Cherry Tree Consulting Bios
Hi, I’m Dr. Cherry Robinson,
I know that if you are here, you are looking for help. It may be that you are looking for new ideas for parenting, or how to work better with children in your classroom. It also may be that you are going through a dark time in your life and need some extra support. Let me tell you why I may be uniquely qualified to help you. My whole life has prepared me to be where I am now. Let me use it to benefit you.
When I was young I was a competitive swimmer. From that I became a teacher and a coach for both adults and children. I learned a lot about people’s fears, bravery, and fortitude. I worked with disabled children and adults. I watched and supported people to do their best. I managed aquatic facilities helping to give pool time to organizations that helped both people with disabilities and brain injuries space and time to work in a weight free environment. I have a great deal of respect for organizations whose primary function is to assist those who are differently abled. However, I am also well aware that not all of those organizations and/or case workers within those organizations have the client’s best interest at heart.
In the midst of all that, I went to college and got a degree in fine arts with a focus on Directing Theatre. Acting and helping people to Act is the work of psychology. Exploring what we think, how we feel, and how best to help people understand each other and themselves has been a basic tenant in my life.
Traveling enabled me to know people better. I went to Europe to enhance my understanding of history and culture. I spent the better part of a year in Japan attempting to get a better grasp on eastern philosophy and culture. And I later spent a year in Central America learning Spanish, teaching English, and learning about the many different cultures that can survive in a very small space.
The next segment of my life was spent teaching. When I came home from Central America, I had planned to use my Spanish skills teaching for San Diego Unified School district. I was a substitute teacher for two years, working primarily in some of the disadvantaged schools in the district. I felt at that point, my skills would be put to better use helping small groups, and individual people rather than classrooms of 35 children.
Over the next ten years, I taught English as a second language to adults from all over the world. During that time I went back to graduate school and received my Masters and Doctorate in Psychology. Because I did both at the same time, I believe I learned more about cultural diversity and different people’s learning styles.
After spending three years as an intern and finishing my degree, I began my work with Head Start. I spent the next thirteen years working with staff, families and children in the areas of mental health, social services, and disabilities. I helped many families going through trauma due to addiction, divorce, child abuse, and mental illness. I also spent those years teaching staff how to deal with those same concerns as well as supporting them when they needed extra help. I worked with diverse families, from all over the globe, easily experiencing 40 different cultures and traditions. I was greatly humbled by my experiences there. I saw people rise from incredibly difficult circumstances to do great things and create amazing lives. I am honored to have been able to assist them in their journey.
During my time at Head Start I received training and a great deal of practice in dealing with child development, behavior management, parenting, and co-parenting. I have also been trained in particular methods of classroom management and teacher training.
As you look at the many branches of CherryTree Consulting you may wonder why so many. I feel I have been trained all my life to address these particular issues. I also have developed a personal and professional network of folks who I consult with whenever we come across difficulties beyond my abilities. You may see their bios appear on these pages in the near future. None of us operates in a vacuum. We need each other and work best when we work together. I hope I will have the opportunity to work with you
About Dr. Robinson
Cherry has been working with families and children in various capacities for the last 30 years. She has worked in educational, clinical, social service, and legal settings. She has worked with both adults and children with disabilities and is familiar with many of the community resources available. She has seen many families through many different types of divorce and recognizes the need for more specialized assistance in the cases of disability, mental illness and abuse.
Dr. Robinson has been training staff and parents in educational settings in behavior and classroom management, working with difficult people, dealing with change, and helping those with physical and mental disability issues for the last 15 years. She is trained in the specific programs of: Collaborative Divorce, High Conflict Diversion, Talaris Parenting Counts, CSEFEL, Children with Challenging Behaviors, Time to Teach, andIncredible Years. Dr. Robinson has a doctorate in psychology.
About Melanie Roberts
Melanie Roberts is an experienced early childhood education professional, with over 15 years of experience working in private, non-profit, and public funded preschool agencies, including Head Start. Her experience has included positions as a Teacher Assistant, Teacher, Center Director, and Early Childhood Education Specialist. Melanie holds current Program Director and Site Supervisor permits. She has a BS in Child Development, and is a CLASS Pre-k Affiliate Trainer. Melanie completed her Master’s degree in Child Development at San Diego State University. Her graduate studies included the completion of the Early Childhood- Social Emotional Behavior Regulation Intervention Specialist (EC-SEBRIS) certificate as well as research in child mental health and social emotional development.
Melanie has a passion for the improvement of early childhood education programs which focus on strengthening the child and family through meaningful interactions both in and out of the classroom. She draws from her experience in working with a diverse population of children, families, and staff to create respectful and solution focused professional relationships to achieve shared goals.
About Julia Childs Andrews
Julia is a professional Organizational Leadership and Education Consultant that has been working to improve the qualiity of life for children, families and the community for twenty years. She has worked with diverse populations in a variety of settings, including Head Start programs, state-funded child development centers, privately funded early childhood programs, small businesses and large multi-site organizations. Her roles have included classroom Teacher, Site Supervisor, Program Specialist, and Program Director.
She is also an Adjunct Instructor with National University, Director Mentor for the California Early Childhood Mentor Program, Professioanl Growth Advisor for the California Child Development Permit holders, President of the San Diego Association for the Education of Young Children, member of the San Diego County Local Child Care and Development Planning Council and committed board member of the California Infant Development Association.
Julia’s experiences with children and adults, as well as her passion for social change, have provided her opportunity become highly skilled in communication, relationship and asset development. They have also instilled a great respect for honoring the individual in the context of the community and systems they are a part of. Her wealth of knowledged and unique approach to program analysis, professional develoment, and leadership make her an incredible resource to all she works with.
Her education and certifications include an MS degree in Human Servies-Organizational Management and Leadership, BS in Human Services and Program Director Permit from the California Commission in Teacher Credentialing.
About Lora Keller
Lora has been supporting families of children with disabilities for the past 32 years as both a volunteer and professional in the field. The former founding director of The Exceptional Family Resource Center, Lora began her work as a result of her son, Lucas, born 12 weeks early. Finding few resources and information about how to find help when Lucas’ development was delayed, she began reaching out to other families. Lora began supporting other families with preemies and other specialized health needs through Children’s Hospital.
Over time and with funding from the state of California, Lora began to create a place where families could find support, resources and information. She trained parents in how best to work with “the system” to access services for their young children. The Exceptional Family Resource Center, established in 1990 remains one of the largest and most successful family resource centers in the state. Lora served as the first Chairperson of the Family Resource Center Network of California. She was awarded the Channel 10 Leadership Award for her work with families of young children with disabilities.
Recruited by San Diego Unified School District, Lora moved to her current position as Supervising Special Education Ombudsperson in 1997. Lora currently assists families in accessing special education services in the school district and working to mediate disputes at the school site level. Lora firmly believes that parents are the best advocate a child. Parents need to have an understanding of the sometimes complicated system in order to create the best possible solution for their child.
Lora completed her training as both a Collaboration Specialist and a Trauma Specialist at San Diego State University. She has presented at numerous conferences and workshops across the country and was a guest editor of Infants and Children publication.
In addition to Lucas who has multiple physical and learning challenges, Lora also has a daughter with learning disabilities.