Staff | Institute on Community Integration (ICI) We are a federally designated University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), part of a national network of similar programs in major universities and teaching hospitals across the country. en-us 2018 Regents of the University of Minnesota (Publications Office) (ICI Web Team) Fri, 07 Dec 2018 14:46:58 CST 1440 Developmental Disabilities Gretchen Gallagher Weinstein

Gretchen earned a Bachelors degree in Music Therapy from the University of Minnesota. For 20+ years, she practiced Music Therapy with a focus on working with individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities. She has also been part of administrative teams in local non-profit organizations and has held the titles of Coordinator, Manager, and Director.

2018-10-23T09:06:21-05:00 - Tue, 23 Oct 2018 09:06:21 CST
Kyung Mee Kim

Kyung Mee Kim, Ph.D, is a Fulbright Scholar at ICI's Research and Training Center on Community Living for a year of study in person centered practices and consumer directed supports. Dr. Kim is a professor from the Department of Social Welfare at Soongsil University in Seoul, South Korea. She has worked closely with the Korean disability community and now that her country is considering consumer directed supports in its disability policies, she wants to inform those policies in South Korea with what she learns in Minnesota. A visit to ICI in 2017 with Korean colleagues prompted her to apply for a Fulbright scholarship at the Institute. She was impressed with how well Minnesota is doing with consumer directed supports and person centered practices, and while working alongside Rachel Freeman, Dr. Kim plans to learn about these practices at the personal, organizational, and state levels. She will also conduct her own research about consumer directed supports through reading the materials and by interviewing people such as state staff, case managers, organizational staff, and service users.

2018-09-14T13:27:10-05:00 - Fri, 14 Sep 2018 13:27:10 CST
Jessica N Smorodin Sarber

Jessie Smorodin Sarber is Graduate Research Assistant on the Stepping Up Technology project with the Check & Connect intervention. She is a first-year PhD student in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction's Culture and Teaching Program. Her academic interests lie in secondary schools becoming collaborative communities which uplift student leadership and goals, especially as a tool to foster educational equity. Her non-academic interests include knitting and sewing, cooking, and activism.

2018-09-04T14:46:52-05:00 - Tue, 04 Sep 2018 14:46:52 CST
Nichole Meyer

Nichole received a Bachelor of Science in 2013 with a major in Social Work and a minor in Criminal Justice and Master of Social Work degree in 2018, both from St Cloud State University. She currently holds the position of Education Program Specialist 2 at the Institute on Community Integration where she provides training and technical assistance to Minnesota Department of Human Service and Home & Community Based Service Providers throughout the state. Nichole also co-facilitates Positive Behavior Support Intensive Training.

Beginning in 2007, Nichole has worked as a Direct Support Professional, Program Manager and Waiver/Rule 185 Case Manager; supporting individuals living with Intellectual Disabilities and Mental Illness.

Nichole's areas of interest are on disability policy, housing, trauma-informed therapeutic modalities, and understanding behavior.

Nichole has a strong passion for teaching and advocating for policy changes, to create more inclusive and culturally competent state services.

2018-08-24T11:42:41-05:00 - Fri, 24 Aug 2018 11:42:41 CST
Michelle Austin

Michelle Austin, M.A., Ed.S., is a program specialist and national trainer for Check & Connect at the Institute on Community Integration (ICI), University of Minnesota. Mrs. Austin provides training around the country on the implementation of Check & Connect for schools and community-based organizations. She also provides follow-up trainings in the form of fidelity of implementation workshops for sites already implementing Check & Connect. As a national trainer, she partners with sites to assess their needs and customizes training to meet their strategic plans.

Prior to working at the University, Mrs. Austin began her teaching career as an elementary teacher, specializing in technology in two Minnesota public school districts: Eastern Carver County Schools and Inver Grove Heights Schools. Most recently, she worked as a district coordinator and administrator for the Department of Learning in ISD 199 - Inver Grove Heights Schools (MN). In this capacity, she pioneered ISD 199's first parent engagement program adopted from the Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE), provided district-wide professional development for early childhood to high school staff and coordinated the district's Gifted Magnet Program. Additionally, Mrs. Austin is trained in Cognitive Coachingâ„ and has conducted observations and facilitated reflective conversations with educators focused on increasing engagement and achieving at high levels for all students.

Mrs. Austin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education K-6 from Augsburg University, Master's degree in Teaching and Learning from Saint Mary's University and Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership & K-12 Administrative License from Minnesota State University - Mankato.

2018-06-11T09:27:21-05:00 - Mon, 11 Jun 2018 09:27:21 CST
Charity N Tatah Mentan MA

Charity Funfe Tatah Mentan, Ph.D., is a Research Associate with the National Center for Education Outcomes (NCEO). She is currently developing materials on parental involvement in K-12 schools for teachers and immigrant families -- specifically, English language learners (ELs) and English Language learners with disabilities. Dr. Tatah Mentan is involved in developing online teacher training modules for accessibility of instruction and assessment. She holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, a Master's degree in Adult Education, another Master's in Education Policy and Administration, and an Executive Master of Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota. She is a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow with a diploma in International Human Rights law from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She also holds a Master of Laws in Philosophies of Laws and Legal Perspectives from the University of Yaoundé 11, Cameroon. Dr. Tatah Mentan has been serving the underserved immigrant community as an Executive Director of Africa Network for Development Incorporated (ANDI), a non-profit organization she founded in 2005. Her research interests are immigrant education and employment, parental involvement, community integration, service learning, shared leadership, community engaged research, communal good, intercultural communication, and peace building.

2018-06-11T09:22:19-05:00 - Mon, 11 Jun 2018 09:22:19 CST
Maci Brown

Maci Brown, M.A., BCBA is a Ph.D. student in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Special Education. She is a board-certified behavior analyst and MN licensed special education teacher with an endorsement in autism spectrum disorder. Prior to attending UMN, she worked as the autism and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports specialist at the Minnesota Department of Education. Maci has also worked as an autism specialist in Osseo School District, Alaska, and Houston ISD. She currently serves as a board member for the Autism Society of Minnesota. Maci is committed to research and services that positively impact teachers, students, and families.

2018-06-05T11:51:02-05:00 - Tue, 05 Jun 2018 11:51:02 CST
Laurie Chet Tschetter

Laurie "Chet" Tschetter is an Education Specialist 2 at the Research & Training Center at the Institute on Community Integration (ICI) at the University of Minnesota. She completed a BA in Elementary Education with a minor in Elementary Music at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

She directed residential and day camps, respite programs, a work-leisure program, and travel program for individuals with disabilities while working at True Friends near Annandale, Minnesota for 20 years. Chet has worked in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). She supported individuals in securing employment and/or navigating university. She was the Education Program Manager for the Autism Society of Minnesota where she provided ASD training to the community, provided social skills classes and events for children and adults with ASD, wrote and administered grants to support the organizations education programs.

At ICI, Chet is the co-editor for Frontline Initiative which is a newsletter for Direct Support Professionals. Chet is active in projects related to the workforce for community services, and contributes to systems change to Person Centered Practices by leading and coordinating training events and authoring for the College of Direct Support.

2018-03-05T14:48:28-06:00 - Mon, 05 Mar 2018 14:48:28 CST
Matthew Roberts

Matt Roberts is a Research Coordinator at the Institute on Community Integration. As part of the Rehabilitation and Research Training Center on Outcome Measurement Matt works to improve the measurement of outcomes for individuals receiving Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS). Previously, he has provided evaluation assistance for the Children, Youth, and Families At-Risk (CYFAR) initiative for multiple projects working with vulnerable populations in the United States and Territories.

2018-01-22T09:26:00-06:00 - Mon, 22 Jan 2018 09:26:00 CST
Pang Chaxiong

Pang is a third year predoctoral student in the Educational Psychology - Special Education program. Pang cares about identifying children with autism earlier and connecting individuals with autism and their families to evidence-based practices. At the heart of this work, Pang is interested in examining the role of culture and how it influences the identification and treatment decisions of families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Pang is also a proud sister of a brother with autism. As a second year fellow, Pang is extremely excited to be surrounded and reenergized by another cohort of peers who are passionate about improving the lives of individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities.

Pang received her BA in Psychology at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

2017-10-30T15:38:47-05:00 - Mon, 30 Oct 2017 15:38:47 CST
Bridget A Hughes-Binstock

Bridget Binstock has been an educator for the past 25 years. She has worked both in traditional classrooms as well as online interactive classrooms. For the past 15 plus years, she has been working in the educational publishing space developing digital science curriculum. She has a special needs son, Nathan, who is her inspiration for curriculum development and the catalyst for her participation in the LEND program. As a Fellow, she hopes to learn how neurodevelopmental disabilities should inform how curriculum is developed and what policies at the state and national level impact how schools currently teach those students with these disabilities.

2017-10-30T15:27:04-05:00 - Mon, 30 Oct 2017 15:27:04 CST
Megan Sanders

Megan is a graduate research assistant for the Institute on Community Integration at the University of MN. She is pursuing a Master's degree in Social Work.

2017-10-04T13:18:42-05:00 - Wed, 04 Oct 2017 13:18:42 CST
Satlaj S Dighe

Satlaj Dighe, PhD student at OLPD, is currently a member of Systems Improvement Group (SIG) at ICI. Satlaj has worked with other University of Minnesota centers such as - Powell Center for Women's Health and Upper Midwest Center for Agricultural Health and Safety (UMASH) as evaluation coordinator. She has also worked on evaluations and program planning of several non-profit groups in the twin cities area. Satlaj has completed her Master degree in maternal and child health from University of Minnesota's School of Public Health. Prior joining University of Minnesota, Satlaj worked with public health and global development organizations in India, Laos and Cambodia.

2017-09-05T15:16:34-05:00 - Tue, 05 Sep 2017 15:16:34 CST
Janet M Stewart

Janet Stewart is a graduate research assistant for the Improving Instruction project at the National Center on Educational Outcomes. She is pursuing a Master's degree in the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program.

2017-09-05T14:45:45-05:00 - Tue, 05 Sep 2017 14:45:45 CST
Anastasia M Press

Anastasia Press is a Graduate Research Assistant working in the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO). She writes literature reviews on accommodations, assistive technology, and evidence-based practices. In addition, she assists with the development of reports, journal articles, conference papers, and other NCEO publications. Anastasia is in the Counseling and Student Personnel Psychology master's program with the aim of becoming a licensed professional clinical counselor.

2017-09-05T14:40:59-05:00 - Tue, 05 Sep 2017 14:40:59 CST
Ann C Romine

Ms. Romine provides training nationally on the implementation of Check & Connect for schools and community-based organizations. She also provides mentor training and follow-up training around fidelity and implementation for sites already implementing Check & Connect. As a national trainer, she assesses the needs of sites and customizes training to meet those needs. She is driven to build connections for students and families across schools and communities.

Before working at ICI, Ms. Romine served as a program specialist and national trainer for an evidence-based family engagement program, Families and Schools Together (FAST). She has trained collaborative teams of teachers, parents and community-based professionals for more than a decade. Ms. Romine has worked extensively throughout the School District of Philadelphia implementing and developing FAST to scale. She attended the University of Wisconsin - Madison and received her Bachelor of Science in Human Development & Family Studies and Elementary Education.

2017-06-13T11:08:27-05:00 - Tue, 13 Jun 2017 11:08:27 CST
Courtney B Higginbotham

Courtney Higginbotham, M.P.H, is a Community Abstractor for the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) project at the Institute of Community Integration (ICI). She received her Bachelors of Science from University of Connecticut and Master of Public Health degree from George Washington University. Her graduate research mainly focused on HIV/AIDS research and treatment adherence.

2017-04-19T12:16:37-05:00 - Wed, 19 Apr 2017 12:16:37 CST
Amy Gunty

Amy Gunty is a researcher in the Institute on Community Integration and a first-year doctoral student in the Department of Family Social Science. She has worked with children and families for almost 20 years, 13 of which she has spent supporting children with developmental disabilities or emotional and behavioral disorders and their families. During this time, she has fulfilled many roles, including: preschool teacher, direct support professional, case manager, individual and family therapist, and day treatment clinician.

She has worked in research for eight years, focusing on a variety of topics that all center around recognizing and enhancing the strengths and resilience that are inherent in all people. This has included work around the relationship between family dynamics and the development of adaptive and maladaptive thinking styles, the experience of posttraumatic growth (wherein people report having grown as the result of a trauma), the unique experiences and context of military families, and supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to be fully and meaningfully integrated into their communities.

Her current work at the Institute on Community Integration focuses primarily on supporting meaningful competitive, integrated employment for people with IDD. This work aims to recognize the talents, strengths, and interests of people with IDD and provide avenues through which people with IDD can use those talents, strengths, and interests to meaningfully contribute to their communities through valued social roles.

2017-03-13T09:51:33-05:00 - Mon, 13 Mar 2017 09:51:33 CST
Darrell Peterson

Darrell Peterson, Ph. D., is an Educational Program Specialist involved with several projects at the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO). His focus is the development and implementation of professional development on topics related to the inclusion of students with disabilities, ELs, and ELs with disabilities in assessments and instruction, primarily in the form of online training modules for parents and educators. Darrell has over 20 years of professional experience designing and developing professional development for online delivery. His primary area of interest is in the use of instructional technology to enhance the educational achievement of individuals with disabilities. Dr. Peterson holds a PhD in Learning Technologies from the University of Minnesota.

2017-03-09T14:34:45-06:00 - Thu, 09 Mar 2017 14:34:45 CST
Sarah L Hollerich

Sarah supports the Institute on Community Integration through graphic and multimedia work. She has designed for higher education institutions and local government organizations since 2010. Sarah holds degrees in Studio Art and Urban and Regional Planning.

2016-10-31T14:07:17-05:00 - Mon, 31 Oct 2016 14:07:17 CST
Sandra L Pettingell

Sandra Pettingell, PhD, is a Research Associate in the College of Education and Human Development. She contributes statistical and research methodology consultation to numerous research studies, providing support in instrument development, data management, statistical analysis, and interpretation of findings. She also helps conduct complex quantitative analytic methods including mediation analyses, growth curves, and multi-level modeling. With 5 years experience developing and standardizing educational and achievement tests and over 20 years as a Research Associate, she specializes in large-scale, multi-wave longitudinal data sets. She spent 19 years in the schools of Adolescent Medicine and Nursing where her research focus was examining risk and protective factors for multiple health outcomes. She has worked in the College of Education and Human Development for 3 years where her focus includes health care coordination, residence, services and employment for various groups of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She also provides consultation to students working on their masters and doctoral theses.

2016-10-24T15:21:33-05:00 - Mon, 24 Oct 2016 15:21:33 CST
Sherry Gray

Sherry Gray directs the Humphrey School's international projects, including the International Fellows and Scholars Program ( Since 2008, other major projects have included establishing the GPA capstone course, helping establish the Master of Development Practice degree program (MDP and creating and editing the Humphrey School's global affairs news site, Global Notes (

Gray previously served as a program consultant to the Ford Foundation (Vietnam), Executive Director of WIIS (Women in International Security), Program Officer at the Stanley Foundation (projects with China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Vietnam), and Executive Director of the Program for International Studies based at the National Academy of Science (projects with China, Mongolia, and Vietnam). She has taught international and comparative politics at Providence and Macalester colleges and at the universities of Louisville, Minnesota, Wisconsin--River Falls and Port Harcourt (Nigeria).

Inspired by members of her family living with disabilities (sister, uncle, cousins), Dr. Gray has been an advocate for disability issues and has volunteered for a number of Minnesota-based organizations, served on a state review commission and written publicly about her family.

Gray has a B.A. from the University of Colorado and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. She studied Chinese at Liaoning University and the University of Kansas.

2016-10-13T14:49:38-05:00 - Thu, 13 Oct 2016 14:49:38 CST
Megan R Gunnar PhD

Megan Gunnar received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at Stanford University and then completed a post-doctoral fellowship in stress neurobiology at Stanford Medical School. In 1979 she came to the U of M as an Assistant Professor moving through the ranks to Full Professor by 1990. Professor Gunnar has spent her career studying how stress affects human brain and behavioral development and the processes that help children regulate stress. She is the recipient of lifetime achievement awards from the American Psychological Association, Division 7 Developmental Psychology, and the Society for Research in Child Development and a lifetime mentor award from the Association for Psychological Science. Nationally she is a member of the Harvard National Scientific Council on the Developing Child that translates developmental science into language that communicates with policy makers. Internationally she is a member of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research's Program on Child and Brain Development, a group working on how early experiences 'gets under the skin' to influence lifelong health and well-being. In addition, she chairs the Research Advisory Council for the Minnesota Children's Museum and is a consultant on stress and development for the Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery.

2016-10-03T09:45:10-05:00 - Mon, 03 Oct 2016 09:45:10 CST
Jessica L Baltzley

Jessica has been employed at the University of Minnesota since 2008. She spent seven years working as an academic advisor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and then moved to CEHD to work for the Institute for Translational Research in Children's Mental Health in 2015.

In August of 2016, she moved over to The Institute on Community Integration and is working for the Research and Training Center on Community Living. You can find her in 204 Pattee. Feel free to stop by and say hello!

2016-08-18T09:16:05-05:00 - Thu, 18 Aug 2016 09:16:05 CST
Heidi Eschenbacher

Heidi J. Eschenbacher, PhD, is a researcher interested in patterns of system change. Dr. Eschenbacher earned her doctorate in Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development (OLPD) from the University of Minnesota, an M.A. in International Development and Social Change from Clark University, and a double B.A. from University of Minnesota. Her ongoing interest in her varied work is to explore how people, particularly those who have historically been marginalized, can use research to inform policy, practice, and social change. She enjoys the intricate details of both qualitative and quantitative data, often finding herself immersed in spreadsheets or text.

At ICI, Dr. Eschenbacher contributes that examines the supports and services people with Intellectual or Development Disabilities access or seek. She particularly enjoys applied research that bridges evidence, policy, advocacy, and practice that affects people's lives.

2016-07-13T12:40:30-05:00 - Wed, 13 Jul 2016 12:40:30 CST
Jody Hofer Van Ness

Ms. Van Ness provides writing, consultation, and coordination support for new courses in the College of Direct Support, drawing on a varied background in writing, editing, teaching, and educational consulting. Her personal and professional experiences provide a strong foundation of knowledge on person centered practices and self direction.

Ms. Van Ness holds a master's degree in education and administration, with an emphasis on autism and other neurobehavioral disorders. She also earned an autism certificate and is mother to an adult son living with autism. Besides developing and serving as the CEO of Eye Box Tools, her professional foundation includes 15 years of classroom teaching and non-profit work. She was also the first Executive Director of Lionsgate Academy, a Minnesota charter school serving students with autism spectrum disorders. In addition, Ms. Van Ness has 10 years of work experience in the mental health field and served as a psychoeducational consultant at Fraser, where she trained and coached families and professionals.

2016-07-11T15:59:25-05:00 - Mon, 11 Jul 2016 15:59:25 CST
Joseph Angaran

Joseph Angaran, M.A. is a program specialist and national/international trainer for Check & Connect at the Institute on Community Integration (ICI), University of Minnesota. Mr. Angaran provides training on the implementation of Check & Connect for schools and community-based organizations. He also provides follow-up training in the form of fidelity of implementation workshops for sites already implementing Check & Connect. As a national/international trainer, he assesses the needs of sites and customizes training to meet those needs.

Prior to his work at ICI, Mr. Angaran began his teaching career in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan (MN) public schools as an elementary teacher. Most recently, he supported both special education and general education staff ranging from early childhood to high school. Trained in Cognitive Coaching, Mr. Angaran conducted observations and conversations with educators about their practices and worked to build the capacity of all to be self-directed and reflective. Mr. Angaran's undergraduate degree is from the University of Northern Iowa in Elementary Education. His graduate degree is from the University of St. Thomas in Educational Leadership and Administration. In addition, he currently holds an administrative license in Minnesota and a Professional Train-the-Trainer certificate from the University of Minnesota.

Mr, Angaran may be reached at 612-626-0335 or

2016-06-01T15:03:23-05:00 - Wed, 01 Jun 2016 15:03:23 CST
Ryan Ferguson

Ryan is an Abstractor for the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) project at the Institute of Community Integration (ICI). He is passionate about improving the lives of people with disabilities by contributing to national datasets used in planning and shaping policy.

2016-06-01T14:34:12-05:00 - Wed, 01 Jun 2016 14:34:12 CST
Erik D Larson

Erik Larson conducts research aimed at making tests and classes more accessible for students with disabilities and English learners. In his work for the DIAMOND (Data Informed Accessibility - Making Optimal Needs-based Decisions) and NCEO (National Center on Educational Outcomes) grants, he writes reports, researches state testing policies, and learns about teacher and student perspectives through interviews and surveys. Larson has a master's degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from the University of Minnesota and teaches part-time at Minneapolis College.

2016-03-24T15:04:00-05:00 - Thu, 24 Mar 2016 15:04:00 CST
James Houseworth

James Houseworth, Ph.D, began his career in Education and Human Development as a high school teacher in Chicago, IL. His dissertation work focused on how basic numerical ability (particularly understanding fraction, decimals, and percents) influences decision making in an inherently uncertain world.

James is versed in statistical analysis to detect group differences, trends over time, how individual differences influences outcomes, and how factors relate to influence and create more complicated sets of skills and outcomes.

HIs primary work at ICI is focused on assessing outcomes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), particularly outcomes related to maximizing individual choice and community inclusion.

He is currently developing research to find ways to increase the understanding of and involvement in medical decision-making that includes risk for individuals with IDD. This work largely revolves around identifying best practices (e.g. visual representations) to convey risk information to individuals with IDD.

2016-01-21T16:37:50-06:00 - Thu, 21 Jan 2016 16:37:50 CST
Jessica J Simacek

Jessica Simacek was a MN LEND post-doctoral Fellow. Her Ph.D is in Educational Psychology, Special Education with a minor in Applied Behavior Analysis from the University of Minnesota. She also earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Minnesota. During her doctoral program, Ms. Simacek worked in the Minneapolis Public Schools on implementation of multi-tiered systems of support, served as key personnel in the development and oversight of the Telepresence Behavior Laboratory, taught courses on classroom management and applied behavior analytic problem solving, and conducted studies in the areas of telehealth and communication intervention in autism and Rett syndrome. She has over 10 years clinical experience in early intensive behavioral therapy for children with autism and related neurodevelopmental disabilities, spanning home, center, and school-based settings.

Ms. Simacek's primary research interests include:

  1. Communication intervention for children and adults with severe disabilities.
  2. Functional analysis and intervention for challenging behavior.
  3. The use of telehealth as a service delivery mechanism for communication and challenging behavior interventions for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families.
2015-09-15T16:23:25-05:00 - Tue, 15 Sep 2015 16:23:25 CST
Stephanie Benson

Stephanie Benson is a first year Ph.D student in the Educational Psychology, Special Education at the University of Minnesota. She is completing her Master's degree in Educational Psychology, Special Education at the University of Minnesota. Ms. Benson also received her Honors B.A. in Psychology and Communication Studies at the University of Minnesota. She has worked for eight years as a Senior Therapist for a local agency providing services using applied behavior analysis in home for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other neurodevelopmental disabilities. While completing her degrees, Ms. Benson has conducted studies using telehealth to provide communication interventions for children with challenging behavior including self-injury. Through MNLEND, she hopes to gain insight and skills to help provide necessary services to children with developmental disabilities and challenging behavior in remote areas of the state.

2015-09-15T16:12:55-05:00 - Tue, 15 Sep 2015 16:12:55 CST
Kelly J Ortenblad

Kelly Ortenblad is a second year graduate student completing a master's degree in social work (MSW) with a concentration in health disability and aging and clinical mental health. She is specializing in international social work. Her most recent trip was to Ghana evaluating various programs that focus on disability outreach and transition.

Kelly is also working towards completing the graduate certificate in Disability Policy and Services through ICI and a graduate certificate in Aging Studies through the School of Public Health. Her undergraduate degree is in psychology from Metropolitan State University with a focus on adult development. Prior to starting the MSW program, Kelly spent over 8 years working in training and development, creating and implementing training programs for employees and volunteers in both a for-profit and nonprofit setting.

2015-09-15T14:24:15-05:00 - Tue, 15 Sep 2015 14:24:15 CST
Tony P Baisley

With more than 20 years' experience as a writer, a strategic planner and media consultant, Mr. Baisley has an accomplished background in marketing, public relations, events and client relations.

Baisley brings a diverse perspective and work history in strategic communications, with experience in healthcare, consumer brand marketing, non-profit development, social media strategy, event promotions, as well as magazine content development and publishing. With experience working for public relations and advertising agencies, he has worked on the account side as a strategist and media relations expert, as well as having been "the client" managing firms to assist in accomplishing goals such as increased visibility and building brand awareness among specific audiences.

Baisley has a strong history at the University of Minnesota. He is the former director of events for the University of Minnesota Foundation and has led communication teams at both the Center for Spirituality & Healing as well as the School of Nursing. Among his many duties at ICI, Baisley has co-created the Institute's website and the annual reports for 2015-2016 and 2014-2015.

2015-08-18T16:02:42-05:00 - Tue, 18 Aug 2015 16:02:42 CST
Claire E Benway

Claire Benway provides technical assistance, training and development support within the direct support profession. She works on state and federal projects focusing on improving community services for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her current projects involve training, technical assistance and state policy development in person centered thinking/planning, direct support workforce development and community living. She authors content and provides quality assurance for on-line curricula in DirectCourse. Claire is a a certified Person Centered Thinking 2 Day Mentor Trainer and holds a Masters in Theatre Education from Emerson College in Boston Massachusetts.

2015-05-26T16:44:18-05:00 - Tue, 26 May 2015 16:44:18 CST
Macdonald M Metzger

Macdonald M. Metzger, M.S. is DirectCourse Quality Coordinator at the Institute on Community Integration, Research and Training Center on Community Living, University of Minnesota. He provides quality assurance for the on-line College on Direct Support curricula. He supports the DirectCourse writing team to clarify roles and responsibilities; ensures that resources and structures are in place, authors are meeting their deadlines, and keeps a calendar of content development. He also serves as a writer and reviewer of College of Direct Support materials.

Macdonald has a Master's degree in Human Services, with a specialization in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. He has over five years of hands on experience providing quality services and supports to people with disabilities in residential, vocational, and community settings. His personal connection to people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, underscored by the memory of his elder brother Amagashie, can be seen in every aspect of the passion, willingness and commitment he has shown towards advocating for programs and services that promote the quality of life for people with disability.

He has over ten years of work experience as a multi-media journalist. Previous employers include, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, MN Department of Human Services/MSOCS, Catholic Charities New York City, and the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL Radio) as a Broadcast Journalist.

Macdonald has also consulted and volunteered for various local and international nonprofit organizations including the International Center for Transitional Justice (New York/Liberia Program), Afrobeat Radio (WBAI 99.5 FM New York), and KFAI 90.3 FM (Minneapolis).

2015-04-27T10:02:13-05:00 - Mon, 27 Apr 2015 10:02:13 CST
Susan Madden

Susan Madden, M.Ed., RHIT, serves as the Lead Abstractor on the MN-ADDM project, part of the CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (ADDM). The ADDM Network goals include describing the population of children with ASD, comparing ASD in different areas of the country, identifying changes in ASD occurrence over time, and understanding the impact of ASD and related conditions in US communities. Ms. Madden brings extensive experience in education and health information management, including her previous experience as an abstractor for the Minneapolis Somali Autism Prevalence Project. In addition to serving as a lead in data abstraction, her duties include training and quality assurance activities.

2015-03-18T16:13:49-05:00 - Wed, 18 Mar 2015 16:13:49 CST
Rebecca Dosch Brown

Rebecca Dosch Brown serves as the MNLEND (Minnesota Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities) Program and Data Coordinator, under an Education Specialist 2 title. MNLEND is a year-long interdisciplinary leadership training program spanning 18+ disciplines and is funded by the Maternal Child Health Bureau (MCHB) of the US Department of Health and Human Services. She provides MNLEND its day-to-day and big picture operational, technical, reportorial, financial, and editorial management, execution, and coordination.

Rebecca also contributes to other Institute on Community Integration (ICI) community and research-based projects located in the Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC-CL) as an editor, author, and committee member of the ICI's Changing Landscapes (art shows) and the Diversity Strategic Planning Committee. She also supported the writing of and now the operation of a 2018-19 AUCD Diversity Fellowship which will award two stipends to 2 Fellows from underrepresented racial/ethnic/linguistic/disability backgrounds to support a year-long community-based leadership development project to reduce systemic barriers faced by people with disabilities and their families within a partnering community-based organization.

Her work background spans teaching, research, advising, editing, and writing in the areas of disability history, societal inclusion, culturally-responsive education, indigenous rights, secondary and post-secondary education, creative thinking skills, the visual arts, literature, creative writing, and grassroots community organizing. She is currently a PhD student in the University of Minnesota Hubert H. Humphrey School in Public Affairs, with a focus on disability policy.

2015-01-21T15:35:27-06:00 - Wed, 21 Jan 2015 15:35:27 CST
Katrina O Simons

Katrina "Trina" Simons has worked on a variety of projects and legislation related to chronic illness, disability, and quality of life. She is passionate about empowering people with developmental disabilities to make informed choices. She enjoys working to promote autonomy across the lifespan.

Simons is a graduate of the MNLEND Fellowship at the University of Minnesota. She was a survey interviewer on the Olmstead Plan pilot survey. She has served on both the State Rehabilitation Council and the Region Ten Quality Council.

Simons began working at ICI in 2017. At ICI, she is a Community Program Specialist, self-advocacy liaison, MNLEND Faculty member, and she coordinates the monthly Self Advocacy Online meetings. Self Advocacy Online works on outreach and policy advocacy for and by people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

2014-09-29T09:27:08-05:00 - Mon, 29 Sep 2014 09:27:08 CST
G. Victoria Naomi

G. Victoria Naomi has wide and rich experience in the field of special education. Her research interests include inclusive education and the development of indigenous devices and techniques for the education and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities.

2014-08-21T16:13:08-05:00 - Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:13:08 CST
Rachel L Freeman

Rachel Freeman is the Director of State Initiatives for the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Freeman has been actively involved in positive behavior support (PBS), statewide technical assistance systems for evidence-based practices, evaluation design and implementation, and person-centered practices for over 25 years. She conducts research and provides consultation and technical assistance at the state, regional, and local levels to teams implementing PBS and other practices within intellectual and developmental disability organizations, education, juvenile justice, and mental health systems. Dr. Freeman has served as both a full and ex-officio member of the board of directors for the Association for Positive Behavior Support for over ten years and as president for three years. Her research interests include implementation factors associated with research to practice, PBS, physiological and biochemical factors related to problem behavior, online instructional systems, and interagency systems change.

2014-08-15T16:07:16-05:00 - Fri, 15 Aug 2014 16:07:16 CST
Jana A Hallas

Jana Hallas Ferguson, M.Ed. is a Project Coordinator for the Institute on Community Integration for the University of Minnesota, where she provides training and technical assistance to districts on programs around the country on Check & Connect. Prior to working at the University, Mrs. Ferguson taught special education for ten years in Cy-Fair ISD in Houston, Texas. She trained district personnel on creating meaningful, Standards-Based goals and objectives to ensure student success throughout high school and into post-secondary life. Additionally, she created and conducted annual school-wide training on collecting data on student progress on academic and behavioral IEPs, facilitated data collection for each grading term, and provided technical assistance and support for individual teachers when needed. Mrs. Ferguson assisted personnel in implementing IEP programming in the general and special education classrooms as well as served as a facilitator in parent/teacher communication to ensure the needs of students were met for all students with disabilities throughout the campus. Mrs. Ferguson has a Master's Degree in Education with an emphasis in Low Incidence Disabilities from Texas A&M University. Her undergraduate degree was completed at Coe College, where she double-majored in secondary education and history.

2014-06-27T15:53:16-05:00 - Fri, 27 Jun 2014 15:53:16 CST
Thomas Engsig

Thomas Engsig is a PhD Fellow and Assistant Professor in educational psychology and special education at UC College of Education, and Aalborg University, Denmark. Thomas Engsig's research interest is inclusive and supportive education in the Danish public school system. Through Mixed Methods research Thomas Engsig is investigating the correlations between inclusive and supportive practices, and the student's learning outcome, possibilities of participation, and subjective experience of being included.

While visiting ICI, University of Minnesota, Thomas Engsig is, in collaboration with Dr. Christopher Johnstone, interested in a comparative perspective on inclusive education in Denmark and the US.

2013-09-23T09:58:55-05:00 - Mon, 23 Sep 2013 09:58:55 CST
Aida Miles

Aida Miles is a Registered Dietitian with over 20 years of experience in pediatric nutrition. Prior to moving to Minnesota in 2008, Aida worked for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and the Marcus Autism Center. Aida is currently the Director of the Coordinated Masters Program in Public Health Nutrition at the University of Minnesota and a consultant for Clinic 4 Kidz, which serves children with feeding disorders. Aida has a passion for working with families of children with nutrition problems, from obesity to feeding difficulties. She has been an invited speaker, both locally and nationally, on topics related to childhood obesity, client-centered-counseling and feeding challenges in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Aida received a Masters of Medical Science from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and a Bachelor in Dietetics from Whittier College in California. She is currently enrolled in a doctoral program in Educational Leadership/Higher Education at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

2013-03-04T14:32:59-06:00 - Mon, 04 Mar 2013 14:32:59 CST
Lizbeth H Finestack

Dr. Finestack's long-term research goals aim to identify efficient and effective language interventions for children and adolescents with significant language impairment. In pursuit of fulfilling this goal, her research program involves three distinct foci: (a) gaining a better understanding of the cognitive and language abilities of children and adolescents with differing developmental disabilities; (b) examining the impact of these profiles on language intervention outcomes; and (c) enhancing language intervention procedures for children with language impairment.

2013-03-04T14:22:35-06:00 - Mon, 04 Mar 2013 14:22:35 CST
Eileen A Klemm

Eileen Klemm, M.A., has been working at the University of Minnesota's Institute on Community Integration (ICI) since November 2012. She is the Project Coordinator for the Check & Connect project providing leadership and support in the overall development and training of the Check & Connect model. She provides on-site training to small and large groups of teachers and administrators in school districts and others on the Check & Connect model. She also assesses the needs of sites and customizes training to meet those needs.

Prior to her work at ICI, Ms. Klemm was a special education compliance specialist with the Minnesota Department of Education and a Speech-Language Pathologist in both urban and suburban public schools. She provided training on federal regulations and Minnesota rules and statutes regarding the implementation of special education programs and she monitored individual school districts throughout the state. She worked directly with students with a wide range of disabilities in her role as a speech-language pathologist. She also worked as a peer leader with both special education and general education staff ranging from early childhood providers to high school teachers and parent educators. In this capacity, she provided job embedded professional development including cognitive coaching for reflective practice preceding and following staff observations.

2012-11-16T15:10:00-06:00 - Fri, 16 Nov 2012 15:10:00 CST
Jamie S Stang

Dr. Jamie Stang, PhD, MPH, RDN is an Associate Professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. She also serves on the graduate faculties of Maternal and Child Health, Nutrition Science, and Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. Jamie is the Director of the Leadership Education and Training Program in Maternal and Child Health Nutrition and the Maternal and Child Health Center for Excellence; both of these training centers are funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Dr Stang is very committed to increasing diversity among nutrition professionals; she currently serves on the University of Minnesota Diversity and Equity Advisory Leadership Team as well as the Program in Health Disparities Research, and is a member of the Seeds of Native Health national program planning committee.

Dr Stang has been an active member of the Academy for many years, serving as newsletter editor, Chair, and advisor for multiple DPGs, and serving on the Commission on Dietetic Registration, the Council on Future Practice, the Nominating Committee, the Public Health Committee and most recently on the Honors Committee. She is also very active with the Association of State Public Health Nutritionists, currently serving as the Chair of the MCH Nutrition Council and as a member of the ASPHN Executive Board.

In her spare time Jamie is a master gardener who is passionate about improving food access in under-resourced communities and is active in wildlife habitat restoration, especially native habitat for ducks, bees and butterflies.

2012-10-25T15:13:34-05:00 - Thu, 25 Oct 2012 15:13:34 CST
Toben Nelson

Toben Nelson received his Sc.D. in public health from Harvard University and an M.S. in kinesiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has research interests in health policy, organizational change, health behavior during developmental transitions, influence of sports participation on health, social determinants of health, program evaluation, prevention of alcohol attributable harm, physical activity promotion, obesity prevention, and motor vehicle safety.

2012-10-25T14:26:16-05:00 - Thu, 25 Oct 2012 14:26:16 CST
Barbara A Kleist

Barb Kleist manages outreach, training and technical assistance for projects at the University of Minnesota Institute on Community Integration's Research and Training Center on Community Living. She works on state and federal projects focusing on improving community services for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her current projects involve training, technical assistance and state policy development in person centered thinking/planning, direct support workforce development and community living. Barb is certified as a Person Centered Thinking Trainer and is trained in ToP participatory facilitation methods. She has also served as Community & Family Faculty for the MN LEND. Barb served on several state policy committees including the MN DHS Rule 40 Advisory Committee charged with developing recommendations for the modernization of the rule. She is currently a member of the MN Disability Law Center Advisory Committee, WINGS MN, The Learning Community for Person Centered Practices (TLCPCP), The Arc Minnesota's Public Policy Committee and is the chair of the Legal Process and Advocacy Network of the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD). Barb is a licensed attorney with Minnesota State Bar with more than 30 years' experience working to improve community living and the quality of life for people with disabilities. She has experience representing self-advocates or family members in guardianship and administrative proceedings, mediating disputes, evaluating services and providing training for community services staff, families and self-advocates on a variety of topics.

2012-10-22T15:10:45-05:00 - Mon, 22 Oct 2012 15:10:45 CST
Terri Vandercook

Terri Vandercook, Ph.D., is the Assistant Director of the TIES Center. The TIES Center is the national technical assistance center on inclusive practices and policies for students with significant cognitive disabilities. The TIES Center is working to increase the time, instructional effectiveness, engagement, and state support for inclusive practices. She previously was an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Special Education at the University of St. Thomas and coordinator for the program in Developmental Disabilities. She has worked with and learned from individuals with significant developmental disabilities, their families, and team members for 40 years. Themes throughout her career have been the active belonging, participation, and learning (inclusion!) of each child in her or his community. Her areas of focus include inclusive schooling, collaborative teaming, instruction of students with significant cognitive disabilities, and teacher training.

2011-05-06T16:10:33-05:00 - Fri, 06 May 2011 16:10:33 CST
Lynda L Anderson

Ms. Anderson, MA, MPH is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Minnesota focusing on health disparities for individuals with ASD/IDD. Her professional expertise stems from work in the field as a county senior social worker coordinating supports for adults and children with ASD/IDD and as a program director for residential supports for this population. In these roles, she was able to see firsthand the challenges individuals with ASD/IDD and their families faced ingetting appropriate, quality health care. Her research experience has included analyses of large data sets such as the National Health Interview Survey along with population-specific data sets such as the National Core Indicators family surveys. Ms. Anderson also has experience in qualitative research methods that promote the inclusion of under-represented groups in research, such as photo narrative.

2010-10-02T02:00:06-05:00 - Sat, 02 Oct 2010 02:00:06 CST
Roger Stancliffe

Roger Stancliffe is Professor of Intellectual Disability at The University of Sydney, Faculty of Health Sciences and leads the Disability Services stream at the University of Sydney's Centre for Disability Research and Policy. Previously, he was a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Developmental Disability Studies (1997-2007) in Sydney, Australia, and a Research Associate at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, USA.

His research interests include choice, self-determination, community living, retirement and community participation, Active Support, physical activity, individual planning, deinstitutionalization, and cost effectiveness of services. He has published over 120 research articles and chapters.

His most recent book is Costs and Outcomes of Community Services for People with Intellectual Disabilities (2005). He was editor of the Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability from 2003 to 2008 and is a consulting editor to six international research journals on intellectual disability.

He is a regular presenter at national and international conferences on intellectual disability. He is a Fellow of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) and the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disability (IASSID), and is the recipient of the 2011 AAIDD Research Award.

In 2010, with colleagues from the University of Minnesota, he was awarded the NARRTC (formerly National Association of Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers) Best Paper Award for the most outstanding research paper published in 2009 by researchers from the 38 RRTCs in universities across the United States.

2010-08-23T10:25:15-05:00 - Mon, 23 Aug 2010 10:25:15 CST
Vicki D Gaylord

Ms. Gaylord oversees the work of the ICI Publications Office in distributing a wide range of ICI-developed print and electronic media resources for service providers, educators, policymakers, advocacy organizations, researchers, families, persons with disabilities, and others (see for the catalog of ICI publications). In addition, she coordinates the work of the office in providing in-house assistance to ICI staff in developing and publishing their resources, and is the managing editor of the newsletter "Impact."

2009-10-16T15:50:57-05:00 - Fri, 16 Oct 2009 15:50:57 CST
Xueqin Qian

Xueqin Qian has conducted research for the past eight years in a variety of areas, including early identification of Autism, evaluating interventions for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, juvenile justice, and transition from school to later adult life.

Prior to coming to the U.S. to pursue her degree in special education, Dr. Qian was a general education teacher for three years in China and later worked as a behavior therapist for children with Autism. Dr. Qian has also worked as a Direct Support Professional (DSP) in a group home in the U.S.

2009-10-16T15:50:51-05:00 - Fri, 16 Oct 2009 15:50:51 CST
Libby J Hallas-Muchow

Libby is an Education Specialist 2 at the Institute on Community Integration (ICI). She completed a BA in English, and an MS in Security Technologies at the University of Minnesota. In her role at the ICI, she manages the CDC-funded Minnesota-Autism and Developmental Disability Monitoring (ADDM) Network project, which identifies the prevalence of autism for children in Minnesota, as well as contributes to national ASD prevalence estimates. She finds contributing to national datasets that improve the lives of people with disabilities fulfilling.

2009-10-16T15:50:40-05:00 - Fri, 16 Oct 2009 15:50:40 CST
Amy Kurowski-Moen

Amy is the Center's payroll coordinator and provides administrative support to the Core Administration Team -- Director, Operations Director, Front Office, Finance, and other.

2009-09-23T09:40:21-05:00 - Wed, 23 Sep 2009 09:40:21 CST
Mark R Olson

Mark received a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a minor in music from the University of Minnesota, Morris. He currently holds the position of Project Coordinator at the Institute on Community Integration where he writes curriculum and provides training to people who provide direct support. Certified as a Person Centered Thinking Trainer he provides individuals and organizations guidance on becoming more person-centered in their approach. Throughout his career, he has provided service to people with disabilities in recreation and inclusion, residential and daily living skills, vocational skills, and advocacy. In addition, he has worked in frontline management in the non-profit industry. His key policy interests include health care, disability, education, workforce recognition and development, civic engagement, human rights and the environment. He is past Chair of the Minnesota State Advocacy Committee for the American Heart Association. He is past president of the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals. Over the past 30 years, much of his energy has been directed at making sure the frontline direct support professional has the tools needed to make the greatest impact on the lives of the people they support.

2009-09-18T16:34:53-05:00 - Fri, 18 Sep 2009 16:34:53 CST
Kelly Nye-Lengerman LGSW

Kelly Nye-Lengerman, PhD, is a Research Associate at the University of Minnesota's Institute on Community Integration (ICI). Kelly's work is focused on making public policies and systems work for people through research, training, technical assistance and advocacy. Her work supports the full inclusion of individuals with disabilities in community life. Some of Kelly's current research projects include Promoting Readiness in Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) TA Center, Think Work, Learn the Signs Act Early (LTSAE) initiatives, and the College of Direct Support (CDS). She is also involved in a number of other community and research projects as part of the Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC/CL) focused on workforce development, person centered practices, and evaluation.

Kelly speaks nationally at conferences and events promoting a vision of inclusion and community for all citizens, and has published a number of journal articles, technical reports, and book chapters. She is the co-author of a soon to be published book titled: Community for All: Community Living and Participation for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental. Recently, Kelly served as an expert wittiness and testified before the U.S. Senate's Special Committee on Aging on "Supporting economic stability and self-sufficiency as americans with disabilities and their families as they age."

Kelly has extensive experience in program and workforce development, employment services and supports, and program evaluation. Kelly has broad range of professional experience working for disability provider organizations in both community and facility based employment programs. Her interests include inclusive employment practices and policy, interdisciplinary collaborations, early screening and identification disabilities, poverty, and Autism. Kelly is the past president of the MN Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE), and currently serves as the Treasurer. She also recently joined the National APSE Board of Directors. Kelly is involved with the MN Employment First Coalition, and MN Employment Learning Community. She is also a licensed graduate social worker (LGSW) in Minnesota.

Kelly received her PhD and MSW from the University of Minnesota's School of Social Work. Her dissertation focused on Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) service usage and employment outcomes for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Kelly is a graduate of the National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities. In 2016, Kelly was the recipient of the Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD) young professional award and APSE's "Got Mike" Educational Leadership Award.

2009-08-27T17:27:52-05:00 - Thu, 27 Aug 2009 17:27:52 CST
Yi-Chen Wu

Dr. Wu is an experienced psychometrician and the statistical expert for the National Center on Educational Outcomes. She has been working with large-scale assessment data since 2000. She has also had experience on analyzing state-wide assessment datasets and different types of datasets. She has used the analyses of regression model and MANOVA on various projects and presented at national conferences. She has authored more than 40 publications, including 18 journal articles, 22 technical reports, and made more than 40 conference presentations on the topic of reading and psychometric areas. Dr. Wu holds a PhD on Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota.

2009-08-26T11:19:19-05:00 - Wed, 26 Aug 2009 11:19:19 CST
Renata Ticha

Renáta Tichá, Ph.D, has received a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Minnesota in Educational Psychology, with an emphasis in special education programs. She works as a Research Associate at the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota. She has extensive experience in the development and implementation of assessment and intervention materials for children, youth, and adults with different types of disabilities. She also conducts research, training, and technical assistance in this area. Dr. Tichá is co-Principal Investigator on two international projects involving children and youth with and without disabilities: the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative, funded by the United States-India Educational Foundation; and Assessments of Students with Significant Disabilities: A Russia-U.S. Partnership (UPP), funded by the Eurasia Foundation. Dr. Tichá is also co-editor of The Journal of the International Association of Special Education.

2009-08-20T14:02:31-05:00 - Thu, 20 Aug 2009 14:02:31 CST
Kristin Dean

Kristin Dean, M.S. is an Information Technology Manager at the Institute on Community Integration (ICI).

Kristin has more than 25 years experience providing quality services to people with disabilities in a variety of settings. Her responsibilities at the ICI include directing all aspects of the Institute's technology initiatives. It was her unique experience in both technology and a rich history in the fields of direct support and frontline supervision that brought her to ICI in 2001.

Prior to arriving at ICI, Kristin started her first job as a frontline supervisor working in a progressive agency whose primary purpose was providing residential and semi-independent living services to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In this role, she was responsible for implementing the agency mission to partner with people with disabilities and communities to bring about self-directed and enriched lives. It was this work experience, where direct support was already considered a profession, which would shape the direction of the rest of her career to date.

After graduate school, she worked with people with a variety of disabilities including individuals with psychiatric disabilities, intellectual and developmental disabilities, brain injuries, physical disabilities, criminal offenders and children with emotional and behavior issues.

In her role at the Institute on Community Integration, the primary focus of her work is in the area of technology services and using technology to effectively communicate the work done at ICI and the RTC/CL as well as to impact best practices in the direct support workforce. Current technology interests include the use of data visualization to communicate complex research concepts to a wide variety of audiences.

2009-08-20T13:39:59-05:00 - Thu, 20 Aug 2009 13:39:59 CST
Nancy J McCulloh

Nancy McCulloh, MS

DirectCourse Director of Statewide Implementation

Nancy earned a B.S. in Special Education and a Master's in Information Media - Human Resource Development and Training with a major emphasis in Instructional Design. She has over forty years of experience providing quality supports to people with disabilities in community settings as a Direct Support Professional, supervisor and manager. She is a trainer and educator in the areas of business management, personnel supervision, human resource practices, training, and direct support workforce development and solutions. She has a passion for the use of instructional design and technology in the creation of competency based training programs that support Direct Support Professionals and Frontline Supervisors in the ongoing development their skills and competencies to provide support. She is committed to research informed best practices that are applicable across disabilities service sectors and supports. As the DirectCourse Director of Statewide implementation, she provides technical consultation to states and disability service providers on the full utilization of DirectCourse as a training resource for direct support worker professional development. She provides consultation to meet DHS training requirements, development of competency based training programs, and the development of career ladders, as well as credentialing programs.

2009-08-20T13:39:14-05:00 - Thu, 20 Aug 2009 13:39:14 CST
Susan N ONell

Susan has a variety of personal and professional experiences that bring passion and knowledge to her work at ICI. Susan spent the first part of her career in direct support to people living with autism and intellectual disabilities. During this time she worked as a peer mentor and trainer, a frontline supervisor, and helped develop self-managed teams. She is also a community advocate for people living with serious mental illnesses and their families. Since coming to ICI in 1995, she has used her experiences to support system change in organizations and communities primarily through customized development and delivery of high quality training and technical assistance.

2009-08-20T13:35:58-05:00 - Thu, 20 Aug 2009 13:35:58 CST
Connie J Burkhart

Connie is an award winning graphic designer that is responsible for creating and maintaining the visual identities for several activities at ICI in various media. She has worked in higher education settings since 1987 and has been at ICI since 1997. During her time at ICI, Connie has been honored with several awards from the U of M Communicators Forum: 2002 for poster design; 2003, for e-newsletters and Web design; 2004 for poster design; 2007 for best in multi-media. Prior to coming to the University of Minnesota, she worked for North Dakota State University Extension Communication in Fargo, North Dakota as a graphic designer and photographer. She has a B.S. from North Dakota State University, Fargo in interior design.

2009-08-20T13:11:17-05:00 - Thu, 20 Aug 2009 13:11:17 CST
Christopher Rogers

Christopher Rogers is a Research Fellow involved with several projects at NCEO. Prior to joining NCEO, Chris worked in the Regional Resource and Federal Centers Network providing information and technical assistance to state departments of special education. Chris has over ten years of practical experience as a community mental health generalist and then a child mental health specialist serving children and youth with mental health challenges both in schools and in the community. At NCEO, Chris is currently interested in accessible science assessments and opportunities for accommodations and universal design in technology-enhanced assessments. Chris is most curious about the intersection of ethnocultural difference and emotional-behavioral disability, and has published and presented on these topics.

2009-08-20T13:09:40-05:00 - Thu, 20 Aug 2009 13:09:40 CST
Michael L Moore

Michael Moore, serves as the Communications Director for the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO), and is an award-winning writer who has published articles, essays, and stories in local and nationally published newspapers, magazines, literary journals, and books. He received a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Hamline University and is the recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Fellowship. Michael oversees NCEO's publishing efforts, websites, and media relations.

2009-08-20T13:06:52-05:00 - Thu, 20 Aug 2009 13:06:52 CST
Michael N Sharpe

Dr. Sharpe served as Principal Investigator and Director of the North Central Regional Resource Center (NCRRC). In this role, Dr. Sharpe assumed primary responsibility for the conceptualization, planning, and implementation of NCRRC project activities, including budgetary and personnel management. As Director, Dr. Sharpe authored or oversaw the development of such tools, products, and services as the Thinking Through Improvement: Tools and Strategies to Guide Improvement Efforts (IT-Kit), APR Checklists for Parts B and C, Evaluating Improvement Activities, Overview of Sampling Concepts for the SPP/APR, Reporting to the Public: IDEA 2004 Requirements, and The Determinations Process: Discussion and Concept Paper, and a number of other deliverables aimed at helping States to meet the requirements of IDEA. Throughout the years, Dr. Sharpe has worked and collaborated with entities within the OSEP-funded Technical Assistance and Dissemination (TA&D) Network and beyond, e.g., Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), University of Hawaii-Manoa, University of Guam--CEDDERS, others.

As a result of his research in such areas as large-scale assessments, transition and customized employment, general and special education collaboration, students with disabilities at the postsecondary level, he has acquired a diverse range of experiences. In his role as Research Associate, Dr. Sharpe published a number of articles in refereed journals on a variety of topics, including the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation Exceptional Children, Journal of American Rehabilitation, Journal of Special Education Leadership, Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, and Remedial and Special Education. In addition to journal articles, Dr. Sharpe has also served as primary author and editorial advisor for numerous manuals and technical reports involving various special education issues, including Reducing Bias in the Assessment of American Indian and African American Children and Youth in Special Education Programs, issues involving "consideration" of assistive technology for special educators, and describing the role of the School Social Worker in contemporary special education programs in Minnesota, and others.

In addition to his experiences as a researcher, Dr. Sharpe accumulated a significant amount of field experience working with teachers, students, and their families as a school psychologist for more than 20 years. These years still influence Dr. Sharpe's perspectives about special education issues. Dr. Sharpe's main areas of interest have always been focused on applied research and development activities that lead to solving "everyday" practical problems faced by educators at the local and State level. Based on his extensive experience working in the public schools, Dr. Sharpe strongly believes that systems change can only be achieved when everybody--teachers at the "street level," administrators at the State level, and staff at the Department of Education, work collaboratively toward a common mission that is manifested by the measurable improvement in the academic and functional results for infants, toddlers, and children with disabilities and their families.

2009-08-19T17:36:35-05:00 - Wed, 19 Aug 2009 17:36:35 CST
Kristin K Liu

Kristin Kline Liu, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Associate at the National Center on Educational Outcomes and the Co-Principal Investigator of the TIES Center (Increasing Time, Instructional Effectiveness, Engagement, and State Support for Inclusive Practices for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities). In this role she addresses policies and practices that support inclusive learning environments for students with significant cognitive disabilities. She is also the Co-Principal Investigator for the Improving Instruction of English Learners Through Accessibility Decision Making project. The Improving Instruction project will design an online learning module to improve West Virginia teachers' understanding and use of accessibility features and accommodations for English learners. Kristi has a Ph.D. in Second Languages and Cultures Education from the University of Minnesota. Her research and technical assistance focuses on improving academic expectations and outcomes of students from special populations, including English learners, students with disabilities, and, her particular area of expertise, English learners with disabilities. Her work also addresses the inclusion of students with special needs in accountability assessments at the local and state levels.

2009-08-18T10:48:29-05:00 - Tue, 18 Aug 2009 10:48:29 CST
Melissa J Critchley

As the Office Manager for Check & Connect, Melissa Critchley manages the day-to-day operations of the Check & Connect student engagement program. She serves as point contact for information and assistance in implementing the Check & Connect student engagement program in school and community settings.

Melissa has worked for the Institute on Community Integration for over twelve years, first working for NCEO as a Student Office Assistant from 1998-2001 and returning in 2006 to become NCEO's Travel and Event Coordinator/Staff Artist.

She is the 2001 and 2008 recipient of the Outstanding Service Award and a 2008 recipient of the Excellence and Community Building Award for her collaboration on the Changing Landscapes Visiting Artists with Disabilities Project (now called Art for All). Melissa is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

Melissa received a BA in Studio Art and Art History from the University of Minnesota and continues to utilize her creative skills inside and outside of ICI. During the summer of 2008 she completed a graduate level certificate in Disability Policy and Services. Her education continued with the completion of her Interdisciplinary Master's degree in 2012, with minors in Prevention Science and Therapeutic Healing Practices. In December of 2014, she added a Certificate in Equity and Diversity to her education experience; and is now perusing a Business Management degree which will be completed in December of 2018.

2009-08-17T15:04:38-05:00 - Mon, 17 Aug 2009 15:04:38 CST
Jerry W Smith

Jerry Smith is an award-winning filmmaker and media director specializing in documentary and educational programs supporting people with developmental and other disabilities. As a creative marketing professional, he is a leader in nurturing strategic partnerships, developing marketing and brand strategies, and curating content that brings stories about community living for people with disabilities to life. At the Institute on Community Integration Jerry has directed dozens of films for broadcast, DVD, and web delivery. Recent projects include The Real Story, a short film exploring media bias in mainstream news coverage of disability issues; Valuing Lives: Wolf Wolfensberger and the Principle of Normalization, a historical documentary examining an idea that revolutionized human services in the 1970s; and On the Autism Spectrum, a series of awareness films for the Somali, Hmong, Latino, African American, and American Indian communities in Minnesota. Jerry also manages a number of web-based multimedia projects, including Self-Advocacy Online, a web portal for self-advocates funded by the MacArthur Foundation that provides accessible, media-rich content and social networking features, and Leadership in the History of the Developmental Disabilities Movement, a wiki-based, multi-media site delivering presentations on key leaders and collecting and sharing historical content from site visitors. Jerry earned a Bachelor's in Philosophy from Central Michigan University and an MBA in Marketing from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management.

2009-07-09T13:21:49-05:00 - Thu, 09 Jul 2009 13:21:49 CST
Thomas J Donaghy

Thomas J Donaghy is Associate Editor in the Publications Office at the Institute on Community Integration (ICI). In this position, he edits and lays out ICI publications (both print and electronic), provides editorial support to the Institute's projects and centers, and posts on ICI's Facebook page and on the College news blog. He maintains the content of multiple sections of ICI's Web site; is editor of the Institute's monthly newsletter, FYI; and managing editor of the Journal of the International Association of Special Education. He has an M.A. in Strategic Communication from the University of Minnesota. Donaghy was appointed to the University of Minnesota's Civil Service Senate for a three-year term, beginning July 1, 2018.

2009-07-02T17:19:44-05:00 - Thu, 02 Jul 2009 17:19:44 CST
Sheryl A Larson

Sheryl A. Larson, PhD, began providing services to persons with disabilities in 1981. She has been a residential counselor, behavior analyst, program evaluator, consultant, personal advocate and researcher. Dr. Larson earned a B.A. in Psychology and Elementary Education from Bethel University in St. Paul, MN, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota.

Sherri is the Director of the Residential Information Systems Project, and a Principal Investigator in the Research and Training Center on Community Living (U of M) where she has worked since 1988. Dr. Larson directs research projects on long-term supports and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Among her 48 grant funded projects are evaluation studies, survey and intervention research, secondary analysis of large data sets and research synthesis on long-term supports and services, access to health care, disability statistics, and disability services.

Sherri has authored or coauthored more than 130 books, book chapters, Journal articles and technical reports, and other products. She is a fellow of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) and the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disabilities (IASSID). She serves as a reviewer for several professional journals and on grant review panels for several federal agencies.

2009-07-02T13:25:00-05:00 - Thu, 02 Jul 2009 13:25:00 CST
Sheryl Lazarus

Sheryl Lazarus, Ph.D. is a senior research associate at the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO), and is the co-principal investigator for the National Assessment Center. In this position she addresses policy issues related to the inclusion of students with disabilities and English learners (ELs) in assessments. She holds a Minnesota K-12 principal's license. Her research and technical assistance priorities include: comprehensive assessment systems, student participation, accommodations, balancing test security and accessibility, alternate assessments, technology, and teacher effectiveness. Dr. Lazarus also has expertise in formative assessment, school accountability, research design (including cost analyses), data-driven decision-making, rural education, and the economics of education. Dr. Lazarus has conducted research and done consulting in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America. She has published extensively, including papers in peer-reviewed journals in both the fields of education and economics.

2009-06-30T11:33:28-05:00 - Tue, 30 Jun 2009 11:33:28 CST
Brian H Abery

Brian Abery, Ph.D, is the Coordinator of School-Age Services at the Institute on Community Integration (ICI) and an adjunct faculty member within the Institute on Child Development and School Psychology Programs at the University of Minnesota. He has been Principal Investigator of numerous projects designed to enhance the educational outcomes, social inclusion, and self-determination of persons with disabilities both at a national and international level. His international work includes implementation of the Response to Intervention framework in India and the implementation of Inclusive Service Learning in Costa Rica. Dr. Abery holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Psychology and has an extensive background in research, assessment, program development, and evaluation related to children, youth, and adults with disabilities.

2009-06-30T11:16:31-05:00 - Tue, 30 Jun 2009 11:16:31 CST
Christopher J Johnstone

Christopher Johnstone is an Assistant Professor of Comparative and International Development Education. In his research he explores operationalizations of inclusiveness as they relate to both international development, education, and campus internationalization. He has worked on education or development-related projects on every continent except Antarctica, but has primarily focused his research in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. His current projects include studies of livelihoods (Kenya and Tanzania), disability identity (India), and equity issues in internationalization (University of Minnesota).

2009-06-25T13:58:50-05:00 - Thu, 25 Jun 2009 13:58:50 CST
Amy S Hewitt

Amy Hewitt, PhD has an extensive background and work history in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities and has worked in various positions over the past 30+ years to improve community inclusion and quality of life for children and adults with disabilities and their families. At the University of Minnesota, she is the director of the Institute on Community Integration. Dr. Hewitt directs several federal and state research, evaluation and demonstration projects in the area of community long-term services and supports for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism. She currently has research projects that focus on community living, autism, outcome measurement, direct support workforce development, person centered planning/thinking and positive behavior support. Dr. Hewitt has authored and co-authored numerous journal articles, curriculum, technical reports, and she co-authored books entitled, Staff Recruitment, Retention and Training and Critical Issues in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: Contemporary Research, Practice and Policy and a soon-to-be-published book called, Community for All: Community Living and Participation for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Dr. Hewitt is on the editorial board of Inclusion and an associate editor of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, both journals of the AAIDD. She is a past president of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) and is the vice president of the board of directors for the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, and a past board member of Arc Minnesota. Dr. Hewitt earned a BS in political science and psychology at Indiana University; a Master's degree in social work at Indiana University; and a PhD in social work at the University of Minnesota.

2009-06-25T13:48:18-05:00 - Thu, 25 Jun 2009 13:48:18 CST
Christopher L Watson PhD

Christopher Watson, Ph.D., IMH-E® (IV), is Co-Director of the Center for Early Education and Development (CEED) at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Dr. Watson's work focuses on infant and early childhood development, with an emphasis on early intervention, social emotional development, challenging behavior and mental health. Dr. Watson holds Level 4 Endorsement in Infant Mental Health (IMH-E® [IV]) from the Minnesota Association for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health and is a certified Program for Infant Toddler Care (PITC) trainer. His recent research focuses on reflective supervision as ongoing professional development, including a new initiative being implemented for home visitors and their supervisors by the Minnesota Department of Health through a federal Maternal and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) grant. Dr. Watson's two recent publications with Shelley Neilsen Gatti for Young Exceptional Children and Infants and Young Children explore the use of reflective supervision in early intervention. He has headed numerous professional development projects and co-authored training-of-trainer curricula, including Talking Reasonably and Responsibly About Brain Development, PITC as a Curriculum, and Core Competencies for Infant-Toddler Caregivers. Dr. Watson directs the Minnesota Higher Education Consortium composed of faculty from early childhood special education licensure programs in public and private Minnesota universities. Prior to his work at the University of Minnesota, Mr. Watson was director of the California Education Innovation Institute, a statewide training program for educators and administrators based at California State University Sacramento.

2009-06-25T11:57:25-05:00 - Thu, 25 Jun 2009 11:57:25 CST
Maureen E Hawes

Dr. Maureen Hawes has successfully managed and implemented numerous evaluations, research projects, and technical assistance initiatives designed to improve programs and outcomes for students with disabilities. As Co-Principal Investigator and Director of the former North Central Regional Resource Center and a Research Associate at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Hawes has been responsible for the oversight and management of numerous staff, large budgets and complex evaluations and technical assistance initiatives. She served as Program Coordinator for the Regional Resource Center Program which consists of six regional technical assistance centers providing services to State Education Agencies and Lead Agencies in the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). Dr. Hawes has spent over 15 years as a technical assistance provider, delivering high quality technical assistance to numerous state agencies and entities on topics including general supervision and monitoring, evaluation, systems change, evidence-based practices, data analysis and use, and leadership. Dr. Hawes has authored a number of tools and products developed to support both State and local level implementation of IDEA as well as to support State work on the State Performance Plan (SPP) and Annual Performance Report (APR). She has presented at numerous state, national and international conferences on topics including evaluating state initiatives to assess efficacy and relevance, using data and technology strategies to improve outcomes for students with visual impairments, expanding and improving collaborative technical assistance, and developing quality performance measures. Her professional areas of interest include evaluation, performance measurement, general and special education collaboration, systems change, program policy development and implementation, and cultural and linguistic issues for children with disabilities.

2009-06-25T11:32:42-05:00 - Thu, 25 Jun 2009 11:32:42 CST
David R Johnson PhD

David R. Johnson, Ph.D., is an Emma Birkmaier Professor of Educational Leadership in the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota. Dr. Johnson's faculty appointment is in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development where he conducts research, teaches courses, and advises graduate students in evaluation studies and research methods. A former Director of the Institute on Community Integration (ICI), he has also been Principal Investigator of numerous research, training, and demonstration projects. His research interests include investigations of postschool outcomes, school completion, state systems change, cost-benefit analysis, and other policy-related research. Dr. Johnson has published more than 100 book chapters, journal articles, research monographs, technical reports, and products on topics concerning secondary education, special education, interagency collaboration, and other themes related to his research interests. His research and evaluation results have been used by U.S. Congressional committees, state legislatures, state education agencies, and other organizations.

2009-06-25T11:30:37-05:00 - Thu, 25 Jun 2009 11:30:37 CST
Martha L Thurlow

Martha Thurlow is the Director of the National Center on Educational Outcomes. In this position, she addresses the implications of contemporary U.S. policy and practice for students with disabilities and English Language Learners, including national and statewide assessment policies and practices, standards-setting efforts, and graduation requirements. Dr. Thurlow has conducted research for the past 35 years in a variety of areas, including assessment and decision making, learning disabilities, early childhood education, dropout prevention, effective classroom instruction, and integration of students with disabilities in general education settings.

Dr. Thurlow has published extensively on all of these topics, authoring numerous books and book chapters, and publishing more than 200 articles and reports. In 2003, she completed her 8-year term as co-Editor of Exceptional Children, the research journal of the Council for Exceptional Children, and is currently associate editor for numerous journals.

2009-06-25T10:07:40-05:00 - Thu, 25 Jun 2009 10:07:40 CST