The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 5/10/2011
WASHINGTON – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities:
- James T. Brett, Chair, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
- Peter V. Berns, Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
- Clay Boatright, Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
- Micki Edelsohn, Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
- Ann Hardiman, Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
- Alison A. Hillman de Velásquez, Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
- Carl M. La Mell, Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
- Annette McKenzie Anderson, Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
- Carol Quirk, Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
- Susana Ramirez, Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
- Deborah M. Spitalnik, Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
- Lillian Sugarman, Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
- Liz Weintraub, Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
- Carol Wheeler, Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
- Sheryl White-Scott, Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
President Obama said, “These fine public servants both bring both a depth of experience and tremendous dedication to their new roles. Our nation will be well-served by these men and women, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”
President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:
James T. Brett, Appointee for Chair, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
James T. Brett is the President and CEO of The New England Council, a position he has held since 1996. Prior to leading the Council, Mr. Brett served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for 15 years. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Massachusetts Governor’s Commission on Intellectual Disability, and sits on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, and the Advisory Councils of the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps and the New England Center for Children. Mr. Brett has been honored with several awards for his advocacy for the disabled, including receiving the Action for Boston Community Development’s Lifetime Public Service Award, the Massachusetts Special Olympics’ Distinguished Leadership Award, and the Hospice of Boston’s Humanitarian of the Year Award. In 1996, Bay Cove Human Services of Boston named a new community home for disabled adults "Brett House" in his honor. Mr. Brett is a graduate of American University in Washington, DC, and holds Masters Degrees in Public Administration from Suffolk University and from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Peter V. Berns, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Peter V. Berns is the Chief Executive Officer of The Arc, a charity federation with 710 chapters nationwide dedicated to promoting the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. A nationally recognized nonprofit sector leader and public interest lawyer, Mr. Berns served as the Executive Director of the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations from 1992 to 2008. In addition, he served as Chief Executive Officer of the Standards for Excellence Institute from 2004 to 2008 where he developed Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector. A frequent lecturer, facilitator, consultant, and trainer, he has served as an adjunct faculty member at Johns Hopkins University. He was named to the Nonprofit Times Power and Influence Top 50 list five times in the past decade. Mr. Berns has a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, a J.D. from Harvard Law School and an LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center.
Clay Boatright, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Clay Boatright is the President of the Board of Directors for The Arc of Texas, a non-profit organization which creates opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to be included in their communities and to make the necessary decisions on issues that affect their lives. In addition, Mr. Boatright serves on the Easter Seals North Texas Autism Advisory Board, the Mosaic-Dallas Business Advisory Committee, the Childrenfirst! Collin County Coalition, and the Long Term Care subcommittee of the Texas Taskforce for Children with Special Needs. Previously he served as Board President for The Arc of Dallas and campus chair for the Special and Gifted Education committee in the Plano Independent School District. Mr. Boatright is employed as a Vice President with the Dean Foods Company in Dallas, and has previously worked with The Coca-Cola Company, Ralston Purina, and Maybelline. Mr. Boatright is a father of three children, including identical twins with intellectual disabilities and autism. He holds a B.A. in Communications and M.S. in Marketing from the University of Memphis.
Micki Edelsohn, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Micki Edelsohn is currently the Treasurer of Homes for Life Foundation, a nonprofit organization she founded in 1999 to build safe and comfortable neighborhood group homes for adults with intellectual disabilities. She also works with local officials and businesses to secure meaningful employment opportunities for the residents who live in the group homes. In addition, Mrs. Edelsohn is collaborating with a local college to establish a new curriculum for students interested in a career serving individuals with disabilities. She has been active in many organizations including The Arc of Delaware, the Governor’s Commission on Community Based Alternatives, the Center for Disabilities Studies at the University of Delaware, and the Delaware Foundation Reaching Citizens with Intellectual Disabilities. Most recently, Mrs. Edelsohn was recognized by being named one of the 25 Who Matter in Delaware by the Wilmington News Journal. She has also received the Humanitarian Award from the United Way of Delaware, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Wilmington Senior Center, and the Delaware Housing Coalition Award. Mrs. Edelsohn’s inspiration is her adult son who has an intellectual disability. She holds a B.A. from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University.
Ann Hardiman, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Ann Hardiman is currently the Executive Director of the New York State Association of Community and Residential Agencies (NYSACRA). NYSACRA represents non-profit agencies serving people with developmental disabilities and their families. Previously, she was an Assistant Executive Director at Opengate Inc. From 1978 to 1992, Ms. Hardiman served as the Director of Residential Services at Rehabilitation Inc. She currently sits on the board and is the Secretary of Potential Unlimited Productions Inc. Ms. Hardiman is the recipient of the Community Leader of the Year award given by the NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council. She holds a B.A. from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Potsdam and a M.A. from Marist College.
Alison A. Hillman de Velásquez, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Alison A. Hillman de Velásquez is Program Officer for the Open Society Foundations’ Disability Rights Initiative, where she manages a grant making program aimed at implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. From 2002 to 2009, Ms. Hillman directed the Americas Programs at Disability Rights International, where she advocated for the rights of persons with mental disabilities. Ms. Hillman sits on the Board of Directors of the American Association of People with Disabilities. In 2003, she received the Paul G. Hearne/AAPD Leadership Award as an emerging leader in the disability field. She holds a B.A. from Cornell University and a J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law.
Carl M. La Mell, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Carl M. La Mell is the President and CEO of Clearbrook, a service provider for individuals with developmental disabilities in Illinois. Previously, Mr. La Mell held senior positions at Victor C. Neumann Association as Chief Financial Officer, Associate Executive Director, and CEO. Most recently, he chaired the Finance Committee of the Illinois Statewide Early Intervention Task Force. Mr. La Mell is also a member of the Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, the Illinois Department of Human Services State Task Force on Autism, and the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. He is the past recipient of various distinguished awards, including the Executive of the Year Award from the Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities, the Community Leader of the Year Award given by the City of Rolling Meadows, and the Claude D. Pepper Distinguished Service Award. Mr. La Mell holds a B.S. from DePaul University.
Annette McKenzie Anderson, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Annette McKenzie Anderson, Ph.D. is the President & CEO of Diversified In-Valuable Assistance (DIVA) Enterprises. Recently, she served as an Adjunct Clinical Supervisor for Graduate Students enrolled in the Speech Language Pathology Clinical Practicum in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Howard University. Previously, Dr. Anderson served as a certified Speech Language Pathologist at Mamie D. Lee School, the District of Columbia Public School for students with intellectual and related disabilities. During her tenure at Mamie D. Lee School, she implemented interventions in the areas of communication, socialization, cultural arts, community involvement, and adaptive skills for students. Dr. Anderson was recognized by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation by receiving the Louis M. DiCarlo National Award for Outstanding Clinical Achievement in Human Communication Sciences and Disorders. She was also a recipient of the Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award presented by The Washington Post. She holds a B.S. in Speech Pathology from Hampton University, a M.S. in Speech Language Pathology from the University of the District of Columbia (formerly, Federal City College), and a Ph.D. in Special Education Administration from Gallaudet University.
Carol Quirk, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Carol Quirk is currently the Co-Executive Director of the Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education (MCIE), a non-profit corporation that provides advocacy services to families and professional development opportunities to schools. Prior to this position, Dr. Quirk was the Executive Director of East Baltimore Resources, an adult service agency that provides supported employment opportunities to adults with disabilities. She also served as a specialist in early intervention and behavior and as a consultant to the School District of Philadelphia. Dr. Quirk is the President of the TASH Board of Directors, an international advocacy and professional disability organization. She is the recipient of the top 100 Minority/Women Business Entrepreneurs Award for the Maryland-Virginia-District of Columbia region. She holds a B.A. and an M.A. from the University of Connecticut, and an Ed.D. from Johns Hopkins University.
Susana Ramirez, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Susana Ramirez is currently a Special Education Advocate at Disability Rights Oregon, the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy Agency in Oregon that advocates for the rights of individuals with disabilities. Ms. Ramirez's responsibilities include individual representation of students in special education, policy advocacy, and working closely with the Latino community by providing individual rights trainings in Spanish. Ms. Ramirez has held gubernatorial appointments in the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities, Oregon State Advisory Council of Special Education, and the Oregon Special Education Task Force. Ms. Ramirez has been a guest lecturer at the University of Oregon Law School and Portland State University, College of Education. In 2000, she received the Advocate of the Year Award from the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities, for her work establishing Padres en Accion, a parent group focused on advocating for the rights of Latino children with disabilities and their families. She is the mother of three sons, one of whom has an intellectual disability.
Deborah M. Spitalnik, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Deborah M. Spitalnik, Ph.D. is the founding Executive Director of The Elizabeth M. Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities at New Jersey Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, where she is also a Professor of Pediatrics. A co-author of two editions of the classification manual in intellectual disability, Dr. Spitalnik educates a wide range of constituencies including individuals with disabilities and their families, medical students, resident physicians, direct support professionals, and social workers. Dr. Spitalnik chairs the New Jersey Medical Assistance Advisory Council, the National Council on Quality and Leadership, was a previous member and chair of PCPID, and is a past President of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities. She was the recipient of the Dybwad Humanitarian Award given by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, the Verice M. Mason Community Service Leader Award, and the Ann Klein Distinguished Advocate in Developmental Disabilities Award given by the Community Health Law Project. Dr. Spitalnik holds a B.A. in Psychology from Brandeis University, an Ed.M. from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Temple University.
Lillian Sugarman, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Lillian Sugarman is currently Director of the Early Head Start National Resource Center at ZERO TO THREE (ZTT), an organization that informs, trains, and supports professionals, policy makers and families in their efforts to improve the lives of infants and toddlers. Ms. Sugarman has over 40 years of experience in the field of early childhood development. Prior to joining ZTT, she served as Director of the Child Care Bureau’s Technical Assistance Division at the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children. In this capacity, she was responsible for managing several national technical assistance contracts funded by the Child Care Bureau. Ms. Sugarman is currently a member of the Human Rights Committee at the Mary Campbell Center and previously served on the advisory committee for the Special Quest Project, which supported services for children with special needs. As a sibling to a sister with Down syndrome, Ms. Sugarman has lifelong experience with the disability community. She holds an M.A. in Teaching Early Childhood from the University of the District of Columbia and an M.S.W. from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Liz Weintraub, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Elizabeth Weintraub currently works for the American Association of University Centers on Disabilities. She also serves as a consultant for the National Children’s Center, and for the Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL). She represents CQL in a variety of local, state, and national forums regarding quality of life for people with disabilities. She is the past Chair of the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council and is a board member for the Maryland Disability Law Center. She was previously a board member of the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities and Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered. Ms. Weintraub is a former appointee to the President’s Committee on Employment of Persons with Disabilities. She was the recipient of the Elizabeth Monroe Boggs Award for Young Leadership and was recognized by the President of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities with a Presidential Award for significant contributions to the mission of the organization.
Carol Wheeler, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Carol Wheeler most recently coordinated the Washington chapter of Project Children and founded the Washington Ireland Program for Service and Leadership. Previously, she was a consultant with America’s Public Television Stations, Vice President for Government Affairs at the National Association of Broadcasters, a Liaison for Women during President Carter’s Administration, and Executive Director of the Women’s Campaign Fund. She currently serves on the Honorary Board of N Street Village, a program for homeless women, and chairs the Board of the South Africa-Washington Internship Program. Ms. Wheeler is the mother of a young adult with Williams Syndrome. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Iowa.
Sheryl White-Scott, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Sheryl White-Scott is currently the Associate Director of Community Health Services for the medically frail at AHRC/New York City and Medical Director for Brooklyn Developmental Disabilities Services. She is also an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine at New York Medical College. Previously, Dr. White-Scott was the Director of the Program for Developmental Disabilities (PFD) at Saint Vincent’s/Catholic Medical Center. Prior to her tenure at Saint Vincent’s, she was the Director of Adult Health Services at the Westchester Institute of Human Development, the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service. Dr White-Scott is currently a member of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and former President of the American Association of University Affiliated Programs (now Association of University Centers for Disabilities). Dr. White-Scott holds a B.A. in Natural Sciences from Johns Hopkins University and an M.D. from SUNY Stony Brook School of Medicine.