Ready to see how DirectCourse will work for you?
Sign up for a free trial today.See it in action
DirectCourse | College of Direct Support has a rich history of empowering direct support staff with trusted content, but that’s only possible with the dedicated members of our National Advisory Board and National Editorial Board.
Brenda has over thirty-seven years of experience in supporting individuals with disabilities in the residential setting. For the past 20 years her work experience includes the coordination, development, implementation, facilitation and evaluation of various training programs offered to Habilitative Services Inc. (HSI) employees and outside agencies. She was the driving force in 2005 when HSI purchased administration rights to the College of Direct Support’s, LMS system.
She earned her Professional Trainer Certification through Langevin Learning Services and continues to offer training opportunities to DSP’s and Self Advocates. She is a trainer of Person Centered Thinking and is certified to facilitate a variety of Person Center Planning tools such as PATH’s, MAP’s and Essential Lifestyle Planning.
Brenda has a degree in Human Services and is also a sibling/guardian of a brother with developmental disabilities. She serves on many committees and boards pertaining to DD services in Minnesota.
Mary Lou Bourne is the Director of the National Core Indicators (NCI) for the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disability Services (NASDDDS). For more than 30 years, she has worked with federal, state and local human service agencies, large and small service providers, and service coordination agencies to design, develop and carry out high quality supports and services solidly grounded in person centered values. Throughout her career, Mary Lou has developed expertise in incorporating person centered thinking into Medicaid funded home and community based services, the use of quality Management strategies and large scale organizational change.
Most recently, Mary Lou was a Partner with Support Development Associates, supporting state and local Developmental Disability staff in their desire to change their support systems from traditional services to systems focused on the fundamental tenets of person centered practices. Throughout these change initiatives Mary Lou assisted agency leadership in the design of comprehensive change – from first contact with families, through identification of support, monitoring of service delivery, and measurement of quality outcomes for people supported by the agencies. Redesigning the infrastructure by way of updates and changes to policies, regulations, roles, and authority structures contributed to the success of each project.
Her expertise includes large scale systemic change and development of methods to support a performance-based learning culture within government funded human service systems. Mary Lou has been appointed a Malcolm Baldrige National Program Examiner 4 times, and has developed a person centered agency assessment based on the Baldrige Criteria. She has presented “Person Centered Thinking to Person Centered Systems” to the Headquarters and Regional staff of the Health and Human Service Administration on Community Living, the staff within CMS LTSS offices, and has been an invited keynote speaker on this topic. Mary Lou has worked with 28 states, and numerous service provider agencies. She has created and launched two companies that provide support to people with developmental disabilities, both of which continue to thrive today. She is a Mentor Trainer for the Learning Community for Person Centered Practice and has supported the development of person centered practices across the US and in the UK and served as Faculty to the National Leadership Institute on Developmental Disabilities.
Mary Lou has a Bachelor of Social Science degree and is completing her MSOD from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in Annapolis, MD with her husband of 35 years, and has three children and two grand children.
Valerie J. Bradley is president of the Human Services Research Institute (HSRI) since its inception in 1976. As president of HSRI, Ms. Bradley has overall responsibility for the development and management of all HSRI projects in mental health, developmental disabilities, drug and alcohol abuse and other human service programs. Her current responsibilities include:
She was president of the American Association on Mental Retardation in 2005-2006 and was chair of the President’s Committee on Mental Retardation, 1994-2000.
Ms. Bradley has a Master’s in Political Science, 1966, from the Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers, The State University, and a B.A. in Political Science from Occidental College in California.
Lisa Burck assists Mississippi with improving its system of care, sometimes at a systems’ level, sometimes one person at a time. Working with all pertinent State agencies, Mississippi is working to grow and improve home and community based services and supports at all levels.
All Mississippi home and community based waivers now require DirectCourse for education and professional development. An early adopter of the College of Direct Support, The Arc of Mississippi as a non-profit believes that CDS is an important advocacy tool. Lisa has worked in both the public and private sector and has been with The Arc of Mississippi for more than 10 years.
Lisa has a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, master’s degrees in Public Administration and in Severe Disabilities, and teaches part time for the University of Southern Mississippi. She is the past president of the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP). Lisa resides in Moss Point, Mississippi with her husband and near her 3 children and 4 grandchildren.
Melissa Cheplic is the Senior Training and Consultation Specialist at The Elizabeth M. Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) at Rutgers University. Melissa provides training and technical assistance to provider agencies and state agencies, building capacity throughout NJ to support adults and children with IDD who have challenging behaviors and mental health needs.
Melissa holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Rutgers School of Public Health. Melissa serves as the Chairperson of the NADD, an international professional association dedicated to advancing mental wellness for persons with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities, Direct Support Professional Certification Committee. She is a NADD Certified Dual Diagnosis Specialist and was honored as NADD member of the year in 2015. Melissa been published in the NADD Bulletin and coauthored a training manual, “Mental Health Approaches to Intellectual/Developmental Disability,” in addition to multiple other articles and workshops highlighting dual diagnosis.
Dawn Cooper, Manager, Diversity and Cultural Competency at The Arc of the United States, is responsible for developing and implementing The Arc’s strategic plan for creating greater diversity within our chapters and ensuring we are effectively meeting the needs of a diverse I/DD community. As a professional diversity consultant with 20 years’ experience, Dawn has consulted with organizations on ways to leverage diversity and build inclusion as an organizational imperative and specializes in providing strategic and tactical direction to organizations looking to implement change and improve effectiveness.
Previously, she has served in positions at the World Bank, AFSC, InterAction, Freddie Mac, and American Express, and has been faculty in Georgetown University’s Center for Continuing and Professional Education, Strategic Diversity and Inclusion Management Certificate Program.
Kristine Foss is the Managing Director of Disability Solutions, the corporate consulting practice of Ability Beyond. Launched in 2012, Disability Solutions is working with large, global corporations on developing and implementing disability recruitment, hiring and engagement initiatives. Kris was formerly Director of Human Resources and Workforce Development at Ability Beyond, a private provider in Connecticut and New York. In her role she developed and implemented a long-term workforce development plan including the Pathways to Excellence career path program for the direct support workforce.
Prior to her work at Ability Beyond, Kris worked as Marketing Director and Assessment Specialist for an educational publishing company. She received her undergraduate degree from Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, and a Masters of Arts in teaching from Sacred Heart University focused on educational technology. She has presented workshops at national and state-wide conferences on a variety of workforce development topics.
Kris currently serves as the Vice President, Board of Directors for the National Alliance of Direct Support Professionals and on the Board of Directors for The Bridge to Independence (TBICO) in Connecticut. Kris holds a Senior Professional of Human Resources (SPHR) certification from the Society for Human Resource Managers (SHRM).
Dorothy Hiersteiner serves as the Project Coordinator for the National Core Indicators (NCI), an effort that began in 1997 to develop indicators and benchmarks of performance across state developmental disabilities service systems. In this role, Dorothy manages the NCI Staff Stability Survey, a survey administered in participating states used to assess the stability of the Direct Support Professional workforce. Her work with NCI includes data management and data analysis, report writing and editing, and communications. She has contributed to numerous technical reports, data briefs, manuscripts, and training/TA materials. She holds a master’s degree in public policy from the Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis.
Joseph M. Macbeth is the Executive Director at the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) and has worked in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities for more than 30 years – beginning as a Direct Support Professional.
Macbeth is recognized as a national leader in the advocacy and advancement the direct support profession and is a highly sought after speaker on the workforce crisis affecting human service provider organizations. He has co-authored the series of publications titled “Voices from the Frontlines”, produced an award winning Realistic Job Preview titled “Working as a Direct Support Professional: We Get It Done”, and has partnered with the State University of New York (SUNY) and assisted more than 500 direct support professionals advance their college education through the “Disability Studies Certificate”.
He currently sits on the board of directors for the Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) and most recently was appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as a Member of the Advisory Council for the New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs. Macbeth is also involved with AIEJI, an international organization based in Denmark that promotes the work of social educators. He lives in Albany, NY.
Colleen McLaughlin is the Director of Policy at the Institute on Disabilities. She is responsible for analyzing, translating, and providing technical assistance with regard to state and federal policies that impact the lives of people with disabilities, families, and related stakeholders. Colleen also coordinates projects focused on the implementation of innovative practices aimed at increasing self-determination and community inclusion of people with disabilities.
Prior to going to Temple, Colleen was employed as the Community Supports Manager at The Boggs Center/UCEDD at Rutgers University where she coordinated a variety of projects related to statewide systems change, workforce development, and person-centered practices.
She is a fellow of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD), is on the editorial board of NADSP’s Frontline Initiative, and recently served as a strand leader for the topic of Workforce Development for National Goals in Research, Policy, and Practice 2015.
Colleen received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, a Bachelor of Science in Education Degree from Clarion University, and a Master of Education in Counseling Psychology from Temple University.
Donna Meltzer is CEO of the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), a national non-profit organization that supports the nation’s 56 governor-appointed Developmental Disabilities Councils that work within state government to promote independence, productivity, and integration of people with disabilities through systems change activities. In this capacity, Ms. Meltzer oversees the organization’s public policy and advocacy agenda as well as technical assistance to the member Councils. Ms. Meltzer joined the NACDD in October 2012. Previously she was the Senior Director of Government Relations for the Epilepsy Foundation. She rejoined the Epilepsy Foundation in July 2005 after having previously worked for the Foundation from 1987 – 1993. She also served as Director of Legislative Affairs for the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) from 1995-2005.
Ms. Meltzer began her career on Capitol Hill working for the Honorable Tony Coelho (D-CA), a former Congressman and House Whip from California who is the father of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and a person with epilepsy. Ms. Meltzer also spent two years as the Government Affairs Director for the National Health Council where she directed the advocacy agenda for the Council’s Voluntary Health Agency (VHA) members.
She is a graduate of the University of Maryland’s School of Journalism. Ms. Meltzer also participates in several key coalitions including serving as President of the Board of Directors of the Coalition for Health Funding. She is a past Chair of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) where she continues as a co-chair of the CCD’s Fiscal Policy Task Force.
Andrea Misenheimer serves as Director of Regulatory Affairs at Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, the country’s largest specialty health plan. Cardinal Innovations provides healthcare services to over 850,000 members and funds nearly $1 billion in healthcare services annually. Ms. Misenheimer oversees health policy and regulatory activities supporting the operation of North Carolina’s 1915 waiver system, which she first designed in 2004. She facilitates Cardinal Innovations’ regulatory relationship with the Department of Health and Human Services, including the Division of Medical Assistance, Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services and the Division of State Operated Facilities.
With over 30 years of professional experience in publicly funded behavioral health and IDD service systems, Ms. Misenheimer’s innovative approach to public policy and system design exemplify the values that are the hallmark of high performing managed systems. Ms. Misenheimer’s expertise and experience include 1915 (c) waiver design and development, benefit plan design, management of case management systems and utilization management systems, program design/operation, project management and consultation. She served as principal in the IDD design for North Carolina’s first at-risk 1915 (b) (c) Medicaid managed care waiver in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, which was subsequently piloted by Cardinal Innovations. Ms. Misenheimer introduced an innovative toolkit to manage long term services and supports in North Carolina that included use of the SIS®, Self-Directed models of care and Resource Allocation. She is also responsible for the introduction of new services and policy that advance a self-directed support system driven by the individual to have the life of their choice.
Ms. Misenheimer has presented within the state of North Carolina, nationally and internationally on innovative IDD practices and the successful operation of the managed 1915 (c) Home and Community Based Waiver. She has a passionate belief that, with the appropriate supports and services, everyone can have the life of their choice, regardless of their disability. She maintains a long-term commitment to empowering systems and organizations to develop effective and efficient practices that make this belief a reality. She is the mother of two sons and lives in North Carolina with her husband Scott who shares her passion for supporting individuals to define their own lives.
Tia Nelis is the Director of Policy & Advocacy for the National Organization, TASH. She has served as president of People First of Illinois and Naperville. She has been honored with the Burton Blatt Award by the Illinois TASH and the Elizabeth Boggs award from the President’s committee. Ms. Nelis has drawn on experiences relating to her own disability in promoting and demonstrating the benefits of empowerment for people with disabilities. She has wide experience in conducting training and advocating for progressive polices with legislators and public officials.
Holly Riddle is Policy Advisor to the North Carolina Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services. From 1990 to 2013, she was the Executive Director of the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities (NCCDD).
Holly holds a Master’s Degree in Special Education from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center. She has been a member of the North Carolina State Bar since 1988; served as a member of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law; and currently chairs the Legal Process and Advocacy Committee of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD).
During the 19 years that she directed the NCCDD, the Council served as a beacon for defining and advancing contemporary policies and practices in intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). In 2013, the NCCDD created an award in Holly’s name, given annually in recognition of exceptional professional leadership in the field of IDD. In 2017, she became an AAIDD Fellow.
Ann Cameron Williams, Ph.D., is CEO of ao Strategies, a business with a social mission. AC, as her friends call her, wanted to help critically important non profit organizations – especially those that are midsize or small – serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities re-invent what they do and how they do it.
Ann Cameron has worked in senior leadership positions at The Arc of the United States and Easter Seals’ national headquarters over the past ten years seeking and obtaining over 11 million dollars in five, six, and seven-figure federal and philanthropic awards. Her reputation as an innovative thinker, a relational oriented collaborator, successful rainmaker, and a fierce advocate to obtain optimal outcomes for people with IDD is widely known.
She has a doctorate in disability studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago; a Master’s degree from the University of Chicago, and is a 2011 Fellow of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Center for Social Innovation. She is a an adjunct associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, mother of a young man with Down syndrome, has two Russell terriers, and fosters pit bulls through Peace for Pits, www.peaceforpits.org.
Ben Woodworth is the Director of Training and Technical Assistance for the Iowa Association of Community Providers (IACP). In his role with the Association he has been responsible for the development and implementation of IACP’s Technical Assistance to Providers across Iowa and the roll out of the College of Direct Supports online training program to over 30 agencies statewide with a planned statewide expansion in early 2013. Mr. Woodworth also monitors a variety of policy issues for the association including the current Mental Health and Disability Services Redesign. He has co-authored numerous position papers on policy issues impacting IACPs membership and is also responsible for working with agencies to increase their capacity to serve people experiencing brain injury and challenging behavior.
Mr. Woodworth obtained his bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa and his master’s degree in Social Work from University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
He has 15 years of experience in human service agencies serving people who are experiencing disability in a variety of roles. Prior to coming to the Association in 2009, Mr. Woodworth was the Statewide Administrator for Iowa’s Brain Injury Service Program within the Iowa Department of Public Health. Mr. Woodworth has served on a variety of boards and commissions including the board of the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators and the Mayo Clinic’s Brain Injury Model Systems advisory committee. He is the proud father of three daughters (Hannah, Claire, and Meredith who keep him busy as a softball coach, cheerleader, and music instructor.
Cathy Yadamec is the Director of Training and Certification for CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership. In this role, Cathy coordinates the training opportunities offered by CQL. She oversees the certification of Personal Outcome Measures® Interviewers and Trainers, and is responsible for developing new training opportunities often customizing it to meet the unique strengths and preferences of individual organizations. Cathy has experience within CQL and in private and state agencies supporting people with developmental disabilities to have better lives. Cathy has worked diligently to promote personal and organizational change to create a culture of responsiveness and focus on quality as defined by the person. In the 2000’s Cathy worked with CQL as a Project Manager and in the CMS Look-Behind Contract. For 3 years, Cathy served as the Manager of Quality Improvement/ Quality Enhancement for the Developmental Disability Administration in the District of Columbia, and then returned to CQL as the Project Manager for the Illinois Ligas Outreach Project.
Cathy brings 35 years of well-rounded experience to CQL with strong project management, data, quality assurance and training skills. These skills are match by her ability to meld local experiences with a national perspective. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from the University of Missouri and a Masters of Arts degree in Education from the Lindenwood University. Her growing family is very important to her and she relishes the time she spends with her sisters, brothers and especially her great nieces and nephews. She enjoys hiking and spending time wandering around the world.
Responsible for the accuracy of information throughout the College of DirectSupport.
That’s our mission. We want to give you everything your organization needs so you can educate your staff, enrich their knowledge and help them inspire everyone they work with on a daily basis.