Coaches serve as consultants, facilitators, and professional development providers. Mid-Valley staff and member districts can request coaching support. Coaches engage in and support a wide variety of activities that align with each district’s mission and goals. Additionally, coaches play a vital role in supporting Mid-Valley programs through:

Professional Development Requests

  • Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Training
  • Initial Certification Training (8 hours)
  • Refresher Course (4 hours)
  • Facilitated IEP through Key2Ed (Initial and Advanced/Refresher)
  • Additional topics include:
  • De-escalation Strategies
  • Foundational Behavior Concepts
  • Paraprofessional Specific Topics
  • Customized professional development to meet unique needs
  • Professional development with opportunities for follow-up coaching to support implementation

Classroom and Individual Student Consultation

  • Observation(s) with feedback
  • Coaching and modeling of effective strategies
  • Curriculum implementation and differentiation of supports
  • Collaborate with teams to promote the success of students by creating a safe, efficient, and effective learning environment
  • Facilitate the process of using data for the identification and implementation of supports that address the instructional and behavioral needs of students
  • Administration of academic and/or behavioral assessments
  • Development of intervention plans in collaboration with a student’s team
  • Coaching focused on implementation of individualized student plans

About Mid-Valley Coaches

Mid-Valley coaches are available for collaboration and consultation to MVSEC programs and member districts when requested. The coaches are experienced educators with credentials that provide a foundation which supports a variety of activities within and beyond the cooperative. 

This background is further enhanced through participation in professional learning specifically designed to develop coaching skills (e.g., Jim Knight, Elena Aguilar, Cognitive Coaching). Mid-Valley coaches strive to adapt and apply the skills they learn to the unique contexts they support.

Our Coaches

Sarah Westberg, Ed.D.

Sarah has served as an instructional/behavioral coach for Mid-Valley Special Education Cooperative for 4 years. Prior to her career with Mid-Valley, she spent 20 years in the teaching field as a general education teacher, special education teacher, and a reading specialist. Sarah earned a B.S. Ed. in elementary and special education (LBS1) from the University of Dayton and an M.A. in reading from Northeastern Illinois University. In 2020, she received her Ed.D. in Curriculum Leadership from Northern Illinois University. Her dissertation focused on elementary teachers’ job satisfaction and intent to remain in the field. 

Jessica Antoniou, M.A., CCC-SLP/L, CAS

Jessica has been a part of Mid-Valley Special Education for 8 years. Prior to becoming an instructional/behavioral coach, she was a Speech-Language Pathologist who worked in many programs throughout the Cooperative. Jessica received her B.S. in Speech and Hearing Science and M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She recently received a Graduate Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders from Arizona State University and is a Certified Autism Specialist.

Bethany Akers, M.A.

Bethany has been a member of the Mid-Valley Special Education Cooperative team for 16 years. Prior to becoming an instructional/behavioral coach she taught students with autism in the New Pathways program at the intermediate and middle school levels. She received a B.S.Ed. in Special Education (LBS1) from Northern Illinois University and an M.A. in Reading and Literacy from Benedictine University. Bethany is currently working towards an M.A. in Applied Behavior Analysis from Northern Illinois University with anticipated completion in fall, 2022. 

Amanda Neubauer, M.A.

St. Charles Community Unit School District 303