Sue Beck and the Lifespan Transitions Center at OCALI: The Perfect Fit at the Perfect Time

Affectionately known as SueBeck—yes, that’s one word—Sue has served as an independent contractor for OCALI’s Lifespan Transitions Center for six years. “All of my life, personally and professionally, I’ve been known as SueBeck. I’m not sure why or who came up with it, but it’s kind of quirky and unique.”

With a background of more than 40 years in education and supporting the transition for youth, Sue believes she has her “dream job.”

“Working with OCALI and the Lifespan Transitions Center is the perfect fit for me at this point in my life,” said Sue. “I have always worked with transition-age youth, even before it was a term, even before an Individualized Education Program (IEP). I bring a unique perspective because I have experience in the school system, helping school districts and students with support services, and in the Ohio Department of Education’s regional support system.”

Sue Beck of the OCALI Lifespan Transitions Center
Sue Beck of the OCALI Lifespan Transitions Center

Over the years, Sue has seen many changes in education. However, she believes that there are more positive opportunities for transition-age youth today than ever before. Current federal and state laws and policies all align to establish community integration as the first and preferred outcome for youth and adults with disabilities. Under the leadership of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, Employment First guides the work of the Transition Framework.

The Center plays an important role in “helping to connect and influence people across different systems and in various positions—from state leadership, to national experts, professionals in regional positions, teachers, county boards, and others who are working directly with kids. Establishing relationships across systems designed to connect youth to various services as they transition from youth to adulthood is essential.”

In Sue’s role as a project coordinator for Multi-Agency Planning (MAP) to Employment, she helps to facilitate training for multi-agency teams to connect with each other and learn to use tools and processes to collaboratively plan for transition with youth and their families. The Transition Framework is focused on three core principles: agency-neutral, outcome-focused, and person-centered. These core principles provide a framework for professionals to use to ensure their work and services are appropriately aligned.

Working with multi-agency, county-based teams has been a priority for Sue and the Center this year. Together, they have been helping teams with strategic planning, developing processes designed for systematic and systemic change in their respective counties, and using data to make informed decisions.

“We are inspiring people to make change for themselves around a common vision. Communities in Ohio are so diverse, even within a region. That’s why it’s so important to engage various agencies in the process. With this approach, we are truly inspiring sustainable change for the future.”

Outside of OCALI, Sue loves watching baseball. A Cincinnati Reds fan at heart, she also supports her local minor league team, the Dayton Dragons, by having season tickets. She also enjoys cooking with her daughter. Homemade pasta and other Italian foods are their specialties. Together, they like creating new recipes and using fresh herbs from their herb garden.