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County SELPAs Recognize Key Contributors to Special Education

County SELPAs Recognize Key Contributors to Special Education

The Special Education Local Plan Areas (SELPA) in East County, South County, North Inland, and North Coastal recently honored educators and volunteers who go above and beyond to help special education students across the county. 

The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) is the administrative unit that receives funds for these four SELPAs, and is responsible for working with each SELPA to ensure that every eligible child receives appropriate services.

South County
The South County SELPA honored their educators and volunteers as part of their 15th Annual Art and Award Showcase, themed “Believe in Yourself,” that also featured artwork from students across the region. The following individuals were honored at the May 25 event. 

Russell Coronado and Lauren Ingersoll

Russell Coronado, Lauren Ingersoll

  • Elva Guerrero, Sweetwater Union High School District
  • Kyle Pelina, Chula Vista Elementary School District
  • Michele Mendyk, Davila Day School, SDCOE
  • Jennifer Cahill, Coronado Unified School District
  • Sarah Watson, National School District
  • Marjorie Palacios, San Ysidro School District
  • Maureen McElroy, South Bay Union School District
  • Constance Logan, Friendship School, SDCOE
  • Rachael Chavez, Hope Infant Toddler Program, SDCOE
  • Allan Centeno, South County SELPA

The South County SELPA also recognized several retirees and the SDCOE Special Education Teacher of the Year, Lauren Ingersoll, who works with students who are visually impaired.


North Coastal Consortium 
On May 24, the North Coastal Consortium for Special Education honored teachers, administrators, parents, and students who shine bright amongst their peers in supporting inclusive practices within their schools, districts, and communities. 

The event, which had more than 150 attendees, including several of North County superintendents and community members, was a way to celebrate all who strive to create connections and true belonging for students.

Amongst the evening’s award recipients were two students, ChristopherJames McIntosh, recipient of the Bob Grundstrom Memorial Scholarship, and Jarisbel Lobato, recipient of the Dr. Lynette Robinson Memorial Scholarship. These first-generation college students captured the audience with their stories, their character, and their desire to continue on in higher education to champion inclusion and diversity. 

Here is a list of this year’s Excellence in Education Award Recipients


North County Inland 
The North Inland region hosted its Excellence in Special Education Awards May 1 to recognize those individuals whose teaching and/or leadership skills encourage students to achieve their potential; enhance student self-esteem and dignity; and assist schools in providing excellent services to students with disabilities. Honorees included the following:

  • Rhonda Brown, San Pasqual Union School District
  • Carmen Caballer, San Pasqual Union School District
  • Elizabeth Cruz, Escondido Union School District
  • Lisa Field, Escondido Union High School District
  • Teresa Ramos-Herrera, Escondido Union School District
  • Maria Reynoso, Escondido Union School District
  • Nicole Vasil, Escondido Union School District
  • Monica Estrada, Escondido Union High School District
  • Norma Carrillo, Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District
  • Raelynn Aanenson, Ramona Unified School District
  • Shawn Back, Ramona Unified School District


Two individuals with their awards

East County Special Education Local Plan Area
The East County SELPA held their Community Advisory Committee awards in March and recognized the following individuals for their contributions to Special Education and students in East County. 

  • Amy Martinez, Shayla Robertson, Heather Calvert, Leeann Ibarra, Darby Velazquez, Assessment Team – Cajon Valley Union School District
  • Michele Barker, La Mesa-Spring Valley School District  
  • Becca Gill, Barona Indian Charter School
  • Lauren Heimerdinger, Mountain Empire Unified School District
  • Hezekiah Herrera, Alpine Union School District
  • Matthew Jennings, Grossmont Union HSD
  • Laura Rendon-Padilla, Jamul Dulzura Union School District
  • Danielle Stein, Lakeside Union School District
  • Danielle Tackett, Santee School District
  • Brittany Turkins, La Mesa-SV School District
  • Darrin Wilson, Lemon Grove School District

Three additional educators, Kendra Whitt from Grossmont Union High School District and Heather Treadway and Danielle Roederer from Cajon Valley Union School District were honored as Evidenced-Based Practice Heroes. This new award was created to recognize teachers in both special education and general education who are effectively implementing evidence-based practices with fidelity.   

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