summer of 2019 and instantly fell in love with the mission of the program. She worked with the Hands On at Hyatt two-week training program and Vocational Explorations program in Orlando. Morgan is currently pursuing a degree in Business Administration with a minor in Disabilities in Society at the University of Florida. She hopes to provide opportunities for underserved communities in the job force. While at school in Gainesville, she is involved with Special Olympics Alachua County, TOPSoccer Gainesville, and Inclusive Fitness and Unified Sports through UF.

 

Audrey Ficca

Audrey Ficca serves as administrator for Hands On Educational Services. She brings to the team patience and organizational skills gleaned from her prior work as a Project Manager, Project Geologist, and Science Educator. She is an avid mom, who in her down-time enjoys reading, writing, yoga, geology & the natural world. She loves retreating to the Smoky Mountains with her family and exploring nature in all its glory. Audrey is currently working on her first novel.