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Meet Our Staff

Ruth Punt, Lead Program Facilitator

Ruth Punt has been a Speech-Language Pathologist for over 40 years. After her retirement from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District she has stayed involved in speech pathology as a lecturer at Call State University Los Angeles from 2008-2011 and has worked for local districts evaluating children with speech language disorders. As Lead Program Facilitator for Circle of Friends, Ruth has helped to establish Circle of Friends chapters in many districts in southern California as well as in Connecticut and New Jersey. she is currently consulting with Simi Valley, LAUSD, and Imperial County SELPA. She has also been involved with designing the new trainer of trainers' program which enables Circle of Friends' advisors to train others in implementing the program in their districts. She enjoys making a difference in the lives of students with and without disabilities by partnering with school staff to bring inclusion to their sites.

Patricia Conwell, Program Facilitator

Patricia Conwell (Patty) brings 40+ years of experience as an educator to Circle of Friends. She has been a general education teacher, Resource Specialist, special day class teacher, program specialist and the Director of Student Services in the Saugus Union School District. Following retirement, she worked as a program developer at Child & Family Center, a non-profit agency in Santa Clarita to research, plan and implement a unique grant-funded program for preschool children with emotional and behavioral challenges. She passionately believes that ALL children are an integral part of the school and larger community. She is proud to able to be part of the Circle of Friends team that really changes lives…one friendship at a time.

Casandra Guerrero, Program Facilitator

Casandra Guerrero has been working as a Speech-Language Pathologist for eight years.  She is a Program Facilitator for Circle of Friends and runs the founding chapter of CoF in San Benito County at San Benito High School.  She has helped establish CoF chapters in Northern California, and she is currently consulting with San Benito County SELPA, Calaveras County, Amador County, West Contra Costa County and San Ramon Valley Unified.  Casandra is passionate about spreading the message of inclusion and enjoys speaking at inclusion conferences and partnering with fellow education professionals to achieve inclusion within their schools.  Most of all, she loves to see the positive impact that results from working with her students in CoF to create a more accepting and inclusive learning environment on her home campus.

Julia Roth, Program Facilitator

Julia Roth draws on a wide variety of teaching experiences from elementary school through community college.  She was a special day class teacher and Resource Specialist for 32 years, both in Northern and Southern California.  Her additional teaching experience in Cairo, Egypt, provided an understanding of diverse cultures and international education.  Julia was well-respected for initiating “guest” programs at her schools, where she taught both identified students with special needs and other students who needed more individualized instruction.  All students demonstrated improved achievement and social skills as a result of being included in a supportive setting.  Julia is excited to be part of the CoF team, partnering with other professionals to bring the benefits of inclusion to their sites.

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