Special Services

The mission of the Cartwright Special Services Department, through leadership and collaboration with all stakeholders, is to identify implement and evaluate effective educational programs for students requiring special services based on individual strengths and needs. This is accomplished through communication, training and support of professionals and instructional assistants, ensuring implementation and compliance of special services programs.

To ensure the timely identification of students in need of support, our school staff may screen your child on aspects of your child’s functioning such as hearing, vision, academics, language, behavior, social skills, cognition, perception, and/or motor skills. Screening is an informal process of quickly rating skill strengths and weaknesses. Should you have any questions regarding the screening process, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher or Special Services at 623-691-4090.

Special Education Services

For Special Education Records call 623-691-3971 or fax 623-691-5924

Cartwright's well-trained professional special educators effectively serve a broad range of students eligible for special education services through individualized planning and instruction.

Specialists serving our students with disabilities include special education certified teachers, school psychologists, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, music therapists, teacher specialists, interventionists and instructional assistants trained to serve students, grades Pre K-8 who have at least one of the following conditions: autism spectrum disorder,, developmental delay, emotional disability, hearing impairment, other health impairment, specific learning disability, mild, moderate or severe intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, multiple disabilities with severe sensory impairment, orthopedic impairment, speech/language impairment, traumatic brain injury, visual impairment, as well as preschool moderate delay, preschool severe delay, and preschool speech/language delay. Students must meet eligibility requirements to enroll in a Special Education program.

The Special Services department also includes professionals who specialize in working with students that may need related services. Related services may include speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and/or assistive technology.

The goal of Special Education is to help students become independent learners, to teach learning strategies to prepare them to be successful in their regular classes, and to prepare them for high school and post-secondary experiences. This goal will be achieved through a partnership between student, home and school.

Dr. Cecilia Sanchez
Director of Special Services

Dr. Sanchez has been the Director of Special Services since 2012. She is passionate about equity in education and ensuring children who require special services receive the differentiated instruction they need to reach their fullest potential. Prior to her role as director, Dr. Sanchez was the proud principal of Manuel Peña Jr. Elementary from 2005-2012 and prior to that she served as Cartwright Elementary's assistant principal. Cartwright Special Services is committed to the district's mission and vision makes steps towards making them a reality every day!
Melinda Weible

Melinda Weible
Assistant Director of Special Services

Melinda Weible began her career in the Cartwright School District in January 1999 as a special education teacher. She taught in a resource program at one of the district's K-5th-grade schools for 13 years where she focused on improving educational, behavioral, and social outcomes for students with disabilities. In 2012, Melinda joined the team at Special Services as a Special Education Support Specialist. She mentors new special education teachers in the Cartwright District. She also serves in a leadership role by supporting all special education teachers.
Cammie Solis
Administrative Technician

Before Cammie Solis came to Cartwright she worked for many years in the state of Texas, with the Even Start Early Child and Parent Literacy Program teaching Adult ESL, nutrition and parenting classes. Since coming to work at Cartwright School District in 1997 she has worked as an aide in the classroom, with the Language Acquisition Department and for the past five years has been working with the Special Services Department as an Administrative Technician.
Diana Begazo
Administrative Technician

Both of Diana's children attended Cartwright School District and she first became involved as a parent volunteer and later became an employee in 1998. She enjoys being part of the Special Services department, where she feels she can do her small part to ensure all our students are getting the education they deserve. She especially tries to be available to assist in the sharing of information between special services staff and our Spanish speaking families.
Connie Willis
Administrative Coordinator

Connie's children grew up in the Cartwright School District, and after many years of volunteering at their various school functions, she took the opportunity to apply for a position in Special Services. She has been the district Medicaid Coordinator since 2016. This position is rewarding, as it allows her to ensure children and their families have access to needed services and support.

Marie Belcher
Administrative Technician

Before she came to the Cartwright District to serve as Instructional Assistant in 1989, Marie had been volunteering at Byron A. Barry School as the PTA Treasurer and President as well as Barry Little League Treasurer. In 2006 she became a part of the Language Acquisition Department and in 2008 she transferred to her current position in the Special Services Department. She's been a part of the Cartwright Family for the last 25 years and she couldn’t be happier or prouder.
Julianna Hernandez

Julianna Hernandez
Administrative Technician

In 2008, Julianna worked for the Cartwright School District for the LFI at Starlight Park until 2011. She loves working with kids and helping parents with understanding and knowing about their kids' education. She also went to school for Cosmetology and loves to do makeup and hair. Now, she does both things she loves!
Soledad Regalado
Administrative Technician

Soledad Regalado started as a playground monitor at Cartwright School District. Later, she worked as a librarian assistant and teachers aide combined positions. She enjoyed those years being around kindergarten students. Then, she became part of the Special Services Department where she has been most of the time since she started at Cartwright.
Val Madrid
Administrative Technician

Val Madrid has been with the district for many years. She first started out at the District Child Care Center and later transferred to Special Services where she enjoys assisting our staff and families.
Mary Morrison
Special Services

Mary's experience in education includes 23 years of teaching K–12 special education, general education and college-level classes in school districts in Arizona. Mary has worked as a diagnostician, social-emotional learning specialist and was Director of Alternative Education for another school district. Her personal and professional goal is to help all individuals reach their fullest potential.
Kate Garis
Kate Garis
Gifted Specialist

Kate Garis is the Gifted Education Specialist for the Cartwright Elementary School District. This is her 17th year in Cartwright. Kate worked at John F. Long Elementary School for eight years and this is her ninth year working in the Gifted Department. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Ottawa University and a Masters of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from ASU.
Photo of Kesha Nosov

Dr. Kisha Nosov
Psychologist on Special Assignment, District Out-Placement Coordinator

Dr. Nosov has been at Cartwright for 4 years. As the Psychologist on Special Assignment, she oversees students in Private Placements, serves on the district PBIS Team as well as advocates for and represents the School Psychologists on all of our campuses.
Kyle Martinez
Behavior Support Specialist

This is Kyle's first year in the Cartwright School District. Previously he worked in Avondale as a special education teacher. He has his undergraduate degree in psychology and education and has his Master's in special education. He absolutely loves working with behavior and finding out what makes kids tick.
Kristie Sharer
Move on When Reading Coordinator

Kristie grew up in Western New York. She and her husband are raising two girls, two cats and two guinea pigs. She holds a Master's in Early Childhood Education. She has been teaching for 19 years, the last 10 have been with Cartwright. She taught preschool, kindergarten, 1st, 3rd, 6th grade and reading intervention.
Kayla Busse
Gifted Resource Teacher

Kayla Busse has been in education for ten years! She found her enthusiasm for gifted education as a classroom teacher in a neighboring district. She worked with a team of educators to develop a gifted education program to support the gifted students in that district. She has been lucky enough to spend her last five years in the educational field here in the Cartwright School District working with identified gifted students and the teachers who strive every day to provide the best for them. She is passionate about education and ensuring that each student gets exactly what he or she needs at that moment. She cannot wait to see what this year brings.

Nicole Biden
Gifted Resource Teacher

Nicole Belden has been teaching for 17 years. In the last 11 years she has worked with gifted students as a cluster classroom teacher as well as serving as the gifted site coordinator in her previous district before coming to Cartwright as a Gifted Specialist. Originally, she is from Michigan where she attended Eastern Michigan University with a triple minor in Early Childhood Education, Science, and Language Arts. She also attended Arizona State University for her master's work in gifted education. Nicole has been married for 14 years and has one daughter.

Cathy Field
Cathy Field
Gifted Resource Teacher
Cathy has an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus in Reading. She earned her bachelor's from Eastern Michigan University and moved straight to Arizona to teach. This will be Cathy’s eleventh year in Education and the fifth year working for Cartwright. She is joining the gifted team from Sunset School. Gifted education became her passion when she moved to the Cartwright School District and earned her full endorsement. Cathy’s mission is to inspire a lifelong love of learning in her students’ hearts by showing how learning can be fun and exciting. She looks forward to supporting our amazing students and staff in the gifted program.  
Christa Schwaiger
Gifted Resource Teacher

Christa Schwaiger has her Master's in Curriculum and Instruction. She is certified in Arizona, Texas and Utah, and holds endorsements in Gifted/Talented Education and English as a Second Language. This is her ninth year as an educator and she has taught in both public and private schools, stateside and overseas. She is a native Arizonan but has taught as far away as Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Before becoming a teacher, she served in the Navy as an airborne linguist and cryptanalyst and enjoyed traveling and exploring other cultures. She is excited to share this school year with your child and looks forward to becoming partners with you in their learning. Please feel free to email her with any questions, concerns or celebrations you have throughout the year.

Gina Murphy
Special Ed. Support Specialist

Gina Murphy began her career in the Cartwright School District in August 1999 as a special education teacher. She taught within the resource setting for 4 years and then ventured on to teach a self-contained cross-categorical classroom for 8 years. In 2011, Gina joined Special Services in her current role as a Special Education Support Specialist. Additionally, she has been a crisis prevention trainer for the district providing de-escalation strategies and safe techniques to staff members for several years.

Shawn Little
Special Ed. Support Specialist

This is Shawn's 5th year working at Cartwright School District. He was previously a resource teacher at Estrella Middle School before becoming Special Education Support Specialist at the district office. I am also one of the district trainers of the Crisis Prevention Institute.
Autumn White
Special Ed. Support Specialist

Autumn has been serving the Cartwright Elementary School District since the 2007/2008 school year, where she began her teaching career as a resource teacher at Frank Borman Elementary School. After two years, she transitioned to Marc T. Atkinson Middle School, where she served as a resource teacher and Special Education Department chairperson. From there, she moved into her current position of Special Services Specialist, where her role has been to provide ongoing training, coaching and support in all aspects of the continuum of services we provide at Cartwright across varying campuses across the district. She is currently enrolled in a Doctoral Studies program for K-12 Educational Leadership, in hopes that she can better serve the Cartwright Elementary School District in a more global leadership capacity.
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