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Faculty & Staff of the
Stroke and Disability Learning Center

CORE Classes Faculty

Cynthia FitzGerald
Cynthia shares in the joy and affirmation of our Stroke Center students for their resilience and accomplishments this year, and she looks forward to working with students and families in the years ahead. Her background includes caring for multi-generational family needs as a counselor and teaching about human development and aging issues as a professor of psychology. She has also worked as a director of support services, dean, and most recently as the Director of Allied Health at Cabrillo. Beyond work she enjoys engaging in painting, gardening, tennis, time in the redwoods, and playing with her grandchildren on a regular basis.

Terri Cesari
Terri comes to the Stroke Center after working at the Cabrillo College Small Business Development Center as a program administrative assistant for over 8 years. She has a B.A. Degree in Psychology, and also attended Cabrillo College as a student. Terri has lived in Santa Cruz County for 16 years, and she enjoys nature photography trips and walking her dog at the beach.

Diane CherninDiane Cherin
Diane first worked as Counselor/Instructor at the Stroke and Disability Learning Center in 2000. She currently provides counseling support through individual appointments, new student orientations and group classes. “I am continually inspired by the courage and willingness of our students to overcome great obstacles and become ‘survivors’.”



Lenny Norton


Lenny Norton
Lenny Norton is an Adaptive Physical Education Instructor, a licensed Physical Therapist and certified Yoga Instructor. He modifies his Mobility/ADAPT classes to include adaptive yoga for disabled students. Lenny has a private Physical Therapy practice incorporating Therapeutic Yoga combined with traditional Physical Therapy principles. He has been at Cabrillo since 2006. “I am fortunate to be part of a program so vital to our community.”


Merritt Tucker

Merritt Tucker
Merritt Tucker joined the faculty at Cabrillo College in 1999 as Speech Communications Instructor at the Stroke and Disability Learning Center. She has worked for many years in medical rehabilitation as well as in the K-12 school system as a Speech Language Pathologist. Her primary area of expertise is with Acquired Brain Injury. While at Cabrillo College she has broadened her skills in the use of Assistive Technology for students with a variety of learning needs. Another interest she holds is assisting Veterans in their learning needs as they transition to the community college setting. 

Her background in dance and theatrical movement has helped in providing teaching tools to empower students to express themselves meaningfully when fluent speech is denied them.

“It is a privilege to work with the students here at the Cabrillo College Stroke and Disability Learning Center. The spirit of community is palpable in this program. The students prove to be the real teachers here as they guide curriculum and build on the foundation of learning and support.”


Core Program Staff


Mary QuillinMary Quillin
Mary Quillin first came to the Stroke and Disability Learning Center as a volunteer in June 2012 and was soon hired as Instructional Assistant for the Mobility/Fitness classes. She has taught therapeutic yoga, stress reduction and meditation courses to individuals, businesses, hospitals, schools and community centers locally for over 20 years.  She is a UCSC graduate and is a certified Hatha Yoga instructor. Simple yoga stretches and mindful practices enhanced her own recovery from a serious spinal injury many years ago. When she’s not at the Stroke Center, you’ll often find her walking her dog in the forest, working on a writing project, volunteering with Hospice of Santa Cruz County or at the Santa Cruz SPCA. 

HEART Program Instructors

Barbara Bailey-PorterBarbara Bailey-Porter
Barbara has been teaching ceramics and working with Stroke and Disability Learning Center students since 2008. She is a 5th generation Santa Cruzan and has called herself an artist since the age of 10, when she painted her first paint-by-number picture!
Barbara maintains a professional painting studio, and also spends time creating with clay, alternative bookmaking, collage, and found objects. She has a master's degree in Fine Art, and a dual master's degree in Art Therapy/Marriage and Family Therapy.  She is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.


Joanna ManoffJoanna Manoff
Joanna is a Physical Therapist who first came to the SDLC to teach Mobility/Fitness classes in 2008. Joanna currently offers Recreational Movement activities as part of the HEART program. She uses games, exercises and physical activities to encourage and inspire.



Claudia Stevens
Claudia is an artist with a special focus on botanical illustration. She has a Masters Degree in Fine Arts and has painted and illustrated for over 25 years. She brings her many years of experience as an art teacher to the Gardening class.





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