Teri currently serves as the Executive Director of Development at CHRISTUS. She works with organizations and businesses in the community to raise funds, promote events and build community awareness. Over the years, through her different managerial positions, she has developed relationships with donors, board members, volunteers, city agencies and private funders for educational and recreational programs.
She previously served as The Arc of Greater Beaumont’s Executive Director and is still committed to supporting The Arc’s mission “to improve the quality of life for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to grow, live and learn in their community”.
Teri is committed to work that enhances the mission of The Arc as well as her community. Teri has had the pleasure to serve on the NCE Steering Committee since 2019. She is also a proud member of the Spindletop Rotary Club, serves as treasurer of The Lumberton Education Foundation, and is a newly installed member of The Lamar University Alumni Board. In 2016, she was honored as one of Southeast Texas’s Top 40 under 40 professionals.
She lives in Lumberton, TX with her husband Chad and two daughters, Bryleigh and Kaydi. She loves to travel and explore new places and is an avid runner, always looking for the next road race to tackle.
Veronica is a self-advocate with Cerebral Palsy. She is passionate about voting rights and inclusion for all people. She has been in the workforce for 20 years, and knows what is possible for people with disabilities when given the opportunity to shine.
Veronica says, “My time on the board has given me purpose and direction as I strive to pay it forward. When I am asked about The Arc of Texas I feel a sense of pride. I am honored to work among a dedicated group of people as committed to community inclusion as I am.”
As someone who has spent time in a Texas state-supported living center (SSLC), she has seen what can come from exclusionary policies.
Veronica was urged to join the Board of Directors for The Arc of Texas by other advocates and board members. She hopes that her life experiences and viewpoint can be utilized in the service of other people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Contact Veronica Ayal
Cody Sutton is an advocate for families and individuals with special needs, bringing over nine years of experience with a degree in investment finance from Texas Tech and a ChSNC designation.
Cody says, “Growing up with a brother with special needs, I understand the challenges families face. Inspired by our own experiences, I’ve made it my mission to provide support for our community any way possible. I’m thrilled to bring my financial expertise to my role as Treasurer, advocating for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.” Contact Cody Sutton
Ali is a proud sibling of a person with autism and intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and is passionate about helping to create a more inclusive world for him as he transitions into adulthood.
A student at Harvard Law School, she hopes to use her J.D. to advocate in the courtroom for increased community-based supports and opportunity for the IDD community.
Ali first become involved with The Arc of Texas in 2018 as a policy intern, and joined the Board of Directors soon after her employment ended. She is honored to serve Texans with IDD through her work with The Arc. Contact Ali Gentry
Debbie’s involvement with the organization began with The Arc of Dallas (now The Arc of the DFW Area) and spans over 45 years. Debbie worked with adults with IDD who were moving from the Denton State School (now the Denton State Supported Living Center) back into the community. She taught three classes: Consumerism and shopping, cooking, and sex education.
Debbie says, “When I was asked to serve on the Board of Directors for The Arc of Texas, I considered it to be a great honor, and I bring my enthusiasm to all of the committees on which I serve.”
Debbie has worked in transition since 1989, and in 1991 designed a community-based transition program grounded in person-centered planning. She wrote an employment/social skills curriculum implemented at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and worked with the University of North Texas to develop a training curriculum for supported employment.
Debbie is an associate with the Institute on Person Centered Practices, a collaborative partnership between the Texas Center on Disability Studies at The University of Texas at Austin and the Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M University.
Debbie provides support to parents, school districts, universities, and supported employment agencies in the area of transition, work-based learning, assessment, and person-directed planning.
Janniece Sleigh is currently the Executive Director of The Arc of Harris County. Prior to moving to Houston, she was the Executive Director of Empowerment Through Employment, Inc. located in Clarksburg, West Virginia. She has made it her personal and professional mission to support veterans and people with disabilities to enhance their life and career aspirations. After spending twenty-seven years working in the human service field managing non-profit startup and multimillion-dollar organizations in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, she knows what truly drives the success to serve the community – passion, advocacy, and growth.
She especially enjoys restructuring organizations and developing new services, providing life-enhancing integrated activities and experiences focused on holistic wellness, consulting, and training employers on the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities and creating successful entrepreneurial opportunities for people with IDD. Janniece plans on leading The Arc of Harris County towards new services-follow-through resource supports, social and recreational supports specific to youth and potentially opening a business that hires people with IDD and/or autism.
Janniece holds a BA in psychology from the California University of Pennsylvania. Currently serves as the interim Chair of the Board of Directors for The Harris Center Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Needs Council (IDDNC), is a member of the Employment Roundtable, The Harris Center IDD-PAC and serves on the HCC VAST Academy Advisory Council. Janniece was the founding Secretary of the West Virginia Association for Disability Employment (WVADE), former board member of The West Virginia Association of Rehabilitative Facilities (WVARF), former ETEWV Strategic Planning Committee Chair, former member of the Nutterfort Lions Club, former member of the Clarksburg Chamber of Commerce, former member of the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Committee, former Chair of the Human Rights Committee, former TSI Cultural Diversity Committee advisor.
Anna, current President of Texas Advocates, has served as her local chapter’s President for the past 6 years. She has served on the Texas Advocates board in the positions of Treasurer, Vice President and Conference Chairman.
Anna has had the opportunity to represent her friends and fellow individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities at the State Capital. She is proud of her many visits with State Representative Dr. Greg Bonnen. She enjoys speaking on behalf of others and trying to better their situation.
A resident of Friendswood, she is a proud graduate of Friendswood High School and the Alvin Community College Strive Program and works as a Clinic Assistant/Client Care Specialist at Parkwood Animal Hospital.
Anna loves spending time with her family. She currently competes in Special Olympics in Equestrian, Bowling, Tennis and Bocce. She loves to sing and will do so if given the opportunity. She is looking forward to her new position with Texas Advocates and hopes to help others.
Louisa Day has spent the better part of her career focused on serving people with disabilities through financial services. She first got involved with The Arc of Texas in 2011 as a coordinator for the Master Pooled Trust, where her passion for empowering and advocating for people with disabilities was ignited. Since her employment at The Arc of Texas, she has maintained close contact with its members and is honored to be a member of the Board of Directors.
A native Texan, Louisa has been local to Austin since 2009 and has enjoyed watching the city change and evolve. She spends her time with friends, outdoors and volunteering in her church and community.
Renee is a retired 30-year State of Texas employee with a long history of advocating for the rights of people with disabilities beginning in 1982 while a student at The University of Texas at Austin. As a student with a lifelong physical disability, she joined other students with disabilities to advocate for campus accessibility and continues to advocate to this day. A lifelong Austinite, Renee received her M.Ed. from The University of Texas at Austin.
Former Senator Beverly Powell, a fourth generation Texan was elected in 2018, serving as the 22nd woman ever elected to the Texas Senate. She served as a passionate advocate for public education, workforce and economic development, and the expansion of healthcare opportunities for the most vulnerable Texans. Senator Powell has been widely recognized for her ability to accomplish a legislative agenda that more fully funded public schools, expanded Higher Education opportunities, and created regional advisory committees to align work force training and higher education with career opportunities throughout the state.
Senator Powell’s collaborative spirit served the constituents of Senate District 10 well during two periods of historic crisis, Winter Storm Uri and COVID-19. She and her team worked diligently to deliver constituent services that saved lives, connecting families with critical resources, and provided businesses with vital assistance and funding to preserve the state’s economic economy.
More recently, Powell has devoted her time and attention to the Uvalde CISD Moving Forward Foundation and the ongoing efforts to raise money for a new elementary school for the students of Uvalde. Serving as the Secretary of the Foundation, she has travelled across the state to meet with families, business leaders and educators and philanthropists to participate in design charrettes, Uvalde CISD School Board presentations and fund-raising events in the pursuit of the construction of a state of the art, safe and secure learning environment for a deserving community.
Former Senator Powell is a graduate of Texas Wesleyan University, holding a B.S. in Psychology and a M.B.A. in Organizational Leadership. She is a former Chairman of the Board of her alma mater and continues to serve the board today. As Vice Chairman of the Burleson Opportunity Fund, Beverly continues her scholarship fund-raising efforts to ensure that Burleson graduates have a pathway to college free from financial obstacles. She and her husband Charlie Powell are involved in civic and philanthropic organizations throughout Tarrant County. They are parents to three sons and seven grandchildren.
Molly is a well-respected and effective legislative professional with nearly a decade of in-depth policy experience inside the Texas Capitol. Molly has worked in both the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate, most recently serving as chief of staff to Texas State Senator Joan Huffman. Combined with her deep roots in the state and her experience in the Texas Legislature, Molly provides clients with a holistic understanding of the inner workings of the Texas Legislature and how to get things done. She was recognized by the state’s top political media outlet, Capitol Inside, as a “Rising Star” lobbyist in 2023.
Molly started as an intern in the Texas House of Representatives and quickly demonstrated her legislative skill as she helped advise and lead efforts on significant legislation for the state. She has earned the respect of lawmakers across party lines for her diligent public policy work and built a reputation as a straight shooter.
While Molly served as her chief of staff, Sen. Huffman was President Pro Tempore of the Texas Senate, and Chair of the Senate Committees on Jurisprudence, Redistricting, and Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety. Serving as her primary advisor included detailed work on the funding mechanisms for various state programs and agencies, as well as formulating and finalizing a final state budget totaling approximately 250 billion dollars, with a special focus on General Government, the Judiciary, and Criminal Justice & Public Safety. Prior to that, Molly served in staff roles to Texas State Representatives Dan Huberty and Mark Shelton.
In 2019, Molly was appointed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott to serve on the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD). TCDD’s mission is to create change so that all people with disabilities are fully included in their communities and exercise control over their own lives. Although her term has lapsed, Molly remains an advocate for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for The Arc of the Capital Area, one of the oldest, continuously operating non-profits in Austin. The Arc is committed to empowering Central Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families through compassionate case management and innovative programs.
Molly is an eighth-generation Texan, the granddaughter of world-renowned Texas ranchers, the daughter of a retired Navy Commander, and a proud graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.
Dr. Maria Quintero-Conk
Maria Quintero-Conk, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and leader in developmental disabilities. Dr. Quintero-Conk graduated with a Doctorate in Psychology from Utah State University. She has applied her knowledge of mental health and developmental disabilities to create programs for persons with intellectual disabilities and severe behaviors. She is the IDD Authority Services Psychologist at Tri-County Behavioral Healthcare in Texas.
Dr. Quintero-Conk says, “Some of the finest, most genuine and upstanding citizens whom I’ve met have been people with IDD. I feel a responsibility to those people, and so many, many others whom I will never meet but I know are out there, to stand with them and work on their behalf. Serving on the Board is one way that I can make these contributions.”
Dr. Quintero-Conk has held adjunct faculty positions at Lamar University, LoneStar Community College, and the University of Houston. She served as Social Sciences Area Chair, Faculty Trainer and Advanced Certified Facilitator at the University of Phoenix. In 2012 she received the AAIDD-TX Knowledge Award for Excellence in Education and Research, and in 2013 became a Fellow in AAIDD-National, recognizing leadership in the field of disabilities. Dr. Quintero-Conk is on the faculty of the LoneStar Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disorders (LEND) and is a Senior Fellow in the American Leadership Forum (ALF).
Sergio is the Co-Founder and President of Down by the Border, an association helping children with special needs, and the past Grand Commander of the International Order of the Alhambra (Alva Caravan #91), an organization serving the Catholic Church and special needs individuals.
A fierce and longtime advocate for the disabled, Sergio was the 2017 Ambassador of the Year for the National Down Syndrome Society in Washington DC, a Texas Ad Hoc committee member to the Texas Autism Society on legislative issues, and former Texas Task Force for Children with Special Needs member. He even won the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities Legislative Creative Advocacy Award for “Superhero” posters that brought attention to the Medicaid buy-in bill.
A resident of the Rio Grande Valley, he has been especially involved in his historically underserved part of the state. He is the former President of the Brownsville Independent School Districts Ad Hoc Committee over Special Education, a UTB Adaptive Aquatics program director for summer special needs swim classes and started a special need mass at Holy Family Church in Brownsville to include a program for first communion for individuals with special needs. As the former President of the Brownsville Parks and Recreation Committee, Sergio advocated for accessibility issues in the city’s parks and common areas and passed a Resolution to make all playgrounds in the city accessible and inclusive for individuals with special needs.
Sergio is the owner and General Manager of Rex Cleaners in Brownsville and Harlingen, a family-owned cleaners serving the Rio Grande Valley and Cameron County since 1961.