WHO ARE WE
WHO ARE WE
Bernadette K. Ucko, MA, LDTC (Founder and Clinical Director)
Bernadette (Bunny) Ucko is the clinical director and owner of The Brain Train Learning Center. She started her career as a teacher after graduating from Wheelock College in 1974. While she was teaching kindergarten in New York City, she realized that she could help individual children by training their processing skills and not just by teaching them how to read. This realization led her to further study at Bank Street College and Columbia University. In 1984, she then went on to graduate with a master’s degree in special education—with certification in learning disabilities—from Seton Hall University.
Since she was in high school, Bunny has always had at least one student that she was tutoring. Her passion for tutoring led her to train other individuals who wanted to help students improve their processing and learning skills. Since 1995, Bunny has been helping students in her learning center, along with the clinicians whom she has trained. Her learning center was located in her home until 2017 when the demand for her training program dictated the need for more space.
Bunny is continuously searching for and researching new ways to help individuals with all kinds of challenges. iLs, ILp, SSP, PACE, Retrain The Brain, Learning Breakthrough, The Listening Program, and Interactive Metronome are just a few of the myriad utilized and customized programs in her practice. Bunny has been trained in the methodology of Lindamood-Bell – including LiPS, Seeing Stars, Visualizing and Verbalizing and On Cloud Nine Math. She also has training in PAF and Wilson. Her most valuable tool is the 40-plus years of experience working one-on-one with every imaginable kind of learner. She has researched the study of the brain, its functions and neuro-plasticity, and has a good grasp of how to help individuals change their brains for improved learning and life skills. Many students with reading and math disabilities, as well as auditory and visual processing disorders, autonomic disregulation and sensory processing disorders, find her practice because they have tried several other programs and nothing has worked to their satisfaction.
In her down time, Bunny enjoys spending time with her close-knit extended family—especially her five grandchildren.
Martha Ucko, M Ed, L&L (Executive Director)
Martha comes back to the Brain Train as Executive Director with a minor in Education at Dartmouth College (B.S. in German Studies) and a Masters in Language and Literacy from Harvard. She spent most of her formative years learning, absorbing and even sometimes assisting with many of those 40 years of experience that makes this place what it is (i.e. with her mother). Right out of college, she taught first grade at a Charter School in the South Bronx and decided she had to go back for her Masters degree to expand her ability to truly help every child out there, learn how their brains work, how they learn how to read and how best to help them get there.
Upon graduation she was lured to the world of finance and went to work at CreditSights as a financial analyst. While this took her away from working with children, she honed her analytical skills on analyzing companies for a while and also learned a lot about business and product strategy. After 11 long years, it is now time to come back to the light and use her true passion and talents to help as many struggling learners as she can.
Marrying her deep education background with the more recent business and product strategy Martha has lofty ideas about how to share some of our ideas and expertise with the rest of the country and help our education system to teach our children the skills to learn which she dove in head first in January 2020 to start chipping away at. She will also continue to share her expertise to help kids of all ages with literacy, math, language skills and test taking prep.
In her downtime, Martha enjoys staying active with Paddle Tennis and cycling and hiking with the Brain Train mascot, Windermere (Windy).
Jenna Hanley (Assistant Clinical Director)
Jenna joined The Brain Train Learning Center in 2003. Prior to that, she was a kindergarten teacher at St. Joseph’s School in West Orange and an aide at New Beginnings in Fairfield. She came to observe Bunny in her learning center one summer day, and has been there ever since! She is a trained Orton Gillingham teacher and is certified in iLs (Integrated Listening Systems), IM (Interactive Metronome), SSP (Safe and Sound Protocol), Lindamood-Bell, and Auditory Exercises. She is certified as a reading specialist through Fairleigh Dickinson University, Orton Gillingham Certification Program. Jenna recently took on the position as Assistant director and helps to oversee programs and train tutors.
Jenna struggled with reading as a child and is very passionate about helping children of all ages gain the skills they need to be confident students. She is also very busy with her two children, a son and a daughter.
Hayden was a student at the Brain Train as a teenager and was a participant in all of our programs. He worked as an intern the summer between his junior and senior year at Marist College. After graduating from Marist in 2018 with a Bachelors Degree majoring in Psychology, Hayden joined our team as a tutor in training. He plans to continue his education, pursuing a masters degree, after he has completed 120 hours of training at The Brain Train.
Juliet is thrilled to be joining the Brain Train team. Juliet holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College. She started her career as an editorial assistant at St. Martin’s Press in New York City before completing her graduate degree and working as a kindergarten teacher at St. David’s School.
Juliet first experienced Brain Train as a parent of 2 of Bunny’s students and has seen the benefit of the individualized instruction first hand. She is trained in PAF, Orton Gillingham, Lips, and is looking forward to continuing her training in Lindamood-Bell.
In her free time Juliet enjoys spending time with her husband, 4 children, 2 dogs and gardening, exercise, and reading.
Pepper joined The Brain Train Learning Center in October, 2014, after a successful 13+ year financial services career in the hedge fund industry. She is certified in the iLs (Integrated Listening Systems), SSP(Safe and Sound Protocol), and IM (Interactive Metronome for Pediatrics & Adults) programs. In addition, she is also trained in the all the Lindamood-Bell programs.
At the age of 7, Pepper was Bunny’s first student when starting her tutoring program. Bunny helped Pepper with techniques in auditory processing that gave her the skills to succeed in school and eventually in the workplace. Now, she is looking to give back the help that was given to her. With her first-hand experience, she wants her students to know that she “knows how they feel” and that anything is possible if you keep advancing your learning skills.
Pepper has a bachelor of arts and social science degree from the University of Denver. Aside from the training that Bunny has given her in teaching reading, she recently completed the intermediate training with IMSE in Orton Gillingham methodology. She is passionate about her family, helping students, playing tennis and platform tennis.
Peter is trained in the iLs, and Lindamood-Bell programs. He has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in secondary mathematics education. He is most passionate about teaching foundational math through the On Cloud Nine Program. He completed his masters in counseling psychology at Rutgers in 2019. Peter also enjoys working with students of all ages and has 4 years of experience as a high school math teacher. He is enjoys teaching varying learners of all ages.
His interests include traveling, playing tennis, and watching films.
Tara has a BS degree in Education from Ball State University and a MS degree in Reading from Northern Illinois. She recently completed IMSE Orton Gillingham training. Along with working at the Brain Train Learning Center, Tara teaches Pre-k classes at Christ Church Nursery School in Short Hills, where she has been since 2009. Prior to this Tara taught grades K-3 in various school districts.
Tara joined the Brain Train Learning Center is 2015. She is trained in Orton Gillingham, ILS (Integrated Listening System), ILP (Integrated Listening System), Safe and Sound Protocol, Lindamood Bell: LiPs and V/V, and IM. She continues her training on a regular basis.
Tara likes to combine her love of children with her passion for teaching to enhance the learning of her students. She has 4 children and a lab and enjoys sports and working out.