Charting the Course for Middle School Career Development
Tonya Gokita, M.Ed., Secondary Transition Associate, Center on Transitions Innovations
Jenna Arndt, Supervisor, Office of Special Education, Loudoun Country Public Schools
Suzanne Burch, Career and Transition, Transition Specialist, Loudoun County Public Schools
In this webcast, Tonya Gokita (CTI) invites collaborative partners, Jenna Arndt and Suzanne Burch, of Loudoun County Public School Division, to share interventions, strategies, and reflections from their participation in the Supported Employment Initiative. Through this three-year demonstration project, Loudoun County sought to build, expand, and sustain supported employment services for high school students with disabilities. They discuss lessons gleaned from their experiences and highlight notable outcomes of their intentional focus on increasing effective career development and transition practices in middle school.
- Identify the focus of Middle School Career Development
- List the components for laying a foundation for career success
- Describe strategies and interventions that will increase effective practices for building school, home, and community capacity
Jenna Arndt is a Supervisor of Special Education for Loudoun County Public Schools. She supports transition for the school division. Jenna received her bachelor's degree in special education from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and her master's degree in education leadership with a concentration in special education from George Mason University. Jenna has worked in special education for the duration of her career, beginning as a classroom teacher working with students with intellectual disabilities and autism, then working as a department chair, a Special Education Dean, and a Transition Specialist before becoming a supervisor. Jenna is passionate about working with students with disabilities and supporting them to reach their fullest potential after exiting high school.
Suzanne Burch is a Transition Specialist for Loudoun County Public Schools supporting transition throughout the school division. Suzanne received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Elon University and her master’s degree in special education from the University of Virginia. Prior to working in education, Suzanne worked with adults with disabilities in both residential and day programs. She began her teaching career working with students with emotional disabilities. Prior to becoming a Transition Specialist, Suzanne was a High School transition teacher for Loudoun County. As a career educator dedicated to the success of students, Suzanne celebrates the unique paths and achievements of all students throughout school and beyond.
Tonya Gokita is a Secondary Transition Associate who is passionate about career development and school-to-work transition. She received her Master’s degree in Special Education from the College of William and Mary and has taught secondary students with disabilities in both Virginia and Japan. With over 15 years of experience, Tonya has served as a classroom teacher, department chair, and most recently as a district transition specialist. She enjoys empowering students, their families, and the educators and community partners who work so hard to support them.