Gina’s background is in nursing however after her son was diagnosed with autism in 1996 she pursued a different career path serving families who have children with diverse abilities. Through her 15 plus years at RFENC, she has accomplished many things that promote system change. In her words, “Working together is the key to meaningful change that creates a true impact in the communities RFENC serves. Living here my whole life, I know that each county and its many communities are all unique in what they need. I enjoy teaching and supporting others as they learn and put their new skills into action. I must say, my favorite part about working at RFENC is being part of a culture that creates positive outcomes and system change that lead to growth and progress.”
Elena has worked in education and with behavioral students for over 10 years. She taught in the SLATE program for 8 years before becoming director. She is married with two adult children, one typical and one high-functioning Autism and anxiety disorder. Elena has a Master’s in Education with a credential in School Counseling, but life’s experiences have been her biggest teacher. She loves to play with her six grandchildren, paint/draw, ride her bicycle, and take rides with her hubby on his Harley.
The Gibson’s moved to Redding from Florida in 2013 not because Kristen wanted to share in the misery of incredibly hot summers, but because of her husband, Jason’s, job. They have two sons, Drew born in 2003 and Logan born in 2006. Kristen says Logan is a “rough and tumble” boy. He loves sports and doesn’t let Down Syndrome slow him down. In her search for services and a school for Logan, Kristen became familiar with RFENC. When she’s not working she enjoys being with her family.
San Jose natives, Margaret, husband Steve and daughter Shelby left the cooler bay area and moved to the Redding area in 2010 to be closer to family. She has an extensive background in Early Childhood Education, a Credential in Parent Education and has worked in different schools and programs with the special needs population since 2008. Although not a parent of a special needs child of her own, over the years she has endeared herself to many special needs children and families and is proud to say that she has “Many Special Needs Children”. Margaret enjoys visiting the coast as often as possible, camping and Lake Shasta.
A native Oregonian, Monica came to Rowell Family Empowerment because of her son, Alix, who was born in 2000 and has the diagnosis of autism. Monica says, “Alix has changed my life in so many positive ways. I’m honored to work with other families who are walking the same path.” Her heart is to assist and help bring relief to each household. Her educational background is in business and early childhood. When she’s not in the office she enjoys the beauty of the outdoors, the sounds of opera, and spending time with her family and friends.
Sara comes from the not-so-small town of Riverside in SoCal. In 2018 she moved to Redding to attend Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry. Sara has a Master’s degree in forensic psychology and her background is in ABA therapy, specifically working in private schools as a direct therapist with server cases. In her spare time you can find her at MAC Cosmetics or the Sephora counter. She is also a big Marvel fan and enjoys her weekly shows like Criminal Minds, Law & Order SVU, Chicago PD, and Chicago Med to name a few.
Christine started with RFENC in 2003 as a Parent Liaison, left to focus on family in 2004, then returned to us in 2010 in her present position. She likes to say she was part of the “Adopt 2 Get 1 Free” Program regarding her children. Christine and her husband adopted Taylor and then Tiffany. Roughly a year later they were blessed by pregnancy and the birth of Trisha. Taylor has auditory processing disorder and memory challenges. From birth to toddler he was a frequent visitor of doctors’ offices everywhere. And Tiffany was no stranger to doctors either. Christine enjoys sewing and cooking for her family.
Susan comes to us with 16 years of experience in the educational field. A transplant from San Diego, she and her family landed in the small town of Fall River Mills, where she got her start working with English language learners. From there Susan pursued her desire to serve the under-served. Hired as a SEPHA (one on one) aide in the moderate/severe classroom, she gained many skills. For the last six years, Susan provided Behavior Intervention support for children whom are “different abled”, working alongside teachers, parents, and school staff to enable the successes of the children she served. She is looking forward to using her experience and education to help families navigate the school system.
A native of Guatemala, Leslie came to the US in 1993. She and her husband Werner have two children, Werner Jr., born in 1995 and Suzette born in 1997. Both have autism and both attend Shasta College. Werner is pursuing a certificate in Customer Service while Suzette is in Early Childhood Education. Leslie sits on the board of directors for Far Northern Regional Center. She gets much joy from embroidering and cooking for her family. She also leads the Spanish-speaking support group here in Redding.
The wife of a Marine veteran, KC’s family is made up of herself, her husband and their 4 children – Carson, Layton, Sylas and Kallie. KC herself was raised in a family alongside 2 adopted sisters and 2 adopted brothers. 2 of the 4 have special needs, as does her son Carson. When she’s not doing math the top 3 things KC enjoys most are shopping, purchasing things and searching for stuff to buy. 🙂
Jennifer originally started working with RFENC from 2004 to 2016 as the Database Specialist. She helped create the database that houses the data for RFENC’s funding. She stepped away for 4+ years to develop herself by working as an Administrative Assistant and now is back as the Database Specialist and is supporting the team with new found knowledge and encouragement. Her two daughters started in 2004 as peer mentors for the SLATE program and they are now working in and studying Special Education and Social Work areas. Jennifer truly believes with teaching our young people about disability awareness that we can make a huge impact in all communities. She also believes that the data generated from the services provided, here at RFENC and the surveys acquired from families, will tell the story on how our organization can make change in our systems and give our families a better outcome in navigating services for their children.