Mrs. Eagling, Director
Brandi Eagling, M.S., is a qualified educator who holds her master’s degree in education from National University and her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of the Pacific. She has also earned Transition Specialist and Supported Employment Certification from San Diego State University, as well certification from PEERS® (Program for the Evaluation and Enrichment of Relational Skills), an evidenced-based program developed at UCLA. Prior to her position as Director of Sierra Academy, she spent eight years in the classroom, where she developed and implemented Sierra’s transition curriculum, known as the Academic Career Transition (ACT) program. Passionate about her work, Mrs. Eagling has been an invited speaker at the National Foundation for Autism Research (NFAR), the California Association of Resource Specialists (CARS) Convention, and the Every Child Counts Symposium, discussing the topics of unique approaches to transition programming, the importance of multidisciplinary approaches, collaboration in education, and the power of student strengths and interests
Ms. Lehr, Associate Director
Jena Lehr started her career with us in 2003, after completing her B.A. is psychology at San Diego State University (SDSU). She began as a classroom assistant in our sister school, Springall Academy, then moved into Springall’s Support Center while also working as a certified personal fitness trainer. Upon finding her passion for counseling, Ms. Lehr attended National University and earned her master’s in counseling, as well as her Pupil Personnel Services Credential, in 2007. She then transitioned to Springall’s Counseling Department, where she worked for nine years, managing the program’s WorkAbility grant and coordinating the SDSU volunteer program, which has been a key partnership with Springall for 25 years. In addition to being a trained facilitator in the SEEDS (Self-Esteem Education and Development in Sexuality) program, Ms. Lehr played a vital role in implementing the internationally recognized Character Counts program into our culture. In 2016, she joined the administrative leadership team as the Associate Director for both Springall Academy and Sierra Academy. Ms. Lehr is excited at the opportunity to work with both school programs and to continue to help students and staff reach their full potential.
Mrs. Buros, School Counselor
Kristin Buros, M.S., P.P.S., is a professional school counselor and a member of ASCA (American School Counselor Association) and CASC (California Association of School Counselors). She joined the Sierra team in 2014 and is thrilled to be part of such an exceptional group. She has more than 10 years of experience offering therapeutic services in a variety of settings, including schools, residential treatment centers, and family homes. She has led parent trainings on crisis intervention and has presented on such topics as active and constructive responding, developing “stories for success,” and self-advocacy. She provides individual and group counseling, incorporating her love of dance into the program whenever possible! Mrs. Buros gets great joy from working with Sierra students and watching them grow.
Mr. Webb, Middle/High School Teacher
David Webb, B.A., is an educator who is passionate about special education and students with disabilities. He started his professional training at Northwest Nazarene University in Boise, Idaho, where he also spent a year teaching the fifth grade. After returning to California, he worked as an assessment specialist for Mosaic Connections, Inc., a subcontracting agency working with the San Diego Regional Center. Mr. Webb joined the Sierra Academy team in 2012. He has two teaching credentials and is working on completing his master’s. He also holds a Specialization Certificate for teaching students with emotional and behavioral disorders from Point Loma Nazarene University. A member of the Council for Exceptional Children, Mr. Webb is a pragmatic educator who believes in education that equips students for the future.
Ms. Lekaunas, High School Teacher
Shauna Lekaunas, M.S., is a licensed special educator who started at Sierra Academy in 2006. She holds a Specialization Certificate for teaching students with autism and a master’s degree in special education. She is currently in the BCBA program to become a board-certified behavior analyst. She enjoys watching her son play baseball, making crafts, going to the beach, and spending time with her three kids.
Ms. Ocampo, Elementary/Middle School Teacher
Monserrat Ocampo received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from San Diego State University in 2010 and has been an avid member of the special needs community. She has been part of the Sierra Academy team since 2012 and will be beginning the 2016–2017 school year as our elementary and middle school teacher. She is currently completing her master’s program in special education from National University, focusing on a mild/moderate education specialist credential. Prior to her time at Sierra, Ms. Ocampo provided Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy to young children on the autism spectrum for three years, which is when the seeds of her passion for working with children with special needs were planted. Ms. Ocampo is excited to begin this next chapter in her life and is thankful to be starting it with such an experienced and supportive team!
Mrs. Luster, Administrative Assistant
Nicole Luster has worked at Sierra Academy since 2008 and was a full-time teacher for 7 years. She received her bachelor’s in liberal studies from CSU Channel Islands and her mild/moderate and moderate/severe education specialist credentials from Point Loma Nazarene University. She recently finished her master’s degree in Special Education from Point Loma as well. She helped build the ACT program in 2009 and will continue to guide our transition program and run our WorkAbility grant, but additionally will be a great resource to all of our families in the front office.
Mr. Brooks, Academic Career Transition (ACT) Teacher
Michael Brooks did his undergraduate work at Chapman University and obtained a degree in liberal arts. He is currently finishing his master’s in education with an emphasis on mild/moderate disabilities at Brandman University in San Diego. With us since 2010, Mr. Brooks just finished his first year as a middle-school classroom teacher at Sierra Academy, where he developed a classroom culture, built exceptional teamwork, and created classroom projects/presentations that culminated in students working together with different mediums to express their understanding. Over his four years at Sierra Academy, he has worked directly with students between the ages of 12 and 22 and has spent three years working in the ACT program, collaborating with students, their families, and other educational team members to develop plans for student successes in the school setting as well as the post-secondary setting.
Mr. Gove, Sports Coach
Cory Gove is originally from Saint Joseph, Missouri. He received his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Missouri Western State University. An avid sportsman who has played baseball, soccer, basketball, and track-and-field, Mr. Gove is such an exceptional volleyball player that he pursued a professional career in the sport—both beach volleyball and indoor volleyball—over the course of six years. Currently, he coaches Mexico’s beach and indoor volleyball junior national teams, which compete both domestically and internationally. For the last 10 years, he has also coached various levels of youth sports for kids between the ages of 8 and 18. Cory has been working at Sierra Academy for the last three years, where he oversees the Physical Education Department, the sports programs, the health and fitness clubs, and our Track-and-Field Club.
Mrs. Clark, Speech-Language Pathologist
Jan Clark, M.S., CCC-SLP, is a licensed speech-language pathologist and a member of ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association) and CSHA (California Speech-Language-Hearing Association). She has worked at Sierra Academy since 2003. Her professional experience includes working with children, adolescents, adults, and their families with a variety of communication needs. She has further developed her career by working in private practice hospital and public schools settings and by earning her PEERS® certification. She has been a guest speaker for Grossmont College, NFAR, CARS, and OTAC (Occupational Therapy Association of California), presenting on: “An Overview of Speech and Language,” “Treating the Whole Child: Collaboration in Education,” and “Teaching Life Skills.
Dr. Schwier, Occupational Therapist
Erin Schwier, OTD, OTR/L, has been an occupational therapist for Sierra Academy of San Diego since 2004. She is also an assistant professor for the Master of Occupational Therapy Program at the University of Saint Augustine. She has 15+ years of experience working with children with disabilities and their families as a pediatric therapist for multiple school districts and clinics in San Diego County. Dr. Schwier is a frequent presenter on topics related to children with special needs and has published articles in professional journals including OT Practice and Disability Journal of Health. She co-authored Breaking Bread and Nourishing Connections (Brooks Publishing, 2005).
Mr. Beltran, Occupational Therapist
Matt Beltran, B.A., COTA/L, is a licensed certified occupational therapy assistant and a member of AOTA (American Occupational Therapy Association). He has been a member of the Sierra Academy team since 2009 and is instrumental in promoting physical fitness through various means, such as our Sierra Strong program, our Sierra sports teams, and fitness in the community. He has been featured in OT Practice magazine, promoting mental health in school-based practice as part of an interdisciplinary team. For the last five years, Mr. Beltran has been a clinical instructor for Grossmont College and the University of Saint Augustine. He has also been involved in coaching competitive youth soccer for four years.
Ms. Rooney, Physical Therapist
Michele Rooney, M.S., P.T., is licensed physical therapist. She has worked at Sierra Academy since 2011. She graduated from Columbia University with her master’s degree in physical therapy and has enjoyed a 16-year career with a specialty in pediatric clinic-based and school-based physical therapy. She has taken advanced workshops in yoga and respiratory facilitation and is dedicated to assisting children in maximizing their physical potential.
Peter Storniolo, Transition (ACT) Teacher
Peter Storniolo earned his Bachelor’s Degree from San Diego State University and he is currently completing his master’s program in Special Education from National University. Peter has worked at Sierra Academy as an Instructional Assistant for two years. He also worked with the theater program at the University of San Diego High School and has taught ceramics at Francis Parker School. A San Diego native, Mr. Storniolo is excited to bring his passion and love of learning to Sierra Academy.
Breanna Bassett, Middle/High School Teacher
Breanna Bassett worked as an Instructional Assistant at Sierra Academy in 2016. In high school, Breanna helped out as a peer tutor in a Moderate/Severe Autism classroom and quickly realized that this is where she wanted to be. She graduated from California State University San Marcos with a Bachelor of Arts in Child Development. Breanna holds a Special Education Credential to serve Mild/Moderate and Moderate/Severe students. She is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Special Education. Mrs. Bassett is very excited to be with Sierra Academy.
Barley (our black Lab) has been with Sierra since 2015. He works primarily with the DIS (Direct Instructional Services) team and specializes in self-regulation, following directions, and being safe in the community. He is one of our most popular staff members and can often be seen surrounded by children and staff. He enjoys many treats, snuggling, and naps.