Sulphur Springs welcomes new program specialist and social worker

Sulphur Springs Union School District administrative offices. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal
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The Sulphur Springs Union School District will employ a school social worker next year, and members of the community had an opportunity to meet her along with the district’s newest special education program specialist at Wednesday’s governing board meeting.

“After noticing a large increase in transient homeless student (populations), we felt it would be a benefit to our students to have this new position at our schools,” board President Ken Chase said. In April, he believed the position could go into effect during the 2019-20 school year, but the district found the right candidate much earlier.

“Ashley Swanson comes to the district as a school social worker with several years of experience working with both public and nonpublic schools,” board member Denis DeFigueiredo said. “She’s supported diverse populations and presented to staff, students and parents on topics such as mental health, first aid, bullying and suicide prevention.”

Equipped with a unique training background, Swanson is now responsible for addressing barriers that limit Sulphur Springs students from receiving the full benefit of their educational experience, board members said. She will also provide direct assistance to families who are in need of community resources.

“I am so honored to be here and be a part of the school district, and I’m looking forward to the school year,” Swanson said Wednesday.

The speech echoed the feelings of new special education program specialist Kelly Fedele, who “brings with her a range of professional experiences and skills that will support our learning community,” board member DeFigueiredo said. With experience at districts in the Los Angeles and the San Francisco areas as an elementary school general education teacher and a resource specialist program teacher, Fedele was selected teacher of the year in 2012-2013, “and she most recently served as a special education program specialist.”

As a program specialist, Fedele will oversee student consultations, program development and staff at various school sites.

During a brief speech from the podium Wednesday, Fedele said she’s looking forward to joining the Sulphur Springs family, to which DeFigueiredo replied: “I am very pleased to hear from you refer to us a family so quickly, and I think you will both find that’s the way we are here.”

“We’re happy to have you,” he added. “Welcome.”

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