Staff Bios

Mary_SmithMary Smith, Executive Director

Mary 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 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

Chosen Families Program

   Ms. Ginger


Parent Education

Susan-PictureSusan Magers, Parent Mentoring & Support Program Trainer

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.

Board of Directors


President: Deborah Hobson
School Counselor/Parent of a Child with a Disability

Secretary: Fran Padgett
Special Education Teacher and

Treasurer: Kris Bayer
Retired Educator/Administrator


Cheryl Albright
Occupational Therapist/Yoga Instructor/Sibling

Judy Bayer
Retired Educator/Administrator

Jeff Eckert
Parent of a Child with a Disability

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

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