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Office of Learning Supports
Kristen Brown, Ph.D., is the Director of the Office of Learning Supports. Previously, Dr. Brown led the One System Serving the Whole Child Initiative where her charge was to create an aligned system of support across divisions at the California Department of Education. She was also the Director of Project READ which was a federally funded 5 year project that increased the reading and English language arts proficiency of students in California middle schools. As an Academic Director at a college in Minnesota, she oversaw a Bachelor of Science program. In addition, she developed an academic achievement center that offered ongoing intervention support in math, English, study skills coaching and academic achievement for students. In this capacity, she also chaired a student success committee made up of college division representatives and wrote the annual student success strategic plan for the college. Dr. Brown holds a PhD in Education Administration, Policy, and Leadership from the University of Southern California.
MTSS Specialist/Statewide Bullying Prevention Manager
Adam Collins, Ph.D., is an MTSS Specialist and the Statewide Bullying Prevention Manager in the Office of Learning Supports. Dr. Collins most recently served as a K-5 school psychologist in the Adams 12 School District where he had first-hand experience in the development and practical application of MTSS, RtI, and school-wide bullying prevention. He received his doctorate degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in School Psychology with a focus on bullying prevention and intervention. Dr. Collins has co-authored several book chapters and presented on bullying prevention to various stakeholders including schools, companies, and organizations.
MTSS Specialist/RTI and PBIS Integration Coordinator
Lynne DeSousa, M.S., is an MTSS Specialist and the RtI (Response to Intervention) and PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) Integration Coordinator in the Office of Learning Supports. In more than 26 years in education, she has served as a CDE Regional Implementation Consultant, a district PBIS/Mental Health coordinator, school-based PBIS Facilitator, a school psychologist and a counselor. Paramount to these experiences have been the ability to provide guidance on how to align and integrate various behavioral and mental health efforts into a layered continuum of evidence based practices that matches supports to student need. Specific areas of professional interest include improving the implementation of multi-tiered behavioral frameworks, social emotional learning, trauma responsive approaches, classroom management, school-wide bullying prevention and intervention, individual/small group counseling, and functional behavioral assessment and individualized behavior support planning. Her unique perspective and varied experiences have afforded her the opportunity to speak to the integration of trauma responsive practice across tiers of supports to audiences across the country. Lynne has an M.S. in School Psychology at California State University, Fresno.
Sean Taylor, M.Ed., is an MTSS Specialist, for the Office of Learning Supports. He has over 24 years of experience in education. In Texas, he served as a Special Education teacher, as well as an Assistant Principal for both elementary and high school. In Colorado, he has served as: middle school Special Education teacher, elementary school Principal, Director of Assessment, and Director of Academics. He has developed many structures for Colorado school districts, led professional development, and co-chaired the Post-Secondary Workforce Readiness Committee in partnership with Colorado higher education. His work in a variety of educational settings has given him an opportunity to implement and facilitate a variety of MTSS strategies at the classroom, building, and district levels.
Robyn Shank, M.Ed, is an MTSS Specialist, for the Office of Learning Supports. She serves South Western Colorado in MTSS and PBIS implementation. She has also served as a teacher, instructional coach, district administrator and executive director. Prior to her education career, Robyn served in the US Army as a counterintelligence agent. She spends her down time playing outdoors with her three rescued pups: Maggie, Daisy and Riley.
Milcah Hawk, M.Ed, NCSP is an MTSS Specialist, for the Office of Learning Supports. Milcah received her educational specialist degree (Ed.S) in School Psychology from the University of Colorado at Denver. Over the last 25 years, Milcah has been passionate about building Trauma-Responsive environments and reaching at risk youth. Starting her education career as a Teach for America Corps member, she spent many years teaching in both general education and special education classrooms, worked as a national trainer for the Why Try? multi-media therapy curriculum, and has served schools as a Nationally Certified School Psychologist in the United States and Latin America. Through her current work with the Colorado Department of Education in districts throughout south central Colorado in the San Luis Valley, Milcah has supported the implementation of Multi-Tiered System of Supports as an Implementation Consultant. This work has increased positive learning environments through identifying social-emotional and educational needs of students and designing effective systems to reach them. Also, Milcah continues to serve the 14 San Luis Valley school districts through the SLV BOCES as a school psychologist and behavior interventionist.
Erin Ax, Ph.D., is an MTSS Specialist for the Office of Learning Supports. Prior to joining the CDE, Dr. Ax collaborated with school districts and BOCES across New York State where her independent practice focused on evidence-based academic and behavioral intervention planning, implementation and evaluation. She received her doctorate degree from the University of South Florida in School Psychology with an area of emphasis in pediatric health issues. Dr. Ax has co-authored book chapters and presented her research on such topics as the relationship between formative assessment and state achievement tests as well as implementing RtI at the elementary and secondary levels. She has served as adjunct and full-time faculty at several graduate programs across the country.
Rebecca Knighton, M.A., is an MTSS Specialist, for the Office of Learning Supports. She serves the North Central and Northeast regions of Colorado. Prior to working for the state of Colorado, she was a general education Behavioral Interventionist, Gifted and Talented Specialist and integral member of a middle school’s MTSS and individual student problem solving teams. She secured and managed two grants to support the development of systems-level social emotional and behavioral supports for middle school students. She has led professional development at the school, district, and state levels in PBIS, MTSS, increasing staff buy-in, and understanding students’ social emotional and behavioral needs. She has a passion for helping school staff members build their capacity to help at-risk youth change the trajectory of their lives. She earned her Master's degree in teaching literacy across content areas to disadvantaged populations from the University of Southern California. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D.
Gracie Bingham is the Program Assistant for the Office of Learning Supports. She is a recent Colorado transplant from Idaho, where she worked at the Idaho Potato Commission until moving to Colorado in January 2020. Most recently she worked at Jefferson County Public Library as an Administrative Coordinator. She is a graduate of Boise State University. In her down time she enjoys playing tennis and cribbage and aspires to run a marathon one day.