Joslyn is the Puget Sound Regional Coordinator for Positive Behavior Supports Corporation. She is a licensed psychologist (WA #60493871) and Board Certified Behavior Analyst who specializes in the assessment and treatment of autism, developmental disabilities, ADHD, as well as a wide variety of other childhood conditions. Joslyn received her doctorate in school psychology from Louisiana State University where she worked as a behavioral consultant in the schools and oversaw an early intervention program for children diagnosed with autism. She completed her predoctoral internship at the University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute and postdoctoral fellowships at the Marcus Autism Center and Emory University, as well as the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University. She is a member of the Association for Behavior Analysis, Association of Professional Behavior Analysts, American Psychological Association, and the Washington Association for Behavior Analysis. Joslyn has presented her research at national and international conferences and is published in peer-reviewed journals. She lives in Seattle with her husband.
Angela is a Pharmacy Technician at Group Health Cooperative in Tukwila. She's had an interest in Bookkeeping and Marketing for some time, and has been watching the work of the Exceptional Families Network for several years. After becoming educated on the many things the organization has accomplished and is working toward achieving, she knew she wanted to help provide budgetary and financial oversight. Angela is excited about the possibilities for the nonprofit, and has a strong desire to help our constituents by working as a Board Member. She lives in Tacoma with her family.
Co-Secretary, Minecraft Social Group Provider & Fundraiser Planning Committee - Corinne Dutton, RHIT
Corinne was a Medical Records Director for a nursing home facility. She has an Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology and is nationally certified as a Registered Health Information Technologist. Before working in healthcare, Corinne enjoyed her role as an Assistant Children's Pastor. She also worked in several school districts as a Para-Educator, spending most of her time with children diagnosed with autism, as well as children who experienced multiple disabilities. In addition, she did work as a sign language interpreter. Corinne lives in Shelton.
Co-Secretary - Miranda Owen
Miranda is an Administrative Coordinator at the Children's Museum of Tacoma. Her relationship with the museum began as a volunteer, and she has enjoyed gaining professional experience while working with children, especially in the "Play to Learn" program, and also with the Exceptional Families Network's monthly support group meetings. Miranda has a passion for children and wants the community to have access to services that cater to children in Pierce County and beyond, from every background and ability. Miranda lives in Tacoma with her family, which includes 3 children ranging in age from newborn to 7 years old.
Board Member & Music Group Provider - Megumi Azekawa, MM, MT-BC
Megumi is a Neurologic Music Therapist, Board Certified Music Therapist (#09710), and Owner of Puget Sound Music Therapy. She has a master’s degree in music therapy from Colorado State University. She completed music therapy clinical internship at Poudre Valley Hospital, Fort Collins, CO. Megumi has a wide range of clinical experiences including inpatient/outpatient neurorehabilitation, pediatric outpatient clinic, community outreach groups, nursing homes, special education, and psychiatric settings. She focuses on addressing for physical, speech/language, and cognitive rehabilitation goals due to individuals with neurological conditions. Megumi is a member of American Music Therapy Association and Music Therapy Association of Washington. She actively presents her clinical research at local, regional, and national levels. Megumi lives in Tacoma with her husband and daughter.
Board Member, SFPS Olympia Group Leader & Fundraiser Planning Committee - Lahela Peterson, M.A.
Lahela moved to Olympia in 2014 from the DC region. She has two young boys, one of which was diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Her ambition to start a local support group was fueled by her desire to meet other parents with exceptional children and establish a sense of community and connectivity. It was upon joining the Executive Committee of the South Sound Autism Partnership that Lahela first interacted with EFN and became involved with the Parent Advisory Council. Lahela is delighted to be heading up efforts to provide support in Thurston County as the leader of the new SPECIAL Families of Puget Sound group in Olympia. Her goal is to make a positive and lasting impact on our local community through her work with EFN. Since 2015, Lahela has also been working at the Hands on Children’s Museum in Olympia. Lahela has two Master’s degrees, in French Language and French Literature and Critical Theory. She has taught both French and Italian at the college level, and has worked as a curriculum developer for the National Consortium for the Study on Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.
Executive Director - Angela Fish, MBA
Angela became involved in the special needs community when she was struggling to raise her two young boys, who were both later diagnosed with autism. Her goal was to create the help she so desperately needed, and she hoped that others would join her for the journey. As a result, she founded the SPECIAL Families of Pierce County support group in 2008 (which has grown into a multi-site/multi-county program now known as SPECIAL Families of Puget Sound). Angela joined various committees and began serving as both the Board Secretary and Director of Community Outreach with the Wyatt Holliday Foundation (now known as the Exceptional Families Network). She took over the leadership of the nonprofit as Executive Director in 2011. Angela has turned her family's challenges into a passion for helping the entire community. Angela was selected as the "Hometown Hero" in 2015 by KIRO Radio and WSECU, and her story was shared on MyNorthwest.com. She was recognized in 2013 as an "Unsung Hero" by the Washington State Department of Early Learning and her story was featured on the Seattle's Child Magazine website. Angela is the author of the "Caffeinated Autism Mom" blog, which was awarded "BEST Parenting Blog" through the Best of Western Washington contest in 2012. She was honored as the "Community Advocate of the Year" by FEAT (Families for Effective Autism Treatment) of Washington in 2011. Angela is a contributing author in the book, Sensational Journeys: 48 Personal Stories of Sensory Processing Disorder. Angela is also involved with the Pierce County Interagency Coordinating Council and South Sound Autism Partnership. She has a Master’s degree in Business Administration and has a diverse professional background in several different industries.
Director of Advocacy - Helen Caldart
Helen was blessed with a special needs son in the middle 1990’s. Her life changed in many wonderful, and yes, difficult ways. Little did she know her unique and successful twenty plus year business career would give her some of the necessary tools to advocate for her son. It is through the growth of her son that her passion bloomed as a Special Education Advocate. Helen describes herself as Not An Attorney (NAA) but someone who is sharing her experiences working as a Special Education Advocate. Helen has extensive experience and knowledge in the development of effective educational programs for students with disabilities, addressing their individual and unique needs. She has an excellent working knowledge and understanding of Special Education Law/Regulations including the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). She actually loves to read them! Helen loves what she does and loves the families she works with throughout the United States. She is continually humbled by the trust that families put in her to come alongside them and assist in the overwhelming process of special education. You will find Helen knowledgeable, caring, extremely organized, dependable, open, and honest. She has a unique understanding of people, and is also an exceptional communicator that's supportive and realistic. And, we are proud to share that Helen was selected as the Outstanding Community Advocate by FEAT of Washington in 2015.
Parent Advisory Council Chair & Fundraiser Planning Committee - Denise Walk
Denise is passionate about helping others, which is displayed by her dedication to ensuring that all of her children - biological, adopted or foster - receive the care and attention they need. She is continually looking for ways to help others gain access to appropriate services while sharing her knowledge. Denise is eager to participate in activities that will further the education of others. She was recognized as an "Unsung Hero" from the Washington State Department of Early Learning in 2014 and her story was featured on the Seattle's Child website. Denise is a stay-at-home mom who has had the privilege of being the caregiver for over 100 foster children, most of which were children with special needs. She and her husband live in Tacoma and currently have three children - two on the autism spectrum and one that is developmentally delayed. They are able to provide and share their expertise with the support of their older children, friends, and a network of great providers.
SFPS Seattle Group Leader - Arianne Fowler
Arianne's son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 4, and that started her on a journey to find a tribe of parents who were going through similar experiences. In 2013, she started a local moms group that met monthly for a social night out. This search for a place to fit in sparked a passion for creating community and support for special needs families. Because she has a passion for helping others and making a difference, leading the SPECIAL Families of Puget Sound Seattle group has fulfilled Arianne's dream of providing support to her local community. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology, and has had many different professional experiences over the years. Arianne has lived in Seattle for 20 years, and has a wonderful husband and young son.
Parent Advisory Council Co-Chair & Curiosity Club Facilitator - Stacy Appleby
Stacy and her family relocated to the area due to her husband's military service. They have a young son with autism. Stacy has worked as a preschool teacher and loves impacting lives via early childhood education. She is excited to host one of our newest groups, Curiosity Club with Stacy, as a way to work on creative and social goals with children ages 2 through 8. She and her family are active in various programs at EFN, and due to her heart of service, Stacy has found many ways to jump in and regularly volunteer.
SFPS Tacoma Group Assistant - Joanna Drake
Joanna loves kids, and her interest in volunteering helped her find the SPECIAL Families of Puget Sound support group in Tacoma. She began helping with the group in 2014 and she loves getting to know the families and children who attend the monthly support meetings at the Children's Museum of Tacoma. Joanna lives in Tacoma.
SFPS Olympia Group Assistant & EFN Administrative Assistant - Michelle Ness
Michelle is a transplant from Alaska, where she worked for the special education department of her local school district. After she attended her first social event at EFN's office, she became fast friends with some of the moms and immediately felt like she was connected to a community of people who understood her. She began volunteering shortly thereafter, and has been a wonderful addition to our administrative team. Michelle lives in Puyallup with her son, who has autism.
Getting Loopy Yarn Club Facilitator & Fundraiser Planning Committee - Jennifer Markestad
Jennifer graduated from the University of Washington with bachelor's degrees in Architectural Design and Interior Design. She is a single mom raising a son with Asperger Syndrome and has been active with her son's Cub Scout and Boy Scout troops. In her spare time, she enjoys recycling sweaters back into yarn and then crocheting and knitting something new. Jennifer began volunteering more with EFN because she has many gifts to share and both she and her son like the sense of community that the nonprofit provides. She lives in Tacoma with her son, who has been diagnosed with autism.
B.B.C. Sci-Fi Appreciation Club Facilitator - Stephanie Menefee
Stephanie is an elementary music teacher, a musician, and composer. She also has a penchant for all things geeky, particularly when it comes to Doctor Who. Stephanie shares her enthusiasm for sci-fi with her entire family. She lives in Tacoma with her 3 children, which includes a son with autism.
Miss Exceptional Pageant Director - Beth Schubert, RN
Beth Schubert is the driving force behind the Miss Exceptional Pageant for exceptional young ladies, which she runs with her daughter. She is also the volunteer Director for Camp Promise for children who have neuromuscular conditions. She is a Registered Nurse with Multicare. Beth homeschools her son who has both autism and Charcot Marie Tooth, and she helps her daughter navigate the Running Start program and her many extra-curricular activities. She is also always ready to give advice related to special education advocacy, and she has lots of great gluten-free recipes for anyone who asks. Beth was recognized as an "Unsung Hero" by the Washington Department of Early Learning in 2016 and her story was featured on the Seattle's Child website. She lives in Puyallup with her family.
Miss Exceptional Pageant Co-Director - Sami Schubert
Sami not only helps run the Miss Exceptional Pageant with her mom, she serves as the Mistress of Ceremonies at the pageant. She is the 2015 Miss Greater Tacoma's Outstanding Teen and has many other pageant titles to her name. She is in the Running Start program and participates in a number of extra-curricular activities, like dancing. Her brother has autism and a neuromuscular condition. Sami lives in Puyallup.
Sensational Santa Program - Phyllis Simons
Phyllis is the Owner of Simply Simons Photography. She helped to create the Sensational Santa program in an effort to serve children who experience sensory challenges and help them have a successful holiday experience with Santa. She is very involved with her grandson who has autism, and her extensive work with children who have special needs makes her a perfect photographer for our program. Her work is also featured through the Exceptional Families Network website. Phyllis lives in Tacoma with her husband.
Sensational Santa Program - Tom Ferguson
Tom is a professional photographer and has been the face of the Sensational Santa program since it began. He is a grandfather and has a calm and gentle personality that makes him a perfect fit for working with the kids who come to our Sensational Santa event days. Tom lives in Olympia with his wife.
Connect & Create Group Facilitator - Cindy Arnold
Cindy is the creator and one of the performers for Live Paint, LLC. She is an actress, director, singer, writer, songwriter, playwright, storyteller and teacher. Cindy received a degree in Theatre at the University of Florida and then moved to New York where she landed a job traveling through Europe performing as the lead actress in the musical Hair. After founding Live Paint in New York, she traveled through Nepal, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia collecting stories and cultural artifacts. As the company has matured she has included traveling with Live Paint in the United States, Ireland, Mexico, Jamaica, and Scotland.
Photography Class Provider - Crystal Malta
Crystal specializes in photographing newborns and children with special needs. She is very passionate about photographing newborns because of her personal journey through infertility, miscarriage, high risk pregnancy, and the near loss of her first born son at 22 weeks gestation. She is a member of the Professional Photographers of America and is also training to become accredited with Special Kids Photography of America. In addition to regularly volunteering with EFN, she also works with New Beginnings in Puyallup, an organization that helps new mothers in need, as well as serving as a teaching assistant for Pablove Shutterbugs, an organization that assists families affected by pediatric cancer. Crystal has two boys and lives in Auburn with her family.
Social Skillz Theater Summer Camp Provider - Kobi Wilson, M.Ed
Kobi Wilson is a family coach in the Tacoma area. As a Special Education teacher she has worked with children and families with challenging behaviors, Aspergers, autism, SPD, PDD and other special needs for over 10 years, both in and out of the classroom. As a Special Education teacher she brought her love of theatre and improvisation into her classroom and she is now pleased to make it available to children throughout Tacoma and Pierce County. Kobi has an Associates of Fine Arts from Shoreline College, a BA in Youth Advocacy from Western Washington University, and a Master in Teaching from The Evergreen State College. In her personal life, Kobi has also struggled with her own physical and neurological disabilities since childhood. This unique perspective allows her to “provide a bridge” between the neurotypical and neurodiverse worlds. Kobi was involved in theatre throughout her childhood and into college. Her favorite roles included playing the singing minstrel in “Once Upon a Mattress” with the Evergreen Children’s Choral, and being invited to be a member of the improvisational on-stage band in a college production of “Cabaret.”
Tutor & Social Skills Group Provider - Kalissa Hovey, M.Ed
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Linfield College Master’s Degree in Special Education with Reading Specialist Endorsement from University of Washington Experience: 2000-2004 Respite care provider 2004-2006 Substitute Teacher with Tacoma Public Schools 2005-2006 Practicum work in Autism Preschool with Tacoma Public Schools 2006-2011 Teacher in a K-2 Self Contained Autism Classroom with Tacoma Public Schools 2006-Current Private tutor for students with and without disabilities 2011-Current Family Advocate Personal Statement: When I attended University of Washington, I knew I wanted to work with kids with special needs, I did not know that working in the autism community would become my passion. When I received my placement in the Autism Preschool at Jefferson Elementary, my career and my life started on a new path. I had a special place in my heart for the children in that class and that place became larger as I met more children and more families living with autism. My work continued in my own classroom at Franklin Elementary and my passion continued through tutoring in the summer, fundraising and volunteering for several autism organizations and getting to know families and the autism community. My first child was born in March 2011. With his arrival, I quit working for the school district but continued working with some of my students and other families through private tutoring and advocacy work, which I continue to do now. I am excited to have the opportunity to partner with EFN. This will allow me to juggle my two kids, continue to work with families as well as support EFN and all the good this organization is doing for the community.
Tutor - Mallory Bentley, M.Ed
Education: BA Elementary Education and Special Education from Central Washington University MEd Special Education from Central Washington University Experience: 2006-2011 Respite care provider 2009 Practicum experience at Children's Village Autism preschool 2009 Current Volunteer with Trips, Inc. 2010 Student teach Autism in Tacoma Public Schools 2010-2012 Middle School Resource Room teacher in Tacoma Public Schools 2010-Current Elementary Developmental teacher in Tacoma Public Schools Personal Statement: I am lucky to have a family friend with Rett Syndrome, who showed me that working with people with disabilities is my passion. My passion has grown since beginning my teaching career and getting to know my students and their families. I began my career teaching students with learning disabilities, and quickly learned that my true passion was with students with Autism and other developmental disabilities. I enjoy being an advocate for my students and their families, making sure that my students are getting what they need to be successful. I enjoy traveling with Trips, Inc., which takes adults with developmental disabilities on vacations. I am looking forward to working with EFN to continue growing and learning.
Tutor - Kelsy Buie, B.Ed
Education: Bachelor's Degree in Education from Pacific Lutheran University Experience: 2007-2009 Educational Interpreter during the summers at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium 2010-2015 Teacher in AM/PM Kindergarten and First Grade classrooms in the Clover Park School District Personal Statement: I have always enjoyed working with children and I originally thought I wanted to become a pediatric nurse. During my time at PLU I came to realize that my true passion is being a teacher. Right out of college I was offered a position with Carter Lake Elementary on McChord AFB. At the time I did not realize that JBLM is a compassionate service base that serves individuals with special needs. It has been a wonderful experience for me to learn how to teach children with many different needs. Through working with the children in my classroom I have come to understand a draw/desire that I have to work more closely with kids with special needs. I have decided to leave teaching in the classroom setting for a time because I will be having our first child in November and want to spend more time at home being a mom. I am very excited for this new chapter in my teaching career.
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