Meet the Staff

Special education teachers and related service providers in the school district work with children who have a wide range of abilities and disabilities. Our dedicated, knowledgeable, and caring staff teach strategies and skills in a supportive environment which challenges all students and promotes learning. Strong collaboration with regular education staff is a concerted effort to provide services to students in the most inclusive manner, which benefits all students within the class setting. Providing consultation, collaboration, and direct instruction special education staff across the district provides students with special education services in their least restrictive environment.

Review the roles and responsibilities of licensed staff who teach students with special education needs in the district. To locate or reach one of our professionals, please see role descriptions and contact information below or use the Easy Look-up Staff Directory. View the Special Education Organization Chart showing Key Roles within the Special Education Process.

Director of Specialized Education Services

The Director of Specialized Education Services provides overall leadership and direction for the Specialized Education Services department. She assures compliance with state and federal law and regulations and develops and allocates budget and resources at the district level. The Director is responsible for program planning and evaluation. She collaborates with building leadership for program organization, staff supervision, budget, staff development and staffing. She serves as a resource for questions and guidance and strives to foster independence for students.

Dr. Laura Pingry-KilePingry-KileL@District112.orgDirector
Michele Bedor BedorM@District112.orgEarly Childhood Special Education Supervisor
Michelle Cuka CukaM@District112.orgSupervisor for Chaska HS, Chanhassen HS, Integrated Arts Academy and 17-21 Program, STAR
Dr. Jennifer Davie DavieJ@District112.orgSupervisor for Bluff Creek, Carver, Victoria, East Union, Chanhassen Elementary, Pioneer Ridge MS
Dr. Kellie Krick Oborn KrickObornK@District112.orgSupervisor for Clover Ridge, Jonathan, La Academia and Kinder Academy, Chaska MS East and West

Specialized Education Services Supervisors

Specialized Services Supervisors are administrators that support special education staff and students throughout the school district. They evaluate certified and noncertified staff, provide due process and instructional support, partner with building administration, support teams in problem-solving, and develop and support a continuum of services and specialized programming throughout the school district.

Specialized Education Services Supervisors recruit, hire, supervise and evaluate special education staff. They are responsible for program development, leadership and management. They provide compliance-based leadership, to develop and implement procedures. They also develop and implement training of special education staff. Supervisors ensure quality teaching and learning, program evaluation and support of high-leverage practices that maximize outcomes for students with disabilities. Supervisors plan and implement the Extended School Year program and assist with student transition between buildings. They serve as a resource for questions and guidance and strive to foster independence for their students.

Specialized Education Services Coordinators

Specialized Services Coordinators support special education staff and students in each of our buildings by coaching staff in due process and instruction, serving on school intervention teams, facilitating special education team meetings, facilitating evaluations, and connecting with families.

Specialized Services coordinators support and coach special education staff in acquiring due process skills necessary to be in full compliance with state and federal law related to IEP’s and Evaluations. This includes receiving and processing referrals for initial comprehensive educational evaluations. They provide on-site support for special teachers and support staff in making appropriate referrals to related service providers. The coordinator serves as a liaison to the Intervention Planning Process (iTeam) and facilitates special education team meetings, including Child Study Discussions. They also guide the scheduling process for team teaching and resource models providing a full continuum of services. This is in collaboration with parents, administration, teachers, and support staff regarding due process and programming options.

Ryan Bellmont Family Learning Center, LaAcademia, Kinder Academy
Lynne Patterson PattersonL@District112.orgBluff Creek, Chanhassen El
Jen Hayes HayesJ@District112.orgIntegrated Arts Academy, Nonpublic, Homebound
Jo Dunham DunhamJ@District112.orgChaska MS East, Jonathan
Jennifer Cordes CordesJ@District112.orgChaska HS, East Union
Patricia Lange LangeP@District112.orgChaska MS West, Clover Ridge
Whitney Brauchla BrauchlaW@District112.orgChanhassen HS
Amy Raffelson RaffelsonA@District112.orgCarver El, Pioneer Ridge MS
Erin Valenta ValentaE@District112.orgSTAR, Victoria
Steven Kangas KangasS@District112.orgAT Specialist
Amber Middendorf MiddendorfA@District112.orgAT Support Specialist
Shelli Sutherland SutherlandSh@District112.orgAT Specialist

Assistive Technology

Assistive technology must be considered for all children with an Individualized Education Program and provided for students who require it. Assistive technology is used to provide access to appropriate tools and in order to receive a free, appropriate public education. Assistive technology can be as simple as a pencil grip or as complex as a voice-activated computer. An assistive technology consultant can provide support to IEP teams by evaluating, acquiring, training, and implementing technology strategies for students with disabilities, promoting student progress towards IEP goals and objectives.

Behavior Specialists

A district behavior specialist works primarily with students receiving specialized educational services who have significant behavioral needs. Students are referred by their building special education team. The behavior specialist works with the student and their teachers to assess their needs and develop a behavior intervention plan.

Katie Firman Dr. Brooke Moehrle

Culture and Climate Specialists

The Culture and Climate Specialists are focused on improving the culture and climate of the district and each school in order to decrease racial disparities, specifically in discipline and intervention practices. Currently, the specialists are focused on district wide influence to improve ongoing practices that lead to more equitable practices to create schools that are safe, warm, and welcoming to ALL students. The goal is to work across all departments and support the blending and uniformity of a variety of initiatives and practices such as PBIS, iTeam, equity, restorative practices, etc. This role is focused on general education students and practices, however the improvement of these programs will benefit and support all students, including those receiving special education services.

Amy Maisch MaischA@District112.orgTeacher Joan Klinger KlingerJ@District112.orgTeacher
Darla Huaman HuamanD@District112.orgTeacher
Dr. Katie Awoyinka Audiologist

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Team

Teachers of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Educational Audiologists serve students from birth to 21 who have hearing loss. These children have compromised access to auditory information which has the potential to affect educational, communicative, or social functioning. Upon referral, this team administers assessments and evaluations to determine if the student meets the Minnesota state criteria for D/HH specialized services. They work collaboratively with students, parents, instructional, and support staff to develop an individualized education plan (IEP) for the student. Students are taught self-advocacy and compensatory skills to support them in the general education setting. Teachers provide instruction, educational guidance and information on the impact of hearing loss as it relates to communication, academics, and social development.

Teachers of Developmental Adaptive Physical Education (DAPE)

Developmental Adapted Physical Education (or DAPE as it is also called) means specially designed physical education instruction and services for pupils with disabilities who have a substantial delay or disorder in physical development. Developmental adapted physical education, special education instruction for pupils age three through 21 may include: development of physical fitness, motor fitness, fundamental motor skills and patterns, skills in aquatics, dance, individual and group games, and sports.

Instruction takes place in a Least Restricted Environment to address the individualized abilities of each child while providing each student an opportunity for success in a safe environment for assessment. Placement is determined as part of the IEP process and is reflected on the service grid.

Brad Miller MillerBrad@District112.orgCarver, Chan El, Chaska HS, MS East, East Union, Jonathan, Pioneer Ridge MS
Julie Running RunningJ@District112.orgChan HS, Bluff Creek, MS West, Clover Ridge, Family Learning Ctr, Integrated Arts, La Academia, Star, Victoria, Nonpublic
Tara CliffCliffT@District112.orgHealth Services Supervisor

Health Services

Health Services support students' health and academic success by contributing to a healthy and safe school environment. Rooted in public health, we support the whole child through:

  • Providing needed physical assessment, direct nursing care and specialized health procedures to students

  • Developing and assisting with implementation of individual health plans for students with chronic health conditions

  • Coordinating care with parents, staff, and medical providers

  • Serving as resources, liaisons and advocates for students, parents and community service organizations regarding individual and general health care issues

  • Supporting student emotional health

Health Services

Homebound Instruction

The purpose of Homebound Instruction is to provide educational services to students on a short-term basis. This service is for students who are unable to attend classes at a school building. A doctor’s note is required. These services allow the students to maintain academic progress and facilitate a successful transition back to a school building as quickly as possible. While a student is receiving homebound instructional services, that student remains enrolled in and the responsibility of the school site the student attended immediately before receiving homebound services.

Homebound Services

Terri Cain CainT@District112.orgHomebound Instructor

Occupational Therapists

Occupational Therapists provide service to students from birth to age 21. Students receiving OT services must have an educational need identified on their IEP requiring the specialized services of the OT in order to make progress. The OT gives general suggestions and support to teachers in the general education environment, and works with the IEP team and special education staff to promote student independence and success.

Teacher of Students with Physical Impairment/Other Health Impaired

Physical/Health Impairment teachers work primarily with students who have a physical impairment from birth to age 21. They also work with students with health impairments and traumatic brain injuries. Some of the services they provide are: offering ideas and support for differential instruction; providing support for instruction in organizational and independent work skills; consulting on adaptations and modifications needed to access students’ environments and curriculum; and providing resources to parents, teachers, and staff. As an IEP team member, PI teachers assist with writing IEP goals, adaptations/modifications and complete evaluations.

Physical Therapists

Physical Therapists provide gross motor interventions to qualifying students in the district from birth to age 21. Services provided include: gross motor evaluation, assess environmental accessibility and equipment needs for classroom and education goals, develop and implement service plans to meet student’s IFSP/IEP goals, and provide informal resources and suggestions as requested to student’s team.

School Psychologists

The role of an Eastern Carver County school psychologist is to promote success for all students and assist those who are facing academic, behavioral, or social-emotional challenges at school. Using their training in both education and psychology, school psychologists work with parents, educators, and other professionals to assess, problem-solve, and deliver effective supports to these students. They strive to integrate evidence-based, culturally responsive, and linguistically diverse practices into their daily work, which can include activities such as: academic assessment, program planning and evaluation, crisis intervention, parent and teacher collaboration, and analyzing school-wide data.

Tricia Krier
Erika Davis
Eric Dean
Jennifer Shinn
Jason Kosmatka KosmatkaJ@District112.orgCounty Social Worker
Ashley Maxwell
Erin Dickie
Josie Hoffman HoffmanJ@District112.orgCounty Social Worker
Katie Jurado JuradoK@District112.orgCounty Social Worker

School Social Workers

School Social Workers are an important part of our educational teams who are highly qualified and trained in children’s mental health and it’s impact it has on learning and everyday functioning.

School Social Workers:

  • support positive social, emotional and behavioral development through individual and group skills training to enhance school success.

  • collaborate with the school and family and utilize multi-tiered interventions, crisis prevention, problem solving, conflict mediation, evaluation and progress monitoring.

  • link home, school and community to bridge the communication gap and serve the whole child, addressing environmental barriers to learning and connecting the family to community resources.

Speech and Language Pathologists

A licensed Speech Language Pathologist provides services to students from birth to age 21 years in Eastern Carver County Schools. Upon referral, they complete an evaluation to determine if the student meets the Minnesota state criteria for Speech Language specialized services. Speech Language Pathologists work collaboratively with students, parents, instructional, and support staff.

More on Speech and Language Disorders

Steps Toward Adult Responsibility

The STAR program is a post high school special education transition program available to students of Eastern Carver County Schools as determined by their Individual Education Plan (IEP) team. High School coursework and curriculum is typically no longer appropriate for supporting student progress on individualized goals. The program focuses on the transition areas of employment, post-secondary education or training, and where appropriate independent living. The STAR program is designed to assist students in preparing for success in adult life by focusing on student and team identified transition outcomes. Direct and related services are offered onsite at the STAR program, students may also receive services offsite or via coordination with community, adult services and interagency relationships. Students that attend the STAR program may walk in graduation with their graduating class but will not receive their diploma until completion of the STAR program by accomplishing goals identified by the team or aging out at age 21.

Steps Toward Adult Responsibility

Teacher of Students with Vision Impairment

As a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments (TSVI), the primary responsibility is to provide specialized instruction and services required to meet the unique educational needs of students with visual impairments. Following are some of the responsibilities as a TSVI.

Assist the student, parents, special and regular education personnel, and the student’s sighted peers in understanding the unique educational needs and learning characteristics of visually impaired students. This is accomplished by maintaining connections to services and support available from local programs for visually impaired students, and acquiring information regarding local, state, and national resources for the education of visually impaired students.

Assure that large-type or braille texts, supplementary materials, educational, aids, and equipment needed by the visually impaired student, and the classroom teacher, are provided in a timely manner to ensure the student’s maximum participation in all classroom activities

Provide instruction in the development and maintenance of skills to meet the student’s unique educational needs in the following areas, as indicated in the IEP:

* Low vision & visual efficiency skills

* Concept development & academic skills

* Career & vocational education skills

* Communication skills (these skills include braille reading and writing as appropriate)

* Social/emotional skills and abilities, & sensory motor skills.

Prepare sequential and meaningful instruction geared to the student’s assessed needs, IEP goals and objectives, functioning, and motivational levels.

Provide assistance to the classroom teacher in academic subjects and activities of the classroom that, as a direct result of the student’s visual impairment, require adaptation for the student.

Provide initial and ongoing assessment: ?consults with assessment team to determine appropriate testing materials and modifications needed,

Conduct functional vision/learning media assessments and produces written reports.

Maintain ongoing contact with parents to assist them in the development of a realistic understanding of their child’s abilities, progress, and future goals.

Provides in-service training programs for school personnel and students and education for parents regarding the needs of visually impaired students and adaptations, programs, and services for these students.

Coordinate with other personnel, such as transcribers, readers, counselors, O&M specialists, career/vocational education staff, and rehabilitation counselors.

Maintain a current reference library of professional materials and resources.

Acquire information and training about current research, development, and technology.

Provide instruction in appropriate academic and non-academic content areas to the visually impaired student in the classroom.

Carol Vilendrer VilendrerC@District112.orgChanhassen HS
Tim Griffin GriffinT@District112.orgSTAR
Sheila Getz GetzS@District112.orgChaska HS, Integrated Arts Academy

Work-based Learning Coordinators

Our work experience team provides employment support as outlined within a student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). The goal of our work experience program is to support students in striving towards competitive employment through building independence. We do this through collaboration with the student and his/her IEP team. We provide students with formalized learning and instruction at school and, when possible, within a community-based setting. No matter the work-based setting (school or community), we teach students to treat the experience like real-world jobs, including committing time, providing challenge and supporting growth in both soft and technical employment skills. Our work experience coordinator team creates and maintains strong community relationships and partnerships, giving our students a plethora of work-based learning choices and opportunities.

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