Administrators

Michelle Kerrigan, MA Ed

Director of Education

Michelle Kerrigan has been an educator for over fourteen years in the states of California and Maine. She has taught grades 2 through 12, and is a specialist in delivering multisensory and developmentally appropriate education for students impacted by ADD/ADHD, learning differences, anxiety, depression, emotional disturbance and Autism. Michelle is a passionate educator with a proven record of success in many roles.

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She is committed to the progress of both her students and her staff. Michelle has consistently worked to remove barriers to learning, helping children and teens increase their resiliency. She is currently enrolled at the USC Rossier School of Education pursuing a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership.

Elin Bradley, BS

Director of Therapeutic Schools and Residential Programs

Elin is the Director of The Help Group’s Therapeutic Schools, including Westview School, North Hills Prep and Parkhill School. She also provides oversight to Project Six/The Commons, The Help Group’s residential treatment program. She received her B.S. in Social Work. 

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After graduation, she began working as a Program Administrator in a residential treatment center with foster youth and provided oversight for a Foster Family Agency. For the past 19 years, Elin has served as an Administrator of non-public schools. Elin joined the Help Group in 2011 and has been a positive force in creating programs that enable students to discover their passions.

Cheryl Myers, MA Ed

Administrative Principal

Cheryl Myers is the Administrative Principal at Westview School. She received her B.A in Communications from the University of Missouri in Kansas City in 1992, a Moderate/Severe Credential in Special Education from the University of Houston in 1995, and a Moderate/Severe Credential in Special Education from the state of Texas. She also received an M.A. in Special Education with an emphasis on Behavior Modification from California State University, Northridge in 1999, and holds a California Moderate/ Severe Credential in Special Education. 

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She was the Principal at Westview for ten years prior to it becoming a school of The Help Group. Cheryl has been working with students with special needs for twenty-three years. She taught in both the HISD (Houston Independent School District) and LAUSD as a special education teacher for several years. She was also instrumental in developing an after school program for adjudicated youth in Kanas, where she was the Program Director of Elm Acres.  As the Director, she was charged with developing and implementing several educational lessons for the youth, as well as advocating for the families and acting as a liaison between the court system and the families.

Christa Occhiogrosso, LMFT, AFR

Assistant Clinical Director

Christa studied at the School of Visual Arts, NY and obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts and went on to earn her MA in Marital and Family Therapy/Clinical Art Therapy. Christa began working at The Help Group Child and Family Center in 1999 as an outpatient therapist and day treatment coordinator. She transferred to Village Glen West School in 2003 where she provided psychotherapy services, clinical supervision, and trainings on the Clinical Applications of Art Therapy.

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In her current position at Westview, she oversees the clinical department, provides clinical supervision and facilitates coordination between the clinical and educational teams in order to best meet our students’ social and emotional needs.

Annette Semedo Jordan, BA

Dean

Annette was the Dean of Westview for more than 33 years prior to it becoming a school of The Help Group. She has always had a knack for knowing exactly what is required in order to motivate youth to make life-altering decisions that propel them into a more positive academic future.

Neil Schwartz, MBA

Consultant— Community Partnerships

Neil Schwartz is a career market-researcher & consultant, having provided consumer-focused growth recommendations to Fortune 500 clients. All the while, Neil mentored some of the brightest young talents in the field in disciplines of analysis, presentation, and writing. His career spanned the largest market information organizations: Kantar (both TNS and Millward Brown) and Ipsos ASI.

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Neil recently realized a life-long dream and pivoted to applying his career-honed skills to the social good. He currently consults on community outreach for Westview School, helping create better life outcomes for bright students with neurobiological differences by raising exposure to STEM and art-related careers and practitioners.

Faculty

Julie Franzen

Administrative Teacher

Julie earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work & Sociology. She moved to Los Angeles in 1997 where she began working as a teaching assistant and earned her Teaching Credentials from California State University, Northridge. She has been teaching in special education for more than 25 years.

Michelle Yaghoubzadeh, MS

Teacher Specialist

Michelle Yaghoubzadeh (“Ms. Y”) received her Bachelor of Arts in History and minor in Education, from UCLA in 2014. Afterwards, she headed to the east coast to attend Hunter College in New York where she  received a Master of Science in Adolescent Education.  Michelle is a Los Angeles native and first-generation American.

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She has wanted to be a teacher her whole life and used to play “teacher” with her younger sister when they were kids by reviewing her sister’s homework with her on Michelle’s whiteboard at home.  Michelle’s roots as a teacher extend even further than playtime with her sister, as her father was also a teacher in Iran, where he taught math. Michelle is truly looking forward to guiding and teaching your children.

Elizabeth Angel, BS

Instructional Teacher’s Assistant/Substitute Credential

Elizabeth earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA. She volunteered at local schools in the community as an assistant teacher her first two years in college. During her last two years of college, she worked as a tutor and mentor through the Humboldt County Office of Education.

Pascal Nittis, MA

Teacher

Pascal has a Bachelor’s in English from the University of Indianapolis and a Master’s in Humanities from California State University, Dominguez Hills. He has worked in education for ten years including coordinating a program for gap year students at a study abroad program in Greece, managing a tutoring center in Connecticut, and teaching and tutoring at various schools in Los Angeles. Outside of the classroom, Pascal loves to curl up on his couch with a good book and travel all over the world.  

Yaheema Zerbib, MS

College Counselor

Yaheema Zerbib is the College Counselor for Westview. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Global Studies from the University of California, Riverside.  She also obtained her Master of Science degree along with a Pupil Personnel Services Credential from California State University, Long Beach. Yaheema is bilingual (English and Spanish) and has over 3 years of Pupil Counseling experience. Prior to that, she was a Behavior Interventionist for 3 years. She is passionate about college and career counseling and is elated to join the Westview community.

Antonio Varela

Visual Arts Teacher/Instructional Teacher’s Assistant/Substitute Credential

Andrew Steadman

Performing Arts & Technology Teacher’s Assistant/Substitute Credential

Andy Steadman earned his Bachelors degree in Theatre from Illinois State University with a minor in vocal music and four years performing with the Illinois State Madrigal Singers. Since relocating to Los Angeles, he has interned at A Noise Within and Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum and performed at numerous theaters.

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Andy became interested in teaching theatre, film, and television to school age students after volunteering with Young Storytellers Foundation and learned technological skills from Open Source Classroom, LLC. He brings these into the performing arts program with Innovation Lab projects in 3d Printing, VR, and Musical Instrument Construction.

Matt Murphy

Science Teacher

Matt Murphy received his Bachelor of Science in biology at the University of Kansas, then completed a Masters in Science degree in neurobiology at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. Before coming to Westview, he spent ten years running a small private tutoring company in the south bay focused on the STEM fields. Outside the classroom, he recently got engaged and is working on his first novel.

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Andy became interested in teaching theatre, film, and television to school age students after volunteering with Young Storytellers Foundation and learned technological skills from Open Source Classroom, LLC. He brings these into the performing arts program with Innovation Lab projects in 3d Printing, VR, and Musical Instrument Construction.

Christina Lopez

Teaching Assistant

Christina grew up in the City Of Compton and has been an instructional aide at Westview School for fourteen years. She enjoys working and helping our young adults as they navigate through their high school experiences and challenges.

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The blockage to Love is low self-esteem, poor communication skills and poor coping skills. Satir believed that self-esteem can be built, that communication can be taught, and that coping skills can be improved. Michal agrees with this very strongly. What a better time than adolescence to learn the tools needed to become a functioning and healthy adult.

Brandon Romero

Teaching Assistant

Brandon graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2015. He works as a teaching assistant in the middle school and PE teacher for the high school. If Brandon could eat one meal every day it would be Pizza. He enjoys listening to music and going on hikes in his free time.  If Brandon could travel anywhere in the world it would be Greece or Japan.

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The blockage to Love is low self-esteem, poor communication skills and poor coping skills. Satir believed that self-esteem can be built, that communication can be taught, and that coping skills can be improved. Michal agrees with this very strongly. What a better time than adolescence to learn the tools needed to become a functioning and healthy adult.

Clinical Department

Craig Cacek, MA, PPS

School-Based Counselor

Craig obtained his BA in psychology, his MA in counseling psychology, and his Pupil Personnel Services Credential with a specialization in school counseling. Craig started his counseling career with The Help Group, acquiring five years of residential treatment experience. He has worked as a school counselor for the last 28 years, including seven years as an administrative consultant. In his spare time, Craig enjoys playing golf on the weekends.

Billy McGuire

School-Based Counselor

Billy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and has been working at The Westview School for more than twenty years. Billy believes that respect for the student and taking the time to understand their own unique process is essential to developing a trusting and supportive relationship. It is his goal to support students as they navigate the challenging tasks of meeting academic expectations and belonging to a school community. He enjoys watching students gain greater awareness about themselves and the people they want to become.

Einat Shuk

School-Based Counselor

Einat Samana graduated with her Master’s degree in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University and she is currently an MFT associate in Westview School. She has 11 years of experience working as a licensed MFT in Israel for schools, non-profits, and family therapy agencies. Einat believes that the key to working with teenagers is to connect with them by meeting them where they are at, in a non-judgmental environment which demonstrate respect, listening, sensitivity and openness.

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Einat focuses on student strengths and helps them discover areas of interests and passions. Once they own their strengths it is easier for them to deals with their area of weaknesses. Einat also believes in using a variety of creative techniques that promote both verbal and nonverbal expression to increase student engagement while allowing teenage clients to communicate their thoughts, behaviors, and feelings which start their journey of awareness.