There is a need.
Safe Haven fills that need.

Learn More

A therapeutic day school devoted exclusively to
students with internalizing behavior issues.

Our Locations


937 Happ Road | Northfield, IL.

Learn More


906 Muir Avenue | Lake Bluff, IL.

Learn More

Our Mission

Safe Haven School provides a safe, nurturing therapeutic environment for children aged 5-18 facing various challenges, such as emotional disturbances, learning disabilities, autism, and other health impairments.

  • Developing trusting relationships with our students
  • Partnering with families, schools, and community
  • Engaging students in creative learning
  • Providing coping skills and building tolerance for frustration
  • Practicing social skills and building peer relationships
  • Embracing diversity and enhancing strengths
  • Strengthening areas of challenge
  • Building self-esteem and self-respect


“Their art therapy program is astounding. My child’s imagination can tend to be overactive, but it is also one of her most significant gifts when applied to constructive projects. Her Safe Haven School projects were unlike anything she’d ever done… she brought them home with the most wonderful pride. She hadn’t shown that sort of confidence in a long time.”

Safe Haven Parent

“…After researching all options, my gut told me that Safe Haven School was the right place for [my daughter], and she felt that way, too. I’ve never felt more comfortable in my life, knowing that she was in the best hands. Every person on the staff at Safe Haven School is outstanding, compassionate and supportive…”

Safe Haven Parent

“Our staff is very non-hierarchical. Teachers are heard, administrators are approachable, and we are all on the same page.”

JaLynne Butler, Teacher

“Our small class size is very important. All staff members know the kids on a very personal basis, and we have great compatibility with each other. Everyone is always looking out for everyone else.”

Hallie Zimbler, Paraprofessional

Our Staff

  • Holly Schaefer

    Founder/Executive Director

    As Founder and Executive Director of Safe Haven School, Holly Schaefer draws upon deep educational and practical experience in the field of special education as well as a strong personal commitment to children with special needs. This commitment...

  • Sherry Smith

    Director of Clinical Services

    Sherry became our Director of Clinical Services for both Safe Haven School campuses in August, 2014. She graduated from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana with her Masters degree in Social Work. Prior to joining Safe Haven School, she...

  • Sheila Deal

    Director of Educational Services

    Sheila Deal has been in the education field since 1986. She began her career working with students with Emotional Disabilities in a Public Junior High School. Three years later she moved to the private sector and worked with...

  • Sue Holzkamp

    Administrative Assistant

    Sue Holzkamp began working in therapeutic day school settings in 1998, working directly with students as a paraprofessional and as the assistant to the Behavior Interventionist at Camelot Day School. Sue relished observing the students grow and flourish, how they...

  • Jenny Rhoades

    Educational Case Manager/High School Division Head

    Jenny Rhoades joined Safe Haven School in January 2013. She believes that behavior and education initiatives are essential components in producing lasting changes in young people’s lives. Jenny holds a double major in psychology and fitness from Cornell...

  • Nicole Bialk

    Educational Case Manager

    Ms. Bialk has felt right at home since starting at Safe Haven in August 2013. After earning her Bachelor’s degree in Special Education LBS1 with a minor in Spanish from Illinois State University, Ms. Bialk worked primarily with...

  • JaLynne Butler

    Educational Case Manager

    JaLynne is an experienced special education teacher and At Risk High School Counselor with 13 years of combined experience. She has an undergraduate degree in Special Education with an LBS1 endorsement and a graduate degree in Counseling Psychology....

  • Lenore Deutsch

    Clinical Case Manager

    Lenore Deutsch comes to us with over 20 years of clinical social work experience.  She received her Masters in Social Work (MSW) from Loyola University-Chicago.  Lenore began her career in hospital medical and mental health units where she...

  • Amy Hirt

    Clinical Case Manager

    Amy Hirt is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 18 years of experience counseling children, adolescents, families, and adults. Amy earned her MSW from Indiana University. She has an extensive background providing therapy to children whose behavioral issues...

  • Joanne Ramseyer

    Art Therapist

    Joanne Ramseyer, MA, ATR-BC, LCPC is excited to offer the students at Safe Haven School her passionate belief in the power of creativity to promote resilience and growth and to join such a highly dedicated, caring and professional...

  • Laura Stahl

    Educational Case Manager

    Mrs. Stahl is an enthusiastic and experienced teacher of 18 years who enjoys being a part of the Safe Haven School family. She has a keen interest in students with disabilities and is dedicated to reaching students of...

  • Caroline Tye

    Art Therapist

    Caroline Tye is excited to join the Safe Haven School team. Prior to Safe Haven School, Caroline was a camp director, pre-school teacher, after school program teacher and a basketball coach. Throughout these experiences, one thing never changed, her...

  • Jane Conley

    Educational Case Manager

    Jane is thrilled to be teaching in the middle school at Safe Haven School Lake Bluff.  Her educational background is in science, and she loves sparking her students’ curiosity and seeing where it leads them.  She holds a...

  • Joanne Ramseyer

    Art Therapist

    Joanne Ramseyer, MA, ATR-BC, LCPC is excited to offer the students at Safe Haven School her passionate belief in the power of creativity to promote resilience and growth and to join such a highly dedicated, caring and professional...

  • Cynthia Eudy

    Clinical Case Manager

    Cynthia Eudy earned her undergraduate degree from Columbia College in Communication Arts and her Master’s Degree from Loyola University in Social Work. She enjoys music, exercising, and spending time with her wonderful family. Cynthia loves working with adolescents and feels...

  • Sarah Matchen

    Clinical Case Manager

    Sarah Matchen graduated with her Master’s in Social Work in 2007 and has focused on working with children, adolescents and families throughout her career.  Outside of school, Ms. Matchen serves on the Board of Directors for the Tourette Syndrome...

  • Jennifer Dimitrov

    Educational Case Manager

    Mrs. Dimitrov brings six years of experience to her position of educational case manager. Jennifer most recently worked with high school students at Metro Prep and Maryville Academy therapeutic day schools located in the northwest suburbs of Chicago....

  • Brittany Gadau

    Educational Case Manager

    Brittany Gadau is excited and honored to be a part of Safe Haven School. She has a B.S. in Special Education from Illinois State University, and is completing her M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction at Saint Xavier University....

  • Laura Gross

    Educational Case Manager/Science Teacher

    Laura Gross is a passionate educator and science geek. She has been teaching for 16 years and is always attending science trainings, activities, lectures and conventions because she enjoys it immensely and loves to bring back first-hand information...

  • Carly Bryer

    Educational Case Manager

    Carly Bryer earned a B.S. in Human Development & Family Studies from Indiana University and an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from Loyola University Chicago. Carly then went on to National Louis University for her LBS1 Endorsement. Between 2007-2013, Carly...

  • Duke Novak

    Clinical Case Manager

    Having worked to support students and their families for over twenty years, Duke is very happy to be at Safe Haven School to continue doing what he loves. He appreciates the opportunity to work with these students and...

  • Anna Netzel

    Clinical Case Manager

    Anna Netzel graduated from Dominican University with her Master’s in Social Work in 2014. Since graduating, her focus has been working with children in schools. Outside of school Anna enjoys traveling, taking walks, and reading.

  • Hallie Zimbler


    Hallie is a paraprofessional at Safe Haven School Lake Bluff. She utilizes her academic strengths of in English/Language Arts and Theatre in her work with the students. Her passion for Special Education began at a young age, and...

  • Aaron Silverberg


    Aaron Silverberg graduated from Illinois State University in 2011 and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in secondary education. He serves as physical education teacher and paraprofessional at the Lake Bluff campus.


Contact Us

We encourage you to discover the advantages offered by Safe Haven School. We are accepting students in grades K-12 with ED,
LD, and OHI for the current school year. Class size is limited, so we suggest contacting us at your earliest opportunity.

Please direct inquiries and referrals to: Holly Schaefer, Executive Director, Safe Haven School
(847) 509-5885 or via email at