Lena is an award-winning teacher of children with special needs. She has written books on autism, published in English, Spanish and Mandarin as well as a children's book, "Ivan Gets a Dream House".
Lena McCalla Njee is the author of "Ivan Gets A Dream House" and "Hope As a Mother's Savior". She teaches children with autism in the Irvington School District, New Jersey where she received the 2011-2012 Teacher of the Year Award.
As a special education teacher, she is trained to work with children having multiple disabilities. However, she specializes in & loves working with children diagnosed with autism.
"My greatest joys are the successes of my students, the tears I see in the parents' eyes when they say, ‘My child spoke my name for the first time in five years.’ When I get a hug with those little arms filled with finger-paint, my heart is filled with joy."
She is a graduate of New Jersey City University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in special education. Previously, she graduated from Sam Sharpe Teacher’s College in Jamaica then migrated to the United States. Prior to her current position at the Irvington School District, she taught at Chad Elementary in Newark as well as Mount Carmel Guild School for Children with Disabilities.
McCalla Njee is a member of the Autism Society of America. She currently resides in New Jersey with her family.
IVAN GETS A DREAM HOUSE - A young boy dreams beyond his circumstances
For every child who has a dream; this story is worth reading
- Yvonne Palmer, Teacher of the Year,
Irvington School District 2010
This book, Ivan Gets A Dream House, captures the essence of the plight of many in our communities today -- homelessness. Although I consider this to be one of the darkest periods imaginable for an individual to face, particularly with children, the author has managed to paint a ray of hope throughout the story.
The mother is portrayed with pride and self-respect. Even in moments of despair, she never crushes the dreams of her children. In fact, she is the catalyst for the realization of their dreams. The author allows people to see the humanistic side of poverty and homelessness.
Excerpted from the Foreword written by Audrey Lassiter
Irvington Public Schools
Early Childhood Supervisor
AUTISM INSPIRES!- Hope as a Parent's Savior
My son and I are extremely blessed and appreciative that we could have Ms. Lena as a teacher. Her passion and dedication are from the heart and thus translate into her work with children. She does everything to make sure the parents are involved in this tremendous yet rewarding experience of educating these children
- Mrs. Philomena Kaba, Parent
I found these stories funny, inspiring and comforting. It's an easy and relatable read. All of the future readers will enjoy these inspiring stories. Thank you for sharing
- Jamilah T. Deans, Parent
Expect to benefit greatly from this book. It is filled with real experiences that the number- one teacher in the district for 2011, encounters while working daily with autistic children. This book shows that Lena McCalla believes that every child is a gift that we are given and that each child can learn in his or her own way. Lena’s optimism and belief in each of these children proved to be a ray of hope for many families.
Excerpted from the Foreword written by By Teresitia Walters, MA, MPA, Doctoral Candidate. Student Development Specialist/Founder of Autism Awake
Seton Hall University, South Orange NJ
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