Meet Our Team

Photo Credit: Staff


Lygia Soares, Ph.D.

Executive Director and Founder

Dr. Soares has a wealth of experience as a Speech Language Pathologist.  She has evaluated and treated children and adults with a variety of speech and language and swallowing difficulties.  In addition, she is an adjunct professor at the University of New Hampshire and has taught a plethora of undergraduate and graduate courses, in Communication Sciences and Disorders, and supervised clinicians in their practicums.  Dr. Soares also has vast experience in program development and is looking forward to her newest venture that will fill a void in the special education world.

Photo Credit: Dana McMahon

Ari Nathans, M.Ed..

Education Director

With over 30 years in the field of special education, Ari Nathans was most recently the Director of the Language Lab at a private school for students with learning challenges. Having created this service delivery format, Ms. Nathans then developed programs addressing the literacy areas of decoding, fluency, comprehension, encoding, morphology, vocabulary, handwriting, and composition. In addition, she developed language-based approaches to address numeracy, mathematical operations and problem solving issues. In her roles directing both summer and after school programming, she consistently provided experiential, activity-based programs whose underlying focus was the development of social skills.


Karen Brann, C.A.E.S.

Director of Student Services

A former special education teacher and administrator of Special Education for public school districts, Karen brings 23 years experience in teaching, learning and administrating special education programs to the Merrimac Heights Academy team.  From developing programs within the public school system to leading IEP Team Meetings, Karen has worked closely with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to align curriculum, develop policy and procedures and complete compliance reviews to ensure cohesion with state and federal regulations.