Special Education Cadre
Roberta teaches 6th Grade at Waller Road Elementary in the Puyallup School District. Although relatively new to teaching (6th year), she loves it. Prior to teaching, Roberta worked in independent sales. She also worked for DSHS 16 years at a WA State developmental center providing private, in-home, autistic adult care services for Region Five. She loves people and interactions on all levels and arenas. Roberta is thankful for opportunity to be a part of the SESC Cadre and has found it to be “amazing”.
Special Education Teacher
Sherlunda is a special education teacher at North Middle School in the Everett School District.
Jennifer (Stevens) Bendix
Special Education Teacher
Jennifer has 6 years experience in emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) and 8 years as a Resource Teacher at Juanita High School in the Lake Washington School District – currently, the Special Education Department Leader at her school, a member of the district’s Special Education Advisory Board, and the high school education representative for the ELA adoption committee. Her areas of specialty/expertise are related to Behavior and Autism.
Special Education Coach
Melody works in the Bellevue School District; supporting special education teachers through professional development, developing IEPs and BIPs, creating resources, etc. Previously, she was an Instructional Mentor for special and general education teachers. Melody has taught in resource rooms, self-contained classrooms, preschools, and transition. She has a Master’s Degree in Special Education, Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, and a National Board Certified Teacher.
Joanna has two teenage sons who fall on opposite ends of the autism spectrum. By advocating for inclusion and access for their wide range of challenges she became experienced in teaming with public school systems. This along with her experience as an occupational therapist on the “other side of the IEP table” gave her a unique perspective in helping teams collaborate.
5th Grade Teacher
Rachael is a fifth grade teacher for the Kittitas School District. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Central Washington University, and a Master’s Degree from Heritage University. She is endorsed in both Early Childhood General Education, and Early Childhood Special Education. Over her career, Rachael has taught in an integrated second grade classroom, a developmental preschool, a resource room, a group home for incarcerated juveniles, and in 5th grade. She has been with the Cadre since 2021.
Special Education Teacher
Amy has been teaching at Helen Baller Elementary in the Camas for 13 years, collaborating with staff, families, and community to develop individualized plans that focus on each student’s unique skills, abilities, and interests to help them find their place among their peers in the school community. She also collaborates with state agencies and organizations to educate and advocate for educational equity. Amy was recognized as WA State’s 2020 Teacher of the Year.
General Education Teacher
Benjamin currently serves as a secondary mathematics educator in Pierce County, working with middle school and high school students. Having graduated from the University of Portland with a Bachelor’s, Benjamin explored public service in education as a multi-term AmeriCorps VISTA member before returning to complete a Masters in Teaching from Concordia University.
Arc Program Director
While learning the ropes of being a parent to a child with medical needs, Jamie developed a heart for families and individuals doing the same. This led her to her job at the Arc. She has worked for the Arc of Snohomish County for over 10 years. In the position of Program Director she uses her talents to demonstrate a passion for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families through both fun and educational opportunities.
Special Education Teacher
Brenda starting out studying cardiology, but kept getting “bumped into other programs and somehow just could not get out of the education classes that were being offered.” She has held a number of positions with the Spokane Public Schools, since 1998: Resource Math – High School, Multi-handicapped, Orthopedically Handicapped – Elementary Level, and Special Education, Self-contained – Middle School.
Chris is a Special Education Director through ESD 113 where he supports special education programming within the Lewis County Special Education Cooperative and other districts in the region. He has previously worked in the Central Kitsap and Edmonds School Districts. Chris has both elementary and high school special education experience. His focus: students with Autism and Emotional/Behavioral Disability. He holds a Masters in Teaching Special Education and Functional Behavioral Analysis from Gonzaga University.
Brandi is a parent of two daughters, one of whom was diagnosed with Autism at age 2. She has learned much about supporting students with disabilities through her service on the board of the SW Washington Special Education PTSA – helping provide IEP training, Special Education forums, and advocacy for families. In 2016-2017, she was a member of the Clark County Parent Coalition Leadership Academy addressing areas of Special Education, Washington State Disability Services, and Advocacy. Brandi is a tirelessly advocate for her daughters and other parents in similar situations.
Intervention and Rehabilitation Specialist
Dameon served as an Intervention Team Assistant for Kent School District and a Para Educator in the ASC, currently working as a Mall Safety Mentor for Glover Empower Mentoring, and a Rehabilitation Technician for DSHS. He has developed academic transfer career/technical, developmental and high school/GED options. Dameon has experience with with various developmental disabilities and behavior issues. As a Mall Safety Mentor, he has also assisted youth in linking career and life goals to educational programs. He has trained other staff on how to work with the developmentally disabled, as well in de-escalation and the safety techniques. Dameon is currently completing a BA in Youth Development..
Early Childhood Coordinator
Amy is an ASHA-certified Speech/Language Pathologist, receiving her Masters of Science degree in Speech Pathology from Eastern Washington University. She currently works for Wenatchee School District and has also worked in Malheur County/OR, Meridian/ID and Edmonds School District, totaling 38 years in Education. She’s worked in Early Childhood for the majority of her career and has been the Early Childhood Coordinator for Wenatchee School District since 2002.
Aneeka hires, onboards, and coordinates all aspects of the Substitute Office for the Renton School District. She is a cadre member of the NEA ESP Leadership Institute and NEA Educator Diversity Collective. She’s active in the Renton Professional Technical Association and Rainier Uniserv Council. Aneeka is a core team member for the Rainier Educators of Color Network Equity Team and a certified lead trainer in the areas of Implicit Bias and Equity. She holds a double master’s degree in Business and Public Administration and a Bachelor’s degree in Communications.
Teacher, 7th Grade Core
Joan taught high school resource room and elementary general education. She currently teaches 7th-grade core literacy and reading intervention classes. With this broad educational background serving students at various levels, Joan has developed a deep understanding of student supports needed to gain access to standards. Research passions include UDL, standards, John Hattie’s Visible Learning, High Leverage Practices, and how these elements of education intersect with equity to provide the best outcomes for all students.
Rebecca previously worked as a Special Education teacher and a K-12 Life Skills coordinator in the Bellevue School District. She holds a BS in K-6 Primary Collaboration and Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE), a masters degree in ECSE, and a masters in Administration. Rebecca is Nationally Board Certified in the area of ECYA/ENS Sever/Multiple for ages-21 and has worked in a multitude of environments fron K-12 to higher ed. She has served as a head coach for Special Olympics for 10+ years.
Becky is a District Positive Behavior Intervention Support coach (PBIS) holding a mental health counseling degree and a specialist degree for school psychology from Eastern Washington/Washington State University. She has 14 years experience with a focus in secondary education at both the building and district level implementing systems that are proactive, responsive, and efficient for both staff and students. In the role as district PBIS coach, she implements district systems, coaches school teams, provides behavior consultation, and provides professional development in the area of social/emotional learning.
Life Skills Teacher
Jordan is a High School Life Skills Teacher at Glacier Peak High School in the Snohomish School District. He works with students with moderate and significant disabilities. Jordan earned his Bachelor’s degree from Central Washington University and a Master’s degree from Purdue University. When he is not teaching, he coaches High School and Middle School Wrestling. He has also been in the Coast Guard for 17 years.
SLP, Wenatchee School District
Suzanne has a Masters Degree in Speech and Language Pathology from Nova Southeastern University, and Bachelors Degrees in Elementary Education and Communication Disorders from Eastern Washington University. She has 24 years experience in K-12 education: 9 years as a General Ed Teacher in a variety of grade levels, and 15 years as a Speech-Language Pathologist.
Al has been teaching Science, STEM, and Math for 31 years; currently teaching 5th and 6th grade STEM at Chimacum Elementary. He was National Board Certified Early Adolescent Generalist, in 2004. Al has received 49 grants to enhance the classroom experience through outdoor field science work. He has certifications as a Google Educator Level 2, Classcraft Ambassador and Educator Level 2, Pear Deck Ambassador, Bloomz Ambassador, Minecraft Global Mentor, and Esports Leader; and was named NCCE’s Outstanding Technology Educator of the Year in 2021.
Elementary Special Education TOSA
Brittany is currently an elementary SPED TOSA in the Bethel School District, where she works to support new special education teachers and support special education students in elementary buildings across the district. Beginning her career as a SPED para-educator, she got her Bachelors and became a teacher in Puyallup leading a self-contained Kindergarten program. She then taught an Autism program for grades K-3, and then switched to general education to teach fourth grade. Along the way, she got her Masters and is now applying for administration programs. She has proudly served as an IPP trainer since 2021.
TOSA, Mentor for new SpEd Teachers
Mindy teaches Special Education in the Kennewick School District. Throughout her career, she has held several teaching positions including: middle school resource teacher and inclusion teacher, elementary life skills teacher, and elementary resource room teacher. Mindy is currently a full-time mentor teacher, facilitating the development of new-career special education teachers. With her Master’s in Elementary Math Education, Mindy also has taught Math and Science, in the Early Education department at Columbia Basin College.
General Education Teacher, Battle Ground
Colleen earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Michigan Technological University and began her teaching career in Michigan. For the past 18 years, she has been teaching at Prairie High School in Vancouver, WA. Colleen especially enjoys teaching Geometry and AP Statistics. She recently finished a Master’s in Educational Leadership/Administration and regularly participates on math leadership teams.
Secondary ELA/EL Teacher
Erinn has taught English Language Arts at both the middle and high school levels for seventeen years. She is a National Board Certified teacher who has recently earned her EL endorsement and currently works in the Mukilteo School District. Erinn has several years of experience co-teaching with special education teachers and worked to provide the most inclusive setting possible for her students by integrating HLP, SDI, and UDL into her instruction. She passionately believes that all students can be successful in a mainstream classroom.
Special Education Mentor
Shelly worked as a Special Education teacher in Seattle Public Schools before becoming a full-time release special education mentor. For the last two years, she has managed the Professional Growth and Educator Support Consulting Teacher Program. She holds a BS in psychology and a Masters in Teaching and is National Board Certified in the area of Exceptional Needs Specialist-Early Childhood through Young Adulthood/Mild and Moderate Disabilities (MMD). Although out of the classroom, Shelly continues to fight for equity and inclusion for all special education students.
Instructional Coach & Collaborative Teacher
Janel teaches in the Tacoma Public Schools. She has a Master’s in Elementary Education/K-12 Reading. Throughout her career, Janel has held various positions including: reading specialist, math interventionist, technology teacher, mentor teacher, instructional coach, K-3 co-teacher, and an elementary teacher – currently an elementary instructional coach and K-3 co-teacher. She facilitates professional development and supports teachers in the classroom around equitable, inclusive, high-leverage practices that promote a culturally responsive classroom.
Special Education Instructional Coach
Kim is currently working in the Battle Ground School District as a Special Education Instructional Coach. She holds a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction specializing in Applied Behavior Analysis. Kim has 15 years of experience as a special education teacher in a variety of settings including a self-contained preschool, center based learning classrooms, and in a primary resource room. In her current role as a special education instructional coach, she works closely with special education teachers to support best practices and to provide professional development on special education topics.
General Education w/inclusion
Rachael is a Nationally Board Certified EYA Science Teacher and holds a BA in Elementary Education as well as a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction-English as a Second Language from Arizona State University. She started her career teaching 3rd grade in Arizona but has spent the majority of her nineteen plus years teaching middle school Science. Currently, Rachael teaches middle school Science in Spokane, Washington and has been with the Cadre since 2016. Rachael is also a parent of a typically developing child, a child with a 504 plan and a child on the Autism Spectrum.
TOSA, P-12 Compliance/Safety Net Facilitator
As Special Services Compliance & Safety Net Facilitator for the Everett School District, Marisol is responsible for supporting, training, and monitoring special education teachers and related staff providers in the writing of IEPs – monitoring IEP compliance for all high need students. She is a National Board Certified Teacher in ECYA/ENS Mild/Moderate for ages 5-21, with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. Marisol has taught students with various disabilities in multiple classroom settings: K-8 Resource, 6-8 Extended Resource, and 3-5 Behavior Support.
District PBIS Coach
Kristen is currently working in Battle Ground Public Schools as a District PBIS Coach. She holds a Specialists Degree in School Psychology from Minnesota State University Moorhead. Kristen has 20 years experience with 14 of those years as a school psychologist in various districts in Colorado. She has extensive experience in elementary school settings and with students with significant behavioral needs. In her role as a district PBIS coach she implements district systems, coaches school teams, and provides professional development in the area of social/emotional learning.
Ainsley has been an educator for the nine years, providing speech-language instruction at the middle school level. She currently works at Olympic Middle School and Oakland Bay Junior High in the Shelton School District, collaborating with special and general education staff to promote inclusionary practices. In 2013, Ainsley earned her MA in Speech and Hearing Sciences from Washington State University.
Heather is currently Elementary Para Educator. She has worked in education for more than 10 years, as a: preschool teacher, tutor with the AmeriCorps program, and para in both elementary and high school resource rooms. For the last few years has been a para in a self-contained special education classroom both in-person and online. Heather is a parent of an adult child with a physical disability. During the school years she learned how parents can navigate the system to assure that their child’s classroom needs are met. During her time in special education Heather has grown in knowledge through both the SESC classes, experience and her own research.
Special Education Teacher
Laura teaches Special Education in Monroe, Washington. In this role, she co-teaches at the middle school level in an inclusion setting with general educators. Previously, Laura was a middle school Life Skills teacher, working with students with moderate to significant disabilities, and has also worked in a high school Resource Room. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Gonzaga University, and a Master’s Degree from Walden University. Laura has been an SESC trainer since 2021.
Special Education Teacher
Danae is Special Education and Early Learning Facilitator in Shelton, Washington. A National Board Certified Exceptional Needs Specialist P-12, she holds a BA focusing in Deaf and Bilingual Education and has a Master’s Degree in Special Education. Danae started her career in Deaf Education and has taught at every level from early childhood through adults and in many special education contexts – from self-contained to co-teaching settings as well as coaching, mentoring and private consultation – in the US and internationally. As a parent of a child with significant disabilities she is passionate about inclusionary practices for students with significant support needs.
General Education w/inclusion
Meagan is a middle school teacher in the Ellensburg School District. She has been teaching for 5 years in a variety of inclusive settings. Meagan is currently a general education math teacher with a focus in co-teaching and inclusion. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education P – 12 and Middle Level Mathematics from Central Washington University and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Western Governors University.
School Social Worker
Sydney has 28 years of educational experience includes work as as a Mental Health Counselor, Behavior Specialist, and Intervention Specialist. She has skills and knowledge related to behavioral, social-emotional, ABC data collection, and trauma-informed strategies and interventions. Sydney currently provides mental health assistance and resources for students and staff in the Clover Park School District.
District/Central Office Administrator
Tamra began her career working at a residential treatment facility for students with significant emotional and behavioral disabilities. In part, those experiences led her to become a school psychologist. She has worked in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, and is currently with the Battle Ground School District. She later became a district PBIS coach, aiding in the development and implementation of the district’s Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports system. Tamra now works in special education administration.
Regional Science Coordinator
Tammie Schrader is a Regional Science Coordinator at Educational Service District 101, in Spokane, Washington, as well as an adjunct science methods instructor at Gonzaga University. She taught Life Science as well as Computer Programming, Gaming Programming, and Robotics.
Special Education Teacher, Coach
Heidi has several degrees from Washington State University – endorsed in both Early Childhood General Education and Early Childhood Special Education. Over her career, Heidi has taught K-5 Resource Room, A K-5 Life Skills class, General Education Kindergarten, General Education 1st grade and Special Education Preschool. She currently teaches an alternative classroom for preschool students on the Autism Spectrum and coaches in an inclusive preschool classroom. Heidi recently launched a consulting business assisting new Special Education Teachers with classroom organization and teaching strategies.
Katja is an ASHA certified speech-language pathologist with 27 years of experience, mostly public schools. She has primarily worked in early childhood serving students with autism spectrum disorders, Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) needs, language delay, and speech sound disorders, and has taught workshops for parents of children with social communication needs. Katja received both a B.A. and M.A. in Speech and Hearing Sciences from WSU. Prior work experiences include Santa Barbara County Education Office (CA), and Midstate Education District (MN).
Special Education Teacher
Adam works in the Tukwila School District serving students with various academic, social, and behavioral needs and disabilities/learning differences in resource and inclusion school settings. Previously, he taught five years in general education. Adam holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education from Gonzaga University, and took his learning to the University of Portland to earn a Master’s Degree in Reading and Elementary Education through the Pacific Alliance for Catholic Education (PACE) program. Recently, he earned an additional Master’s Degree in Middle School Mathematics through Western Governors University (WGU).
Technology TOSA - EdTech Coordinator
Cassondra currently supports Battle Ground teachers with technology integration in the classroom as their educational technology coordinator, or tech TOSA. In this role, she leads professional development, provides one-on-one coaching, and creates resources. She was previously a classroom teacher for K-8 art. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Art History from Pepperdine University and studied art history and archaeology at the University of Oregon before getting her Master’s in Teaching at Concordia University.
Special Ed Teacher, Adjunct Professor
Joan is a middle school teacher in the Ellensburg School District. She works with students with moderate and significant disabilities, and is an adjunct instructor at Central Washington University. Joan earned a Bachelor’s degree from Central Washington University and a Master’s degree from City University. She is National Board Certified as an Exceptional Needs Specialist, Severe and Multiple Disabilities. Joan has been in education 25+ years, teaching students with all levels of abilities and in a variety of inclusive settings. Joan’s husband, Steve, is also a teacher. They have 4 children, 2 dogs, plus several horses and mules.
TOSA and Technology Specialist
Lauren received her master’s degree in Communication Disorders from Louisiana State University. She is currently working as a Teacher on Special Assignment and Assistive Technology Specialist in Bethel School District, providing professional development and job-embedded coaching to school teams to promote inclusion and equitable access for their students. Lauren has been a member of the cadre since 2020.
Special Education Transition Teacher
Tami has been an educator for 25 years, spending most of those years at the secondary level. She currently supervises the Transition program for 18–21-year-old students within the Shelton School District, collaborating with local businesses, community members, and adult agencies to provide work experience opportunities and community awareness and access to her students. She holds a B.S. degree from Grand Canyon University and an M.Ed from Northern Arizona University.
Kari lives in Vancouver, WA with her husband Tim and son (now 20 years old) who was diagnosed with autism at age 2. Kari has been a strong parent advocate and classroom volunteer: a PTA member, on the board of the local Special Education PTSA, coach & board member for Miracle League baseball, and volunteer for local disability organizations. Kari’s main goal is to help create an inclusive and accepting school and community environment – advocating for inclusion in general education classes and helping support differentiated instruction – recently organizing a parent advisory group to work with staff to improve the Evergreen Transition Program.
Beth Anne Sykes
Special Ed Teacher, Adjunct Professor
Beth teaches in the Wenatchee Valley Community Transitions program. She’s worked with middle and high school students, and currently, with 18-21 year-olds. Beth has taught in Spokane Public Schools, Mead School District, Wenatchee School District, and serves as an Adjunct Professor and Course Developer at Eastern Washington University. She’s a Course Developer and Trainer for both the WEA Special Education Cadre and Inclusionary Practices Project. Beth is a National Board Certified Teacher; having received awards from Eastern Washington University and ARC of Spokane. She’s also a successful grant writer for her district.
Director of Student Support Services
Mikena has 22 years of professional experience in Special Education, with graduate degrees in Mental Health Counseling and Psychology – emphasizing on Applied Behavior Analysis. She is the Director of Student Support Services for White River School District; focusing on the implementation of multi-tiered systems of support to ensure access to all opportunities for all individuals. Mikena has provided behavioral consulting for districts across several states specializing in Emotional/Behavioral Disorders. She is passionate about organizational behavior management supporting a healthy workplace for the adults who serve students.
Special Education Teacher
Emily teaches in Wenatchee. Having taught in various special education settings since 2004 – from life skills at high school level, and resource rooms at both elementary and secondary, she is now in an inclusive setting at the preschool level. Emily earned National Board Certification in Early Childhood to Young Adult Exceptional Needs Specialist in 2019, and has been a member of the WEA Special Education Cadre since 2019. This year, she is serving a Program Coach and Data Coordinator for the Washington Pyramid Model Grant.
Special Education Teacher
Currently in the Tukwila School District, Micheal has worked in Special Education for 12 years supporting students with a variety of cognitive, physical, social and behavioral needs. He’s worked with with organizations providing mentorship to youth and has spent the last 7 years as a district resource guiding Educators through the process of developing, modifying and implementing behavior supports for students.
Amy is a Leadership Coach with the Washington State Leadership Academy (WSLA) and a Project Lead for the Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) Inclusionary Practices Project (IPP). She has served as a classroom teacher, ELA TOSA, and building principal in the Snoqualmie Valley and Riverview School Districts. Amy received her B.A. and Principal Certification from Seattle Pacific University, an M.Ed in integrated curriculum from City University, followed by a Superintendent Credential from Seattle University. She completed a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Seattle Pacific University in 2019.
Special Education Teacher
Marci has a Masters of ED from Point Loma University with focus on Special Education: Autism Strategies. She has a WA State endorsement in Special Education. Over her career, Marci has taught K-5 Resource (CA), K-3 Self- Contained Mild/ Moderate classroom (CA), K-5 Autism Inclusion program (WA), and is currently teaching an Integrated Social Emotional Program K-5 (WA). Her current program supports students with a wide range of behaviors that require various supports to access their general education curriculum.
Retired WEA Staff
Mark is a life long special educator who previously served as Coordinator of Special Programs for the WEA. Since retirement, Mark has continued his interest in special education by serving as a Special Education trainer, advisor, and critical friend, for the WEA Special Education Support Center.
Consultant, Learning Options
Gary has served in various roles in support of WEA projects and programs, beginning in the mid-80s with the Restructuring Schools initiative and later with the NEA Keys to Excellence program. For more than a decade, he has been a consultant to the Special Education Support Center in the design, maintenance, and promotion of the SESC website, and in the facilitation of online support for the WEA Special Ed Cadre.
Consultant, Education Services Group
Pat has extensive experience as a special educator in the public schools of Washington State and as the special education coordinator for the Washington Education Association. Responsibilities included designing and providing training to educators on a wide range of special ed topics. Pat has a strong background in school improvement, special education service models, and instruction – currently consulting with several school districts, agencies and educational organizations, and the WEA Special Ed Support Center.