A professional with 40 years in the field of disability, Richard serves as Director of Information and Outreach for AHEAD, where he develops resources for, and provides technical assistance to members and external audiences. He is the Managing Editor of the AHEAD Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability. His career has included developing practices for, and managing, Disability Resource and Service offices, analyzing and addressing barriers to accessibility in campus environments, creating student-centered services, curating on-trend information and resources, and mentoring new and seasoned disability professionals.
Jamie Axelrod, M.S. is the Director of Disability Resources at Northern Arizona University and Past-President of AHEAD. Jamie presents regularly on topics related to disability access and higher education, having expertise in disability law and policy, communication and information technology (ICT) access, and the reasonable accommodation process. Jamie is a regular and well-respected contributor to professional listservs, including AHEAD’s discussion boards, and is a go-to consultant for complex issues. He has worked for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s athletic department, as a mental health therapist, and for Protection and Advocacy Systems, Inc., a disability rights advocacy law firm where he served as an advocate for individuals with disabilities who were claiming that their civil rights had been violated. Jamie has served as co-chair of Northern Arizona University’s Commission on Disability Access and Design and on AHEAD’s Board of Directors.
Noelle is the IT Accessibility Director for the IT department at the University of Cincinnati. She provides institutional oversight of accessibility review and testing of third party products; she also co-chairs the Accessibility Network.
Eric Bell is the Physical Access Consultant for Disability Resources at the University of Arizona. He consults with campus colleagues, departments, and committees to promote the concepts of Universal Design and best practices to ensure a physically accessible and inclusive campus environment. Eric also collaborates with campus administrators, facilities management staff, project managers and architects, and event planners to proactively identify and remove barriers in the built environment during the planning process to decrease the need for individual accommodations. Eric earned his Bachelor’s degree in Disability Studies at the University of Washington, a Master of Public Administration at the University of Arizona, and is currently working toward accreditation as an ADA Coordinator.
Rosalind Blackstar, M.Ed. serves currently as the Director of the Office of Accessible Education at the University of Massachusetts, Global. She serves as the subject matter expert for the Office of Accessible Education (OAE), provides strategic assistance to individuals and groups at the university, is passionate about creating equitable and inclusive experiences for adult learners, and helps lead initiatives to further promote the implementation of universal design for learning. Rosalind has worked in higher education since 2006, including service as an ADA Exam Coordinator, Program Operations and Student Accommodations Manager and as the Assistant and Associate Director at a large public institution. She currently provides leadership at an online/hybrid institution serving adult education learners. Rosalind holds a MA degree in Urban Education with a focus in Social Equity. Since 2018, Rosalind also has served as an educational access consultant for disability resources offices at universities across the United States. Her areas of expertise include development of disability services programmatic business processes, program improvement analysis for program operations and accommodation services, policy development and implementation, hiring, mentorship of disability resources professionals, recruitment, training and supervising professional & student staff, and has experience in implementation of student management databases.
Teressa Eastman earned an MBA from Wichita State University in 1992 and has served as the Director of Disability Services at Butler Community for 20 years. She has previous experience working in Special Education in the public school system. At Butler Community College, Teressa serves as the chairperson of the college’s CARE Team, as well as, a member of the college’s four person Threat Assessment Team. Teressa also serves on the college’s Inclusion Council and Satisfactory Academic Progress Review Team for Financial Aid. Teressa is also active nationally with the Association of Higher Education and Disability by serving as a co-chair of the Community College Special Interest Group. As a person with a disability, Teressa strongly believes in the value of the Americans with Disabilities Act and advocates for the rights and responsibilities of the disabled population.
Christina Fabrey is the Director of the Student Success Center at Virginia Tech, having previously served as the Associate Dean for Advising and Academic Achievement at Prescott College. With a passion for promoting college student success and organizational excellence, Christina has been a higher education administrator and disability provider for over 15 years. Christina earned a Master’s in Education from the University of Vermont, Professional Credentialed Coach (PCC) certification from the International Coach Federation, Board Coach Certification (BCC) through the Center for Credentialing Education Global, and Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Certification through Champlain College. As a Coach Trainer and Mentor, Christina has trained hundreds of higher educational professionals in coaching skills for over the last decade. Having developed coaching programs at several institutions, she is grounded in coaching all students, including students with disabilities and students working towards academic recovery. Christina is active in the Association for Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) by co-chairing their Coaching Knowledge and Practice Community and their Coaching Evaluation Community of Practice. Christina is a contributing author of Becoming Self-Determined: Creating Thoughtful Learners in a Standards-Driven, Admissions-Frenzied Culture and Becoming Self-Determined: Practical Strategies for a Changing World, Field & Parker (editors). Her recent works focus on embedding holistic student care into faculty development and include “Careers, Advising, Teaching: A Holistic Approach to Student and Faculty Development.” in Re-imagining Teaching to Maximize Student Learning: Case Studies of Faculty Development Centers (Neisler, Looker, and Newman eds.) and “Resilient and Flexible Teaching (RAFT): Integrating a Whole Person Experience into Online Teaching” in Resilient Pedagogy (Thurston, Lundstrom, and Gonzalez, eds.). Her upcoming edited anthology, Coaching in Disability Resources: From Transactional to Transformational, will be published in the fall of 2022.
Carol Funckes is the recently retired Chief Operating Officer for the Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD). In this position, she designed and oversaw AHEAD’s national professional development agenda, including webinars and in-person and remote workshops and conferences; developed website and print materials on higher education and disability; and consulted individually with members. Prior to assuming this role, Carol worked at the University of Arizona’s Disability Resource Center for over 30 years, leading a staff of access consultants and service coordinators and managing initiatives in faculty development and digital accessibility. Carol is a Past President of AHEAD, has served as a trainer for several disability resource initiatives, and has presented and consulted extensively both nationally and internationally.
Paul Grossman, J.D. is the Executive Counsel of AHEAD with over 40 years of service at OCR in Washington and San Francisco, most of them as a Chief Regional Attorney. Paul also taught disability law for over 20 years at Hastings College of Law, UC. Paul remains a frequent guest lecturer for AHEAD, CAPED, Hastings, UC Berkeley, the California Community College System and the National Association of ADA Coordinators. Paul served multiple terms on AHEAD’s Board of Directors and remains a member of the AHEAD Public Policy Committee as well as the Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) Expert Advisory Board. Through investigation, decision writing, and negotiations, Paul has addressed every form of discrimination in education including race, national origin, sex and disability, often developing new approaches for protecting the civil rights of students. Paul is the author of AHEAD’s publication, The Law of Disability Discrimination for Higher Education Professionals . Paul joins Jamie Axelrod, M.S. and Mary Lee Vance, Ph.D. in two book chapters on analytical tools and procedures for DSS officers when they face their most complex and challenging questions, planned for publication by AHEAD in Summer 2022.
Jessica is Program Manager for Accessibility Compliance at the University of Cincinnati. Her primary duty includes the design and oversight of our university-wide data initiatives around disability and access with ADA/504 and EIT compliance.
Marilyn Harren earned her M.S. in Disability Services in Higher Education from City University of New York in 2019. This combined her years of working as the Director of a disability services office at an open enrollment technical college in Texas, using her background as a certified special education teacher and licensed social worker. She is currently the past-president of AHEAD in Texas. She serves as a mentor to a small group of AHEAD “new to the field” community college disability staff from Texas and Illinois and assists the community college Knowledge and Skills special interest group. She works as the Director of ACCESS at Collin College in Texas.
Ann Knettler, Ed.D. currently Directs the Center for Disability Resources (CDR) and is the ADA & 504 Compliance Officer at Delaware State University, she also teaches in their Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Masters of Public Administration Programs. As a member of the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), Ann has served on the Standing Committee for Professional Development and currently represents the Association as a member of the Board of Directors for the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) where she has authored and updated policy and standards for the entire field of higher education and currently sits on their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. She is a published researcher and experienced educator. Ann regularly presents and consults at the national level on topics such as ableism, able-body privilege, disability policy reform, strategic planning, creating and using policy and standards as guidance in the non-profit field, program review, community needs assessment, and the social justice model of disability. Ann received a Masters of Arts in Counseling in Higher Education with an emphasis in Mental Health from the University of Delaware and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership in Higher Education from Delaware State University. Her dissertation focuses on the lived experiences of ableism and able-body privilege by students with disabilities in higher education and the impact that experience has on their receipt of an accessible and equitable educational experience.
Dr. Amanda Kraus is Assistant Vice President for Campus Life and Executive Director for Disability Resources at the University of Arizona. UA’s Disability Resource Center is one of the largest in the nation, and considered an international model of progressive service delivery, uniquely positioned to approach campus access systemically. Dr. Kraus is also Associate Professor of Practice in UA’s Center for the Study of Higher Education where she coordinates the MA program and teaches courses on student services and disability in higher education. She looks to disability studies to inform research and teaching that challenges deficit or tragedy rhetoric on disability and frame disability in the context of social justice, shaped by dynamics of power and privilege. Dr. Kraus is President of the Association of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) Board of Directors and has had the privilege of delivering keynote addresses and facilitating workshops around the country and internationally. Dr. Kraus earned her MA and Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in Higher Education.
Rachel Kruzel, ATP, is an assistive technology and accessibility professional and currently works as a Territory Director for one of the major assistive technology companies supporting higher ed and K-12 education. She is a RESNA Certified Assistive Technology Professional and spent over ten years working as an Assistive Technology and Accommodations Specialist in Disability Resource Offices in Minnesota. During her time in higher ed, she built and developed assistive technology programs at both schools she worked at, as well as coordinated the provision of accommodations. Rachel is a national expert in the areas of assistive technology, digital accessibility, alternative format course materials, accommodation provision around testing and notetaking, as well as supervising student workers. Rachel presents both regionally and nationally on these topics and others, as well as consults with students, parents, schools, and organizations. She is a member of AHEAD and MNAHEAD, as well as sits on the Minnesota Department of Education’s Assistive Technology Leadership Team.
Katie Lane is Assistant Director of Digital and User Experience in the UC Marketing and Communications Department. Katie is responsible for designing and review of the accessibility training for all UC web authors; she also oversees our annual web accessibility audit process. Katie recently led a university-wide web refresh to update branding standards and ensure accessibility of the full uc.edu web experience.
L. Scott Lissner
L. Scott Lissner is the Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator and 504 Compliance Officer for The Ohio State University, where he is also an Associate of the John Glenn School of Public Policy and serves as a lecturer for the Moritz College of Law, the Knowlton School of Architecture and Disability Studies. Engaged in community and professional service, Scott is a Past President and Public Policy Chair of the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) and serves on the Board of Directors for The Center for Disability Empowerment, VSA Ohio, and the Editorial Board for Thompson’s ADA Compliance Guide. He is a regular and popular presenter both nationally and internationally, serves on numerous boards in support of access and equity. Recent publications include The Impact of the ADAAA of 2008 on Higher Education, Thompsons Publications; Universal Design in the Institutional Setting: Weaving a Philosophy into Campus Planning in Universal Design: From Accessibility to Zoning (J. Cowley-Evans & J. Nasser (Eds.); From Legal Principle to Informed Practice with J. E. Jarrow; and A Long View of Change, Disability Blog, The Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.
Barbara Lopez is the Digital Accessibility Consultant, Sr. for the Disability Resource Center, Digital and Physical Access Team at the University of Arizona. She collaborates across campus to resolve technological access barriers in the curricular, information and employment environments. Barbie consults with University personnel, including DRC staff, in researching, identifying, recommending, and implementing technical solutions to student and employee access barriers; problem-solving technological issues and compatibility concerns in implementing accommodations. She regularly presents on accessible digital design to a variety of groups and organizations.
Michelle Mitchell earned a M.Ed. in Rehabilitation Counseling from Penn State University and has been in the profession over 20 years. Seeing the inequity of opportunities for persons with disabilities, Michelle has endeavored to change opportunities by changing the way our culture interprets disability and championing liberation. Through this work, Michelle has developed sustainable relationships opening the doors of inclusion across campus. With over 11 years at Lehigh Carbon Community College as a Disability Learning Specialist and various community connections, Michelle has collaborated on a number of projects to open doors of equity across her community.
Heidi Pettyjohn is Executive Director for Accessibility and ADA and EIT Coordinator at the University of Cincinnati. Heidi provides institutional leadership and guides efforts in the sustainment of an accessible and inclusive experience for disabled students, staff and visitors at the university. She has organizational oversight of the the Accessibility Resources offices on each UC campus and co-chairs the Accessibility Network at UC, a cross functional team of offices that support and enhance the university’s capacity for accessible electronic content.
Rhonda H. Rapp, PhD is an educational consultant who specializes in removing barriers to learning. A trained educational psychologist, Dr. Rapp has been in the field of postsecondary disability services for over 30 years. Most recently, she was the director of a TRO-Student Support Services program for 12 years. Dr. Rapp has provided disability-related services at public and private institutions, community colleges, and doctoral-granting universities. During her tenure in postsecondary education, she has delivered a variety of services, including academic advising, career counseling, program planning, transition services, psychoeducational assessments, accommodation prescription and implementation, and individual and group counseling, for at-risk students and students with disabilities. She has created and presented training for educators and support staff from kindergarten through postsecondary education on working with at-risk student populations. In addition to providing a diverse array of services for TRIO students and students with disabilities, Dr. Rapp is a disability consultant for the Kamehameha School System in Hawaii.
Jill Sieben-Schneider serves as the Associate Dean of Students and the Director of AccessibleNU (ANU) under the Division of Student Affairs. She is responsible for implementing the mission and vision of ANU through leadership, education, and outreach and serves on the Dean of Students team through crisis response and student support initiatives. Jill is a reviewer on the editorial board for the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability and was nominated by her peers to serve on the board for the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education, where she represents the Association for Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD). She was the Program Chair for the 2016 international AHEAD conference, is the past president for the regional Colorado/Wyoming AHEAD affiliate, and serves as Secretary on the Executive Board for AHEAD. Over the past decade plus in education, she has served in various capacities. Prior to Northwestern University, Jill served in a leadership role in the Disability Services unit under the Diversity and Equity division at the University of Colorado Boulder where she also taught a course on disability in the School of Education’s Graduate Program in Higher Education. She also served students with disabilities at the McBurney Disability Resource Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Disability Services Office at Ball State University, and taught middle and high school English in in Denver Public Schools. Jill holds a doctorate and bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado Denver and a master’s degree from Ball State University.
Jodi Sleeper-Triplett, is a Master Certified Coach, trainer, mentor, author and speaker. She is the author of Empowering Youth with ADHD and contributing author of Becoming Self-Determined: Creating Thoughtful Learners in a Standards-Driven, Admissions-Frenzied Culture (2016) and the newly released Becoming Self-Determined: Practical Strategies for a Changing World. Jodi has been a presenter at AHEAD annual conferences and webinars for 12 years and a presenter at the International Conference on ADHD for 20 years. Her company, JST Coaching & Training, provides research-based student and ADHD coach training programs to individuals and educational institutions globally. The company is committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in all training programs by creating cutting-edge, culturally-sensitive training and fostering an inclusive environment for both faculty and students where differences are valued and respected. Jodi is the recipient of the 2016 CHADD Hall of Fame Award & 2017 ADHD Coaches Organization Founders Award. She is seen by many as the foremost authority on student and ADHD coaching, pioneering the youth coaching movement. During her two-year term as president of the Association of Coach Training Organizations, Jodi's platform was focuses on diversity, equity and inclusion in coach training and she continues to forward social justice initiatives. www.jstcoachtraining.com.
Tom Thompson entered the field of Disability Resources in Higher Education in 1980, taking a position at William R. Harper College, a large suburban community college outside of Chicago. His career at Harper College spanned 30.5 years, including service as the ADA Coordinator for the last 12 years of his tenure along with remaining as the Director. Starting in 1988, Tom began consulting with other higher education institutions and since retiring in 2010, consulting work has expanded greatly. He has served as an Interim Director twice, for Northern Illinois University and for California State University, Fullerton. Since 2018, he has had four major innovation contracts with institutions in Utah, New Mexico, and California. He has also served as an External Evaluator for AHEAD and NASPA, completing over 35 evaluations at private liberal arts colleges, community colleges, multi-campus systems, one online university and at several four-year universities. Tom authored a chapter in the NASPA publication, “Beyond the ADA…” on students with intellectual disabilities in higher education and is authoring and co-editing a chapter on External Evaluations in an upcoming AHEAD publication. He has also written articles for Disability Compliance in Higher Education and serves on their editorial board. He is working on a text/resource about the field of Disability Resources and Services.
Mary Lee Vance
Mary Lee Vance, Ph.D. is the Director of Services to Students with Disabilities at California State University Sacramento. She has served at every level of higher education, in a wide range of postsecondary positions, as well as in academia. Mary Lee was the Director of the Disabled Students’ Program and Student Support Services’ TRiO program at the University of California, Berkeley and the director of disability services at University of Montana, at George Mason University including its two-year satellite campuses, and at the University of Wisconsin, Superior. She has also directed other student services units, including academic advisement and career services, and taught undergraduate and graduate courses, including an introduction to disability studies. Mary Lee is the co-editor of Beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act: Proactively Planning for Accessible Post-Secondary Educational Offerings Now and into the Future and Advising Students with Disabilities: Developing Universal Success and the editor of DISABLED Faculty and Staff in a Disabling Society: Multiple Perspectives in Higher Education.
Megan is a Computer Information Analyst in the University of Cincinnati IT E-Learning team. Megan oversees the university's Blackboard Ally tool and training; she also designs the UC annual accessibility compliance training program.
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