STAATSBURG – Anderson Center for Autism recently announced that Dr. Tina Marie Covington is officially the Chief Program Officer for the organization beginning Nov. 1; this is a new role created to address increasing demand for services.
Covington is a New York State Certified Special Education Teacher, School District Administrator, and Licensed Behavior Analyst who most recently served as Executive Director of Hawthorne Foundation Inc., d/b/a Hawthorne Country Day School.
First introduced to Autism Spectrum Disorder during an undergraduate fieldwork course at the University of Kentucky, Covington developed a passion for working with individuals with Autism early on, volunteering to care for a young boy for three years before accepting a direct support professional position – which evolved into a residential manager role – at ARC of the Bluegrass, Inc.
Shortly thereafter, Covington earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis at Teachers College Columbia University while working at the Fred S. Keller preschool. For the past 16 years, she worked at Hawthorne Country Day School, where she was first brought on as Behavior Analyst/Senior Teacher and was eventually named Executive Director.
“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Covington to our team,” said Patrick Paul, CEO and Executive Director of Anderson Center for Autism. “Not only does she bring depth and breadth of knowledge and expertise in our field, but she is deeply connected to our mission of enhancing the quality of life for individuals with Autism.”
Said Covington, “I’m so happy about this role and the opportunity to return to my roots in education, behavior analysis, and working with children and adults on the autism spectrum.”
When asked about her philosophy and vision, Covington reflected, “I truly believe that every individual is a lifelong learner – staff, those we serve, and our community can all keep learning and gaining knowledge; everyone can continue to grow, regardless of age or stage – and that’s especially true for the people we serve. They are our focus, and we can take our world-renowned program at Anderson and build on it by engaging in the kind of research and development that will ultimately help more and more individuals with Autism gain independence and live in the least restrictive environments possible. It’s wonderful to think about how Anderson is already drawing people from all over the world; we will keep doing amazing things in context of a passion and belief in evidence-based ABA practices. I am so excited to be part of it.”
Covington has presented research at State, National, and International Conferences on Behavior Analysis. She served as an Adjunct Professor in Applied Behavior Analysis at Manhattanville College and has held leadership positions in provider organizations such as Advance of Greater New York and the Interagency Council.
In addition to a Ph.D. in Special Education/Applied Behavior Analysis, Covington holds a Supervisor Administration Certificate (SAS) from Teachers College and received her Advanced Certificate in School District Leadership from Bank Street College, obtaining a School District Leader Certification (SDL).
For more information, call 845.889.9208 or visit andersoncenterforautism.org.