Naperville, Illinois – August 14, 2018—Little Friends has welcomed a new principal to Krejci Academy and Mansion High School.  Lori Deichstetter, an educator and curriculum expert with more than 30 years’ experience in public and private school settings, becomes just the 6th principal in the Little Friends’ school programs’ 53-year history.

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With degrees from Northern Illinois University and a certification from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Center for Non-Profit Management, Deichstetter specializes in curriculum and instruction, special education, transition and vocational services, data-based decision making, and systems improvement.  Camille Smith, Little Friends’ Vice President for School Programs, offers, “Lori is a welcome addition to our school programs leadership team!  Her experience with curriculum, the development of social emotional learning, and her strength as an educational leader will help our programs grow to the next level of excellence.” 

Little Friends’ School Programs under Deichstetter’s leadership include Krejci Academy, Little Friends’ flagship program for students with autism, and Mansion High School, an alternative high school for students who have average or above average intelligence but have difficulty functioning in a traditional school setting. On joining the Little Friends community, Deichstetter says, “I believe there is no ceiling, no limit on learning! As we look forward to preparing our students for their future, it is my goal to empower our students, and their families, to live their best lives and expand beyond what others may have considered possible.”

Little Friends’ School Programs serves more than 120 students from more than 50 school districts in nine counties throughout Illinois and Indiana.  Throughout the 2017-2018 academic year, Krejci Academy has seen 10% growth in enrollment, while the number of students enrolled in Mansion High School has more than doubled.  Expectations for the 2018-2019 also project similar or greater growth.  Mike Briggs, President and CEO states, “We are excited to have Lori join our education team.  She brings outstanding experience to her new role with Little Friends, and we know her involvement will help us as we work to expand and improve our educational programs for children with special needs.”

About Little Friends—Fulfilling Lives-Regardless of Challenge.  Every one of our clients has a right to a fulfilling life of dignity, independence and respect.  So do their families.  That right is universal, regardless of challenge.  At Little Friends, we empower clients with autism and other developmental disabilities to thrive in our community.  Our groundbreaking programs and nationally-renowned staff provide lifelong opportunities for growth, so our clients can work, learn, play and experience the joy of life’s everyday moments.  Visit us at