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Who We Are 2018-02-08T17:40:46+00:00


The PEER Academy will tailor individualized programs for our students using strong relationships and the best practices in autism education to maximize each student’s potential for leading a self-sufficient life.


The mission of PEER Academy is to provide a challenging individualized education, emphasizing peer interaction and collaboration, that inspires each child to reach his or her full potential and become self-sufficient adults.

Core Values

  • Prepare:  We will prepare our students to achieve their fullest potential, utilizing a curriculum tailored to their individual needs.
  • Encourage: We will encourage our students to rise to challenges, push their limits and do their very best.
  • Empower: We empower our students by providing a safe, supportive environment in which to learn collaboratively, to help each other and to grow together.
  • Respect: We will respect each child’s unique abilities and interests, and we will encourage our students to respect their peers in order to form a strong community of learners.
  • Partner:  Education is a team effort. We will partner with our students, parents & family, & the community to assist in achieving the ultimate unique potential of each of our students


PEER Academy will provide a quality education for eight to ten children with an individualized education within our first year operating as a school.

PEER Academy will start with a kindergarten class and include typical peers of similar age our first year of operation.

Board of Directors

Deidra Messinger
Christina DeGuimera’
Robin Dawson Hatfield
Zak Stansell
Lindsay Messinger
Lindsay Ramsey


When our son was diagnosed with Autism, our first thought was not “where will my child go to school?” We were completely immersed in the ever-so-important early intervention stage, which included Speech therapy, Occupational therapy and Applied Behavioral Analysis. Our son did well in his therapies; however, as he got older we would soon be faced with finding a school that would meet his needs and help him reach his full potential.

We have been pleased with his preschool, which consists of a blended class of children with autism and typically developing children. Sadly, we realize that soon there will not be a place for him – one that will nurture him and allow him to explore his environment while teaching him life skills and academics. Like many parents in our area, we discovered a large hole in the services and educational opportunities available for special needs children.

We decided to take matters into our own hands and look into developing our own school – one where our son would not simply be placed in a special education classroom with a large student to teacher ratio and too few aides. We knew our son, like most kids, would learn best in a smaller, more intensive educational setting.

As we began to look around, we discovered a woman who had been down the same road a few years earlier and tried to start a school. With her, we have developed The PEER Academy. PEER stands for Prepare, Encourage, Empower, Respect – all values a school should have for educating children. PEER Academy also acknowledges that our children will be among peers. They will not be the “special ed kids” in the class; they will be perfectly normal for being exactly who they are. Their parents will be our peers. We will be with friends and collaborators who understand our journey.