Eileen Medina moved to Santa Barbara, California in 1977. She began her work in special education when her 3rd child, Matthew, was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. She was a staff development trainer in special education for the California Department of Education for over 5 years and then spent the next 25 years working for the Special Education Department for the Santa Barbara County Education Office. Her primary role was to support special education students and their families plan for their transition from school to adulthood. Eileen ensured that person-centered planning and customized supports were a key component for each student’s transition plan and that each student guided and directed their transition plan and services. She has been instrumental in assisting students to develop their own micro-businesses that were tailored to their unique skill sets and preferences, and Eileen always ensured that each and every student had a voice at their IEP meetings (to share their success and progress on ITP goals through powerpoints, slides, pictures, etc.).
Throughout the years, she has served on many community committees and boards supporting the inclusion of students and families in all aspects of community living. She serves as Conference Chairperson for CalTASH. Eileen retired in 2012 and spends her time traveling and volunteering with agencies supporting community inclusion. Her favorite pastime is spending time with her three children and their families, especially her 5 grandchildren.