Our Staff
Ellis Crasnow
Director, STEM³ Academy and STEM Education, The Help Group

After earning his PhD in philosophy from USC, Dr. Crasnow taught widely at the college level, both in the U.S. and South Africa. He joined The Help Group in 2008, teaching high school math, science and English before becoming Principal of Village Glen High School. In 2012, The Help Group began a STEM program that Dr. Crasnow led. Dr. Crasnow is a frequent international speaker at conferences on the importance of STEM education and its benefit to those with social and learning differences. Dr. Crasnow speaks on the integration of STEM content and social emotional leaning.
Valley Glen
Greg Constant

We’re excited to welcome Greg Constant to STEM³ Academy as the new Principal at our Valley Glen campus! Greg was most recently Principal of The Help Group’s Bridgeport School and has worked in special education administration for over 20 years. Greg has an MA in Sociology, an MA in Educational Administration and a Juris Doctor. He has a love of math and science and is excited to bring his passion for learning to STEM³ Academy. We are thrilled to have him join us as our new Principal!
Vanessa Ornelas
Assistant Principal and College & Career Counselor

Vanessa Ornelas has worked in higher education for more than 10 years. She began her career at USC in the School of Cinematic Arts, advising graduate students seeking advanced degrees in Television, Film, and Screenwriting. She also advised undergraduate and graduate students at UCLA in the Comparative Literature Department. Working in higher education was rewarding, but it wasn’t until she took on a part-time teaching position at California State University, Northridge that she fell in love with the high school population.

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Teaching ESL classes to international students from around the world, she became fascinated with the idea of making a difference in the lives of under-represented students who want to continue their education. Vanessa graduated with a Master’s of Science degree in Counseling and Guidance from California Lutheran University.

Neil Schwartz

We were excited to welcome Neil Schwartz to the team this year as our Community Partnerships Consultant. Neil has been instrumental in developing our Advisory Board, creating strategic partnerships with STEM-focused companies and other community leaders, bringing in guest speakers to talk with students, and securing sponsors and exhibitors for events such as the upcoming Innovation Fair.

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Neil is a career market-researcher and advisor, having provided consumer-focused growth recommendations for Fortune 500 companies. Neil has also mentored some of the brightest young talents in disciplines of analysis, presentation and writing. Coming to STEM3 Academy has fulfilled Neil’s lifelong dream of applying his skills to the social good. We are grateful to have Neil with us and look forward to the continued positive impact he will have on our schools and students.

Culver City
Larry Ross

Larry Ross joined us last year as the Principal at STEM³ Academy Culver City. Larry graduated from The University of Georgia with his bachelor’s degree in Special Education. After earning his degree, Larry relocated to Los Angeles, where he began his career with The Help Group. He taught CORE Elementary and Elementary Sunrise while at the Culver City campus. Larry continued his career by becoming the Assistant Principal for Village Glen K-8 at the Sherman Oaks campus.

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He has many years of experience working with students with autism and related challenges. Larry’s passion as the STEM3 Principal is to continue to enrich the program in Culver City to best meet the needs of its very talented, curious and engaged students.

Lisa Reid, Ed.D.

Dr. Lisa Reid was raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. She holds a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with secondary emphasis in Educational Psychology, a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction with secondary emphasis in Gifted Education, a Teaching Credential, and a B.S. in Biology.

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Lisa completed post-doctoral coursework in Educational Therapy at California State University, Northridge and is endorsed by the Association of Educational Therapists as an Educational Therapist/Professional. Dr. Reid has spent over a decade in the K-12 teaching system. She founded Reid Day School which later transitioned to The Learning Center in March of 2015. Prior to founding RDS, she served as a teacher and an administrator in accelerated school programs and was a learning specialist for 5th/6th grade twice exceptional students at Los Angeles’ Bridges Academy.