215 Ferris Avenue, East Providence, RI 02916 | 401-432-9940

We Are Wolf: Lauren Karlsson

As we get ready to wind down the school year, we can’t help but reflect on all of the incredible faculty and staff who helped to make this such a fantastic year. Today, learn about our Director of Special Education, Lauren Karlsson in our latest We Are Wolf interview.

1. Can you share a bit about your background and how you ended up at Wolf?

I was a museum educator for many years, teaching and designing programs and exhibits to meet the needs of all audiences, making the content accessible to all types of learners.  I ultimately transitioned to the classroom as a Special Education Classroom Teacher and soon after became a Lead Special Education Teacher supporting several classrooms for children with moderate to severe learning disabilities who were also on the autism spectrum. I believe in those years I learned as much from my students and their families as they did from me and my team. My experiences before Wolf taught me innovative ways to engage complex learners and adapt content and skills to different learning and communication styles. When I moved to RI and was introduced to the Wolf School, I felt like I had always been here.

2. Can you tell me more about your current role at Wolf?

Currently, I serve as Director of Special Education.  At Wolf, this means I coordinate our teaching teams and families with our 40+ sending school districts in RI and MA to ensure everyone receives the support they need. I work with teams to author student IEPs, which are crafted with much care and attention to detail, celebrating student strengths while thoughtfully addressing challenges to ensure each student’s path is met with understanding and support by any professional on the team. We work hard to incorporate input and collaboration of the full team;  educators, clinicians, families, sending districts, and the students themselves.  We want students to ultimately become their best self-advocates!  I also support teaching staff and clinicians in the day-to-day. The most rewarding part of this role is that I still have the privilege of directly working with students. 

3. What motivated you to want to work with Complex Learners?

I have been fortunate throughout my life and growing up years to be surrounded by amazing and engaging neurodivergent thinkers, and I believe every brain is beautiful! 🙂 Our students, even the youngest ones, have a depth of wisdom, empathy, and insight that can take one’s breath away. Any way that I can contribute to helping our students shine, make meaningful connections, and be able to communicate and share their unique perspectives while at Wolf and beyond the classroom is a motivation for me.

4. What is the most rewarding part of your job/time at Wolf?

The opportunity to actively engage in classrooms, work directly with students, and provide support to our dedicated teaching teams. It is a privilege to work alongside exceptional therapists and teaching staff, and I’m thankful for the collaborative environment we strive to maintain.  Working closely with parents and partnering school districts is also something I have the unique opportunity to benefit from and learn from every day.  It is a privilege to bring teams together in support of students.

5. Where is your favorite place in Rhode Island and why?

I am still searching for a quintessential, peaceful RI beach spot, and open to suggestions if anyone is willing to share!

Since joining Wolf in 2013, Lauren has become an invaluable member of our community. We are so lucky to have her at Wolf! To learn more about other Wolf Staff, read some of our past We Are Wolf interviews!

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