This year, TASH members in good standing elected three of five members nominated to sit on the 2015 TASH Board of Directors. We would like to thank all members who participated in this year’s election as well as the nominees. It is with great pleasure that we announce our new Board members!
Alexa L. Brill
In 2013, Alexa graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. She currently works with The Arc of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, PA as a Communications Consultant and is looking for full-time employment in the field of disability advocacy. Alexa also completed a Civil Rights Internship at The Equal Rights Center in Washington D.C. and held a position on the Governing Board for the Pennsylvania Youth Leadership Network for three years. The Pennsylvania Youth Leadership Network is an organization that helps youth with disabilities transition from high school to college or to the workforce.
Growing up, Alexa was fully included and mainstreamed in all aspects of society, never segregated. As a result, the mission of TASH fits perfectly with her lifelong passionate belief that everyone should be fully included in every aspect of the community, and have equal access to opportunities regardless of their disability. She has always had a natural passion and spirit for standing up for the rights of others, and making sure they have access to what they need to be a successful, contributing member of society. In addition, Alexa has a very firm belief that disability is a gift, not a detriment.
“Disabilities give us an incredible, powerful insight that we would not have otherwise,” says Alexa. “Our disabilities can teach us problem solving, inner strength, and perseverance.”
Whitney Rapp is an associate professor of Inclusive Education at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York. She holds a B.A. in Elementary Education and Psychology from the State University of New York at Potsdam, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Special Education from Michigan State University. She has taught in a variety of school settings from preschool through college, is the coauthor of Teaching Everyone: An Introduction to Inclusive Education (Rapp & Arndt, 2012), and the author of Universal Design for Learning in Action: 100 Ways to Teach All Learners (Rapp, 2014). Whitney is also the mother of three amazing children.
“The mission of TASH is to support equity, opportunity, and inclusion for people with disabilities,” says Whitney. “My passion is to shift belief and views on [dis]ability in our society; to shift the paradigm of teachers and community members regarding the education of all children and youth. I believe the TASH mission and my passions intersect.”
Whitney’s teaching, public speaking and writing focuses on large-scale reform of our educational system into one inclusive system designed to meet all students’ needs. This begins by preparing teachers under a philosophy that all students can learn and are valuable, contributing, irreplaceable members of the community. In addition to preparing teachers, Whitney will continue presenting nationally on her research topics of universal design for learning, transition to adulthood, positive behavioral supports, developing positive inclusive communities, and inclusion strategies for neurologically-based disabilities.
Whitney looks forward to participating in the activities of TASH, from fundraising to lobbying, from teaching to learning.
Terri Ward has been an active TASH member for over two decades. During those years she has chaired the National Conference Committee and facilitated the Board policy on use of Person First and Respectful Language.
Terri hopes to help TASH 1) grow and diversify the membership within the United States and across the globe; 2) continue to support unwavering efforts to influence educational inclusion policy and practice for learners with the most complex learning needs; 3) to continue focused dialog and action on why and how we must create inclusive employment opportunities and community living options that lift individuals with complex support needs out of institutional and social poverty.
“I believe TASH is just hitting its prime,” says Terri. “We have much work to do!”