Switzer Learning Center staff is a dedicated group of special education teachers, paraprofessionals, therapists, and administrators; each of whom are committed to truly making a difference in the life of each and every student. Bringing a wide variety of personal strengths, interdisciplinary knowledge, and professional services, our staff design and use a variety of appropriate interventions, accommodations, modifications, and techniques to meet the developmental needs and goals of our students.
Rebecca Foo, Ph.D., Executive Director
Dr. Foo joined the Switzer Learning Center in 1988 having earned her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Southern California. Her area of expertise is in the behavioral, social, and academic problems of special education children and adolescents. Initially working with students as a member of the clinical staff, she shifted her focus to administration and became the executive director in 1994. Because of her leadership, Switzer Learning Center has seen many changes and has become a model special education program with a state-of-the-art campus. Dr. Foo was honored as the 2006 California Woman of the Year by the California State Assembly for her work with children with special needs and her leadership in the field of special education. She was also honored in 2010 by El Camino College as a Woman of Distinction and inducted into their Women’s Wall of Fame, by the Daily Breeze in 2011 as a Person of Distinction in Education, and as the California Legislature 2012 Woman of Distinction for the 53rd Assembly District. Since 1998, she has been a member of the board of directors of the California Association of Private Special Education Schools (CAPSES) and has served as CAPSES Regional Coordinator, Board President, and Board Secretary. She is also a member of many professional associations and organizations, including the American, the California, and the Los Angeles County Psychological Associations; the Torrance Community Emergency Response Team; and the American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Services Team; and served as a California Senate Select Committee on Autism and Related Disorders, South Los Angeles Autism Regional Task Force member.
Dr. Foo can be reached at (310) 328-3611 x 337 or [email protected]
Colmcille Coffey, M.Ed., Principal
After working in Northern Virginia as a residential counselor in a diagnostic group home shelter that served abused and neglected teenagers, in 1997 Mr. Coffey earned a Master’s of Education for Students with Serious Emotional Disturbance degree from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Mr. Coffey later completed additional coursework at California State University Dominguez Hills to earn his California teaching credential. He holds a Level II Education Specialist Instruction Credential with the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. In 1999 he began working as a teacher at Switzer Learning Center. While teaching at the center he also served on staff as a Pro-ACT certified safety instructor, led crisis intervention teams, and grew into the role of Mentor Teacher at the center. In 2017, Mr. Coffey became the principal of Switzer Learning Center, after 18 years of service as a teacher on site.
Mr. Coffey can be reached at (310) 328-3611 x 133 or [email protected]
Wendy White, Psy.D., Programs Manager
Dr. White joined the staff in 2005 to start the Spectrum Autism Program and has 12 years of experience increasing the quality of life for children with autism as well as their families. Her dissertation for her Doctor of Psychology degree at Alliant International University San Francisco was on therapeutic school programs for children with autism. After researching best practices in autism across the country, she developed our exceptional Spectrum Autism Program to fill the need for dealing with the core deficits in autism: building relationships and social skills. In addition, to the Spectrum Program, Dr. White was instrumental in creating the new SAIL Transition Program, which prepares older students affected by autism to transition out of the school setting. Dr. White coordinates the training for all staff in two Spectrum and two SAIL classrooms, conducts new student admissions; and supervises students’ academic instruction, behavioral assessment, Individual Educational Plans, and Individual Transition Plans, and oversees treatment planning teams.
Dr. White can be reached at (310) 328-3611 x 334 or [email protected]