• Staff Bios

    Mary_SmithMary Smith, Executive Director

    Smith fills a full-time salaried position, and she is responsible for overseeing the program, including staff, administration, and operations, with assistance and direction from the Board of Directors. She is a trained and certified Special Education Advocate; has completed a variety of trainings, workshops, and conferences in the field of disabilities; and continues to attend many more such events on an annual basis. She also has two young adults with significant disabilities, Down’s syndrome and autism. Her degree is in Business Applications and she worked in the private sector for many years in the field of computers and business management. In April of 2010 she completed and received a continuing education certificate in Leadership & Non-Profit Management from the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee and the Nonprofit Resource Center. She is also a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

    Respite Care

    Margaret_AzouzMargaret Azouz, Family Liaison/Administrator

    Azouz fills a part-time position. She has been involved with our organization since 2010 and eventually became a respite worker for a number of years before moving to her current role. Azouz is responsible for working directly with families that recieve respite care services and she ensures that respite workers follow through on assigned respite visits. Azouz is responsible for human relationships pertaining to the respite care staff, as well as recruiting, interviewing and hiring respite care staff, with final approval from the executive director. At least twice a year, she is responsible for coordinating the attendance of all respite workers at their continuing education trainings. She is responsible for payroll administration and assists with writing grant proposals. She prepares and submits all billing and documentation needed for agency, county, state, federal or other foundations and private grants that have been awarded. On a quarterly basis, she is responsible for the distribution and collection of our Family Satisfaction Survey in order to measure our required outcomes for the program. She completes any other daily administrative duties deemed appropriate to the operation of the respite program. She has a bachelor’s degree in English/Secondary Education. Azouz and her husband are proud parents of two children, one of which is challenged, but not defeated, by autism.

    More Alike Than Different

    SONY DSCDeb Monti, Program Facilitator

    Monti is the Program Facilitator for More Alike Than Different, and has been involved with our organization since 2003. Monti started as a volunteer and served for a period of time on our Board of Directors prior to becoming the More Alike Than Different facilitator. The facilitator is an independent contracted position, and Monti was trained in 2005 in the More Alike Than Different curriculum, studying how to deliver the training to a wide variety of children of all ages. Monti’s prior work experience is as a professional trainer in the insurance industry. She has a child with autism.

    Community Outreach

    Susan-PictureSusan Magers, Outreach Coordinator

    Susan Magers has provided outreach services to a variety of non-profit organizations over the past eighteen years. She has served as volunteer coordinator at the elementary and middle school level, and she has chaired the parent and family engagement team for her school district. She has also worked as an education parent liaison for families of children with special needs. Susan is a graduate of the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council Partners in Policymaking Program and she has spent the past fifteen years cultivating strong working relationships with area school districts, as well as serving on many education and disability-related committees in the Manatee/Sarasota area.

    As Outreach Coordinator, Susan will produce our monthly newsletter and maintain the member database. She will manage our social media accounts and keep the website current. Most importantly, she will implement a volunteer program and make sure interested community members are updated about our volunteer opportunities.

    Chosen Families Program

    MichelleLingleMichelle Lingle, Family Liaison Chosen Families Program

    Lingle fills a part-time position. She is responsible for working directly with families of adopted children that receive respite care services, and she ensures respite workers consistently follow through on all assigned respite visits. She prepares and submits any billing and documentation needed for agency, county, state, federal, or other foundations and private grants that have been awarded. On a quarterly basis, she is responsible for distribution and collection of our Family Satisfaction Survey in order to measure our required outcomes for the program. She completes any other daily administrative duties deemed appropriate to the operation of the respite program. Michelle and her husband have 7 children, four of the children are an adopted sibling group, and each of the children have one or more disabilities including but not limited to being on the autism spectrum, Fetal alcohol syndrome, RAD and Mental illness.

    Board of Directors

    Officers:

    President: Kate Schau
    Teacher, Dunn Preparatory @ Woodland

    Vice President:

    Secretary: Fran Padgett
    Special Education Teacher and
    Administrator-Retired

    Treasurer: Kim Ross
    Whole Child Manatee Advisor
    Parent of a Child with a Disability

    Directors:

    Judy Bayer
    Retired Educator/Administrator

    Kris Bayer
    Retired Educator/Administrator

    Evelyn Snoeren
    Retired Speech/Language Pathologist

    Kim Williams
    Vice President of Early Intervention Services
    The Florida Center for Early Childhood

    Christy Zimmermann
    Registered Nurse
    Parent of a Child with a Disability

    Heather Zink
    Reading Specialist
    Parent of a Child with Autism

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