Trauma Informed Specialist

Gain the skills and training you need to effectively support children who have experienced trauma with a completely online program designed for working adults.


Become a Trauma Informed Leader

Children who have experienced trauma have lost control over a major element of their lives and the desire to gain control can lead to behavioral challenges and difficulty learning in the classroom. Cal State East Bay’s online Trauma Informed Specialist Program prepares you to respond to the needs of students impacted by trauma and create safe and empowering environments for staff and students while reducing turnover in schools. Throughout the program, you’ll work with a cohort of peers to learn the brain science behind behavior and learning, develop mindfulness strategies, make systemic change to disrupt retraumatizing practices, and promote educator wellbeing.

Best in the West

Selected as a "Best in the West" college by The Princeton Review

One-of-a-Kind Training

Become a Trauma Informed Specialist in a completely online environment

Faculty Excellence

Developed and taught by experienced leaders in the fields of education and school psychology

Become a Better Advocate for Your Students

Trauma Informed Specialists are recognized at their schools and organizations as leading examples of best practices in supporting students who have experienced trauma in general education, special education, higher education, and non-public school settings. As a Trauma Informed Specialist, you’ll understand how to support students who have experienced trauma and adapt the learning environment to successfully meet their academic, socio-emotional, and behavioral needs. In addition, our program ensures that you have built a strong foundation of self-care and awareness to limit the impact of vicarious trauma on students' personal functioning.

Expand Your Teaching Practice

When you complete Cal State East Bay’s Trauma Informed Specialist Program, you’ll have the tools and knowledge to offer expertise and training in addition to your current job description. Furthermore, your teaching practices can improve outcomes for students and become a model for others at your school or organization.

Upon completing the program, many successful graduates are compensated with a stipend or become a teacher on special assignment at their current school or organization. And as more and more districts recognize the Trauma Informed Specialist as a specific role, more job opportunities are available for those looking to provide professional development, coach, spend time supporting students, and serve on district committees.

You’ll also have access to professional learning opportunities throughout your career so you can stay up-to-date with current trends in the field. As participants in the program, you’ll become lifetime members of the Center for Cognitive Diversity and can participate in the Center’s monthly guest lecture series with inspiring educators around the globe who are working to promote cognitive diversity and compassionate education in their communities.

Program Objectives

Cal State East Bay’s Trauma Informed Specialist Program is designed to address the needs of educators and administrators by providing tools for supporting students and practicing self care in order to promote resiliency and prevent burnout.

At the completion of the program, you’ll have the ability to:

  • Understand the symptoms and causes of trauma.
  • Explain the brain science behind behavior and learning.
  • Implement mindfulness strategies and personalized learning in classrooms.
  • Practice self-care strategies in order to reduce burnout and address vicarious trauma.
  • Become a Trauma Informed Coach and use the modules and resources to support and train schools.

Program Format

The program is delivered in a completely online format. Participants are expected to attend an online webinar one Saturday a month, as well as participate in the online modules and small group reflective supervision for two hours a month.

Program Requirements

To complete the program, you must pass the following 4 required courses:


Principles of Trauma for Educators (3 units)
Reflective Supervision for Educators (1 unit)


Trauma Supportive Schools (3 units)
Advanced Trauma Informed Reflective Supervision (1 unit)

April Brown


April Brown (MEd) is the Program Director of the Center for Cognitive Diversity, a certified Trauma-Informed Education Specialist and TIPS™ Facilitator, and the instructor of CogDiv’s Trauma Supportive Schools course. Her background is in special education and psychology, and she holds certification in mindfulness. Formerly, Brown held teaching and leadership positions in the United States and internationally, spanning PK-8th grade.

Brown wears many hats in the field of education including instructional coach, education consultant, and curriculum developer. Brown believes in the importance of supporting education professionals as they cultivate trauma informed practices by providing professional development focused on topics such as intersectional social justice/disability justice, embracing neurodiversity, creating environments that heal and empower, and the importance of addressing educator mental health through peer support.

Additionally, Brown is a contributing education and parenting writer for publications such as PBS SoCal and volunteers as the Dean of Rebellious Educators of the Student Ignition Society to support early childhood educators in implementing anti-oppressive/equity-driven practices.

Kelsey Chandler


Kelsey Chandler is a Trauma Informed Specialist and brings a human first approach to her work in education. Chandler supports educational leaders on integrating social, emotional, and relational elements into their leadership, school policies, and classroom practices. Program-wide development and implementation of Social Emotional Learning (SEL), Trauma-Informed Practices, and Restorative Practices (RP) are the cornerstones of this work.

Chandler’s work includes: co-founding a school site wellness center, coaching and consultation with district and school leaders, the creation of social emotional and social justice focused curricula, and professional development for schools, school districts, and educational organizations.

Chandler holds a BA in Anthropology from UC Santa Cruz, a Master’s from the California Institute of Integral Studies, and is certified in Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI). Chandler is ADD- trained, certified in Caring School Communities, Responsive Classroom, Coaching for Equity, Brave Spaces, Second Step, and Toolbox.

David Gutierrez


Dr. David Gutierrez has been a principal and educator for over 15 years. He is a bilingual educator whose doctoral research focused on the role of Xicanx ‘torchbearers’ in education. He recently received his EdD and is an instructor at Sacramento State teaching courses such as multicultural counseling and providing Trauma Informed Peer Support for the Center for Social Resilience.

His work effectively transforming school climate and culture in some of the most underperforming schools in California has set a foundation for his work advocating for trauma-informed practices in schools with a focus on equity and community collaboration.

Natalie Mejia


Dra. Natalie Mejia is a certified Trauma Informed Specialist and currently supporting the Center for Cognitive Diversity as an instructor of the Principles of Trauma course. Dra. Mejia served as an assistant principal and classroom teacher for ten years in middle and high schools across the nation.

As an instructional coach, she designed and facilitated learning experiences that helped educators understand the intersectionality of race and class and its impact on learning environments.

Additionally, Dra. Mejia has served as an adjunct lecturer for the Goucher Prison Education Partnership (GPEP) and Alder Graduate School of Education. Dra. Mejia holds a BA in Women’s Studies from UCLA, an MS in Urban Education from Johns Hopkins University, and an EdD in Educational Leadership from USC’s Rossier School of Education.

Emily Santiago


Burnout is a community issue, not an individual one.

Emily Santiago MS, LEP, NCSP received her master’s degree in educational psychology from CSUEB in 2010. She has worked in rural, urban, and private schools in the US and abroad as a school psychologist, teacher, wraparound facilitator and university instructor for over 20 years. Her experience transforming school climate and responding to the needs of children, families, and educators set the groundwork for developing the Social Resilience Scale™ and the Trauma Informed Specialist program.

Santiago has been a speaker at national and international conferences including SXSWedu and has trained businesses and schools across the US to implement Trauma Informed practices to address burnout and turnover with her framework for Social Resilience. She currently resides in Ashland, Oregon with her family.

Alicia Williams


Dr. Alicia Williams is a certified trauma practitioner and trainer. She works as the trauma coordinator, a new position she initiated in the San Juan Unified School District. She provides direct services to staff, students, and families regarding concerns related to trauma in addition to providing professional development throughout the district. She is an advocate for staff and student wellness and finds that creating therapeutic environments lends itself to regulation and healing, which she discovered through her own research on student behavior and aesthetically pleasing environments. Dr. Williams has worked in the field of education and social work for over 25 years, and she is currently earning a postgraduate certificate in neuroscience and trauma. Her primary role, however, is being a "Fire" wife and mom to four children, two dogs, and a not-so-friendly cat!

 Swipe left or right for the next/previous instructor
April Brown

April BrownMEd

Kelsey Chandler

Kelsey ChandlerMS

David Gutierrez

David GutierrezEdD

Natalie Mejia

Natalie MejiaEdD

Emily Santiago

Emily SantiagoMS, LEP, NCSP

Alicia Williams

Alicia WilliamsEdD

Advisory Board:

Dr. Greg Jennings

Dr. Jack Davis

Shaquam Edwards

Sarah Shaw MPH

Dr. Paulina Whitehat

Next, learn all about admission requirements and how to apply »

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the program, you must hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and have 2-3 years of experience working in an educational setting.

How to Apply

To apply to the program, complete the application form below.

Upcoming Info Sessions

Monday, July 22, 2024
5:30 – 6:30 PM PDT

Common Questions

Who participates in the program?
The program is designed for educators who would like to promote positive change and resilience. Administrators, general education/special education teachers, school counselors, psychologists, office managers, school resource officers, and social workers are all great candidates. Our participants model trauma-informed strategies, provide training, shape policy, coach, and reduce turnover in schools impacted by trauma.
What if I work full time?
Designed to meet the needs of professionals with busy schedules, our courses consist of 12 independent modules, course readings, a 2 hour live seminar 1 Saturday a month, and a 2 hour small group Trauma Informed Coaching session. Our program is fully online and available to educators everywhere.
I live outside of California. Can I still attend?
The program is fully online and accessible to those that have internet access. We love having people from different parts of the country (or the world) share their perspectives. We do run classes in the Pacific Time Zone on Saturday mornings and Thursday afternoons if you need to consider how that works with your schedule. Ideally you have access to a computer with a webcam so you can participate in live sessions using video in order to engage with members of the cohort.
What is Trauma Informed Reflective Supervision?
We believe that reflective educators are responsive educators. We provide small group (max 6 participants) Trauma Informed Coaching sessions using the Reflective Supervision model, a confidential strength-based collaboration designed to build understanding and increase emotional capacity and resilience.
What is the Center for Cognitive Diversity?
The Center for Cognitive Diversity was founded in 2018 with the mission to celebrate diverse ways of learning and promote environments that heal and empower. As participants in the program, you become lifetime members of the Center for Cognitive Diversity and are invited to our monthly guest lecture series with inspiring educators around the globe who are working to promote cognitive diversity and compassionate education in their communities.
What information can CSUEB provide for my employer or sponsor?
Prospective students are encouraged to present this letter to their employer/sponsor to initiate a discussion about this need for trauma-informed training and to request for sponsorship for the Trauma Informed Specialist Program.


Is financial aid available for this program?
Traditional Financial Aid (such as completing the FAFSA, Pell Grants, etc.) is not applicable for certificate programs, but there may be other suitable options to help you in financing your program. Learn more about other financial aid options.
Are any discounts available for this program?
Course fee discounts may be available if multiple students employed by the same school district enroll in the courses.  
What are the tuition costs for the program?
Tuition costs: $4,500 (Tuition fees are subject to change at any time.)

Accessibility Services

Does the university provide accessibility services?
Yes, our Accessibility Services department provides academic accommodations and support services to address the individual needs of students with differing abilities, permanent disabilities or temporary disabling conditions. For more information, including program details and contact information, visit

Certificate of Completion

How do I request my certificate?
To obtain your official certificate, you must complete all requirements of your program and then complete and submit this form. Upon verification of requirement completion, your certificate will be sent to you.

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At Cal State East Bay, we pride ourselves on putting students first, from the moment you inquire until you graduate. We hope you've found answers to your questions in this support center, but if not, please get in touch.

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At a Glance

Area of study: Trauma Informed Specialist

Ideal for: Educators and professionals who would like to promote positive change and resiliency.

Program format: Online

Number of courses: 4

Program length: 10 months

Tuition costs: $4,500 (Tuition fees are subject to change at any time.)


Please let us know if we can answer any questions about the Trauma Informed Specialist program. Many answers can also be found in our online Support Center.

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