Carlos J. Garcia, Psy.D., CTRT, Assistant Sr. Psychologist and Assistant Site Director at Connections Academy East
Dr. Garcia began working with the Connections Organization at Connections Day School (CDS) as a therapy extern in 2012. He continued his training at CDS through his Doctoral Internship and Post-Doctoral Fellowship, before becoming the Assistant Site Director and Assistant Senior Psychologist at Connections Academy East in 2015.
Before attaining his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Adler University in 2014, Dr. Garcia worked as a Psychosocial Rehabilitation Specialist in Post Falls, Idaho, where he taught clients social skills and self management skills. Additionally, Dr. Garcia worked as a floor staff in a residential treatment facility in Hayden, Idaho serving students with a wide variety of presenting problems, including suicidal ideation, psychotic disorders, depression, and anxiety.
Throughout his graduate training, Dr. Garcia received formal training in family therapy and providing treatment to Children and Adolescents with Disruptive Behavior Disorder and ADHD. Dr. Garcia works with Interns both in group and individual supervision to identify and analyze issues of diversity that are salient among their relationships with their students as well as identify the way that diversity factors are informing their case conceptualizations and impacting their clinical work with the students that they work with.
In 2020 Dr. Garcia became a Certified Trauma and Resilience Trainer through Starr Commonwealth after completing their robust certification and training course. Dr. Garcia regularly trains staff at Connections Academy East and interns within the Connections Internship Consortium on the fundamental elements and applications of trauma informed care to their clinical work and their case conceptualizations.
Laura Grimes, M.Ed., CTRT, Assistant Senior Restorative Interventionist at the Connections Schools
Laura Grimes, M.Ed., lives in Lake County, IL with her husband. They have two children, one of whom joined their family through the blessing of adoption. They were also foster parents for a little boy throughout his first year of life until he was reunited with his biological family. He is currently 14-years-old and the Grimes Family maintains a relationship with him and his mother, and consider them extended family.
For over 30 years, Laura has been working with children and families in a wide variety of settings ranging from early child care centers, substance abuse programs and poverty support programs. Within these programs and within her church she has provided support groups for parents that are planning to or have built their family through adoption, education to families in their homes, and developmental needs assessments for children.
She has an undergraduate degree in Social Work, a Master’s Degree in Education, a certificate in Advanced Trauma-Competent Caregiving, and has completed all training offered by the National Institute for Trauma & Loss in Children to become a Certified Trauma Practitioner-Education (CTP-E)and proceeded on and became a Trauma Informed and Resilience Trainer (CTRT) through STARR Commonwealth Programs.
Laura’s work for the past 15 years has been at 2 of the 5 therapeutic day schools within the Connections Organization (Connections Day School and Connections Academy East). She began as a program assistant, moved up to become a substitute teacher, then a behavior intervention specialist.
In 2016, Laura was promoted to the role of Assistant Director of the Restorative Intervention Services program, where she develops programs, provides education and training for teachers, program assistants and therapists, and supervises 11 intervention specialists. In addition, she leads 3 therapy groups - 2 for students who do not live with their biological parent(s) - those who have been adopted, are in foster care, are in DCFS custody, or for one reason or another are not living with their biological parents; and 1 for students who are struggling with grief after experiencing the loss of a family member or friend.
Laura is also one of the founders of Cultivate of Lake County, a chapter of Cultivate, an international organization whose mission is to transform the lives of children in need by empowering caregivers. Cultivate achieves this mission by building caregiver support systems and providing education in trauma-informed practices and relational care. They offer training and resources for caregivers around the world.