Project Coordinator for Partners in Policymaking
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 founding member of the Down Syndrome Network of Northern Nevada and a graduate of Nevada Partners in Policymaking. Her son Jack has Down syndrome.
Co-Trainer for Partners in Policymaking
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 where he is a Trainer on the Partners in Policymaking Project.
Advocate Co-Coordinator for People First of Nevada Project
Santa Perez is from Southern California where she was very active in the self-advocacy movement. She earned her Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology from Cal State Northridge. When Santa moved to Las Vegas in the mid-1990s, she discovered that there were no advocacy groups for people with disabilities. This was unacceptable for Santa and she started her quest to bring a self-advocacy group to Nevada. Santa completed the Partners in Policy Making program in 1999 at The University of Nevada, Reno. Their UCEDD had just started a new project, AmeriCorps Vista (Volunteers in Services to America), and she was informed that they wanted her to become a member. This became her golden opportunity to fulfill her goal of bringing a self-advocacy group to Nevada. Through this project, Santa co-founded People First of Nevada and her dream is now a reality with 7 chapters all around the state. Santa is a very proud and active President of the People First of Nevada. She has testified before the state legislation and was instrumental in getting the Signature Stamp Law and the People First Respectful Language Law passed. Santa is currently working for Community Chest of Nevada, reporting through the NGCDD as an Advocate Co-Coordinator for the People First of Nevada Project. She has given many presentations at national conferences around the country. In her personal life Santa has accomplished many things. She has her own home and is a part of her community, but in her eyes, her greatest accomplishment is her son Noah.
Since the way we think drives the way we act, Kathie believes real change can only occur if we first acquire new attitudes and perceptions about disability. Kathie is the parent of two young adults; her son, Benjamin, has a disability and recently earned his Master’s degree. (Disability does not have to be a barrier to a person’s success!) She combines her earlier career in the media with personal experiences in the disability arena to ignite positive and long-lasting change.
Kathie believes the inclusion of people with disabilities can best be accomplished when they move from clienthood to citizenship, and replace traditional “special” and segregated services with assistance from the abundant supply of natural supports and generic services that exist in every community. And everyone has an important role to play in this effort!
Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational & Clinical Studies, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Josh received his Ph.D. in 2008 from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in special education with a research emphasis on accessing the general education curriculum for students with Intellectual Disabilities and Autism. Josh’s current interests are transition and post-secondary education options for individuals with Intellectual Developmental/Disabilities (ID/D). Josh is currently the director of Project F.O.C.U.S., a post-secondary college program that allows individuals with ID/D to earn an Occupational and Career Life Studies certificate through inclusive courses at UNLV.
Educational Services Director, Nevada PEP
Robin has over 15 years experience as the Educational Services Director for the statewide Parent Training and Information Center. Her responsibilities include training parents and professionals on advocacy, Special Education laws and behavioral strategies to help participants develop additional skills while working with children. Robin has trained and supervised parent trainers to provide over 200 workshops in positive behavior interventions, understanding ADHD and bullying prevention. Working with professionals to encourage positive engagement with families using researched based materials she has provided opportunities to build relationships and added to student’s success in school.
Alex Cherup, J.D.
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 with a Juris Doctor degree from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts. 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. Alex is currently serving on the executive board of the Nevada Disabilities Advocacy & Law Center.
Tony Records, President, TRA
Since 1992 Tony Records has been the President of Tony Records and Associates, Inc. (TRA), a human services consulting firm in Bethesda, Maryland. Mr. Records has 42 years of experience and has consulted in 23 states with regard to services and supports for people with developmental disabilities.
Mr. Records has been recently involved in several projects of national and statewide significance, including the following:
- Currently serving in Illinois as the Monitor of the Ligas v. Hamos case involving more than 12,000 class members to ensure their rights under the integration mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Also currently serving in Connecticut as the Remedial Expert in the Messier v. Southbury Training School case to ensure that all class members are offered services in the most integrated setting.
- Served as Independent Consultant to parties in Arc Connecticut v. O’Meara, a Settlement Agreement regarding people with developmental disabilities who are on waiting lists for community services.
- Appointed as Independent Monitor and Consultant for the state-operated Rosewood Residential Center in Maryland to help coordinate community transition and its ultimate closure in 2009.
- Provides training for states on Best Practices in Protection from Harm for people with disabilities in residential settings.
- Administered a grant with the Illinois Council on developmental disabilities to establish individual Microboards and Human Services Cooperatives.
- Consults with numerous service providers in various states on quality improvement, community inclusion, monitoring and best practices in protection from harm.
- Through a contract with the state of Tennessee, administered an individual advocacy program for more than 200 people who were previously institutionalized.
- On a voluntary basis, Mr. Records provides individual advocacy assistance to several individuals with disabilities and their families in Maryland.
- Consultant to the state of Nevada regarding the assessment and transition to the community of people with disabilities who currently live in nursing homes and other institutions.
As a nationally recognized expert, Mr. Records speaks on a regular basis at national, state and local conferences of organizations serving people with disabilities.
Past projects and accomplishments of Mr. Records include the following:
- Served from 2000-2004 as the court-appointed Independent Expert in the Embreeville case in eastern Pennsylvania that includes 175 people with developmental disabilities and evaluates the quality of community supports and services provided to class members and assists the parties in shaping corrective action plans.
- From 2000 to 2002, Mr. Records was a consultant with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the US Department of Human Services to provide technical assistance to OCR staff in evaluating states’ planning documents regarding Olmstead
- Served as an Expert Consultant for the Key Bridge Foundation assisting in mediation of complaints regarding compliance with the Olmstead US Supreme Court decision, which requires states to ensure that people with disabilities receive services in the most integrated settings.
- Appointed in 1994 by the US Court to serve as the Special Master in the landmark Pennhurst case and supervised the parties toward a successful ending of court oversight in the 26 year-old litigation.
- Served as an expert consultant for the Special Master in the Petties case in the District of Columbia, which involves more than 3,000 students receiving special education and related services.
- Chairperson of the Association of Court Monitors and Special Masters who administer cases involving people with disabilities.
- Served as an expert consultant to the US Justice Department in class-action litigation in Tennessee and the District of Columbia.
- Conducted performance and program audits in New York, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, New Jersey and Delaware.
Sara Lemma, Office Manager
American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada (ACLU)
Sara Lemma serves as the Office Manager at the ACLU of Nevada. During the 2013 Legislative Session, she became a volunteer lobbyist for Grassroots Lobby Days and Equality Days. Sara has been a steering committee member of the Nevada Women’s Lobby since 2013. She is working towards a Master’s Degree in Public Health from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Sara volunteers with the Beagle Freedom Project. She lives with her husband and daughter in Henderson Nevada.
Tamika Shauntee, Legal Advocacy Coordinator
American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada (ACLU)
Tamika Shauntee is a native Nevadan and received her Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and her Master’s degree in Judicial Management from the University of Nevada, Reno. She has worked with many well-known law firms in the state of Nevada including McDonald Carano Wilson and Beckley Singleton, Chtd.(Now Lewis Roca Rothgerber). Tamika wanted the opportunity to work for a non-profit organization and felt that the ACLU was the best fit, because of her longstanding and deep-seated commitment to civil liberties and civil rights. During her 7 years at the ACLU of Nevada, Tamika has had the opportunity to educate the community through civil rights presentations and has served as a panelists for “One House Town Hall II.” She has also worked on the teams that brought many instrumental lawsuits including the shackling of pregnant inmates and the mental health patient dumping litigation. Tamika resided in France when she was younger and speaks fluent French. She enjoys traveling and learning about new cultures and educating her son about the wonderful world around him.
Currently the Program Director for Family TIES of Nevada, Christina implements and supervises the activities for Family TIES programs including Information and Referral Service, Training, Community Outreach, Youth Transition, and Parent to Parent Peer Mentor Support. As the Family to Family Health Information Center (F2F) for the state of Nevada, Family TIES provides Training, Information & Emotional Support to families of children with special healthcare needs throughout the state.
Office Manager and Resource Coordinator at Family TIES of Nevada, Las Vegas
Monica is married and has 3 beautiful children, Mauricio, Giovanna and Julian. Her career in community services began in 2009 when her daughter, Giovanna was diagnosed with Autism. As a stay at home mom Monica had the opportunity to attend many meetings and conferences to educate herself about the Autism Spectrum Disorder. Since Giovanna’s diagnosis, Monica has become an advocate for her family and community and is actively involved with many organizations which provide services for children with Autism such as: FEAT, TACA, and Nevada PEP, among others.
Desert Regional Center
I have worked at the Desert Regional Center for the last 19 years. DRC is the state agency that offers services and supports to individuals and their families who have been diagnosed with developmental disabilities and related conditions. I have worked in the field for 25 years and enjoy meeting people and helping support people to enjoy a greater quality of life.
Desert Regional Center
Deputy Administrator for Aging and Disability Services Division
Michele has been working in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities for 30 years. She is currently serving as the Deputy Administrator for the Aging and Disability Services Division. Previous to this position, Michele worked at the Desert Regional Center for 15 years as a Service Coordinator, Supervisor and Director of Children’s Services. In addition to professional experience, she is the parent of a 14-year-old daughter with Down syndrome. Michele has a BA in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Special Education, both from UNLV.
Paula Rahm, MSW
Desert Regional Center
Developmental Specialist III
Paula Rahm has been a Nevada resident for over twenty years and is a social worker for Desert Regional Center, part of the state’s Aging and Disability Services Division. Desert Regional Center is the state agency that provides services to children and adults with developmental disabilities. Paula finds her contact with the individuals and families she meets to be very rewarding and she observes that with more experience comes not only knowledge, but more questions. She learns something new every day and realizes every day how much she doesn’t yet know. Each day presents new opportunities to share what we know and to learn something new from others.
Southern Nevada Coordinator
Positive Behavior Support Nevada
Flo LaRoy is the Southern Nevada Coordinator for the Positive Behavior Support-Nevada project. She provides community outreach and gives introductory presentations about Positive Behavior Support. Her duties include, setting up trainings for families and organizations in English and Spanish, participating in resource fairs and responding to inquiries for behavioral services. Flo has a Master’s of Science degree from the University of Buffalo and a license in Secondary Science Education from UNLV. As a parent of a child with autism, she spent 15 years as an advocate and presenter for Nevada PEP, statewide parent training and information center. Flo’s efforts include coordinating the 1994 conference for the Autism Society of America, presenting at the 2006 Positive Behavior Support Conference with her son and his transition team, working on autism legislation and serving on numerous committees advocating for the needs of individuals with disabilities. She will be retiring in June, but will be pursuing her passion to help adults as a volunteer in the autism community.
Frederick Steinmann, DPPD
Assistance Research Professor
Leadership and Economic Development Specialist
University of Nevada, Reno
Frederick Steinmann currently works for the University of Nevada, Reno and the University Center for Economic Development. He began his professional economic development career with the Reno Redevelopment Agency in the City of Reno, Nevada. Since then, he has worked for the Nevada Small Business Development Center, Bureau of Business and Economic Research, and for the Carson Economic Development Services Department in the City of Carson, California. Frederick has also worked as a Senior Associate for David Paul Rosen & Associates, one of the elite economic development and public policy consulting firms in California.
Dr. Jessica Love
Project and Research Coordinator
UNLV Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders
Board Certified Behavior Analyst – Doctoral (BCBA-D)
Dr. Jessica Love is the Project and Research Coordinator of the UNLV Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst – Doctoral (BCBA-D). She earned a Master’s degree in Psychology (Applied Behavior Analysis) from California State University, Sacramento and a Ph.D. in Special Education from University of Nevada Las Vegas
Nevada Center For Excellence in Disabilities (NCED)
Path to Independence Project Director
Partners in Policymaking Presenter
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.
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 M. Dinnell
Life Planning Consultant
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 Budget Counselor, an Employment Specialist, and as Service Coordinator for DeBarsy Syndrome International
University of Nevada Reno, Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities
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.
University of Nevada Reno, Professor Reynolds School of Journalism, Recruiting and Retention Coordinator
Paul Mitchell is the recruitment & retention coordinator and also teaches in the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada Reno. Mitchell received the University’s Nevada Semenza Christian Award of Excellence in Teaching in 2008.
Mitchell has taught several news writing courses in addition to sports writing and news editing. He also teaches the program’s Freshman Year Experience class. He is a graduate of the Maynard Editing Program (where he started work on his master’s in journalism) and also served as director of the Maynard Program at the University of Arizona, The University of California, Berkeley and the University of Nevada.
Originally from Philadelphia, Mitchell was a reporter and editor for the Philadelphia Tribune (the nation’s oldest continually-published African American newspaper). He was a news editor for the Asbury Park Press newspaper in Asbury Park, NJ. Mitchell was an editor for The National Sports Daily, the first daily all sports newspaper. He taught at the University of Missouri Journalism School while also working on his master’s degree.
Mitchell completed his doctorate in educational leadership (higher education emphasis) at the University of Nevada and earned his bachelor’s in communications from the University of Pittsburgh.
Executive Director, Nevada Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities
Sherry Manning is currently the Executive Director of the Nevada Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities (NGCDD) after four years as Program Manager and Housing Developmental Specialist for the NGCDD. Prior to accepting the position with the NGCDD, Ms. Manning was the Director of Consumer Credit Affiliates where she provided education and counseling to clients in need of affordable/accessible housing and budget/credit assistance. Ms. Manning’s educational background is in accounting with twelve years as a senior auditor for the State of Nevada Department of Taxation.
STEPHEN ROCK, PH.D.
University of Nevada Reno, Nevada Center For Excellence in Disabilities, Professor, NCED Director
Stephen L. Rock, Ph.D, serves as the director the Nevada University Center for Excellence in Disabilities (NCED) and is a professor of the Special Education in the College of Education at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). Dr. Rock specializes in special education, educational research, and program evaluation. In addition to serving as the NCED Director, he teaches one course each semester in behavior management and educational research. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Illinois. Since arriving at UNR in 1990, he has served as Acting Dean for the College of Education, Chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and Faculty Senate Chair. In addition, he has been involved in conducting or supervising a variety of externally funded projects from federal, state, and private sources. Before coming to UNR, Dr. Rock was a researcher and teacher educator at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Illinois State University. Dr. Rock also taught special education and worked in residential treatment centers for children with behavior disorders in Arizona and Utah.
Executive Director, Nevada Disability Advocacy and Law Center
Jack Mayes has been the Executive Director of the Nevada Disability Advocacy and Law Center since 1997 and oversees the agency’s administrative and financial operations and ensures the implementation of the agency’s goals, policies and procedures for the agency. Jack is an individual with a disability and is a successful recipient of Vocational Rehabilitation services and at the age of 22 transitioned off of SSI to full-time employment. Jack has been a lifelong employment advocate and currently serves on statewide employment committees including the Nevada State Rehabilitation Council (NSRC) and the Governor’s Taskforce on Integrated Employment. Jack graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in Health Care Administration and a Certificate in Gerontology. Jack is also fluent in American Sign Language.
Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents
Sam Lieberman has been a longtime champion of higher education for over three decades in Nevada. He currently serves as chair of the ad hoc Appeals Committee for Millennium Scholarship and vice chair of the Academic, Research and Student Affairs Committee. He is also a member of the Audit Committee, Community College Committee, Cultural Diversity Committee and the ad hoc Board of Regents Chief of Staff Search Committee. In July 2015, he was appointed by Governor Sandoval to serve on the Independent Living Advisory Council for the State of Nevada.
A 1996 graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a degree in Social Work, Regent Lieberman has committed himself to our university and community college system both as a student and an active alumnus. He serves as the chairman of the UNLV College of Liberal Arts Community Advisory Board, was a board member for the UNLV Alumni Association from 2000 to 2008 and is a past president of the Sigma Chi Alumni Association. Regent Lieberman is a member of the annual giving council for the UNLV Foundation and has served on numerous professional search committees within the Nevada System of Higher Education. He is committed to enhancing the caliber of higher education for students, faculty, staff and alumni alike. Regent Lieberman believes our campuses should be an accessible community resource for Nevadans of all backgrounds.
Regent Lieberman has also been active in the non-profit sector, serving in various capacities in organizations throughout our community. He serves as chairman of the Alzheimer’s Association Desert Southwest Chapter Regional Leadership Council, and has been a board member for HELP of Southern Nevada for over 25 years. Regent Lieberman previously served as the chairman of the Board of Directors and treasurer for Nevada Parents Encouraging Parents (Nevada PEP), a non-profit, statewide parent training information center for parents of children with disabilities. He also assisted in the start-up of the Independent Transportation Network Las Vegas Valley, which is the Nevada affiliate of a national non-profit transportation network serving seniors and people with visual disabilities.
Regent Lieberman served as chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party from 2008-2011, overseeing the party in one of the toughest political environments for Democrats in decades. He currently serves simultaneously as the Government and Community Relations Coordinator for Easter Seals of Nevada and the Director of Government and Community Affairs for PDQ Printing.