A dedicated Leadership Team of expert educators
We believe that leadership begins with vision, commitment, collaboration, and extensive knowledge of the goals and methods necessary to realize the vision.
TIEE’s leadership team consists of experts in educating K-12 students across the full range of potential and in training professionals and paraprofessionals to the highest level of teaching skill. Members of our team average more than 25 years of service to the teaching profession. We are committed to providing strong, positive leadership for our schools in order to realize our vision and fulfill our mission.
Dr. Traupmann is a behavior analyst, educator, and teacher trainer. His baccalaureate is from Valparaiso University (1964) and he received training as a research psychologist at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, from which he received his Ph.D. in 1970. He subsequently undertook postdoctoral research fellowships at the University of Texas in Austin and at New York University Medical Center, at which he also completed a clinical psychology internship.
While on the faculty of UCSD, Dr. Traupmann was conducting educational research at TIEE’s Children’s Workshop when he was offered the opportunity to become the organization’s Executive Director, a position he has held since January 1983. He brought to TIEE the “catch ‘em being good” philosophy and the study of the science of behavior.
Dr. Traupmann has held teaching and research positions at the University of Texas, New York University Medical School, Rockefeller University, and the University of California San Diego. He has taught theory and application of behavior analysis in psychiatric and educational settings as well as in numerous university courses.
Dr. Traupmann is expert in the teaching methods that have received extensive research validation, about which he has taught in many workshops both locally and internationally, as well as in courses at San Diego State University. He coaches TIEE personnel in instructional design, teaching methods, functional analysis of behavior, and behavior intervention planning in addition to mentoring research efforts of staff members.
In 1994, Dr. Traupmann was honored by the Association for Direct Instruction for his efforts as an administrator in implementing Direct Instruction programs across all of TIEE’s schools and, in the same year, he was honored by local chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children as Administrator of the Year. In 2009, Dr. Traupmann was honored by the Wing Institute in recognition of his work in the development, implementation, and sustainability of a data-based decision making organization.
Dr. Traupmann is past-president of the California Association of Private Special Education Schools (CAPSES) and has served on numerous California and national task forces concerning issues in education, including the certifying of teaching personnel.
Dr. Suzy Fitch, received her B.A., M.Ed. in Counselor Education, M.Ed. in Special Education, and Ed.D. in Leadership from the University of San Diego. She holds a California Multiple Subjects credential, a Special Education credential, a Pupil Personnel Service credential, and she is a Marriage Family Therapist.
Dr. Fitch’s dissertation was the first systematic research to show that adolescents with learning and behavior problems could be taught to teach important academic and social skills to young children with learning and behavior disabilities.
Dr. Fitch joined the staff of TIEE in 1983 as a school counselor and was promoted to the position of Director of the Urban Skills Center in 1984 when that school first opened. In 1989, she was promoted to TIEE’s Director of Schools and, in 1999, she was promoted to Executive Director of Programs and Personnel. In addition to her administrative duties, Dr. Fitch mentors and supervises TIEE’s school administrators.
For 22 years until her recent retirement, Dr. Fitch taught methods classes in special education at the Calexico campus of San Diego State University. She also served as the principal trainer of special education teacher coaches in a Federally funded project designed to improve the use of evidence based methods throughout the 14 school districts in California’s immense and sparsely populated Imperial County. Dr. Fitch has conducted workshops both locally and internationally on staff supervision and effective educational methods, including how to teach social skills and school-wide procedures.
Her teaching at SDSU’s Imperial Valley campus garnered her the Most Influential Faculty Member of the Year award in 2009. In the same year, she was awarded the Wing Institute Award in recognition of her work in the development, implementation, and sustainability of a data-based decision making organization.
Dr. Fitch serves on the Advisory Board of the Autism Specialization program of San Diego State University’s Department of Special Education, and she is Past President of the California Association of Private Special Education Schools (CAPSES) for which she currently serves on the Governmental Affairs Committee.
Dr. Lounsbury, TIEE’s Medical Director since 1994, completed her undergraduate education at Harvard University. Her medical degree and fellowship training in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics was obtained at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Lounsbury is board certified in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.
Until 2005, Dr. Lounsbury directed TIEE’s Center for School Problems, which evaluated and treated children with learning problems and provided training for their families.
In addition to her work at TIEE, Dr. Lounsbury evaluates children at Kaiser Permanente’s John Richards Learning Center and she is Volunteer Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the UCSD School of Medicine.
Mike Collins, B.A.
Director, Mt. Helix Academy
Mike Collins received his B.A. in History/Education from Ramapo College of New Jersey, and he is currently completing study for his M.S. in Special Education at National University. He holds a California single subject credential in Social Sciences.
Mr. Collins began his teaching career in 1986 with Middle School students in both private and public schools in New Jersey. In 1998, he began teaching for TIEE in the COOK Adolescent Program. In that same year, Mr. Collins transferred to TIEE’s Coleman Preparatory School (now Mt. Helix Academy). Once there, he taught students in the Primary, Elementary and Middle School Modules. In 1999, Mike began coordinating Coleman Prep’s summer program and he was promoted to Middle School Module Coordinator. Just two years later, in 2001, his teaching so impressed his colleagues that he was awarded Professional of the Year by TIEE’s Board of Directors.
In 2007, Mike was promoted to Assistant Director of Mt. Helix Academy and, in 2010, he was promoted to Director. At the annual staff function in 2019, Mr. Collins was recognized for 20 years of service to TIEE.
Jen Swope, M.S.
COOK Education Center & Urban Skills Center
Jen Swope received her B.A. in Elementary Education from Salisbury State University in Salisbury, Maryland, and her M.S. in Special Education from National University. As an undergraduate, she was President of Pi Kappa Phi Honor Society and she graduated cum laude. Ms. Swope holds a California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and the Level II Education Specialist Credentials for both Mild/Moderate and Moderate/Severe.
Ms. Swope began her career at TIEE in 2001 as a paraprofessional at COOK Education Center. She was promoted to a special education teacher position the following year, a position she held for three years before she was promoted to Program Coordinator. In 2008, Ms. Swope was promoted to Lead Coordinator of COOK Education Center, and, as of November, 2010, she has served as Director of COOK Education Center. In 2012, Ms. Swope also took on duties as Director of TIEE’s Urban Skills Center.
Hillary Whiteside earned her B.S. in Psychology from San Diego State University and M.S. in Special Education from National University. She holds a Professional Clear Multiple Subjects credential with CLAD and a Professional Clear Moderate/Severe Education Specialist credential. Ms. Whiteside completed coursework for the BCBA at the University of North Texas.
Ms. Whiteside began her career in education with TIEE as a direct service paraprofessional and, on completing her program of teacher training, she was promoted to classroom teacher. In 2001, Ms. Whiteside was promoted to Program Coordinator and then to Director of Children’s Workshop in 2006.
In addition to her duties at TIEE, Ms. Whiteside also teaches in San Diego State University’s Department of Special Education and serves as Practicum Supervisor in the Masters in Autism Program. She also is a member of that program’s Advisory Board. Ms. Whiteside is expert in teaching behavioral supports for the classroom, in supervising and coaching teachers who are implementing ABA methods, and in developing educational programs for young children with developmental disabilities, including autism.
Because of her expert teaching of students with challenging special needs, Ms. Whiteside was awarded TIEE’s Professional of the Year in 2000. At TIEE’s annual staff awards function in 2018, she was acknowledged for 20 years of service to the organization.
Ken Traupmann, Ph.D.
Suzanne Fitch, Ed.D.
Barbara Lounsbury, M.D.
Mike Collins, B.A.
Jen Swope, M.S.
Hillary Whiteside, M.S., BCBA