Staff

Julie Camerata, Executive Director, jcamerata@specialedcoop.org

As Executive Director of the DC Special Education Cooperative (the Co-op) for the past 14 years, Julie has led the design and delivery of high quality special education programming for charter schools.  She has experience advocating for student and sector needs, creating economies of scale and shared services, and developing special education talent.  Julie enjoys systems work, especially when it involves collaborating with diverse stakeholders. She has liaised with city agencies and community stakeholders on behalf of all DC charter schools to ensure charter school engagement and representation in policy discussions. She is proud to have served as a Mayoral appointee to DC’s State Advisory Panel on Special Education for over seven years. A teacher at heart, Julie has delivered training at the local and national level.  She has led “start-up” workshops for new charters and has presented at the National Alliance for Charter School’s conference on three occasions.

Prior to joining the Co-op, she worked in the District’s traditional, non-public, and charter schools as both a special education teacher and administrator. Julie has a master’s degree in Transition Special Education from George Washington University in Washington, DC and a Bachelors of Arts in Politics from Oberlin College.

Monica Lesperance, Deputy Director, mlesperance@specialedcoop.org

Monica joined the Co-op in 2009 to lead the organization’s work around school based Medicaid and transitioned into the role of Deputy Director in 2011 to develop and manage the Co-op’s programs and services. A problem-solver and advisor by nature, Monica enjoys working to develop programs that meet schools where they are and provide the necessary supports to move them forward. Monica is the curriculum author and lead instructor of the Early Childhood section of the Co-op’s highly regarded course in special education for general educators, INCLUDE DC. She has led countless workshops on special education and inclusive practices and has served as a practicum supervisor for new special education teachers at the Catholic University of America and George Mason University. Before joining the Co-op, Monica worked in DCPS and charter schools as both a teacher and program coordinator for 10 years.

Monica has a Master’s degree in Education and Human Development with a concentration in early childhood special education from George Washington University and a Bachelors of Arts from Tufts University with a major in Anthropology.

Rebecca Foster, Secondary Transition Specialist, rfoster@specialedcoop.org

Rebecca joined the Co-op in August of 2015. In her work, she actively supports DC charter schools in developing and delivering high quality secondary transition services to students with disabilities in grades 8-12.  Rebecca founded “DC3C Exploring Career, College and Community”, the Co-op’s first Secondary Transition Program. She has worked to develop innovative student programming such as the Spring Break Program which addresses job-readiness skills, and Next Steps, an event where teachers and students explore post-secondary vocational education programs in DC.  In addition to designing and managing student programming, Rebecca also supports schools in increasing Transition compliance and linkages with outside agencies for student success post high school (e.g. RSA or DDA).

Before joining the Co-op, Rebecca taught for 8 years in DC Public and DC Public Charter schools where she served in many capacities: a lead English teacher in co-taught classes, a special education teacher in English and World History classes, a special education case manager, and a remedial class teacher. A highlight of her teaching time was spent developing a “certificate” course of study for high school students with disabilities that were not able to earn a diploma.  It was then that Rebecca found her love of transition!

Originally from Ohio, Rebecca holds a BA from University of North Carolina in English Language and Sociology, Social and Economic Justice, an MAT in Secondary English from American University, and an Ed.D in Special Education with research on culturally linguistically diverse families and students from the George Washington University.

Meagan Alderton, Program Quality Specialist, malderton@specialedcoop.org

Meagan’s work at the Co-op emphasizes practical and data driven approaches to improving outcomes for all students. As Director of Professional Development, Meagan co-designed INCLUDE DC – a graduate-level course for general education teachers working in inclusive classrooms, authored a Behavior and Discipline Toolkit, and assisted three new LEAs in designing and implementing special education programming.  Meagan has over eight years of experience in the field of Special Education: she has served as a Special Education Director for a DC charter school and taught in both the public and nonpublic sectors.  Meagan has provided both school level and city-wide staff development on various topics including courses such as Special Education for General Education Teachers and Effective Strategies for Teaching Vocabulary in the content areas, and served as adjunct instructor at the Catholic University of America.

Meagan received a Masters in Special Education from Towson University and a Bachelor of Arts, double major in Communication Studies and Women’s Studies, from York University.

Paris Gorham, Operations and Data Manager, pgorham@specialedcoop.org

Paris’ work at the Co-op is focused on managing and enhancing internal operational effectiveness. She actively supports general office management, communications and marketing efforts, financial and data management, organizational development, and human resources. In her role, Paris works to strengthen organizational infrastructure to advance the Co-op’s mission. Paris joined the Co-op with over eight years of experience in administration and communications. She brings a strong non-profit background and experience working with mission-driven organizations to improve opportunities for individuals throughout the United States.

Paris has a Bachelor degree from Towson University in Communication and is currently a Public Administration grad student at the University of Baltimore.

Phylicia Lyons Kasiem, Director of Growth Strategy and Development, plyonskasiem@specialedcoop.org

Bio Coming Soon