Elko Presenters

Diana Rovetti

Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities

Partners in Policymaking Project Coordinator

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Diana Rovetti is an energetic mother of five, active in volunteerism, church, and a leader in educating the community on disabilities issues.  She is a graduate of the University of Nevada Reno in Secondary Education and a Certified Personal Outcomes Interviewer with The Council on Quality and Leadership in Supports for People With Disabilities.  Previously, Diana served as Self-Advocacy Project Supervisor and People First of Nevada Statewide Advisor, and was appointed by the governor to serve on the Nevada Early Intervention Interagency Coordinating Council, ICC. Rovetti is now the Director of Information Dissemination and Project Coordinator for Partners in Policymaking at the Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities at the University of Nevada Reno. She has worked at the University of Nevada Reno for the Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities since 2001. Diana is the Past President and one of the founding members of the Down Syndrome Network of Northern Nevada and a graduate of Nevada Partners in Policymaking. Her son Jack has Down syndrome.

Travis Mills

Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities

Partners in Policymaking Trainer

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Travis Mills is a self-advocate with a primary goal of helping individuals with disabilities become more independent by sharing his knowledge of technology and advocacy. He has been a strong advocate for people with disabilities since becoming an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteer in Service To America) in 2009. Travis is a graduate of Nevada Partners in Policymaking, Class of 2010 and has served as Chapter Advisor and Officer for People First of Nevada, Reno and Carson City Chapters. Travis has served on numerous Committees and Boards advocating for people with disabilities. He has testified at the Nevada Legislature, Regional Transportation Commission (RTC), and has represented people with disabilities on the Disability Awareness Coalition (DAC). Travis has extensive knowledge of current technology, including numerous computer programs and assistive technology devices. He currently is an Administrative Faculty member at the University of Nevada Reno, Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities, working as co-trainer for Partners in Policymaking.

Kathie Snow

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Kelli Walker

Nevada PEP

Transition Services Manager

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I am the mother of 4, my youngest daughter has autism.  I am a 2010 graduate from Partners in Policymaking.  I now work for Nevada PEP as the Transition Services Manager.  I love working with families and I feel privileged to be able to help them be empowered, educated and encouraged to be the best advocate for their child as they can be.  It is challenging being a parent with a child with a disability but with it comes knowledge and understanding I could not get anywhere else.  Being a mother will always be my thing I’m most proud of.

Mary Bryant

Nevada Center For Excellence in Disabilities (NCED)

Path to Independence Project Director

Partners in Policymaking Presenter

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Mary Bryant has been administrative faculty at the NCED since 2002. She assisted the self-advocates in the state start People First of Nevada, a self-advocacy group for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD) by writing a grant that paid people with IDD to be VISTA (Volunteers in Service To America) members. This grew into a ten year Youth Transition Project, which had 15 VISTA members (6 with developmental disabilities) at its height. This project ended in 2012, but People First continues. Bryant now directs the Path to Independence (P2I) project at the NCED. P2I is an inclusive postsecondary education program for students with IDD. P2I welcomed its first student at UNR in 2013 and currently has nine students. Bryant is the former Chairperson of the Nevada Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. She is currently the vice-chair of the Nevada Commission on Services for People with Disabilities and serves on Nevada’s Special Education Advisory Committee. She is mom to two daughters, Kailin and Eilish. Kailin is 21 years old and has Down syndrome. She is a student in the Path to Independence program and lives with a roommate near the UNR campus. Bryant assists Kailin in operating her microenterprise, Kelderman Klassy Glass.

George McKinlay

University of Nevada Reno

Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities

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George McKinlay is the Data Systems Manager for the Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities and also a Project Director for the Nevada Assistive Technology Resource Center.  George has an extensive background in Data Management, Web Development and Accessibility, Universal Design and Assistive Technology for people with disabilities.  He also teaches a Disabilities Issues class in Community Health Sciences at UNR and engages his students in several projects regarding assistive technology and community accessibility each semester.

Alex Cherup

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Alex first became involved in disability advocacy during his time as an undergraduate student at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, where he met his close friend Micah Fialka-Feldman, a fellow student and advocate and speaker. Micah successfully challenged the university housing policy that prohibited him from moving into the dorms; and was able to live on campus for his final semester.

Alex and Micah have spoke together at numerous disability advocacy conferences around the country about the importance of post-secondary opportunities. In May of 2014, Micah was appointed to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.

Alex is originally from Troy, Michigan, and currently lives in Las Vegas. He began his work in Nevada in 2008 as an AmeriCorps VISTA, working with the Youth Transition Project with the Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities and with Family TIES of Nevada. As a VISTA, Alex worked to support and educate youth with disabilities about self-determination, self-advocacy and their transition out of high school into employment or college. After his term as a VISTA, he supervised the VISTA projects in Las Vegas for two more years. During his tenure, he supported the People First chapters, organized transition summer camps at UNLV, in Reno and Elko for youth with disabilities and assisted in the development of competitive and integrated employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

 In May of 2014, Alex graduated from Northeastern University School of Law, in Boston, Massachusetts with a Juris Doctor degree. While in law school, he focused his studies on civil rights and disability rights law, completing research on the law and advocacy surrounding competitive and integrated employment for workers with disabilities as well as comparative legal work with respect to Title II of the ADA and accessible transportation and Chinese disability law. He has completed legal internships at the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at the National University of Ireland, Galway, in Ireland, the Labor Arbitration Council, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and in Las Vegas at the NAACP Las Vegas and the ACLU of Nevada. He currently is a member of the Board of Directors for Nevada Disability Advocacy and Law Center (NDALC).

George Mckinlay
University of Nevada Reno

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George McKinlay is the Data Systems Manager for the Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities and also a Project Director for the Nevada Assistive Technology Resource Center.  George has an extensive background in Data Management, Web Development and Accessibility, Universal Design and Assistive Technology for people with disabilities.  He also teaches a Disabilities Issues class in Community Health Sciences at UNR and engages his students in several projects regarding assistive technology and community accessibility each semester.

Daniel Dinnell, State Family Resource Coordinator

Information and Referral Specialist

Department of Health & Human Services

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My wife Cheryl and I are the proud parents of 3 boys; the oldest son was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD); the middle son has “middle child syndrome”; and the youngest son, Eric, was born with a very rare genetic disorder (DeBarsy syndrome), and has multiple disabilities.

I have been the IDEA (Individual with Disabilities Education Act) Part C (Early Intervention) State Family Resource Coordinator for Nevada’s Early Intervention Services since 1996, when this position for statewide parent representation was first created.

As a parent/family representative I assist with development and implementation of policy and programs, written materials, support interagency and community-based approaches, assist with program oversight, and most important of all help to find ways to increase parent/consumer knowledge and involvement in early intervention services in the State of Nevada.  As Part C Staff I support the State Interagency Coordinating Council. As Project ASSIST’s Information & Referral Specialist, I am responsible for Nevada’s IDEA Part C Central Directory (Information and Referral system) and I am also the Early Childhood Special Education Library coordinator.

I hosted several Fathers workshops, provided guidance and support to the development of Nevada Early Intervention Services “Families First!” parent orientation & training project, and I facilitated and directed the development of two statewide “Families First” conferences. I also participated on the Executive planning committee for the 2013 and 2015 Nevada Disabilities Conferences.

I have presented at numerous conferences, sat on many parent/father panels, and participated in a National focus group on fathers of children with special needs. I have served as a Nevada Hearing Officer for the Department of Education. I am a graduate of the 1999 Nevada’s Partners in Policymaking, and completed the 2002 National ICC Parent Leadership Institute. Our family received the Family Voices 2002 “Polly Arango” National Family Leadership Award in Washington D.C. I am one of the founders and served on the board for the Early Intervention Family Alliance (EIFA), a national group of family leaders dedicated to improving outcomes for infants and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities, and their families, and currently serve as a member of the national State Advisory Panel (SAP) and State Interagency Coordinating Councils (SICC) Leadership Workgroup.

Jocelyn Whitworth

M.Ed. is the Northeast Region Training Coordinator for Positive Behavior Support-Nevada

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Jocelyn Whitworth, M.Ed. is the Northeast Region Training Coordinator for Positive Behavior Support-Nevada.  She has a bachelor of science degree in Special Education and a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education.  She is a licensed Early Childhood Special Education teacher with Elko County School District.  Jocelyn has additional training in teaching children with autism and provides support to teachers serving children with autism in inclusive settings.  She is a TACSEI coach (Technical Assistance Center for Social Emotional Intervention) supporting classrooms serving young children with challenging behavior.  She is PAT certified (Parents As Teachers) and enjoys the family support component of PBS-NV.

Robert Johnson

M.Ed. BCBA for Positive Behavior Support-Nevadarobert-johnson-1

Robert Johnson, M.Ed., BCBA has been the Northeast Training and Consultation Specialist for Positive Behavior Support-Nevada for the past 10 years.  He sits on the State Board for Early Childhood Leadership Team that administers the Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention grant.  Mr Johnson is a TACSEI Trainer and coach for northeastern Nevada.  He is a BCBA consultant for Elko County School District and for the Autism Treatment and Assistance Program.  He services as District Vice Chairman for the Overland Scout District.  Mr. Johnson has years of experience working with children and adults with intellectual disabilities and challenging behavior.  He is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education and History from Brigham Young University and a Master’s degree in Education Leadership from Southern Utah University.

Cheryl M. Dinnell

Life planning Consultant

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Cheryl Dinnell is the parent of a son with multiple disabilities, a disability advocate, and a specialist in microboards, respite, and future planning. She has degrees in business management, finance and economics, and has held several licenses in financial services. She currently works with clients as a budget counselor and employment specialist.

Cheryl began her work as a disability advocate at UNR, writing grants as the Director of Family & Consumer Programs, and developed and directed programs such as the Nevada Parent Network, Family Voices of Nevada, Nevada Respite Coalition, and Nevada Partners In Policymaking. In 2000, she hosted the International Parent-to-Parent Conference.

She is a founder of Family TIES, and served as Executive Director and President of the Board for several years. She has taught college classes, given training to professionals, and spoken to many audiences. She has also written many articles for disability publications. She also produces a newsletter for DeBarsy Syndrome International.

Cheryl has received awards and recognition for her work in the disability field, including the Polly Arango National Family Leadership Award from Family Voices, and the Family Advocate Award from Nevada Disability Advocacy and Law Center.

Over the years, Cheryl has been a member on many boards and advisory groups, including the Nevada Special Education Advisory Committee, the National Microboard Association, the Nevada Governor’s Commission on Services for People with Disabilities, and the Nevada Interagency Transition Advisory Board. She also worked as the Nevada Lifespan Respite Care Coordinator.

Currently, she works as a Lifeplanning Consultant, a Management Analyst for Aging & Disability Services, and as Service Coordinator for DeBarsy Syndrome International.

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