Metro Campus (602) 995 7366
East Campus (480) 755 9379
The BISTÅ Center (602) 926 7200

With an abundance of caution and for the health and safety of our students, staff, and administrators, ACCEL is following the recommendation from Governor Ducey and Superintendent Hoffman and is suspending on-campus school services. We expect to re-open the campus after April 30th. We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates on our Facebook page and here at ACCEL'S COVID-19 page as well. Please visit https://www.azhealth.gov/COVID19 for continued updates, facts and to learn about the measures you can take to remain healthy. Thank you.


ACCEL Adult Services and The BISTÅ Center will remain open during this school break.

Home / About ACCEL

Our Mission

To provide exceptional educational, behavioral, therapeutic and vocational programs to individuals with special needs, to give them the necessary skills to learn to work and live successfully with dignity and independence.

Our Vision

A life of dignity and
self-worth.

Autism Services
Special Need Education

Our Core Values

Initiative

We demonstrate leadership and self-direction in accomplishing our goals.

Dignity

We respect the dignity and difference of all individuals and treat everyone with respect under all circumstances.

Excellence

We strive to maintain the highest standards of integrity and performance at all levels within the organization.

Accountability

We are personally accountable and responsible for our behavior and our results.

Service

We are passionate about meeting the needs of our clients, employees, community and society and are committed to ensuring quality service.

Donate Now and Help Individuals with Special Needs

To make an online contribution, click on donate now

Meet ACCEL Staff

Raymond Damm

BS, MBA, Chief Executive Officer

rdamm@accel.org

Raymond Damm has been working with ACCEL since March of 2016, starting as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Development Officer, and transitioning to the role...Read More
Raymond Damm has been working with ACCEL since March of 2016, starting as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Development Officer, and transitioning to the role of Chief Executive Officer in June of 2018. Ray holds a B.S. from The University of Virginia – Wise and an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business. Having held executive positions in both the public and private sectors, Ray is driven to apply private sector best practices to sustainably address issues the public sector is driven to solve. This is especially true for underserved groups of individuals and those whose voice isn’t heard. He is motivated by ACCEL’s 300+ students and 100+ adults that overcome incredible obstacles each and every day. Outside of work, Ray is happiest spending time with family, making and repairing watches, playing golf and being in the mountains or on the beach.Read Less

Mitchell Moore

Chief Financial Officer

mmoore@accel.org

Mitchell Moore has made Arizona home for more than 25 years working with fast paced, growing organizations in diverse industries. Financial Executives International recognized Mitchell...Read More
Mitchell Moore has made Arizona home for more than 25 years working with fast paced, growing organizations in diverse industries. Financial Executives International recognized Mitchell as the Arizona CFO of the Year in 2018. Mitchell has helped organizations grow from startups through maturity and in some cases helped to manage successful turn-arounds. After two successful decades as a senior financial leader within the transportation industry, Mitchell chose to contribute his skills within the nonprofit sector in 2015. He is now able to align his passion for building community and helping people, especially youth, by joining ACCEL in March of 2020 as CFO. Mitchell has degrees in business and the arts from Mesa Community College and attended California State University-Bakersfield for finance and philosophy. It’s a miracle Mitchell is alive. At barely two years old, he was diagnosed as the fifth known case in America with a life threatening form of acute hemolytic anemia, the second to live through it and the first to survive without major complications. To say Mitchell has been a fighter all his life is no understatement.Read Less

Gordon Comfort

Chief Operating Officer

gcomfort@accel.org

Originally an English teacher in Utah and Arizona (Mesa Junior High School), Gordon and his family moved to Washington State where he served in administration...Read More
Originally an English teacher in Utah and Arizona (Mesa Junior High School), Gordon and his family moved to Washington State where he served in administration for three high schools, ultimately becoming the principal of Richland High School.While principal, Gordon served on the board of directors for Goodwill Industries of Columbia where he then became the CEO. After his time at Goodwill, Gordon founded and operated a software development company with global sales and was also elected to the local school board. Most recently, Gordon has run his own consulting company and helped a family operated manufacturing company in Chandler.Gordon is fluent in English and Spanish, has a pending Ph.D. in business, a master's degree from Harvard University, and a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University.Gordon, his wife Carrie, and their five children live in Gilbert, AZ.Read Less

Jessie Bustamante

Chief Advancement Officer

jbustamante@accel.org

As the Chief Advancement Officer, Jessie is focused on the fundraising, marketing and community outreach efforts for ACCEL. Prior to this role Jessie has had...Read More
As the Chief Advancement Officer, Jessie is focused on the fundraising, marketing and community outreach efforts for ACCEL. Prior to this role Jessie has had a variety of fundraising and leadership roles within health and human services organizations including the American Lung Association and American Heart Association. As a nonprofit leader, Jessie is passionate about serving others to reach their full potential. Jessie graduated from the University of Arizona (go Wildcats!) with her undergraduate degree and then went on to complete her MBA. In her free time, you can find Jessie traveling the globe to visit her 12 nieces and nephews, volunteering in the community or catching up with friends. Although originally from the suburbs of Chicago, Jessie resides in Scottsdale with her husband, Luis, and Australian Shepherd, Cujo.Read Less

Jonathan Evans

MA, MED, Principal — West Campuses

jevans@accel.org

Jonathan Evans has been teaching and working with students with developmental disabilities including autism since 2001. Jonathan holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Miami...Read More
Jonathan Evans has been teaching and working with students with developmental disabilities including autism since 2001. Jonathan holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Miami University, a Master’s degree in Cross Categorical Special Education from the University of Phoenix, and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Supervision from Arizona State University. Jonathan has been a Special Education administrator since 2011. Special Education is a passion of Jonathan’s and there is nothing more exciting for him than seeing his students succeed. His educational philosophy is to make sure that all of his students achieve a life of dignity and self worth. Jonathan enjoys spending time with his wife and four children. He also enjoys outdoor activities, spending time in the mountains or at the beach, and watching his children play sports.Read Less

Kay Moore

Director of Adult Services

kmoore@accel.org

Working with those who have developmental and behavioral health disabilities since 1976, Kay Moore’s vast experience includes the spectrum of services from children to the...Read More
Working with those who have developmental and behavioral health disabilities since 1976, Kay Moore’s vast experience includes the spectrum of services from children to the elderly, from group homes to semi-independent apartment living and from all types of day programs to the full menu of employment programs. Kay Moore is an active accreditation CARF surveyor for Employment and Community Based Services, currently entering her 25th year of reviewing disability programs across the U.S. and Canada. Ms. Moore is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRCC #28414) for disability services. Kay has two grown children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren. She enjoys the outdoors including mountain biking, hiking and reading in her pool.Read Less

Board of Directors

Joseph C. Cattaneo

Owner, A & C Properties, Inc.

Charles A. Wanner

Retired, GPW & Associates

Christopher L. Duncan

Farmer Woods Group

Caroline A. Pricher

Community Member

Julia Kolsrud

Associate, May, Potenza,
Baran & Gillespie, P.C.

Scott Taubman

President, Innovative
Financial Management
Ameriprise Financial Services

Keith and Stephanie Farmer

ACCEL Parents

Our History

  1. 1980

    ACCEL is founded as a small school for 49 students with special needs

  2. 1995

    ACCEL establishes its East Campus in Tempe, Arizona

  3. 1999

    Began consulting services, which would later expand to include post-secondary evaluations, therapeutic evaluation, behavioral consultation, and Model Classroom© implementation

  4. 2002

    ACCEL Adult Services (AAS) is established

  5. 2004

    ACCEL moved to our current Metro Campus

  6. 2005

    ACCEL began offering ABA services through BCBAs on our school campuses

  7. 2009

    The BISTÅ Center is established

  8. 2009

    ACCEL achieved accreditation from the National Commission for the Accreditation of Special Needs Services, the only agency in Arizona to have done so. Reaccreditation was awarded in 2013 and 2017

  9. 2009

    Created the Model Classroom Program© in collaboration with Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins University

  10. 2010

    Established multiple satellite classrooms on public school campuses

  11. 2011

    The Model Classroom Program© is awarded the Leadership & Innovation in Special Education Award from the National Association of Private Special Education Centers

  12. 2017

    ACCEL opens a satellites in Tonopah and strengthens satellite programming in Buckeye

  13. 2018

    AAS expands to ACCEL’s Tonopah satellite site.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

ACCEL genuinely cares about your child! Our school programs provide evidence-based and individualized educational, behavioral, vocational and therapeutic services to our students in a positive and supportive educational environment. ACCEL is the only Arizona special education school program to achieve accreditation from the National Commission for Accreditation of Special Education Services (NCASES) and has achieved recognition as a School of Excellence from the National Association of Special Education Teachers.
Yes. ACCEL school programs are approved by the Arizona State Department of Education to serve students with many education-related diagnoses, including Autism, Emotional and Learning Disability, Multiple Disability (including Severe Sensory Impairment), Developmental Delay, Physical Disability, Intellectual Disability, Traumatic Brain Injury, Speech and Language Impairment and Other Health Impairments from the ages of 5-22. ACCEL programs also serve students with visual and/or hearing impairments.
Yes. Parents and students are always welcome to visit our programs. If there are questions regarding tuition costs, agreements, and scholarship opportunities, we will be happy to provide further information.
No. ACCEL schools run on a 10 month calendar. However, an Extended School Year (ESY) program is available for 5 weeks during June and July. Students may qualify for district funded ESY services through the IEP process or may attend the ESY program through private placement.
ACCEL school programs accept students throughout the year.
Our classrooms provide a high staff:student ratio which allows individualization in academics from functional to grade level educational programs, vocational and independent living skills programs. Physical, occupational, speech/language, and music therapy services, as well as adaptive aquatics, vision, and nursing services are available to students based upon individual needs.