Our Mission

The mission of SWFLMEC is to create a world-class music education center where neurodivergent students who have a strong interest in music and low to moderate support needs receive education in music and life skills, preparing them for meaningful growth opportunities that enrich their lives and the community as a whole.

The Need For Specialized Services

Romantic girl playing violin with bow looking at cords
Woman Playing Guitar
Woman Playing Drums
It is well documented that most neurodivergent young adults face significant challenges in post-secondary education, preparing to enter the workforce and in developing healthy relationships. The Southwest Florida Music Education Center is here to help them overcome those challenges!

Who We Serve

The Southwest Florida Music Education Center serves neurodivergent young adults with a strong interest in music. We provide a holistic music education experience for neurodivergent individuals who have the following profile at the time of program enrollment:

Common diagnoses includes:

*Additional diagnoses may be considered through the application/enrollment process

Typical Student Profile:

Defining Neurodiversity

Merriam-Webster defines neurodiversity as:
neurodiversity (n) – (1) individual differences in brain functioning regarded as normal variations within the human population, (2) the concept that difference in brain functioning within the population are normal and that brain functioning that is not neurotypical should not be stigmatized, (3) the inclusion in a group, organization, etc. of people with different types of brain functioning.

The Center: Designed for Musical Creativity, Health and Well Being

Building a healthy, green Southwest Florida Music Education Center is fundamental to our goals. The population we serve is already more likely to have anxiety, immune and sensory issues, and related health challenges, so investing in a design and material selection that maximizes green and healthy building best practices is really central to our outcomes. Building features will include non-toxic material selection, enhanced indoor/outdoor air exchange, daylighting, acoustical and open space design considerations which are beneficial to neurodivergent young adults.

CONCEPTUAL
RENDERING

Laying the Foundation
Now – Summer 2022

Building the Center
Fall 2022 – Fall 2023

Opening the Center
Fall 2023

Enhancing Access to Music Education in Southwest Florida

Beyond our classrooms and campus, the Southwest Florida Music Education Center will impact our entire community by bringing world-class music education programs, developed in partnership with the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs, to Southwest Florida. This will include day classes, residential options and continuing education opportunities for music teachers with a focus on teaching neurodivergent students.

Learn more about our Founder’s story.

Our Board, Advisory Committee and Staff

Our Board

Rob Moher
Rob Moher

Founder & Board Chair
CEO/President of Conservancy of Southwest Florida

Sandra Severino
Sandra Severino

Vice Chair of the Board
Education Specialist

Female Profile Image Placeholder
Libby Anderson,
M.S., SPHR

Board Member
President of TalentForce Solutions

Fred Kotynski
Fred Kotynski

Board Member
CIO at RFMS, Inc.

Patsy Schroeder
Patsy Schroeder

Board Member
Member of the Naples Philanthropic Center Chorale & Trustee of the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra

Kathleen-van-Bergen
Kathleen van Bergen

Board Member
CEO and President of
Artis - Naples

Sharon Weston Patel
Sharon Weston-Patel

Board Member
Associate Director at the Ernst & Young’s Americas Talent Attraction
& Acquisition team

Advisory Committee

Jeanie Bachrach
Jeanie Bachrach, BCBA, SLP

Behavioral Consultant & Speech Therapist

Rhoda Bernard
Dr. Rhoda Bernard

Managing Director of the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs

Dick Grant
Richard C. Grant

Founding Member of
Grant, Fridkin, Pearson

Adam Kerlek
Adam Kerlek

Attorney
Bond, Schoeneck & King LLC

James Levine
Dr. James Levine, Ph.D., LICSW

Founding Director of
James Levine & Associates

Male Profile Image Placeholder
Jeff Mudgett, AIA

President of
Parker, Mudgett, Smith

Skip Pardee
Skip Pardee

District Coordinator of Fine Arts
for Collier County Public Schools

Michelle Theroux
Michelle Theroux

Executive Director of Berkshire Hills Music Academy (BHMA)

Staff

Jen Clark
Jennifer Clark

Vice President

Jeff Leigh
Dr. Jeff Leigh

Music Program Director of
The Creative Group