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Southwest Florida Music Education Center hires inaugural director of mental health

The Southwest Florida Music Education Center (SWFLMEC) has hired Dr. Teresa Herrero Taylor as its first director of mental health for their post-secondary music certificate program for neurodivergent young adults.

“Dr. Taylor’s role will be to provide mental and behavioral support to the student musicians and staff at the Center. We are delighted she will begin working with our first certificate students this fall, creating a customized learning pathway for each student,” said Jennifer Clark, vice president of the Southwest Florida Music Education. “She is an experienced, independent, motivational leader who is passionate about mission-driven work and is excited about empowering neurodivergent young adults to be at the center of the change we’re trying to cultivate through music and the arts.”

Taylor has practiced as a licensed psychologist and doctoral-level board certified behavior analyst for over 15 years, conducting evaluations and providing individual, group and/or family intervention and therapy working with both children and adults with anxiety, depression, ADHD, executive functioning weaknesses, autism spectrum disorder, social skills weaknesses, behavioral difficulties at home or school, and/or other life adjustment needs.

Born and raised in Boca Raton, Florida, she received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Florida. She earned a doctorate degree in school, community and clinical child psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, and master’s degrees in counseling psychology and multicultural counseling from Columbia University.

She has been an adjunct assistant professor in the Graduate Psychology Department at Rider University for the past nine years and has worked in New Jersey public education for more than 20 years, overseeing behavioral, social skills, and mental health assessment, intervention, and programming across multiple school districts as a director of special services.

This fall, the SWFLMEC will begin offering two-year and four-year post-secondary music certificates at Artis-Naples’ Toni Stabile Education Building, focusing on core areas of musical skill development for students who learn differently than their typical peers. The program is a partnership with the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs of the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

SWFLMEC has acquired the Gaynor building, at 2655 Northbrooke Drive, part of the former Hodges University Naples campus, with plans to transform it into the new music center’s permanent campus. The building is being renovated with practice rooms, classrooms, a recording studio, a practice performance stage and administrative space to accommodate up to 50 full-time students starting in fall 2024. Plans for the 5.8-acre campus include adding a student dormitory, performance site and additional program space.

About the Southwest Florida Music Education Center:

The Southwest Florida Music Education Center is a not-for-profit organization serving neurodivergent young adults with a strong interest in music. Based in Naples, Florida, its mission 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.

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