LeighAnn Hill, President & Communications Chair


Dreams Do Come True

As a Native Nevadan, born and raised in Reno, I am so excited to have this dream come to fruition and be able to share a wonderful opportunity with educators across the state, nations and internationally. I have and always will be a strong advocate for students with learning differences. During the past thirty years, I have not only increased my knowledge of the field but developed new programs to enhance students with learning differences post-secondary outcomes. Being able to share that knowledge both district and statewide over the years has helped me to understand the need for layers of support and community involvement to assure that we work together to create strategic planning that improves post-second outcomes for our youth. In the process, I met a group of people that I now consider some of my closest friends. These colleagues share a passion and unwavering desire to assure continuous quality transition services throughout the state and led to the joint effort and ability to provide all of you with the 2023 DCDT International Conference in Reno, Nevada, October 18-21, 2023. This event brings to your doorstep collaboration, resources, support and information that will help to improve the post-secondary outcomes of students with learning differences throughout our state. Thank you for allowing us to support you and we are truly looking forward to seeing you in Reno. I am currently the compliance Coordinator & transition specialist for the Elko County School District.

Laurel Winchester, Vice President & Membership Chair


M.Ed Special Education: Intellectual Disabilities, UNR
Special Education: Specialist II (Moderate to Severe Disabilities), National University
NV LEND trainee 2019-2020
NV SEAC North Special Education Representative

I currently live in Stagecoach, NV and currently am a Transition teacher at Picollo, Reno. For the past 5 years I have taught CLS at Silver Stage Middle School, where I was introduced to the Nevada DCDT team and have worked with a variety of state transition programs including NSLTS and Y.E.S (NGCDD). Prior experiences include teaching in Wyoming, Oregon, Washington, and California, in which I have been involved with each of these states transition programs. My vision for NVDCDT would be to spread awareness of the team and invite more transition minded teachers to join our team. Transition is the most critical component of any student’s education starting from the first time they step into school. Preparing students with varying abilities to be active participants in their communities should always be one of our primary focus points.

Laurel Winchester

Sara McGowan, Treasurer & Fundraising Chair


My name is Sara McGowan. My passion, dedication, and unwavering commitment to the betterment of students’ lives and their development as a young adult is what I hope people know about me. With 18 years of teaching experience, all but one in special education, this was the area of education I never thought I would be in. I was never going to work in special ed. Who does that?

Years later, I’ve tried to be a champion for Transition. I’ve spent the past 10+ years working as a Transition Coordinator in Churchill Co. helping students navigate the crucial phase of their educational journey that bridges the gap between school and the real world. This role turned into a passion or maybe an obsession. Ensuring students acquired the life skills necessary to become productive and independent members of society is incredibly rewarding.

Leadership, advocacy and collaboration with other coordinators around the state has been a tremendous part of who I am as a teacher and what I’ve done. No one teaches in a vacuum. We have each other to learn from and steal from. I’ve had great help along the way from way too many people to name. Thank you all. Many of these people I’ve met and worked with as the chair of the Rural Transition Coordinators of Nevada, where we advocate tirelessly for the rights and needs of students with exceptional needs in rural areas. The group has brought about positive change and greater opportunities for students across the state.

My impact goes beyond my own community. I have led six self-studies in my district which included other districts and outside agencies as partners. These incredibly useful self studies, organized by the Transition Coalition, a national organization dedicated to enhancing transition outcomes for students with disabilities has improved compliance and the services students get at our high school. I’m very proud the national organization asked me to collaborate on future projects, solidifying me as a partner for change on a broader scale.

Lastly and probably the thing I’m most proud of, the student-led micro-enterprises run out of our high school. I have established five student-run micro-enterprises. These enterprises not only provide valuable vocational training but also empower students to build self-confidence and independence, which are skills that will help them stay gainfully employed. Seeing the pride these students have when they are employed in our community is all the reward I need.

Trisha Lozano, Secretary


Trisha Lozano is a Special Education Administrator for Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada. She oversees Transition Services, Vision Impairment Services and Transition Academy. This is Trisha’s 7th year as a Special Education Administrator. She worked as an Implementation Specialist within a Teacher on Special Assignment role supporting Special Education teachers during the 2015/2016 school year. Before those roles, she taught special education for 8 years and taught general education 6th grade for two years. Trisha holds a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Special Education from University of the Pacific. Trisha’s vision for Nevada DCDT is to grow in numbers and work collaboratively to support educators in preparing students transition to their post-secondary adult lives. She envisions Nevada DCDT as a resource to promote meaningful life experiences in the areas of community, career development, and self determination to develop independence and purpose for transition age students.

Trisha Lozano

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