Teresa Berden Clarkson has a well established and admirable career working with students with disabilities. She first began teaching 20 years ago at a Western Michigan University with student services. She progressed to St. Clair County Community College – first as a Placement Specialist and then as a Career Counselor, continuing on the Macomb Community College as a Special Services Counselor. Teresa then took a detour back to secondary education in Grand County School District in Utah where she works as a Special Educator and CTE Career Coach. Teresa’s current job responsibilities include counseling students in CTE pathways and Program of Study; surveying CTE graduates; collaborating with secondary, post-secondary, and industry partners; promoting College & Career Readiness Standards; coordinating the Grand County High School Annual Career Fair; advocatingfor CTE scholarship applicants; and assisting with Work-Based Learning Opportunities.
I serve a diverse range of students – exceptional learners, CTE technical students, at-risk populations, and gifted/talented from middle school to college age adults.
When asked what has been the most important development in Transition, Teresa states that,
new online transition assessment tools which allow teachers to gather transition data and compare results from student, teacher, and a parent prospective. The most positive things about working in Transition are when the joy you see on the face of students when they get their first job or get a paid internship position. Every student should experience the sense of accomplishment for achieving a goal such as graduation or other milestone.
Teresa feels that the biggest challenge in her work with Transition students is often not with students, but with family members.
It is important for students to play an active role in their transition process; therefore, parents often struggle with letting their child set a goal for themselves for the first time. Parents occasionally need support/coaching on how to help students create realistic, achievable goals.