Leading our school into the future
Our leadership team is comprised of highly skilled, experienced, and committed individuals who uphold The Pathway School’s mission each and every day. Under their leadership, Pathway continues to educate, innovate, and create an enriching and supportive environment for our students, families, and staff.
David J. Schultheis, M.M.P.A.
President & CEO
President and CEO David Schultheis has led The Pathway School since 2014. Previously, he was the Executive Director for Community Behavioral Health programs at Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health and prior to that he was the Chief Financial Officer at Liberty Resources in Philadelphia. David holds bachelors’ degrees from both an american university (Michigan) and a british university (Sussex). He also has a dual master's degree in Business Administration and Public Administration from Penn State University.
When David is not working, you may find him playing basketball or golf.
Lester Gallagher, C.P.A.
Chief Financial Officer
Les has held the position of Chief Financial Officer at The Pathway School since November 2016. His previous experience includes positions in business, public accounting, and non-profit organizations. Les is responsible for financial operations, facilities and IT, and oversees our campus renovations. Les graduated Villanova University in 1978 with a BS in Accounting.
When Les is not working at Pathway, he enjoys golfing and spending time with his family. He and his wife Connie live in Oaks, PA where they raised six children (the last is currently a college sophomore) and are blessed with 11 grandchildren.
Catherine Lepley, M.Ed., M.S.
Director of Education
Catherine joined The Pathway School family in November 2018 as the Director of Education. Catherine has been an administrator for 14 years. Prior to earning her Supervisor of Special Education and Principal certifications from Immaculata University, she was an Emotional Support teacher for grades 9-12 for 11 years. Catherine oversees the Education Department which includes everything from careers, to food services, to related services. Catherine has been a lifelong learner and has earned two Bachelor’s degrees and two Master’s degrees (Education and Psychology). Catherine would like to return to finish her dissertation so she can earn her Doctorate in Education.
Catherine enjoys spending time with her five sons, husband, and three cats. She also works as a part-time adjunct professor at Cabrini University where she teaches special education courses to Master level students. Catherine is passionate regarding special education and continues to advocate for all students with special needs.
Diana Phifer M.S.
Director of Admissions & Marketing
Diana’s enthusiasm for Pathway’s mission led her to the organization in 1995. She earned her BS in Psychology from Millersville University and MS, Cum Laude, in Organizational Leadership from Cabrini College. As Director of Admissions and Marketing, Diana is responsible for the overall admissions process including informing families and professionals about Pathway, managing new student enrollment, collaborating with staff to make a new student's transition as seamless as possible, and additional admissions-related functions.
Diana enjoys spending time with her husband, two adult daughters, and their dogs. Diana and her family enjoy making memories with extended family at their favorite vacation spot – Deep Creek Lake.
Kara Fawley, PsyD.
Director of Clinical & Behavioral Services
Dr. Kara Fawley joined The Pathway School as Director of Clinical and Behavioral Services in 2019. Dr. Fawley is a highly experienced mental health professional who has worked in social service organizations, schools, and hospitals. She has a multifaceted background from acute care to clinical research.
As a clinical psychologist and Pennsylvania-certified school psychologist, she has specialized training and experience working with students with ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, learning disabilities, disruptive behavior, and trauma histories.
In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, yoga, and the outdoors.
Christine Chiodo, P.A., P.H.R.
Director of Human Resources
For the past 11 years, Christine Chiodo has been the Director of Human Resources at Pathway. She has over 28 years of HR Management experience and received her Bachelor's Degree in Communications and Marketing from La Salle University. Christine is a member of the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) and has a Professional Human Resources (PHR) designation/certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI). She is responsible for overseeing the HR department, recruiting and staffing, performance management, benefits and compensation administration, employee training, and maintaining Pathway's policies and procedures.
Christine's mission as an HR Director is to support the organization’s goals, objectives, and day-to-day operations by creating a work environment that encourages and inspires people to succeed.
Nina Prestia, M.Ed.
Upper School Principal
Nina worked as a teacher in The Pathway School's Lower School and the Emotional Support Program for 17 years prior to becoming Pathway’s Upper School Principal. She has an undergraduate degree and a master's in Special Education from Gwynedd Mercy University. She has a second master's in Educational Leadership from Holy Family University. Nina also taught for two years outside Pathway in a public school district.
When not working, Nina enjoys time spent with her family. She and Joe, her husband of 35 years, have two sons, one a police officer and the other a member of the U.S. Marine Corps, one granddaughter and one more on the way, and they reside in Plymouth Meeting.
Director of Organizational Effectiveness & Development
Brian has been with The Pathway School since February 1987 where he started his career after graduating from Bloomsburg University with a BA in Sociology/Social Welfare. In addition to his BA from Bloomsburg, Brian also earned a Master of Science in Administration with the honorable distinction of “Outstanding Graduate” from West Chester University. Brian has held a variety of positions with The Pathway School before holding his current position of Director of Organizational Development and Effectiveness. As the Director of OD&E, Brian’s primary responsibilities are to act as advisor and liaison to the President to build and sustain organizational effectiveness and growth, develop and support the leadership within the organization, and the coordination of training and professional development school-wide.
Brian is an avid Philadelphia sports fan and Disney World enthusiast. He enjoys attending theater with his wife Michelle and his daughter Tiana. He also has a passion of working with his church to build and renovate Child Development Centers for needy communities overseas (having assisted in two projects over the last eight years in the Dominican Republic and Panama).
Rita Bernhart, M.Ed.
Lower School & Emotional Support Program Principal
Rita has worked in the field of education since 2006 and joined Pathway in the summer of 2019. She obtained an Associate Degree in Business Administration from Peirce College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education with a Certification in History from Holy Family University. She later went on to earn her Master’s in Special Education from Holy Family University as well as Certifications in Mid-Level English and Citizenship. In 2014, she completed the Educational Leadership Program earning her K-12 Principal Certification also through Holy Family University.
Rita has a wonderful husband of fifteen years, five children, three fabulous sons-in-law, and three beautiful grandchildren. To relax, she enjoys cooking for her large family as well as going to the beach, camping, and visiting historical reenactments.
Director of Development & Communications
Jory joined The Pathway School in January of 2019 following leadership roles at theVillage and Bancroft. He has a BS, Cum Laude, from Neumann College, and a certificate in Principles of Fundraising from Villanova University. Jory oversees all fundraising and communications activities and works with individuals, foundations, and corporate supporters.
Jory enjoys touring the countryside, along with his wife, on their Harley Davidson motorcycle. They have three adult sons and live in Delaware County with their dog and cat.
Creating a PATH: Robotics Education for All
Bringing the world of STEM and robotics to special education students is now a reality at The Pathway School. We are excited to be one of the only programs in the FIRST Mid-Atlantic Robotics Competition for students solely with special education...
Alum to Pathway Success Partner
Jack Bateman, a Pathway student from 1981-1993, has maintained a professional career since graduating. He described how Pathway prepared him for his career working in maintenance: “Going to Pathway was like being a janitor with keys. Each key...
Pathway’s Student Emergency Needs Fund – How You Can Help
At The Pathway School, we don’t just educate students who learn differently. Of course, that’s a very big part of what we do, but our mission is to build the academic and social skills in our students so that they can be successful in life. Our...
Contact The Pathway School
Interested in learning more about Pathway and exploring our 12 acre campus?