kristin brooks
Kristin Brooks, Ed.D.
Kevin Schaefer
Juliette Anyanwu
Juliet Anyanwu, Ed.D.​
Heather Snipes
Sara James
Erica Munoz
Kristin Bellamy-Lloyd
janelle mercado
Janelle Mercado
Celese Heron
Rebecca Fuller
Danny Daher, Ed.D.
Jessica Maiorca-Nunez-150
Jessica Maiorca-Nunez, Ed.D.

The SIP Team

We Believe in Inclusion!

kristin brooks

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. 

Kevin Schaefer

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

Janelle Mercado

Project Coordinator

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.

Juliette Anyanwu

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.

Photo of Heather Snipes

Heather Snipes

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.

Sara James

Program Support Specialist

Sara has diverse teaching and leadership experience working in urban and rural public charter, LEA/district, county, and court schools. Early in her career, Sara gained her teacher training and leadership experience working in an urban high school in the UK. After coming to America, Sara became a teacher leader that demonstrated innovation and best practices working alongside her team to launch an inclusive high school. She served as a general and special education teacher. Her areas of passion are academic mindsets for success, inclusive pathways to graduation, universal design for earning (UDL), and fostering belonging in the classroom. Sara’s experience spans Pre-K to College, with expertise in supporting students and families from middle school to high school and post-secondary transition planning. Sara believes in inclusive educational communities and is committed to collaborating with teams to ensure equitable opportunities and outcomes for all.

Celese Heron

Program Support Specialist

Celese Heron knew at a young age she wanted to become an educator, and she has been dedicated to this life goal for almost 25 years. She is enthusiastic about collaborating with educators to ensure all students have equitable access to a rigorous and engaging high quality education. Celese has served as middle school teacher, Teacher on Special Assignment, Assistant Principal, Elementary Principal, Inclusion Coordinator and Director of Special Education. Her areas of expertise include special education, student services, inclusive teaching and learning, supporting English Learners, Site and District administration professional development and strategic planning. Her focus is supporting educational organizations to create a community of learners which nurtures a growth mindset and positive educational environment. Celese has a Master’s degree in Educational Administration and Administrative Services Credential from Pepperdine University and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, Multiple Subject Credential and Education Specialist Credential from California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Danny Daher, Ed.D.

Project Coordinator

Danny Daher, Ed.D. is an energetic and passionate educator and brings with him nearly two decades of experience. In that time, he has been a school counselor, grade level coordinator, assistant principal, and high school principal. Most recently, Danny worked collaboratively with stakeholders to increase inclusive practices on campus including co-teaching and Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Danny specializes in inclusive mindsets, system shifts for inclusive practices, co-teaching, and social-emotional learning. He earned his Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from USC and is committed to supporting schools to create more equitable and inclusive opportunities for all students.

Photo of Erica Munoz

Erica Munoz

Program Assistant

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.

Rebecca Fuller

Program Assistant

Rebecca Fuller is a Program Assistant for the Supporting Inclusive Practices (SIP) Project at El Dorado County Office of Education. She brings with her 20 years of experience in the private sector of the homebuilding industry. The ability to interact with a diverse demographic has contributed to her stellar customer service skills and ability to work in a fast paced, ever-changing environment. Rebecca also has a valuable and in-depth perspective of the Special Education system advocating for her own daughter for the past 18 years. Together, they have experienced first-hand the benefits of inclusion and innovative school programs. As a mother of a young woman with a disability, Rebecca brings a positive and personal approach to any challenge or task that she encounters.

Kristin Bellamy-Lloyd

Program Support Specialist

Kristin began her career by studying speech pathology and navigated the world to become a special education professional after obtaining her masters in supporting students with emotional and behavioral disabilities. Originally from Houston, Texas, she now has 13 years of experience working with students from pre-K to adult in China, Thailand, DC, MD, VA, and CA. She has a proven track record of success in a variety of roles, from teacher, to Assistant Director of Student Services. In her various roles Kristin has led parent education workshops; developed and implemented inaugural professional development programs for teachers and paraeducators to support the identified needs of the teams. She has also consistently collaborated with administrators to develop and implement policies and procedures related to special education. Kristin has considerable strengths in monitoring systems, providing parent education, and co-teaching.

Jessica Maiorca-Nunez, Ed.D.

Program Support Specialist

Jessica Maiorca-Nunez, Ed.D., is a life-long learner who was an early childhood special education teacher for 15 years. With her existing foundation of knowledge and understanding of the significant aspects of how children learn and develop, she guides and facilitates adult learners in making explicit connections between experiences and college course content. Jessica believes in promoting and supporting staff members in providing comprehensive services to all learners. In her recent work, she collaborated with and supported Special Education Local Plan Areas (SELPAs) and Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) throughout California. Jessica provided support focused on data use and governance, continuous improvement methodologies, and high-leverage practices to build the capacity of educational systems. Through the lens of social justice, she strives to provide support that encourages educational systems’ partners to improve outcomes for students with disabilities.

Bridgette Ealy

Program Support Specialist

Bridgette is a dedicated and compassionate educational leader committed to creating systems that ensure all students receive a quality education in a healthy school environment, especially for underserved communities. She has worked in education for over 25 years as an Education Specialist, Elementary Assistant Principal, Middle School Principal, Behavior Specialist, Special Education Coordinator, Assistant SELPA Director, and Special Education Executive Director. Bridgette’s expertise is in evidence-based instructional and behavioral program development, multi-tiered systems of support, equity, social-emotional learning, creating inclusive environments, special education administration, parent engagement, transition services, and professional learning for site and district leadership. Bridgette strength is leading and supporting district-wide systems change to support student equity, access, and achievement for all students.

In Loving Memory of Our SIP Team Mate,
Bridgette Ealy