Ideas that Work, office of special programs U.S. Department of Education

The contents of this website were developed in part under a grant from the US Department of Education, #H328M150052. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the US Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government or Project Officer, David Emenheiser.

Beatty, Laryssa

Beatty, Laryssa

Information Specialist/Trainer, East Central Office

Laryssa recently began her career with OCECD as of September 2014. Laryssa holds an Associate Degree in Medical Assisting and worked in Pediatrics prior to being a stay at home mom for 14 years before becoming a Parent Mentor for Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center. Laryssa is a mother of 3 children. Two of her children have given her experience with Down Syndrome, Autism, Metabolic Disorder, ADHD, severe behavior challenges and non-verbal communication, as well as navigating the special education system. Laryssa resides in Carroll County and provides information, training and support to families in East Central Ohio.

Brickner, Sandy

Brickner, Sandy

Information Specialist/Trainer, North Central Office

Sandy has been with OCECD since 2000. Sandy provides information, training and support to parents in her area. She is also the lead trainer for the Northwest to the Southwest side of the state for the “It’s My Turn” transition training provided for students ages 14-21. Sandy holds a degree in Early Childhood Education. She previously served as a Parent Mentor for several years. Sandy has five sons; two have been identified with learning disabilities and one is challenged with AD/HD.

Bryant, Robin

Bryant, Robin Information Specialist/Trainer, Southwest Office

Robin has been with OCECD since 1990 and as a consultant prior to that time. She provides information, training and support to parents in her area. Previously she provided services to families as an employee of the Southwest Special Education Regional Resource Center for ten years from 1979-1989. Robin has a love for early childhood education and has taught pre-school and kindergarten in the public school system. Robin has a hearing impairment and is the parent of a son and a daughter with learning disabilities.

Caceres, Marbella

Caceres, Marbella Statewide Multicultural Coordinator, Marion Office

Marbella has been with OCECD since 2006. She is from San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Her responsibilities include coordinating multicultural trainings and support groups, supervising and training the four multicultural information specialists/trainers across the state. She translates materials for families from English to Spanish and is involved in the development of trainings that address the cultural needs in the state of Ohio. She also serves the Hispanic/Latina families regarding information and individual assistance on their rights. She has started a support group which the parents have titled P.L.A.N.E.O. (Latino Parents Associated for Special Children in Ohio). She then expanded to include a P.L.A.N.E.O. in Cincinnati and Cleveland. She was previously employed for four years as an Instructor in the field of public service. Marbella has two daughters and one son.

Marbella Cáceres ha sido parte de OCECD desde el 2006. Ella es de San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Sus responsabilidades incluyen la coordinación y desarrollo de los entrenamientos multiculturales para ayudar con las necesidades culturales en el estado de Ohio y los grupos de apoyo, como también la supervisión y entrenamiento del personal multicultural a través del estado. Ella viaja por todo el Estado ayudando a padres latinos que tienen niños (as) con necesidades especiales con información y asistencia individual en sus derechos. Ella es co-fundadora del primer grupo de apoyo a nivel estatal para padres llamado Padres Latinos Asociados por los Niños Especiales en Ohio (P.L.A.N.E.O.) Ella traduce todos los materiales de entrenamiento e información, y supervisa la traducciones en diferentes lenguajes, organiza los programas de alcance comunitario, coordina eventos y esta a cargo de la supervisión de la coordinación de los grupos de apoyo a nivel estatal. Ella trabajo como Instructora en el área de servicio publico. Ella tiene dos hijas y un hijo.

Cotrell, Pam

  Cotrell, Pam Information Specialist/Trainer, West Central Office

Pam has been with OCECD since 2008. Prior to 2008, she served as a consultant. Pam provides information, training and support to parents in her area. Pam became interested in advocating for children with disabilities when she found herself overwhelmed while navigating the educational system on behalf of her own daughter who was non-verbal and had cerebral palsy. She is passionate about training parents in their rights under IDEA, and supporting them in acquiring the skills to advocate for their child. Pam is a Registered Nurse and graduate of Rhodes State College and Bluffton University.

Dennison, Kim

Dennison, Kim

Information Specialist/Trainer, Ohio River Valley Office

Kim has been with OCECD since 2005. She provides information, training and support to parents in her area. She previously worked as a Parent Mentor for Gallia County Local School District in Southeastern Ohio. She is a parent of a daughter who was born deaf and received a Cochlear Implant at the age of 3 ½ years of age.

Crabtree, Nancy

  Crabtree, Nancy Information Specialist/Trainer, Southern Office

Nancy has been with OCECD since 2004. She provides information, training and support to parents in her area. For 4 years prior to joining OCECD, she provided advocacy services for parents as a volunteer. Nancy’s interest is in children with behavioral challenges and in empowering parents to advocate for their child. Nancy has 2 children. Her son has AD/HD and needed specialized supports when he was in school.

Picture of Staff Person, Lisa Lutz
Information Specialist/Trainer, Northeast Office 
Lisa started with OCECD in July 2017.  She assists families in her northeast area of the state by providing information, training and support. Lisa was a Parent Mentor for the Kirtland School District 7 years, where she also assisted families. She has a Masters Degree in Health Promotion/Wellness and her Wilson Reading Certification. Three of Lisa's 4 children have type 1 Diabetes and 1 has Dyslexia and AD/HD.

Lyke, Karen

  Lyke, Karen Information Specialist/Trainer, Northern Office

Karen has been with OCECD since 2003. Karen provides information, training and support to parents in her area. She is a lead trainer in the northern part of Ohio in the “It’s My Turn” transition training for students age 14-21. She previously worked for Ohio Protection & Advocacy, Cleveland office. She has two children; her son has multiple disabilities.

Martinez, Iliana

Martinez, Iliana Multicultural Information Specialist/Trainer, Mid Ohio Latino Office

Iliana has been with OCECD since June 2010. She is from Mexico D.F. She serves the Hispanic/Latino families in Mid Ohio regarding information and individual assistance on their rights through trainings and advocacy skills. She also supports with the coordination of P.L.A.N.E.O. (Latino Parents Associated for Special Children in Ohio), a statewide support group for Spanish speaking families. She holds a B.S. in Biology Science. Iliana has two sons, which one of them has learning disabilities.

Iliana Martinez aboga y entrena a las familias Latinas en la parte Central de Ohio y también ayuda con la organización del grupo De apoyo PLANEO en Columbus. 

Sarkar, Ivette

Picture of Staff Person Ivette Sarkar  Latino Community Families Information Specialist/Trainer, North East Ohio Latino Office

Ivette works in the Multicultural Division of OCECD as a bilingual-consultant assisting the Latin- American community in Northeast Ohio since September 2014. Her responsibilities include providing resources, training, and guidance to families that have children, teenagers, and young adults with special needs. She also attends school meetings and collaborates with school personnel to improve outcomes for children. Ivette has a BA in Psychology and a Minor in Spanish from The Ohio State University. Before coming to OCECD she assisted adults with developmental delays, physical disabilities, and mental illness in a residential adult group home. In Chicago, she assisted the Latin and American communities with legal issues related to substance dependence and abuse. Additionally, she managed group counseling, taught remedial education classes and provided progress reports and affidavits to the courts, probation and the Secretary of State’s office. Ivette’s mother is from Mexico City and she learned Spanish by visiting family every summer. She has dedicated her career to helping the Latin American community and understands the unique challenges associated with preparing and educating special needs children for the future from a personal and professional experience. She also looks forward to being a resource and advocate to parents.

Ivette trabaja en la sección multicultural de OCECD como consultante bilingüe, apoyando a la comunidad Latino Americana desde Septiembre 2014. Sus responsabilidades incluyen proporcionar recursos, entrenamientos y asesoramiento a familias que tienen niños pequeños, adolescentes y jóvenes adultos con discapacidad. También asiste a las reuniones escolares y colabora con el personal de la escuela para mejorar los servicios y resultados para estos niños. Ivette tiene una Licenciatura en Psicología y Español de la Universidad Ohio State. Después de graduarse, trabajo en el área residencial ayudando a adultos con retrasos en el desarrollo, discapacidades físicas y enfermedades mentales. En Chicago, asistió a la comunidad desarrollo un grupo de asesoramiento y proporcionó reportes y declaraciones bajo juramento a los tribunales, oficiales de probatoria y oficinas del Estado. La madre de Ivette nació en La Ciudad de México. Ivette aprendió el español viajando a México todos los veranos, para visitar amigos y familiares. Ha dedicado su carrera a ayudar a la comunidad Latino-Americana, y entiende las dificultades asociadas con preparando y educando niños con necesidades especiales por tener experiencias propias en lo personal y profesional. Su meta es ser una fuente de suporte y apoyo a los padres y a sus hijos con discapacidad.

Sebastian, Tammie

  Sebastian, Tammie Information Specialist/Trainer, Cleveland Office

Tammie started with OCECD in September, 2011. She provides information, training and support for parents in Cuyahoga County. Previously Tammie was an advocate for the Tapestry System of Care. Her focus before coming to OCECD was the Juvenile Justice System and helping families getting the schools to evaluate children that were not getting the proper services they needed and therefore ended up in the court system. Tammie has two daughters, one who is challenged with AD/HD and one who has the diagnosis of Anxiety. She also raised her nephew who was behaviorally challenged.

Tsai, Lily

  Tsai, Lily Multicultural Information Specialist/Trainer for Asian American families in Central Ohio

Lily Tsai began her job as a Multicultural Specialist/Trainer for OCECD in April 2012. Prior to that, she worked as a Registered Nurse in Taiwan’s largest military hospital for several years before coming to the US. She graduated from Columbus State Community College with a Respiratory Therapist degree and worked as a national licensed RRT in most of the hospitals in metropolitan Columbus for more than 10 years. She almost finished her Art degree in Columbus Art and Design. She has been involved in a lot of volunteer activities such as teaching Mandarin Chinese in the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program. She has been working at AACS (Asian American Community Service) as a Mandarin/Taiwanese interpreter in most of the hospitals and juvenile courts in Columbus metropolitan area for many years. She organizes and supports Asian parent support groups for special needs children in central Ohio. She has been living in Worthington with two boys and twin girls.

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