Debbie Anderson, Director of Exceptional Student Education
I am honored to serve Santa Rosa District Schools as the Director of Exceptional Student Education. This district has been my home since 1985 and is where I chose to raise my 6 children.
I started my career in 1994 as a teacher of students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. I can say without a doubt that I would not want to be in any other profession. The amount of satisfaction I receive on a daily basis can’t be duplicated. The students I have worked with over the years have taught me how to be a better person and how to appreciate every single success.
From teaching, I entered the world of school based administration. I had to honor to be a principal for over 18 years before assuming the role of Director of Exceptional Student Education. I feel like I have landed in the position that was made for me.
My goal is to bring to the needs of our students to the forefront and to provide the teachers, schools and community with the tools they need to support EVERY child’s right to be a valued and productive individual and citizen.
My hope is that parents and community members will join me in my journey to achieve my goal. As a team, we are much stronger than any one individual.
Deborah Ray, Deputy Director of Exceptional Student Education
My name is Deborah Ray and I currently have the pleasure of serving as the Deputy Director of the Exceptional Student Education department. I devoted 14 years providing instruction to students with various exceptionalities and have been in administration for 7 years. As a military dependent (daughter and spouse), I had the opportunity to live around the nation, experience diverse cultures, and formulate lasting friendships along the way. I was born and raised in Texas and will always be drawn to tumbleweeds and Tex-Mex cuisine! However, we have now retired in Florida and have recently established permanent residency in Santa Rosa County. There are many reasons why I was attracted to the Santa Rosa County School District. My reasons were two-fold. Professionally, I wanted to work in a district where they encourage and sustain the standard of excellence. It was important for me to work in a district where students with exceptionalities are supported in all aspects of the school setting. Personally, it was essential that my son could attend schools where his academic needs are met and his career interests enhanced. I am a firm believer that you “bloom where you are planted,” and I have no doubt that this role will allow me to serve our community unconditionally and ensure our most deserving students have access to an enriched, supported education throughout their academic career.
Tiffanie Ives Coleman, Coordinator of ESE
(850) 983- 5560
Tiffanie Ives Coleman is excited at the opportunity to serve the students and teachers of Santa Rosa. Tiffanie is from Santa Rosa County and has experience working with students of varying exceptionalities across all grade levels. Tiffanie holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mild/Moderate Disabilities, Master’s Degree in Emotional Disturbances/Learning Disabilities, and a Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership. Prior to Tiffanie’s current position, she was a Program Director of a school for students with Autism, Behavior Specialist, Inclusion Specialist, MTSS Coordinator, and Exceptional Education Teacher. Tiffanie is passionate about ensuring educational relevance for all students with disabilities. Outside of work, Tiffanie enjoys spending time with her son Jaxson and husband Clay.
Dustin Coleman, Coordinator of Behavior Interventions
I was born and raised in the Denver metro area of Colorado and lived there until about a year ago. I am a proud graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder with a Bachelor’s Degree of Arts in psychology, Go Buffs! I also have a Master’s Degree of Arts in Education from the University of Colorado at Denver. I have completed the Principal Licensure Program through the University of Phoenix and the National Principals Association Fellowship (NPAF) through the RELAY Graduate School of Education. I am blessed to have an amazing family including my wife, two sons, and two daughters who light up each of my days. I am a diehard Denver Broncos fan and am passionate about almost everything sports! I love hiking, camping, and fishing with my family. Professionally I am driven by the ability to make a difference and helping young minds to flourish. I am proud to be part of the Santa Rosa County School District and can’t wait to ride the waves of change this year!
Autism Spectrum Disorder:
Celeste Rivenbark, Communication Specialist
My name is Celeste Rivenbark and I am proud to call the Berryhill Administrative Complex my home. I have been working in the field of special education for 15 years. I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, growing up in a family of educators, that is all I really knew. I went to the University of West Florida on a tennis scholarship- GO ARGOS!!! I have an undergraduate in both ESE and Elementary Education.
When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my family. I have two boys who are my world. Most of my afternoons and weekends are spent being a “ballpark mom”- yes I am that mom!!! J I also enjoy watching college football- if it involves football and the SEMINOLES- count me in!!!! – GO NOLES!!!
“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.”
Laura Brumfield, Board Certified Behavior Analyst
My name is Laura Brumfield. I am the Board Certified Behavior Analyst for ESE in Santa Rosa County. I graduated from Loyola University in 1986 with a Bachelors in Music Therapy. I attended Chapman University, graduating with a Master in Psychology. I became a Behavior Analyst in 1997. I love working with students of all ages and my core value is best practice. I have lived all over the United States but Santa Rosa County ESE is my home!!!
Vanessa Avis, Specialized Curriculum, Instruction, & Interventions
I am very happy to join the Santa Rosa County ESE Team as a new Program Facilitator for Instruction and Intervention. I started my career in education over 20 twenty years ago in Marion County as a Varying Exceptionalities Teacher. I’ve also taught general education classes in grades K –2. I hold bachelor's degrees in Primary Education and ESE-Specific Learning Disabilities and a master's degree in Reading (K-12). I joined Santa Rosa County in 2007 as an Academic Intervention Specialist and MTSS facilitator. Through this opportunity I have had the privilege of serving striving readers and mentoring teachers in best practices for reading instruction.
My husband and I are parents to two grown sons and the proud grandparents for three grandsons. We love the Emerald Coast with its abundance of golfing and boating activities and have made this our forever home.
Ellen Baucom, Program Facilitator, MTSS
Ellen Baucom is our new Program Facilitator for behavior at the elementary level. This is a new position to help ease the load Nancy Virgilio has had. Ellen’s main responsibility will be to assist the MTSS Teams with their students with behavior concerns. She will be performing observations and giving input on behavior interventions. Her phone number is 983-5152
Karen Burch, Program Facilitator, Secondary
My name is Karen Burch, I am an Air Force Veteran, wife of 33 years, mother of 2 adult children and a Special Educator. Education began for me as a Training Manager in the United States Air Force. There I oversaw the training of the enlisted service members within the Civil Engineering Squadron. My next assignment was maintaining top secret training materials and the computer lab for the F-15 Fighter Training Wing School. After leaving the Air Force, the next phase in my life ,finding myself the parent of a special needs child, lead me to the field of education. I applied for and accepted the position of an ESE Para Professional. My main responsibility was working with students who demonstrated emotional and/or behavioral concerns. This is where I realized my unquestionable purpose in life. I enrolled in the Para to Teacher Program at The University of West Florida. I dug my heels and became employee by day and student by night until I did it ..became an ESE teacher at SS Dixon Primary. After 16 years in the classroom I have joined the ESE Department as a Program Facilitator for Behavior serving our secondary students. I believe it is not only my responsibility to prepare students but to prepare fellow educators ensuring success for all. As a Special Educator and parent I am strong advocate for mainstreaming students of all disabilities and that teachers must be provided with the necessary tools to create success for these students. One of my favorite things about working with secondary students is helping them make choices without regret and that when their purpose is clear it is a good day.
All work and no play makes me stir crazy... I am die hard Auburn and Packer Fan, I rescue freshwater and land turtles and love adventures with my family!
Nancy Virgilio, Program Facilitator, Elementary
I am the Program Facilitator for Behavior for Elementary in Santa Rosa County. I provide consultative services to elementary schools by training staff in classroom management skills and de-escalation training. I also consult with teachers and observe students that need some behavior management strategies in the classroom setting that is individualized for a particular student having behavioral problems within the classroom setting. I oversee and consult with 10 behavior focused classrooms for students that need more intensive behavior modification and social skills training daily. I also provide parent support for these behavior focused classroom students. I provide CPI: Nonviolent Crisis Intervention to school staff that teaches verbal de-escalation strategies to use with students that are in crisis. I love being an educator, working with students, and watching their growth. I am a life long learner and am always looking to expand my knowledge base. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at 983-5171.
Nicole Kinnard, Program Facilitator
My name is Nicole Kinnard and I am the CBSA Program Facilitator. I received a Bachelor of Arts in Special Education from University of West Florida in 2005. In 2011, I received my Masters of Arts in Special Education with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis from University of West Florida. I spent 9 years working in Escambia County as an Autism Teacher, teaching a range of grades from Pre-K-8th grade. My last 3 years in Escambia County, I conducted a model classroom. I also spent 4 years working at Sacred Heart Autism Center as Board Certified Behavior Analyst, taking on the role of training new staff and conducting initial assessments. For the past 9 summers, I have spent my time working at Kids 4 Camp through Autism Pensacola as a Lead Coach. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my 3 children (Holton, Hyde and Alyssa) and husband (Heston).
Communications and Related Services:
Bobbie Jo Cueno, Communications Specialist
Bobbie Jo Cueno joined SRC school district as a speech-language pathologist (SLP) in 1994. She took over the role of program facilitator for the SLPs in October 2014. She has been involved in the LINKS (Leaders Investing in Nurturing Students Success) mission to establish better communication between the medical community and school district. When she is not busy looking for innovative therapy practices to bring back and share with her SLPs, she enjoys reading and watching Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.
Curriculum and Instruction and Section 504 Plans:
Elizabeth Toms, Program Facilitator
I’m very excited to join the ESE team this year as the PF for Inclusion! I recently moved to the area, and am living in Pensacola. I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia with my parents and older brother. I earned my BA in psychology and special education, as well as my master of arts in teaching at James Madison University in Virginia. I’ve had the privilege to teach students in adaptive curriculum classrooms as well as inclusion classrooms. I love planning travel adventures and doing outdoor activities like hiking and going to the beach. I also enjoy yoga and cooking delicious meals!
Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing, Visual Impairments, and Traumatic Brain Injury:
Jackie Jones, Program Facilitator
Krista Mitchell, Program Facilitator for Gifted
My name is Krista Mitchell and I am excited to join the Program Facilitator team in Santa Rosa County as the new Program Facilitator for Gifted! As a parent of two gifted boys, Kade and Kole, I have a lot vested in this program.
I received my Bachelor of Arts degree from UWF with a dual major in Primary and Elementary Education and taught in the general education classroom for 20 years at Rhodes Elementary, where I met my husband, Gary Mitchell. During those 20 years I furthered my education and graduated, once again from UWF, with a Masters in Educational Leadership and then received my Gifted Endorsement. In 2015, I began teaching gifted students in elementary schools throughout the county.
I have a passion for gifted students and their families. I believe that gifted students require differentiated educational services beyond those normally provided by the general education classroom. I desire for our gifted program in SRC to assist gifted students in reaching their full cognitive and creative potential. I look forward to seeing our gifted program flourish!
Ancillary Services - Occupational therapy/Physical therapy, Extended School Year, and Hospital/Homebound:
Gary Mitchell, Program Facilitator
I am a native of Santa Rosa County. I graduated from Milton High School and earned both bachelors and masters degrees in special education from the University of West Florida. This is my 29th year as an educator with the Santa Rosa County School System. 16 years were spent in the classroom, 4 years were as an ESE Liaison and this is my 9th year as a Program Facilitator. I am married to Krista Tolbert Mitchell, who teaches gifted students in Santa Rosa County. We are the parents of two boys. Kole, a fifth grader at Berryhill Elementary and Kade, an eighth grader at King Middle School.
Amanda Failing, Program Facilitator
I am so excited to be the Program Facilitator for ACCESS/Hybrid/VSA for Santa Rosa County. I have been able to serve in multiple roles in the district. I have been given the opportunity to grow professionally, including: ESE Liaison, Behavior Focus Classroom Teacher, VE Teacher, PI Teacher and 1st grade classroom teacher. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education with a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership. I have certifications in General Education K-6, Reading, ESOL, ESE K-12 and Educational Leadership in the state of Florida. I love working with the students, teachers and staff and guiding them to find the champion within themselves all while serving our district and community.
Kristina Chittick, Program Facilitator
I currently have the pleasure to serve as the Program Facilitator for Assistive Technology. I started my education journey as an Arkansas Razorback playing softball on a full ride scholarship (Go Hogs! WPS!). I have two Masters degrees one in ESE with a dyslexia specialization and one in ABA Psychology. I hold professional certifications in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Exceptional Student Education (K-12), Prekindergarten disabilities, Preschool Education, Elementary Education, and English for Speakers of Other Languages. I am bilingual and speak both English and Spanish. I believe in providing staff, teachers, parents, students, and specialists individualized tools and supports to meet their needs. Access is one of the most important supports we can provide.
I am a military dependent and my family just recently relocated from Colorado to Santa Rosa County. We traded the mountains and skiing for the beach!
When not working I enjoy spending time with my husband and our 2...nearly 3 boys and our two bulldogs. We enjoy going on family adventures together as often as we can!
Lisa Templeton, Program Facilitator
I have been in the Early Childhood Special Education Field for 31 years. I have been with Santa Rosa Schools for 20 of those years and as Program Facilitator for Prek for 11. I have 2 grown children who are both in the Air Force.
Linda Andrews, Program Facilitator
Linda Andrews, ESE Transition Program Facilitator, assists stakeholders who work with students in preparation for adulthood, ages 14-21, to improve the transition planning process. Continuous collaboration and annual review of each student’s IEP postsecondary goals in education, training, employment, career, and independent living as well as self-determination skills are required. Some ongoing initiatives are to build capacity, ensure compliance, and sustain the Tri-County Transition Interagency Collaborative with the goal of informing and bringing together the community agencies, schools, and families of Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Escambia County School Districts. In addition to her commitment of thirty-three years as a professional educator, Linda Andrews’ expertise in being married for also thirty-three years has provided her with the blessings of being a mother and a grandparent. These personal roles contribute to her insight and compassion for families regarding the educational and life after high school challenges. Having the opportunity to assist families and impart knowledge of available options and supports empowers as well as enables many families to feel a renewed optimism which overshadows that fear and uncertainty about the future. She tells parents that it’s okay to ask questions, say that you don’t understand, or that it’s overwhelming; the transition team is available to provide support and services. Mrs. Andrews wants families to realize that most young adults even with significant challenges are able and have the potential for employment as well as greater independence with support in order to become a contributing adult and member of society. Mrs. Andrews has raised a family of four children while developing her own career and truly values the importance of being a lifelong learner and steward of knowledge. She enjoys her career and pursues with passion to make a difference in the lives of children. Mrs. Andrews has spent over twenty-five years as a classroom teacher in three Florida counties, rural to inner city backgrounds, but for the duration of her career, other professional stakeholders are and will be her other students. Contact Linda Andrews via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (850) 983-5168.
Stephanie Hail, ESE Bookkeeper
Dawn Phillips, Secretary
Katrina Ellyson, Secretary
Jenifer Higginbothem, Secretary
Lisa Kay, Secretary
Starlinn Phillips, Secretary
Kelly Crowell, Secretary