2013 Slate of Board of Directors Nominees and Officers

The following individuals were elected to The Arc of Illinois Board of Directors.

Congratulations to President Brian Rubin and all of the hard working members of the new Board of Directors.


Margaret (Meg) Cooch, Chicago (new) – Meg is the Director of Strategic Projects for Lutheran Services in America and has a Masters degree in public policy.  Prior to coming to Chicago, Meg worked in Washington, D.C., as the Director of Policy and Advocacy for the Disability Network.  While in Washington, Meg worked with staff of The Arc of the United States through the Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities.  She brings with her a wealth of experience in fundraising, management, community organizing and coalition development.   Meg states, “I believe that all people should have a say in their own lives and want to be a part of a movement to ensure that people with disabilities achieve full participation in community living.” (3 year term)

Merlin Lehman, Bloomington – Merlin 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 has been a member of the Community Inclusion Committee of the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities.  He has also served as parent representative to the Statewide Advisory Council on DD.  (2 year term)

Nora Fox Handler, Chicago – Nora is a committed sister to her three brothers with intellectual disabilities, Marty, Patrick and Michael. Michael also has a serious mental illness.  She is a passionate advocate for people with disabilities and their families and shares the story of her family’s experience and the consequences of their lack of planning for the future.  Nora is a founding member and the treasurer of SIBS, Supporting Illinois Brothers and Sisters, a non profit organization whose mission is to support siblings of people with disabilities.  She serves as an advocate advisor for The Rehabilitation Research & Training Center on Aging with Developmental Disabilities (RRTCADD) at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Nora is an advisory committee member of the Institute on Disability and Human Development at UIC along with her brother Marty. She is a board member and the IL representative of the Sibling Leadership Network.  In 2009 Nora received The Arc of Illinois Outstanding Family Advocate Award. Nora Fox Handler, while living in central Illinois, was instrumental in the growth of The Mahomet-Seymour Schools Educational Foundation. Serving five years as the executive director, Nora raised financial and gifts-in-kind contributions for teacher’s grants and scholarships through innovative campaigns and events.  She currently works as a leader and Location Coordinator for Weight Watchers.
(3 year term)

Robert Okazaki, Park Ridge (new) –  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. (2 year term)

Susy Woods, Springfield– Susy has been on The Arc Board since April, 2004. She is a member of the Family Support Network, the Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities in Illinois (CCDI), past Chair of Mid-Illinois Early Intervention, past chair of ISAC, board president for IMPACT CIL, public policy chair for NAMI South West, and a member of the Illinois Legislative Council. She works for The Arc’s Governmental Affairs Consultant, Phil Milsk, and is public policy and educational liaison for the Illinois Assistive Technology Program. Susy has a Masters Degree in public policy and woman’s issues and a doctorate in Educational Leadership. As the mother of a son with significant needs and a grandmother of a granddaughter with an IEP, she became an active advocate on their behalf and hopes to help families in Southern Illinois learn more about The Arc as a family-friendly organization. (1 year term as Director at Large)

The Arc of Illinois Development Committee submits the following nominees for officer positions for the fiscal year terms July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2015 (2 years):

Brian Rubin, President                                 Steve Manning, Treasurer
Therese Devine, Vice President                  Dorelia Rivera, Secretary

Brian Rubin, Buffalo Grove – 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 has served since 2011 as President.  He is an attorney whose practice, for the past 30 years, has been limited to Special Needs Legal and Future Planning.  He is Past Chair of the DHS Statewide Advisory Council on Developmental Disabilities; Co-Chair of State’s Autism Task Force; serves as a member of the State of Illinois Guardianship & Advocacy Commission; served on the State of Illinois Department of Human Services Office of Inspector General Quality Care Board; served on the State of Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities Strategic Plan Team; served on the State of Illinois Disabilities Services Advisory Committee (The State of Illinois “Olmstead” Committee); and served on the State of Illinois, Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities Quality Committee, among many other State of Illinois Committees and Commissions.  He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Clearbrook, PACT, Inc., and the Special Leisure Services Foundation (The Foundation for the Northwest Suburban Special Recreation Association).  Brian was the founding Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for the Special Education District of Lake County.  Brian has also previously served on the Board of Directors of Keshet and Northpointe. Brian serves on the Board of Directors of the Special Needs Alliance, the national, not for profit, organization of special needs planning attorneys; served on the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys’ Special Needs Law Section Steering Committee; was a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners; and is a Faculty Member & Text Book Author for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE).  Brian is a frequent author and lecturer on the topic of appropriate future planning for families of individuals with special needs. Brian is a former IRS Agent and a former IRS Estate Tax Attorney. Brian served by appointment on the American Bar Association’s Sub-Committee on “Special Needs Trusts and Other Protective Vehicles”.  Brian has served by appointment of the President of the Illinois State Bar Association on that Association’s “Section Council” on Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law. Brian also has served, by appointment, on that Association’s “Standing Committee” on the mentally disabled.  Brian served three, four year terms, twelve years, as an elected Village Trustee in Buffalo Grove, Illinois (population 45,000) and was the founder of and served as Chairman of the Buffalo Grove Commission for Residents with Disabilities.  Brian is a Past President of the Rotary Club of Buffalo Grove and has also served as an Assistant District Governor for Rotary District 6440.  Brian currently serves on The Arc’s Development Committee, Public Policy Committee and Convention Committees. (2 year term)

Therese Devine, Orland Park – Terri was first elected to The Arc Board in May, 1999.  She is the current Arc Board Secretary. 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 serves as Chair of The Arc’s Development Committee. (2 year term)

Dorelia Rivera, Elmwood Park – Dorelia was first elected to The Arc Board in April, 2010. Dorelia became interested in serving people with disabilities many years ago when, as the mom of Kayla, with a rare syndrome called NOMID, her career started as an interpreter for the EI system in Illinois. She has served in many professional and volunteer capacities in addition to remaining actively involved in advocacy, program design and policy changes for people with special healthcare needs in Illinois. Currently, she works for Community Support Services as the Director of Policy and Community Outreach. Dorelia is a founding member of T.E.A.M. Voice, the first ever Self Advocacy group at CSS. She is a U.S. Army Veteran, a member of the Governor’s Council on Early Intervention, Member of The Chicago Community Trust Persons with Disabilities Board, and LEND advisor with UIC/IDHD. She is actively involved in efforts to engage and support families, especially minority populations. Just recently, Dorelia was asked to present in South Africa on Policy in North America for Women with Disabilities. (2 year term)

Steve Manning, Orland Park – Steve was first elected to The Arc Board in April, 2011.  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 looks forward to working with a new group of people who have the singular mission of protecting and improving the rights and opportunities for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. (2 year term)

Jacki Neil Boss, Belvidere – Immediate Past President – Jacki has served on The Arc of Illinois Board since June, 1996.  She just completed two terms as Board President.  Jacki is Executive Director of The Arc of Winnebago Boone and Ogle Counties in Rockford, IL.  Jacki has been advocating for services for people with developmental disabilities for over 30 years. She 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)

Lorraine McCormick, Alsip – Second Past President – Lorraine has served as the Past President of The Arc Board of Directors for the past four years. She was appointed to The Arc Board in November, 1997, and served as Arc Board President from 2003 – 2007.  The parent of a child with disabilities, Lorraine is employed at Aspire as Vice President of Human Resources and Team Building.  She has 28 years experience working in the field of developmental disabilities as a direct care professional, a middle manager and administrator.  Lorraine is also a member of the Autism Society. (2 year term)

A list of current 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 (1) Amie Lulinski Norris (2)
Sue Brown (1) Vicki Niswander (2)
Tara Conley (2) Bob Peterson (1)
Charlotte Cronin (2) Sherri Schneider (2)
Halima Jabulani (1) Paula Vanier (2)
Missy Kichline (1) Deb Shepherd, 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)

Copyright © , All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Copyright © , All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is: