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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

Photo of Bethany Britt, Director of Beacons Explorer division

BETHANY BRITT, M.Ed

Director
Explorer Division

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ROBBIE DAY, M.Ed

Director
PathFinder 
Division

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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*

Asst. Director

Tailored Day

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KENDALL MILLER

Asst. Director & Lead
Explorer Division

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KATELYNN ROWLEY

Asst. Director
Club Beacons
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SHAE ALAI, M.A.

Associate Instructor

& Club Facilitator

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ELIZABETH BINGHAM

Asst. Lead Facilitator

Club Beacons

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TRACY D'AMBROSI

Associate Instructor

PathFinder Division

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ASHLEY EDGAR

Associate Instructor
Explorer Division

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SANDRA GUAJARDO

Associate Instructor
Explorer Division

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IRENE JUAREZ*

Administrative Assistant

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RUTH KAIMULOA, M.A.Ed, J.D.

Tailored Day Specialist

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MIGUEL MARTINEZ

Lead Instructor
Studio Beacons

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SHEQUITA McGRIER

Tailored Day Specialist

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KAYLIN MOORE

Associate Instructor
Explorer Division

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ELISE SCHEIFFELE

Associate Instructor

PathFinder Division

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JOSH SHERIDAN

Tailored Day Specialist

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CHASSIDY SUTTON

Associate Instructor

PathFinder Division

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KATHY UMMEL

Lead Instructor

PathFinder 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) • ACRE Certified

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.

ELIZABETH BINGHAM, B.A.  

Assistant Lead Facilitator (Club Beacons)

Elizabeth is an Assistant Lead Facilitator for Club Beacons and also helps out with Studio Beacons. She is passionate about creating a welcoming and inclusive environment and enjoys engaging in various activities to encourage people to socialize and learn.

 

Elizabeth has a liberal arts and interactive media background, graduating from Bryn Mawr College and completing the Digital Design certificate program at SDCCD. During college, she worked as a Teaching and Learning Consultant, providing feedback to instructors to create an environment where both instructors and students could excel. Elizabeth has also worked with the Parks and Recreation division for the City of San Diego where she facilitated a range of recreational and educational activities.

 

She deeply cares about learning and strives to meet people where they are and help them grow. Elizabeth appreciates the welcoming environment of Beacons, and she enjoys seeing trainees having fun while learning. She also enjoys listening to Creative Mornings talks.

BETHANY BRITT, M.Ed

Director of Explorer Division & Lead Instructor • ACRE Certified

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.

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ROBBIE DAY, M.Ed.

Director (PathFinder)

Robbie grew up in North County and graduated from UC San Diego with a Bachelor's Degree in World Literature and a Master's Degree in Education. He began his career in education in 2016 and taught high school mathematics and technology courses. Robbie enjoyed working with the special education students in his classes and quickly found a passion for serving neurodiverse adults when he started at Beacons in January 2023.

Robbie is passionate about accessibility and assistive technology, believing it can level the playing field for those who possess a disability. He is committed to the organization's mission, believing PathFinder can help empower adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities by allowing them to make progress toward independence on their vocational goals. This community has become part of his life and now feels like home. He is inspired by the work of his team, families, coordinators, and the incredible achievements of PathFinder's trainees.

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

Associate Instructor (Explorer)

Ashley first joined Beacons as one of the two Administrative Assistants, with an extensive background in management of teams at a major retail corporation. Ashely later was recruited to join the Explorer team given her retail background, which includes having worked as a visual merchandiser and style team member. Ashley has also previously worked as a camp counselor for the YMCA and in childcare for a leading nonprofit and private in-home caregiving. 

Ashley will provide general support to all Explorer trainees to help them reach their vocational goals and purse a pathway of their choosing. 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. 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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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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RUTH KAIMULOA (J.D., M.A.Ed)
Tailored Day Specialist

Ruth joined Beacons Inc. in 2024 to be of service to the disability community. Ruth has a Law Degree and a double Masters in Elementary Education and Moderate Severe Education. Ruth also has her General Education Teaching Credential as well as a Mod/Severe Teaching Credential. After working in the legal field, Ruth worked for a local tribe where she felt called to teach while working as an Administrative Assistant for the Tribal Secretary. Ruth also worked in North County as a substitute teacher and then as a paraprofessional for 5 years.

Ruth enjoys working at Beacons with other like minded individuals and helping clients to make their dreams come true. In her free time Ruth enjoys cooking, gardening, ceramics, and writing fantasy books.  She writes and illustrates her own children’s books and  has been working on a book called “Airabella the Fairy who Couldn’t fly”.  When Ruth is not working, she cares for her older sister, explores different places to dine with her husband, or cruises Oceanside with 
her chihuahua Lulu. 

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EMILY  LANDERS, B.A. (Psychology)

Assistant Director (Tailored Day) • Bilingual (Spanish)

Emily has over 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). After beginning her time at Beacons as an Associate Instructor in 2022, Emily has grown into her role as the Team Leader for the Tailored Day program. 

Emily supports Tailored Day clients to achieve their goals and supports the Tailored Day Specialist team to provide high quality, customized, and self directed service to all of their clients. Using her psychology background and her organizational skills, Emily is always working to find adaptable and creative solutions to help clients reach new heights.

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MIGUEL MARTINEZ

Lead Instructor (Studio Creative Arts Division)

Miguel joined the Beacons team as a Tailored Day Specialist, but then transitioned to a Lead Instructor for Beacons' newest creative arts division - Studio Beacons - where he contributes both his vocational and artistic skills. Prior to his work at Beacons, Miguel worked in assorted leadership roles at various large businesses in the food sector. 

Miguel is an accomplished artist with a love for sketching and digital art. He is also registered Behavioral Technician with a background working with individuals with Autism and building positive behavior plans to increase independence. In his spare time, he loves camping, hiking and digital art.

 

SHEQUITA McGRIER, B.A. (Psychology)

Tailored Day Specialist

Shequita joins Beacons to support Beacons trainees in accomplishing their goals as a Tailored Day Specialist. 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.


KAYLIN MOORE, B.A. (Psychology)
Assistant Instructor (Explorer Division)

Kaylin supports Beacons' Explorer vocational division where she uses her past sales and retail skills to help Beacons' trainees develop skills for community employment. Prior to joining Beacons, Kaylin worked as an Assistant Manager at Lazy Acres, where she helped to develop sales plans, generate sales production reports, goals and strategies to reach team goals and revenue objectives. Prior to serving as an assistant manager, Kaylin worked in sales and uses her background in customer service to help shape and guide soft skills and customer service discussions to build workplace skills and confidence. Kaylin also has skills in culinary arts that supports Explorer's restaurant instruction and discussions. 

Kaylin also has an instructional background in water safety and is a certified water safety instruction though the American Red Cross. She served as a swim instructor for three years prior to entering the retail sector. Kaylin is committed to helping trainees develop vocational skills and confidence to enter the workforce.
 

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SUZANNE PHILLIPS, MBA (International Business)

Finance & Facility

Suzanne supports Beacons on the operational side where she supervises and handles projects relating to the financial and facility side of the nonprofit. Suzanne brings a wealth of experience to Beacons including a background in global IT (McKinsey & Company), management of client services (PricewaterhouseCoopers L.L.P.), financial reporting and research-related IT (UCSD Chemistry/Center for Aerosol Impact on Climate and Environment), and other experience through distinguished leadership positions. Suzanne also served on planned and facilitated Harvard and MIT collaborations to improve research collaborations, as well as contributed to business and project management, including grant and proposal writing, as an independent consultant. An active community volunteer, Suzanne has served as treasurer of a local high school foundation, chair of the San Dieguito HS District Aquatics Committee, PTA president for Paul Ecke Central Elementary and on the Board of Directors for the Encinitas Little League.

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TERESA ROBERTS, A.A. (Marketing)

HR Coordinator & Project Inspire Lead • ACRE Certified

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.

KATELYNN ROWLEY, A.A. (Mathematics), B.S. Marine Biology

Asst. Director (Club Beacons)

Katelynn brings her energy to Beacons to help grow its social recreational division Club Beacons. Katelynn's background spans hospitality management (Guest Services at Wyndham), coaching (lacrosse), and tutoring (UC San Diego), all of which which will help her expand Club Beacons to support the varied interests of those Beacons serves. 

What Katelynn finds most rewarding about her work at Beacons is witnessing the power of community coming together. Whether it's the fostering of laughter, camaraderie, or facilitation of fun, seeing people connect and support one another inspires her daily. When not develop activities and ideas for Club Beacons, Katelynn hikes and runs, and completed her first marathon in 2023. 

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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. 

JOSH SHERIDAN 

Tailored Day Specialist

Josh Sheridan is currently a student studying Psychology through Northeastern University. Eventually he hopes to become a therapist for youth and young adults, serving as a resource to help them navigate the unique challenges that these phases of life can pose. He has extensive experience working one on one with individuals to help them achieve their personal and academic goals. Josh has worked as a college tutor, private tutor, and camp counselor, and is excited to use his experience to help clients in our Tailored Day department reach their full potential! Originally from Gloucester Massachusetts, Josh grew up with a love for the ocean and great outdoors. In his free time he loves to hike, run, travel, and spend time with friends and family. 

Fun fact: This last summer Josh got the chance to hike the Long Trail in Vermont. It rained 14 out of the 18 days that he was on the trail, but as he says “It was one of the best experiences I’ve been fortunate enough to have.”

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

Associate Instructor (PathFinder) • ACRE Certified

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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KATHY UMMEL, B.A. (Communications)

Lead Instructor (PathFinder)

Kathy serves as a Lead Instructor in the PathFinder program at Beacons. With eight years of dedicated service in special education at Carlsbad Unified School District, Kathy made significant contributions to the Adult Transition Program, demonstrating a profound commitment to helping developmentally disabled individuals thrive and succeed. In addition to her tenure at CUSD, Kathy contributed her expertise for many years to the YMCA Childcare Resource Service, expanding her commitment to supporting individuals with diverse abilities and their families.


Kathy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a specialization in Film, Television, and Radio. Before her career in special education, Kathy’s professional journey encompassed roles in personal wealth trust management, professional fundraising, computer graphics and mainframe marketing, and media production.

Her diverse background uniquely positions Kathy to mentor Beacons trainees, leveraging her extensive expertise and years of experience. She is passionate about guiding individuals in overcoming obstacles, building self-confidence, and acquiring the skills necessary for fulfilling and meaningful vocations. With a deep-seated belief in the transformative power of education, Kathy strives to equip trainees with essential tools for success in both work and everyday life.

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

Director & Lead Instructor (Studio Beacons) • ACRE Certified

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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