ABOUT THE COLLEGE

The College of Adaptive Arts provides a lifelong, equitable collegiate experience to adults with special needs who historically have not had access to college education. 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 undergraduate, 120-unit graduate, and 240-unit post-graduate 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 empower adults with special needs to creatively transform perception of disability. CAA plans to become as widespread and robust in the education space as Special Olympics is in the athletic space. This is an institution of higher education where adults 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 single musical theatre class. As of the summer of 2018, student enrollment has climbed to 104+ students taking over 40+ course offerings each quarter among 9 Schools of instruction.
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 as well as in the academic disciplines of Communications, Science & Technology, Library Arts and Health and Wellness.
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 particular area of their choice and interest.
CAA is not an adult day home model; it is an equitable model of higher education, serving as a natural extension to the community college model. 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 students’ 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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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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Janet Heathcote

Janet is the Director of School of Dance.  She is a former ballerina who has studied classical and contemporary dance.  She has the highest expectations for her students and provides...

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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, HR 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...

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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, student registrar,...

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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 LINDSAY is the Director of TV and Film at CAA with his bachelor’s degree in Animation and Visual Effects. He enjoys contributing his talents to classes including digital and...

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Jeremiah Weaver

JEREMIAH WEAVER, the director of the school of Health and Wellness,  graduated from Bethany University with a BA in Biblical Theology with a minor in Biblical Languages. He loves sports...

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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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Michael Reisman

Michael Reisman is one of the two IT guys here at the College of Adaptive Arts. He gets to solve problems that drive everybody batty! He is also a Digital...

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Anthony Nguyen

Anthony Nguyen is a Marketing and Social Media Specialist at the College of Adaptive Arts. He graduated with his bachelor’s degree in Journalism from San Jose State University in fall...

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Angel Gonzalez

Angel joined the CAA Superstaff this past summer and has truly blossomed and helped this organization grow and become a most welcoming environment.  Angel is also a student at San...

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James Fu

James is a new Site Supervisor and Associate Professor at College of adaptive Arts. He started out as a volunteer and did an outstanding job in this capacity. He has...

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Hannah Thrasher

Hannah is an Associate Professor and the resident Stage Manager of the School of Theatre. With a long and robust background in professional technical theatre specializing in stage management and sound design, Hannah joined CAA's Superstaff...

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John Heathcote

Jon is a gifted historian who is a former student as well as being a student at DeAnza College.  Jon is passionate about history, poetry, and gaming.  He is gentle,...

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Steve Hall

Steve is an Associate Professor in the schools of Music and Dance. He is concurrently a Lyft driver and husband of CAA student ambassador Jennifer Hall. Steve is an alumnus...

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Nicole Matarangas

Nicole is a former medic who loves to help people. Now as dynamic Dance and Fitness/Wellness Professional she takes a hands-on approach. A Certified Group Fitness Instructor, ACE Fitness Nutrition...

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Sara Misiego

Sara was born in Spain and started dancing at the age of 13. She has a BA (Hons) degree in Dance and Related Arts from the University of Chichester in...

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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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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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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 Brown

Loni Spratt Brown 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...

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Sandee Raval Kiehl

Sandee is a fairly new bay area resident of San Jose of only 5 years, originally from the central valley.   She has been in the financial industry for the last...

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Shar Yorgey

Shar brings years of experience in marketing, building and supporting teams, serving on the board of several non-profits and caregiving for adults and children with special needs. She has spent...

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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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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...

Read More
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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...

Read More
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Danielle Weaver

School of Communication, HR 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...

Read More
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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, student registrar,...

Read More
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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...

Read More
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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...

Read More
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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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Anthony Nguyen

Anthony Nguyen is a Marketing and Social Media Specialist at the College of Adaptive Arts. He graduated with his bachelor’s degree in Journalism from San Jose State University in fall...

Read More
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Angel Gonzalez

Angel joined the CAA Superstaff this past summer and has truly blossomed and helped this organization grow and become a most welcoming environment.  Angel is also a student at San...

Read More
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James Fu

James is a new Site Supervisor and Associate Professor at College of adaptive Arts. He started out as a volunteer and did an outstanding job in this capacity. He has...

Read More
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Bobbi Tafoya

Bobbi is a long-time supporter of College of Adaptive Arts and has a long history in the high tech industry.  Bobbi loves keeping meticulous records and thorough Excel spreadsheets.  She...

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John Heathcote

Jon is a gifted historian who is a former student as well as being a student at DeAnza College.  Jon is passionate about history, poetry, and gaming.  He is gentle,...

Read More
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Steve Hall

Steve is an Associate Professor in the schools of Music and Dance. He is concurrently a Lyft driver and husband of CAA student ambassador Jennifer Hall. Steve is an alumnus...

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Laura Shields

Laura is new to CAA but loves how it serves our underserved community of AMAZING people and is proud to be a part of such a giving team of professionals...

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COMMUNITY PARTNERS

  • Amigos de las Americas
  • Autism Society SF Bay Area
  • Buddies in Action
  • Children of Casa di Mir Montessori
  • Chandler Tripp Preschool
  • Christmas in the Park
  • City Lights Theatre Co.
  • Community Health Partnership
  • CreaTV
  • Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral
  • Sciences, Stanford University
  • Grace Art & Wellness Program
  • Hester Cluster SCCOE Program
  • Historic Hoover Theatre
  • Hope Services
  • Momentum Employment Services
  • Momentum for Mental Health
  • Opera San José
  • Parents Helping Parents
  • Pioneer High School
  • Land of Milk and Honey
  • Latizmo Productions
  • San Andreas Regional Center
  • Santa Clara University Community
  • Action Program
  • Santa Clara University Arrupe Program
  • San Jose City College
  • School of Arts & Culture/Mexican
  • Heritage Plaza
  • sjDANCEco
  • SJ Multicultural Artists Guild
  • Spanish55
  • Tabia Theatre Company
  • TeenForce/Silcon Valley Children’s Fund
  • The New Ballet School

SCHEDULING A COMMUNITY PERFORMANCE

The attached pdf outlines CAA’s 9 Touring Troupes. Monday mornings/early afternoons are the optimal time to book a troupe to come to your location. Please call 408-538-3809 or email info@collegeofadaptivearts.org to book your community performance today!

OUR SPONSORS

Thank you to our sponsors!