Sonoma County Office of Education

New Director to Lead Sonoma County Special Education Agencies

05/10/2022 -

Elizabeth EngelkenThe Sonoma County Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) and the Sonoma County Charter SELPA are proud to announce the hiring of Elizabeth Engelken as the new Executive Director of the two agencies. Engelken will be replacing Adam Stein, who is retiring after more than 35 years of service to the students and families of Sonoma and Napa counties.

Engelken was chosen after a rigorous interview process that involved a competitive field of applicants. She has had successful tenures as a school psychologist, director of special education, and SELPA director in both district and county office environments. Engelken is currently the Assistant Superintendent and director of the Yolo County SELPA, where she will continue to serve until she begins her new assignment in Sonoma County on July 1, 2022.

As executive director, Engelken will oversee the agencies’ efforts to provide targeted technical assistance, facilitate collaborative decision-making, and connect families with charter schools and districts to support students with disabilities, their families, and the staff who serve them. The two agencies provide evidence-based, legally sound services and supports.

Those who work with Engelken noted her dedication to the field of special education, her willingness to learn, and her collaboration skills. She also drew high praise for her leadership within the State SELPA Administrators of California.

“Ms. Engelken brings to the role a wealth of experience, extensive knowledge about special education, and a deep commitment to student success,” said Paige Cisewski, CEO of the Charter School of Morgan Hill and chair of the Sonoma County Charter CEO Council. “We are thrilled that she accepted the position and look forward to working with her.”

Chris Rafanelli, chair of the Sonoma County Superintendents' Council, said, “We are excited to have Ms. Engelken bring her diverse array of experience to benefit the children of Sonoma County. We look forward to working with her to continue the Sonoma SELPAs' history of proactive support for our students.”

Engelken expressed excitement about fulfilling a dream of moving to Sonoma County and serving the students, families, and professionals of two highly respected SELPAs.

"I look forward to joining a talented team of special educators, parent leaders, and agency partners to serve the students of the Sonoma County SELPA and Charter SELPA," Engelken said.