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Stephanie Schlatter: Valley’s new associate dean

The dean’s goal is to maintain student enrollment and provide resources to disabled students.

By Natalie Metcalf, Valley Life Editor

Stephanie Schlatter was appointed as the new associate dean for the Valley College Services for Students with Disabilities Office. (Jeremy Ruiz/The Valley Star)

Valley College shot an arrow through the bullseye when hiring Stephanie Schlatter as acting associate dean of services for students with disabilities.

Being a mother of a disabled son gave her a push to change her career path from finance to special education. The amateur archer has previously worked in the district, with past jobs at Pierce College, Santa Monica College and Compton College. Schlatter plans to provide opportunities for disabled students on campus, with the hopes of increasing enrollment, in person courses and student engagement.

“I changed my career midway when I found out my son had a disability,” said Schlatter. “I went into special education and got a masters degree and served my second career in the disability field.”

The new dean of services is an active person, as she has hobbies including cycling and archery. She enjoys practicing her hobby at Van Nuys’ Woodley Park. Schlatter plans to take classes at Valley in the near future; whether the subject is archery, pilates or rock climbing.

At Pierce, Schlatter assisted students in the transfer process and finding jobs in the career center. She has worked in many college environments in the community college district, helping students find resources for transferring as well as job security.

Schlatter finds working for students with disabilities unique and interesting as she recognizes the difference in students' strengths and weaknesses. The new dean wants to show respect to every Monarch, no matter where their disability lands on the spectrum. Her main goal is to promote academic success among students and help them achieve their educational goals.

The associate dean has raised two sons, one of which has a disability. Both of her children have graduated from Cal State Long Beach and are in the workforce.

“My greatest achievement is being a mother,” said Schlatter. “But also being able to advocate and learn how I could best help my son and maintain his independence and his ability to live his life as he chooses.”

Originally, Schlatter was a social science and business major at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. Before transferring, Schlatter was a community college student at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo and was not sure what she wanted to major in.

“When I was in college in the ‘80s, there weren’t as many counselors available,” said Schlatter, looking back at her academic career. “It wasn’t as clear as I think I would have liked it to be, so I’m really impressed now that our students really do know how to get online and look up things and find out what kind of things will benefit them.”

The dean can relate to students in the present day, as she was a community college student who transferred to a four year institution. Only one month into her new job, Schlatter is assessing the resources the program has and is excited to connect with students by providing more benefits to the Students with Disabilities program.

“My goal is to grow our program, get students back and ready to be face to face with their teachers,” said Schlatter. “For those choosing online classes, I want to make sure they have the technology skills that they need to be successful.”


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