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Mayor's Council on Disability Issues
Member Biographical Information

Mary Thom Adams, Assistant Director and Development Officer, Ijams Nature Center

Ms. Adams has lived in Tennessee for twenty-three years.  Through her experiences with Ijams, The Highlander Research and Education Center, Positively Living, Town Hall East and several other organizations, she has increasingly become more involved in the community.  Ms. Adams says, “I am passionate about my community I enjoy and as a citizen, I believe I’m obligated to be involved in my community, supporting local issues that improve the quality of life for all our citizens.”  Ms. Adams has mobility impairment and as the Assistant Director of Ijams Nature Center, she hopes to increase access in parks for people with disabilities.

Mark AllanMark D. Allan, Allan Associates Architects, PLLC

Mark D. Allan is the Owner of Allan Associates Architects, PLLC. The Firm focuses on Low Income Housing Rehabilitation renovating existing multi-family housing to comply with current Building Codes, Energy Standards and Accessibility. Accessibility Codes include ADA, UFAS, NCAC, ANSI A117.1 and the Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines. Mark is a member of the American Institute of Architects and is licensed as an Architect in sixteen states. Mark has lived in Knoxville since 1967, has been married for 32 years to Michelle and has two adult children, Jason and Jordann. Mark’s son Jason has an intellectual disability and is the driving force behind his commitment to improving the living environment for people with disabilities.

Larry AustinLarry Austin, Member, Amputee Support Group of Knoxville

Mr. Austin is CEO of Austin and Associates and a Registered Representative and Independent Investment Advisor. Previously, Mr. Austin served as a Physicist in Oak Ridge and is a retired professional magician. Himself an amputee, Mr. Austin has a keen interest in helping those with limb loss live fully functional lives and has advocated on behalf of the right lower limb amputee community, especially with regard to driving limitations that follow amputation. He has contacted many local and state politicians regarding issues related to amputees, and has had a letter to the editor published in the Knoxville News Sentinel regarding these challenges. Mr. Austin enjoys spending time with his wife, two children, and four grandchildren.

Anna BassAnna Bass, Director of Disability Rights Advocacy, East Tennessee Disability Law & Advocacy Center

Anna has served on CODI for five years and this is her second year as chairwoman of the council.   She works for the Disability Law & Advocacy Center of Tennessee which is the federally mandated protection and advocacy agency in Tennessee which works toward systemic change for individuals with disabilities throughout Tennessee. Prior to becoming Director, Anna worked as an advocate for children with disabilities in schools and as a career counselor for individuals with disabilities. Additionally, for sixteen years Anna has also worked as a professional sign language interpreter and holds national certification as an interpreter. Anna currently also serves on the Region II Planning and Policy Council for the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and Tennesseans for Behavioral Health Access.  She completed both a Bachelor of Science in Education/Human Services and a Master of Science in Counseling at the University of Tennessee - Knoxville.  Anna has lived in the Knoxville area for 18 years. 

Sandy Booher

Ms. Booher is one of the earliest members of the Knoxville Advisory Council for the Handicapped (KACH), where she assisted in developing accessible sidewalks. In addition, Ms. Booher helped create the Bus Hailer program for Knoxville Area Transit, assisted in compliance issues in the Knoxville area when the ADA was signed in 1990, and worked with “Meet the Challenge,” a community disability awareness show. Ms. Booher worked for CAC as a Rehabilitation Instructor for the Blind. Before retiring, she worked as a social worker at Moccassin Bend Mental Health Institute. Ms. Booher now serves as an active member of the Accessible Transportation Coalition Initiative (ATCI), where she is assisting in developing accessible transportation in the Knoxville Area.

Judy BrookshireJudi Brookshire, Director of the Comprehensive Education Resource Center, TN School for the Deaf

Ms. Brookshire has been an advocate for individuals with disabilities for over 25 years. She was the social worker for the Pediatric Language Clinic when her own son was diagnosed with autism. She later came to serve the Deaf community at the Tennessee School for the Deaf. As a volunteer, Ms. Brookshire has served on state task forces, such as the Title 33 revision, the state Autism Society board, the Autism Society of East Tennessee (board member, and Chair), and Breakthrough (founder, board member and Co-Chair). Ms. Brookshire’s years of experience, both personal and professional, are extensive and as a well-respected member of the community, her knowledge of not only autism but the full range disability issues she has dealt with in the Deaf community is an asset to CODI.

Victor DockeryVictor Dockery, Member, Peer Support Volunteer, Amputee Support Group of Knoxville

Mr. Dockery’s work experience includes over 35 years in sales, including consumer electronics and furniture. Much of his experience includes management positions, conflict resolution, and customer service. Mr. Dockery was recently appointed an Amputee Peer Support Volunteer at Ft. Sanders Regional Medical Center and has over 100 hours of volunteer service with Amputee Support Group of Knoxville at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. One of the organizers stated that, “he [Mr. Dockery] has been invaluable in educating and providing emotional support for recent amputees and has also been directly involved in planning future support group meetings.”

Coral GetinoCoral Getino, PhD

Dr. Getino currently serves as a Senior Spanish Editor at Achieve3000. This organization offers differentiated online instruction and aims to increase literacy for all, including people with disabilities. This, in addition to her position as a board member of Friends of Literacy, demonstrates Dr. Getino’s dedication to learning. She is also the owner of Spanish Language Solutions, providing language services (translation and interpretation), and founder and grants manager of HoLa, Hora Latina, which sponsors the Hola Festival annually. In addition to her work in the Hispanic community, Dr. Getino has also been very active in the disability community. She is a graduate of Partners in Policymaking, and served as president of the Autism Society of America, East Tennessee Chapter, and as a member of the Tennessee Council for Developmental Disabilities. She is a Camino Seguro partner, which is a Tennessee Disability Pathway's online database of services for Spanish-speaking people with disabilities.

Allison Gose, Vice President of Campus Disability Advocates, University of Tennessee Knoxville

Ms. Gose recently made the transition from high school to a university. In addition to her knowledge of the school system and the issues facing students in Knox County, she understands the challenges associated with transitioning to college, including working with Vocational Rehabilitation and disability services at a university. In her capacity as Vice President of Campus Disability Advocates (CDA) at the University of Tennessee, she has been involved with the planning and implementation of the inaugural Disability Awareness Week. Her role with the CDA, her personal experiences as a student with a disability, and her internships with the City’s ADA Coordinator has exposed Ms. Gose to an array of disability issues and increased her passion for disability advocacy and awareness. She is currently working to start a chapter of Delta Alpha Pi, an honor society that celebrates the academic achievements of students with disabilities.

Wendy Hector

Wendy Hector is an amputee who is active in the amputee peer support program at the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center. She is also active in the Innovative Recreation Cooperative, which is an organization that supports persons with disabilities to participate in sports and recreational activities. Ms. Hector is also a member of the Challenge Accepted support group and enjoys the role of being a voice for people who are living and thriving with limb loss in our community.

Angela Hunter, Owner, Eyes of Faith

Ms. Hunter is the owner of Eyes of Faith, a business which features the artwork of her son who has autism. In addition to her work with Eyes of Faith, Ms. Hunter works in the Special Education Department at Powell High School. She regularly hosts art workshops for people with disabilities, believing that art offers an excellent opportunity for all individuals to express themselves.

Meaghan Johnson, VP of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation Services, Goodwill Industries

Mrs. Johnson is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) and has been working in the rehabilitation field for fifteen years.  She is currently the Vice President of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation Services of Goodwill Industries - Knoxville, Inc. where she oversees both rehabilitation services and human resources for their fifteen-county service delivery area.  She received a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Anthropology from East Tennessee State University (ETSU) and a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Tennessee (UT).  In addition to serving on the Mayor’s Council of Disability Issues (CODI), Mrs. Johnson currently serves on the LWIA 3 Youth Council and KCDC’s Family Self-Sufficiency Program Coordinating Committee and has previously served on the Volunteer State Rehabilitation Association (VSRA) Board.  She is a member of the National Rehabilitation Association (NRA) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and a surveyor for the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), which seeks to develop and implement continuous improvement and quality standards for service providers.   Her focus is on the employment of people with disabilities.

Kerry JonesKerry Jones, Member, St. Mary’s Stroke Support Group

Mr. Jones had a stroke in 2008, leaving his left side paralyzed. He's a 48 year old general contractor who remodeled and built new houses before his injury. Because of his disability, Mr. Jones lost his ability to make a living and adapted to raising a family as a person with a disability. He frequently gets out in the community, so he experiences and understands accessibility issues in public facilities. Mr. Jones is an active member of the Stroke Support group, which has members who vary in age from 30 to 90 years old.

Lindsay LeeLindsay Lee, President and Founder of Campus Disability Advocates at University of Tennessee

Ms. Lee has personal experience with disability as a wheelchair user, and she has coordinated disability awareness and advocacy efforts at the University of Tennessee. In 2012, she founded Campus Disability Advocates (CDA), which hosted a week-long program aimed at students and the general public about disability in November 2012. The program also included a two-day conference attended by disability advocates and professionals. This year Campus Disability advocates will host a Disability Week aimed at UT students on October 21-25, and in February 2014 it will host the second annual conference. Ms. Lee and CDA have also worked with Facility Services on campus to fix accessibility problems.

Craig LemakCraig Lemak, Chief Operating Officer, Knoxville Center of the Deaf

Mr. Lemak oversees forty contract sign language interpreters, coordinates community events and projects with the Deaf and hard of hearing communities, and oversees job placement services for Deaf and hard of hearing Vocational Rehabilitation consumers. Previously, he was the Information Program Coordinator for the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and hard of hearing, a part-time Lecturer on American Sign Language Interpreting Studies at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, and an Adjunct Faculty member at Kentucky State University and Cincinnati State College.

Katherine Moore, Independent Living Specialist, disability Resource Center (dRC)

Mrs. Moore helped create the Knoxville Area Disability Connection (formerly called AbilityWorks!) and is actively involved in the Accessible Transportation Coalition Initiative (ATCI), an organization focused on increasing transportation options to people with disabilities. Over a number of years, Mrs. Moore has created and implemented many training programs for people with disabilities at the disABILITY Resource Center that have helped them increase their independence. Mrs. Moore is an original member of the diversity panel - a team of individuals with various abilities - who speak regularly to the recruit classes of the Knoxville Police Department. In this endeavor, Mrs. Moore’s focus is on educating law enforcement professionals about people who are blind or have a visual impairment and the proper use of - and police response to - complaints about service animals.

Terri Newman, OPTUM HEALTH - United Health Group

Ms. Newman has been a registered nurse for 31 years and worked for St. Mary’s Health System for 25 years. Her career has included development of and coordination of the services of the OBGYN floor of Jefferson Memorial Hospital and managing the new unit for 3 years. Other areas of work included clinical quality director and Joint Commission Coordinator for the facility. Ms. Newman is currently working with the United Health Care as a case manager, coordinating services for members who are transitioning from the hospital to their home. She helps to arrange home health care and other supportive services through Tenncare/Medicaid. Ms. Newman has served on multiple health committees including Quality, Infection Control, and the Emergency Response Planning Committee for Jefferson City. Ms. Newman is a person with a mental health disorder and is the mother of a 22 year old son who has Aspergers.

Dr. Laura PayneLaura M. Payne, Ph.D., CRC - East TN Technology Access Center

Laura joined the staff of East Tennessee Technology Access Center (ETTAC) as a Rehabilitation Technology Services Provider in June 2013. ETTAC is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year (www.ettac.org).

Laura is a certified rehabilitation counselor and has served in the fields of rehabilitation counseling and disability services since 1989, with the South Carolina Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, ETTAC, the University of Tennessee, and Joni and Friends Knoxville.

Warren SecrestWarren Secrest, Manager, Volunteer Assisted Transportation, CAC Office on Aging

Mr. Secrest has worked for the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee for nine years, serving the Workforce Connections division at the Tennessee Career as the Disability Program Navigator until 2008. Since then, he has worked on the implementation and management of the Volunteer Assisted Transportation program for CAC’s Office on Aging. He desires to draw attention to the interests and concerns of the older population. Mr. Secrest has an in-depth knowledge of the transportation needs of the elderly, as well as extensive knowledge about available area transportation resources and initiatives.  

Whitney WeaverWhitney Weaver, AIA. LEED AP, Project Architect

Whitney is an architect with Studio Four Design. She is a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Whitney has volunteered with multiple organizations providing aid to people who are blind or visually impaired. Her work experience includes the design and renovation of residences to improve accessibility. She has an in-depth knowledge of accessible building codes and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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