Congratulations to our new President Terri Devine and officers. Thank you to Brian Rubin for
his leadership as our President the past four years.

I look forward to working with this new leadership on our mission to include everyone in the

I will be taking some personal business time off so you will not be hearing from me for a little


Officer Elections

Therese Devine, President                  Sherri Schneider, Secretary
Steve Manning, Vice President            Merlin Lehman, Treasurer

Therese Devine, Orland Park – Terri was first elected to The Arc Board in May, 1999.  She
is the current Vice President on The Arc Board of Directors. Terri recently completed nine
years as a member of the Illinois State Advisory Council on the Education of Children with
Disabilities, the last three as Chairperson.  She has served as a member of the Illinois Due
Process Screening Committee and is currently on ISBE’s Assessment Committee for
Students with Disabilities.  She also serves on the board of United Parent Support for Down
Syndrome (UPS for DownS).  Though not currently practicing, Terri is an attorney and a
“stay-at-home” mother of three. She has also served as Chair of The Arc’s Development
Committee. (2 year term)

Steve Manning, Orland Park – Steve was first elected to The Arc Board in April, 2011.  He is
the current Treasurer on The Arc Board of Directors.  Steve is the parent of a daughter with
developmental disabilities. He worked at Park Lawn as Finance Director for seven years and
also as a consultant for Southwest Community Services.  Steve said that he enjoys working
with a group of people who have the singular mission of protecting and improving the rights
and opportunities for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He currently
Chairs The Arc’s Finance Committee. (2 year term)

Sherri Schneider, Buffalo Grove – Sherri was first elected to The Arc of Illinois Board in
April, 2010. She is the current Secretary on The Arc Board of Directors.  Sherri has over
30 years’ experience working with families and individuals who have special needs. She
helps to ensure that everyone can obtain, understand, and sustain all of the government
benefits for which they appear eligible. She also links them to other professionals to ensure
life-long planning is in place. Sherri is president of Family Benefit Solutions and she does
over 80 presentations a year to family groups and professionals. She is the only non-attorney
on faculty of the IICLE – Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Eligibility.  Sherri has a son,
Zachary (22), who was born ten weeks early with special needs and a daughter, Aimee. She
also serves on The Arc Convention Committee. (2 year term)

Merlin Lehman, Bloomington – Merlin is a retired actuary, who was first elected to The Arc
of Illinois Board of Directors in April, 2011. He is the parent of a son with developmental
disabilities, who is currently transitioning from living at a state operated development center
to a CILA home in Bloomington.  Merlin has served as Chair of the Community and
Residential Services Authority and the 2007 CILA Rates Committee.  He has been a member
of the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities and a board member of Central Illinois
Service Access and his local Advocate Hospitals. He has also served as parent
representative to the Statewide Advisory Council on DD and is a member of the current CILA
Rates Committee.  He serves on The Arc’s Public Policy Committee.  (2 year term)

Brian Rubin, Buffalo Grove – Immediate Past President. Brian is the father of Mitch Rubin,
now 32, who has Autism.  Brian was first elected to The Arc Board in April, 2004. He was
appointed Vice President of the Board in September, 2010, and served two terms as Board
President.  He is an attorney whose practice, for the past 30 years, has been limited to
Special Needs Legal and Future Planning. Brian currently serves on The Arc’s Development
Committee, Public Policy Committee and Convention Committees. (2 year term)

Jacki Neil Boss, Belvidere – Second Past President – Jacki has served on The Arc of Illinois
Board since June, 1996.  She was Board President from 2008 – 2011.  She currently
serves on The Arc’s Finance Committee. Jacki has been advocating for services for people
with developmental disabilities for over 30 years. She was Executive Director of The Arc of
Winnebago Boone and Ogle Counties in Rockford, IL.  Jacki is now retired and lives in
Belvidere with her husband, John, 2 dogs and 3 cats. Her son, Alex, lives in a CILA home a
few miles away in Rockford. (2 year term)

Board Elections

Heather Clark, Zion (NEW) – Heather is an active self-advocate affiliated with Self
Advocates of Lake County, an Alliance Chapter.  She also serves of The Alliance Board of
Directors. Heather has completed two years of Junior College at the College of Lake County.
She is past President of the NorthPointe Consumer Council of NorthPointe Resources,
where she helps organize fundraisers and events.  She is a member of NorthPointe’s
Theater Group, The Smile Mark Players, and enjoys reading and writing poetry.
(3 year term)

Charlotte Cronin, Peoria – Charlotte was first elected to The Arc of Illinois Board of Directors
in April, 2012.  She is the mom of Daniel, 29, who has significant disabilities and Anna who is
26.  Charlotte graduated from the first class of Partners in Policymaking in 1991.  She served
on the Family Support Network since its inception in 1991 and as its Director from 1996 to
2011.  She has worked with people with disabilities, their loved ones, service providers,
advocacy organizations, policy makers, and legislators so that people with disabilities have
the resources necessary to live happy, productive lives in their home communities. Charlotte
has served on a number of local and state boards, councils and committees. Charlotte Co-
Chairs The Arc’s Nominating Committee.  (3 year term)

Amy Newell, Winnebago (NEW) – Amy is the Executive Director of The Arc of Winnebago,
Boone & Ogle Counties in Rockford, IL. Amy worked for many years for the City of Rockford
Human Services Department, the local Community Action Agency.  A mother of two and an
active community volunteer, Amy is thankful to be working for The Arc and making a
difference every day.  Amy states, “I have a desire to work with legislators to move forward
the cause of people with IDD in the criminal justice system.  I feel there needs to be better
education for all levels of the process whether dealing with victims or suspects.”
(3 year term)

Vicki Niswander, Mahomet – Vicki was first elected to The Arc of Illinois Board of Directors in
April, 2009.  She is the parent of an adult daughter with a disability.  She is also Executive
Director of the Illinois Association of Microboards and Cooperatives, a program which
promotes and facilitates the development of Microboards and Human Service Cooperatives
as self-directed alternatives to traditional services for people with disabilities.  Vicki recently
completed eight years of service on her local Board of Education, and has participated in
and collaborated with many organizations, both local and statewide. She is a founding
Board member of the Community Choices Cooperative in Champaign, and a former member
of the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities. Vicki also hosts a weekly public affairs
program called Disability Beat on WEFT-FM 90.1 Champaign (
(3 year term)

Robert Okazaki, Park Ridge – Bob was first elected to The Arc Board of Directors in April,
2013. Bob began his career in the field of developmental disabilities as a direct support
professional and has held a variety of positions in the field before becoming the Executive
Director of Avenues to Independence in 1983.  He has served as Chair of The Arc’s
Executive Forum (formerly the Illinois Conference of Executives of The Arc) and as past
chair of the Institute on Public Policy for People with Disabilities. He is currently on the board
of the Institute on Public Policy and is a member of the Lions Club of Park Ridge.  Bob
serves on The Arc’s Finance Committee. (2 year term)

Cristina Perez, Chicago (NEW) – Cristina received her BA from the University of Chicago in
2009 and is currently working on her Masters in Social Service Administration at the
University of Chicago. She is a Graduate Intern with the Heartland Alliance Policy &
Advocacy Team and is also a trainee with the Illinois Leadership Education in
Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Training Program. Cristina has an older brother
with autism and feels her family’s experiences moving from Puerto Rico to Texas and
navigating services for her brother has been instrumental in deciding her life perspective
and professional trajectory.  She states, “I want to help protect and develop structures,
services and relationships that can help support families like mine and individuals like my
brother.” (3 year term)

Dorelia Rivera, Elmwood Park (NEW) – Dorelia is a mother of a young lady with a rare
disease and a former staff member of the Family Support Network.  Since leaving FSN, she
has had extensive experience in various leadership roles with non-profit organizations and
the state. She worked for the Illinois Department of Human Services where she analyzed
and developed policy, as well as led strategy. Currently, she is a Director in Government
Programs for Blue Cross Blue Shield.  Dorelia is an ardent advocate for people with
disabilities. She is also a Veteran.  Dorelia serves on the Chicago Community Trust PWD
Board and the Autoinflammatory Alliance Board. She leads a Girl Scout troop and also has
volunteered as a speaker, fund raiser and wish granter with Make A Wish for over 10 years.
(3 year term)

Leanne Roth, Park Forest (NEW) – Leanne is Co-Director of the National Technical
Assistance Center for Voting and Cognitive Access, the Organizational Coordinator for the
Illinois Self Advocacy Alliance and works as a Quality Enhancement Specialist with CQL.  She
worked for SouthStar Services in Chicago Heights, IL for 14 years and has worked with The
Arc in statewide efforts to improve the lives of people with disabilities as advisor to the Ray
of Hope Self Advocates group for 9 years. Leanne has a Bachelors degree in Psychology and
a Masters in Healthcare Administration. Leanne states her passion is training people who
work with people with disabilities to support those they serve to achieve their best possible
life, and she is honored to be asked to serve on The Arc Board. (3 year term)

Paula Vanier, Urbana – Paula was first elected to The Arc Board of Directors in April, 2008.
Paula works part-time at PACE, the local Center for Independent Living, as the personal
assistant trainer.  Paula has Cerebral Palsy and has a strong desire to advocate for herself
and others with disabilities.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Illinois
Association of Microboards and Cooperatives and has been a charter member of her local
Cooperative, Community Choices, Inc.  Paula also serves on several local committees
including Disability Resource EXPO – reaching out for answers. (2 year term)

Board Members whose terms are not expiring and who will serve The Arc of Illinois as
Directors follows. ( ) indicates the number of years remaining on current terms.

Allan Bell (2)
Meg Cooch (1)
Nora Fox Handler (1)
Halima Jabulani (1)
Jennifer Knapp (1)
Bob Peterson (2)
Benji Rubin (2)
Kyle Rick, Executive Forum President

Tony Paulauski
Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423
815-464-1832 (OFFICE)
815-464-1832 (CELL)