Navigating PAUSD

PAUSD Special Education Department Contacts


Department Main Contact

If you have questions about Special Education programs or would like to request a review for assessment, contact Special Education at (650) 833-4257 or or browse the Department Web Site.

The PAUSD Special Education department offers Parent Education programs, often co-sponsored by the Palo Alto CAC. List of PAUSD Parent Ed

Heads of Special Education

Yolanda Conaway – Assistant Superintendent of Strategic Initiatives and Operations
(650) 833-4242 –

Alma Ellis – Director of Special Education-Elementary
(650) 833-4260 –

Stephanie Sheridan – Director of Special Education-Secondary
(650) 833-4260 –

Coordinators (Your path of escalation, after your case manager)

Amy Sheward: Jordan Middle, Juana Briones, Barron Park, Duveneck, Greendell, Nixon, Ohlone.

Victoria Luke: Gunn High School, Terman, El Carmelo, Hoover, Palo Verde, NPS/Residential/Alternative Programs.  (650) 833-4260 –

Tracy Berliner: Palo Alto High School, J L Stanford Middle, Addison, Escondido, Fairmeadow, Walter Hays.

Mental Health

Megan Cadwell-Brubaker – Educationally Related Mental Health (Office located at Briones)
(650) 833-4206 –

Wendy Goodridge – Supervisor, Educationally Related Mental Health
(650) 833-4204 –

Additional District Staff involved with Special Education

Contact your case manager or your school coordinator for more information on these staff members.

Behavior Support Services

Soo Jin Cheng – Supervisor

Adaptive Physical Education

Angel Sheridan

Speech and Language Specialists

Leyla Gonzalez – Greendell
Sophia Lo – Greendell
Peggy Syvertson – Paly/GHS
Sabrina Cheng – Addison/Palo Verde
Mona McClure – Briones
Jessica Chen – Duveneck
Grace Lee – El Carmelo/Hoover
Allison Alberda – Nixon
Christina McIver – Fairmeadow
Jenny Zine – Jordan
Cynthia Ehrhorn – Ohlone/Barron Park
Ilo Nilson – Escondido
Kathleen Vargha – Walter Hays
Jenna McComb – Barron Park
Marianne Rivers – Terman

Occupational Therapists

Quyen Lieberman
Erin Finley
Maggie Weir
Uyen Nguyen
Maura Dell

Assistive Technology

Jen Dorwin
Brian Gadus
Aide: Syedali Zaidi
AAC, Emily Kingshill

District Behavior Supports

Melissa Ochoa
Amy Stirman
Christine Gorshe-Olsen


504 Plan Contacts

Your primary and first point of contact is someone at your school. In elementary and middle schools, the 504 leads are the school psychologists. In high school, it’s the vice principal. This page on the PAUSD website lists the contacts at each school.

If you need to get additional help, after working with your school contact, the District contacts are:
Brenda Carrillo – Student Services Director – (650) 329-3769 –
Lissette Moore-Guerra – 504 Program Coordinator – (650)329-3722



Parent Liaison Program

Translators and parent outreach from PAUSD

PAUSD provides a parent liaison to each school community as part of its Department of Academic Support. The liaison can assist both parents and students with communication issues, support academic progress, and clarify district assessments and state examinations. They can arrange communication & translation in Spanish, Chinese and other languages according to need.

PAUSD Parent Liaison Program

Parent Liaison Drop-In Hours



PAUSD Assistive Technology

Brian Gadus



School-Based Contacts

School-based staff are the ones that work the most directly with students. For contact information, go to your school website. Here is an overview of the people you should look for.


All Elementary Schools have a School Psychologist, Speech and Language Specialist, Reading Specialist and a Resource Specialist.  Go to your school’s website to find names and contact information for those people.

Barron Park, Briones, Escondido, Walter Hays and Ohlone have Study Centers/Special Academic Instruction Classrooms. Please talk with your case manager about the possibilities.

Middle School

All Middle Schools have a Resource Program/ Study Skills, Speech and Language, Academic Communication/Social Skills Class, Educationally Related Mental Health Services (EMRH) and the Reading 180 reading intervention program. There are classes with co teaching, specialized math instruction, but these vary every year.  Jordan and Terman both have a Futures program which resembles a Special Day Class. In these programs there are reading and math classes and there is some emphasis on vocational training.  The Futures programs run a smoothie business with the help of the students.  Jordan also has a Social Cognitive Class and a Therapeutic Support Class.  Please talk with your case manager about the options.

High School

For staff contact info go to the websites for the Paly Special Ed dept and the Gunn Special Ed dept.  All classes available to high school students are listed in the course catalog on the school’s websites. In high school the Futures program emphasis is mostly on vocational training and life skills. Both high schools also have Read 180 programs, Academic Communications & Study Skills classes, and a number of co-taught classes. Talk with your case manager about the options.