Mrs. Lorie Dietz,
Head of School
We are so pleased to announce Mrs. Lorie Dietz as our Head of School and Lead Teacher. Lorie has a Master's Degree in Special Education and has specialized in autism specific education throughout her career.

Lorie has attended the Social Thinking® Clinical Training Program, which includes being personally trained by Michelle Garcia Winner. Mrs. Dietz is a strong believer in Project Based Learning and is excited to have the discretion to incorporate cutting edge processes into the curriculum.

For 3 years Lorie has also led a weekly social skills group for teens with autism. The programming at Lionheart Academy will incorporate daily lessons that promote social skills and independence in students as they move towards adulthood

Contact Lorie at

Mrs. Mary Janca,
High School Teacher

Mary comes to Lionheart with a Masters in Special Education from North Carolina Central University, and a Bachelors in Cinema/Television and Anthropology from the University of Southern California.  She also is trained through TEACCH, and works with children and young adults in the community as a tutor and counselor.  She has taught English in Taiwan, Film at Piedmont Community College, and various subjects for Guilford County Schools for 11 years.  She is certified to teach Math, Language Arts and Science up to grade 9. Ms. Janca enjoys writing, filmmaking, sports, art, travel, reading, and good conversations.

Diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at 33, and ADD at 39, Mary Janca had experienced a childhood and young adulthood with limited tools.  Nevertheless, it was the words from a physical therapist, "be a fighter", which held keen in her mind.  It is that mindset which has helped with overcoming many hurdles, and creating a sense of determination that has been invaluable.

She is keen on working with every child to raise their confidence, self-esteem, academic and functional skills to become positive, contributing adults in the real world.

Contact Mary at

Mrs. Amy Alexander,

Amy began her love of education working for Kentucky Educational Television in 1980. She had just graduated from the University of Kentucky with majors in Home EC and Marketing. At KET she worked in the education division, training teachers throughout the state, in how to utilize technology in their classrooms. She decided at that time to get another degree in Elementary Education.

From KET Amy went to work as an Education Specialist for Tandy Corporation again training teachers and students how to utilize computer instead of typewriters and calculators to complete accounting and typing assignments. She trained teachers and students for many years throughout the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, and the DC area. Amy also taught at the University of Louisville in the summer with 80 teachers/40 computers to learn word processing, spreadsheets, and accounting programs.

Amy missed working with students and went back to the classroom in 2005 working in an emotional and behavioral unit. Having received her certification in Special Education with an emphasis in emotional and behavioral education. The school housed the Behavioral Unit as well as the Autism unit; a highly rewarding experience.

Amy moved to the county school system to work with the International refugee population. While at Bowling Green Kentucky, she created the RTI (response to intervention unit) in reading. She returned to graduate school and obtained a second master’s degree in Reading and Gifted students.

In 2013 Amy moved back to North Carolina to be closer to her grandchildren. She taught resource and inclusion classes and worked individually with students with autism. Her love for the autism population is what brought her to work at Lionheart Academy.

Contact Amy at

Mrs. Allison Kostedt (Mrs. K),

Allison grew up in Greensboro and currently resides there. She first attended Guilford Technical Community College, where she graduated with a Pre-Major in Elementary Education, in 2009. She then attended and graduated from UNCG in 2012 with a dual degree in Elementary Education (K-6) and Special Education (K-12). She served as an EC teacher in the school system for almost 4 years and taught in various special education settings. This includes: 6th and 7th grade Language Arts (resource and inclusion); 6th grade Math (inclusion); 6th through 8th grade (self-contained); and K-5 (self-contained).

Before teaching at Lionheart, Allison was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to work with, and get to know, several of the students and staff through both The Independence Place and The Lionheart Academy of the Triad summer camp programs. Her overall experience in this field has helped shape her passion for working with those on the Autism Spectrum. As she continues her work with ASD and this remarkable population of individuals at Lionheart, she looks forward to growing and learning each and every day and helping our students to do the same.

Contact Allison at

Ms. Kostedt, Mrs. Valenti, Mr. Mills, Mrs. Dietz, Mr. Niegro
Ms. Janca, Mrs. Alexander & Mr. Valenti