Ellen is a co-founder and Director of Specialized. Her primary responsibilities include human resources, managing contracts and providing support services for contractors and schools. Ellen earned a Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of New Orleans. She is a certified Educational Diagnostician and a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology. She has many years of experience providing services in schools in Louisiana and Texas and worked at the Region IV Education Service Center as an Education Specialist with responsibilities in the behavior and assessment areas. In her spare time, Ellen is an adjunct instructor at the University of St. Thomas where she teaches graduate students who are training to become Educational Diagnosticians and special education teachers. Ellen’s husband of 34 years, Len Sobel is an Occupational Therapist. They have two daughters, one is in graduate school studying to become a Speech-language Pathologist and the other is a science teacher at a local high school.
Jim is a co-founder and Director of Specialized. His primary responsibilities include marketing, sales, recruiting, accounting and management of web based systems. Jim has a history of volunteer public health work in central and south America via the Amigos de las Americas program, which resulted in his becoming fluent in Spanish. After pursuing several different areas of study (biology, journalism, marketing and business) Jim completed an M.A. in psychology and worked 16 years in Texas public schools as a bilingual Licensed Specialist in School Psychology. Along the way, Jim developed web application programming skills and started a few small businesses. Jim's entrepreneurial and web application programming experience helped Specialized develop a successful business model. Jim continues to manage and develop several internet-based systems to keep Specialized organized, efficient and supportive of schools, families and contractors. Jim is married to an ESL teacher and has two children, ages 3 and 5. In his spare time, Jim enjoys woodworking and being a dad.
Melanie has been with Specialized since 2008 and is currently a Coordinator. Her primary responsibilities include human resources, case assignment and supporting contractors and schools. Melanie holds a Master’s degree in Education from Concordia Lutheran University in Austin and a Bachelor’s degree in German from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She was a Life Skills teacher in Spring Branch ISD for five years and served as an ARD Facilitator at a charter school for two years. She has been recognized as Teacher of the Year and Teacher of the Week and was featured in the Houston Chronicle with a story about her students and their involvement in the community. Melanie is active in her community and local school district. She is a Girl Scout Leader for two troops and works with her husband in the family business. They have four sons (ages 2, 4, 15, & 17) and two daughters (9, 10). Melanie loves to cook, read, garden and volunteer her time.
Carol is our invoicing and payroll specialist. She handles invoices for schools, pays all contractors and employees, does book keeping and keeps track of assessment timelines. Carol is a former registrar's secretary in Cy-Fair ISD who has been with Specialized since 2009. She is a grandmother who enjoys gardening and working with her husband on their cattle ranch northwest of Houston.