Meet our Team

Faculty & Staff


    William Harris

    Since 1995, William has been serving students challenged by disability ― first as a school-based Occupational Therapist followed by being a diagnostic evaluator for Orange County Public Schools. In 2000, he became the Director for Occupational and Physical Therapy Services. His primary responsibility was to coordinate therapy services throughout the district. In 2005, he left the district with a desire to return to direct treatment ― his greatest passion.

    After leaving the school system, William started Play Able Therapy services and worked primarily with children living with orthopedic and neurological disabilities. In 2009, he founded the Academy of Ability as part of Play Able Therapy to create an environment that would better impact the lives of the children. His goal was to create a school that would have not only have academics as a focus, but to teach how to make life skills, which is an equally important aspect of education.

    In 2010, the Academy of Ability was reorganized as a not for profit charity to better meet the needs of the school. Since 2009, William has served as school director and board president.

    Letter from the founder

  • Assistant to Director

    Amanda Riker

    Amanda graduated from UCF with a degree in Exercise Science and a specialization in human performance. She has been working with The Academy of Ability since November 2014 and loves being a part of the team. With her background in exercise science, she also works with Play Able therapists to facilitate exercise and activities of daily living which is imperative for the development of each student.

  • Lead Teacher

    Bev Downward

    Bev has been teaching at The Academy of Ability since 2014. With over 30 years of experience teaching, she focuses on encouraging and challenging students at all levels in life to meet their full God given potential. She has enjoyed every year at the Academy because she loves being a part of the lives of the students who attend. She says her students teach her lessons each day about perseverance and making the most of each day.

  • Teacher

    Audrey Silbernagel

    Audrey just joined our team in August 2017 and she has fit in so perfectly.


  • Teacher

    Lymari Rentas

    Lymari is a teacher assistant and has been with The Academy of Ability since 2012. Having previous experience in teaching, including experience with her son who also attends the school, she continuously shows the competence in creating a loving and easy learning environment for all her students. She feels very fortunate to be a part of their lives as well as having the students in hers. As a parent, she found that The Academy of Ability offers a caring and loving environment that seeks to meet all needs but also persists in helping each student develop their fullest potential and helping them reach independence.

  • Educator

    Evelyn Cooper

    Evelyn is a teacher and has been working at The Academy of Ability since 2010. She claims to have fallen in love with the students and the environment from day one. Evelyn provides an easy learning experience for all her students and can elicit answers from them that could not have been achieved without her continuous encouragement. She feels privileged to be here, working with this population, but truth is that this school is lucky to have her. Evelyn goes above and beyond and enjoys watching each student make progress in their journey to independence.

  • Creative Arts

    Daniella Harris

    Daniella has been volunteering at The Academy of Ability since it opened. She was first hired as a teacher assistant for language arts and math in September 2017. Once there was a need for Creative Arts specials, Daniella jumped right on board. Daniella loves helping the kids make progress in which ever way they can whether it be academically or artistically, and hopes to encourage them in every aspect that may contribute to a more involved and independent life. She is excited for what the future may hold for the students as they continue with The Academy of Ability.

  • Support and Care

    Consuelo Ramirez, Traci Dike, Emmanuel Sanon, and Marta Padua

    These are the people that make up our support and care team. We are so grateful to have them as a part of our staff.