Members of the Connecticut Council on Developmental
Click here for a list of the Committees that Council members are on
Emily Bickhardt is a self-advocate and lives in
Colchester. She is a recent graduate of
the Council's Partners in Policymaking program, where she expanded her skills
to advocate on behalf of other individuals with disabilities in the state. In addition to her work on the Council, she
also volunteers for Special Olympics. As
a recent graduate of Mitchell College, Emily has become keenly aware of the
challenges in accessing transportation in order to get and to keep a job. She was appointed to the Council in 2012 and
serves on the Membership and Support Committee.
Chris Blake represents SARAH-Tuxis where he is liaison
between the agency and people with disabilities. He interviews the consumers residing at
SARAH-Tunxis about their living situations and about their future goals. He organized a
group of people with disabilities who wrote a letter to Senator Joseph
Lieberman in support of changing the phrase ‘mental retardation’ to
‘intellectual disabilities.’ Chris believes
that people with disabilities should have the opportunity to work, to volunteer
and to be respectfully heard. He was appointed to the Council in 2012.
Chris serves as the Chair on the Legislative Program and Planning Committee and is on the Executive Committee. He resides in East Haven.
Thomas Boudreau lives in Coventry and is an Educational Consultant with
the Bureau of Special Education within the CT Department of Education. Tom
would like to support the Council in upholding its mission and in determining
goals for the upcoming year. He was
appointed to the Council in 2012 and serves on the Proposal Review Committee.
John Curtin is a self-advocate who resides in Bolton. He took an active leadership role in forming
the state-wide advocacy group, Kids as Self-Advocates (KASA). John has spoken about the importance of
advocacy at conferences both in and out of state. He thinks that people with disabilities
should have the necessary accommodations so that they can work, vote and
participate in their community. John was appointed to the Council in
2010 and serves on the Advocacy, Public Information and Education Committee.
Michelle Duprey is the Director of the Department of
Services for Persons with Disabilities for the City of New Haven.
Michelle is a past president of the Americans with Disabilities Act Coalition
of Connecticut and one of the founders of the Connecticut Women and Disability
Network. She joined the council to help the disability community and
specifically the residents of New Haven with developmental disabilities.
Her hope is to make the council more effective in achieving its mission. She
resides in East Haven with her dog, Violet and bird, Buttercup. She was
appointed to the Council in 2013.
Jacqueline Jamison is a parent of a young adult with a disability who
lives in Hartford. She has been involved
in advocating for the rights of people with disabilities and believes that they
should receive appropriate services and technology so they can be
successful. She would like the community
to become more accommodating and welcoming to individuals with
disabilities. Jacqueline was appointed to the Council in 2011 and serves
on the Membership and Support Committee.
Michelle Johnson is a self-advocate who lives in
Manchester. She is an artist and owns
her own business, “Right On Art.” She was
involved with the 2002 Collaborations Conference in Richmond, Virginia and has
volunteered for three years with the Special Olympic World Games. Michelle was the editor of a quarterly
newsletter for an employment agency for people with disabilities. She was appointed to the Council in 2009 and serves as the
Co-Chair of the Membership and Support Committee.
Mark Keenan represents the Connecticut State Department of Public Health. He is
a supervising Nurse Consultant for the Public Health Initiatives Branch and for
the Family Health Section. In addition, he oversees the Adolescent and Child Health Unit and is the Director for
Connecticut’s Title V Children and
Youth with Special Health Care Needs. He strives to improve health
services for children and youth with disabilities. Mark was appointed to the Council in 2007 and
serves on the Legislative Program and Policy Committee. Mark resides in Newington.
Bill Knight, Chair of the Council, is a self-advocate who lives in
Torrington. He has advocated for the rights of people with disabilities for
many years. Bill was a strong advocate
for the passage of the ADA. He regularly testifies before the General Assembly
on issues impacting people with disabilities. He was appointed to the Council in 2008. In
addition to serving as Chair of the Council, he is Chair
of the Executive Committee and is an ex-offico member of the other committees.
Alicia Kucharcyzk represents the Division of Rehabilitation
Services (DRS), formerly known as the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS).
She is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor who works with people with
disabilities on improving skills so that they can return to work. She hopes to achieve equal opportunities in the workforce for people with
disabilities. Alicia was
appointed to the Council in 2012. She
serves as the Chair on the Advocacy, Public Information and Education Committee
and is on the Executive Committee. She
resides in Longmeadow, MA.
Ray Laski is a parent of a child with a disability who lives
in Derby. He believes that all people
with disabilities should have appropriate services so their needs can be
met. As a determined father, he advocates
for his son as well as for other people with disabilities, regardless of their
age. His goal is that people with disabilities reach their potential, are happy
and are productive members of their communities. He was appointed to the Council in 2012 and serves on the Advocacy, Public Information and
Martinez is a self-advocate who lives in Bridgeport. She has done a variety of jobs including
being an interpreter, working at J.C. Penny and being a companion to elderly
people. Zuleika enjoys being with people
with disabilities and learning about how she can assist. She was appointed to the Council in 2009 and serves on
the Advocacy, Public Information and Education Committee.
Sabra Mayo is a parent of a son with disabilities who lives in
Hartford. She is active with the African Caribbean American Parents of Children
with Disabilities (AFCAMP) and with the Department of Public Health’s Medical
Home Advisory Board. Sabra was appointed to the Council in 2009. She serves as the Chair on the Membership and
Support Committee and is a member of the Executive Committee.
Shelagh McClure is a parent of a child with a disability who resides in
West Hartford. She is an attorney and
brings her wealth of professional and personal experiences to the Council. Shelagh seeks to expand employment
opportunities as well as affordable housing for people with disabilities. She
was appointed to the Council in 2012 and serves on the Proposal Review Committee.
McDermott is a self-advocate who lives in Unionville. She holds Associates
Degrees in Business Administration and in General Studies. Meg has worked as the Respite Hospitality
Coordinator at United Cerebral Palsy and is now a volunteer at the UCONN blood
lab. Meg graduated from the Partners in
Policymaking Class of 2001. She is
excited that she has been appointed to the Council and hopes to use her role on
the Council to inform and to educate legislators about issues affecting people
with disabilities. Meg was appointed to the Council in 2012. She is serving as the Vice-Chair of
the Legislative Program and Policy Committee and serves on the Executive
Rafala is a self-advocate who lives in Windsor.
She volunteers twice a week at Windsor Chamber of Commerce where she
assists with various clerical duties. As
a Council Member, she wants to create opportunities for people with
disabilities to become gainfully employed.
Sarah also wants to work on improving transportation systems so that
people with disabilities can get to and from work. Sarah is on the Membership and Support
Committee. She was appointed to the Council in 2007.
Rabbi James Rosen comes to the Council as a parent of an
adult child with Down Syndrome and Autism.
Rabbi Rosen has been the Rabbi of Beth El Temple in West Hartford since
1992. He hopes to help raise the
profile of people with developmental disabilities in our state. He especially
hopes that we can help secure a future for people with developmental
disabilities in all realms of living including employment, housing and
transportation. Rabbi Rosen believes that the services and communities
for people with disabilities are far better they were twenty years ago, but
there is still a long way to go. He hopes hope to serve as a conduit to those
groups and individuals with which he is familiar and to augment the programs he
already knows about with additional insights and possibilities. Rabbi Rosen
lives in West Hartford and was appointed to the Council in 2012. He serves on
the Advocacy, Public Information and Education Committee.
Shea is a practicing attorney and lobbyist who resides in West Hartford. He is
a parent of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), mental health and
physical disabilities. He is a board member of Connecticut Families for
Effective Autism Treatment (CTFEAT) and a Board Member/Parent Liaison for the
Oak Hill School. He wants to help people with disabilities feel loved and
respected by everyone in their community.
He serves on the Legislative Program and Policy Committee and he was
appointed to the Council in 2012.
Brenda Stenglein is a parent of a child with a disability who resides
Ashford. For the last 26 years,
she has been a special education teacher in Northeastern Connecticut. Brenda
wants to share her knowledge, experiences and wisdom with the Council about the
need to create more opportunities for children with disabilities. She was
appointed to the Council in 2011. Brenda
serves as the Co-Chair on the Advocacy, Public Information and Education
Committee and is on the Executive Committee.
Ada Suarez represents the Office of Protection for Persons with
Disabilities where she is a Community Liaison Specialist. She brings her knowledge of community
organizing to the Council. She is highly
skilled at providing support to advocacy groups with an emphasis on providing
support for the Latino community. She
believes in advancing the disability rights movement to ensure equal rights and
justice for all. Ada was appointed to the Council in 2012.
She serves on the Proposal Review
Committee and is also on the Membership and Support
Committee. Ada lives in Windsor.
Christine Sullivan represents the University of Connecticut
A. J. Pappanikou Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities,
Education, Research and Service (CT UCEDD).
She is a doctoral student in Educational Psychology with a concentration
in Special Education. She has a law
degree and has been in private practice for over 24 years. As a parent of a daughter with an
intellectual disability, she wants to assist the Council in developing public
policies that provide appropriate inclusive opportunities for children with
intellectual disabilities in all aspects of their lives. Chris was appointed to the Council in 2012
and serves on the Proposal Review Committee.
Christine resides in Waterbury.
Jennifer Throwe represents the
Aging Services Division from the Department of Social Services (DSS), and is the Coordinator for the Statewide
Aging & Disability Resource Center, also known as Community Choices. Jennifer ensures that the interests and needs of people with
developmental disabilities are included and represented in a culturally
competent manner when they receive services from the Community Choices
program. She was appointed to the
Council in 2011. She serves as the Chair on the Proposal Review Committee and is
on the Executive Committee. Jennifer
lives in Burlington.
Wolkner is Vice-Chair of the Council and was appointed in 2011. She has had
much past volunteer experience including past officer positions with Farmington
Special Education Parent Teacher Association, Translator for Special Olympics
and Mentor for families new to an Autism diagnosis. She is currently
employed as a Client Development Director at Solidus, a company that provides
Commercial Construction. Kathy wanted to
join the Council to bring awareness to issues faced by people with
Developmental Disabilities. She hopes to
fulfill the goals of the Council’s mission statement and to advocate for those
with Developmental Disabilities. Kathy
resides in Farmington.