OPTIONS Administration

Charlene Reed, B.S.

OPTIONS Director

Charlene Reed, is a former special education teacher with certification in Learning Disabilities Education. Her teaching career began in 1974 in the public school system. She is very proud that she was one of the original teaching staff members of Brehm Preparatory School when it opened in 1982. During her tenure at Brehm, Char has worked in many capacities. She has been an instructor of several courses and has also served as Admissions Director and Supervisor of Educational Services at Brehm. In 1995, she became the Coordinator of OPTIONS Transitions to Independence, formally known as the OPTIONS Program at Brehm. In 2012, she was named the Director of OPTIONS. In that capacity, she supervises staff and students; creates teaching materials and staff training materials; presents at conferences at the local, state and national levels; recruits new students; manages OPTIONS admissions and guides the growth of the OPTIONS. Char’s years of experience working with students who have complex learning disabilities and ADHD have given her an instinctive understanding of the sets of skills necessary for students to find success in their adult lives.

Jennifer Phillips, M.S., CRC

Associate Director

Jennifer Phillips received her Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling from Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC) and holds a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor certification. She has more than 14 years of experience working with students with complex learning disabilities, specifically in the area of vocational counseling and career development. Jennifer’s experience at OPTIONS has encompassed the design and implementation of numerous employ-ability curricula as well as the community-based Internship Program. Jennifer sits on two of the Rehabilitation Institutes at SIUC’s advisory committees and gives presentations to its graduate and undergraduate students each semester. Jennifer is also on the Brehm School Foundation Board as well as the Southern Illinois Center for Independent Living (SICIL) Board of Directors.


Scott Donovan, B.S.

Independent Living Supervisor

Scott Donovan, OPTIONS Independent Living Supervisor, received his bachelor’s degree from the College of Education and Human Services at Southern Illinois University, where he specialized in Leisure Service Management. Scott is also proud of his Outdoor Leader Accreditation with the Wilderness Education Association, for which he completed a 30-day course in the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area. OPTIONS benefits from Scott’s experiential education background and his dedication to the students. He has worked in many capacities at OPTIONS, including Recreation Aide, Academic Coach, Life Skills Aide, Independent Living Counselor, and his current role as Independent Living Supervisor. Scott also assisted in the transition to the new OPTIONS apartments in 2008 and has created a challenging Social Strategies curriculum for the students. While the tradition of an OPTIONS weekly potluck has long been in place, Scott spearheaded the change to a weekly Culinary Diversity Night, which is very popular with students and staff. In addition to working at OPTIONS, Scott operates a fishing guide service in the Shawnee National Forest and is also the owner/operator of Shawnee Expeditions. Scott was recently presented with the Top Gun Angler of the Year award and won a national tournament in northern Wisconsin.

Shelly Ridgeway, M.S. Ed, LCPC

Clinical Coordinator

Shelly Ridgeway is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor with ten years experience working with adolescents, young adults, and their families. She is trained in emotional, behavioral, and social theories and effective interventions to promote positive mental health. Shelly is dedicated to improving lives by building the skills needed for transitions towards independence. She believes in assessing each individual’s strengths and building upon those attributes to enhance success. Shelly provides in the moment support and problem-solving for our students, as well as long-term goal setting. Shelly communicates with parents and works closely with nurses, psychologists, and psychiatrists to support overall wellbeing..