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APSE National Elects its 2015-16 Board of Directors

CONTACT: Laura Henning


March 31, 2015, Rockville, MD – APSE National members elected its 2015-16 Board of Directors. Below are the winning candidates.


Members At-Large

D BallDebbie Ball – Re-elected to 3-year term
Debbie has served Easter Seals Southern California as a Vice President since 1998. Her responsibilities include overseeing Easter Seals services for people living in San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego and Imperial counties. She also manage Easter Seals Employment Services throughout the greater Southern California area, including the Los Angeles and Orange counties. Prior to her role as regional vice president, she served as director of quality and training for four years. Debbie began her career with Easter Seals in 1992 as a program coordinator overseeing Adult Day Services and Supported Employment in Los Angeles. She also served as community development coordinator responsible for grant writing, needs assessments, program start-up, training and triage. Prior to Easter Seals, she owned her own business. During her tenure at Easter Seals, she considers her greatest accomplishments to be starting the Quality Department; launching WorkFirst, the employment division of Easter Seals; and establishing the use of multiple funding streams to significantly diversify the people Easter Seals supports, including its recent expansion into Military and Veteran services. In addition to serving on the National APSE Board of Directors for the past three years, Debbie serves as Secretary/Treasurer of SoCal APSE.

D NordDerek Nord – Re-elected to a 3-year term.
Dr. Nord is a Research Associate at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration (ICI) and the Associate Director of the NIDRR-funded Research and Training Center on Community Living. There he oversees and directs a number of
research and evaluation studies, demonstration projects, and systems change activities related to national and state disability and employment services and supports. Derek’s work is focused heavily in the areas employment services and supports, and community capacity building to advance community living for people with disabilities. Derek also serves on a variety of state, regional, and national councils and coalitions, including National APSE, MN APSE, and the MN Employment First Coalition. He also provides regular organizational technical assistance to assist the support provider network to integrate employment first principles that include using best practices in employment support and having high expectations for those they serve. Derek has authored numerous journal articles, technical, and interactive policy briefs related to employment and disability. He also regularly presents at local and national levels. In addition to Derek’s research and system level advocacy, he currently provides and has over a decade of experience providing supported and customized employment supports in Minnesota. Through his daily employment support practice, Derek is able to implement the same best practices and principles he researches and presents about, on a daily basis.

R BrownRichard Brown – elected to 3-year term (previously appointed)
Richard Brown is the Vice President of Employment for United Cerebral Palsy Seguin Services of Greater Chicago, a community service provider located in and around Chicago, Illinois.  Richard is also the founder of Programs By Richard Brown, a private consultation and training service that has provided professional development programs to schools and social service agencies for 25 years. Richard has a Master’s Degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and BS in education from Chicago State University . He has 30 years experience in the areas of empowering individuals with disabilities in education, self-advocacy, employment, and recreation. Richard is a sought after presenter/consultant at local, regional and national conferences and has consulted with school districts and social service agencies throughout the country on disability-related issues. In 2012 and 2013, Richard accepted the appointment to serve on the APSE’S Board of Directors. Recently Richard led his newly merged agency in changing it’s practice of paying individuals with disabilities less than minimum wages for their work by implementing employment first practices, starting with the discontinuation of the 14c certificate held by the agency for over 25 years. As a result, individuals with disabilities are being paid a minimum wage or better for their work. Richard’s career has been dedicated to promoting best practices and systems change with usable solutions.

M GilbrandeMargaret Gilbride – elected to 3-year term
Margaret directs community employment services for the Boggs Center and Employment First in New Jersey. Margaret entered the field as a job coach in the early years of Supported Employment, following a career as a high school English and biology teacher. She subsequently earned her law degree from Indiana University at Indianapolis’ Law School, hoping that obtaining a legal background would be advantageous for employment advocacy. Post-graduation she was hired to establish community employment and transition services in a part of the state where none existed before returning to work for a former employer as director of a conversion project, called Communitas, working with the evaluation team of David Mank and Teresa Grossi. There she became enticed by the thought of systems change and subsequently made the move from programmatic practice and impact to statewide initiatives and policy work at the Indiana Institute’s Center on Community Living and Careers.

R Baker

Robin Baker – elected to 3-year term
Robin is the Executive Director of The Arc of Orange County, overseeing 230 employees and serving more than 350 families. One of twelve children, Robin grew up in Newport News Virginia. He attended Longwood College and received a B.S. in psychology and later an M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University. Robin’s interest in his course of study stemmed from having grown up with a twin brother with an intellectual disability, and a neighbor with Down Syndrome. While attending VCU Robin was a graduate assistant with the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, and under the direction of Paul Wehman and Wendy Wood concentrated on research associated with the employability of persons with developmental disabilities. Upon graduation, Robin initiated a Supported Employment Program in Richmond, Virginia. Eight years later the program was serving more than 125 people when he left to become Executive Director of a community rehabilitation program in Pinehurst North Carolina. Subsequently, Robin served as a Regional Director for LifeSpan, a Charlotte-based nonprofit and later a consultant for provider agencies that serve persons with disabilities.  Robin has served on a variety of professional and civic efforts including Smart Start, APSE, and NCARF. Robin is the father of six children including a foster daughter with Down Syndrome.


Regional Delegate

Robert Wright
Robert WalkerRobert has more than 20 years of experience working with individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. During this time, he have held positions ranging from part-time one-on-one waiver staff to Executive Director of a supported employment agency. His relevant work experience includes the following: Independent Living Services, Director of Development/Community Liaison, 2013-Present; Boys and Girls Club of Faulkner County, Chief Professional Officer, 2009-2013; Faulkner County Council on Developmental Disabilities, Executive Director, 1999-2009; United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arkansas, Supervisor Case Management, 1993-1999; Arkansas Enterprises for the Developmentally Disabled, One-on-one Waiver Staff (Part-Time), 1999-2012. Robert was born and raised in Conway, Arkansas. he graduated from Conway High School in 1981 and received a BA from Hendrix College in 1985. He and his wife Alice have been married for almost 22 years; and their daughter April will graduate from the University of Arkansas at Monticello in May 2015 and has been accepted to Vanderbilt School of Law. He and his family are members of the Mt. Gale Missionary Baptist Church located in Conway, Arkansas.