Executive Assistant , Marion Office
Chantelle is the Executive Assistant to the Assistant Director. She is bilingual, having been the Hispanic Ministry Coordinator for her church for several years. Chantelle has a BS in Middle Education and taught Spanish at Marion Catholic High School. She is a lifelong Marion resident, the mother of two daughters, and is blessed with four grandchildren.
Statewide Preschool Program Coordinator/Specialist/Trainer.
started her career serving students as an early childhood educator providing
direct instruction for students with a variety of needs. Having a deep
commitment and passion to support students, she continued on in a new capacity
to serve students with disabilities and their families as a parent mentor for
the Seneca/Wyandot County Parent Mentor Project. In 2000, Sandy began working
for OCECD as an information specialist, supporting families in North Central
Ohio and providing training throughout Ohio. Currently, Sandy is part of the
Parent Mentor Oversight and Professional Development Project as a Statewide Preschool
Parent Mentor working in the northern office.
Information Specialist/Trainer, Southwest Office
Robin has been with OCECD since 1990 and as a consultant prior to that time. She provides information, training and support to parents in her area. Previously she provided services to families as an employee of the Southwest Special Education Regional Resource Center for ten years from 1979-1989. Robin has a love for early childhood education and has taught pre-school and kindergarten in the public school system. Robin has a hearing impairment and is the parent of a son and a daughter with learning disabilities.
Grants/Fiscal Manager/Bookkeeper, Marion Office
Kelly began her career with OCECD in October 2018. She is an Information Specialist and Trainer for Northwest Ohio. She also serves as Web Support for OCECD. Kelly holds an associate degree in Accounting. Prior to starting at OCECD, Kelly worked for 15 years as a Program Manager administering testing in the medical field. In this position, Kelly was responsible for approving and coordinating ADA accommodations for candidates in the testing process. She has prior experience as a nurse’s aide in a long-term care facility and residential support staff to individuals with developmental disabilities. Kelly came to OCECD as a result of her personal experiences in struggling with the special education arena. She has one son who has Autism and ADHD. In January 2022, Kelly changed positions within the agency to the Grants/Fiscal Manager/Bookkeeper. This position allows her to incorporate the hands on work that she completed during her time as an Information Specialist with the responsibilities of the new position to promote the assistance to families.
Assistant Director & Statewide Multicultural Director, Marion Office
Marbella has been with OCECD since 2006. She is currently the Statewide Multicultural Director and the Assistant Director. She is working with Dr. Lisa Hickman, the new Executive Director as of August 19, 2019 to manage staff, projects and all OCECD operations. Previously she worked with Lee Ann Derugen, as they were both Interim Co-Executive Directors since December 1, 2018. Marbella continues to coordinate multicultural trainings and groups for empowerment and education for multicultural families, supervising and training the multicultural information specialists/trainers across the state. She translates materials for families from English to Spanish and is involved in the development of trainings that address the cultural needs in the state of Ohio. She also serves multicultural families across the state regarding information and provides individual assistance concerning their rights. She started a statewide support group which the parents have titled P.L.A.N.E.O. (Latino Parents Associated for Special Children in Ohio). Marbella currently serves on the State Advisory Panel for Exceptional Children and as a volunteer for National Alliance on Mental Illness in Franklin County. Marbella is the mother of a child with special needs, as well as a gifted child.
Information Specialist/Trainer, Southern Office
Nancy has been with OCECD since 2004. She provides information, training and support to parents in her area. For 4 years prior to joining OCECD, she provided advocacy services for parents as a volunteer. Nancy’s interest is in children with behavioral challenges and in empowering parents to advocate for their child. Nancy has 2 children. Her son has AD/HD and needed specialized supports when he was in school.
Statewide Conference/Database Coordinator
Sara Daugherty started with OCECD in January 2023. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary and Special Education and a Master’s Degree in Higher Education. Sara enjoys volunteering in her community and spending time with her five nephews, one of which has special needs.
Multicultural Information Specialist/Trainer
Alma joined the Coalition in August 2023. She will be assisting Latino families of children with disabilities in the Southwest area of Ohio, providing them with information, training, and assistance concerning special education.
Executive Assistant, Marion Office
Angie began working for OCECD October 25, 1999. She works closely with the Governing Board which includes parent and professional organization representatives. She performs outreach to develop new member relationships with other Ohio organizations with similar interests. Angie assists the Executive Director. She assists with general office duties in Marion, as well as with reports, materials, forms, supplies and office equipment for OCECD statewide offices.
Statewide Transition Programs Coordinator
Amy Freeman is the Statewide Transition Program Director and 1:1 Reading Mentoring Program Director for OCECD. She provides both transition training/support and reading mentoring training/support to families, schools, and organizations statewide. Amy has been on the staff of OCECD since 2014. She collaborates with other agencies to provide transition resources for youth and families. Amy is also the lead for ODE’s Reading Tips for Families website. Amy holds a M.Ed. in Special Education. She was the former director of Project MORE, and has over 40 years’ experience working as a teacher, workshop director, behavior specialist, superintendent, statewide preschool reviewer, and DD consultant. Amy’s youngest brother had Down Syndrome and was the inspiration for her life’s work.
Multicultural Information Specialist/Trainer
Liliana joined the Coalition in January 2023. Liliana comes to us from Venezuela, where she brings her skills, knowledge, and experience gained from working as a Consumer Services Attorney and as the National Director for Mediation Conflict Resolution in her home country. Liliana is currently a Multicultural Specialist/Trainer for our Northern Ohio Latino Office. She will be supporting Latino parents of children with disabilities on their journey by providing them with information and assistance to better understand special education and their parental rights in obtaining an appropriate quality education for their children.
Information Specialist/Trainer - Central Ohio Office
Elaine began with OCECD March 12, 2018. She is the Information Specialist/Trainer currently covering Central Ohio. Previously she covered 20 counties in the state. She provides special education information, assists with understanding the special education evaluation process, rights, educational programs, services and supports to parent/guardians of students with special needs. Elaine formerly was a Parent Mentor working within the Columbus City Schools. She received training from the Ohio Department of Education as well as Columbus City Schools. Elaine has been actively involved in several programs and workshops to assist parents with their needs. She is able to support families with their students with disabilities school programs such as 504, IEP, Rights, information and resources as well as any other situations involving the Special Education process. Elaine works with families that have children from Pre-School on up to transitioning into adulthood. Elaine also works with various community agencies to discuss multiple topics surrounding children with disabilities. She is trainer and presenter for Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University in the area of Family Centered Care and Autism. Elaine and her husband Reginald have two children, a son Donovan and a daughter Maliyah. Maliyah was diagnosed with autism at 3 years of age. Elaine is a volunteer at heart as she serves on several family advisory Council's including Nationwide Children’s Autism Treatment Network and Nationwide Children’s Family as Faculty where she gives a presentation to staff about her experiences at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Elaine supports the Mid-Ohio Food Bank by hosting free produce markets throughout the community.
Hickman Ph.D., Lisa
Lisa is the Executive Director for the OCECD as of August 19, 2019. She holds a Bachelor’s, Masters and Ph.D. in Sociology. For over 11 years Lisa was faculty in the Department of Sociology at Grand Valley State University (in Michigan), and additionally served as chair for the department for two years. She taught courses and conducted research in the areas of education, children and families. Lisa moved back to Ohio for family reasons and began her work as the Research Specialist at the Ohio Criminal Sentencing, conducting research to help inform criminal justice policy in Ohio. The transition to working as Executive Director for the Ohio Coalition is an honor and feels like coming back to her roots, what she is trained in and what she does well. She looks forward to providing support to the staff and parents so that the Coalition can continue to move forward in its mission.
Information Specialist/Trainer, West Central Office
Erin works for OCECD in the West Central office as an Information Specialist/Trainer. Erin resides in Cuyahoga County with her family. Her responsibilities include providing resources, training, and guidance to families that have children, teenagers, and young adults with special needs. She also attends school meetings and collaborates with school personnel to improve outcomes for children. Erin is a graduate from North Olmsted High School and a graduate from Cleveland State University with a Bachelor in Fine Arts. She worked as a graphic designer and project manager for ten years. Erin has two children; her son was diagnosed with moderate Autism at age two and her daughter had some developmental delays early in life. Navigating the medical and educational systems for both her children have been both challenging and educational. In 2014, Erin graduated from Partners in Policy Making, a legislative class designed to teach people with disabilities and their families the power of advocacy and how to positively change the way people with disabilities are supported, viewed, taught, live, and work. Over the years, Erin has helped facilitate workshops for families the with Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities and Transition Boosters group. In 2015 she also founded a local support group for families in Fairview Park called Fairview Park Parents of Special Education. In 2019 Erin ran for her local School Board and won a seat. She is currently the Vice President of the Fairview Park School Board.
Statewide Intake/Information Specialist
Janet joined the Coalition in September 2023. She will be working in the Executive Office, assisting families. Janet will provide information and resources, training, and assistance concerning special education. Janet has a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education and is also working on her Master inSTEAM Education. She enjoys walking her 2 corgis, riding horses, and going to the farmers market.
Martha Lausé, M.S., M.Ed., has two Masters degrees-- Library Science (University of Wisconsin) and Education (BGSU). She started her career with OCECD in May 1997 as the library specialist consultant. In January 1998, she was hired as the Head Librarian responsible for providing information and resources to both staff and parents. She also functioned as the statewide intake/referral contact and maintained the Microsoft Access Database. Between 2009-2014 she was the Librarian for Ohio’s State Parent Library until it was incorporated into OCALI’s Lending Library. In 2015, while continuing as the statewide intake/referral contact, she became the Information Specialist/Trainer for the Mid-Central Ohio Office assisting parents in thirteen Ohio Counties. She retired from this position on July 31, 2023. She was rehired Oct. 1, 2023 as part-time Grant Support Staff. She is the mother of three adult children and the grandmother of three. Her oldest child, with disabilities, graduated from college and is employed as a cyber security analyst.
Parent Training Associate/IT Assistant, Marion Office
Holly Lust joined OCECD in January 2024. Holly will be working as a Parent Training Associate, running the mail room, preparing training materials, filling publication orders, preparing shipments, and assisting the IT Specialist and staff in various other ways. Holly enjoys spending time with her children and running.
Information Specialist/Trainer, Northeast Office
Lisa started with OCECD in July 2017. She assists families in her northeast area of the state by providing information, training and support. Lisa was a Parent Mentor for the Kirtland School District 7 years, where she also assisted families. She has a Masters Degree in Health Promotion/Wellness and her Wilson Reading Certification. Three of Lisa's 4 children have type 1 Diabetes and 1 has Dyslexia and AD/HD.
Multicultural Information Specialist/Trainer, Mid Ohio Latino Office
Iliana has been with OCECD since June 2010. She is from Mexico D.F. She serves the Hispanic/Latino families in Mid Ohio regarding information and individual assistance on their rights through trainings and advocacy skills. She also supports with the coordination of P.L.A.N.E.O. (Latino Parents Associated for Special Children in Ohio), a statewide support group for Spanish speaking families. She holds a B.S. in Biology Science. Iliana has two sons, which one of them has learning disabilities.
Multicultural Information Specialist/Trainer, Somali and African Communities Central Ohio Office
Najma Mohamoud joined OCECD in April 2017 as an Information Specialist, working with the Somalin community in Franklin County. Najma has a bachelor degree in Political Science from the University of Memphis and has been working with the Somalin community in Ohio since 2015.
Information Specialist/Trainer, East Central Office
Penny joined the Coalition in November 2023. She will be assisting families in the East Central region of Ohio serving 12 counties. Penny will provide information and resources, training, and assistance concerning special education. Penny graduated from West Virginia Northern Community College with an Associated Degree in Early Childhood. She previously worked at CAA St. Anthony’s Head Start as a Lead Teacher for 5 years. Penny has children with ADHD, ASD, and Dyslexia.
Information Specialist/Trainer - Northwest Ohio
Brandi Muhammad began her position at the Coalition in January 2022. She is our new Information Specialist/Trainer currently serving Northwest Ohio.
She previously served as a parent mentor for Columbus City Schools for several years, where supporting the parent/guardian was her top priority. Her work included, but was not limited to, helping parents and guardians understand the special education process, rights, and educational services provided in the district. She served as a liaison between the educational staff, the parents/guardians, and the student, providing reassurance and encouraging mutual support.
Brandi Muhammad is qualified academically, as well as with life experience. As a widow and mother of three amazing young adults, she understands the challenges parents/guardians go through in, and outside of, the school. Her son was diagnosed with dyslexia in the 10th grade, and her daughter struggles with behavioral challenges and specific learning disabilities. With loving support and community resources, Brandi and her children continue to live life and thrive!
As the parent of two exceptional students, Brandi has trained and supported parents in all facets of special education. She plans to support parents and guardians with special education trainings such as the IEP, 504 plans, parents’ rights, among others. Brandi has received a number of trainings from Columbus City Schools, the Ohio Department of Education, and other organizations, such as the Ohio Coalition.
Nick Pirnstill joined the OCECD Marion
Staff March 3rd, 2020 as an IT/Web consultant. Nick focuses on website and IT needs at the Marion Executive Office and provides remote support to all staff throughout the state. Nick is from Bucyrus, Ohio and studied Media Communications at Columbus State Community College in Columbus, Ohio. Prior to joining the Coalition, Nick did freelance Web, IT and Graphic Design work for various clients and worked in the automotive industry as a process technician/troubleshooter.
Multicultural Information Specialist/Trainer
Montserrat joined the Coalition in December 2022. She is from México, where she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Sciences. Montserrat worked in the health sector for more than 14 years providing nutritional advice and support to guide others in leading a healthy lifestyle. One of Montserrat’s great passions is helping others, which is reflected in the work she has done in teaching English to Spanish speakers to help them overcome the language barrier. She has also worked in the field of childcare. Montserrat will be assisting Latino families of children with disabilities in the North Central area of Ohio, providing them with information, training, and assistance concerning special education. She will also be part of the ODH Infant Hearing Program support for Spanish speaking families.
Statewide Program Coordinator/Social Media Coordinator, Cleveland Office
Tammie began her career with OCECD in September 2011. She is very active as the Coalition’s Statewide Program Coordinator, providing guidance, information, and trainings to our staff. She actively networks and collaborates with different agencies across the state and nationally to provide the highest level of supports to the families we serve. She coordinates and conducts professional development on current topics and updates and develops new trainings and materials. She also serves as OCECD’s Social Media Coordinator, meeting with staff to train them in this area as a means of broadening our outreach to parents. She researches and learns different types of social media, maintains OCECD’s Facebook page and collaborates with our IT/Webmaster to connect the different types of social media with our webpage. She has been studying Spanish and is continuing to attend classes to improve her communication skills. Tammie previously provided information, training, and support to the families of children with disabilities in Cuyahoga County. Tammie has two daughters, one with AD/HD and the other with Autism, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Sensory Processing Disorder.