Shelton Admission Director Meghan Miller will host an Upper Elementary Prospective Parent Tour on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 9:00 a.m. Register by Feb. 20 by clicking the link here. Shelton is the largest independent school for students with learning differences. Upper Elementary services students in third-fifth grades. Shelton is located at 17301 Preston Road, Dallas. 

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Shelton School offers a free presentation "Early Signs of Learning Differences and How to Respond" on Wednesday, Jan. 18, at 9 a.m. This program will be led by Shelton's Executive Director Emerita Joyce Pickering and Associate Head of School Amy Cushner in Shelton's Outreach Training Room. Register at this link.

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Congratulations to Shelton’s Instrumental Music Teacher Ken Utz for winning the CHADD’S ADHD Educator of the Year Award. CHADD, which stands for Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, is an organization that seeks to improve the lives of people affected by ADHD. 

Ken has worked at Shelton since 2003 with the Upper Elementary, Middle School and Upper School Band students. He began working with Lower School and Upper Elementary General Music in 2014.  Ken is a recipient of Shelton’s SPARK (Shelton Parents’ Association Recognition Kudos) Award for the 2020-2021 school year. 

In addition to his time at Shelton, Ken is the Vice President of the Music Learning Band Program where he works closely with Jerry Bishop and their team providing instrumental, vocal and general music programs to more than 40 different schools across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and Eastern Arizona.

Ken says his educational philosophy is to do no harm, make music a little better and help students get a little better each day. “I believe that each student can improve every day and that improvement is an individual accomplishment. Each student’s improvement may not be the same, but he or she can leave our classroom a little more confident about something than when they entered.” 

He says that working with the youngest students has helped the whole music team create a full curriculum arc for music throughout a Shelton student’s journey. “Music at Shelton is tactile and experiential,” he says. “Our students learn by physically playing the instruments, especially recorder, xylophone, drums and wind instruments. For the ADHD student, this approach involves their whole body. We also learn how to read music gradually, using strategies like color coding for younger students on the same music they read as they get older. We tap our foot to the beat and count out loud to learn complex rhythms. From ages 3-18, we are using our bodies to experience music."

Thanks in part to Ken’s instruction and leadership, many Shelton Band members have gone on to study music in college. “Not every student leaves Shelton wanting to study music, but they do leave with an appreciation of music,” Ken says. 

“Ken is truly a remarkable person and outstanding educator,” says Shelton Executive Director Suzanne Stell. “His dedication to so many young people is truly overwhelming. There is not anything that I ask Ken to do for Shelton that he doesn’t do with 120 percent enthusiasm. Our students follow his lead. They are inspired by Ken. He is an unbelievable role model for our students and an inspiration to me. His days are very long with before-school band, after-school band and evenings and Saturdays filled with band, and he does it all with a smile on his face. Ken makes everyone around him better.”

Ken is a graduate of the University of North Texas, graduating Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Music. While at North Texas, Ken was a member of the Concert Band, many Jazz Bands including the 5:00 Lab Band and the Catholic Campus Music Ministry. An Eagle Scout, Ken is a Vigil Honor Member of the Order of the Arrow and previously served as the Staff Director and Camp Director of Circle Ten Council’s Winter Camp at Camp Trevor Rees Jones. 

Ken and his wife Haley have three children, Kenny, Natalie, and Meghan. Kenny is a sixth-grade Shelton student and member of after-school band and drumline. Ken is an active member of Christ the King Catholic Church where he serves as a Lector and Usher.




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Shelton Upper Elementary teacher Tricia Harden wins SPARK Award.

Seven Shelton employees were the recipients of the 2021-2022 Shelton Parents' Association Recognition Kudos (SPARK) Award on May 26 at the staff appreciation luncheon. This is the seventh year for the award to be presented by SPA. Awards were based on comments received in the spring parent survey. Each awardee received a framed SPARK award and a check for $500. A crystal statue will follow. Thanks to Shelton parent Emily Touchstone for coordinating these awards and to parents for taking the time to send comments about Shelton's teachers and staff. 

Lower School: Peggy Krug. Parents praised this teacher for helping develop their child's trust and academic self-confidence. She is calm, patient and kind. Her students feel loved and cared for and they are thriving under her guidance. "She sees who my child really is and makes a plan for his personal success."

Upper Elementary: Tricia Harden. Each year parents sing the praises of Ms. Harden. She is described as "wonderfully supportive," "an excellent communicator and resource," "found my child's talent and passion" and "keeps the fun in learning."

Middle School: Marsha Harris. Ms. Harris is known for her expertise in building young writers. She steadily and consistently teaches her students to unlock and organize their thoughts so that they can be shared with others. Her gifted approach is to work beside her students, conferencing with them, gently challenging and guiding them to develop the ability to find just the right words to express their unique thoughts. One parent shared, "She not only provided support but challenged my child to think for himself and do his best. She helped him realize he is smart and able to do much better work."


Upper School: Nancy McCord. Ms. McCord is supportive and makes learning positive. She is patient and understanding and knows when to give consequences and when to provide redirection. She is a gifted teacher who helps students believe in themselves.

All Around: School nurses Eve Herman and Lisa Nagid have kept the school running safely during another year of the COVID-19 pandemic. They have kept abreast of all things locally, statewide and nationally. They wrote policies, teamed and communicated with administration, faculty and staff, tracked Shelton-specific stats, oversaw seven drive-through COVID vaccination clinics and consulted with staff as each event was planned throughout 2021-2022.

Anne-Marie Shiflet, Lower School and Upper Elementary. Ms. Shiflet is described as, "incomparable, joyful, and packs a punch in a small package!" She is the first to arrive and last to leave, and is dedicated to taking care of everyone in Lower School and Upper Elementary. An incredible supporter, encourager and friend, she is absolutely irreplaceable. No matter the day or circumstance, she shares with us her consummate smile, contagious laugh and servant's heart.

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You’ve probably seen senior Patrick Corwin leading Shelton’s drumline as the tenor drum section captain, but did you know that he plays 14 instruments, including the saxophone, his favorite? When he’s not in Shelton’s percussion ensemble or honor band, Patrick is in the theater as a member of the orchestra or part of the props crew. He impressed the Shelton crowd when he told his story at Grandparents’ Day. Patrick, who has dyslexia and dysgraphia, started Shelton as a sophomore and says his favorite class is Physics 2 Honors. He’s been accepted to the University of Portland with a $102,000 academic scholarship and to the University of North Texas mechanical engineering program. Patrick hopes to study mechanical engineering with a double major or minor in music. His top three picks for college are NYU, California Polytechnic State University and UNT. “I tell freshmen to really involve yourself,” he says. “You can always do less if it becomes too much, but you want to start off getting involved, meeting new people and really making time for your academics.” Watch the video of Patrick Corwin here.

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The Shelton School has implemented a school-wide Wellness Initiative, made possible by a grant from the Moody Foundation.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health came to the forefront as students dealt with anxiety, depression and separation disorders. Children with learning differences, such as language learning differences, attention difficulties and sensory-motor challenges have always been at risk for stress and anxiety. The pandemic has made things exponentially harder for our most vulnerable children. They worry about themselves, their families and friends getting sick, as well as the economic crisis that many families have faced during this time.

The Shelton Wellness Initiative is a specialized intervention program for students, with the possibility of adding Shelton parents, teachers and staff in the future. The program, which currently targets EC-12th graders, is designed to educate, alleviate and combat the effects of stress on a physical, mental, emotional, psychological and behavioral level. Students discover how to control their emotional reaction to stress, in real time, by learning how to recognize the presence of stress in their body and how to implement specialized relaxation strategies to calm down.

Shelton is partnering with experts in the community, including Dr. Madhukar Trivedi, Chief of the Division of Mood Disorders and the founding director of the Center for Depression Research and Clinical Care at UT Southwestern Medical Center, and Rusty Lozano, M.ED LPC BCB, founder and director of the Center for Biofeedback and Behavior Therapy, LLC. Rusty is the program director of Shelton’s Wellness Initiative and Evan Hampton is the program manager.

The program has currently launched the “Coping Skills Training” phase, which has two parts: Black Box Skits and Lab Training. Black Box Skits are unique group seminars that are designed to introduce different concepts of stress and stress control. Atmospheric lights, therapy animals, audience participation and other special effects (such as electronic dance music, puppets and props) create a visually and auditory appealing show. 

“The kids are having a blast,” Lozano says. “The shows are very cutting edge and interactive. We’ve created an ambience where the children are learning through audience participation and examples demonstrated through their peers, which make the lessons  memorable and very entertaining.”

Lab Training is designed to train relaxation techniques using technology. The students are assigned a laptop and a heart rate monitor. The heart rate monitor is a pulsometer sensor that gently clips onto the student’s ear lobe and can detect stress via heart rate.  The heart rate program ( interface is user friendly and easy to use. The program color-codes various stress states in the body. Red means stress, blue means relaxed, green means very relaxed. 

“The feedback is immediate and clear,” Lozano says. “If a student utilizes a relaxation strategy and relaxation is achieved, their efforts are immediately reinforced by a bright color-coded LED on the heart monitor unit followed by an indicator chime from their laptop and color-coded box display on their computer screen. The performance results are communicated to the user loud and clear.”   

The students are introduced to breathing and body strategies designed to promote relaxation. “Mindfulness concepts are then tied in to help students recognize the various sensations in the body associated with stress,” he says.

This spring, third-fifth grade students will participate in the “Horses and Humans” equine assisted therapy program on campus. Students will interact with horses and develop essential skills, such as an appreciation of nature, situational awareness, concentration, balance, motor-skill enhancement, verbal and non-verbal communication, empathy, relaxation, core strength, teamwork, self-esteem, confidence and leadership.

Another part of the wellness initiative involves Upper School students. Upper School students are participating in UT Southwestern’s Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM), which is an evidenced-based program delivered by certified facilitators in the classroom setting. It is a five-hour interactive mental health promotion program delivered over three to five weeks, designed to encourage increased discussion and knowledge about mental health, the development of problem-solving skills, and emotional intelligence.

The Moody Foundation's funding ensures that Shelton can provide our students with the resources they need to help them navigate this difficult time in our society. The Moody Foundation's philanthropic commitment to mental health is inspiring and Shelton is grateful for their support. 

The Shelton Wellness Initiative was created and developed using proven and accepted treatment modalities in accordance with the American Psychological Association (APA) and the American Counseling Association (ACA).  

For more information, contact or




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Marco Rivera is the new Head Football Coach at the Shelton School. He has served as Shelton's Assistant Head Coach and Offensive Line Coach for the last seven years and was previously Shelton's interim Athletic Director.

Rivera is a three-time Pro Bowl selection (2002, 2003, 2004), two-time All-Pro selection (2003, 2004), three-time first team NFC selection (2002, 2003, 2004) and two-time All NFC first team selection 2002, 2003). He was the Green Bay Packers 2004 Ed Block Courage Award recipient, a prestigious award voted on by his peers that is given to one player on every team that symbolizes sportsmanship, professionalism, great strength and courage and dedication. Rivera was named the Packers recipient of the 2004 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, given by the NFL to one player on each team to recognize outstanding contributions on and off the field. In 2005 Rivera was also named to the all-millennium team by Sports Illustrated. In 2005, the Dallas Cowboys acquired Rivera in free agency where he started for two seasons before injuring his back in the Cowboys 2006 playoff loss. Rivera was released by the Dallas Cowboys due to serious back problems and ultimately retired from the NFL as a Green Bay Packer in 2008. He was inducted into the Green Bay Packer Hall Of Fame in 2011 making him one of the greatest linemen ever to play for the Green Bay Packers.

Rivera is a community role model. From 1998 to 2004, he ran a football camp called The Marco Rivera Pee Wee Camp in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for kids ages 9 through 16. Each year, the camp was attended by more than 200 children and numerous NFL stars and coaches donated their time and participation. While in Puerto Rico, Rivera visited area hospitals. In 2002, Rivera partnered with the Green Bay Humane Society and participated in its first ever Pet Walk to raise money for the Humane Society. In 2003, he partnered with Jerry Parins on a motorcycle ride to benefit the American Cancer Society's fight against cancer. Rivera has also been a proud supporter of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Big Brother Big Sister, Hopes Door, The Family Place and more. In 2009, Rivera served as the Honorary Chair of the American Cancer Society's Silver Dollar Ball here in Texas. In 2011, he was the M.C. for Pennies for Paige Wine Tasting and Silent Auction in support of a local family. In addition, Rivera is a supporter of the Chris Kyle Foundation. In 2004, he visited the troops in Qatar and Kuwait and along the Iraqi border and in 2011, he visited the troops in Oman, UAE, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan.

Rivera was a three-year starter on the offensive line for Penn State. In his junior year of 1994, Rivera started every game and earned second team All-Big 10 honors on a squad that went undefeated (12-0) and led the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in scoring.

Rivera attended Elmont Memorial High School in Long Island, NY, and graduated from Penn State University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science in Administration of Justice. He is married to Michelle and they have 3 sons. Dante, 21, and Roman, 19, graduated from Shelton and Nico, 17, is a junior at Shelton.

Shelton is the largest independent school worldwide for intelligent students with learning differences. 


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Shelton third grader Claire McGehearty befriended 5-year-old Bushra of Afghanistan by sending videos  of herself reading books, including "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?." Claire started making videos for Bushra when Bushra's family was hiding in a safe house in Afghanistan and waiting to be rescued. Bushra is the child of the family that the McGehearty family rescued. Eric McGehearty's company, Globe Runner, partnered with a Dallas nonprofit to help give virtual employment to the people of Afghanistan, including Bushra's father, by building sustainable small businesses there. "There were days when we did not hear from the family and we were worried about their safety," says Claire's mother, Heather. "They were at a safe house for a month and could not go outside much. During that time Claire started making videos." Bushra's family recently arrived in Dallas after spending time in a U.S. military base, and the two girls met in person, had dinner and looked at holiday lights.

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A panel of architects and educational facility experts selected the Shelton School as an Outstanding Project in the Fall 2021 Learning by Design Architectural and Interior Design Awards of Excellence in the Renovation/Adaptive Reuse/Restoration category. CaCo Architecture designed the conversion of the 30-acre, 330,000 square-foot single story 1970s office campus to provide a "welcoming environment supporting the school's pedagogy in a student-centered and technologically rich setting that is calm and flexible in offering a variety of educational venues." Read the full story in Learning by Design here.

Design Team

CaCo Architecture LLC, Architecture/Interior Architecture

Huitt-Zollars, Inc, Civil Structural Engineerings/Landscape Architecture

Purdy-McGuire, Inc, MEP Engineerings

Lee Lewis Construction, Inc, General Contractor

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Shelton senior Quinn Muccio has published a novel. The Freemason Cipher (Palmetto Publishing) follows the exploits of history and religious studies college student Bryan Stringer as he accidentally solves a cipher revolving around Freemasonry, Catholicism and U.S history that eventually leads to the uprising of the antichrist, Armageddon and the dominion and destruction of all mankind. 

“The fictional thriller is a mixture of a Dan Brown novel mixed with “Left Behind” and “National Treasure,” he says.

Quinn found inspiration in his great-great-grandfather, Howard Prince, who was a high ranking 33-degree Freemason in the Scottish Rite. Quinn, who has been a student at Shelton since sixth grade, has dyslexia, ADHD, dysgraphia and dyscalculia. He worked on the book for nine months and is now writing a sequel. Before that, he wrote screenplays, including a spinoff of “MacGyver.” His favorite classes are college writing and engineering. He also runs cross country. In the future, he’d like to write novels full-time and is considering attending the University of Arkansas.

Quinn, a Plano resident, almost died as a baby of an intestinal disease. He was flown to St. Louis Children’s Hospital, where 12 specialty doctors treated him for brain bleeds and holes in the intestines. Doctors told his parents that he would be paralyzed on the right side of his body and would likely not survive. “I've had to fight my whole entire life to get somewhere,” he says. “I want to do everything to the best of my ability.”

You can order the novel here.