Our Mission

Our mission is to share evidence-based resources and strategies for student learning and success. Our collaborative work with educators, families, & administrators leads to a team roadmap for students with complex learning challenges to reach their full potential.

About SDES

Specially Designed Education Services is focused on creating and providing curriculum, training, and consultation related to programming for students with moderate to severe disabilities including autism. We are the publisher of The Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics and offer instruction and mentorship related to its implementation. We also work with teams to address child-specific concerns (initial programming, planning for communication, behavior, etc.), as well as classroom set-up and scheduling. We provide webinars and pre-scheduled workshops at our training center in Bothell, WA, and district-wide trainings on location.

About the Authors

Dr. Candice Styer and Suzanne Fitzgerald are co-authors of the Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics. Together, they have 50+ years experience working with children and adults with disabilities in a variety of settings and roles.
Specially Designed Education Services|About Us
Specially Designed Education Services|About Us

How it Started 

The Styer-Fitzgerald Program was first published in 2009 as a result of the authors’ vast and varied teaching experiences, as well as educators’ suggestions and feedback through the years. 

Since the Program was first published, we have been honored to train and work with hundreds of teachers across the nation. We have seen the Program being implemented in multiple classrooms in both urban and rural school districts and have been humbled to hear stories of success from parents, teachers, paras, and administrators. The response has been far beyond what we could have ever imagined.

Over time, we have not only revamped existing content areas, but we are continually adding new material and functionality to the Program in an effort to both keep up with the times and meet the needs of as many special educators and students as possible. 

Keeping Relevant

We believe the true measure of the success of an assessment and curriculum is the effect it has on the teachers and students who use it. We are eager to hear feedback and suggestions related to the Program as a whole. We ask all customers to share their experiences—challenges as well as successes. Every enhancement to the Program is a direct reflection of the feedback we receive from those who use it. 

Our dream continues to be to reach students and help educators like you provide the best possible education for each child that enters your program. What started as a tool in our classrooms is now in its 3rd print edition, offered online in the cloud, and has inspired many supplemental programs as a way to stay current and remain the most comprehensive and user-friendly program on the market. 

Our Promise to You

Being special educators ourselves, we appreciate the many wonderful and demanding aspects of this job. When you implement the Styer-Fitzgerald Program for Functional Academics with a dash of your own personal style, your classroom will feel more manageable and your students will experience greater independence and self-efficacy.

We are here to support you every step along the way! Thank you for your commitment to educating and enhancing the lives of students with disabilities.

Our Team

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Suzanne Fitzgerald


Brent Fitzgerald

Vice President
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Debbie Austin

Senior Editor
Vice President of Operations
Dr. Cambria Hurlimann

Dr. Cambria Hurlimann

Vice President
of Customer Success

Tucker Mueck

Director of District Partnerships
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Michela Laverty

Director of Professional Development and Training

Barbara Beck

Director of Creative Content

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Jesse Turnbull

Technical and Administrative Support Specialist


Erika Hilsbeck (1)

Erika Hilsabeck

Teacher Consultant
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Dr. Deborah Schloemer-Frazer

Teacher Consultant
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Lori Sinclair

Teacher Consultant
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Celeste Marion


Contributing Authors


Dr. Candice Styer

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Emma Packard


Investor Kit

Company Legal Status:

Specially Designed Education Services (SDES) is a for profit, S-corp headquartered out of Bothell, Washington, and is 100% Women Owned by Suzanne Fitzgerald as sole owner.

All of SDES’s products are proudly made in America and they utilize USA-based companies for their services. In addition, all products have been created for teachers by teachers. From their sales staff to their trainers, all are (or, have been) educators with classroom experience.

Though SDES’s customers are primarily school districts, they’ve also sold their Program(s) to: Private Schools, Clinics/Centers, Hospitals, Physicians, Psychiatrists, Departments of Defense, Departments of Correction, and directly to parents.


Estimated number of districts that have purchased their Functional Academics Program to date (since 2016 to Q2 2023) = 450

Estimated number of classrooms that have purchased their Functional Academics Program to date (since 2016 to Q2 2023) = 1,650-1,700

Estimated number of students served by their Functional Academics Program to date (since 2016 to Q2 2023) = 13,500-14,000

Program sales since the end of the COVID pandemic:

SDES experienced a sizable post-COVID rebound in Program sales. By the end of 2021, SDES saw their best 2nd half of the year to that date. Program sales have only increased since. From 2021 to 2022, Program sales grew by 46%. In the first half of 2023, Program sales have outpaced the previous year’s sales by 68% growth during the same time of year. By the end of 2023, SDES is forecast to have sold into a total of 2,100 classrooms servicing approximately 17,000 students (since 2016). Overall, since taking full ownership control/rights from their previous publisher at the beginning of 2016, Program sales have grown by 131% . . . even when factoring in the COVID lockdown years. 


SDES is honored and proud to serve within our home here in the U.S.A. and abroad within International communities.

States within the U.S.A. that have purchased our Program(s):

Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Countries from around the world that have purchaseD our Program(s):

Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benine, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Canada, China, Djibouti, East Timor, Georgia, Germany, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Philippines, Republic of Kosovo, Republic of Macedonia, Singapore, Slovakia, Suriname, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Venezuela, Vietnam

Specially Designed Education Services is a 100% Certified Women Owned Enterprise.