Meet the Community Transition Academy Team!
Andrea Katz, Ed. D.
858.360.0282 | AndreaK@CommunityTransitionAcademy.org
Andrea came to the San Diego area immediately after earning her Masters in Special Education from the University of Pittsburgh. Since then, she continued her education at Point Loma Nazarene University for her Education Specialist degree. More recently, she attended Alliant International University earning her Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management.
Andrea has made the profession of special education her lifetime career, teaching all ages of students with varying disabilities. Andrea freely admits she loves her work “because of the meaningful connections I have made with my students.” She adds, “I rejoice when a student gets the new idea, or finally masters a new skill. My students’ smiles warm my soul and keep me going.” Andrea loves to utilize her undergraduate degree is Studio Arts to bring her lessons off the page and into real life.
Andrea is excited about her position as Lead Educator at Community Transition Academy because designing and implementing active and personalized lessons is her passion. She claims she is an IEP Nerd, as she is committed to fully implement a student’s Individual Educational Program to the best of her ability. Andrea strives to motivate her students with a shared positive and warm energy, since she believes bonding precedes learning, and learning should always have an element of fun in it!
At home, Andrea loves spending time with her family, friends, and pets! Walking in different scenic areas of San Diego is her preferred fitness activity. Her other hobbies include painting as often as she can in her art studio, along with reading, gardening, and ‘crafting just about anything.’
Tina Waters, M.A., Autism Specialist
858.228.6883 | TinaW@CommunityTransitionAcademy.org
Tina moved to San Diego and opened the doors of Include Autism and the Community Coaching Program in 2003 from Denver, CO. Tina has an M.A. in Education with a specialized certificate in Autism. She has been involved with individuals with ASD professionally or on a volunteer basis since 1994. A lifetime ago, Tina lived and worked in the UK and here and there in Europe for several years, which allowed her amazing travel experience around much of the world. Following life abroad, Tina “accidentally” moved to Denver and attended graduate school at Regis University, while beginning what developed into a career path working in both the public school district and with two nonprofit programs for children with developmental disabilities. After leaving the school district, several parents helped Tina develop a community-based, behavioral social skills development program that was the blueprint for the CC Program for over seven years. During that time, Tina had married Mark, CC’s “on call” contractor, and had two amazing boys, Dylan and Zach. Currently, Tina as representative of Include Autism as a member of the Developmental Disabilities Provider Network (DDPN), The San Diego and the Imperial County Developmental Services Inc., Vendor Advisory Committee (VAC), is a member of the South Counties Autism Regional Task Force (SCART), and was a finalist for the San Diego Business Journal’s Most Admired CEO Award in 2010.
Little known fact about Tina: Still can tap dance – to hip hop even… video footage floating around to prove it!!!
COMMUNITY AND AUTISM SPECIALIST
858.360.0282 | KyleM@CommunityTransitionAcademy.org
Kyle Murray is originally from Long Island, New York. He moved to San Diego in 2004 to attend San Diego State University. After graduation, Kyle was the Program Director at Include Autism’s North County Location while completing the Autism Specialist Credential from National University. Kyle has worked with many of Include Autism’s programs and as well as a coordinator for a Supported Living Agency for individuals with special needs. Working with people with Developmental Disabilities and their families has been an important part of his life. Kyle’s sister is a Special Educator in South Carolina and worked in home care for an amazing young man which first sparked his interest in working with the Special Needs Community. Kyle is passionate about surfing, yoga, and kickboxing and loves to incorporate these passions in his work!
Fun Fact About Kyle: Kyle created his own Pokemon website at at the ripe young age of 14. Look out Zuckerberg!
Nicole was born and raised in Concord, NH and lived there until she graduated high school. Nicole was very into sports and music growing up. She played softball and basketball in high school and was also very much involved in school choir. After graduation, Nicole attended Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH where I earned my BA in both Psychology and Sociology. While in college I played on the women’s rugby team for four years. I was also involved in women’s choir and multiple drumming ensembles. Once she ﬁnished college she decided it was the perfect time to do a little traveling, so she ended up going to Taiwan to teach English for 3 years. During her time in Taiwan she realized that she loved teaching kids and decided to pursue a career working with children. Nicole is happy to ﬁnally be settling down in sunny San Diego and excited for the next chapter in her life!
Fun Fact about Nicole: Huge New England Patriots fan. Tom Brady is God.
Jocelyn was born and raised in the small town of Bethel, CT. She moved to San Diego to attend SDSU, where she graduated in May of 2016 with her Bachelors degree in Psychology. She has always loved working with children and when she heard about Include Autism, she jumped on the opportunity immediately. She is currently taking classes for her BCaBA certification and plans to take the next step in getting her BCBA after she obtains her Masters degree. This program has become such an important part of her life and she is so happy to have the opportunity to work with such amazing individuals every single day! And when she isn’t with her favorite IA kiddos, you can find her working on fun DIY projects around the house, and (when her bank account permits) she loves attending every and any music festival possible.
Fun fact: Jocelyn had never left the country until she was 21 years old, at which time travelled to various locations India. During her time there she visited many historic landmarks, like the Taj Mahal and the Golden Temple, and even had a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet THE Dalai Lama!
Breylin Hailley McKinley – Kay, was born into a military family of 7 brothers and 2 sisters (she is the middle child), in Monterrey,CA. She moved around quite a bit, always making new friends. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in Psychology and double minoring in American Sign Language and Sociology. She is fluent in American Sign Language. She hopes to obtain her Interpreter’s License, maybe even a Master’s Degree. Her hobbies include volunteering, crafting, sewing, painting, and photography.
Mo was born and raised in upland California where his passion for psychology began in his high school years. He moved out of state to attend the university of North Carolina Greensboro where he attained his bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in sociology. During his undergrad year’s he quickly fell in love with ABA and knew it was something he wanted to pursue. After graduating in 2016 he saved up and moved back to California in January 2017. Once settled, he began working for include autism and have enjoyed every second of it since.
Fun Fact: He worked full time managerial positions all throughout college allowing him to pay for it without taking out loans.
Alex was born and raised in Oceanside, California. He graduated from UC San Diego in 2014 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics. He changed his major countless times in college because he simply did not know what he wanted to do with his life. Can you believe that he was majoring in Electrical Engineering before declaring Linguistics as his major? His whole world changed when he stumbled upon Linguistics and Communicative Disorders. Anything pertaining to language has always fascinated him. Currently, he is pursuing a Post-Baccalaureate/2nd Bachelor’s degree in Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education online at Utah State University. He ultimately plans to attend graduate school for Communicative Disorders so that he can become a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist and be able to work with children in the private clinic setting. Alex just started working at the Community Transition Academy at Include Autism. He loves the staff, students, and all of the community outings. Alex believes that Include Autism is the perfect opportunity to gain invaluable experience, as he continues his journey in becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist.
Fun Fact: Alex loves to cook vegan food…but he isn’t vegan. He frequently ditches recipes and creates his own sauces and dressings. For Christmas, he would like a fancy food processor, blender, and spiralizer.
Jenny Palmiotto, Psy D., L.M.F.T.
Jenny Palmiotto is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and certified RDI program consultant. She uses well-researched treatment methods including Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Relationship Development Intervention (RDI), Behavioral and Brief Models. She has extensive training and more than a decade of experience treating individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
She specializes in serving persons with invisible social deficits. She also has advanced training in working with couples that are longing to reconnect with on another. She received her masters from University of San Diego and doctorate from Alliant International University.
Karyn Searcy, M.A., CCC-SLP
SPEECH & LANGUAGE PATHOLOGIST
The author of Here’s How to Do Early Intervention for Speech & Language: Empowering Parent (Plural Publishing, Inc.; 2011), Karyn founded Crimson Center for Speech & Language in March 2003. Throughout her more than 40 years in the field, she has used multiple evidence-based treatment programs, with a strong focus on parent-child interaction. Karyn has served on several community committees, including research grant programs, in an effort to promote caregiver roles in the treatment. She has taught multiple seminars, workshops and continuing education courses throughout the country, and has been a clinical faculty at San Diego State University’s Communicative Disorders Program since 2010.