Parent's Corner » Family Support Page

Family Support Page

Merrick Academy Charter School is a family-focused, community-based, and culturally sensitive school that aims to provide resources and services based on the needs of our families and community. 

For immediate support please email 
Visit our Student, School, and Special Education pages (to the right of this page) for additional resources.
Take the next 2 minutes and join Dr. Akhu in The Square Breath.
A quick but effective breathing exercise. 
Meet Our Support Team
Dr. Akhu is a New York State–licensed clinical psychologist. She has broad experience in the areas of trauma, depression, anxiety, stress management, spirituality, relationships and intimate partner abuse and is Board Certified in African-Centered/Black psychology. Dr. Akhu is a former president of the New York Association of Black Psychologists and a former board member of the Association of Black Psychologists. She provides consultation, workshops and professional training on a wide variety of psychological issues. Dr. Akhu has been in private practice for twenty years and is the author of numerous self-help books including Cultivating Inner Peace: A Sustainable System for the Professional Black Women. For more information, visit

be Morr is a culturally sensitive counseling practice created by people of color (left to right: Regine Dorismond, Roslyn Guzman, Odile McKenzie) for people of color. be Morr is rooted in the idea that we all have the capacity to heal, grow and overcome life’s challenges when given a safe space to do so. be Morr provides individual & group therapy as well as, workshop facilitation to women of color.


The women of Be Morr are NYS Licensed Social Workers with more than 15 years of collective experience. Their expertise ranges from crisis response, inpatient psychiatry, outpatient mental health, learning and development, clinical supervision, resource linkage, and managed care.

Jeffrey Cox is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Diversity & Equity Consultant.  Jeffrey believes that a  sense of emotional and psychological safety is necessary for living a productive, fulfilling life. Uncomfortable or conflicting feelings can lessen our quality of life. For many people, it can be difficult to share these emotions openly with family and friends. This can contribute to emotional distress, isolation, and detachment from a thriving life. Therapeutic support can help gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and navigate the many complex facets of interpersonal relationships. As a practicing psychotherapist and a trained group practitioner for more than 20 years Jeffrey helps to create a safe and supportive environment for these important conversations.

The primary focus of his clinical practice utilizes a combination of "Self-In-Relations" theory, DBT theoretical framework and practices, and Family Therapy/Systems approach and practices. Jeffrey also incorporates a Socio-Cultural assessment model as an ecological underpinning to further support the values of the individual.

Noelle Dean   is a Licensed Masters of Social Worker and has  been a social worker in New York City for over 20 years with more than half of those years working at Bank Street College. At Bank Street she is the “feelings teacher” in the School for Children’s lower school, an adjunct in the Graduate School, and a part of the Emotionally Responsive Practice (ERP) team. She is passionate about social justice issues and believes that emotional wellbeing is a human right.


Ma'at E. Lewis earned a doctorate in Counseling Psychology and a master of arts in Organizational Psychology at Columbia University. She is a NY State licensed psychologist, Board Certified in African-Centered/Black Psychology, a certified Egyptian Yoga Practitioner, and certified in Transpersonal Breathwork Meditation and Transpersonal Psychotherapy. Dr. Lewis is a Past President of the New York Association of Black Psychologists and former board member of the National Association of Black Psychologists.


Currently, Dr. Lewis is an associate professor with the Department of Counseling at John Jay College of Criminal Justice formerly serving as the deputy chair and full-time director of the Counseling Services Center. Dr. Lewis develops innovative courses on integrating spirituality and multicultural issues in human services, undoing structural racism and youth justice. She was a lead faculty member in creation of the minors in counseling and human services at the college.  As a licensed psychologist Dr. Lewis provides consultation in stress management, race-related stress, cultural competence and managing situations involving persons in emotional distress. As a faculty consultant for the past 11 years she trains law enforcement professionals including the New York City Police Department’s Hostage Negotiation Team, Emergency Services Unit, Lieutenants, Sergeants and New Recruits Programs, and Department of Homeless Services and NYC Taxi and Livery Commission Peace Officers. Most recently she served on the curriculum development team for the newly created NYPD Crisis Intervention Team training program providing material regarding mental illness and implicit bias in policing. She is currently conducting research on the concept of spirit and has published on the topics of racism-related stress and spiritual/religious issues in counseling.

Diane Nathaniel is a native of New York, raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant.  Diane is employed by the New York City Department of Education as a School Counselor, serving over 900 students Pre-K through 5th grade at The Purvis J. Behan Elementary School, Public School 11 Located in Clinton Hills, Brooklyn. She has been with PS 11 for 13 years.

Diane earned her bachelor’s degree in Social Science and her master’s degree in School Counseling from the College of New Rochelle. She also earned an Advanced Certificate in Family and Mental Health Counseling from Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus, and has a Certificate from The Harvard School of Mental Health in “Treating Students K-12”.

Diane is also the CEO of CDN Educational Consulting, LLC, which is a firm designed to provide guidance and support to families regarding academics, social-emotional learning and behavioral strategies for personal growth and academic success. CDN supports the practice of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness and believes that families who are able to experience healing and restoration physically and mentally, become a healthier and more well-rounded unit.  

Diane is also a Stage 3 Colon Cancer Survivor and her battle has ignited her growing passion for advocacy. She was diagnosed on March 7, 2014 and has managed to turn her experience fighting for her life into an opportunity to help spread awareness and the importance of cancer screenings and prevention. Diane created and Co-founded Beat Stage 3.  Beat Stage 3 is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization that identifies as an image conscious campaign for cancer fighters and survivors, which promotes cancer awareness and the restoration of inner and outer beauty for cancer fighters and survivors. 

Diane is a candidate for graduation at SUNY Downstate Medical School, School of Public Health in the Advanced Certificate program and continuing on to earn a Doctorate of Public Health, DrPH.

With a passion for spreading awareness within her community, Diane spends her spare time as a patient speaker, advocate and volunteer, working tirelessly to get important prevention, intervention and rehabilitation messaging out to as many people as possible. One of her main goals is to bridge the gap between the medical community and the people in the community with specific focus on the most vulnerable groups, youth, elderly and men. 

Diane  is a Founding Board Member or BELA Charter High School for Girls in District 16 where she serves as Board Secretary.

Diane is a volunteer with CAS Prep, an educational non-profit community-based organization that prepares students for the Specialized High School Exams and provides academic enrichment and support for grades 1-9.  This program is Founded and Directed by Mr. Samuel Adewumi.