The New Team at Lexis
Three prominent local and national experts in child development are proud to be the new owners of Lexis Preparatory School. With over 85 years of experience between the three of them in the medical, education, and communication fields, Walt Karniski, Raun Melmed and Anita Werner have spent their careers dedicated to making the learning experiences of children enriched, powerful, and attainable.
As the new owners of Lexis Prep, they share a strong commitment to the students, families, faculty and community of Lexis Prep and a belief that their combined experiences will help to pave the way for their students' success.
Meet Our Team
Dr. Karniski is the Executive Director of Lexis Preparatory School. He is a board certified Developmental Pediatrician. He initially trained as a pediatrician at the University of Kansas and then as a research fellow with Dr. Mel Levine at the Children's Hospital in Boston where he was an Instructor at Harvard Medical School. He was the Director of Child Development at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg and then Director of the Division of Child Development at the University of South Florida College of Medicine until 1993. He has published articles and research papers in developmental pediatrics. He has held numerous positions to advocate for children, including the Medical Director of the Child Protection Team, the Medical Director of the Regional Perinatal Intensive Care Center, a member of the Florida Infant Hearing Impairment Advisory Council and the Florida Governor’s Autism Task Force. In 1997, he established the Florida Children’s Center, a multidisciplinary program for the evaluation and treatment of children with Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Behavioral Disorders. For 15 years, he was the Executive Director of Tampa Day School, a school for children with non-traditional learning styles. He and Lois Delaney own and operate the Bowman Academy, a preschool in Tampa, with his wife, Teresa Burgess, Head of School. With Lois Delaney, he started Keystone Preparatory School, for high school students with atypical learning styles. Although he lives in Tampa, Florida, he will be at the school on a frequent basis and will play a critical daily role in managing and developing the program at Lexis.
Raun Melmed, M.D.
Medical Director at Melmed Center and co-owner of Lexis Preparatory School
Dr. Raun Melmed, medical director of the Melmed Center and a developmental and behavioral pediatrician, founded the Melmed Center in 1989. He is a co-founder and the medical director of the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center. A native of South Africa, he completed his postgraduate studies in Israel, New York City and Boston. He was a fellow with Dr. Mel Levine at the Children's Hospital in Boston where he was an Instructor at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Melmed is an Adjunct Senior Researcher at the Translational Genomics Institute in Phoenix. He is a member of the Society for Behavioral Pediatrics and the Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine, the Ambulatory Pediatric Association and he is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Melmed is principal investigator in numerous studies including the use of novel therapeutic agents in the treatment of ADHD and autism. He is a co-principal investigator in studies involving family linkage, proteomics and gene expression in autism.
Anita Werner, M.S., CCC-SLP
Director at Pediatric Speech and Language Specialists and co-owner of Lexis Preparatory School
Anita brings over twenty-four years of extensive clinical experience to the practice and is widely recognized for her work in speech and language therapy. A frequent lecturer and consultant, she has extensive experience diagnosing and providing speech therapy for children, working to better educate parents, supporting teachers and interfacing with pediatricians. Some of her other honors include: Owner and President of Pediatric Speech and Language Specialists, Master of Science, summa cum laude - Southern Methodist University, Bachelor of Science cum laude - Arizona State University, Certificate of Clinical Competency in Speech Pathology, American Speech / Language / Hearing Association, Arizona State Board License for Speech Pathology, Member - American Speech / Language / Hearing Association (ASHA), Member - American Academy of Private Practice in Speech Pathology (AAPPSPA), Member - Arizona Speech Language and Hearing Association (ArSHAA).
As parents who are raising a child that doesn't fit into the "box," in terms of learning styles, we know how painful and difficult it can be. At Lexis the small setting and individualized teaching plans that are made for each child make a huge difference in their ability to learn, feel encouraged and feel empowered to take control of their own learning. Lexis is a school that looks at the whole child and encourages them to learn to their fullest potential—challenging and encouraging them every step of the way.Deb & Jeff Thibault