About

The California Transition Alliance was formed in 2002 to provide support for WorkAbility I.  In 2005, it was incorporated as a non-profit organization with the mission to provide information, tools and resources that can be shared with teachers, parents, educators, and transition partners at the California Department of Rehabilitation and the Department of Developmental Services. The California Transition Alliance has sponsored and organized the Bridge to the Future statewide Institutes on Secondary Transition.  We provide training in secondary transition throughout the state.  We are currently leading the California High School Diploma work group.  All of the Leadership team volunteer their time and are dedicated to helping our youth achieve employment and transition from high school to education and training.

Current Officers

Sue Sawyer

President

Email: suesawyer@att.net  

 

Vicki Shadd

Vice President

Email:  vickimns@sbcglobal.net  

 

Carol Barrett

Treasurer

Email: cekbarrett@comcast.net

 

Liz Zastrow

Training

Email: zastrow24@gmail.com

 

Jill Larson

Membership Chair

Email: jnlarson@me.com

 

Anna Bell-Holeman 

Web, Social Media 

Email: work.anna.bell@gmail.com

 

Richard Rosenberg

Higher Education/Agency Liaison 

Email:  rlrrosenberg@gmail.com

 

Kristina Lewis

Region 1 Lead

Email: klewis@mcoe.us

 

Tom Cox

Region 2 Lead

Email: tcox@glenncoe.org

 

Dee Torrington

Region 3 Lead

Email: deetorrington@gmail.com

 

Joyce Montgomery

Region 4 Lead

Email: Joycemontgomery55@gmail.com

 

Val Wiltse

Region 5 Lead

Email: vwiltse@montereycoe.org

 

Margaret St George

Region 6 Lead 

Email: mstgeorge@sjcoe.net


Donna Waddel

Region 7 Lead

Email: Waddell1324@gmail.com

 

Lee Ramos

Region 8 Lead:

Email: lramos@kernhigh.org

 

Linda O’Neal

Region 9 Lead

Email: LindaONEAL@cox.net

 

Tracy Hurd

Region 10 Lead

Email: thurd@cnusd.k12.ca.us

 

Geri Fuchigami

Region 11 Lead

Email: geri.fuchigami@gmail.com

         

The  2022 CA Transition Alliance Leadership Team


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Sue Sawyer, President, CA Transition Alliance

In addition to her role with the Alliance, Sue is currently a member of the California Community of Practice Leadership Team, representing the CA. Transition Alliance and has served as a member of the Consortium on Employment for California Youth (CECY). She is currently working with the High School Diploma Workgroup to improve the graduation rates for students who graduate with a diploma, including students with disabilities.

 Sue is passionate about the value of career planning and self-advocacy for every young person. Currently retired, Sue has directed an Improving Transition Outcomes project, funded through the Office of Disability Employment Policy.  She has a history of participating in the WorkAbility I program as a project Director, Chair of the Governmental Relations Committee, Regional Chair and State Advisory Board member. Sue wrote the resource guides Transition Planning:  The Basics and I Want to Work!  I Know I Can. 

 

 

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Vicki Shadd Vice President, CA Transition Alliance                                                                             

Vicki currently works as adjunct faculty at Chico State University and an Administrative Coach for ACSA..  She is a past Assistant Superintendent of Student Services and SELPA Special Education Local Plan Area  Director.  Her work in the area of Secondary Transition includes Co-Chairing  the State SELPA Transition Committee, Director of WorkAbility I and the Transition Partnership Program  in Glenn County,  Chair of the California WorkAbility Advisory Committee,  Vicki's passion has always been and still is that our job, no matter what our role, is to support students in developing the skills, attitudes, assets and behaviors they need to be successful in adult life. She has participated in several regional and statewide leadership roles in the area of Transition and served on various committees. At the local level she has been a part of creating and sustaining several collaboratives that focus on integrating and including youth and young adults with disabilities into larger efforts which include a multitude of populations, topics and environments.  

 


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Carol Kuhling Barrett,   CA Transition Alliance Treasurer

Carol has 41 years of experience in the field of Special Education as teacher, LD Specialist, and administrator.   After working at the community college level as both an LD Specialist and teacher of students with moderate to severe disabilities, Carol’s passion to see students with disabilities supported in gaining the skills needed to make a successful school-to-work / life transition grew.   WorkAbility and Transition Partnership Programs were a natural next step.  She retired in 2016 after 23 years of working as the program manager for Mendocino County Office of Education / SELPA’s WorkAbility and TPP.  Over the past 14 years, she has continued to support the training and professional development of teachers and professionals who serve transition-aged youth through her involvement with the CA Transition Alliance.. 

 

 

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Elizabeth Zastrow,   CA Transition Alliance Training Chair

Retired Program Specialist, Lodi Unified School District

Program Specialist, Lodi Unified School District

Liz's career includes working as special education teacher of the Deaf and Blind. She served in the United States Peace Corps employed with the Jamaica Association for the Deaf and the Salvation Army for the Blind.  Upon returning to the United States she joined Lodi Unified School District where she has worked as a teacher and program specialist. For the past 40 years she has focused on autism spectrum disorders, low incidence disabilities and secondary transition. She coordinates the State Pilot Transition Partnership Program (facilitated a student/system change pilot with CDE and DOR, focusing on mapping to employment, a living wage for all students), WorkAbility I Program, Paid Internship Program, California Career Innovations. She is a member of the California Community of Practice Leadership Team, Self-Determination Committee for VMRC, Statewide High School Diploma Workgroup and the Statewide Social Security Task Force. She is co-owner of a private business, STEPS, focused on assisting parents and school districts to work through the maze of transition.

She is dedicated to continuing this work in retirement, assisting students and families with Person-Centered Planning and raising the employment expectations for all students preschool through adult, building the bridge between preschool and secondary transition.

 

 

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 Jill Larson, CA Transition Alliance Transition Nuggets Chair

Jill was a teacher of the Deaf for over 25 years.  From 1997-2001 she developed a School-to-Career Program for the California School for the Deaf in Fremont.  In 2001, she went to work for the California Department of Education (CDE) where she served as the Secondary Transition Specialist and facilitated the California Community of Practice on Secondary Transition (COP) from 2010 - 2015.  Jill is now retired, but continues to be passionate about helping youth transition to adulthood by serving on the Alliance Board.

 

 

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 Richard Louis Rosenberg, Ph.D., Liaison, CA Promise

 Ph.D. in Behavioral Disabilities and Educational Administration received from University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1980. Over 35 years of teaching and administrative experience. Presently faculty member at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) and San Diego State University, Interwork Institute (SDSU) as Region Manager with two federal grants - California Career Innovations (CII) and Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (CaPROMISE). Provide supports and technical assistance to Chapman University’s Thompson Policy Institute (TPI).  Completed 32 years as Career Vocational Coordinator for Whittier Union High School District (WUHSD) in administrative position responsible for coordination of vocational and career support for all students with disabilities for seven district high schools and providing technical assistance for Community Advocates for People’s Choice (CAPC) adult agency providing supported employment and supported living services.  Board member of the California Transition Alliance.  Developed and participated with a number of Interagency Systems Change grants linking Education, Rehabilitation, and Developmental Disabilities services at a local, state, and national. 

 


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 Anna Bell Holeman, Website/Social Media

Anna has 31 years working as a Para Educator, Job Coach, Vocational Specialist and College and Career Development Specialist.   Anna has served as Region Manager with WorkAbility I and also served on the Advisory Committee for WorkAbility I.  Anna has served on the Mayors Committee for People with Disabilities and now is on the board for the California Transition Alliance.  She has worked with many students to help them transition from the school system to work and gain independence.


 

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Kristina Lewis is the Region 1 Lead for the CA Transition Alliance

Kristina has worked in secondary transition for the last 20 years, currently as a Program Manager, and previously as a TPP Specialist for Mendocino COE/SELPA WorkAbility I & Transition Partnership Program (TPP).  She holds a M.Ed. in Secondary Special Education Transition Services.  As a co-lead for the Mendocino Local Partnership Agreement team, Kristina chairs the Mendocino Interagency Transition Team that supports the successful transition of adult students exiting 18-22 transition programs.  She has contributed to Pennsylvania’s Transition Discoveries initiative.  Kristina is passionate about supporting students with the tools and experiences needed to reach their full potential, developing their self-determination skills, and ultimately helping them feel fulfilled in the adult world.

 

 Tom Cox is the Region 2 Lead for the CA Transition Alliance

 

 

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Dee Torrington is the Region 3 Lead for the CA Transition Alliance

Dee has been a special educator for 24 years.  She is a Past President of  CARS+, California Association of Resource Specialist and Special Educator.  While President of CARS she served on the California Community of Practice on Secondary Transition.  She was appointed to the One System Task Force in 2015 and worked on the MTSS subcommittee.  Following that, Dee was given the opportunity to participate on the CTC Task Force in 2016 to redesign the Education Specialist teaching credential.  Dee’s passion has always been being a support to other teachers in the field and has worked many years as a teaching mentor through the Teacher Induction Program (formerly known as BTSA) at the Sacramento County Office Of Education.


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Joyce Montgomery is the Region 4 Lead for the CA Transition Alliance

 Joyce Montgomery, MA Ed, is a Program Manager with Vallejo City Unified School District and an Adjunct Instructor at Touro University in the Graduate School of Education. She has 30 years of experience working in public education. She has successfully implemented collaborative employment transition programs with the California Department of Rehabilitation, California Department of Education, Workforce Investment board and local school districts, including CaPROMISE, CaCareer Career Invocations as her most recent projects. She has served as region and state advisory for various projects including, CaPROMISE, Ca Career Innovations, WorkAbility, Transition Partnership Project and previous Youth in Transition Demonstration Project with Social Security Administration, Bridges to Youth Self Sufficiency. She has served as a Senate Select Committee Member of the Blue Ribbon Commission for the Employment of People with Autism and Developmental Disabilities and has Chaired and served as a member of various work groups and committees designed to increase the employment of people with disabilities including the Solano Co. Mayor's Committee for the Employment of People with Disabilities. Her accomplishments include publications in peer reviewed Journals, including the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation and co-author of a chapter in The Road Ahead, Transition to Adult Life, a text used in numerous Special Education Credentialing programs at Universities across the country.

 

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Val Wiltse is the Region 5 Lead for the CA Transition Alliance

Val Wiltse, M.A. Ed, Program Specialist, Monterey County SELPA

My career has spanned 33 plus years preschool through high  school.  I have worked with most disability categories and settings.  Transition has always been a passion for me no matter what age group or population I was working with.   I represent Monterey County on the California Autism Professional Training and Information Network (CAPTAIN) as a cadre member.  The areas of concentration in my SELPA Special Education Local Planning Area include ASD/Moderate/Severe/Low Incidence/Secondary Transition. One of the areas I am currently implementing is regular reviews and implementation of Secondary Transition with a focus of moving districts from paper compliance to real student driven processes.  I am a member of the California Secondary Transition Community of Practice COP.  I enjoy my involvement with the Alliance and the resources we are providing throughout the state.

 

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Margaret St. George is the Region 6 Lead for the CA Transition Alliance

Margaret  St. George retired in 2019 after 34 years in education. For 26 of those years she worked in special education as a program specialist, school psychologist and Workability 1 Director with specializations in Secondary Transition and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). In retirement she is a support supervisor for new teacher interns and volunteers with the California transition Alliance (CATA),  

 

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Donna Waddell is the Region 7 Lead for the CA Transition Alliance

 Having been a Special Education Teacher, a SELPA Program Specialist and parent, it is important to me that all students are provided with support and instruction that assists them to be successful adults. Success looks different for each individual and is defined by the individual's own definition of success. I often told past students that I didn’t care what they chose as a career as long as they were happy with their choice. Yes, we need doctors and scientists but we also need auto mechanics, retail clerks, artists, house painters…… 

I was drawn to the California Transition Alliance because of the focus to aid students, parents, teachers and administrators to look at the strengths rather than needs/deficits of students. The Alliance has not only been a leader in Transition Awareness but has also been instrumental in redefining the concept of earning the high school Diploma. I am hopeful that my role has brought about a positive change to the population that we serve.


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Lee Ramos is the Region 8 Lead for the CA Transition Alliance

 25 years in Special Education as a teacher, Program Specialist and now an administrator.  I have served on the WorkAbility1 state advisory committee and now serve on the CA Transition Alliance board representing region 8.


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Linda O'Neal is the Region 9 Lead for the CA Transition Alliance

 Linda earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Southern California and her master’s degree in Special Education from California State University Los Angeles. She has worked in the education field for over 40 years and has experience teaching in grades K-12 as a General Education Teacher, Special Education Teacher and Transition Specialist. Additionally, she concurrently worked as an Adjunct Faculty Member for the Chapman University Special Education Department for 25 years.

Linda is currently the Transition Specialist for the Chapman University Thompson Policy Institute (TPI) where she provides leadership for the Orange County Transition Initiative and the Orange County Local Partnership Agreement with a focus on career pathway work experiences, employment, and post-secondary education with a goal of promoting adult self–sufficiency and quality of life for individuals with disabilities. She has been instrumental in the development of the TPI Transition Website which offers resources for Individuals with Disabilities, Families, Educators, Service Providers and Business Partners. In addition, she is a consultant for the San Diego State Interwork Institute and Regional Center of Orange County.

 

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Tracy Hurd is the Region 10 Lead for the CA Transition Alliance

I worked as a Special Education High School teacher in the Corona Norco Unified School District for 21 years. While working at John F. Kennedy Middle College High School, as the resident Resource Specialist, I realized there was a huge disparity between general and special education exposure to appropriate college and career readiness preparation. I became dedicated to providing students on IEP’s with the resources and tools necessary for a successful post-secondary future..


  

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Geri Fuchigami is the Region 11 Lead for the CA Transition Alliance

Geri Fuchigami spent 32 years in public education (LAUSD) working as a general education teacher, special education teacher, specialist, and coordinator to develop and  support high quality, rigorous instruction, focusing on students with extensive support needs. Her passion is in the area of Transition and services that support students to make smooth transitions to successful independent post-secondary lives. Geri continues to work with university teacher preparation programs by supporting teacher candidates. (CSUDH) She has served on state committees (Autism, High School Diploma) university/college advisories (LMU, CSUN, CSULB, Harbor College) and professional organizations as well as presented at many conferences on behalf of students with extensive support needs. (Cal TASH, TASH, CA Transition Alliance, Regional Center, Department of Rehabilitation, Bridge to the Future Conf)

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PJ Swan

Liaison to the CA Let’s Work Youth Network.  I became involved with the California Transition Alliance when I was in high school.   I had the opportunity to gain work experience through the Lodi Unified School District WorkAbility I and The Transition Partnership Program at many job site. I have spoken at many conferences about Self-Advocacy, finding my voice and telling my story.  Now I work full time  at Lodi Unified School District as a Job Coach assistant and I work in classrooms supporting students as they move from high school to adult life.


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Kevin Schaefer is our Virtual Support and Inclusion Liaison

Kevin Schaefer is currently the Director of Equity and Inclusive Practices for the Supporting Inclusive Practices project through the El Dorado County Office of Education. In this role, Mr. Schaefer works 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. 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.