Overview and Philosophy

Niwot Elementary PE class

Overview and Philosophy


Special education has been a federally mandated program to serve educationally disabled children, ages 3 to 21, since passage of Public Law 94-142, also known as the Equal Education for the Handicapped Act in 1975, and preauthorized and re-titled in 1990 as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  As a result of this mandate, the St. Vrain Valley School District (SVVSD) presently provides education services for students identified as having mild to profound disabilities.

The identification of an educational disability and the necessary services to be provided to address the student’s needs is a function of a “staffing” process.  The staffing involves parents, school administrators, regular education teacher(s), special education personnel and the student when appropriate.  An Individual Education Plan (IEP) for the student is developed by the staffing team and reviewed yearly with modification made if needed.


It is SVVSD’s philosophy that students with disabilities should be educated with their peers in their neighborhood school unless their needs are better addressed through a more specialized educational environment.  St.  Vrain Valley offers a continuum of services delivered by special education staff members ranging from consultation with regular education teachers to varying amounts of direct services to students with disabilities depending on need.  These support services are provided through building level special education staff and itinerated related service providers (i.e. speech/language, occupational therapists, etc.)

Contact Us

Charity Dostal

Executive Assistant to Laura Hess

Emily Scott

Director of Special Education

Amanda Ferguson

Assistant Director of Special Education

Erie HS, Frederick HS, Longmont HS, Mead HS, New Meridian, Niwot HS, Silver Creek HS, Skyline HS, St. Vrain Virtual HS

Nathalie Tuhari-Katz

Assistant Director of Special Education - All Preschools and Niwot Feeder K-8

Benjamin Yamato

Assistant Director of Special Education

Black Rock Elem., Erie MS, Grandview Elem., Indian Peaks Elem., Mead Elem., Mead MS, Red Hawk Elem., Sunset MS, Trail Ridge MS

Paula Avis

Assistant Director of Special Education

Hygiene Elem., Longs Peak MS, Mountain View Elem., Sanborn Elem., Westview MS, Aspen Ridge Charter, Carbon Valley Academy K-8, Firestone Charter Academy, Flagstaff Academy, St. Vrain Community Montessori, Twin Peaks Classical Academy

Meredith Pogonyi

Assistant Director of Special Education

Burlington Elem., Centennial Elem., Central Elem., Coal Ridge MS, Highlands Elem., Spark! Discovery PK, Timberline PK, Thunder Valley K-8, ECSE & ECE Classrooms, Child Find Teams

St. Vrain Valley Schools