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Fourth Cohort Scholars

Bridges Fourth Cohort Scholars.



Mario Boza
 received his undergraduate degree in Exceptional Student Education from Miami Dade College. He has been teaching for 7 years. Currently, Mario works as the MTSS Coordinator and 504 contact at Liberty Middle School in Orange County. For the past 6 years, he taught students with different types of exceptionalities. While in the Bridges program, he hopes to learn more about interventions, strategies and new research to enhance his knowledge on how to better service students with disabilities and provide support for their parents. This program has given Mario the knowledge and skills to move into a leadership role within Exception Student Education. After graduating from UCF, he is hoping to continue his educational career by pursing a PhD within the field of Exception Student Education. Mario encourages others to get involved in Project Bridges because it’s an opportunity that will allow you to grow and meet other like minded people who share the same passion about Exception Student Education.


Yajaira Carratala
received her undergraduate degree in Exceptional Student Education from Florida International University. She has been teaching for 18 years. Currently, Yajaira works as a Staffing Specialist at Hunter’s Creek Middle School in Orange County. She has connected with students across various settings and abilities, from Elementary to High School. She gauged emotional intelligence, provided Maslow’s hierarchical needs and encouraged other “round pegs” to discover their true potential. While in the Bridges program, she hopes to compliment her experience in the field by incorporating the research-based strategies and interventions learned in the program. This program has given Yajaira the knowledge and skills to be able to move into a leadership role within Exceptional Student Education. After graduating from UCF, she is hoping to provide other stakeholders with specific, individualized interventions that will add a critical layer of success for students with disabilities.  Yajaira encourages others to get involved in Project Bridges because it is an amazing opportunity to refuel the passion and drive that lives within educators. 


Jenna Conn received her undergraduate degree in Exceptional Student Education from the University of Central Florida. She has been teaching for 7 years. Currently, Jenna works as a VE-B Primary teacher and serves as one of three coaches for the Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) team at Sabal Elementary in Brevard County. For the past two years, she has taught students with behavior difficulties and helped develop and refine the Tier 2 behavior intervention process within the school’s PBIS system. While in the Bridges program, she hopes to gain an in depth understanding of the RTI/MTSS process and learn about evidence-based interventions in reading and math. This program has given Jenna the knowledge and skills to be able to move into a leadership role within Exceptional Student Education team at Sabal. After graduating from UCF, she is hoping to continue teaching in the ESE classroom and to become more involved in the RTI/MTSS process as a support and resource for Sabal’s general education teachers. Jenna encourages others to get involved in Project Bridges because it is an excellent opportunity to interact with other leaders in the field of Exceptional Student Education. It also provides an opportunity for educators to enhance their skills in academic/behavioral interventions and progress monitoring in the context of the RTI/MTSS process.

Sarah Clem 
received her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Educationfrom the University of Central Florida. She has been teaching for 7 years. Currently, Sarah works as a VE teacher at Durrance/Sally Ride in Orange County. For the past 6 years, she taught students with varying disabilities in primary grades. While in the Bridges program, she hopes to help students close gaps, and increase their time in the highest setting possible. This program has given Sarah the knowledge and skills to be able to move into a leadership role within Exceptional Student Education. After graduating from UCF, she is hoping to work with the most in need students. Sarah encourages others to get involved in Project Bridges because it will help educators to grow personally and professionally and the impacts are far reaching.

Laura Fogarty received her undergraduate degree in Mathematics from Grand Valley State University. She has been teaching for seven years. Currently, Laura works as a Staffing Specialist at Gotha Middle School in Orange County. For the past three years, she taught students with. While in the Bridges program, she hopes to increase her knowledge of instructional methods for teaching students with disabilities in the general education setting. This program has given Laura the knowledge and skills to be able to move into a leadership role within Exceptional Student Education. After graduating from UCF, she is hoping to help lead teachers through the MTSS process at her school.  Laura is also hoping to eventually teach in a post-secondary teacher preparation program. She encourages others to get involved in Project Bridges because it’s a great program where you get to learn with a group of people who are going through the same things you are.



Rachel Keene-Gooden received her undergraduate degree in Communication Disorders from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She has been teaching for 14 years. Currently, Rachel Keene-Gooden works as a Varying Exceptionalities teacher at Highlands Elementary School in Osceola County. For the past 14 years, she taught students with Varying Exceptionalities. While in the Bridges program, she hopes to gain skills and knowledge that will help provide better support and quality interventions for her ESE students. This program has given Rachel Keene-Gooden the knowledge and skills to be able to move into a leadership role within Exceptional Student Education. After graduating from UCF, she wishes to continue teaching Exceptional Student Education in Osceola County and work towards building a better support facilitation model. Rachel Keene-Gooden encourages others to get involved in Project Bridges because it is a great opportunity to learn and grow professionally.




Bridgette Matthews received her undergraduate degree in Education of the Visually Impaired from Florida State University. She has been teaching for 24 years. Currently, Bridgette works as a Student Support Resource Teacher at Windermere Elementary in Orange County. Over the past 24 years, she has taught students with emotional behavior disorders, learning disabilities, other health impairments, orthopedic impairments and intellectual disorders. While in the Bridges program, she hopes to gain knowledge that will help her become a better teacher and resource for not only the students and parents but also for the school. This program has given Bridgette the knowledge and skills to be able to move into a leadership role within Exceptional Student Education. After graduating from UCF, she is hoping to apply the new expertise within the school setting to benefit the students, parents, and teachers.  Bridgette encourages others to get involved in Project Bridges because of the wonderful opportunity to grow as an educator and professional.






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