Maggie is a Disability Services Educator and Trainer at an Austin non-profit committed to ending abuse for everyone. She works with adults with disabilities and trains professionals in other fields, such as nurses and other health care service providers, first responders, and law enforcement.
Maggie has a Master of Education degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. She has worked in education both as a teacher, educational diagnostician, and special education advocate for 21 years.
She is the mother of four boys, two of whom have significant intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.
“I first learned of The Arc of Texas when I attended the Inclusion Works! conference as an educator many years ago. Little did I know then that I would come to rely on The Arc of Texas as a parent in need of guidance and resources. When information came to me from them, I knew that it was trusted and accurate.”
Maggie is a staunch advocate for children and adults with disabilities and has spent much time working with legislators and other organizations to support legislation that will benefit people with disabilities.
Her proudest accomplishment was the passage of a cameras in the classroom bill during the 85th Texas Legislature, a bill that was very personal to her after the abuse of her own son with Down syndrome at school.
Maggie has been honored by The Texas Senate for her dedication to improving the lives of people with disabilities in Texas.
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.
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.
“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.
Julie first learned about The Arc of Texas when she volunteered for a local chapter in high school. She grew up with family members, neighbors, and classmates with IDD, and was keen on supporting the work of nonprofits which shared her values and promote disability rights and inclusion.
In 2012, as the proud mother of a young child with Down syndrome, Julie reacquainted herself with The Arc of Texas and became a member.
“Staff from The Arc of Texas taught me how to advocate for my child at the state and federal level; educating me on the paths and obstacles to ensuring the rights and progress of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”
Seeing the need to improve the outcomes and opportunities for her child and others, Julie became a board member in 2017. Since then, she has been the chair the Public Policy and Advocacy Committee, helping to ensure that people with IDD and support for disability rights are among the top legislative priorities in Texas.
As a parent and ally of people with IDD, Julie feels it’s imperative to shape the views of society, public institutions, elected officials, government, law enforcement, educators, and health care communities and demand positive and lasting changes for people with IDD.
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.
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.
“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 IDD.
Ali is a proud sibling of a person with autism and IDD and is passionate about helping to create a more inclusive world for him as he transitions into adulthood. She is currently a student at Harvard Law School and 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.
Renee is a retired 30-year State of Texas employee with a long history of advocating for the rights of people with disabilities starting back in 1982 while a student at The University of Texas. As a student with a life-long physical disability, she joined other students with disabilities for campus accessibility and continues to advocate to this day. A life-long Austinite, Renee graduated from UT with a BA in 1984 and an M.Ed. in 1986.
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.
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.
James has been a tireless advocate and powerful voice for the rights of individuals with IDD to live full lives in the community. Throughout his career in self-advocacy, James has earned a sterling reputation as an honest, energetic and bold speaker, often sharing his life experiences to highlight challenges people with IDD face in our nation.
James has held various leadership positions within the disability rights field. He was President of People First of Oklahoma, and later served as a VISTA volunteer to strengthen the movement in Oklahoma. He was chair of the national organization Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) from 1999-2002. He has also served as the President of Texas Advocates, a statewide self-advocacy group in Texas.