The SIP Team
We Believe in Inclusion!
Executive Director, SIP - Riverside County Office of Education
Kristin Brooks has been the driving force behind SIP’s success from 2014 to present, supporting and motivating grantees towards inclusion while leading to spectacular outcomes which have influenced the expansion of the SIP project. A seasoned professional, Kristin has dedicated the past 20 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! 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 conferences and symposiums. Her diverse range of experience includes serving as a site level Administrator as well as a Special Education Director for the entire District. Always looking to widen impact and maximize benefits for all students, Kristin transitioned to statewide grant work supporting multiple local educational agencies (LEAs) through systems change to build, implement, sustain, and scale up services and programs toward inclusion and achievement. Kristin earned her master’s degree in Communicative Disorders from the University of Redlands and is a candidate for a Doctorate in Leadership for Educational Justice.
Director of Program Supports - El Dorado County SELPA/Charter SELPA
Kevin Schaefer is currently the Director of Program Support for the El Dorado County/Charter 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 that is 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. Janelle received her studies and teacher training from California State University, Sacramento. As a special education teacher, Janelle worked collaboratively with colleagues to support the early implementation of a co-teaching service delivery model at the middle school level. Because of Janelle’s experience in an inclusive co-taught setting, she specializes in lesson design, providing adaptations to grade level curriculum, and implementing academic and behavior supports in the general education classroom. Janelle has experience as a Program Specialist for the El Dorado County SELPA and Charter SELPA supporting school leadership teams create inclusive practices with a focus on improving outcomes for students with disabilities.
Beverley is passionate about equity and inclusion and continues to find incredible joy and honor in the opportunity to support educators in ensuring students have access to experiences they are entitled. As a special education teacher, Beverley employed a variety of strategies to support her students across a spectrum of inclusive experiences, driven by their unique learning strengths. For the students she served in that setting, these experiences ranged from nearly 90% participation within a universally designed co-teaching model. In her role as a Program Specialist in a large Bay Area district, Beverley had the privilege and opportunity to exclusively support Inclusion programs for a number of years. The programs she supported represented a variety of inclusive models and served students with a wide range of learning needs, from all 13 special education eligibility categories. Additionally, during her tenure as an administrator, Beverley was able to support program and staff capacity development, build continuity and equity across programs throughout the district. Beverley brings over 10 years of experience to her role with SIP.
Dawn Berlin, Ph.D.
Dr. Berlin has 25 years of experience in general and special education. She earned her M.A. in Special Education at the University fo 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.