“What makes Villa Maria School a unique place for students to learn?”

Meet our Head of School - Diane McManus

Our Head of School

This is the one query that all parents have asked their school district supervisors across not only Westchester and Fairfield counties but also from as far away as New York City, Danbury, Long Island City, and other far reaching towns. Some of the answers to that question can be found detailed in the list below. As Head of School at Villa Maria, I am proud of our unique character as a school for students with learning challenges.

Did you know that Villa Maria has the distinction of being one of the few State of Connecticut approved institutions for Special Education while also maintaining accreditation in the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools?

Wayne Holland, Director of Special Education for the City of Stamford, praises Villa Maria as being highly qualified in the field of education for special needs students. Visitors and parents regularly remark on the distinctive nurturing environment that works in combination with the high caliber of learning that takes place here on a daily basis. In particular, Villa Maria School is unique in that:

  • Students work in a highly structured four-to-one student/teacher ratio.
  • Every teacher is certified in Special Education and has specialized in at least one academic subject, making the ENTIRE school day special education, including art, music, PE, electives, and more.
  • We have flexibility with our curriculum and we have the ability to adjust groupings throughout the year.
  • Our instructors engage with students academically, socially and emotionally, every day…all day long.
  • Our teachers know their students intimately and are then able to proactively work through situations providing by-pass strategies and life time skills — not reactive interventions.
  • Our instructors work as a team on each grade level and teach to the needs of each student — giving authentic individualized attention.
  • Villa Maria provides students an array of “opportunities to shine.”
  • Each graduate gives a speech and video presentation about his/her journey towards success.
  • Villa Maria teaches independence, interdependence, leadership, and confidence building.
  • Villa’s students have internalized a strong moral sense and respect for themselves and others.
  • When students eventually transition to a general education setting, they have realized the life skills and strategies to carry them forward for success in all facets of life.

These and many more reasons make Villa Maria a truly one-of-a-kind learning environment for students in kindergarten through ninth grade. I invite you to make a visit and get to know our community for yourself!


Diane McManus, Head of School

Head of School Diane McManus