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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:

  • Julie Ann Petty – Chair, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
  • Peter V. Berns – Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
  • Jack Martin Brandt – Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
  • Kenneth Capone – Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
  • Micah Fialka-Feldman – Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
  • Zachary W. Holler – Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
  • Lisa Pugh – Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
  • Michelle C. Reynolds – Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
  • Deborah M. Spitalnik – Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
  • Elizabeth Weintraub – Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
  • Sheryl White-Scott – Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities

President Obama said, “The extraordinary dedication these men and women bring to their new roles will greatly serve the American people.  I am grateful they have agreed to serve in this Administration 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:

Julie Ann Petty, Appointee for Chair, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Julie Ann Petty is a Project Trainer at Partners for Inclusive Communities at the University of Arkansas.  She has worked in the violence prevention and intervention field since 2008.  She was the State Coordinator for Arkansas People First from 1998 to 2007.  Ms. Petty has served as National Chairperson for Self Advocates Becoming Empowered and Co-Chair of the Alliance for Full Participation.  She was first appointed to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities in 2011.  Ms. Petty received a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Arkansas.

Peter V. Berns, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Peter V. Berns is CEO of The Arc, a position he has held since 2008.  Previously, he was Executive Director of the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations from 1992 to 2008.  He was CEO of the Standards for Excellence Institute from 2004 to 2008.  Earlier in his career, he held positions in the Maryland Attorney General’s Office, including Assistant Attorney General and Deputy Chief of Consumer Protection.  Mr. Berns was first appointed to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities in 2011.  He has been named to The Nonprofit Times’ Power and Influence Top 50 list five times over the past decade.  Mr. Berns received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and an L.L.M. from Georgetown University Law Center.

Jack Martin Brandt, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Jack Martin Brandt is the Disability Policy Specialist for the Partnership for People with Disabilities at Virginia Commonwealth University, a position he has held since 2010.  He is also an accomplished artist.  Previously, he was a Disability Rights Advocate at the Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy from 2008 to 2010, and a Disability Policy Consultant for the State of Virginia from 2006 to 2008.  He was also a Virginia Governor’s Fellow at the Office of Community Integration for People with Disabilities in 2006.  He was first appointed to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities in 2010.  Mr. Brandt served on the Virginia Community Integration Advisory Commission and the Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council until 2012.  He received the Colorado Award from the Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitation Services in 2013, the Participatory Action Research Award from The Arc of the U.S. in 2012, and the Jackie Crews Award for Excellence in Leadership from the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities in 2006.  Mr. Brandt received a B.A. from James Madison University and an M.S. from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Kenneth Capone, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Kenneth Capone is Public Policy Coordinator for People on the Go of Maryland, a position he has held since 2010.  Previously, he served as Director of the Cross Disability Rights Coalition of Maryland from 2004 to 2010 and also as a Legislative Intern with People on the Go of Maryland from 2004 to 2007.  He was an Interviewer at The Arc Maryland from 2002 to 2006.  He is a member of the Developmental Disabilities Coalition, the Civil Rights Coalition, and Community First Choice.  Mr. Capone received a Certificate in Computer Technology/Programming from The Johns Hopkins University.

Micah Fialka-Feldman, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Micah Fialka-Feldman is a Teaching Assistant/Peer Trainer with Peer2Peer at Syracuse University, a position he has held since 2012.  He was an intern at the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2013.  He has served on a number of boards, including the Governing Board for National Youth Leadership Network, the National Project Advisory Committee for the Center for Postsecondary Education for Students with Intellectual Disabilities, the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education, and the Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service.  Additionally, he maintains a blog about challenges he faces as an adult with intellectual disabilities.  In 2009, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Family Voices.  Mr. Fialka-Feldman graduated from the Options Program at Oakland University.

Zachary W. Holler, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Zachary W. Holler is a graduate student and 2014 candidate for a Masters in Divinity at the United Theological Seminary.  Previously, he was Youth Development Coordinator at Access Center for Independent Living in Dayton, Ohio from 2011 to 2013.  He worked as a Deaf Role Model at the Sinclair Community College ASL Lab from 2010 to 2011, as a Human Resource Assistant Intern at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in 2009, and as an intern at the American Association of Persons with Disabilities in Washington, D.C.  Mr. Holler has served as a member of the Consumer Advisory Committee of the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission and as a Delegate for the Ohio Governor’s Council on People with Disabilities at the Ohio Governor’s Council Youth Leadership Forum.  At Wright State Unviersity, he was President of Abilities United and Associate Director of Disability Affairs, a position with the student government.  Mr. Holler received a B.A. from Wright State University.

Lisa Pugh, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Lisa Pugh is Public Policy Director at Disability Rights Wisconsin, the state’s protection and advocacy agency, a position she has held since 2010.  Ms. Pugh also coordinates Wisconsin’s Disability Policy Partnership.  Previously, she was a State Policy Analyst at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, a Disability Policy Advisor with the U.S. Department of Education, and a Legislative Fellow with the Committee on Education and Labor in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2009 to 2010.  She was a founding member of the Madison Partners for Inclusive Education, and she was appointed to the Dane County Human Services Board.  In 2013, she was the recipient of Wisconsin's Elliott Shaw Distinguished Professional Award.  Ms. Pugh received a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin.

Michelle C. Reynolds, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Michelle C. Reynolds is a Research Associate with the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC) Institute for Human Development, a position she has held since 1997.  At UMKC, she serves as the Director of the Individual Advocacy and Family Support and Missouri Family-to-Family Disability Resource Center programs.  She holds additional leadership roles with various grant programs, including the National Community of Practice for Support to Families, the Division of Developmental Disabilities at the UMKC Department of Behavioral Health, and at the Health Resources and Services Administration.  Ms. Reynolds received a B.A. and an M.A. from Rockhurst University and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri – Kansas City.

Dr. Deborah M. Spitalnik, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Dr. Deborah M. Spitalnik is the Executive Director of The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities at Rutgers University’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS), a position she has held since 1983. She is also a Professor of Pediatrics at RWJMS.  Dr. Spitalnik chairs the New Jersey Medical Assistance Advisory Council, is past chair of the National Council on Quality and Leadership, and is also a past President of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities.  Dr. Spitalnik was appointed to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities in 2011, having previously served on the Committee from 1994 to 2001 and as Chair from 2000 to 2001.  She received the Dybwad Humanitarian Award from the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in 2000.  Dr. Spitalnik received a B.A from Brandeis University, an Ed.M. from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. from Temple University.

Elizabeth Weintraub, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Elizabeth Weintraub works for the Association of University Centers on Disabilities and for the Council on Quality and Leadership.  She is the past Chair of the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council, and a former board member of the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities and Self Advocates Becoming Empowered.  She was first appointed to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities in 2011.  She was the recipient of the Elizabeth Monroe Boggs Award for Young Leadership in 1998.

Dr. Sheryl White-Scott, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Dr. Sheryl White-Scott is the Medical Specialist for the Metro Office of the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, a position she has held since 2013.  Previously, she was the Medical Director of the Brooklyn Office of the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities from 2009 to 2013.  She is also Associate Director of Community Health Services for the Medically Frail at AHRC/New York City. She has worked at several New York hospitals, including St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Centers of New York, Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, Mary Immaculate Hospital/Caritas Health System Inc., and New York Medical College, where she has been an Assistant Clinical Professor since 1993. Dr. White-Scott was first appointed to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities in 2011, and is a member of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.  She is a former President of the American Association of University Affiliated Programs. Dr. White-Scott received a B.A. from The Johns Hopkins University and an M.D. from SUNY Stony Brook School of Medicine.