Teacher Appreciation Week Special Education Stories: Jennifer Kaufman

To celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, the SJSU Lurie College of Education met with some of its students, alumni, and faculty from the Special Education department to learn more about their journeys into the field of special education – learn about Jennifer Kaufmans’s journey!

Hi my name is Jennifer Kaufman and I am a resource and inclusion specialist in the Menlo Park City School District in Northern California.  I’m very excited to tell my story about special education and how I got into it.  It goes back to 19 years ago when I actually gave birth to a child with trisomy 21 or Down syndrome and was kind of thrown into this world of special education.  I have a background in education but never thought I would ever teach because I thought I’d be a domestic engineer as a mother.  But then I was asked to go back to work by my husband and I thought I better do that so I entered the world of early intervention and just absolutely fell in love with the families that I could help out, having been just a little ahead in the path of having a child with a disability.  Then I developed that into a love of working with families and kids with special needs.  I decided to pursue the education route and went back to school to secure my special education credential in moderate-to-severe.  I’m currently continuing to work with these families on the education level.  I’ve been in special ed preschool and special ed K-5 and I work with children in a challenger baseball league and it’s just become a lifelong passion for me.  I think it all came back to the birth of that little guy with an extra chromosome.  It was a path that I think called to me and that’s my story and I hope you enjoyed it.”

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