Deirdre Sheerin, CEO/Executive Director
Ms. Sheerin began her career as a special
education teacher in private and public schools in Missouri, New York,
Massachusetts and California. She has held executive positions at a number of
non-profit organizations, including Zonta Services, a pioneering school serving
children with autism in San Jose.
As CEO of Sweetwater Spectrum, she is dedicated
to the organization’s Founding Principles. She leads her team with the goal of challenging
each Sweetwater resident to reach his or her highest potential, and to raise
autism awareness at the community and national levels. As a 12-year resident of
Sonoma, she is actively involved in a variety of local civic and non-profit
groups. She frequently speaks at conferences around the country about managing
a model residential community for adults with autism.
Deirdre holds an MA Degree in Special Education
from New York University and an MA in Organizational Development from Sonoma
Julie Weinstock, Administration & Special Projects
Julie joined Sweetwater Spectrum in 2013. Since
moving to California in 1991, she has worked as magazine editor, freelance
writer, and winery executive. At Sweetwater, she focuses on office administration and a variety of
special projects designed to support Life With Purpose. Julie has a BFA in Creative Writing from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri.
Suzanne Phillips, Enrichment Activity and Volunteer Coordinator
followed the evolution of Sweetwater Spectrum from an empty field to the thriving
residential community it is today. With
the goal of promoting life and work with purpose, Suzanne plans individual and
group activities, seeks out opportunities for residents to get involved with
the greater community, and produces Life
at Sweetwater, a bi-monthly communication. By integrating volunteers into the Sweetwater Spectrum community, Suzanne helps residents find new ways to engage with the community and explore their unique interests. Suzanne holds a BFA
in Drawing & Painting and Art Education Certification, as well as a Masters
and Ed. Specialist degree in Curriculum and Leadership from William Woods
University, Fulton, Missouri.
Rachel Kohn Obut, Farm Manager
Rachel began consulting with Sweetwater Spectrum in the Spring of 2011, and joined the team full-time in July 2013. She was instrumental in developing the one-acre environmentally sustainable farm. She manages all aspects of the farm and helps residents learn everything from planting and harvesting to
composting and chicken care. Rachel has a BA in Neuroscience from Oberlin
College and is working on a Permaculture Design Certification.