Karen Brothers has worked in education for the past 37 years. She holds both a bachelors degree in Education and a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from The Ohio State University. Karen has also completed a Master of Science Degree in Education and Allied Professions from the University of Dayton. Karen’s experience includes 14 years in the classroom, 4 years as a middle school Guidance Counselor, and 19 years as a High School Guidance Counselor at Dublin Coffman High School. Karen Lives in Dublin with her husband of 37 years. She has two children. Her youngest, a son now 26 years old, was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 2. Karen’s daughter is a Nurse Practitioner at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Not long after her son’s diagnosis Karen realized that the programming available for children on the spectrum was limited, especially in the summer. Vowing to come up with something she approached some other parents in the community. She asked them to participate in a peer buddy program she was going to host in her own basement. Karen’s Peer Collaboration program quickly grew throughout the district and has now been added as a course option at Dublin Coffman as well as other buildings in the district. She has presented at many conferences including the All Ohio Counselor Conference and the OCALI Conference, Ohio School Board Association Conference, ROD Conference in Indiana, Ohio Social Work Conference and Dublin Leadership Conference.
Karen and her colleagues have spent many years developing, perfecting, and implementing the Peer Collaboration Program. Karen and her team can provide you with the necessary training and tools to make peer collaboration a reality in your building and district.
"Initially, I was excited because of the positive effect it had on my son and the other identified students. Just like the peers who were initially motivated by the stickers and treasure box toys, I was reinforced by the direct impact it had on my life. Like the peers, my motivation evolved as well. Soon I saw the positive effect the program was having on the collaborators and their families. Collaborators were developing a wide range of important skills for their future like initiative, communication, leadership, empathy, creativity, assertiveness, problem solving skills, critical thinking and the ability to create genuine relationships. I realized I had to commit the time and effort to integrate the program into our school community and eventually conduct research so its countless benefits could reach all people, schools, and communities."
The Peer Collaboration program is designed to assist students who have needs (academic, social, emotional) within their classroom environment. The program pairs a peer with a student(s) who is (are)struggling with a particular course, has trouble staying focused, has difficulty building relationships with classmates, or any other obstacle a student may face on a daily basis. Placing peers into classrooms with students who are struggling allows collaborating peers to build their empathy and leadership skills. Natural friendships are a wonderful bi-product of this. Students have the opportunity to get to know each other and build strong bonds and friendships.
Ron DeMuesy, BCBA
Ron joined Karen in 2010 in her efforts after seeing the peer program in action during the summer school and at Coffman High School. He along with other members of the team helped conduct research on the program and worked with Karen to create the manual. Ron is a Behavior Analyst
Kristin Master, LISW-S
Kristi Masters received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Emory University in Psychology and Educational Studies and received her Masters in Social Work from The Ohio State University. After graduate school, Kristi worked for 3 years at the Rosemont Center helping families and students enrolled in a day treatment program specific to addressing mental health needs. Kristi has worked for Dublin City Schools for the past 9 years as a School Social Worker. Kristi has been involved with Peer Collaboration as an advisor for its extracurricular club and as an instructor for the social skills class. She worked on the research team and helped organize the manual.
Megan Burton received her Bachelor of Science from Miami University in Education and her MS from University of Dayton in School Counseling. Megan served as a social studies teacher at Coffman and utilized Peer Collaborators in her classroom. Megan was instrumental in conducting and writing the research as well as putting together the manual. She is currently a school counselor and is actively involved in training and placing new peers in the program.
Erin Canaday Transition Coordinator
Erin joined the team in the beginning because she directly saw the positive effects the program had on her own children serving as peers. All three had very successful experiences and gained numerous leadership, empathy, communication and motivational skills. She also noticed the program allowed student on her caseload to excel along side peer models and friends. Erin trains staff, presents the program at conferences and helps Coffman maintain a successful program.