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!!!
SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER
858.360.0282 | MadelineG@CommunityTransitionAcademy.org
Madeline Gelmetti, or just Maddie for short, was born and raised in Connecticut but loved the beauty of the mountains up north which lead her to Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, where she received her Bachelors in Childhood Studies with a General Education Teaching Certification in grades K-8. Maddie then completed an 11-month intensive Masters program to study Special Education while teaching full-time as a special education teacher. Upon finishing graduate school, she worked at The May Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. The May Institute is a non-public ABA-based school for children with autism in affiliation the National Autism Center. It was that experience that lead Maddie to work here at Community Transition Academy!
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!
Steven has lived in San Diego all of his life and doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon. He is currently pursuing a BA in Psychology at San Diego State University. He has worked with children before in an after school program called Extended Student Services. It was there he had his first experience working with children with special needs and quickly fell in love with that line of work. When the opportunity came up to work at Include Autism, he immediately took advantage! On Sundays you will find Steven either at the Chargers game or glued in front of the TV watching it, his mood for that day is a direct result of how the game went.
Fun Fact about Steven: All 4 years of high school Steven took on the rock n’ roll look, with long hair below the shoulders and played lead guitar in his band.
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 2016 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.
Arianna was born and grew up in Albany, NY before moving with her family to Las Vegas, NV where she completed her high school education. After high school, Arianna moved to San Diego, CA to attend UCSD where she earned a BA with departmental honors in Sociology with an emphasis in Social Inequality. Though she has plans to pursue graduate school for a Master’s degree, Arianna is excited to first gain experience working for such an impactful organization like Include Autism and to use her time here to decide how to further help her community.
Fun Fact: An avid reader, Arianna has collected and started countless books over the last couple years. Now having graduated, she looks forward to completing those books at her leisure and with either of her two greatest loves to keep her company: ice cream and coffee.
Natalie was born in San Diego where she grew up with her two older siblings, one of whom is on the autism spectrum. While working towards her bachelor’s degree in social work at San Diego State University, she was inspired to begin gaining experience with other individuals with autism. During her senior year, Natalie interned at a day program for adults with special needs. Shortly after graduation, she discovered Include Autism. She has loved the learning opportunities and meaningful experiences she has been given through this program!
Fun Fact: Natalie loves animals, especially marine life. However, one of her most recent and favorite animal encounters was holding and feeding a two-toed sloth named Tess.
Mark Wilson, MOT, OTR/L
Mark is licensed by the State of California in Occupational Therapy and has been a therapist in the San Diego area for over 20 years. He has a wealth of pediatric experience working with children with ASD, learning disabilities, and developmental delays. His work as a therapist is driven by his passion for success by combining sensory-based strategies with behavioral techniques in order to obtain maximum results. He also currently works with children at the San Diego Center for Children.
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.