People

Keith Ozols

people

keith.s.ozols@state.or.us

Keith Ozols is the Workforce and Youth Manager for Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation. In addition to sitting on the YTP Management Team, Keith also oversees the Ticket to Work Program, Work Incentives Network, Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) and Workforce Engagement within the VR agency. For the past seven years Keith has worked extensively with YTP to grow the program and to build capacity for transition services across Oregon. Keith also sits on the Oregon Department of Education’s State Advisory Council for Special Education as the membership chair. Prior to joining Vocational Rehabilitation, Keith worked in leadership roles for over 20 years as the executive director of a non-profit serving individuals with disabilities and as a program manager for workforce development programs. Keith also holds a BA in Literature and Philosophy.

Lisa Catherwood

people

lisa.m.catherwood@state.or.us

Taking on the new role of YTP Coordinator, Lisa Catherwood brings over 25 years of experience working with individuals of all abilities. Her assignments have ranged from Special Education Teacher, Mental Health Specialist in Corrections, to Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling. Her most recent achievement gained outstanding success in the summer of 2017, creating Vocational Rehabilitation's first residential (6 week) work experience program for students with disabilities Statewide. This Summer Work Internships For Transition (SWIFT) helped students build independence in life and employment. Her past accomplishments, and diverse experiences provide a dynamic perspective on implementing new programs and strategically planning for success. A native Oregonian, Lisa graduated from Portland State University with a BS in Biology and Psychology, followed by a MS in Rehabilitation Counseling. She prides herself on being available to support those around her and is looking forward to working with YTP partners throughout Oregon.

Sally Simich

people

For the past five years, Sally Simich has served as the Secondary Transition Education Specialist for Oregon Department of Education (ODE). In this position, she provides technical assistance and professional development to school districts, parents and participating agencies to support and ensure a clear understanding of secondary special education, transition services, high quality transition IEP’s, collecting data and implementation of evidence-based practices and predictors for transition programs. Sally’s other responsibilities include being a partner on the Youth Transition Program management team, an appointed member of the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), and a representative on the OHSU Institute on Development and Disability advisory board. Prior to working with the agency, Sally dedicated 34 years to working in special education across all grade levels, from kindergarten through 21 years and in a leadership role as well. She has worked with both families and individual students, creating high expectations for post-secondary outcomes and assisting transition-aged students to develop their post-secondary goals for successful transition from secondary education to post-secondary education, training and employment. Sally holds a Master of Arts degree in education.

Charlotte Y. Alverson, Ph.D.

people

Charlotte is an Assistant Research Professor in Secondary Special Education and Transition at the University of Oregon. In addition to being YTP Director, she is a technical assistance (TA) provider for the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT), funded by U.S. Department of Education. She has more than 25 years of experience as an educator, TA provider, and social scientist focused on individuals with disabilities. Her teaching experience was with youth who needed significant support and her research expertise are focused on secondary transition program development, data-based decision making, and post-school outcomes.

Jesse Berkey

people

Jesse Berkey currently works for the University of Oregon as a Technical Assistance Provider (TAP) for the Mid-Valley Region of Oregon. Prior to starting his role as a TAP, he worked for State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) systems for 10+ years with his Oregon VR experience including 8+ years of that service. His degree from Western Oregon University focused on Deafness in Rehabilitation Counseling. In addition to his VR experiences, Jesse shares a “family perspective of disability” having lived with a sister who had severe disabilities. This blended background allows Jesse to serve the YTP community from a multifaceted perspective as he works to advance positive outcomes for students experiencing disabilities. Jesse works with the following sites: Bethel, Central Linn, Corvallis, Eugene, Greater Albany, Lane ESD, Lebanon, Linn-Benton-Lincoln ESD, Salem/Keizer, Silver Falls, Springfield, and Woodburn.

Mary Jo Erickson

people

Mary Jo Erickson began working at the University of Oregon as a YTP Technical Assistant Provider September 2015. Prior to coming to the University, she spent the last 23 years in education as an Academic Advisor at Lane Community College, School to Career Coordinator in Springfield and 11 years as a YTP Transition Specialist at South Eugene High School. Mary Jo has been actively involved over the last 13 years with OAVSNP and the Oregon Statewide Transition Conference board serving as President and various other positions. She holds a B.S. in Liberal Studies from Linfield College. Mary Jo works with the following sites: Bandon, Brookings Harbor, Camas Valley, Elkton, Grants Pass, Jackson County, Myrtle Point, Oakland, Reedsport, South Coast ESD, Southern Oregon ESD,  and Three Rivers.

Peter FitzGerald

people

Peter FitzGerald currently works for University of Oregon as a Technical Assistance Coordinator for the Youth Transition Program (YTP). YTP is an innovative partnership between Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Local Education Agencies. Peter works with 12 YTP sites in the Portland Metro area and in Hood River and Wasco Counties. In addition to his role with University of Oregon, he also consults with the various projects on transition related issues. Prior to this Peter spent 30 years as a Special Education Teacher at the secondary level in both public and private settings, focused on transition services. He also spent a couple of years in the mid 1990's as Oregon's Transition Specialist in the Office of Special Education in the Oregon Department of Education. Peter has a MA in Special Education. Peter works with the following Sites: Canby, Corbett, Gladstone, Hood River, Molalla River, North Clackamas, North Wasco County, Oregon City, Portland Public Schools, Reynolds, Sandy (aka Oregon Trail), and West Linn/Wilsonville.

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson

Michael has spent over forty years working in the field of Special Education, dealing with families and students who range in age from 12-21. His experiences have focused on building social/pre-vocational and vocational programs for a broad range of students who are at-risk or marginalized during their transition to adulthood. Most of Mr. Johnson’s practical work has been done within the Springfield School District in his home state of Oregon. He has worked in a number of other states including Alabama, Arizona, New Mexico, Maryland, California, Colorado, Iowa, Washington, and Idaho in a consulting/training capacity on issues related to transition and social skills proficiency. His work at the University of Oregon as a technical assistance provider for the Oregon Youth Transition Program has focused on training teachers, administrators, and adult agency staff throughout the state in the implementation of a nationally recognized transition model. This University of Oregon association has led to his co-authorship of the NEXT S.T.E.P. curriculum, a practical approach to empowering students in the transition process. He is the lead author of the W.A.G.E.S. (Working At Gaining Employment Skills) curriculum, a social skills curriculum for adolescents entering the employment field. Mr. Johnson has presented at local, state, and national conferences targeting best practice transition models and the teaching of job readiness social skills. Mike works with the following Sites: Baker, Bend-Lapine, Crook County, Grant-Union, Harney, Jefferson County, Klamath Falls, LaGrande, Malheur ESD, Redmond, Sisters, Umatilla, and Wallowa ESD.

Liza Knowles


After obtaining her BS at Oregon State University, Liza continued with her MS in Rehabilitation Counseling at Western Oregon University. She worked as a Certified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the State of Oregon for 8 years, assisting adults and youth with a wide array of challenges and abilities to obtain meaningful employment outcomes. She is currently a technical assistance provider for Youth Transition Program working with YTP sites in: Dallas, Hillsboro, Lincoln County, Northwest Regional Educational Services District, Philomath, Rainier, Sherwood, St.Helens, Tigard/Tualatin, Tillamook, Vernonia, and Willamette Educational Services District.

Briana Parra


Briana began working for the University of Oregon in the Secondary Special Education & Transition department (SSET) as a student while she was obtaining her BS. Post-graduation she moved into the role of Administrative Program Assistant in November of 2016. Briana provides program support to YTP in the areas of event coordination, registration, and other logistics that help to support the YTP Management Team in their efforts to provide exceptional technical assistance. Briana also has a daughter with cognitive delays, which sparked her interest in education and transition services and supports. She brings perspective from the parent role to her work with the University.