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PC Profile: Chelsea Erdmanis Greenspon OPC '02

As assisting clinical director for a nonprofit organization that supports people with autism, Chelsea Erdmanis Greenspon OPC ’02 learned to give back to the community as a PC lifer.

Chelsea Erdmanis Greenspon OPC 02

For Greenspon, Penn Charter was very much a family affair. Her father, Val Erdmanis, was a longtime wrestling coach and a Lower School physical education teacher for 40 years before he retired in 2017. She also got to walk the halls for more than a decade with her younger sister, Devon Erdmanis D’Alessio OPC ’04.

“Before starting school here in kindergarten,” Greenspon said, “I went to my first PC wrestling match when I was three weeks old. I’ve always said that I grew up here.”

So maybe it was only natural that Greenspon, through her career, would lead a life that makes a difference by supporting families. In fact, she credits Penn Charter for planting that seed, tracing her interest in helping others to a video about eating disorders she watched in seventh grade health class.

“Finding and honing that passion is one thing I loved about PC,” she said. “The person I am, the values I hold—I owe a ton of that to [Penn Charter], and Quaker values were a huge part of that. It’s been incredibly influential

in my professional life and my life as a whole.” Taking Intro to Psychology, taught by the late Joe Perrott Hon. 1689, during her senior year only “sealed the deal,” she said, in pursuing her mission beyond Penn Charter.

Greenspon received a BA in psychology from Lehigh University, followed by an MA in counseling psychology from the College of New Jersey. She interned with an eating disorder unit before deciding she had other interests, pivoting in 2009 to work as a psychotherapist for Thomas Jefferson University, assisting clients with substance abuse issues. Greenspon continued this work part-time while eventually earning a doctorate in clinical psychology at Chestnut Hill College.

“It was always the plan for me to get my doctorate,” she said. “Getting that experience before and during my doctoral program made my current work more meaningful.”

Greenspon first went to work for SPIN Inc. as a pre-doctoral intern and became a full-time licensed psychologist for the organization in 2018.

The nonprofit is a leading provider of support for children and adults with autism and intellectual and developmental disabilities in greater Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley. In her current role since August 2020 as assisting clinical director, Greenspon supervises interns, therapists and clinical supervisors, and performs diagnostic evaluations for individuals—primarily ages 2-21—at risk for autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

In addition to PC, she credits her mother, who worked in autism support classrooms with the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit for 25 years, with steering her toward this type of work with SPIN. “It’s an amazing company,” she said. “Very family friendly, and I mostly work with low- income families on medical assistance. Helping underserved communities who don’t have great access to mental health resources is an important value of mine.”

Greenspon has also started her own private practice, Greenspon Assessment and Consultation, offering autism, ADHD, neurodevelopmental and learning disability evaluations and referrals. She works with families in applying to area schools, including Penn Charter, for admissions testing. For Greenspon, who played field hockey and lacrosse at PC and was also involved with Quakers Dozen and the theater program, it was important to remain close to her alma mater. For the past 15 years, she’s been an Alumni Society director.

“I’ve always joked that I can’t stay away,” she said. “This place raised me. It’s a way for me to stay connected and give back to the broader OPC community.”

She has been married to Brian Greenspon OPC ’02, a nurse at Wills Eye Hospital emergency room in Center City, since 2015. The couple has two young children: Caroline and James. Being a parent has only added value to Chelsea’s work with kids. “I’ve definitely gained more perspective and empathy for parents in doing family therapy,” she said. “It’s so challenging, but I try to help families make changes by meeting them where they are.”

Penn Charter taught Greenspon more than academic skillsets, she said. “It also taught me to be a good citizen in the world. You don’t get that from every school. It’s more than just academics—it’s teaching values and how to be a good human being.” 

– Ed Morrone OPC '04