Meet the 2023-2024 SANDCASP Board!
President: Celeste Garcia
Celeste has been a school psychologist for 17 years and is currently working with the San Diego County Office of Education Juvenile Court and Community Schools. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in General Biology from the University of California, San Diego and obtained her Master’s in Educational Psychology at Alliant International University. One of her passions is dyslexia, and she is a Barton Certified Tutor. This is Celeste’s third year with the SANDCASP Board.
Celeste and her husband have two children and two guinea pigs. In her free time, she enjoys camping with her family, visiting national parks, sewing, and yoga.
Past President: Heather Lutz
Heather is a native San Diegan, having attended public schools within the San Diego Unified School District from kindergarten through high school (in fact, Heather’s children are third generation Point Loma High School graduates as well). Heather attended San Diego State University where she concentrated on her passion of film, receiving her Bachelor’s in Telecommunication and Film. After college, Heather moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked at ABC News. It was at this time she realized that, it was not the news she enjoyed, it was the stories of the challenges people faced and overcame that resonated with her. Heather then moved back home to San Diego and worked in social services for nine years, during which time she earned her Master’s in Counseling Psychology at National University. Heather also attained her Marriage and Family Therapist license, worked in private practice, and became a divorce mediator (during which time she found working with children was her heart’s desire). Heather has been a School Psychologist for the past 23 years and currently works within the San Dieguito Union High School District. Her professional interests are in the areas of school-based mental health services, trauma informed practices, and student advocacy.
Heather has been married for 38 years, has two grown children, and loves the community in which she lives. For fun, she likes to play pickleball, go to the movies, dance, travel, and hang out with her family and friends.
President Elect: Shawn Dee Hartless
Shawn Dee has worked as a school psychologist for 20 years. She is currently working in the San Diego Unified School District at La Jolla High School. Shawn Dee graduated from San Diego State with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Pepperdine University with a Master’s in Clinical Psychology and Marriage Family Therapy before receiving her PPSS at National University. She has a Marriage Family Therapy license and is licensed as an educational psychologist and has previously worked in private practice. Recently she has been Chair of the school psychologist Program Governance Team (PGT) at SDUSD and is currently SDEA representative for school psychologists. Her professional interests are mental health, social-emotional learning, and trauma informed practices.
Shawn Dee enjoys spending time with her family and friends, running, walking her dogs, and teaching spin classes. Her daughter is transferring in the fall to the University of Michigan.
Secretary: Adrienne Garcia
Adrienne is an 9th year school psychologist who recently made the move from a district setting to a charter school/independent study contract setting. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from San Diego State University and a Master of Arts in School Psychology from Alliant International University. Some of her professional interests include mental health education/outreach, dyslexia, and crisis prevention/response. She has been involved with SANDCASP since 2011.
Adrienne lives with her mother, a red-eared slider named Fred (that she's had for almost 28 years!), and two chihuahuas named Mister Chips and Cheech. As a San Diego native, she enjoys spending time at the beach, at farmers markets, and frequenting local restaurants. She is also a Beatles fanatic and definitely knows her way around ANY kitchen.
Treasurer: Jarrett Clifton
Jarrett is currently working as a School Psychologist within the Mountain Empire Unified School District. He has experience with all grade levels, from elementary to high school, including adult transition. He is committed to pursuing collaborative approaches to support students while also learning and affirming the diversity of families, communities, and school staff alike.
Jarrett graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology and Bachelor of Arts in General Psychology (double major) from North Carolina State University. He then moved to San Diego, CA, and completed his Educational Specialist degree in the School Psychology program at San Diego State University (SDSU). This is Jarrett’s second year serving as a SANDCASP Board Member and he is excited to continue learning from other School Psychologists and helping promote the profession. Jarrett’s professional interests include Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), Trauma-Informed Practices, and Multicultural Education. He works diligently to fold these concepts into his School Psychology service delivery.
Board Member-At-Large: Ann Mellon
Ann Mellon is entering her third year as a school psychologist within the San Diego Unified School District. She is a graduate of Alliant International University, where she earned her Master of Arts in Education and School Psychology (after obtaining degrees in psychology and anthropology from San Diego State University). She previously worked as a Professional Expert for the San Diego Unified School District at Sandburg Elementary School for seven years, teaching a film-production class. She also worked with students and produced the weekly "Pawsitive News," focusing on positive life skills and multicultural community events. Ann’s professional interests include crisis intervention and prevention, especially within at-risk student populations. Her personal passions gravitate toward the creative and visual arts. She appreciates good humor, positive attitudes, and making memories with family and friends.
Board Member-At-Large: Cheyenne Sanford
Cheyenne is originally from Florida, where she resided until high school and then moved to Texas. She landed herself in San Diego after enlisting in the U.S. Navy where she served for 4 ½ years. Once in San Diego, she just could not leave! Cheyenne earned her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, working as an office manager and bookkeeper for 5 years. After a shift in career paths, she received her Master of Science degree in School Psychology from National University. Cheyenne is in her 11th year as a School Psychologist and works within the Sweetwater Union High School District. Her professional interests are Patterns of Strengths and Weaknesses, social-emotional functioning, and inclusion.
Cheyenne has a daughter, who is in her second year at Cal State Long Beach studying Psychology. In her spare time, Cheyenne enjoys hiking, biking, playing softball, reading, and listening to live music. This is Cheyenne’s 9th year serving on the SANDCASP Board.
Board Member-At-Large: Erin Acero
Erin is in her 16th year as a School Psychologist within the Escondido Union School District (EUSD). She has been involved in the field of education for over 25 years, starting her career as a paraeducator before transitioning into her current role. In 2005, Erin earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services. She later went on to earn her Master of Arts in Educational Psychology and Educational Specialist Degree in School Psychology from Chapman University. For the past 6 years, Erin has held the position of school psychologist mentor for EUSD. This leadership role involves providing guidance and support to other school psychologists within the district, as well as their respective school site teams. Erin is dedicated to creating an inclusive and supportive learning environment where every student can thrive. Her professional interests align with this goal, and she actively works towards cultivating such environments within her district.
This is Erin’s first year with the SANDCASP Board. In her free time, she enjoys road trips, and spending quality time with family and friends.
Board Member-At-Large: Janet Coover
Janet is in her 34th year with the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District. Her first 20 years in the district were spent as a school counselor at both the elementary and middle school levels. She then moved into a school psychologist position and began working with the Behavior Focused Special Day Classes. Janet currently works full time at Fletcher Hills Elementary School with the Behavior Class, as well as doing assessments for the whole school! She loves her job even though it can be overwhelming and she strongly believes in advocating for her profession. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and spending time with her family.
Board Member-At-Large: Jennifer Ruiz
Jenny is a bilingual school psychologist with the Sweetwater Union High School District and was a special education teacher for 6 years prior to that. She obtained her Master's in Education at Alliant International University and her undergraduate degree from UC Merced. Jenny has worked with students of all ages and was a reading specialist. This is her first year serving on the SANDCASP Board and her professional interests include MTSS, bilingual education, and behavioral supports.
Jenny and her husband have three daughters. They enjoy playing sports and spending time at the beach.
Board Member-At-Large: Kathy Pawlukiewicz
Kathy is in her 13th year as a school psychologist within the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District and this is her 7th year serving on the SANDCASP Board. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences in Psychology from San Diego State University. She then received her Master of Science in School Psychology from National University. Her professional interests include Autism Spectrum Disorders as well as helping to build Response to Intervention (RtI) structures at her school sites. Additionally, Kathy serves on the Instructional Leadership Team (ILT), Intervention Team, and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Team at La Mesa Arts Academy (LMAAC). She also became a part of the Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses Leadership Academy in March 2019 and the Lead School Psychologist for her district in November 2021.
Kathy was born in Poland and came to the United States when she was 5 years old. She speaks Polish and so does her husband. In her spare time, she enjoys anything outdoors, which includes running, hiking, taking her dogs for a walk, and going to the beach or pool.
Board Member-At-Large: Sarah Llorente
Sarah has 20 years of experience in School Psychology, working 18 of those years within the Chula Vista Elementary School District. Two years ago, she decided to move to San Diego Unified to be on the same break schedule as her twin sons. During her 20 years in the field, Sarah has had the opportunity to work with preschool through high school aged students.
In her free time, Sarah loves spending time with her 10 year olds, gardening, hiking, camping, rollerblading, and doing yoga. This is Sarah's first year on the SANDCASP Board and she is looking forward to collaborating with like-minded professionals who share the same passion for kids that she does!
Board Member-At-Large: Vania Knight
Vania is a 3rd year school psychologist supporting several charter schools in Southern California. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Child, Family, and Human Development from Arizona State University and a Master of Science in School Psychology from National University. Some of her professional interests include autism, dyslexia, and executive functioning.
Vania is originally from Bulgaria. She and her husband (from England) lived on 4 continents before settling in San Diego county for the past few years. They are proud parents of a 19-year old son who just became a firefighter, two rescue dogs (Jessie and Cookie), and three rescue kitties (Ziva, Max, and Kimi). In her spare time, Vania enjoys traveling the world, baking, and volunteering at the local BMX track.
CASP Region VII Representative: Dorothy Guinter
Dorothy is in her 16th year as a School Psychologist within the San Dieguito Union High School District. This will be the third year that Dorothy will be taking on the role of an ERMHS School Psychologist who works with students who have significant social-emotional and/or behavioral needs. Dorothy graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Arizona and has a Master of Science in School Psychology from National University. Dorothy has worked with children for over 20 years and in a variety of different settings. This is Dorothy’s sixth year serving on the SANDCASP Board. In addition, she is the Region VII Representative and Co-Chair of the Membership Committee for the California Association of School Psychologists (CASP).
Dorothy was born in Poland and migrated with her family to the United States in 1986. She lives in San Diego with her husband, 12-year-old son, 9-year-old daughter, new border collie puppy, and last but not least, one adorable backyard chicken. For hobbies, she enjoys attending live music events, the outdoors, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. Her favorite band is moe.