• Wildwood School About us

    About us


    Wildwood School is a non-profit, private school approved by the New York State Education Department that is certified to educate students ages 5-21 in 21 classrooms from approximately 60 school districts reaching 14 counties. The school employs almost 200 staff.

    Our school is comprised of four program levels: Elementary, Intermediate, High School, and Young Adult. Although the entire school is one learning community, each program level functions as its own Professional Learning Community with the emphasis on student and staff learning. Essential outcomes for all students have been developed with on-going common formative assessments used to drive instruction based on data from the assessments.

    Our elementary, intermediate and high school classrooms are located at our Curry Rd. Ext., Schenectady building and our program for young adult students takes place in our Latham facility located at 1190 Troy-Schenectady Rd. During the summer months, all students in our Young Adult Program are located in Latham and all other students who attend classes at Curry Rd. during the school year may have the option of attending program in our Altamont location, which provides an outdoor educational program, if it is appropriate based on their needs and goals.

    The school provides a comprehensive educational program for students to prepare them to be as independent as possible. There is a blend of academic, social, employment, and functional skills that are taught to each student driven by their Individual Educational Plan (IEP), needs and interests. Each classroom has one teacher and up to 5 teaching assistants depending on student numbers.

    We provide many supports and related services to students and family members such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, social work, speech and language therapy, behavior supports, nursing services, work based learning, transition coordination, instructional technology support, adaptive physical education, music therapy, and art enrichment.

  • Wildwood School Admission Process

    Thank you for your interest in Wildwood School.  The following is some helpful information regarding our admission process:

    Step 1: Family informational visit and tour

    The family and any other relevant parties come for an informational tour and visit. The purpose of this visit is to receive general information in regard to the program, family involvement, and support services. A tour of the building and brief observation of a classroom will also take place. Tours can be scheduled by calling the main office at 518-836-2200.


    Step 2: Referral by school district (if not already completed)

    A referral is made by the school district and sent to the admissions chairperson. Referral information should include: current IEP, most recent psychological eval, speech eval, OT/PT evals (if applicable), and FBA and BIP (if applicable).


    Step 3: Collection of relevant data

    The family sends in parent questionnaire (received on informational tour) along with the student’s most recent physical examination (updated within a year), immunization records, and current photo.


    Step 4: Review of information

    All gathered information will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee to determine if the student meets the mission of Wildwood School.


    Step 5: Family and student admissions review

    If the student appears to meet the mission of Wildwood School, an admission review will be scheduled with the family and student to come to Wildwood School to gain more information about student and family needs. On the visit, any additional questions the family may have regarding our program will be answered as well. After the admissions review, the Admissions Committee will observe the student in their current program (if applicable) to aid in the decision-making process.


    Step 6: Student observation in program

    After the admissions review, the Admissions Committee will observe the student in their current program (if applicable) to aid in the decision making process.


    Step 7: Admissions Committee meeting and decision

    Following the admissions review, the Admissions Committee will evaluate the student’s needs and determine if Wildwood School can meet the needs of the student.

    If the student is accepted into Wildwood School, the school district and parent will be notified by telephone and in writing. Enrollment papers will be provided to the parent for completion.

    If it is determined that the student is appropriate, but an appropriate placement is not available, the school district and parent will be notified by telephone and in writing and the student will be placed on a waitlist.

    If it is determined that Wildwood School is unable to meet the student’s needs, the school district and family will be notified by telephone and in writing that the student has not been accepted.


    Step 8: Placement

    Once a program is formulated and agreed upon, placement of the student will be carried out. CSE approval is needed before the start of the program. All enrollment paperwork must be received one week prior to the student’s start date or the date may be moved back.




    For student’s on the waitlist:

    When a potential appropriate opening becomes available, we will contact the school district to inquire if placement is still being sought. Due to the ever changing needs of our population, we will reassess the student to determine if we are able to meet their current needs. This may include re-reviewing the file, visiting the student in their current placement, and/or speaking with the student’s previous placement.

  • Wildwood School Leadership Team

    Cindy Riggi
    Interim Director of Education; Associate Director of Operations and Clincial Services

    Ms. Riggi is a New York State certified School Administrator and Supervisor (SAS) and School District Administrator (SDA) who serves as the Associate Director for Operations and Clinical Services.  For many years, she worked directly with students at all program levels at Wildwood School as a certified and licensed Speech and Language Pathologist and then as the Department Lead for Speech and Language Therapy and Chairperson for the Admissions Committee.  As Associate Director, Cindy oversees the hiring, orientation, and appraisal process for all staff.  In addition, she works closely with Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Social Work, Nurses and Admissions Committee.

    Kelly Sagan
    Program Coordinator for the Intermediate Level

    Ms. Sagan started working at Wildwood School in 2010. She received her Bachelor's degree from Siena College and her Master's Degree in Special Education/Adolescent Education from the College of Saint Rose. Throughout her time at Wildwood, Ms. Sagan has served as a teaching assistant and as a teacher at the intermediate program level. Ms. Sagan is working toward obtaining her School Building Leader and School District Leader Certifications from Stony Brook University, anticipated Spring 2022. She is the Program Coordinator for Instruction at the Intermediate level. Ms. Sagan also helps lead and plans for our summer extension program in Altamont.

    John Clausson
    Coordinator of Instruction for the Young Adult Program and Transition Readiness Department

    Mr. Clausson is the Program Coordinator for instruction at our Young Adult Program. John is a Licensed, Certified School Social Worker and graduated with his MSW from SUNY Albany in 2005. Prior to his new role, John oversaw Wildwood’s Work-Based Learning and Transition Dept. for the past 7 years. He has helped students of all abilities use the skills developed through their education in order to find post-secondary success through employment, OPWDD and ACCES-VR services. 

    Melanie Hickman, RN
    Lead Nurse for Wildwood School Nursing Department

    Ms. Ebbing is a Registered Nurse who serves as Lead Nurse for Wildwood School.  Ms. Ebbing attended the Nursing Program at the Albany Medical Center School of Nursing.  Along with Ms. Ebbing, the Nursing staff provides students with the best healthy learning environment possible.  During the year, Ms. Ebbing also serves on several school committees.


    Susan Frost, LCSW-R
    Lead Social Worker

    Ms. Frost is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who serves as the Lead Social Worker at Wildwood School.  Sue worked as a classroom social worker at all levels prior to taking her present position.  She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Welfare from the University of California at Berkeley and her Master’s Degree from the State University of New York at Albany.  Sue provides clinical supervision and oversees the development and follow-through of social work outcomes.  Sue serves on several committees within the school as well as the agency’s Incident Review Committee.  She also works with youth in the community where she co-teaches a youth theater program.

    Heather Isabelle, OTR/L
    Lead Occupational Therapist

    Ms. Isabelle has been the Lead Occupational Therapist since 2011.  Prior to this, Ms. Isabelle has been an OTR/L since starting at Wildwood in 1999.  She received her Occupational Therapy degree from Quinnipiac College and is registered and licensed to practice in New York State.  

    Kelly McKnight, MS, LBA, BCBA
    Lead Behaviorist

    Ms. McKnight is a Licensed Behavior Analyst (LBA) and Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) who serves as the lead behavior specialist at Wildwood School. She received her Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology from Georgia State University and has experience providing behavioral assessment, consultation, and training in clinics, schools, and home settings. Ms. McKnight supervises the members of the behavior support department and her interests include using applied behavior analysis to address challenging behaviors, as well as, training others on the application of behavior analytic principles. 

    Cheryl Nelson, PT
    Lead Physical Therapist

    Ms. Nelson is a licensed physical therapist, and is registered and licensed to practice in New York State. Ms. Nelson graduated with honors from Russell Sage College receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in physical therapy. She has been a part-time member of the Wildwood School staff since 1997.  Ms. Nelson has prior pediatric physical therapy experience from Capital Region BOCES and private practice. In addition to pediatrics, she stays active in the area of rehabilitative physical therapy. 

  • Wildwood School Our History

    The History of Wildwood Programs

    Wildwood provides supports and services to people of all ages with conditions described as developmental disabilities, complex learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. At Wildwood we value understanding each individual as a whole and unique person.

    The organization was created in 1967 when a group of parents found that their children did not fit neatly into existing programs. What began as a program for a handful of pre-schoolers has grown into an organization that provides comprehensive supports and services to well over 1,000 people and their families every year. Children as young as three and adults enjoying their senior years recieve supports and services in every life area in an enviroment where they are accepted, respected and valued.

    The creativity and commitment that led to Wildwood being created continues today as our staff strive to meet the individualized needs of the people receiving services and their families. Everyday challenges are seen as the catalyst for growth, learning and the adaptation to the enviroment that surrounds all of us. The goal for everyone at Wildwood is to live a life that maximizes  independence, fulfillment and productivity. For years Wildwood has been seen as a leader and a resource for people with disabilities, their families, and allied professionals in the Capital Region and beyond.