MEET THE STAFF
Jenni Clark, M.Ed.
Founder & CEO
Jenni graduated from Cedar Crest College with a BA in English, then later earned her NJ Teacher Certification K-12 for English. In 2010 she completed a Master of Arts in Education for Adult Education and Training from the University of Phoenix and worked both in public schools and providing private instruction for struggling students and young adults. After working at Hunterdon Central Regional High School in the Workplace Readiness program, Jenni decided there needs to be more for students who have special needs as they transition from high school to adult life and careers, so she founded StarThrower Group in 2018. The group currently provides services for over 40 families in Hunterdon, Somerset, Warren, and Mercer counties. The mission is to help build inclusive communities, inspire careers, and make connections that help establish a successful and happy adult life for young adults with special needs.
Director of Operations, Continuing Education Coordinator
Ronna joined us in February of 2019 and has been managing the daily operations of our offices flawlessly ever since. She graduted from William Paterson University in NJ and is a certified teacher. Ronna has been trained as a Direct Support Provider through the Boggs Center at Rutgers University. She has also been certified as an administrator for the College of Direct Support to ensure all staff receive the appropriate training and stay current with skills and certifications. Ronna developed and manages our contractors and transportation program and schedules. She also oversees each member's plan and helps to determine the path and strategies for each member to progress toward their goals.
Program and Media Coordinator (and Master of the DOOM)
After serving with the US Army in Iraq, Mikie earned his teaching certification from the University of Wyoming. He taught in Wyoming, Taiwan, Alaska, and then Mikie was here in NJ when we opened in 2018. He returned to Wyoming to teach English at Farson-Eden HS, but then we called him back to StarThrower in June 2019. Now he develops individual plans for members to help them grow and learn, working directly with support coordinators to establish outcomes and achieve their goals. He also manages our online presence and helps members learn through creative production of online videos, podcasts, broadcasts, and the development of promotional materials such as voice-overs and media marketing and video production.
Amy Pinder, MA, CCC-SLP is the owner and founder of Circles of Communication. Amy is a New Jersey State licensed and ASHA certified Speech-Language Pathologist with over ten years of experience working with individuals with autism and other neurodevelopmental differences. Amy graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges where she received her BA in Sociology in addition to New York State Teaching Certification in Elementary and Special Education, and from Kean University where she received her MA in Speech Language Pathology. She works with our members at StarThrower Group providing Individual and Small Group speech therapy, and leading our weekly Chat Club.
Career Path Coordinator
Nick joined our team in January 2021 and has been placing individuals with disabilities into jobs for almost 7 years all over Hunterdon, Somerset, and Middlesex county. Nick specializes in areas such as resume building, career planning, interview prep, Supported Employment, and Pre-Vocational job training. An individual's ability, skill level, confidence, or behavioural challenges has never slowed Nick down when it comes to matching people with the right jobs and effective, on-the-job support. Nick has earned his Bachelor's in Psychology and Human Resources from Rutgers University and has a thorough understanding of all DVRS and DDD employment services. His level of patience and dedication has been known to surprise his peers and he has never been afraid to bring creativity to the job search.
Life Skills Coordinator
Stacy graduated from Montclair University with a Psychology degree and counseling minor. Later on in her career she achieved her Masters in Business and Human Resources Management from Rutgers University. Most of her career has been spent in the pharmaceutical industry with roles in Human Resources, Training, Sales and Operations. Eventually she segued out of corporate, became a certified life coach with many tools in her bag, and then founded The Caregiver Oasis, a social based supportive community for paid and non-paid caregivers. Stacy has recently joined Star Thrower Group to focus on Life Skills supporting members in the areas of Arts and Home Economics amongst other things.
Dina is a NJ Certified teacher and Art instructor. She joined our team in spring 2020 and has completed the training for Direct Support Professionals through the Boggs Center at Rutgers University. Dina incorporates the arts into our groups and workshops and also works with members on meditation and relaxation skills. She graduated from Union County College and The Fashion Institute of Technology. Her calm approach helps members develop problem solving and critical thinking skills, as well as coping mechanisms and strengthens communications among members and staff.
The story of the starfish is attributed to writer Loren Eisley in the 1970s. The author leaves us with powerful words, "I made a difference to that one". This applies to our group on multiple levels.
We help each member based on individual skills, needs, and goals.
We help our mentors gain experience and educational opportunities.
We help families translate and understand complicated processes and options and know they are not alone.
We help our community to provide competitive, Integrated employment, and to recognize and appreciate the differences and abilities in each person.