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Welcome to the Dickinson ISD Transition Page!

This page is designed to provide parents and teachers with information and resources for students as they transition from public school education to adult settings.  Information regarding the DISD transition instruction program is also provided.  The DISD Transition and Employment Services Designee is Mike Herdman (Office: 281-229-6096).

Link to the Student-Centered Texas Transitions Network - go to this site to download the newly revised resource created by the (SCTN) to assist educators with implementing quality transition services for students with disabilities. The Revised 2021 Texas Transition and Employment Guide can help students with disabilities plan for adult life. The guide contains information about employment, postsecondary education, agency connections, and contacts to obtain additional resources


Link to Assistive Technology & Transition training by Christina Dominy

Mike Herdman, Special Programs Instructional Specialist, is the Transition and Employment Services Designee / Coordinator and lead SEALS teacher.


In this role, Mr. Herdman assists the SEALS 18+ instructors by providing information and resources about transition planning and services. Mr. Herdman ensures communication and collaboration between students, parents and staff of the Health & Human Services Commission, the Texas Workforce Commission, the Department of State Health Services and the Department of Family and Protective Services.


 Mike Herdman

Office: 281-229-6096


Texas Transition and Employment Guide (English/Spanish)


Transition is a collaborative process of planning for a student to transition from a public school educational setting to an adult life. In Texas, we begin this process when a student turns 14 with a conversation at the student's annual ARD meeting. As the student progresses through junior high and high school, the conversation becomes more formal, and will include discussions about vocational interests, class selection, plans for independent study and living after high school, and financial planning. In Dickinson, we have a strong belief in the student's voice in this process and we actively promote self-determination and self-advocacy. Each student's transition plan is very unique and tailored to the individual student. 

For parents:

  • Ask your child the questions on the right, and help them find answers that are true to their voice.
  • Seek as many resources, and get to know the teachers at your child's school.
  • Attend the transition fairs!
  • Talk to other parents!
  • Begin Financial Planning.
  • Ask questions at ARD meetings.
  • Read the document below.


For Students:

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What do I enjoy doing?
  • What paying jobs match what I enjoy doing?
  • What type of training or school do I want to do or go to after high school?  
  • Where do I want to live after high school?


Dickinson ISD Special Education Vocational Classes at DHS:

DHS offers specialized classes in addition to the traditional Career Technology Education (CTE) classes offered. ARD committee placement is required for these courses. Brief descriptions and contact information for the teachers is listed below.

Ms. Sheri Davis is the the Vocational Teacher in the WAVE program at DHS. 

Email:             Office: 281-229-7876

Ms. Davis has 26 years of experience as an educator. She teachers the pre-vocational and vocational skills classes with the goal of helping students prepare for a future work in a trade, craft or profession as well as develop employment maintenance skills. She supervises "classroom and building" jobs such as shredding, filing, develiver, sorting, stocking and inventory management.  Students practice searching for jobs, completing application, interview skills and conflict management.

Mrs. Megan Turner is the Community Based Vocational Instruction (CBVI) Teacher in the WAVE program at DHS.

Mrs. Turner has worked in Special Education in Dickinson ISD for the past 20 years. She teaches CBI/CVBI skills to our DHS Gators.

  • CBI - Community Based Instruction lessons and generalization of skills that we have practicing at school, we visit various job sites.  CBI is an extension of the learning lessons and classroom practice into a real-life setting. 
  •  CBVI-  Community Based Vocational Instruction lessons and generalization of skills that we have practicing at school, we visit various job sites.  We explore and work in various  volunteer roles, trying out different tasks. 
  • Travel instruction:  As much as possible, we use the Connect Transit bus route to teach independence. Mrs. Turner also maintains her CDL and she drives the school bus to various sites to participate in engaging opportunities to learn new skills, work with community members, and practice future employment skills, while giving back to our community. 
DISD 18+ program:  SEALS (Secondary Education and Life Skills):

When an ARD committee determines that a student needs additional transition instruction after the student has finished all required credit classes, DISD offers specialized classes and services - called SEALS (Secondary Education and Life Skills).


Typically, this program is for students who have an intellectual disability, autism or other health impairments that require a significant level of support and a small teacher: student ratio. 

  • Students in the SEALS program will focus on individualized employment and community based instruction that will enable the student to reach their maximum level of independence in self-help and advocacy, accessing public services and transportation, and employability skills with the primary goal of social independence and competitive paid employment. Students will receive the majority of their instruction in a community or employment setting.

  • Brief descriptions and contact information for the teachers is listed below.


Mrs. Ashley Bennett teaches the SEALS 1 class, which is housed at MJHS.

email:               Office:  281-229-7170

Ashley Bennett has worked in DISD as a paraprofessional and now as a teacher for over 9 years. She is known as Ms. Ashley, or Coach to her students and athletes. She has also coached Special Olympics for 6 years.


Mrs. Bennet graduated from Dickinson High school in 2002, and is the mom to three wonderful sons, one of whom is on the autism spectrum.  They are all proud members of Gator Nation.  

Prior to becoming a special education teacher, Mrs. Bennett notes that she informally studied autism and positive behavior training through various parent-trainings. The most significant training I received was the basic understanding of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) at UHCL Autism Center that her son attended for 2 years for behavioral supports.  

As the Seals 1- Independent Life Skills (ILS) Teacher for DISD Special Programs, she addresses student's IEP Transition goals to help students transition to adulthood after successfully completing all high school credits. Student's goals can range from following their hygiene routine to working on pre-vocational tasks that will aid in transitioning into areas such as SEALS 2 Work-Base Learning, a job, day habilitation, etc. (Again, this typically depends on the family supports and services that become available to the student prior to their last year of attendance).


In ILS, the main focus is to provide our students with the skills and access to skills that will potentially help the student, as well as their families, in learning how to maintain a level of self-sustainability in their post-high school life.

Ms. Georgeanna Santarelli teaches the SEALS 2 class, which is housed partially at MJHS and partially at College of the Mainland.

  • email:             Office:  281-229-6790

Ms/Coach George is a proud graduate of DISD, class of 1983.  She attended University of Houston for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees.  She has worked in education for thirty years; 28 of those in public education in special education, and fifteen of those years have been in Dickinson ISD. Coach George has served as a Special Olympics coach for 12 of those years and was previously our Head of Delegation. 

Ms. Santarelli has worked at all levels of special education and has mainly taught students within a self-contained setting, specifically students with Intellectual Disabilities and Emotional Disturbances.  She states,  "I have always worked diligently to allow my students access to education within the general education setting.  Working in the SEALS 2 program provides me the opportunity to endorse this level of student engagement in an academic, community and work environment that often culminates in a job for students upon their graduation from DISD."  

The Gulf Coast Center provides services and supports for individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities that enhance their lives and highlight their strengths.

  • If you need assistance registering  your child with the Gulf Coast Center, you may contact our district social worker, Ms. Jamie Harbuck.


The Gulf Coast Center runs Connect Transit, which offers a range of transportation services in Galveston County, including fixed-route service, ADA Paratransit and shared on-demand service.
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