Jackie Staddon, MBA, Executive Director, has volunteered with SpEdConnecticut for 10 years as a parent advisor, serving the last two years on the Board of Directors as well. She has attended numerous training relating to special education law, executive functioning, dyslexia, social thinking, and transition planning as well as the Learning Disabilities of America training and Partners in Policy Making. She has experience advocating for students with a full range of disabilities and has recently become a registered Surrogate Parent for the CT State Department of Education.
Goviana Morales is a mother of 5 children, two of whom have a diagnosed disability. Realizing early on that she needed to educate herself to navigate the special education system, she participated in CPAC’s Next Steps program. Other training followed with Partners in Policy Making, Special Education Advocacy Training through COPAA, ASCRC, and SpEdConnecticut. She is currently enrolled in college, studying in a speech and language assistant program. Goviana is part of the management team, serving on the Executive for SpEdConnecticut as well as acting as a parent advisor. Being bi-lingual, Goviana provides parent advisor services primarily to our Spanish-speaking families, empowering those families who due to the language barrier face extra hurdles when advocating for their children. Goviana is also the friendly voice who greets our clients, listening to their concerns and advising them on our in-take process.
Katie Dwelly, RN, BSN, is a mom to two children with one child who has significant special education needs. After years of struggling to advocate for appropriate interventions, she took the Fall SPED CT training. She learned how to better advocate for her child from this training. Katie is also a graduate of the Partners in Policy Makers Training. Katie looks forward to her board position to help develop and plan for future fall training.
Maggie Barry – Is the mother of three. Entering the Special Education process nearly 20 years ago made her realize she needed to educate herself. One of Maggie’s sons has Dyslexia as well as a learning disability, and, her younger son is on the Autism Spectrum. After securing a parent advisor through SpedCt nearly 10 years ago and working as a paraprofessional in Special Education for over 17 years Maggie took the Fall Training to better educate herself. Joining the board this year she is helping with outreach and public relations to spread the word for SpedCT.
Beth Bucciferro has a BS in Information Management Systems from UCONN and an MS in Computer Science from the University of New Haven and is self-employed as a Website Consultant. She has a child with multiple learning challenges. After advocating for him for over 10 years, she was trained in special education advocacy through the COPAA (Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates) SEAT program. She completed SpEdConnecticut Fall Training in 2018 and joined the Board in January of 2019.
Tracy Urgo has a BS in Sociology with a concentration in Psychology. She had previously worked in the human resources field. She is the mother of two medically complex children, both diagnosed with congenital Lyme Disease and PANS. Additionally, one child is on the Autism Spectrum and the other has ADHD. She has been advocating for her children for over ten years. She has recently completed formal advocacy training through SpEd CT and works as a parent adviser.
Siobhan Brearley M.A. is a former middle school teacher and administrator. With a desire to spend more time with her children, she decided to stay home with her 3 children. She has worked as a part time private tutor and life coach at Mitchell College for the past 14 years. She has experience working with students with a variety of disabilities including autism, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, ADHD, bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder. She has taken a number of trainings including CPAC’s parent training and train the trainer, SPED CT’s 12 week advocacy training, and a large number of conferences and trainings on reading disabilities and effective reading instruction based on the science of reading. She is a parent support specialist for PATH parent-to-parent Family voices of CT and is part of the 2020 class of Partners in Policy Making. Siobhan is dedicated to helping families learn more about the special education system and helping teachers receive the training they need in order to make a positive impact on all children.
Maggie Francis-Gietzen, Ed.D, is a CT certified educator (PreK-8), reading consultant, and administrator with 20 years of experience in public education with a focus on advocacy for quality early childhood education and teacher training. She is the mother of two young children diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies; her oldest child additionally diagnosed with Apraxia of Speech. Maggie has worked as an independent educational consultant for the past six years. She recently completed Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center (CPAC) parent training, SpEd Connecticut’s Fall Training, and is a 2020 cohort member of Partners in Policy Making. Maggie is committed to supporting families as they navigate the special education system. She joined the Board in Fall 2020.