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Vicci Tucci, 1949-2024
ABA pioneer, visionary advocate and fearless innovator.

vicci tucci

Vicci was born in Weston, West Virginia in 1949. This was also the year that B.F. Skinner published his book, “The Case for Radical Behaviorism”. This title could also be a caption for Vicci’s life work in the science of ABA and her crowning legacy, the development of The Competent Learner Model. Indeed she directly attributed this 1968 Skinner quote as the inspiration for her formation of the Competent Learner Model.

“Teaching is the arrangement and rearrangement of
contingencies to facilitate learning.” ~ B.F. Skinner

Vicci’s initial venture into working with marginalized communities began in her hometown of Weston, West Virginia. In 1971, while pursuing her undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of West Virginia, she assumed the role of Recreation Director at the Weston State Hospital. During her early days there, she relocated her desk to the basement where the isolation rooms were, in order to keep the patients company, and deter the doctors from using isolation as punishment. This simple act marked her first official advocacy for a misunderstood and mistreated demographic. It laid the foundation for Vicci’s life narrative, igniting within her the drive to champion marginalized individuals wherever she encountered them.

Vicci’s relentless curiosity about human capacity shaped her journey. In 1978, she completed her Master’s Degree in Psychology, specializing in Applied Behavior Analysis at the University of the Pacific (UOP) in Stockton, CA. One of her first professional jobs was assisting a group of intellectually and behaviorally challenged adults. The setting was unconventional: a former and now abandoned jail. With a football in the trunk of her car and some paper and pencils, she used these tools to begin to establish value and interact with her learners. Soon she and her class were invited to the local adult school. This led Vicci to think about what preparation her learners needed to function in this new environment.

While attending UOP, she gained experience in a variety of contexts, including research and as a teaching assistant at UOP, serving the Stockton State Hospital as both the Program Coordinator of UOP’s Community Re-entry Project and as a Training Specialist through Valley Mountain Regional Center, Instructor at the Manteca Adult School, Residential House Manager at the Howard Training Center, and Teacher Project Director for Manteca Unified School District. Following receiving her MA from UOP in 1978, Vicci went on to serve as Program Director of the Manteca CAPS Center, and Program Director of the Manner House Residential Program and DTAC/Behavioral Program at Serra Residential Center.

From these early experiences she emerged as a fierce and fearless advocate for progressive practices in the treatment of individuals with behavioral challenges, and a promoter of non-coercive methodologies that made her a pioneer within the field of ABA.

In the late 80’s Vicci’s life led her to California’s beautiful Central Coast where she and her wife Ruth put down roots that would hold them for the next 30+ years. She began consulting with the Monterey County Office of Education (MCOE), using her study of the early behaviorists to help her coach classroom teachers on how to work with behaviorally challenged learners. Theory became practice as the framework for teaching learners, as well as coaching teachers, began to take shape. The framework initially encompassed a two-sided approach: curricula for the learners, and a course of study for the instructors. Soon understanding that the administrators must be involved in order for systemic change to occur, the action management process held the key for maintaining an outcomes-based methodology.

The CLM was created out of Vicci’s recognition of the need for effective and research validated instructional intervention for both learners and those in instructional roles. During this period of time, Vicci’s time was consumed with working all day in the classroom and then writing all night. There were not enough hours in the day to get this exciting work done! Her work with MCOE led her to found her own behavioral services company, Tucci Learning Solutions, which has been serving learners and families in several regions of California for more than 30 years, implementing the CLM daily with hundreds of learners.

Vicci’s unparalleled understanding of Skinner’s work allowed her to embed the behavior analytic practices into her course of study in a way that was accessible for everyone. She was a masterful learning environment engineer and was passionate about sharing her knowledge. Her vision of coaching and supporting educators to apply best practices, sets the CLM apart from all other models.

Vicci’s professional accolades and awards:

  • Outstanding Contribution of Development by the Board of Directors of the Manteca CAPS Center (1985).
  • Certificates of recognition by Assemblyman Patrick Johnston of the 26th District of CA, and Senator John Garamendi of the 5th District, in honor of her dedicated contributions to the Manteca CAPS Center.
  • Recognition Quilt in Appreciation for Contributions to teachers and learners, which was created and presented by teachers working at the Monterey County Office of Education, Special Education, and which she displayed proudly at her office (1996).
  • Association for Direct Instruction Excellence in Education Award (1999).
  • Future Centre for Special Needs in Abu Dhabi Award (2010).
  • Shenandoah Valley Regional Program in Virginia Recognition Award (2012).
  • West Virginia University’s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences’ Department Alumni Recognition Award (2012).

Vicci’s other monumental contributions to the field of ABA include:

  • The establishment of the California Association for Behavior Analysis (CalABA).
  • The pioneering support of certification of behavior analysts.
  • Served as the Chair of CalABA’s Task Force for Certification supporting the recognition and implementation of certification of behavior analysts in the state of California (1992 -1997). Following the establishment of the BACB®, state certifications transitioned into national certification, serving as the first national organization to certify practitioners of ABA, with its standards as the basis of almost all behavior analyst licensing laws in the United States.

Vicci traveled the world supporting global CLM implementations, and she never stopped working to refine and develop both the CLM and its presence in global education. Returning to her hometown of Weston, WV, in semi-retirement, she continued to visit Competent Learner Model classrooms on the east coast and collaborate with colleagues until her passing in February of 2024.

The memorial reflections of those who knew her best and worked by her side for decades describe her this way: Vicci Tucci was highly regarded for her outgoing and dynamic personality. She was an inspiring and passionate individual, brimming with determination and creativity. Her influential nature and innovative spirit made her a leader and a mentor. Words like “trailblazer,” “game changer,” and “brilliant” describe her impact on colleagues and all who knew her. “Mama”, also a term used to describe Vicci, recognizes her nurturing spirit, both in a literal familial sense and as a caretaker within her professional community.

The singular word “trouble” amidst the overwhelmingly positive words used to describe Vicci highlights her ability to challenge the status quo, aligning with her being a game changer. She referred to herself as “MisBehavior” which illustrated her playfulness and humor in the field of behaviorism. Vicci Tucci was admired for her intellect, warmth, and vivacity, making her a beloved and respected figure for all who knew her.

MEET OUR TEAM

Tucci Learning Solution’s team of coordinators and educators are at home on the beautiful coast of Central California.  From there they reach out through regional partners to school districts, families, and other educational entities all over the United States and the world with extraordinary expertise and empathy.

Rae-Ann Arevelo
Director of Staff Development

Rae-Ann was introduced by Vicci Tucci and her coaching team to the CLM as a special day class teacher in 2003. In 2005 she joined Tucci Learning Solutions as a Coordinator of Services and assisted facilitated a CLM implementation in the Bay Area in California as well as home cases. She also served as Regional Coordinator for the Santa Clara, CA region for several years.

Rae-Ann started her teaching career in Canada as a general education teacher with an emphasis in special education and language development. Throughout the years she taught kindergarten to grade nine as well as resource room instruction. She began employment in California in 2000 and has enjoyed continuing to develop a path in special education and training.

Rae-Ann served as a staff trainer (Pro-ACT and TEACCH) during while teaching in the special day class. She is a CLM Certified Coach and CLM Certified Coordinator.

Currently she is the Director of Staff Development for Tucci Learning Solutions. She works closely with staff who are actively engaged in advancing in their career while learning and applying the CLM by examining the 'small picture' of a situation but just as importantly realizing the 'big picture'.

Christina Lovaas
Clinical Director & Chief Behavioral Officer

Christina was introduced to Vicci Tucci and the CLM in the spring of 2002. Vicci and her coaching team spent the spring semester coaching Christina and her classroom team to implement the CLM. She fell in love with it and during the summer of 2002 decided to take a leap of faith and began working as a coordinator of services in schools and home settings. In 2004, she became Regional Coordinator and served in that capacity for over eight years. In 2008, she became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has served as lead Coordinator on multiple implementations in Hollister, San Marcos, Campbell, and Lynwood all in California. She has also done virtual coaching in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and North Carolina. Christina began her career in the field of special education, in 1998 serving as a 1:1 aide for a child on the autism spectrum in San Diego and then transitioned into the role of a teacher in 1999.Currently, she is the Chief Behavioral Officer and Clinical Director of Tucci Learning Solutions, Inc., while working on her Doctorate at West Virginia University.

Cathy Scutta, OTD, OTR/L, BCBA-D
Director, CLM Center of Excellence

As an occupational therapist and behavior analyst, I have unique training and perspective coupled with many years of experience developing individual and group change and improvement plans. I have a passion for designing creative solutions to capitalize on individual and collective strengths. I enjoy deconstructing complex problems, systems and environments, to identify the necessary next steps while also attending to the infrastructure that will support the new behaviors. I love helping others create their own independence and meet their own goals.

I specialize in building trusting and lasting relationships in order to support individuals and systems who want to improve their services for individuals with autism and other significant learning and behavioral challenges.

I accomplish this by providing personal and organizational analysis with a recommended scope and sequence of learning and behavioral application tasks, personal leadership and team development of pivotal talents and skills, environmental and human performance assessment to maximize intended personal or organizational outcomes; strategic program planning and alignment consultation, and strengths-based professional coaching services to set the occasion for both individual and collective success.
 
I have been replicating large-scale CLM Implementations in Pennsylvania and Virginia since 2005. In my current role with the CLM Center of Excellence, I am responsible for designing, executing and sustaining innovative implementation solutions and partnerships, licensing, and quality assurance infrastructures for disseminating the Competent Learner Model™ on a global scale. In addition, I also design and teach the hybrid CLM and ABA/CLM Specialty Certificate Programs being delivered through West Virginia University and Clarion University through online and extended campus in small group cohorts.
MEET OUR REGIONAL TEAMS
TUCCi Monterey

TUCCi MONTEREY

TUCCi Monterey

TUCCi SOUTH MONTEREY COUNTY

TUCCi Santa Clara

TUCCi SANTA CLARA

TUCCi Santa Cruz

TUCCi SANTA CRUZ

TUCCi Tuolumne

TUCCi TUOLUMNE

MEET OUR PARTNERS

Tucci Learning Solutions partners are responsible for implementing the CLM with fidelity in distinct geographical areas and for helping bring the Competent Learner Model to an ever widening and diverse group of administrators, educators, communities and families.

CLM Center Of Excellence

A division of Tucci Learning Solutions, Inc.

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