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The Beacons Team

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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Photo of Bethany Britt, Director of Beacons Explorer division
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Photo of Sunny Groseclose, Independent Facilitator for Self-Determination
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KIM KOPP, M.A.Ed

Executive Director

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BETHANY BRITT, M.Ed

Director of Explorer

Explorer 1

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ROBBIE DAY, M.Ed

Assistant Director
PathFinder 
Division

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SUNNY GROSECLOSE

Director of

Explorer 2 & Self-Determ.

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ANDI WOOLLEY

Director Studio Beacons

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JANET BANDERAS*

Asst. Director & Lead

PathFinder Division

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EMILY LANDERS*

Assistant Director

Tailored Day

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KENDALL MILLER

Lead Instructor
Explorer Division

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SHAE ALAI, M.A.

Associate Instructor

& Club Facilitator

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TRACY D'AMBROSI

Associate Instructor

PathFinder Division

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ASHLEY EDGAR

Administrative Assistant

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SANDRA GUAJARDO

Associate Instructor
Explorer Division

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IRENE JUAREZ*

Administrative Assistant

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SHEQUITA McGRIER

Self-Determination Facilitator

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ELISE SCHEIFFELE

Associate Instructor

PathFinder Division

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CHASSIDY SUTTON

Associate Instructor

PathFinder Division

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SHANE SHERIDAN

Associate Instructor

Explorer Division

More coming! Beacons is always looking for new team members.

If interested, please click here to learn of available openings.

* = Bilingual (Spanish)

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SHAE ALAI, M.A. (Experimental Psychology)

Associate Instructor (Explorer) & Facilitator (Club Beacons)

Shae supports Beacons as a Club Beacons facilitator as an associate instructor. Shae has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from San Diego State University.  She continued her coursework, working on a Master of Arts in Experimental Psychology.  Shae also has earned a California Teaching Credential in English and became an Education Specialist in 2007.  Over the last 20+ years Shae has worked in the education field working as a tutor, a resource specialist and an English and Language Arts teacher.  Shae is also a certified yoga instructor. Shae loves being involved as a school club advisor, volunteering in the community (working to support kids in the inner city and the homeless) and enjoys being a part of Sierra Club and trail hiking throughout the world.

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JANET BANDERAS

Assistant Director (PathFinder) • Bilingual (Spanish)

Janet Banderas is a dedicated professional with a profound commitment to empowering adults with developmental disabilities. With a strong foundation cultivated over 16 years in customer-facing roles within the food and service industry, as well as memory care retirement homes, Janet possesses a unique ability to connect with individuals from diverse backgrounds. Her genuine passion for making a difference led her to four impactful years at another local service provider, where she played a pivotal role as a Resource Counselor, nurturing essential life skills and fostering independence among her participants.
 

Janet's expertise is complemented by her ACRE certification in Community Employment Services, a testament to her dedication to tailored job placements. At Beacons, she will embrace her role as an associate instructor, skillfully guiding individuals to overcome challenges and supporting them on their path to purposeful and rewarding careers. Janet's empathy-driven communication and unwavering commitment to inclusivity exemplify her mission to create a positive, lasting influence on lives, making her an indispensable asset to the team.

BETHANY BRITT, M.Ed

Director of Explorer Division & Lead Instructor

Bethany was born and raised in Southern California and is a graduate of La Costa Canyon High School so she has endless contacts throughout our community to enrich activities for Explorer. She is also a trained self-determination facilitator and well-versed in the supports and options available in the community to help self-advocates learn more about their local area and service options.

Bethany has a BA in Special Education from Arizona State University and a Masters in Educational Counseling from National University. She holds credentials in Pupil Personnel Services, Educational Specialist of Instruction Level II and CrossCultural Language and Academic Development in the state of California.

Bethany taught special education in a Moderate/Severe program for the Chandler Unified School District and coached the girls JV soccer team for Hamilton High School for two years. After returning to San Diego, she taught in both Mild/Moderate and Moderate/Severe programs for the San Dieguito Union High School District for 13 years. During her time at SDUHSD, Bethany helped lead the TAP program at Torrey Pines High School and La Costa Canyon High School. In 2015, Bethany won the Collaborative Team Award for the North Coastal Consortium for Special Education.

Bethany is a valued member of the Beacons team and brings her years of experience to help optimize learning, increase confidence and facilitate social connections.

TIFFANY BRUDER, M.S.

Lead Facilitator (Club Beacons) 

Tiffany serves a lead for Club Beacons helping to devise activities and fun! She was raised in Southern California and grew up volunteering for numerous community events throughout her youth to present. She has extensive experience in event planning, customer service, teaching, lifeguarding/AED/CPR, and various other areas. She has her BA in Criminology/Criminal Justice, a BS in Psychology, and a Masters in Forensic Psychology. She has worked as a mental health patient advocate, aquatics director/swim coordinator on Catalina Island and Pearl Harbor and has taught swimming to those with various disabilities. 

 

With any free time she has, she loves to be outside with her family and bake. She has 4 girls and a son who keep her busy and young. Tiffany is thrilled to be a part of Beacons and have the opportunity to grow, learn, and teach with others!

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ROBERT "ROBBIE" DAY, M.Ed.

Director and Lead Instructor (PathFinder)

Robbie grew up in North County and graduated from UC San Diego with a Bachelor's Degree in World Literature and a Masters Degree in Education. He has 5 years of high school teaching experience and returns to San Diego after spending the last year teaching mathematics in the Mojave Desert. 

 

Robbie has spent the last two years teaching for COSMOS, a summer robotics program at UC San Diego, developing self-driving vehicles with high school students interested in careers in science and technology. He has an interest in accessible technology and is active in communities online dedicated to improving “hands free” technology for operating computers by voice. 

 

Robbie serves as both the Assistant Director and a lead instructor for PathFinder vocational training workshops and strives to make contacts in the community to find vocational opportunities for his trainees to realize their employment dreams. 

TRACY D'AMBROSI

Associate Instructor (PathFinder)

Tracy plays a vital role in supporting the personal and professional growth of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her involvement at Beacons is fueled by a belief in the transformative power of job training and social opportunities to enhance lives, a commitment mirrored in her own experiences as a parent.

Transitioning from early childhood education to vocational training, Tracy has found her stride in engaging with a demographic that thrives under her guidance. She is known for her empathetic approach, listening keenly to the trainees and offering advice that resonates with their unique paths.

In her role, Tracy faces and overcomes challenges with a positive spirit, drawing inspiration from the resilience and achievements of those she mentors. Her personal joy comes from witnessing the direct impact of her work, whether it's through a trainee's smile or a problem solved. Beyond her professional life, Tracy’s heart lies in the simple pleasures of nature and self-sufficiency, with hobbies that range from gardening to biking, and aspirations that reflect her down-to-earth ethos.

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ASHLEY EDGAR

Administrative Assistant

Ashley joins Beacons as one of the two Administrative Assistants, with an extensive background in management of teams at a major retail corporation. As a current Social Work and Human Services student at Palomar College, she has a desire to work in a profession that enhances clients' well being and utilizes her experience from leadership roles.

Ashley will provide general support to all visitors, engage with trainees, and maintain scheduling. She has experience working in childcare at a leading nonprofit and private in-home caregiving. Her favorite part about working at Beacons is building social connections with the trainees and making sure she creates a welcoming and positive experience for all. Ashley enjoys time with her family and dogs, reading and hiking!

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SUNNY GROSECLOSE, B.A. (Communications)

Assist. Director (Explorer)

Sunny has always had a heart for people of different abilities and wanted that to be the focal point of her life and career. Even though she holds a bachelor's degree in Communication from University of Cal State San Marcos, her heart ultimately led her away from a business platform to something more intimate; working with individuals and their families one-to-one in people’s homes. 

 

Prior to coming to Beacons, Sunny worked for a local company as a Registered Behavioral Therapist and transitioned into a second role as a Parent Trainer, where she worked directly with kids (and teens) who have been diagnosed with Autism, as well as supporting their families through the process within their homes, schools, and their community. 

 

Sunny joined the Beacons team last year first as a trained Independent Facilitator for the Beacons Self Determination division and then as an instructor for the Navigator day program.  She now supports the new PathFinder Explorer program using her talents to help trainees of all abilities learn workforce skills to bridge gaps to employment. When Sunny is not at Beacons, she enjoys spending time with her husband, two young sons and their dog!

SANDRA GUADJARDO

Associate Instructor (Explorer)

Sandra is an Associate Instructor for Beacons and joined Beacons as an accomplished preschool owner, director, and teacher bringing 30 years of experience of early childhood education, staff management, operations planning, and financial management.  Sandra has training in ASL, special-needs education, Child Family Community, and Early Childhood Education.

 

Sandra has spent the last 2 years working with special-needs children and young adults, and she has a life-long passion for this community.  Sandra joined Beacons this winter as an instructor in our Explorer program on Tuesdays and Thursdays and helps as needed in both the Pathfinder and Explorer programs.

 

When Sandra is not working she enjoys surfing, yoga, playing piano, singing, and spending time with her adult children and husband Joe.  

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IRENE JUAREZ, B.A. (Gerontology)

Administrative Assistant

Irene comes to us with 28 years of Service Coordination with the San Diego Regional Center. She has been hired on as one of the two Administrative Assistants. Her favorite part about working at Beacons is interacting with the trainees and  acknowledging their individualism. She enjoys the trainees conversing with her regarding how their day is going, or plans they may have. Irene feels it is very important for them to trust her so that they are comfortable conversing with her and being redirected as needed.

Irene graduated from San Diego State with a Bachelor's degree  in Gerontology, During her time at the San Diego Regional Center, she volunteered, for 12 years,  as the lead position with the North County Adopt-A-Family Committee, which involves organizing fundraisers to benefit selected needy clients and their families during the holiday season. She was also involved as the lead with the North County Client Wellness and Safety Committee, creating and presenting workshops on health and safety for SDRC clients.

On a personal note, Irene is originally from Texas. She and her husband, Dan, have been 
married for 23 years, and have an adult son, Joe. Irene is a  doggy mother to two adopted, older female fur babies, Penny and Lucy. She loves music, dancing, and going to concerts. Her favorite things to do are going for walks at the beach, watching football with her husband, and gardening.

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KIM KOPP, M.A.Ed.

Executive Director 

Kim joined Beacons in 2023 as its Executive Director, bringing over 15 years of managerial experience to Beacons, Inc. Kim has her Masters of Arts in Education (curriculum and instruction), and has been recognized by the State of California for successfully closing achievement gaps. She has her Administrative Services credential, Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, and a Career Technical Education teaching credential in art, media and entertainment. 
 

Prior to joining Beacons, Kim served as an executive director for a consortium of twenty-two (22) K-12 schools, a lead teacher of Educational Technology, and created award winning robotics and basketball teams. Kim has also served as a Professor for various postsecondary educational institutions, Director of Academics for a pre-college program division (for which she received a CA Academic Achievement Award), professor of English immersion, an ESL teacher, and trainer on digital natives and educational technology. She has a demonstrated record of growing instructional programs, program management, budget administration, curriculum development, securing grants, and handling the operational needs of fast-growing nonprofits. 

 

In addition to her educational management and operational experience, Kim has an extensive background in creative arts, with 30+ years experience in various mediums, including drawing, painting, installations, mixed media, drafting, graphic design, web development, and more. Kim has exhibited at the Balboa Museum of Art w/Joe Nyiri and School of Sacred Heart.

 

Kim also has an extensive curriculum portfolio that includes development of courses that include: Introduction to Art, Fine Art, Art History, 3D Art 1: Modeling, 3D Art II: Animation, Digital Art, Flash Animation, Flash Game Development, Game Design I/II, Green Design and Technology, Image Design and Editing, and AP Art History I/II. Kim also served as an editor for Barron's Publishing (Educational Series Division).

 

In addition to the awards and recognition previously mentioned, Kim's honors also include: the Superintendent's Scholarship Award, UC Cadre of Curriculum Experts, Art Scholarship Award (Salk Institute), Hats Off to Teachers Award, to name a few. 

 

Her work with underserved students, management experience with adult non-profit educational environments, record of growing programs, securing regional accreditations and other successes makes her ideally suited for the position of Executive Director. 

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EMILY  LANDERS, B.A. (Psychology)

Assistant Director (Tailored Day) • Bilingual (Spanish)

Emily has almost a decade of experience working with individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences, including caring for a family member with an intellectual disability. Emily has a bachelor's degree in Psychology, with coursework in Learning and Memory, Adolescent Psychology and Early Childhood development, and a background in lesson planning and positive classroom management strategies. Emily's has also served as a coach for the YMCA and the LYCO Champions League, managing players and volunteers with (and without) intellectual and physical disabilities. Emily is also bilingual (Spanish and English).

Emily supports Beacons' trainees as an instructor in creative expression and digital arts, and as a substitute instructor for the PathFinder vocational training program in the Creative Design workshop and other areas. She has also facilitated social relationships and led activities as part of the Club Beacons social division.

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SHEQUITA McGRIER, B.A. (Psychology)

Independent Facilitator(Self-Determination)

Shequita joins Beacons to support Beacons trainees with self-determination planning as a S-D facilitator. Shequita has her B.A. in Psychology and previously worked as an ABA therapist. She also worked at the Vista Unified School District, where she worked with students in need of behavioral support and interventions. Shequita will help Beacons reach a broader range of individuals in need of person-centered planning through her behavioral training and positive outlook.

KENDALL MILLER, B.S. (Liberal Studies) 

Assist. Director & Lead Instructor (Explorer Division)

Kendall is a San Diego native and supports Beacons as a Lead Instructor for the Explorer vocational training program. Prior to joining the Beacons team, Kendall was a member of the San Diego Teach For America Corps, serving diverse and low income student populations.

Kendall taught middle school Special Education for three years within the San Diego Unified School District, primarily focusing on English and Math. Kendall graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a BS in Liberal Studies, and a double minor in Child Development and Women's and Gender Studies. Outside of Beacons, she works as a server in the restaurant industry in San Diego and spends time spoiling her cat at home. Kendall is very passionate about education and excited to share her expertise with the trainees and team at Beacons.

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TERESA ROBERTS, A.A. (Marketing)

HR Coordinator & Project Inspire Lead

Teresa joins Beacons to share her insights and training skills from her prior work with a local major retailer, where she worked in human resources to onboard, train and engage teams. With an A.A. degree in marketing, and HR experience, Teresa will support the Executive Director to support daily human resources needs and our trainees in the Beacons Project Inspire division to increase their independence working onsite as Beacons employees. 

Teresa is committed to working with the Beacons team to support every day HR needs and staff growth, including employees with developmental disabilities hired with the support of the SDWP Project Inspire grant.

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SHANE SHERIDAN

Associate Instructor (Explorer)

Shane originally joined Beacons as a Club Beacons social facilitator and now serves as an associate instructor in the Explorer vocational training program. Prior to joining Beacons he worked in the grocery retail business and will now share his workforce experience and skills with our trainees.

 

Shane grew up in Washington State in a small town right on the Canadian Border. After moving to Northern California, he inherited a wonderful brother-in-law who has developmental disabilities and who quickly became one of his best friends. Shane had the opportunity to be his respite care provider, which quickly ignited his passion for partnering with those with diverse intellectual abilities to help increase independence and social connections.  

ELISE SCHEIFFELE, B.A. (English)

Associate Instructor (PathFinder)

Elise is a recent National University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She is on track to pursue a postgraduate degree in English and is hopeful to adopt the art of instructing at Beacons. She is driven by her passion for fostering creative learning environments. 

Having honed her skills in various industries such as Preschool education, hospitality, beauty, entertainment, and publishing, Elise is eager to bring her unique experiences in the customer service world to her role at Beacons. With her “jack of all trades” experience, Elise is inspired to bring a plethora of new skills and creative ideas for trainees to adopt. 

Her goal is to adopt a hands-on, friendly and fun environment that prioritizes self-confidence and collaboration on projects that will enable new skills to be developed. She is optimistic to forge new connections in her role at Beacons. 

CHASSIDY SUTTON, B.S. (Psychology, Education & Human Development)

Associate Instructor (PathFinder)

Chassidy’s passion for engaging, guiding, and mentoring shines brightly in her role at Beacons. The trust and rapport she has built with the trainees is evident in her intense ping pong matches with them, the nurturing visits she takes with them to the animal shelter, and her dedicated efforts in orchestrating special events like the annual Halloween costume contest. Chassidy is a military wife and resided in various states including Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Colorado, Georgia, Virginia, and California. Chassidy is a brand new grandma to an amazing little girl. Chassidy finds joy in hiking, going to the beach, exploring San Diego and gluten free baking. 

Chassidy holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with an emphasis in Education and Human Development from Northwestern State University. Her commitment to personal growth and professional development is evident in her recent acquisition of an ACRE certification, in which she strengthened her expertise in supporting employment for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Chassidy looks forward to supporting the growth and success of our trainees at Beacons and to leave a legacy of kindness and positive karma that ripples throughout the world.

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ANDI WOOLLEY, B.A. (Interdisciplinary Studies), A.A. Elementary Education, UX Design

Director & Lead Instructor (Studio Beacons)

Andi joined Beacons from Job Corps and after serving as the Assistant Director of Explorer, as of 2024 now leads Beacons' newest division Studio Beacons. Andi contributes not only her compassion for others, but also her prior experience as a Title 1 teacher, Job Corps reading instructor and Title 1 Paraprofessional. Andi has her bachelor's in Interdisciplinary Studies, a UX Design Certificate, and A.A. in Elementary Education.

Andi supports Beacons as a vocational training instructor, and helps design trainee assessments and lesson plans to enhance learning and measure progress of trainees towards their self-determined goals. Andi has taught a wide range of students for the Fremont County School District and will help Beacons continue to improve its options to meet the growing needs of those Beacons serves.

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