Director of Training
Katherine McLaughlin, M.Ed.
Katherine is certified as a sexuality educator by AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists) and is the Founder of Disability Workshops, now Elevatus Training, LLC. She is the Lead Trainer, delivering many of our live and online trainings. She also supervises our team of adjunct trainers. Katherine is the author of Sexuality Education for People with Developmental Disabilities curriculum and develops Elevatus’s educational materials and resources for professionals and self-advocates. (read her full bio here)
Meet Our Team of Adjunct Trainers
Becky Reitzes, MA
Becky Reitzes, MA, has been a Family Planning Health Educator with her County Public Health Department since 2001, where she works to institutionalize sexual health education and reduce teen pregnancy and STD rates across the County. Becky is an author of the FLASH curriculum, a widely used sexual health education curriculum developed by Public Health – Seattle & King County and designed to prevent teen pregnancy, STDs, and sexual violence. FLASH is available for elementary, middle, high school and special education classrooms. Becky is also an author for the redesigned KNOW curriculum, Washington State’s HIV prevention curriculum.
Becky has over 20 years of experience in providing professional development trainings, conducting community outreach, developing culturally relevant materials and curricula and educating young people. Becky also has extensive knowledge of curriculum development, project management, and reproductive healthcare. Becky provides training and technical assistance to healthcare providers, community agencies, school district staff and young people around many sexual health issues, including teaching comprehensive sexual health education, working respectfully with LGBTQ individuals, and sexual violence prevention.
Oscar Hughes M.Ed.
Oscar Hughes, M.Ed. started his career as a special education teacher for high school and transition-age students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, where he sought to create a classroom and school environment that was inclusive to trans and gender-diverse students. He also advised the high school’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA), which included students with and without disabilities. Oscar is now pursuing a PhD in special education at Boston University, where his research focuses on supporting LGBTQ+ adults with I/DD to express their gender and sexuality. He works part-time as the assistant to the Rainbow Support Groups and as an adjunct trainer for Elevatus Training.
Molly K. Rearick, EdD, CESP
I am Founder and Executive Director of IGNITE Collective, Inc. a California non-profit organization that supports teens and adults with developmental disabilities through one-on-one community-based services. We support people in going to college, working, advocating for themselves, being active in their communities, going on adventures, and all sorts of real-life activities. IGNITE was founded in 2013 and currently supports about 150 people each year in Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, and Mono Counties.
I also teach part time in the Graduate School of Education at California State University, Northridge; am an Educational Consultant focusing on transition to adulthood, inclusive education, and communication support; am a Board Member and current President of Cal-TASH; and serve on Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra’s Advisory Council. In my free time I conduct qualitative research around supported communication. I love anything and everything outdoors – hiking, swimming, skiing, backpacking, mountain biking, snowshoeing, you name it. I also enjoy cooking, listening to audiobooks, and going on adventures. I split my time between Los Angeles and Mammoth Lakes, California.
Wanda Douglas, CPSP
I spent many years as a Manager of a Mortgage Company and a Regional Vice President of an Insurance and Investment Company. I thoroughly enjoyed teaching and educating individuals about money and preparing for their financial future. It wasn’t until I became the foster parent and later an adoptive parent of a child with special needs, that I realized my love for teaching and educating would take my life into an entirely new direction.
Today, I am married with three beautiful adults who call me mom. I am a Nationally Certified Family Partner Coordinator, Trainer, Advocate, Conference Speaker, Program Director and Consultant. I work with and advocate for youth and families with social, emotional, financial, intellectual and behavioral challenges whose social determinants have oftentimes led them to be involved with multiple child serving systems. My “Lived Experience” has allowed me to bring awareness and education to decision makers on all levels, from government officials to local and statewide agencies, providers and individuals to bring positive changes in policies and procedures which addresses the social determinants in the lives of children, youth and families.
In sharing a different perspective, one of my goals is to support families and systems as they move toward youth and family engagement which has the potential to address matters as prevention versus intervention. I have been able to forge productive partnerships with leadership, policy makers, agencies and organizations to create a better future for youth and families. I am excited to be on the Elevatus Team and support this very important work. Our families deserve every opportunity to grow and learn to be the best they can be regardless of any disability.
Rachel Kaplan, MPH
Rachel Kaplan, MPH, is an independent consultant with Kintsugi Consulting, LLC focusing on disability consultation for communities and organizations. She has extensive experience working with reproductive health education, the homeless population, youth with disabilities, mental health awareness, suicide prevention, sexual assault and domestic violence advocacy, wellness programming, crisis intervention, and diabetes education/awareness for all ages regarding type 1 and type 2. Rachel has created, implemented, and provided curriculum, programming, and technical assistance for various youth programs and has spoken at state-wide and national conferences in a professional capacity.
Rachel Schwartz, PhD, BCBA-D
Rachel Schwartz, PhD, BCBA-D has worked internationally creating and supervising programs for individuals with disabilities across the lifespan. Dr. Schwartz received her Master’s degree in Teaching and Applied Behavior Analysis from the University of Georgia and her Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Pittsburgh. Her work as a consultant and trainer includes teaching behavior analytic strategies and exploring issues related to sexual education and quality of life. Dr. Schwartz has published original research on these topics in special education journals as well as presented at national, state, and local conferences. With her organization Behavior Goals, Dr. Schwartz shares her over 15 years of experience working in special education to empower students, families, and professionals (www.behaviorgoals.com).
Laura H. Pace, MS, LMT
Laura H. Pace, MS, LMT is a Health Educator, Wellness Specialist, and Licensed Massage Therapist. She has worked in the fields of Health and Wellness for over 25 years and has a Master of Science in Health Education. Over the last decade she has taught several college courses in NH, MA, and NY, and currently teaches courses in Healthy Relationships and Human Sexuality. Laura is the owner of All Ability Wellness, LLC in East Setauket, NY where she provides individual and small group health education community classes. As the parent of a child with special needs, Laura is devoted to health promotion and disease prevention by educating and supporting all of the families she works with.
Bekkah Abeyta (she, her, hers)
Bekkah has been working in sexual health for over nine years. Throughout her career, she has focused on education, community organizing, professional development and program design. Bekkah has become a leader innovating program design along with furthering what professional development can be. Her passion for inclusive and engaging sexual health spaces and experience with sex education programming for youth with disabilities have led her to curriculum adaptation work she does with Elevatus. Over the years she has also worked with BeforePlay.org, Planned Parenthood of the Rockies Mountains, Denver Health Hospital, and the Trailhead Institute. In her free time she loves traveling, cooking and camping with her pup!