The SIP Team
We Believe in Inclusion!
Kristin Brooks, Ed. D.
Executive Director - Riverside County Office of Education
Kristin Brooks, Ed.D., has worked alongside her colleagues to support and motivate educational communities towards inclusion while leading to spectacular outcomes which have influenced the expansion of the SIP project. A seasoned professional, Kristin has dedicated the past 24 years to the education and inclusion of students with and without disabilities. Trained as a speech-language pathologist, she was instrumental in co-creating a pioneering inclusive preschool in southern California in 2005 that continues to thrive today. A true believer in having organizational systems recognize their ‘self-imposed barriers’ while working to eliminate the same via transforming their culture, policies and practices. Kristin inspires and informs audiences by presenting at a range of statewide and national conferences and symposiums. Her diverse range of experience includes serving as a site, district, and county administrator applying research to practice. Always looking to widen impact and maximize benefits for all students, Kristin transitioned to statewide grant work supporting multiple local educational agencies through systems change to build, implement, sustain and scale up services and programs in the name of inclusion and achievement. Kristin earned her master’s degree in Communicative Disorders and her doctorate in Leadership for Educational Justice from the University of Redlands.
Director of Equity and Inclusive Practices – El Dorado SELPAs
Kevin Schaefer is currently the Director of Equity and Inclusive Practices for the El Dorado SELPAs. In this role, Mr. Schaefer works diligently to improve educational outcomes for students with disabilities through providing high quality leadership and support to the California Department of Education and LEAs throughout the state. Additionally, he provides organizational support through his work in promoting continuous improvement processes and alignment of initiatives that focus on creating enabling least restrictive environments that honor the diversity of learners across general and special education settings. Mr. Schaefer believes that data-based decision-making, open and honest communication pathways, vulnerability-based trust and self-reflection among team members, deep level family engagement, and ongoing analysis of organizational culture, practice, and policy development is foundational to this work. His varied background as a special education teacher, administrator and national/state technical assistance provider has led to expertise in the areas of systems change and inclusive educational practices that result in educational benefit for all students.
Janelle Mercado is a passionate educator dedicated to creating equitable education in inclusive environments for all. She wants to support and inspire others to create learning experiences and opportunities for students to thrive. As a special education teacher, Janelle worked collaboratively with colleagues to develop a co-teaching program. Because of Janelle’s experience in an inclusive co-taught setting, she specializes in universal design for learning (UDL), co-teaching, social-emotional learning, and behavior supports. Janelle has extensive experience in education as a SELPA program specialist, SIP project coordinator, statewide and national conference presenter, system change and improvement coach.
Dawn Berlin, Ph.D.
Program Support Specialist
Dr. Berlin has 25 years of experience in general and special education. She earned her M.A. in Special Education at the University of South Florida and her Ph.D. in Education at UCLA. Her dissertation research used an interactionist framework to examine the cultural construction of learning disabilities and its unintended consequences on inclusion in general education settings. She has worked as a teacher, professor and administrator and has an extensive history of collaboration with districts and non-public schools throughout southern California. Her areas of expertise are classroom management and teacher preparation/mentoring. She believes that diversity of all types is an asset in any educational setting.
Juliet Anyanwu , Ed.D.
Program Support Specialist
Juliet Anyanwu, Ed.D., is a passionate educator with a wealth of knowledge, skills, and experiences in special education that spans over 14 years. She has supported PK-12 schools in developing quality inclusive programs through various instructional and administrative roles. Her tenure in PK-12 classroom settings are rooted in inclusion, co-teaching, and growth mindset, which played an instrumental role in co-developing and piloting a full inclusion program at a southern California Charter School. Juliet also played an integral role in the preparation of Special Education Teachers as a Program Director and Professor at Loyola Marymount University’s School of Education. These positions afforded her the opportunity to learn alongside a diverse group of phenomenal students, families, community leaders, and colleagues. Juliet earned her M.S.T in Childhood Education with a concentration in Students with Disabilities from Pace University. She received her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Teacher Education in Multicultural Societies from USC. Her dissertation examined the influence of interpersonal and contextual features on a co-teaching partnership. Her areas of expertise are inclusive education, culturally relevant/sustaining pedagogy, teacher ideology, tiered systems of support, and data analysis. She is committed wholeheartedly to supporting schools in their mission to create and improve educational systems that provide equitable and inclusive learning opportunities for all students.
Program Support Specialist
Heather Snipes has over 15 years of experience in early education, ranging from home based childcare, collegiate child development labs, Tribal Head Start, private preschool, and most recently, as the Director of a state preschool program in Northern California. During her time as the Director of Early Childhood Development and Special Education with Eureka City School District, Heather was instrumental in developing a successful inclusive preschool model that has since been scaled up into the elementary grades within the district. She has been an advocate for access to high quality early childhood experiences for all and continues to emphasize the importance of collaboration in order to nurture a strong foundation of trust and partnership between each child’s home and school setting from day one. Heather received her master’s degree in Child Development Administration, Leadership, and Management from Walden University in 2020. Her background in early childhood education, knowledge of the public school system, and experience with the IEP process, allows her to provide a unique perspective on learning environments, student transitions, and relationship building as a cornerstone for quality inclusive practices across the educational continuum.
Jessica Bari is a Program Assistant for the Supporting Inclusive Practices (SIP) project at the El Dorado County SELPAs. She has worked in education for 6 years and continues to pursue her studies in the field of education. She is passionate about learning and helping others. She looks forward to supporting the team in promoting equitable and inclusive outcomes for all students.
I am Erica Munoz. I am a Program Assistant for Riverside County Office of Education. I have worked in education for 11 years. I have provided assistance in Alternative Education and Special Education Programs including the Foster Youth Coordinating Program and the Transition Partnership Program. I enjoy networking with all our outside organizations, districts and partners to bring awareness for a population who is in need of the support. I am excited to a part of an empowering and motivational team to guide educational communities on their adventure towards inclusion.