ABOUT THE COLLEGE

The College of Adaptive Arts is building a college of the arts for students with disabilities. Students ages 18+ can take an individual class for a 3-unit certificate, or can enroll in a particular course of study and complete a 60-unit articulated curriculum. The College of Adaptive Arts is an institution of lifelong learners, so once the undergraduate course of study is completed, students are welcome and encouraged to return to enroll in a graduate program designed to get them more engaged and partnered in the community.

CAA STORY

In 2009, DeAnna Pursai and Pamela Lindsay joined up to begin a nonprofit entitled The College of Adaptive Arts (CAA). They realized there was a rich pool of talents and abilities among adults with disabilities waiting to be illuminated.

The vision of CAA is to provide a college campus for adults with differing abilities where they will have opportunities to learn from a diverse and rich curriculum that will enable them to live a full and empowered life as successful, contributing members of the community.

CAA started in the summer of 2009 with 12 adult students in a performing arts class. For the Fall semester, songwriting, art, and acting classes increased enrollment to 21 students. We are now offering a wide array of classes and serve over 60 students.

The College of Adaptive Arts represents a unique model of adult service delivery that the CAA Leadership Team believes is desperately needed. The College of Adaptive Arts allows individuals to channel their passion and achieve competency to the best of the individual’s ability in an arts discipline such as the fine arts, dance, theatre, digital arts and video/television.

Unlike typical therapeutic recreational programs that offer a smorgasbord of services the College of Adaptive Arts provides a curriculum that coherently builds upon each course, allowing the adult learner to grow in the artistic area of their choice.

CAA is not an adult day home model and CAA receives no funding from the state. It is designed to be a value-added model based on the interests, choices, talents, and desires of the adult students with differing abilities. There is a defined curriculum and the intent is to teach new skills to adults who are interested in improving in a particular area of the arts. It is CAA’s belief that for individuals with special needs, many of them may develop at different rates that than their typically-developing counterparts. Consequently, many adults are just finding out who they are, where their interests and passions lie, and how they can be of maximum service to the community at just about the same time that so many services are discontinued because they have aged out of the public school system.

It is our belief that these adults have an incredible wealth of talent, ability, and community contribution capacity when people in the typically-developing world can create a safe, engaging, and creative outlet for their abilities to be optimally illuminated and capitalized upon.

Mission


CAA provides an equitable collegiate experience to adults with special needs who historically have not had access to college education.

Vision


Empowering the student body to creatively transform the way the world views individuals with disabilities. CAA creates successful contributing citizens through the arts.

Student Motto


Showcase Ability!!!

Bedrock Beliefs


  • We believe in our student’s competence and unique abilities
  • We foster a culture of active engagement and high expectations
  • We empower students and staff to expand their strengths
  • We never give up on any individual
  • We celebrate organizational diversity
  • We maintain a safe space for creativity and expression
  • We build bridges for positive, successful community relationships
  • We treasure and celebrate each moment of the journey

MOUNTAIN MOVER TEAM

The College of Adaptive Arts is comprised of staff, management teams, board members and advisors who are passionate, talented individuals with a breadth of experience that ranges from Fortune 500 corporations and small businesses to leading nonprofit organizations and academic institutions. We have built a strong organizational foundation that combines business principles from the private sector with best practices and industry-leading research from the nonprofit sector.

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Janet Heathcote

Dance

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Suzanne Williams

Head Librarian SUZANNE WILLIAMS joined the College of Adaptive Arts in late 2013 as the Education and Reference Services Librarian and co-professor. When she is not cataloging or handing out...

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Nicole Ferguson

School of Art, Director NICOLE FERGUSON was born with creativity in her soul. Growing up, she was always creating or making art messes. “Sorry, Mom!” She studied illustration, painting, and...

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Danielle Weaver

School of Communication, Director Danie has a sister with special needs. She also has been an advocate for this community her entire life. Danie is the Director for the School...

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Gavin Darby

GAVIN DARBY has been playing and writing music for over fifteen years. While the guitar is his primary instrument of choice, he is also learning to play the mandolin, banjo,...

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Katie Zeisl

KATIE ZEISL is honored to be CAA’s Director of the School of Theatre & Special Events and to have the opportunity to wear many hats as a professor, campus event...

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Michael Dubinsky

Michael studied Photography at Ohio University. He is a published photographer and has worked in all aspects of the photography field. He enjoys sharing his skill sets with CAA students....

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Earl Rivard

The gift of song comes as naturally to Earl as breath. He was drawn to music early, beginning his formal vocal training with the Singing Boys of the San Francisco...

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Bernard Smith

As choir accompanist I have the privilege of working with Professors Earl, Katie and Pam as well as all the talented members of the choir. And as a student at...

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Laura Jones

LAURA JONES is one of CAA’s newest professors in the School of Dance. She has been a community dance leader in the Changeling Dance Theatre Company as well as Friends...

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Nicole Kim

NICOLE KIM is the Professor of the Speaking with Confidence class. She is an 11 year veteran of Toastmasters and has earned Distinguished Toastmaster certification. She has spent many years...

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Sharon Lea

SHARON LEA grew up in Los Altos and graduated from Chico State University. An English degree proved a wonderful founda-tion for her love of creative writing, poet-ry and self-expression on...

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Matthew Lindsay

MATTHEW LINDSAYis an Associate Profes-sor and Site Manager at CAA. He recently graduated with his bachelor’s degree in animation and visual effects. He enjoys con-tributing his talents in classes including...

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Jeremiah Weaver

JEREMIAH WEAVER is a site manager and sports coach at CAA, and is happily married to CAA professor Danie Weaver. His videos can be found on his YouTube channel.

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Valerie Lindsay

VALERIE LINDSAY is a West Valley College student diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. She has been with CAA since 2009 and is the Assistant Office Administrator and Assistant Librarian. She was...

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Richard Hermerding

Chief Financial Officer Richard has been the Chief Financial Officer of the College of Adaptive Arts since September 2013. He met Co-Founder, DeAnna Pursai at a Chamber of Commerce mixer...

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DeAnna Pursai

Co-Founder and Executive Director DEANNA PURSAI is Executive Director and Co-Founder of CAA. She holds a Master’s in Policy Analysis in the School of Education from University of Illinois at...

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Pamela Lindsay

Co-Founder and Dean PAMELA LINDSAY As Co-Founder and Dean, Pamela enjoys supporting students and families of the College of Adaptive Arts through development of curriculum, instruction, administration, and community-based collaborative...

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Jen Pleimann

Jen graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2005 with a BS in Psychology. While in Wisconsin, Jen worked in a variety of settings that exposed her to the growing...

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David Cross

David Cross is an attorney with over 10 years of legal experience and for the last five years has solely focused on estate planning. My goal is to simplify the...

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Adrien Le Biavant

Adrien is originally from San Francisco where his passion for recreation and education was born. His Mother, Father and older brother are all teachers, and he followed in suit teaching...

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Suchitha Chetia

Born in India and moved to the United States for her graduate degree in Architecture, Suchitha has lived in the Silicon Valley since the early 90’s. Growing up, she was...

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Jonathon Feit

Jonathon Feit is Co-Founder & Chief Executive of Beyond Lucid Technologies, a software company that connects ambulances and hospitals prior to the patient's arrival, and documents patients' prehospital care over...

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Joe Siecinski

Joe has helped hundreds of small businesses get more customers, make more money, and have more time. His book Brainshare: (http://www.amazon.com/Brainshare-Business-Owners-Make-Money/dp/0615976948) gives some insight to how he works and helps...

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Brian H. Appleton

Brian was born in Tokyo, Japan, but spent K-12 in Athens, Greece, Livorno and Rome Italy and Arlington Virginia. He received B.A. Anthropology from George Washington University and graduated Phi...

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Toni Cook

Toni has been a resident of San Jose since getting her B.A. and California Teaching Credential from San Jose State. She has a M.A. in Bilingual/Cross-cultural Education from Santa Clara...

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Loni Spratt

Loni Spratt is from Chino Hills, CA, she has a B.S. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing from the University of Southern California. She is an entrepreneur and...

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Ali Barekat

Ali Barekat, Executive Director, has 25 years of business leadership and product development experience at start-up companies focused on web, enterprise, and mobile software products and services. He was a...

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Omair Farooqui

Legal Experience Omair Farooqui is a business attorney specializing in Intellectual Property, corporate law, and civil litigation. Mr. Farooqui’s Intellectual Property experience includes patent litigation and patent prosecution involving mechanical,...

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Reverend David Bird

Reverend David Bird: Dean and Rector of Trinity Cathedral Church, Downtown San Jose: Central to who we are is the conviction that everyone is welcome at God's table. Our simple...

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Sam Liccardo

Sam T. Liccardo was elected onto the San José City Council in November 2006, and represents the Downtown district of America’s 10th largest city. He also serves in leadership positions...

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David Joseph Maley

David Joseph "Dave" Maley (born April 24, 1963 in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin) is a former American hockey player, having played for the NHL's Montreal Canadiens, New Jersey Devils, Edmonton Oilers,...

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Michael Pritchard

Michael Pritchard is a nationally acclaimed keynote speaker praised by the Wall Street Journal, CNN and Time for his ability to use humor to inspire and educate his audiences on...

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Gail Williamson

Gail Williamson is a well known public speaker and advocate for performers with disabilities. She has established herself as the “go to person” in Hollywood and elsewhere when a project...

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Geri Jewell

Geri Jewell is best known as Cousin Geri on the NBC sitcom, The Facts of Life. She was the first person with a disability to have a regular role on...

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Fleet Easton

Fleet Easton is a singer, actor, dancer and entertainer born in Akron, Ohio. He has an extensive background in dance, acting and singing. He studied at American Ballet Theatre, Ballet...

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COMMUNITY PARTNERS

In addition to attending classes, CAA students enjoy a very full social and recreational life. From monthly student-planned events to community performances, our students are engaged and actively participating in the world.

TELEVISION CLASS REGULARLY PARTNERS WITH:

  • CreaTV to produce CAA TV college episodes
  • Hollywood agency, Gail Williamson, Down Syndrome in Arts & Media – representing actors with disabilities in the Hollywood area

HEALTHY LIFESTYLE CHOICES:

  • Partnering with FIT Buddies in Los Altos

WORKING PARTNERSHIPS WITH:

  • Santa Clara Community Action Program – through the Social Justice Dept. of Santa Clara University

SPEAKING WITH CONFIDENCE STUDENTS HAVE SPOKEN AT THE FOLLOWING ORGANIZATIONS:

  • PayPal Toastmasters
  • San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce

THE CHILDREN’S PUPPETRY TOURING ENSEMBLE HAS PERFORMED FOR THE FOLLOWING ORGANIZATIONS IN THE COMMUNITY:

  • Guadalupe Elementary School
  • Allen at Steinbeck Elementary School
  • Grant Elementary School
  • Holly Oak Elementary School
  • Dove Hill Elementary School
  • The Alzheimer’s Activity Center Preschool
  • Pacific Autism Center for Education
  • Russo Academy
  • AmericaEd Preschool
  • Achieve Kids
  • Morgan Autism Center
  • Rucker Elementary
  • Campbell Community Center Post Secondary Program
  • St. Elizabeth Day Home
  • Abilities Expo

THE SHOWBOATERS/PEP SQUAD PERFORMING ARTS ENSEMBLE HAS PERFORMED AT THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS:

  • Herman Middle School
  • Christmas in the Park 2009, 2010, 2011
  • San Jose Giants Disability Awareness Night
  • Great America Autism Awareness Day
  • City of San Jose Disability Awareness Day
  • Morgan Autism Center
  • Spectrum Center
  • Alzheimer’s Activity Center
  • The Retro Dome
  • Barnes & Noble, Almaden Expy 2009 & 2010
  • The Silicon Valley Independent Living Center Disability Parade & Festival, 2010 & 2011
  • Evergreen Valley College Disability Awareness Week
  • Abilities United 2010 & 2011
  • Atria Senior Living Center in Willow Glen
  • Belmont Villiage Senior Assisted Living Center
  • Northrop Grumman Electronics
  • St. Elizabeth Day Home Preschool
  • Guadalupe Elementary
  • Schallenberger Elementary
  • Pacific Autism Center for Education
  • Abilities Expo 2010, 2011, 2012
  • Friends of Children with Special Needs – Fremont
  • Regency of San Jose
  • Silvercreek Sportsplex
  • Fiesta Educativa Annual Conference
  • Whole Foods Market – Blosson Hill

MEDIA & PRESS

CAA is forging a brand new paradigm allowing peripheral players of society, including persons with cognitive, physical, mental and emotional disabilities to build and thrive in a model where they are helping and serving each other and the larger community. See how we touch the world.

Include. Support. Initiate.

  • North Coast Medical Interview – April 2012
  • CBS Bay Sunday – March 2012

OUR SPONSORS

Thank you to the sponsors of our 2014 Golf Tournament