Founders

DeAnna Pursai

Co-Founder and Executive Director

DeAnna Pursai is currently the Executive Director and Co-Founder of College of Adaptive Arts, which provides an equitable collegiate experience to adults with special needs who historically have not had access to higher education.  DeAnna holds a Master’s in Policy Analysis in the School of Education from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her undergraduate degree in Elementary and Special Education from Purdue University.  DeAnna has received numerous awards throughout her career, the latest being named an Architect of Change on the Maria Shriver blog and being co-awarded the Delta Kappa Gamma State Distinguished Career/Professional Service Award with CAA’s co-founder and Dean of Instruction, Pamela Lindsay.  DeAnna is also a part-time Intervention Specialist at Los Alamitos Elementary School in San Jose Unified.  She is active in the downtown Rotary, the Silicon Valley Organization, & Center of Excellence in Nonprofits, and she a board member of Christmas in the Park.  She is also big sister to Angel Ellenberger, who happens to have Down syndrome, and is an exquisite actress, entertainer & comedian.  DeAnna aspires to become a children’s musician in her next chapter, having her college students join her on the road to share the joy of children’s music in schools and communities.

Pamela Lindsay

As Co-Founder and Dean, Pamela enjoys supporting students and families of the College of Adaptive Arts through development of curriculum, instruction, administration, and community-based collaborative programs. Pamela’s history of work with families of special learners inspires her passion for development of individualized curricula and programs providing student engagement, optimal learning opportunities, and success. Her professional background includes work in arts, technology, education, and family services. She has received accommodations for her work with differently abled individuals from the California Senate, Assembly, and San Andreas Regional Center. She is currently completing her doctorate in educational leadership at the University of Phoenix, with a focus on development of higher education programs for adults with differing learning needs. Pamela earned her B.A., marketing certificate, and M.A. from the Department of Television, Radio, Film and Theatre at San Jose State University where she served as a Graduate Instructor, Lecturer, and Director. She is an invited alumnus of the Royal National Theatre Summer Programme (London) and a veteran of professional theatre, dance, film, television, and music work within the United States, Europe, and Japan including live performances in such venues as Notre Dame Cathedral and Carnegie Hall.