Nancy Claussen, MAS Chair of the Board and Chief Operating Officer - Nancy lives in Phoenix, AZ with her husband and her two sons. Both of her sons are bright, engaged, and talented individuals, one of whom has autism. Nancy has a Master of Science in Aeronautics and worked in the airline industry for many years prior to working for the Federal Aviation Administration developing regulations, policy, and guidance regarding air carrier operations. She also served as a technical expert regarding the use of child restraint and restraint systems used by people with disabilities on aircraft, as well as the regulatory and operational aspects regarding nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in air travel.
Amy Dill, M.Ed. Board President & Treasurer and Chief Executive Officer – Amy began her teaching career as a general education fifth grade teacher, but changed her career course soon after her son was diagnosed with autism. Since this time, Amy has dedicated herself to educating and assisting the families of children with disabilities, and the professionals who work with them. This assistance has ranged from working with families in their homes as an early intervention specialist, teaching special education preschool, teaching as an adjunct professor with Northern Arizona University, and working in the dispute resolution unit at the Arizona Department of Education. She currently works for a local school district.
Shannon Chavez, M.Ed. Board Vice President & Secretary – Shannon was originally planning a different career path when her then two-year-old godson was diagnosed with autism inspiring Shannon to change her path and pursue a Masters in Special Education. While working on her degree Shannon worked with several children with autism as a habilitation specialist in their homes. Shannon began her public school teaching career in a self-contained special education classroom for children with cross-categorical intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities. She has also taught special education in high school as a resource English teacher.
Maureen Mills, BS Board Member and Director of Marketing – Maureen has her BS in Marketing from the University of Arizona. Since 1998 when her youngest son was born and quickly diagnosed with Down syndrome, Maureen has been active in Phoenix area organizations that support individuals with disabilities and their families. She is a founding member of Down Syndrome Network of Arizona, spent several years as a program manager for Best Buddies Arizona and worked for the Arizona Department of Education as a Parent Information Network Specialist helping families understand their educational rights. She continued her work supporting families at Raising Special Kids, Arizona’s Parent Training and Information Center, until she was promoted to her current position as Communications Coordinator for the organization.
Lisa Silva, M.Ed. Board Member, Director of Education and Participant Programs – Lisa has been working with individuals with autism and developmental disabilities for almost 20 years. She began providing in-home habilitation services to children with autism, and then became a lead habilitation trainer for a local agency while attending Arizona State University. She credits one of her psychology professors for instilling in her a passion for working with individuals with autism. Lisa has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Special Education, and obtained a Masters in Special Education with an emphasis in autism. Lisa has taught special education to students of all grade levels for 14 years, including preschool, elementary, middle school and high school. She has extensive training in applied behavior analysis and transition services. She holds a K-12 teaching certificate from Arizona Department of Education in special education and an endorsement in emotional disorders. For many years Lisa was Director of Special Education Services and a Special Education high school teacher for a private school for students with autism and other developmental disabilities. While in this position, Lisa developed her passion for working with individuals and their families to create transition plans to assist students in achieving greater independence to lead to paid, integrated employment and increased independent living skills.
Shanan Villareal, MS Board Member- Shanan is a Speech-Language Pathologist and co-owner of Arizona Advance Therapy, LLC. Shanan attended Arizona State University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Hearing Sciences. She then continued her education at ASU and earned her master’s degree in Communication Disorders with an emphasis in Speech-Language Pathology. Throughout Shanan’s career she has had the opportunity to attend training seminars related to Autism, Apraxia, oral motor and feeding therapy, PROMPT, fragile infant feeding, as well as transitioning from tube to oral feeds. Throughout her college years Shanan worked with children with special needs, specifically children with autism. She helped to develop and implement home programs containing Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), Floortime, and other treatment techniques. Shanan co-founded Arizona Advanced Therapy, LLC, which operates a pediatric therapy clinic in Chandler, AZ providing pediatric occupational and speech therapies in home, clinic and school environments. AAT also currently participates in providing AzEIP services for children birth-3 years of age and is part of Arizona Cooperative Therapies.