Special Education

Ashlawn offers a continuum of services in a variety of settings, including inclusion in the general education classroom and self-contained classes, based on the needs of each student. Ashlawn also hosts a countywide preschool special education class and a countywide functional life skills class.

For more information about special education in Arlington Public Schools, please visit: The APS district special education page

If you have any further questions, please contact Ashlawn’s Assistant Principal, Holly Vesilind at


Headshot of Michelle Grant

 Michelle Grant

Hi There! My name is Michelle Grant and this is my 7th year teaching Special Education, and my 9th year teaching at Ashlawn. I grew up in Potomac, Maryland, just across the bridge! I graduated from the University of Georgia in 2011 with a degree in Advertising, and received my Masters in Special Education from American University in 2015. When I am not teaching, I enjoy spending time with my nieces and nephew, and hanging out with my dog, Mac. As a child I adored Shel Silverstein books, especially Where the Sidewalk Ends. Ashlawn is an incredibly supportive community where we welcome everyone! I am so proud to be an Eagle! I look forward to building relationships, building student’s confidence, and celebrating milestones!


Headshot of Mr. Chris Jones

Mr. Jones

I have been with Arlington Public Schools for 21 years. I have been teaching Functional Life Skills for most of that time. I like to ride my motorcycle, fight fires, and wear my Vibram 5 Finger Shoes around. My favorite color is pink and I highly dislike chocolate and coffee.

headshot of Sean Kennedy

Mr. Sean Kennedy

Hi everybody! I’m excited to be back for my 5th year of teaching at Ashlawn ES. I grew up in a very small town in western Massachusetts. After graduating from UMass Amherst, I taught in the Boston area for several years while earning a M.Ed. and a certification in Special Education K-12. In 2006, I moved to Arlington and spent 13 years teaching Special Education students in the middle school world before moving into elementary education. In my free time, you can find me traveling, swimming, walking, biking, and going on epic hikes with my wife and two young boys (ages 6 and 9). My favorite book from early childhood is Harold and the Purple Crayon. I’m thrilled to again be a part of the Ashlawn family this year!

Headshot of Mrs. Cara Lewis

Mrs. Cara Lewis

This is my 9th year teaching and I am returning from maternity leave! My second son was born on May 31, 2023. I was born in Portland, Oregon and raised in Loveland, Ohio. I graduated from The Ohio State University, Go Buckeyes! I completed my Masters Degree in Elementary Education and Special Education from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I am so excited to continue to teach in the community I live in!

Headshot of Lily Nagle

Miss Nagle
I am so excited and looking forward to growing and learning with the Ashlawn Community this year! I have recently moved from Buffalo, NY, where I grew up, to DC over the summer break. I will be a first year teacher since receiving my Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education and General Elementary Education in May 2023 from Niagara University! I love to read, walk around the city, and watch movies with my roommates! I also love cheerleading, I competed in college as well as coached the 7th/8th grade team at my old school!


Headshot of Shawn Waddell

Shawn Waddell

Hello Everyone, My name is Shawn Waddell and am very excited about working at Ashlawn. I look forward to working with new students, staff and parents. I was born in Augusta, Maine lived in Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania for about twenty five years. I have lived down in Northern Virginia for twenty years. I have worked at the Stratford Program for eighteen years and before that in Fairfax. I have been working in the teaching field for over 27 years. I received my B.S. from Misericordia University, a M.Ed. in special education and a post graduate certificate in teaching students with Autism from George Mason University… I am recently married and just had a beautiful baby boy. I have a Great Dane and love dogs. I have recently finished a viticulture certificate, play golf and am involved with a local car club.