Jonathan Martinis is the Senior Director for Law and Policy for the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University, leading it’s efforts to ensure that older adults and people with disabilities have access to the services and supports they need to lead independent, inclusive lives.
In 2013, Jonathan represented Margaret “Jenny” Hatch in the “Justice for Jenny” case – the first trial to hold that a person has the right to use Supported Decision-Making to make her own life choices instead of being subjected to a permanent, plenary guardianship. Since then, Jonathan has led SDM projects in New York, Ohio, California, Virginia, Vermont, Missouri, and Kansas. He has also educated and trained tens of thousands of older adults, people with disabilities, families, and professionals across the country on SDM theory and practice. Jonathan has written or co-written over 40 publications on SDM, including the first textbook and first theory-to-practice guidebook on the subject.
Allison Stark is the Director of the Division of Developmental Disabilities, DHS and has committed her entire career to serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Allison most recently served as the President and CEO of Orchard Village, a nonprofit in the North Chicagoland area providing an array of community based services to individuals with I/DD. Prior to her 12 years with Orchard Village, Allison was a Program Manager at Resources for Living in Evanston, and a Home & Community Based Services Waiver Case Manager for Adult Care Management in Lafayette, Colorado. Allison holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a Master’s degree from the University of Chicago.
Kathy Carmody is the CEO of the Institute on Public Policy for People with Disabilities. Kathy has 35 years of experience in the Illinois and national I/DD arena, including leading ground-breaking research, demonstration and evaluation efforts which substantially improved the nature and quality of services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as direct support, clinical and executive management roles within community agencies. At the Institute, Kathy is involved in a wide array of policy and practice issues affecting people with I/DD and serves on and leads multiple committees and task forces impacting the I/DD service system. Kathy co-chairs the ANCOR Alternate Payment Model (APM) workgroup, co-chairs the CQL/Mosaic/Institute workgroup on Building the Framework for I/DD Quality Measurement and leads the Illinois state team in the Business Development Learning Collaborative (BDLC) as part of the NASUAD Business Acumen Center. Kathy is a frequent speaker on the topic of alternative payment models in the I/DD service delivery system at state and national forums. Kathy has a graduate degree in Social Service Administration and Policy from the University of Chicago and is a graduate of the National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities at the University of Delaware.
Meg Cooch recently joined the IDHS Division of Developmental Disabilities as the Deputy Director of the Ligas Consent Decree on April 5, 2021. Meg is leading the work to meet requirements of the Ligas Consent Decree. She served for four years as Executive Director of the Arc of Illinois, a statewide coalition working to ensure people with intellectual and developmental disabilities can fully participate in community life through informed choices. Prior to this, Meg spent 20 years in local, state and national nonprofits focused on policy, advocacy and community organizing with people with disabilities of all ages, families and community organizations. Meg worked on federal health and disability policy in Washington, DC and long-term services advocacy in San Francisco, CA. Meg has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She lives in Chicago with her husband and two children.
Katherine Docter; Director, SSP, BCBA: Since 2021, Katherine has been an essential member of the ICPN Team, overseeing the Springfield location. Applying behavior analysis across settings in a meaningful and practical manner is Katherine’s driving force in the intellectual/developmental disability community. She shares a passion for training, and is always developing new and exciting topics to strengthen the ID/DD System. Recent topics of interest include trauma informed care, compassion fatigue and burnout, leadership, and collaboration across teams. In her spare time, Katherine enjoys her new love of running and taking care of her schnauzers.
Mike Jersey, MA, LPC, is the Clinical Director of the Illinois Crisis Prevention Network’s Support Services Team and has been a member of the team since its inception in 2010. The Illinois Crisis Prevention Network is funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services and works to support individuals diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities experiencing behavioral and/or medical challenges. Prior to his work with the ICPN, Mike has supervised residential settings for adults diagnosed with a severe mental illness and adolescents diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities that were wards of the state of Illinois. As a bilingual clinician, Mike has provided a variety of supports to individuals and their families in English as well as Spanish.
Teresa Parks, MSW, NCG
is the Deputy Director of the Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission as well as Director of the Commission’s Human Rights Authority. Parks holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana and is National Certified Guardian through the Center for Guardianship Certification. Parks is also a graduate of Illinois’ Partners in Policy Making Program and the Institute of Special Education Advocacy through William and Mary Law School. Prior to working for the Commission, Parks was a nursing home ombudsman and program director for a community mental health agency. Currently, Parks serves on the board and education committee of the Illinois Guardianship Association, is an appointed member of the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities and is a trustee for the Center for Guardianship Certification. She has also served on various local and regional disability-related boards and committees. Parks is the parent of two adult children, including a son with disabilities for whom she serves as guardian.
Linda Sandman, MSW, LCSW
Linda Sandman, MSW, LCSW has over 30 years clinical experience working with adults with disabilities, including mental health, intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD). She is an experienced trainer and consultant to agencies and organizations working with people with disabilities and is a Co-Director with Blue Tower Solutions, Inc. Linda is a member of several local and statewide projects addressing prevention and response to sexual violence against people with disabilities. She is passionate about promoting access to sexuality education for people with disabilities and helping families navigate these conversations and life stages.
Cynthia SchierlSpreen is the Bureau Chief of the Bureau of Quality Management for the Division of Developmental Disabilities, Illinois Department of Human Services. She has been with Division for the past 18 months. Cynthia’s employment history with the state includes various nursing positions at Department of Rehabilitation Services Illinois School for the Visually Impaired, Department of Corrections, and Illinois State Developmental Centers. She was a Registered Nurse Consultant for CILAs and ICF/DDs for more than 12 years. Cynthia has a special interest in nursing and human services in populations that are vulnerable to being overlooked, underserved, and misunderstood. She has been active in the development and implementation of programs to address Anti-Bullying, Person-Centered Planning, addressing individuals with special needs in Emergency Management policy and procedures, and Health, Hygiene, and Sexual Development in youth with special needs. Cynthia’s undergraduate degrees include Criminal Justice, Accounting and Nursing and she has a Masters in Public Health. Her work and life are motivated by experiences with children and adults with complicated challenges that achieve the most amazing things.