Baldini  |  Gordon  | Harris | Johnson Kliethermes

Deborah Baldini, PhD, Associate Dean, SUCCEED Founder

Dr. Baldini serves as Associate Dean for the College of Arts & Sciences and directs the Office of Academic Innovation, a unit that develops new academic programs that respond to the needs of the greater St. Louis region. She has provided leadership for the Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Education, the Labor Studies Program, the Advanced Credit Program, the Gateway Writing Project, the Foreign Language Connection, Write Stuff, and the Next Chapter Book Club, and has developed a wide variety of academic programs, courses, workshops, certificate programs and camps in collaboration with academic colleges, departments, centers, and external partners.  Dr. Baldini was fundamental in the development and the birth of the SUCCEED program and received the Governor’s Council on Disability 22nd Annual Inclusion Award in 2013.

A member of the Department of Languages and Cultural Studies, Dr. Baldini has taught Spanish language, literature, and cultural studies at the University of Missouri St. Louis since 1980. She has published software for college level Spanish, has served as a reviewer of college level Spanish textbooks and multimedia projects, and has served as a consultant to high schools, community colleges and universities. She has presented papers at numerous state and national conferences and is a member of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, the Foreign Language Teachers Association, the University Professional and Continuing Education Association, and the American Council on Education Missouri Network for Women in Higher Education. Dr. Baldini has served on the Fulbright National Screening Committee and has served as a member of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Board of Reviewers.

Dr. Baldini received a BA cum laude in Spanish Language and Literature from Washington University in St. Louis, an MA in Spanish Language and Literature from Washington University in St. Louis, and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Dr. Baldini completed the Management Development Program at Harvard University.

Sarah Gordon, Program Director

Sarah Gordon is the Program Director for the SUCCEED program. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in secondary education with a concentration in social studies from Southeast Missouri State University. Sarah also has two advanced degrees. She has a Masters of Arts in Teaching with a focus on interdisciplinary studies and curriculum design from Webster University and a Masters of Arts in School Counseling from Lindenwood University. Prior to employment at UMSL, Sarah served as a general education teacher for seven and a half years in the social studies department at Centralia High School. In that position, she gained extensive experience working with students with disabilities in an inclusive setting, primarily in creating and utilizing modifications and accommodations in a classroom setting.


Maya J. Harris Coordinator of Vocational Studies

mayaMaya J. Harris B.A., M.A., CRC will serve as the Coordinator of Vocational Studies in the SUCCEED Program. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Kentucky State University, in Frankfort, Ky, as well as a Masters of Arts in Rehabilitation Counseling, from Maryville University.  She is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor who is passionate about assisting individuals with disabilities gain independent living skills. Prior to employment at UMSL, Maya served as the Employment Transition Service Manager at Paraquad.  In that position, she managed two Summer Work Experience Programs funded by the Productive Living Board and Vocational Rehabilitation. Maya brings experience in assisting high school students transition from school to competitive employment.  Her past experience includes working at a Supportive Community Living agency, as the Director of the Kids P.E.A.C.E. Program at Community Choices Unlimited, in Frankfort, Ky.  

Andrew Johnson Kliethermes, Coordinator of Transition

andrewAndrew Johnson Kliethermes serves as the Coordinator of Transition. With over 10 years of experience in business management, employee training, and sales, Andrew applies his experience building strong relationships with SUCCEED Partners.

Prior to joining SUCCEED; Andrew was an Employment Advisor with St Louis Arc. There he was able to collaborate with a leading team; Special School District, Vocational Rehabilitation, SSM St Mary’s Health Center, and St Louis Arc to help facilitate a pilot Vocational Skills Employment Training Program, or V-SET, complete its second year. From 2003 through 2009, Andrew was the General Manager of Cherry Street Bar and Grill, and part of the management team of several salons. Throughout his management career Andrew excelled at employment training, as well as managing over 60 employees.  

Andrew holds his Bachelors in Business Administration, and is continuing his education with University of Missouri–St. Louis – with studies in Higher Ed.