Sonoma Valley Unified School District has hired Vanessa Riggs as its new director of Special Education and Student Services beginning with the 2018-19 school year. Riggs will replace Nikarre Redkoff who resigned at the end of the 2017-18 school year.

For more than 18 years, Riggs has supported both general and special education students, most recently as the director of special education at the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District since 2015. Prior to that role, she was an advisor for Sonoma County Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) and the program specialist for autism, mental health, behavior, full inclusion and special education law. From 2005 to 2014, she served at the Sonoma County Office of Education as a school psychologist and Autism Specialist.

According to district staff, Riggs is known to her peers and co-workers as “an extremely talented individual who works well with staff, students, family, and district and county leadership ... a fierce advocate for students with special needs and is passionate about giving voice to the needs and concerns of minorities and underserved populations.”

Riggs earned a master’s degree in school psychology and counseling from California State University, Sacramento in 2005 and a bachelor’s degree in human development from University of California, Davis in 2002.

“I’m really looking forward to serving and supporting the families and educators of Sonoma Valley,” said Riggs when reached over the weekend.