Dr. Kristen D. Beach

SOE alumna Dr. Kristen D. Beach is an Assistant Professor of Special Education at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Kristen graduated from LMU's Special Education Program in 2008. While attending LMU, she taught all subjects to middle school students with mild/moderate disabilities in a self-contained setting in South Los Angeles. Kristen received her Ph.D. in special education with emphases in reading development / disability and quantitative methodology from UC Riverside in 2012. Her recent work includes the development and pilot testing of a reading curriculum (including strategies for word reading, vocabulary development, and reading comprehension) for at-risk middle school students and students with disabilities as part of a federally funded research project. Kristen is also interested in exploring methods for early identification of reading disabilities within tiered intervention frameworks and has recently published research in this area.

Jacqueline L. Gomez

Jacqueline L. Gomez graduated from Chapman University in May 2014 with a PhD in Education with an emphasis in Disability Studies. Her dissertation title is Latino Families and the Disability Maze: Using Parent Organizations to Navigate Culture, Class, and Special Education. Prior to Chapman, she received her Master's and Education Specialist credential from Loyola Marymount University in 2008 and has been teaching as a part time lecturer in the special education department for LMU since Fall 2011. She obtained her Bachelor's degree from the University of California, Irvine in Psychology and Social Behavior while minoring in Education. This past year she spent several months working for Easter Seals, Autism Services as a Program Manger, providing families and children therapy services in their homes. Further, as a special education teacher in a k-2nd grade Autism Program for the Lennox School District for 7 years, she became familiar with working with students from a multitude of backgrounds and socio economically disadvantaged ares. Her experience with students with disabilities has gone beyond the classroom and has ranged from serving in volunteer organizations, presenting at conferences such as the Autism Society, and serving on committees for increasing disability awareness.

This includes but is not limited to investigating and researching non profit organizations for Latino families with children with disabilities, serving as an Assistant Researcher for Program Improvement System for College of Educational Studies (PISCES) Graduate Student Case Study at Chapman University, serving as an Assistant Researcher for Fiesta Parent Training Project at LMU, and guest lectures at various universities including LMU, Chapman University, and Cal State Long Beach. Currently, she is a Special Education Teacher at Jane Addams Middle School in the Lawndale School District. She also continues to teach courses part time at Loyola Marymount University. In her professional career her goal is to continue to serve as an advocate and resource for Latino and Spanish speaking families in special education; establishing a strong rapport with community members and creating a collaborative relationship with colleagues and parents of the families within special education is also central to her future endeavors.

Genevieve Thomas

Over the past 11 years Genevieve Thomas has worked in education. In 2006 she received her MA in Special Education and in 2009 her MA in School Psychology. She has served as a special education teacher, a program coordinator, a school psychologist, and a special education administrator. In her current role as Senior Director of Integrated Special Education with Rocketship Education (a network of public charter elementary schools), she is responsible for overseeing our programs for students with disabilities across 11 schools in three states. In this capacity, she has supported Rocketship in the development of a number of innovative programs that support the academic and social-emotional success of our students. This has included the implementation of our Specialized Inclusion Program (SIP) for students with moderate to severe cognitive disabilities, a program which focuses both on specialized programming and meaningful access to experiences in the general education setting for this population. The Specialize Inclusion Program currently supports 14 students at two sites, and next year the program will be doubling in size. Ms. Thomas has also overseen the implementation of a Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports framework in all Rocketship schools. As a result of this initiative, all Rocketship students have access to Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curricula on a regular basis, as well as a three-tier system for social-emotional and behavioral intervention and support.

Adam Reyes

Adam Reyes is a first generation college graduate and graduate school graduate. He graduated in the spring '14 and he won the SOY Award because of his commitment to professionalism as he treated all cohort members and professors with dignity, respect, and with compassion. He won the SOY Award because of his thoughtfulness as he worked diligently to view and treat each cohort member and professor as individuals suspending judgments and seeking relationships. He won the SOY Award as he intentionally sought to absorb and embody the high academic standards provided by the LMU professors and implement as a Special Educator. He is currently working as the Resource Specialist at Camino Nuevo Charter Academy Miramar High School in the Greater McArthur Park of Los Angeles. His responsibilities consist of Co-teaching Algebra II and English 11 as well as teach a homogeneous reading group of struggling high school readers consisting of 9th-11th graders focusing on developing reading skills and strategies. He also teaches a Learning Center to support develop students Self Advocacy skills, Executive Functioning Skills, and remediate basic Math and English skills to help provide greater access to the High School curriculum.

Dr. Christine Sandra Suh

Dr. Christine Sandra Suh has been an educator over the past 11 years. She began her career as a middle school Special Education teacher in South Los Angeles which ignited her passion for supporting students with disabilities in meeting their maximum potential. Throughout the past 11 years, she has served in both District and Charter schools in the middle and high school setting as a Resource teacher, Special Education Coordinator, Special Education Program administrator serving multiple school sites and Transition Partnership Program Coordinator. Dr. Suh has also worked for the South West Special Education Local Planning Area as a Transition Program Administrator. In this role, she developed resources for teachers to support them in ensuring students were provided with services necessary to successfully transition into adult life and conducted trainings across the state to support teachers in implementing the resources developed. She also spearheaded the establishment of an employment preparation program in partnership with the Department of Rehabilitation that conducts pre employment workshops and provides paid work experience opportunities to students with disabilities.

Additionally, Ms. Suh earned her Educational Doctorate degree in May of 2013 from the University of California in K-12 Urban School Leadership. She is currently the Executive Director of Program Development for DirectEd Specialized Services, an agency that provides special education services to over 100 charter schools throughout the greater Los Angeles Area. Her passion continues to focus on supporting students with disabilities by supporting staff, teachers, administrators and parents.