Meet the Program Specialists
Black Mountain, Sunset Hills, Westwood, Willow Grove
Lori's passion for serving students began at a therapeutic day school on the west side of Chicago in 2007. She absolutely loved helping students and families overcome obstacles in order to be successful in school and in life. Lori was an inclusion teacher and case manager for 6 years before being accepted into the New Leaders for New Schools principal preparation program. Lori served as an assistant principal at Chicago Public Schools for the past 6 years. Through her special education lens and school leadership experience, Lori has been successful in creating inclusive school practices and ensuring ALL students have equitable access to a rigorous education. In her free time, Lori enjoys reading, spending time with her husband and puppies, and playing ice hockey.
Bernardo Heights, Stone Ranch, Sundance
Karen graduated from the University of San Diego with her bachelor's degree in diversified liberal arts and master's degree in education. Karen holds credentials in Multiple Subject Teaching, Education Specialist Instruction, and Administrative Services. Before joining PUSD, Karen worked in Bakersfield, CA as a Jr. High Education Specialist for 13 years and a Program Specialist for 2 years. In her free time, Karen enjoys being with her family and friends, going on walks with her dog, reading, baking, and watching sports. Karen is excited to be part of the PUSD team and work with the students, families, and staff at the school sites she supports.
Creekside, Garden Road, Rolling Hills, Shoal Creek, Tierra Bonita
Sarah developed a passion for working with students with disabilities at a young age and knew a career in special education was her dream at the age of 15. She has been a moderate to severe special education teacher for 8 years and has a Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis. She has worked with individuals with autism ranging from ages 3-22 across schools, community, clinical, and home settings. She is excited to use her enthusiasm for behavior intervention and social-emotional learning to best support staff, students, and families at her school sites. Outside of work Sarah enjoys traveling, trying new restaurants, cheering on the Dodgers, and frequenting Disneyland.
ADR Support; Compliance & Data; Design 39 Campus; Extended School Year
Megan earned her Masters in Special Education from the University of North Carolina and has experience working in both the residential treatment setting as well as within public elementary schools as a mild/moderate case manager/education specialist for grades TK - 5. In her current role of Program Specialist II, Megan continues to value collaborative relationships with families and staff while creating effective systems to support meaningful student experiences. In 2013, Megan returned to Poway Unified, which is where she grew up. When not at work, Megan enjoys making anything and everything on the Cricut, cooking, movies, and spending time with friends, family, husband, son, and French bulldog.
Del Sur, Highland Ranch, Los Pen, Midland, Pomerado
Trish has been an educator since 1997. She graduated with a BS from Creighton University and received a MS from the University of Nebraska. She has taught general education and special education both as a resource specialist and a mild-moderate special day class teacher working with students grades K-6. When not at work, Trish enjoys attending sporting events with her husband, son, and daughter. Her hobbies include reading, spending time outside with her family, and movie night.
CAASPP & ELPAC testing, Extended School Year, Inclusive Practices, Mesa Verde, Westview
Michelle earned her Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts and Master's Degree in Special Education at California State University, San Marcos. She also holds credentials in K-12 Special Education: Mild/Moderate and Moderate/Severe, K-8 Multiple Subjects, Single Subject English, and in Administration. Michelle was a Special Education teacher for 8 years in Escondido High School District before becoming a Program Specialist for Poway Unified. Since hse has joined PUSD, she has supported multiple schools through Inclusive Practices work and facilitated numerous trainings to staff to continue improving our support of students. She has supported our testing and ELD departments with state-mandated assessment protocols and training. In her free time, Michelle likes to shop Estate and Garage sales for unique finds and spend time with her friends and family.
Del Norte, Oak Valley
Anna was born and raised in San Diego. She was educated in Poway Unified and is thrilled to come back to the district that taught her the value of education, hard work, and discipline. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Human Development with an emphasis in Child Development and Masters in Special Education at California State University, San Marcos. Anna holds credentials in K-12, Special Education: Mild/Moderate and K-8 Multiple Subject. She also received a credential in Administration from San Diego State University. She has been an educator for over a decade in a variety of roles in San Diego Unified School District. Anna has always advocated for inclusion practices and research based interventions for all students in all educational settings. In her free time, Anna loves going to the beach, camping, and running.
Adobe Bluffs, Connect Academy, Deer Canyon, Painted Rock, Park Village, Valley
Judy brings more than 20+ years of expertise including program development, staff training, conflict resolution as well as education and administration for students with disabilities from preschool to adult. Since 2002, she has worked as a Program Specialist supporting elementary and secondary schools in addition to the Preschool Assessment Team. Her training and research interests include inclusive preschool and elementary programming for high functioning students on the autism spectrum. In her free time Judy likes to hike and create new Vegan dishes.
Canyon View, Chaparral, Monterey Ridge, Morning Creek, Turtleback
Marco Samaniego joins Poway Unified after 26 years of service in the education profession serving in the roles of a school site custodian, classroom aide, elementary teacher, middle school [Eng./History], English learner support teacher [district office], Associate Principal middle school, program manager special education [district office] all in San Diego Unified School District. He has a strong belief in inclusive practices and ensuring every student learns. Marco is an active member of the La Mesa Sunrise Rotary Club and an Executive Board member of the Bell Middle School Foundation. In his free time, he enjoys playing saxophone, golf, swing dancing, and attending SDUSD basketball and football games.
Abraxas, Meadowbrook, Poway High, TPP/Workability
Juan has been working with students with disabilities for 8 years and in that time has worked as a Resource Specialist, Case Manager, and Higher Education Teacher. He is passionate about working with students transitioning to the next steps in life and finished his Doctorate earlier this year with that focus in mind. He is excited to use this knowledge to enter this new position ready to serve and support his sites. He loves all things pop culture and loves watching European Soccer.
Alternative Programs, Mt. Carmel, Rancho Bernardo, Twin Peaks, TPP/Workability
Stephen's interest in education began with seeing his brother, who had an IEP, struggle to find success in school. Starting when he was 12 years old he volunteered his summers working in special day classes, worked as an instructional assistant for several years as an adult, and taught a variety of classes for students with special needs including classes for students with emotional disturbances, students with mild to moderate disabilities, and students with moderate to severe disabilities. He's passionate about school and community inclusion and finding the path to make students successful.