The Beacons Team
& Club Facilitator
Associate Instructor Explorer
HR Coordinator &
Tailored Day Specialist
More coming! Beacons is always looking for new team members.
If interested, please click here to learn of available openings. * = Bilingual (Spanish)
SHAE ALAI, M.A. (Experimental Psychology)
Associate Instructor (Explorer) & Facilitator (Club Beacons)
Shae supports Beacons as a Club Beacons facilitator as an associate instructor. Shae has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from San Diego State University. She continued her coursework, working on a Master of Arts in Experimental Psychology. Shae also has earned a California Teaching Credential in English and became an Education Specialist in 2007. Over the last 20+ years Shae has worked in the education field working as a tutor, a resource specialist and an English and Language Arts teacher. Shae is also a certified yoga instructor. Shae loves being involved as a school club advisor, volunteering in the community (working to support kids in the inner city and the homeless) and enjoys being a part of Sierra Club and trail hiking throughout the world.
Associate Instructor (PathFinder) • Bilingual (Spanish)
Janet Banderas is a dedicated professional with a profound commitment to empowering adults with developmental disabilities. With a strong foundation cultivated over 16 years in customer-facing roles within the food and service industry, as well as memory care retirement homes, Janet possesses a unique ability to connect with individuals from diverse backgrounds. Her genuine passion for making a difference led her to four impactful years at another local service provider, where she played a pivotal role as a Resource Counselor, nurturing essential life skills and fostering independence among her participants.
Janet's expertise is complemented by her ACRE certification in Community Employment Services, a testament to her dedication to tailored job placements. At Beacons, she will embrace her role as an associate instructor, skillfully guiding individuals to overcome challenges and supporting them on their path to purposeful and rewarding careers. Janet's empathy-driven communication and unwavering commitment to inclusivity exemplify her mission to create a positive, lasting influence on lives, making her an indispensable asset to the team.
Lead Instructor (PathFinder)
Abbi joins Beacons from Dream Catchers EDH, an organization similarly devoted to empowerment of individuals with disabilities, where she served as its social media director and as an assistant instructor. While at Dream Catchers, Abbi helped teach cooking, life skills, fitness training, skills for its theater program and other activities as well as plan for monthly activities.
Prior to Dream Catchers EDH, Abbi served a Kitchen Manager and Barista for Makework Market, and as a homeschool teacher for individuals with learning disabilities for several years.
Abbi supports the Beacons instructional team with her talents in photography, social media, cooking, money management and numerous other areas to help our trainees explore and learn skills to bridge gaps to employment and increase their independence. Abbi brings her love of her older brother, who has a developmental disability, to all those she works with. Beacons welcomes Abbi and her husband to Carlsbad and to Beacons, Inc.!
BETHANY BRITT, M.Ed
Bethany was born and raised in Southern California and is a graduate of La Costa Canyon High School so she has endless contacts throughout our community to enrich activities for Explorer. She is also a trained self-determination facilitator and well-versed in the supports and options available in the community to help self-advocates learn more about their local area and service options.
Bethany has a BA in Special Education from Arizona State University and a Masters in Educational Counseling from National University. She holds credentials in Pupil Personnel Services, Educational Specialist of Instruction Level II and CrossCultural Language and Academic Development in the state of California.
Bethany taught special education in a Moderate/Severe program for the Chandler Unified School District and coached the girls JV soccer team for Hamilton High School for two years. After returning to San Diego, she taught in both Mild/Moderate and Moderate/Severe programs for the San Dieguito Union High School District for 13 years. During her time at SDUHSD, Bethany helped lead the TAP program at Torrey Pines High School and La Costa Canyon High School. In 2015, Bethany won the Collaborative Team Award for the North Coastal Consortium for Special Education.
Bethany is a valued member of the Beacons team and brings her years of experience to help optimize learning, increase confidence and facilitate social connections.
TIFFANY BRUDER, M.S.
Lead Facilitator (Club Beacons)
Tiffany serves a lead for Club Beacons helping to devise activities and fun! She was raised in Southern California and grew up volunteering for numerous community events throughout her youth to present. She has extensive experience in event planning, customer service, teaching, lifeguarding/AED/CPR, and various other areas. She has her BA in Criminology/Criminal Justice, a BS in Psychology, and a Masters in Forensic Psychology. She has worked as a mental health patient advocate, aquatics director/swim coordinator on Catalina Island and Pearl Harbor and has taught swimming to those with various disabilities.
With any free time she has, she loves to be outside with her family and bake. She has 4 girls and a son who keep her busy and young. Tiffany is thrilled to be a part of Beacons and have the opportunity to grow, learn, and teach with others!
ROBERT "ROBBIE" DAY, M.Ed.
Assistant Director and Lead Instructor (PathFinder)
Robbie grew up in North County and graduated from UC San Diego with a Bachelor's Degree in World Literature and a Masters Degree in Education. He has 5 years of high school teaching experience and returns to San Diego after spending the last year teaching mathematics in the Mojave Desert.
Robbie has spent the last two years teaching for COSMOS, a summer robotics program at UC San Diego, developing self-driving vehicles with high school students interested in careers in science and technology. He has an interest in accessible technology and is active in communities online dedicated to improving “hands free” technology for operating computers by voice.
Robbie serves as both the Assistant Director and a lead instructor for PathFinder vocational training workshops and strives to make contacts in the community to find vocational opportunities for his trainees to realize their employment dreams.
SUNNY GROSECLOSE, B.A. (Communications)
Self-Determination Coordinator & Independent Facilitator (Self-Determination)
Sunny has always had a heart for people of different abilities and wanted that to be the focal point of her life and career. Even though she holds a bachelor's degree in Communication from University of Cal State San Marcos, her heart ultimately led her away from a business platform to something more intimate; working with individuals and their families one-to-one in people’s homes.
Prior to coming to Beacons, Sunny worked for a local company as a Registered Behavioral Therapist and transitioned into a second role as a Parent Trainer, where she worked directly with kids (and teens) who have been diagnosed with Autism, as well as supporting their families through the process within their homes, schools, and their community.
Sunny joined the Beacons team last year first as a trained Independent Facilitator for the Beacons Self Determination division and then as an instructor for the Navigator day program. She now supports the new PathFinder Explorer program using her talents to help trainees of all abilities learn workforce skills to bridge gaps to employment. When Sunny is not at Beacons, she enjoys spending time with her husband, two young sons and their dog!
Associate Instructor (Explorer)
Sandra is an Associate Instructor for Beacons and joined Beacons as an accomplished preschool owner, director, and teacher bringing 30 years of experience of early childhood education, staff management, operations planning, and financial management. Sandra has training in ASL, special-needs education, Child Family Community, and Early Childhood Education.
Sandra has spent the last 2 years working with special-needs children and young adults, and she has a life-long passion for this community. Sandra joined Beacons this winter as an instructor in our Explorer program on Tuesdays and Thursdays and helps as needed in both the Pathfinder and Explorer programs.
When Sandra is not working she enjoys surfing, yoga, playing piano, singing, and spending time with her adult children and husband Joe.
TYLER HERSHEY, B.A. (Psychology)
Director & Lead Instructor (PathFinder)
Tyler has spent the last decade using his personal and career experiences to support and empower individuals with various disabilities. Tyler served as an assistant coach for the Independent division of the San Diego Miracle League and volunteer for Shooting Stars basketball, founded Project Puzzle (an Autism awareness club) and was awarded the North Coastal Consortium for Special Education "Excellence in Supporting Students with Disabilities."
While pursuing his Psychology degree at San Diego State University, Tyler was an advocate for students with varying disabilities and planned school wide inclusive events as the Program Coordinator for Student Disability Services. While at SDSU, he also founded the Delta Alpha Phi international honor society. After graduating from SDSU, Tyler relocated to Hawaii to continue his work with neurodiverse individuals in the school setting. After working in the district setting for 2 years, Tyler returned to San Diego to follow his passion and to work as an instructor with Beacons, Inc.
Tyler has been a valued member of the Beacons Pathfinder team since summer of 2020 when he started as an associate instructor for the Beacons summer vocational exploration workshops. He now serves as the Director of PathFinder and as an instructor for our vocational training workshops with a proven record of successfully working with the individuals who Beacon serves. Tyler has developed strong community ties and in Fall 2021, was able to help 100% of our trainees who wanted employment find employment
Tyler's experience, high energy, positive attitude and patience helps optimize each individual's growth during the Beacons vocational workshops. He was recently recognized by the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce as one of the "40 under 40" emerging leaders for north county (July 2022).
KIM KOPP, M.A.Ed.
Kim joined Beacons in 2023 as its Executive Director, bringing over 15 years of managerial experience to Beacons, Inc. Kim has her Masters of Arts in Education (curriculum and instruction), and has been recognized by the State of California for successfully closing achievement gaps. She has her Administrative Services credential, Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, and a Career Technical Education teaching credential in art, media and entertainment.
Prior to joining Beacons, Kim served as an executive director for a consortium of twenty-two (22) K-12 schools, a lead teacher of Educational Technology, and created award winning robotics and basketball teams. Kim has also served as a Professor for various postsecondary educational institutions, Director of Academics for a pre-college program division (for which she received a CA Academic Achievement Award), professor of English immersion, an ESL teacher, and trainer on digital natives and educational technology. She has a demonstrated record of growing instructional programs, program management, budget administration, curriculum development, securing grants, and handling the operational needs of fast-growing nonprofits.
In addition to her educational management and operational experience, Kim has an extensive background in creative arts, with 30+ years experience in various mediums, including drawing, painting, installations, mixed media, drafting, graphic design, web development, and more. Kim has exhibited at the Balboa Museum of Art w/Joe Nyiri and School of Sacred Heart.
Kim also has an extensive curriculum portfolio that includes development of courses that include: Introduction to Art, Fine Art, Art History, 3D Art 1: Modeling, 3D Art II: Animation, Digital Art, Flash Animation, Flash Game Development, Game Design I/II, Green Design and Technology, Image Design and Editing, and AP Art History I/II. Kim also served as an editor for Barron's Publishing (Educational Series Division).
In addition to the awards and recognition previously mentioned, Kim's honors also include: the Superintendent's Scholarship Award, UC Cadre of Curriculum Experts, Art Scholarship Award (Salk Institute), Hats Off to Teachers Award, to name a few.
Her work with underserved students, management experience with adult non-profit educational environments, record of growing programs, securing regional accreditations and other successes makes her ideally suited for the position of Executive Director.
EMILY LANDERS, B.A. (Psychology)
Assistant Director (Tailored Day) • Bilingual (Spanish)
Emily has almost a decade of experience working with individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences, including caring for a family member with an intellectual disability. Emily has a bachelor's degree in Psychology, with coursework in Learning and Memory, Adolescent Psychology and Early Childhood development, and a background in lesson planning and positive classroom management strategies. Emily's has also served as a coach for the YMCA and the LYCO Champions League, managing players and volunteers with (and without) intellectual and physical disabilities. Emily is also bilingual (Spanish and English).
Emily supports Beacons' trainees as an instructor in creative expression and digital arts, and as a substitute instructor for the PathFinder vocational training program in the Creative Design workshop and other areas. She has also facilitated social relationships and led activities as part of the Club Beacons social division.
SHEQUITA McGRIER, B.A. (Psychology)
Shequita joins Beacons to support Beacons trainees with self-determination planning as a S-D facilitator. Shequita has her B.A. in Psychology and previously worked as an ABA therapist. She also worked at the Vista Unified School District, where she worked with students in need of behavioral support and interventions. Shequita will help Beacons reach a broader range of individuals in need of person-centered planning through her behavioral training and positive outlook.
HR Coordinator & Tailored Day Specialist
Teresa joins Beacons to share her insights and training skills from her prior work with a local major retailer, where she worked in human resources to onboard, train and engage teams. With an A.A. degree in marketing, and HR experience, Teresa will support the Executive Director to support daily human resources needs and our trainees in the Beacons Tailored Day division to increase their independence in areas such as education, employment, volunteering, community integration, person-centered planning and self-advocacy.
Teresa is committed to working 1:1 with our trainees to learn about their dreams and skills so that she can customize their support based on their individual needs, and to working with the Beacons team to support every day HR needs and staff growth, including employees with developmental disabilities hired with the support of the SDWP Project Inspire grant.
Associate Instructor (Explorer)
Shane originally joined Beacons as a Club Beacons social facilitator and now serves as an associate instructor in the Explorer vocational training program. Prior to joining Beacons he worked in the grocery retail business and will now share his workforce experience and skills with our trainees.
Shane grew up in Washington State in a small town right on the Canadian Border. After moving to Northern California, he inherited a wonderful brother-in-law who has developmental disabilities and who quickly became one of his best friends. Shane had the opportunity to be his respite care provider, which quickly ignited his passion for partnering with those with diverse intellectual abilities to help increase independence and social connections.
CHASSIDY SUTTON, B.S. (Psychology, Education & Human Development)
Associate Instructor (PathFinder)
Chassidy supports Beacons as an Associate Instructor in the Pathfinder Division. Prior to Beacons, she worked as a Companion Caregiver with an at home care agency for several years. There she worked with senior clients afflicted with Alzheimer's disease and dementia. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology in Education and Human Development from Northwestern State University. She enjoys spending time with her two adult children and husband of 20 years. In her free time she enjoys hiking, riding bikes and going to the beach.
ANDI WOOLLEY, B.A. (Interdisciplinary Studies), A.A. Elementary Education, UX Design
Assistant Director & Lead Instructor (Explorer)
Andi joined Beacons from Job Corps and now serves as the Assistant Director of Explorer. Andi contributes not only her compassion for others, but also her prior experience as a Title 1 teacher, Job Corps reading instructor and Title 1 Paraprofessional. Andi has her bachelor's in Interdisciplinary Studies, a UX Design Certificate, and A.A. in Elementary Education.
Andi supports Beacons as a vocational training instructor, and helps design trainee assessments and lesson plans to enhance learning and measure progress of trainees towards their self-determined goals. Andi has taught a wide range of students for the Fremont County School District and will help Beacons continue to improve its options to meet the growing needs of those Beacons serves.