Special Programs

RMA complies with state and federal law to provide a free and appropriate education for all of its students, including those students with disabilities. At any time, RMA parents are entitled to request an evaluation for special education services for their child(ren).

Our resources plan includes related services in and out of school, at no cost to the family, to compliment the student’s personal instruction and ensure that he/she receives the most benefit from his/her education.

We are grateful to have such an incredible staff of Special Educators on the campuses and in our Central Office. Meet our team of Special Education experts below!


Alethea Phillips

Special Programs Director


Melissa Hernandez

Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP)

Melissa Hernandez joined the RMA Team in 2015 as a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP). She presently serves as the LSSP for RMA-Amarillo, RMA-Midland, and RMA-Odessa. Her previous work experience included working as an LSSP in the greater Austin area, San Marcos and San Antonio. In her career as an LSSP, she has worked with diverse populations to include students and staff in residential treatment centers, juvenile detention centers, and students in K-12th grade. She completed her degree in San Antonio, Texas where she obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology with a Minor in Communication Arts from The University of the Incarnate Word. She attended Our Lady of the Lake University to study School Psychology and achieve a Master’s of Science in School Psychology. She presently lives in Austin, Texas and in her free time enjoys catching a live music show, playing basketball, running, and traveling.


Holly Boerner

Reading Specialist

Ms. Holly Boerner (a native Texan!) discovered her love for education during college while teaching students English in Ethiopia. After graduating, she coordinated and taught the Title I Reading program through Teach For America at a school in Indiana. Texas began calling her name, so Holly returned as a teacher leadership coach in Houston, supporting the work of new teachers across several districts. Holly also planned and led a summer school as a School Director for two campuses in Houston’s East End. In 2015, Holly joined the RMA team as a Reading Specialist and is lucky to work with students from all of RMA’s campuses! Holly holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Psychology and Sociology from Austin College (she notes that they are the fighting Kangaroos in Sherman, not to be confused with the Longhorns in Austin). While in Indiana, she received her Master of Arts in Teaching from Marian University. She also holds a Master of Education in Language and Literacy with a Reading Specialist Licensure from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In her free time, Holly loves cheering for the Spurs and reading just about anything she can hold while eating chocolatey ice cream. There is nothing more inspiring to Holly than watching people push themselves and amaze themselves… so she is very thankful to work with our RMA students and is inspired every day!

Travis Nelson

Special Education ARD Facilitator

Travis Nelson joined the RMA team in August of 2015 fresh out of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. He joined first as a Special Education teacher at the RMA-Corpus Christi campus. Before joining RMA, he had one year of Student Teaching experience at Flour Bluff ISD in Corpus Christi, Texas enrolled in college. After being a Special Education teacher from August 2015 to March 2016, he was given the opportunity to relocate to Austin, Texas to join the State Office family and become the Admission, Review, or Dismissal (ARD) Facilitator, which is his current role. Being the ARD facilitator means he works in coordination with our Special Education Director, Special Education teachers, and Licensed Specialists in School Psychology to make sure all ARDs are prepared and ready to go. In his spare time he loves to play video games! He is a huge fan of the Pokémon and Kingdom Hearts series. He also loves to go hiking and camping with his girlfriend and pug. He loves working at RMA because he feels like our students finally have a place where they can call home. He’s found that a lot of our students have never been able to openly express themselves, and at RMA, they can feel free.