Torrie Dunlap, CPLP
Chief Executive Officer
Sara N. Couron, MPA
Director of Operations
CJ Lucke, MA
Krista Berry Ortega, MS
Director of Strategic Partnerships
Nili Mathews, CTRS
Education Specialist; Master Trainer
Viviana H. Saint Louis
Janet George, CTRS
Education & Training Specialist
Delfa Garcia, MA
Anna Luther, MSW
Education & Training Specialist
Support Center Coordinator
Jeremy is a trainer and consultant for KIT who has a variety of professional youth development experiences in residential camping, program design and evaluation, and nonprofit administration. Jeremy has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and is finishing a Masters of Science degree in Family Life and Youth Development from North Carolina State University. In 2008 in Raleigh, NC as a Director at the YMCA of the Triangle Area, Jeremy was a KIT National Affiliate. At the YMCA, Jeremy oversaw inclusive before and afterschool care programs, track–out programming (year round school care), and a summer camp.
Joelle has 10 years of experience working with educators. Her titles have included Tutor, Instructional Assistant, Instructional Support Specialist and Graphic Designer. She holds degrees in Marketing and Graphic Design. Utilizing her education, she has been able to work closely with curriculum development to create engaging activities for both on-ground and online courses.
Joelle’s relationship with KIT began when she was asked to design the program for KITcon 2013. Since then she has been able to use her education, experience and passion for KIT’s cause to create a variety of graphics and interactive content for KIT.
Emily is proud to join KIT as the Support Center Manager. She has 13+ years of experience with the YMCA Youth & Family Services where she had oversight of 17 after school programs throughout San Diego. She brings a wealth of knowledge about after school and supporting staff in programs. Emily has been a KIT fan for a long time. She's attended KIT trainings and several years ago raised $1,000 and participated in Over the Edge. Emily received her Bachelor´s degree in Social Work from San Diego State University and is passionate about supporting youth and families.
Phillip is no stranger to the world of teaching, having spent over ten years as a Special Educator and Behavioral Specialist – which has taught him the value of including children and adolescents, with and without disabilities. Phillip also has extensive experience teaching the arts and yoga, and strives to incorporate multi–sensory teaching strategies, in order to meet the diverse learning needs of students with a wide range of abilities.
Prior to his current work as Co–Founder/Director of Education of Project AWWOL (A World WithOut Labels), Phillip spent four years as the training coordinator for a Miami–based non–profit organization, working with various children’s services providers, to improve their ability to include children with and without disabilities. During that time, he became certified as a trainer of trainers with KIT’s National Training Center on Inclusion (NTCI), along with other formalized best–practice, evidence–based curricula. Using his practical teaching experience, formal graduate training in higher education, and experience facilitating workshops, Phillip has focused his efforts on developing more effective interactive training curricula and professional development seminars, for teachers, agencies, parents, and students.
Anna began working with individuals with developmental disabilities 10 years ago as a personal assistant and teacher assistant in a public school program for young adults while doing advocacy work with university students and faculty. This was the start of now long–felt passion for providing supports and services in the community for children and families as well as staff of human service and educational programs designed to enhance individual dignity and inclusiveness. To gain more skills, Anna decided to pursue a master’s degree in social work and graduated in 2006 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with an MSW.
For five years, Anna was an Inclusion Consultant and Team Leader in the Durham (NC) Inclusions Support Services and Healthy Out–of–School Time programs at Community Partnerships. In that role, Anna provided training, consultation, and technical assistance to child care, after school and recreational providers. During the past year, Anna has been providing technical assistance and training to after school programs seeking licensure and re–certification. In this role, too, Anna has advocated meeting the needs of all children through the implementation of best and effective practices to increase learning and achievement.
Torrie first experienced the magic of KIT when she worked as the Education Director for a large youth theatre program. She was struggling to include a child with Down syndrome, and the child’s mother said to her, "Why don’t you call KIT and see if they can help?" They did help – Torrie learned to ensure that her theater program could serve children of all abilities and in the process Torrie found her life's calling.
After volunteering for KIT and serving on the board of directors, she left her theatre career to join the KIT staff in 2003. She has served the organization in many roles, including leading the development of KIT’s online training and National Training Center on Inclusion. Torrie has presented keynotes and workshops for conferences and events all over the United States and in England. Currently, she is the Co–Chair of the California Afterschool Network Leadership Team, is an advisor to the youth–led I am Norm campaign, and is a member of the board of directors of Unified Theater.
Torrie was a contributing author for a college textbook titled Inclusive Recreation, published in 2010 by Human Kinetics Publishing. Torrie is a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) and was featured as a Thought Leader in the March/April 2010 issue of Profiles in Diversity Journal. Follow her at twitter.com/torriedunlap.
Sara N. Couron brings over 21 years of experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities to her responsibilities as KIT’s Director of Operations. Before joining the KIT staff in 2000, Sara was the co–Executive Director of Area Board XIII, a state advocacy agency which monitors the rights and services of individuals with developmental disabilities.
Sara has a strong understanding of the service delivery system for individuals with disabilities from working as a case manager for the San Diego Regional Center, and at an employment program for adults with developmental disabilities. While at KIT, Sara has successfully written, administered and monitored 10 government grants totaling over $1.3 million in funding. She holds a Master's degree in Public Administration from San Diego State University.
CJ helps to promote inclusion by supporting and organizing training activities for KIT. As a former public servant, she worked with local and regional government agencies to use technology to help them be more efficient while creating opportunities for listening and learning from citizens. Now, she is helping to move KIT forward through development of multiple outlets for in-person and online training, as well as development of classroom products.
CJ holds a Masters Degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Government Administration. She helped found her son’s charter school and was an original Board President. She is a frequent speaker and guest blogger about social media and nonprofits and teaches government administration classes for Ashford University. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/publicremix and on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/cjlucke .
Amanda joined the KIT family in 2009 and has been given the opportunity to wear many different hats during her service. Taking on various roles in customer service, event planning and staff support, she has been proud to devote her administrative skills to such a great organization. Amanda earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible and Christian Ministries from Point Loma Nazarene University and hopes to one day go back to school for her Masters in Counseling. Rather than being limited to very specific fields in her professional career, Amanda believes her education has prepared her for diverse opportunities to use her talents for the goal of helping others. With experience working directly with adolescents through the public and private school systems, as well as her local church, Amanda brings a great desire to empower our youth.
Cheryl comes to KIT from the San Diego School District after spending over 20 years in the non–profit sector. Cheryl has worked at YMCA Youth and Family Services as well as San Diego Youth Services throughout her career. Cheryl finds working with non–profits rewarding and states "opportunities and experiences should be closed to no one – it is our responsibility to help open doors to full inclusion."
Nili is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist with 20 years of experience working with people with disabilities. She has a degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies with an emphasis in Therapy from San Francisco State University. Nili has worked with clients of all ages with various disabilities in many different settings including physical rehabilitation, mental health, residential camping and community recreation.
Nili has presented at numerous national and regional conferences and has trained thousands of programs. Nili’s experience includes seven years with the YMCA of San Diego County as Inclusion Specialist. As Education Specialist, Nili provides training, training of trainers, webinars, inclusion support, consultations and specialized coaching. Nili is a KIT Master Trainer.
Selena is a native Californian and has spent the majority of her life in San Diego County. She is a Special Educator for students with moderate to severe disabilities. She graduated from San Diego State University with a Masters in Special Education, emphasis in Autism.
Selena is also a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Selena has worked with typically developing children and children with disabilities since 1996 as a paraprofessional, behavior tutor, classroom teacher, supervisor, consultant and trainer. She specializes in Applied Behavioral Analysis, modified academic/ behavioral curriculum and inclusion. She has received grants from National Foundation for Autism Research and San Diego Teacher’s Fund to facilitate better learning for her students.
Viviana comes to KIT with a background in child and youth development. She has over twelve years of hands–on experience in working with typically developing children and children with disabilities ages 3-14. She has served as a program specialist, camp counselor, preschool teacher, and camp director in Spain and Germany where she enjoyed working with military families overseas. It was 2003 when she served as a program director at a local before and after school program here in San Diego that she first partnered with KIT, and embraced the journey to inclusion! Viviana was asked to become an inclusion trainer after continuously attending all of the KIT trainings offered by her organization and applying successful inclusion practices in her program. Since then, she has participated in national conferences as a provider and has conducted numerous inclusion, staff development, and youth development trainings to other youth professionals in the field as a consultant.
Viviana received her B.S. in Human Services with an emphasis in Youth Development and Leadership from Springfield College in San Diego and enjoys being able to support all programs in their journey to inclusion. Viviana loves traveling; she has visited 10 countries in Europe, all throughout her beloved Mexico, and Belize. She plans to continue to travel and further her education from Springfield College and obtain her Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership and Development.
Janet George graduated from Texas Woman’s University with a Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation in 1988. She attended graduate school at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and is certified by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification. She is also certified by the North Carolina Institute for Child Development Professionals and endorsed as an Adult Educator.
Janet has varied experience in physical rehabilitation, assisted living, and community based non–profit organizations where her focus and passion has always been on access to community and inclusion. Janet formed a relationship with KIT in 2006 and was instrumental in increasing inclusion efforts in out–of–school time programs in North Carolina before joining the KIT team full time in October 2011.
Kathryn has worked with children with and without disabilities in inclusive recreation and child care settings for over 20 years. Her first position following graduation from Virginia Tech was as a residential counselor at a children’s refugee shelter in Tijuana, Mexico. She later returned to the States and spent several years as a director of summer camp and after school programs with the YMCA of the Triangle in Raleigh, NC. Kathryn then returned to academia and completed a master’s degree in Recreation Administration with an emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Following her graduate studies she has worked in several positions supporting teachers and children in inclusive programs.
As a Consultant and Trainer with Kids Included Together, Kathryn provides live training, webinars, consultations and specialized coaching to programs around the country. She is also the Project Coordinator of I am Norm, a national youth–led inclusion advocacy campaign. Kathryn has presented at numerous national and regional conferences on topics related to inclusion, child development, and curriculum development.
Krista is honored to be KIT’s new Director of Strategic Partnerships and has a passion for ensuring that all kids are included in their communities. She brings over 11 years of diverse, non–profit management and program experience from organizations in NYC and San Diego including: LaGuardia Community College of the City University of New York, the Ms. Foundation for Women and the American Institute of Architects – San Diego Chapter. She earned her BA in Theatre with a minor in Education from Marymount Manhattan College in 2001 and her MS in Urban Affairs with a concentration in Non–Profit Management from Hunter College in 2006.
Krista is on the Board of Directors at the Copley Family YMCA and is an active resident and volunteer in her community of City Heights. In her free time, she enjoys playing roller derby and working on her new home with her husband Javier and their cat Mocha.
Audrey is a credentialed Special Education Teacher. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from San Diego State University. She has a Master’s degree in Teaching and a Master’s degree in Special Education from Azusa Pacific University. Audrey has extensive experience working with children that have developmental delays, parent training, and case management. She also has a great deal of experience in collaborating with therapists, social workers, and other service providers to support student success. Audrey’s background includes working in public & private schools and working with government and non–public agencies. She also has training in Applied Behavior Analysis.
Delfa began working with exceptional children in 2000. She has an A.A. Psychology, a B.A. in Teacher Education and an M.A. in Human Behavior. Most recently she has enrolled in the University of West Florida’s ABA Certificate program. Among her specialties, she has training in Sensory Integration, Social Stories, Play Therapy, Behavior Modification/ ABA, emotional intelligence, Curriculum Modification and Family Systems Theories. She has worked for both private, government and non-profit organizations (with children ages 0-18), in addition to being the owner of an Educational Consulting business.
Delfa is also the parent of an amazing son who inspires with his determination and drive to be included in spite of being affected by Autism, and of an extraordinary daughter who inspires with her drive to educate all her peers about issues pertaining to Exceptionalities and Inclusion. Lastly, Delfa is also a United States Veteran and the spouse of an active duty military member. Her favorite poem is "Welcome to Holland".
Phyllis Vokey Long has over 25 years of experience in early childhood serving in multiple roles from parent volunteer to teacher to administrator and adjunct professor of Child Development. Phyllis served as Program Coordinator for SDSU Faculty/Staff Children's Center for 10 of those years. As the mother of 4 children and the grandmother of four, Phyllis can identify with the growing pains, joys and challenges faced by parents as well as professionals. Phyllis has applied her years of experience with children and families toward her current career as a Marriage and Family Therapist with Helix Counseling Associates, and as Trainer and Consultant for Kids Included Together.
Alissa Marotto is a KIT Project Consultant with a variety of educational and professional experience working with children and families. Alissa has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a Master’s degree in Child Development, and is completing a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. She has experience providing behavioral therapy for young children with autism spectrum disorders and supporting adolescents with social emotional disorders in residential treatment. She has also worked closely with military families who have children in the Exceptional Family Member Program. Alissa has worked in various community programs as an early childhood educator and specialist. Alissa is currently an intern in neuropsychological assessment and assists with strategic planning for Head Start programs in Western Massachusetts.
Having served in nearly every capacity at KIT over the past 14 years, Mary continues to be an active trainer and also lends her expertise as an organizational and leadership consultant. She brings her 37 years of experience to ensure that all children have opportunities to be included and supported in their neighborhoods and community programs, not just in San Diego, but across the country. Mary has a Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy, a Master’s degree in Maternal and Child Health, and a Doctoral degree in Education Sciences and Leadership Studies from the University of San Diego.
Mary regularly represents KIT at regional and national conferences and has been a keynote speaker at several conferences. She has also published or co–published articles in several school age publications (including School Age Notes & Afterschool Matters) as well as in early childhood special education, and recreation journals.