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Professional Staff

Sara L. Weiss, Ed.D.
Director



Dr. Sara L. Weiss, Director of Heartland Psychological Services, P.C., is a psychologist who has been practicing in New York for 35 years. Her primary focus is divorcing families, helping separating couples and divorced or never married co-parents to develop and/or operationalize parenting plans. She is a court-appointed forensic evaluator and a trained parent coordinator.
Dr. Weiss and her highly trained staff of social workers provide psychotherapy to the Staten Island community. In Manhattan and Staten Island mental health professionals provide supervised visitation for parents (including therapeutic supervision).
Dr. Weiss is a past president of the Clinical Division of the New York State Psychological Association, she is a former Mental Health Chairperson of the Interdisciplinary Forum, and she was a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at New York University. She has lectured and written extensively.

 

Chioma Ajoku, J.D., Ph.D

Licensed Psychologist

 

Dr. Ajoku graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College, in 2006, with a B.A. in Psychological and Brain Sciences. She then obtained a dual degree, M.A./J.D. (psychology/law), from Duke University/Duke University School of Law, in 2009, and was admitted to the NYS bar in 2010. She subsequently obtained her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a forensic specialization, in 2015, from The CUNY Graduate Center via The John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Additionally, she completed her clinical internship year at Rutgers University in Piscataway, in 2015, as the Adolescent Forensic Track intern. She subsequently completed a Child and Family Forensic Postdoctoral Fellowship at William James College where she provided forensic evaluation and consultation services on issues in which children and families were involved in the legal system. During her fellowship year, she also received a Certificate in Child and Family Forensic Issues. Dr. Ajoku obtained her license to practice psychology in NYS in 2016.

 

 

Heartland Psychological Services, P.C.,

251 Richmond Hill Road, Staten Island, NY 10314  (718) 494-9397

Established in 1980 we at Heartland Psychological Services are proud of the quality care that we have provided and continue to provide Staten Island families throughout the years. Our goal at Heartland Psychological Services is to assist individuals and families throughout difficult periods of their lives in a warm and friendly environment.

 

 

Meet our Staten Island team

 

Estelle Lewis, LCSW  

With more than 28 years experience, Estelle has spanned both the medical and mental health aspects of the profession.  In 1989 Estelle graduated from Wurzweiler School of Social work and then spent the next several years providing mental health services to chronically mentally-ill adults in day treatment programs where she conducted group and individual psychotherapy. Estelle began work at Heartland Psychological Services in 2004 treating people ranging in ages four to ninety. Estelle's specialty is helping people to learn how to cope with stress and anxiety and depression resulting from life’s obstacles.  Estelle works with children, adults, couples, families and groups.  

                                             

Russell Shelkowitz, LCSW

Russell graduated from Columbia University School of Social Work in 1994 and has been helping adults, children and families in need for over 20 years. Russell began work at Heartland Psychological in 2001 specializing in consumer centered cognitive behavioral creative problem solving. Russell provides solution focused child and family therapy and specializes in play therapy. Russell provides individual, couples and family therapy.

 

JoAnne Becaccio-McKernan, LCSW

JoAnne Mckernan has been a licensed Clinical Social Worker specializing in children, adolecents, adults and families since 2002. JoAnne is a graduate of NYU School of Social Work and has been working in this field for over 20 years. JoAnne began her work at Heartland Psychological in 2011 and provides both individual and family counseling. 

 

Angela Russo, LMHC

Angela is a graduate of John Jay College majoring in forensic mental health counseling. Angela acquired her licence in 2011 and has been working with adults and children in crisis ever since. Angela began work at Heartland Psychological in 2016. Angela provides individual and family counseling for children, adolescents and adults. 

 

Joseph Pantone, LMHC

Joseph Pantone is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who has a diverse professional background. He received his bachelor's degree from Wagner College and his Master's in Mental Health Counseling from New York University.  He has been employed in a variety of sectors of mental health, including three different private practices in NY and NJ, non-profit programs, NYC Department of Education counseling services, in addition to NY State and Federal mental health programs within the Department of Defense.  In addition to clinical counseling, he is also a professor of psychology, teaching a range of courses from Introduction to Psychology, Child and Adolescent Psychology, and the Psychology of Death and Dying.  He has over twelve years of professional experience in seeing individuals with a wide variety of mental health conditions, from those with adjustment disorders to those with more severe and persistent psychiatric disorders such as major depression.  He sees both children and adults, and also meets with families as well.  

 

 

 

Supervised Visitation

Our Supervised Visitation social workers provide service in all 5 Boroughs. Please call 212-475-9812 for more information about this service.

  • Yardley Calixte, LMSW
  • Dominique Elie, LMSW
  • Kiana James, MSW
  • Trevor Palmer, LMSW
  • Sheila Raj, LMSW
  • Keesha Reid, MSW
  • Mary Tate, LMSW
  • Cheryl Taurac, LMSW