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Program History

In 1991, Joan McLaughlin and Gladys Oberle recognized a need to provide specialized educational and employment services to disadvantaged and disabled youth residing in Planning District 16 and surrounding areas. With a mission of working directly with the community to assist these youth in acquiring the education and skills necessary to become successful, contributing members of the workforce, they founded Employment Resources Incorporated and became pioneers of specialized alternative education and workforce training in the Fredericksburg area.  The Academy now averages 36 new admissions per year.

Gladys Oberle (Founder)

Gladys Oberle

Joan McLaughlin (Founder)

Joan McLaughlin

To meet the educational needs of students identified with disabilities, ERI established a private, special education day program called "The Star Center." This was one of the first schools of its kind in the area and quickly became a model program for meeting the unique needs of special education students. Upon Mrs. Oberle's death in 1996, ERI changed the name of the school to the Gladys H. Oberle School which remains one of the top schools of its kind in the area.

Over the past 30 years, ERI's mission has remained the same. Working collaboratively with individuals, school systems, state and federal agencies, and local businesses, we have created and operated numerous innovative programs to bring workforce training, special educational programs, alternative education and career and technical programs to the youth of our area. Currently, ERI employs over 30 professional educators and workforce specialists with well over 100 collective years of experience in education and services for disabled and disadvantaged youth. The company is governed by a Board of Directors and its by-laws which ensures that services meet the mission. 

The Oberle Philosophy
Math Learning

We recognize there are a variety of complex issues that contribute to a student’s lack of success in the traditional educational system.  Some students can only achieve academic success by being placed in a non-traditional, alternative education setting that provides academic instruction based upon their academic, emotional, social, behavioral, and functional abilities.


We approach each student’s strengths and weaknesses through individual planning.  This individualization enables the students to start at their own level of ability and meet with success rather than failure.  Thus, a student who is disenchanted with school can effectively overcome his or her negative academic performance.


A combination of academics, behavior modification, counseling, career and technical education, transition planning, transition training, and community involvement aids the Oberle School in assisting students ages 11-22 in:

  • Increased reading & math skills

  • Improved SOL testing scores

  • Increased graduation rates

  • Transitioning back to public school

  • Decreased serious disciplinary offenses in the school setting

  • Increased personal responsibility

  • Employment success during & after high school
  • Transitioning to post-secondary education


The Oberle Academy Staff

The backbone of The Oberle Academy, our staff takes pride in providing our students with the best education possible.  With an average of 12-years of teaching experience, their value cannot be understated.  Quality, consistency, and professional excellence, with a personal touch!

To contact a staff member, please contact our main office.

Meet the Team

Board Of Directors

Raymond L. Slaughter, Esquire

Chairman Of The Board

Retired Professor and Department Chair, Robins School of Business

Jack Broome

Board Member

President, PermaTreat Pest Control, Inc.

Nicci Dowd, PhD

Board Member

The Oberle Academy

Lance Durante

Board Member

Owner, MC Tech Solutions

Marbury A. Fagan, II, MBA, CPA

Board Member

President & CEO, The Oberle Academy

Matthew King

Board Member

The Oberle Academy

Suzanne Sumner, PhD

Board Member

Professor of Mathematics, University of Mary Washington

Christie Tompkins

Board Member

Certified Public Accountant, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Dietmar Weselin

Board Member

The Oberle Academy

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