Who Are The Brokers?
Kerry Mahoney, Director
Working with local Arcs for over 30 years, Kerry Mahoney has developed and managed a variety of supports, services and resources for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. She is currently the Director of SUPPORTbrokers/PALS. A graduate of Emmanuel College, she received her degree in Psychology/Rehabilitation Counseling. Since college Kerry has directed residential programs for adults with intellectual disabilities, worked in a special needs classroom, has overseen family support resource centers and expanded Personal Care Assistance, Adult Family Care programs and developed individualized transition plans for students leaving public schools and entering adult services. From these experiences, Kerry has developed a broad knowledge base of the state, federal and private resources that support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Kerry became a support broker in December 2008 and has received training in person-centered planning and approaches from The Institute for Community Inclusion, Michael Smull, University of Maryland and University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability.
Christine Shane, PhD
Christine has served as an advocate for individuals with disabilities and their families for many years. She is currently Chairperson of the Behavioral Sciences Department at Fitchburg State University and serves as Chair of the State Advisory Council, for the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services. Dr. Shane specializes in the evaluation and implementation of programs for children and adults with disabilities and currently provides consultation and training to schools and non-profit agencies. She earned her doctoral degree from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University. During her graduate studies, she worked closely with Dr. Gunnar Dybwad and Dr. Wolf Wolfensburger.
Evelyn recently retired as project manager of SUPPORTbrokers. Evelyn’s work in the area of disabilities spans forty years. At the early childhood specialist at the Federation for Children with Special Needs, she was project director of the Early Intervention Training Centers at the Federation. This center provides in-service training to early intervention staff, families, and other associated early childhood providers. Before work at the Federation, she taught for many years at Wheelock College in Boston and was Dean of the Graduate School.
Her areas of interest in teaching and research are disabilities, health care, parent-professional collaboration and organizational development. As an alumna of Wellesley College, Tufts University, and the Heller School at Brandeis University, she has advanced degrees in special education and management. Evelyn is an active volunteer for The Arc of Massachusetts. She is currently on the Governmental Affairs Committee and is a former board member of The Arc. As a mother of a man with intellectual disabilities, she brings this perspective to all aspects of her work. Her son lives with other adults in Brookline and works and participates in the community.
Pat Pakos is in a unique position to assist families with transition services in that she is a parent of an adult daughter with disabilities and is a professional in the field of developmental disabilities. She is a well-known as a presenter of workshops, which help individuals and families plan significant transitions from school to adult services and from home to community living. Pat has worked as a consultant to school systems and has been employed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as an Inclusion Facilitator. She was a facilitator on a supported work pilot project on the North Shore sponsored by the Department of Developmental Disabilities and Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission. She recently completed a three year transition grant working with three school systems and ten families. Presently, Pat works for The Arc of Massachusetts as a Support Broker focusing on Transition, Person-Centered Planning and the needs of the disability community. She sits on a DDS Adult Advisory Council and the State DDS Advisory Council. Pat earned her M.S. degree in Severe Special Needs from Simmons College with a focus on Inclusion and her B.A. in English Literature from the University of Maryland.
Barbara brings a breadth of experience in the field of disability garnered from working in day and residential programs, as well as over 20 years spent with the Department of Developmental Services. Barbara believes strongly in the empowerment of people with developmental disabilities and spends much of her time enhancing their voices as stakeholders in the larger system. Barbara also especially enjoys working with families at times of transition or future planning. Barbara is well versed in resources and possibilities for genuine community participation. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Simmons College and a Master’s in Education from Boston University.
Sarah has been active in supporting individuals with developmental disabilities and their families for over 15 years. She approaches her work with creativity, energy, and enthusiasm. Since graduating with a degree in special education from Boston University, Sarah has worked as a special education teacher, Early Intervention educator, and a coordinator of family supports. During her 5 years as Director of Family Services at Minute Man Arc, Sarah provided support, coordinated parent trainings, and served as a resource for families in the Concord area. In addition, she developed innovative recreation and social opportunities for children and adults with special needs. Following the birth of her daughter 3 years ago, Sarah began working for Wraparound Family Services, helping families to navigate services provided through DDS funded programs. Through her work, she has developed a broad knowledge of resources and opportunities across the state. She believes in empowering individuals with special needs and their families and the use of person centered approaches in planning supports.
Sarah lives with her husband and daughter in Templeton, MA. She currently works for Wraparound Family Services, Inc., providing support for families receiving services through the DESE DDS community residential project. Sarah has been working with support brokers since 2010.
Emily is deeply committed that ALL people have the opportunity to live the life they desire and believes every person has a gift to contribute to society. She has dedicated her career to increasing opportunities and life experiences for adults with developmental disabilities. Emily earned her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy and over the past 15 years has had a broad range of therapeutic and organizational experience such as Clinical Coordinator and Director of Adult Day habilitation programs. In all of her roles, Emily has a passion and creativity for designing and facilitating meaningful programming and training that provides individuals staff with the skills to succeed. She has worked as a Consultant Occupational Therapist with a focus on listening for what is most important to her clients and developing life goals based on the person’s talents and interests. She has a solid understanding of sensory processing and how it affects individual’s ability to learn and participate in life and has led many trainings on this topic. In addition, Emily is extensively trained in listening and communication skills through her participation as a Program Leader at Landmark Worldwide. Currently, Emily consults with individuals and families to create life visions and develop plans to implement those visions.
Paula has worked with people with disabilities across the life span, with a focus on those transitioning out of school. Through supporting families and developing home, based afterschool and day service programs Paula has built a wealth of experience. Autism, behavioral and communication challenges are her areas of specialty. Paula works collaboratively with families and individuals to make the grey aspect of life more concrete. Paula believes that every person has a lot of potential. She enjoys problem solving with families and individuals about strategies that help build success, knowing that success looks different for each person. Paula has worked at Emarc in a variety of capacities, for the last ten years, this includes many aspects of Family Support, the DESE/DDS program, Day Habilitation, and Career Services. Prior to this Paula worked in school systems in various roles. Paula received her Bachelor’s from Elmira College in Elementary Education and her Master’s in Social Work from Simmons College. Paula is an LICSW.
Katherine has worked with individuals, DDS, provider agencies, schools, elder caregivers and families on transition planning, futures planning, and community building for over 25 years. She began learning about person centered supports from leaders such as Beth Mount and John O’Brien in 1985 and has provided training and mentoring on related topics throughout New England. As Director for the Community Membership Project at the UMASS Medical School/Shriver Center, she led a 5-year federally funded initiative on person centered planning and community building with specialized focus on older adults. Katherine is currently the Director of Training and Development for Vinfen, a non-profit human services provider in MA and CT and a Senior Adjunct Faculty member at the University of Massachusetts where she has been teaching courses in Disabilities Studies for 14 years.Katherine completed her bachelor and master’s degrees in psychology and healthcare administration from Elizabethtown College, Bucknell University, and Suffolk University. She completed her Disability Leadership [LEND] Fellowship at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center in 2007.
Kathy Kelly has been working in the human services field for over 30 years. Her mission is to ensure that everyone has access to successful outcomes in life. She has developed and managed a variety of successful programs for chapters of The Arc and is currently working as Benefits Counselor with the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission. She serves on the Arc’s Government Affairs Committee and the Governor’s Autism Commission Sub-Committee for Transition. Kathy is an expert in transition and has provided guidance and support for students, families, and school systems. She particularly enjoys working with students and families as they prepare to make their transition to adulthood by helping them develop a realistic future vision and goals that are person-centered and focused on their individual strengths and needs. She understands the state, non-profit and private systems and knows how to navigate them to maximize planning. A graduate of Suffolk University, she received a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.
Dianne joined The Arc of Massachusetts in 2015 as a Family Outreach Coordinator for the Massachusetts Alliance for 21st Century Disability Policy (MA21) grant project. Dianne’s strong conviction is that supports and services for individuals with disabilities must open doors of opportunity for them to build a meaningful life in their own community and be surrounded by people they love and are loved by. Her personal mission is to bring hope to other families using her real life experiences as a parent of a child with multiple disabilities. Dianne’s passion is to help families recognize their loved one’s natural gifts and talents to create a vision for their future, which can be a powerful tool in their advocacy. The vision she and her husband created twenty years ago for their oldest son who has cerebral palsy was a seed planted. Today her son has his own vision.
Dianne was the Statewide Coordinator for Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change (MFOFC) for thirteen (13) years and continues to assist the MFOFC Southeast Family Leadership Network with their Family Leadership Series (FLS). A graduate of the 1995-96 FLS, she credits this amazing training for helping her to “imagine better” in her advocacy for person centered supports and services that enabled her son’s vision become reality.
Dianne Huggon resides in Taunton, MA, with her husband and their three talented and beautiful young adult children.
Karen is the parent of an adult son, age 25, with severe autism , so she has been through the system herself and has experience with it, both professionally and personally. As a SUPPORTbroker, Karen works with individuals and families to help them plan for the future so that the loved one can live the best life possible. Karen is knowledgeable about issues involving government benefits, estate planning, and supported decision making options ( including alternatives to guardianship). She is the chair of the housing task force of AFAM (Advocacy for Autism Massachusetts), and sits on the Housing Subcommittee of Massachusetts’s state-wide Autism Commission. She is an active member and past president of Wellesley STARS (track program for special needs adults). She graduated Cum Laude from Northwestern University School of Law in 1984.