The Special Programs Department is located on the ground floor of the Downtown Library Building at 925 Felix Street. Contact us by phone at 816-671-4000.
This office supervises the following areas: Counseling Services, Early Childhood Programs, ESOL Services, Homebound Instruction, Families in Transition, Parents as Teachers, Section 504, Special Education Services, and Volunteer Services.
Early Childhood Services
Families in Transition Information
Families in Transition Community Resources
Foster Care Liaison
Local Plan for Compliance
Parent Bill of Rights
Special Education Documents
Special Education Services available to Eligible Non-public students
Dr. Michele Thomason
Director of Special Programs
Dr. Thomason received her Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership and Communication from Northeastern University. She earned her M.A. in Educational Administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and her B.S. in Elementary Education from Texas A&M University-Commerce. Dr. Thomason’s prior administrative experience includes appointments as an alternative school principal, high school assistant principal, and district at-risk coordinator.
Dr. Thomason served as an instructional coach at the secondary level and taught middle school math and kindergarten. She has extensive experience with Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and led the implementation of PBIS in the alternative school setting, twice earning the Bronze Level Award from DESE. She was honored as the Northwest Region MASSP Assistant Principal of the Year in 2016.
Dr. Thomason transformed the climate and culture of Webster Learning Center into a positive "graduation school" and led the development of an innovative competency-based educational program for high school students. In addition to her expertise with alternative education, she has extensive experience with Pre-school, Title I Reading, and ELL programming.
Coordinator of Counseling
Kim Hill received her M.S. in Guidance and Counseling from Northwest Missouri State University and her B.S in Elementary Education with Early Childhood Emphasis from Missouri Western State University. She is certified K-12 in School Counseling and has experience at all levels.
Mrs. Hill has been with the St. Joseph School District over 20 years. Prior to her position as Coordinator of Counseling, Mrs. Hill was at Central High School for six years, four as Department Chair of Counseling. She was elementary counselor at Coleman Elementary for 10 years and was assistant counselor at Bode Middle School for one year. Prior to school counseling, she taught sixth grade at Humboldt Elementary School, in St. Joseph, MO and Liberty Middle School, in Liberty, MO.
Mrs. Hill was named the Northwest Missouri School Counselor Association (NWMSCA) Director of the Year in 2018-19. She was named the NWMSCA Elementary Counselor of the Year in 2003-04 and served as NWMSCA president in 2010-11. She serves on several state committees, including the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) State Counseling Advisory Board and the Missouri School Counselor Association (MSCA) Legislative Advisory Committee.
Coordinator of Early Childhood Services
Mary Fleming received her Ed.S. in Elementary Educational Administration and her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She earned her B.A. in Elementary Education from Rockhurst University.
Mrs. Fleming has extensive experience with early childhood education in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Prior to joining the St. Joseph School District, she served as an early childhood teacher and special education teacher in the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District. Additionally, she has taught kindergarten and facilitated home visits through the Parents as Teachers program.
Mrs. Fleming participated in the Engaging Children’s Minds Institute at University of Illinois, the Project Construct Early Childhood Institute, and the Lee’s Summit R-7 Leadership Academy. She has extensive experience implementing project based learning in the pre-school setting, serving as a coach for early childhood staff and invited presenter at the Missouri Conference for the Young Years.
Dr. Gena Villegas
Supervisor of ESOL Services
Dr. Villegas received her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Saint Louis University and her M.A. in Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language/ESL Language Instructor from Southeast Missouri State University. She received her secondary teaching certification from Northwest Missouri State University and her B.S. in Spanish Language and Literature from Missouri Western State University.
Dr. Villegas has served as ESOL Program Supervisor K-12 in the St. Joseph School District since 2004. As ESOL Supervisor, she collaborates with district educators, parents, students, and community members to provide educational opportunities for our diverse English Learner population. Dr. Villegas began her teaching career in the Adult Education and Literacy program, teaching ESOL, Spanish GED, TOEFL, and Citizenship classes. She has taught ESOL classes on the middle school and high school levels, and has also taught high school Spanish.