Curriculum Vitac


Curriculum Vitae

SONJA PHILLIPS BIGGS, Ph.D.
(650) 833-9392(650) 833-9392 (H) or (650) 833-9766 (Work Cell)
[email protected] or [email protected]

EDUCATION

Ph.D, Education (Advanced K-12),                                                                     2014

Capella University, Minneapolis, MN

Emphasis: Advanced K-12 Teaching

Dissertation: Parent Involvement, an Integral Part of the Early Learning Experience for Blind Children: A Qualitative Study of the Mother’s Experience

Certification Courses for CTEL Authorization                                                   2015

Brandman University, Online, CA

Certification Courses for Special Education-TVI/COMS

Stephen F. Austin University, Nacagdoches, TX                                                     2005

Certification Courses for Multiple Subject Elementary Teaching                     2001

Walla Walla University, College Place, WA

MA, School Counseling and Guidance                                                               1989

Loma Linda University, Riverside, CA

BA, Religion                                                                                                           1986

Weimar College, Weimar, CA

CERTIFICATIONS

WashingtonState Teaching Credential                                                       1990-Present

Walla Walla College, College Place, WA

Endorsements: Teacher of the Blind & Visually Impaired,

Orientation & Mobility Specialist, Psychology 4-12, Elementary K-8

CaliforniaState Multiple Subject Credential                                               2009-Present

CaliforniaState Education Specialist Visual Impairments                        2010-Present

California Rehabilitation Specialist for Orientation & Mobility                2011-Present

California CTEL Authorization                                                                             2015

NAD Seventh-day Adventist Professional Credential                              1990-Present

Elementary, Special Ed, School Counseling, Religion

TEACHING EXPERIENCE

Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI)                                                       2008-Present

Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist (COMS)

Sonja Biggs Educational Services,Inc., Gilroy, CA

Responsible for teaching all components of the Expanded Core Curriculum which includes compensatory or functional academic skills, including communication modes such as Braille reading and writing, social interaction skills, independent living skills, recreation and leisure skills, career education, use of assistive technology, and visual efficiency skills. Travel to several different schools serving both multiply impaired and vision impaired only. Multiple impairments include deafblind, autism, cerebral palsy, and many syndromes; all with some kind of blindness or low vision associated with it. Writing and managing IEP goals for vision impairment. Lead teacher managing the entire VI program for San Benito County Office of Education Special Education Department w/ caseload of 25 VI and 20 O&M, braillist, other VI teachers and O&M specialists, VI Assistant, and several para-educators. Meet regularly with SBCOE Special Education Director and participate in all SBCOE Department Meetings. Met bi-weekly with administrators, assisted with transition of VI program from San Benito High School District to San Benito County Office of Education. Provide VI & O&M services to students in the Gilroy Unified School District w/ caseload of 11 VI and 8 O&M. Mentored special education VI student teachers and intern teachers through San Francisco State University and California State University LA. Member of the CA Transition Council for people with disabilities. Member of Junior Blind of America’s Transition Council. Chair of the CAOMS Conference Committee held bi-annually for six years in Monterey, CA. Provide Independent Evaluations for school districts throughout the state of CA upon their request for vision and orientation & mobility evaluations. Mentor teachers in serving VI students throughout the state of CA upon request.

Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI)                                                            2008-2013

Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist (COMS)

Vista Center for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Palo Alto, CA

Responsible for teaching all components of the Expanded Core Curriculum which includes compensatory or functional academic skills, including communication modes such as Braille reading and writing, social interaction skills, independent living skills, recreation and leisure skills, career education, use of assistive technology, and visual efficiency skills. Travel to several different schools serving both multiply impaired and vision impaired only. Multiple impairments include autism, cerebral palsy, and many syndromes; all with some kind of blindness or low vision associated with it. Writing and managing IEP goals for vision impairment. Running the entire VI program for San Benito County w/ caseload of 36, braillist, VI Assistant, and several para-educators. Meet bi-weekly with administrators, assisting with transition of VI program from San BenitoHighSchool District to San BenitoCounty Office of Education.  Mentoring a special education VI student teacher through San FranciscoStateUniversity. Writing curriculum for Summer School VI program that includes social skills, cooking skills, and cleaning/organization skills to help districts fulfill those components of the Expanded Core Curriculum. Helped organize the Braille Challenge hosted by Vista every other year. Member of the CA Transition Council for people with disabilities.

Executive Director                                                                                            2007-2008

Director of Development

Children’s Museum of Walla Walla, Walla Walla, WA                                                                                                                     

Responsibilities included administration, human resources, grant writing, fund raising, exhibit development and construction, presenting to organizations, networking, event planning, community involvement, marketing, working with a non-profit board of directors, and teaching workshops in science, history, and culture for children ages 6-12.                                                                                                           

Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI)                                                             2006-2008

Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist (COMS)

Eden’s Gate Academy, Dixe, WA                                                                     

Responsible for teaching all components of the Expanded Core Curriculum which includes compensatory or functional academic skills, including communication modes such as Braille reading and writing, social interaction skills, independent living skills, recreation and leisure skills, career education, use of assistive technology, and visual efficiency skills. Travel extensively to 2 different school districts to serve K-12 students both multiply impaired and visually impaired only. Multiple impairments include autism, downs syndrome, cerebral palsy, many syndromes; all with some kind of blindness or low vision associated with it. Writing and managing IEP goals for vision impairment. Billing districts, marketing, website management.

Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI)

Certified Orientation & Mobility Specialist (COMS)                                      2003 – 2006

ESD 123, Pasco, WA

Responsible for teaching all components of the Expanded Core Curriculum which includes compensatory or functional academic skills, including communication modes such as Braille reading and writing, social interaction skills, independent living skills, recreation and leisure skills, career education, use of assistive technology, and visual efficiency skills. Travel extensively to 12 different school districts both multiply impaired and vision impaired only. Multiple impairments include autism, downs syndrome, cerebral palsy, many syndromes; all with some kind of blindness or low vision associated with it. Writing and managing IEP goals for vision impairment.

Director, Eden’s Gate Academy                                                                     2002 – 2008

On-line school for families who homeschool, Dixie, WA

Job responsibilities included counseling & teaching parents, writing curriculum, writing evaluations and progress reports for homeschooling families; helping parents understand their children’s learning styles and designing the curriculum and choosing materials that met their children’s specific needs and interests. Teach on-line courses to students enrolled when requested. It also involves the managing, budgeting, business planning, and marketing of the Academy.

Adjunct Faculty – Education Department                                                     2002 – 2004

Blue Mountain Community College, Milton-Freewater, OR

Responsible for teaching HD100 College Survival and Success. This is the first course for all incoming students just out of high school and returning older adults. It teaches all components of survival and success in the college environment including topics such as: Learning Styles, Note Taking, Critical Reading, Writing Skills, Test Taking Skills, Relationship Skills, Communication Skills, Money Management, Stress Management, Self Awareness, Health and Fitness, Time Management, Writing Resumes, Personal Responsibility, Interviewing Skills, and Organization Skills.

Visiting Professor – School of Theology                                                      2000 – 2001

Walla Walla College, College Place, WA

Job responsibilities included writing syllabi for courses taught, teaching freshman and sophomore college Bible classes such as Adventist Belief and Practice, Fundamentals of Christian Faith, Sermon on the Mount, Ministry of Jesus, and Gender & Generational Ministry, attended educational and theological conferences, graded papers, submitted student grades for transcripts. Used on-line grade management program. Designed classroom projects implementing the different learning styles.

Elementary Teacher Grades 1 & 2 Combination                                          1990 – 1995

Spokane Jr. Academy, Spokane, WA

Job responsibilities included teaching all subjects except music to a 1 & 2 Grade combination classroom for four years, including grading, P/T Conferences, using unit studies and thematic teaching methods with a combination of study, work, and service included. Designed educational activities implementing different learning styles and multiple intelligence theory.

Elementary Teacher Grades 1-8 Combination                                            1989 – 1990

Rocky Mountain Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Denver, CO

Job responsibilities included teaching all subjects including music to all eight grades in two combination classrooms. My first year I had 10 students and the second year I had 16 students with no classroom aides and serviced three special needs students. Utilized learning centers and implemented techniques from multiple intelligence theory.

RELATED EXPERIENCE or OTHER CATEGORY OF PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

Educational Counselor                                                                                   1997 – 2003

Moore Academy, Camas, WA

Job responsibilities included counseling & teaching parents, writing curriculum, writing evaluations and progress reports for homeschooling families; helping parents understand their children’s learning styles and designing the curriculum and choosing materials that met their children’s specific needs and interests.

School Counselor Internship                                                                                     1989

Elementary: Banning Unified School District, Banning, California

High School: Rialto Alternative School for Pregnant Teens

Job responsibilities included truancy, group and individual counseling, career guidance, taught classes in self-esteem building.

AWARDS

2012 NCAER Educator of the Year

2012 Special Recognition Award by San Benito County Office of Education Board of Directors

PROFESSIONAL & COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS

AER (Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired)

CAPVI/NAPVI (California Association of Parents of Children with Visual Impairments & National Association of Parents of Children with Visual Impairments)

National Federation of the Blind

Silicon Valley Council of the Blind a Chapter of the California Council of the Blind

CTEBVI (California Transcribers and Educators for the Blind & Visually Impaired

CEC (Council for Exceptional C 

South Bay Musical Theatre

Lyric Theatre of San Jose

CA Transition Council for People with Disabilities

CAOMS (California Orientation & Mobility Specialists)

Magical Bridge Playground Advisory Committee

Mentor Teacher for San Francisco State University VI Teacher Preparation Program

PROFESSIONAL PRESENTATIONS & POSITIONS

2017 Northern CAOMS Conference Chair

2017 President-Elect, Northern CAOMS

2016-Present Board Member, Northern California AER

2013 Presenter, CAOMS Conference, Monterey, CA

2011 Presenter, SFSU VI Teacher Preparation Program Class

2010 Presenter, SFSU VI Teacher Preparation Program Class

2009 to Present  LCA Teleconference: TVI/COMS & Parent Participant

2007 Blue Mountain Association for the Education of Young Children (BMAEYC)

        Presenter, “Recipes for Learning”  on how to teach pre-literacy skills to young learners

2000 NAD Teacher’s Convention, Dallas, TX

        Presenter, “Hands-on Learning”

        Presenter, “Using Puppets in the Classroom”

1992 NPUC Teacher’s Convention, Walla Walla, WA

        Presenter, “Hands-on Learning”

        Presenter, “Using Puppets in the Classroom”

        Presenter, “Incorporating Service Learning in School”

1991 Teacher’s of English Convention, Spokane, WA

         Presenter, “Teaching the Elements of Literature to Elementary Children”

1991-2001 Primary Sabbath School Leader

1996-2005   Presenter for Kids Connection Workshops for the Upper Columbia Conference

                      of Seventh-day Adventists, Spokane, WA

RELATED COURSES & WORKSHOPS

Grantsmanship: A course in writing successful grants

Top Ten Secrets for Writing Effective Grant Proposals

Theory and Development of Multiple Intelligences

Technology Strategies for Brain-Based Learning

Curriculum Development

Multiple Impairments Vision Impairments

Special Education Administration

Orientation and Mobility

Instructional Strategies in Vision Impairment

Visually Impaired Technology

Intellectual Development and Learning Styles Across the Lifespan

Learning Theory and the Educational Process

The Future Educational Institutions

Educational Philosophy and Changes

Teaching and Learning with Diverse Populations

Classroom Assessment in Education

Learning Theory and the Educational Process

The Future of Educational Institutions: Topics and Trends

The Politics of K-12 Education

Instructional Strategies for the Virtual Teacher

Administration and Leadership of Distance Education Programs

Cortical Vision Impairment by Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy

CVI: Catching Kids Who Fall Between the Cracks by Amanda Hall-Lueck, Ph.D., William V. Good, M.D., and Pia Hoenig, O.D.

Autism & Visual Impairment, California School for the Blind, Lowenfeld & Atkinson Symposium

Voice, Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice in Education

Theory of Language Structure and Acquisition

English Language Literacy Development

Content Based Instruction for Linguistic Minorities

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

2011-2014   CAOMS Conference Committee Chair

2011-Present   Magical Bridge Playground Advisory Committee for children with visual impairments

2009-Present   California Transition Council for People with Disabilities

2000-Present   Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind (AER)

2009-Present   National Federation of the Blind

2009-Present   American Council of the Blind

2008-2010       Association of Children’s Museums 

2009               Foundation Fighting Blindness Bay Area Vision Walk                                                         

2009-Present   Hollister Lion’s Club

2007- 2008    Ambassador for the Walla Walla Chamber of Commerce

2001-2008     Ft. Walla Walla Museum Living History Interpreter & Kid’s Camp Volunteer

2001-2008     4-H Leader & Parent Helper

2001-2002      PTSO Secretary Dixie Elementary School and Scholastic Book Fair Chairperson

2000-2003      Blue Mountain Homeschool Association Leadership Team

2000-2002      Blue Mountain Homeschool Association Field Trip Coordinator

2001-2002      Ft. Walla Walla Museum Leadership Team

2001-2003      Kirkman House Museum Board Member

2000-2002      Awana Assistant at Trinity Baptist Church: Puppets and Story Telling

1993-Present  Foundation Fighting Blindness

INTERESTS AND ACTIVITIES

Puppets, clowning, drama, theater, art, crafts, gardening, sewing, writing, hiking, outdoor activities, health, exercise, creating ways to make learning fun for children, riding horses, biking, family, community involvement

REFERENCES

Available upon request.

ONLINE COURSEROOM PLATFORMS

  • Blackboard
  • Adobe Connect
  • Moodle
  • Wikkis