Special Education Department Staff

Dr. Amy Lambert

Dr. Amy Lambert, Assistant Superintendent

Dr. Lambert has worked in education for 29 years, and prior to joining the Tustin Unified School District, she served as assistant superintendent of special education for the Glendale Unified School District, while she was also the Special Education Local Plan Area director for the Foothill SELPA in Los Angeles County.

Dr. Lambert started her career in education teaching vocational and applied academics curriculum to at-risk students and students with developmental disabilities at the Southern California Regional Occupational Center (ROC). Over the following years, she served as an instructional coordinator for the center, administrator of instructional programs for North Orange County ROP, Assistant Superintendent of the Southern California ROC, and Director of Student and Special Services for the Beverly Hills Unified School District. Dr. Lambert has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Pepperdine University, a master’s degree in occupational studies from California State University, Long Beach, and a doctorate in administration from the University of Southern California.

Cherie Kuntz

Cherie Kuntz, Director

Cherie Kuntz has worked in special education for the past 35 years. She has been with Tustin Unified School District since September 1997. Prior to joining TUSD, she was a Program Director at Fairview Developmental Center in Costa Mesa. Since coming to TUSD she has worked as an RSP teacher, Special Education Facilitator and Special Education Coordinator.

Cherie earned a Master of Science in Education degree at Cal Lutheran University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Ergonomics/P.E. at UC Santa Barbara. She holds an Administrative credential, RSP certification, Moderate/Severe teaching credential and General Education teaching credential.

When not at work, Cherie enjoys time with her family, gardening and reading.

Dr. Ginny Joseph

Dr. Ginny Joseph, PBIS Coordinator

Ginny Joseph has nine years of experience in public education and has worked for TUSD since 2008. She began her career as a school psychologist and currently provides training and technical assistance to the district for Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) implementation, evaluation, and sustainability. Ginny is knowledgeable about Multi-Tiered Behavioral Frameworks, function-based behavioral supports, using data for decision-making, Bully Prevention in PBIS, and group-based behavioral support planning. She is a School-Wide Information Systems (SWIS) facilitator and PBIS Assessment coordinator for the district as well. Ginny is passionate about prevention science, social emotional learning, and providing a safe social climate for students at school.

Ginny holds a Master’s degree in Special Education and her Ph.D. in School Psychology, both from the University of Oregon.

In her spare time, Ginny enjoys reading, watching sports, and laughing/doing crafts/being active with her family.

Shannon Ambuehl

Shannon Ambuehl, Coordinator

Shannon has worked in education for 10+ years. Originally, Shannon received her general education credential and had planned to teach within the general education setting. However, having a child of her own with special needs, Shannon quickly knew that the specialized field of special education is where her heart lies. Soon after receiving her General Education Credential, Shannon pursued her Education Specialist Credential from Azusa Pacific University and began teaching students with special needs at both the elementary and secondary levels within the Fullerton Elementary School District. Shannon then became an Itinerant/TOSA Teacher implementing specialized reading programs and interventions to students with special needs, covering many of Fullerton's sites. She then moved on to supporting special education programs as a Program Specialist for the Fullerton Elementary School District. Shannon joined TUSD this year as a Coordinator in Special Education.

Shannon holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies from The California State University, San Marcos, and a Master’s Degree in Education from The University of California, Riverside. Additionally, she holds an Administrative Credential and an Assistive Technology Certificate. Shannon's real passions in special education lie within special education law, policies and procedures, professional development, assistive technology, and UDL.

In her free time, Shannon enjoys spending time with her two girls, camping, hiking, traveling, cooking, and exploring the field of real estate.

Jennifer Dorkin

Jennifer Dorkin, Coordinator

Jennifer Dorkin has worked in public education for the past 30 years. She has been with Tustin Unified School District since July 1, 2000. Prior to joining TUSD, she served first as a Paraeducator, then a Special Education Specialist and Mentor Teacher for the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools. Since coming to TUSD she has worked as a Special Education Teacher, BTSA Trainer and Special Education Facilitator (from 2002-05 and again, presently).

Jennifer earned her Master of Education degree at Cal State San Bernardino, and attended Cal State Fullerton's Administration and Leadership Program, with a Master of Science in Educational Leadership and Preliminary Administrative Credential in progress.

Jennifer is an avid LA Kings hockey fan and also loves to play in-line and ice hockey. She is passionate about her work with students with special needs, and her volunteer efforts with local and national charities.

Becky Houston

Becky Houston, Facilitator

Becky Houston has been with Tustin Unified School District as a Facilitator for Special Education since October 2011. She holds a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Psychology from the University of California, Davis, as well as a Moderate/Severe Teaching Credential, and a Masters of Arts (M.A.) in Education from California State University, Sacramento.

Becky began her career in education as an instructional aide for a non-public school for autism in Sacramento. After earning her credential, she began teaching in San Juan Unified School District as an Independent Living Skills teacher at the high school level. She later became an Autism Inclusion Specialist in the same district for students Kindergarten through 6th grade. In that position, Becky supported students with Autism in the general education environment throughout their school day.

Becky enjoys spending time with her family and friends, cooking, and eating/discovering new foods.

Allison Ku

Allison Ku, PBIS TOSA

Allison Ku started her career in education in 2007 as a high school English teacher in East San Jose. She has since taught middle school Language Arts and worked as an Instructional Coach who supported teachers in curriculum development and managed the English Learner and Response to Intervention programs at her school site. Allison joined TUSD as a Teacher on Special Assignment for PBIS in 2016.

Allison received her BA in American Studies with a focus on Urban Education from Stanford University. She also holds a MA in Education from Stanford. Allison worked closely with the Stanford Teacher Education Program for many years, as a Cooperating Teacher, Instructional Assistant, and Planning Team Member for a Partnership School.

Allison is passionate about social justice in education. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, reading, and spending time with her family.

Diane Nicholas

Diane Nicholas, Inclusive Schooling TOSA

Diane began her career in special education 10 years ago in the La Habra City School District teaching an autism specific class. She taught students with autism and supported them with mainstreaming for 7 years. After that, she worked as a behavior TOSA for one year. She then went on to become a resource specialist for 2 years. This is Diane's second year at Tustin Unified and her first year as an inclusion TOSA.

Diane earned her bachelor's degree in liberal studies and her master's degree in curriculum and instruction from San Diego State University. She has a multiple subject credential, and education specialist credential. She recently earned a preliminary administrative services credential.

Diane is passionate about working with students with special needs and ensuring their needs are met. She is also focused on sharing UDl strategies and allowing access to the curriculum to all students. In her free time, Diane enjoys spending time with her family, knitting, reading, and baking.

Additional Support:

Nancy Hunter, Secretary II
Raquel Pineira, Adm. Secretary
Diana Markstrum, Secretary II
Adriana Mendez, Secretary IV
Marie Sanchez, Secretary II


SEIS, Transportation
Administrative Secretary
Records, Coordinator Support
Mental Health, PBIS Support
Autism Program Support