Meet Our Director


Gizem Tanol, PhD, founder of HappyPlace, is an Educational Psychologist with a doctoral training in Behavior Analysis and a mother.  

Dr. Tanol has served as the Director of Program Quality and Evaluation at NYU Steinhardt’s ASD Nest Support Project. She has extensive clinical experience in pre- and in-service teacher training on autism, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), understanding challenging behavior, parent training, and implementing positive behavior support (PBIS) framework in inclusive and community settings.  For several years, Dr. Tanol has served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Special Education at Hunter College, teaching such courses on behavior theory and student teaching/practicum seminars. In addition to her clinical and academic positions, Dr. Tanol co-founded Autism Friendly Spaces, a not-profit-for-profit organization enhancing the quality of life for people with autism and their families.

Dr. Tanol has presented numerous workshops in NYC museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. She also consulted with Theatre Development Fund on Autism-Friendly screenings of The Lion King, Marry Poppins, and Spider-Man:Turn off the Dark.   


Dr. Tanol has been recognized as a Rising Alumni by the University of Minnesota, CEHD Alumni Society for achieving early distinction in her career, demonstrating outstanding leadership, and showing exceptional volunteer service in the community.