The SIP Team
We Believe in Inclusion!
Kristin Brooks, Ph. D.
Executive Director - Riverside County Office of Education
Kristin Brooks, Ed.D., 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 has earned her Doctorate in Leadership for Educational Justice. ,
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 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.
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.
Ninavieve DeCoud is a Program Assistant for Special Education and Supporting Inclusive Practices (SIP) programs at Riverside County Office of Education (RCOE). She has worked in Special Education for over 18 years and has extensive knowledge and experience in contract administrations. She was added to the SIP Team 2 years ago to assist with the establishment and administration of contracts. She looks forward to assisting the team in growing inclusive practices with Local Education Agencies.
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 5 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.