Our Committee Members that make all of our meetings and events possible
Laura is a founding AZ ASSIST board member, became active in the autism community after the birth of her son 24 years ago. Her early career as a registered clinical dietitian, educating in-hospital patients, prepared her to become an advocate for her son in the school system as well as the community. She led her church’s educational program, and eventually earned a Master’s degree in Special Education. Far beyond advocating for her own son, Laura felt compelled to help other families navigate the complex journey that those affected with ASD travel with their amazing children. She currently tutors students with autism and works with the emotional and behavioral challenges. Laura knows the acquisition of life skills never ends; one of her teaching philosophies is “Go as far as you can see and, when you get there, you’ll be able to see further.” Laura received her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Miami University in Ohio and her Masters in Special Education from Grand Canyon University. In her spare time, Laura loves researching history, traveling, hiking and exploring other cultures.
Teri is married with two children, is now retired after 31 years in Special Education. She holds multiple certifications and endorsements. Over her career, she specialized in Cross Categorical Resource, Developmental Preschool, and Kindergarten. Her passion for autistic children was enriched, as for most involved with AZ ASSIST, by a wonderful son who is currently very involved in SEEDS for Autism. Volunteerism is a way of life for Teri, and retirement has not slowed her down. She serves as coordinator for West Valley AZ ASSIST in addition to teaching online courses and supervising student teachers for Grand Canyon University. Before Teri moved to Arizona in 1985, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Language Pathology from Illinois State University, and a Master’s in Special and Elementary Education from Northern Illinois University. Her many interests include her two well-loved dogs, reading, cooking, and knitting. Teri loves travel enough to enjoy setting up itineraries for other’s vacations, although she is a strong supporter of all things local, including shops and restaurants of downtown Phoenix.
Regina has been married for 32 years and has two adult sons. She recently retired from teaching after 32 years. She has worked and taught all grade levels from preschool through seniors in high school and finds that her favorite grade level of students is the one she is currently teaching! Every grade is exciting to her. Sometimes her students would say, “Mrs. Flint, I think you are having way too much fun!”
Regina has a love for learning and researching new methods, materials and books to assist her with her work with children, teens and adults. As a result, Regina has taken and attended hundreds of hours of workshops and classes plus has participated on numerous curriculum writing committees, worked on transition issues and writing assessments for the school district along with being a special education department lead for the last 14 years working directly to train and assist other teachers at the schools. In addition to the school setting, Regina was a caretaker for 30 years for a woman with both intellectual and mental issues which gave her exposure to the world of support services for those with disabilities and numerous medical field treatment plans available to those in need.
Regina holds many certifications and endorsements in both elementary education and special education with an emphasis on learning disabled and emotionally handicapped students. Regina was a board member for the Arizona Professional Education Association/Peoria Classroom Teachers Association for 15 years, taught Sunday School at her church for 15 years, conducted Marriage Preparation classes with her husband for 20 years and was the founding president for a high school football booster club for 6 years.
Karen practices Financial Planning with MassMutual Financial Services. Providing financial advice has become Karen’s passion because she enjoys helping people and their families.
Karen has completed her SpecialCare Planning designation, ChSNC which allows her to use her financial planning passion to assist families who have loved ones with special needs. She now leads the Team for MassMutual Arizona. The MassMutual Arizona SpecialCare Planning Team’s mission is to help make a positive difference in the lives of individuals with special needs, their caregivers and other family members. The SpecialCare Planning Team has developed a unique network of professionals within the Special Needs community. This devoted network assists families, not only with their financial planning, but also provides a wide range of expertise to fit the diverse concerns of Special Needs families.
Karen Starbowski was born and raised in Michigan and has been living in Arizona since 1999. She received her BS in Mathematics from Eastern Michigan University. In addition to being involved with many of the Special Needs organizations, she is also involved with the Ahwatukee Chamber of Commerce. When Karen has free time, she enjoys watching her beloved Red Wings or hiking in the Superstition Mountains.
Katie received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 1996 from Brigham Young University. She taught second grade in Utah before returning home to the East Valley with her husband to raise their family. She has four children, her oldest son has Autism. Katie has been active in the Autism community for many years. She is currently the Community Director for the Autism Society of Greater Phoenix and on their Board of Directors as Treasurer. She also co-founded a parent support group called E.V.A.N. (East Valley Autism Network) with two other Moms in 2006.
Katie enjoys reading, raising goats and chickens on their family farm and in supporting families in all areas of need. She is a resource for Autism Awareness Education for future teachers, for students, and families throughout the valley. She enjoys sharing information to both families affected by Autism and throughout our communities.
Angie is the mother of a son and a daughter, both in their twenties. Her son was diagnosed with autism in 1995 and she has been a fierce advocate ever since. Angie is a Navy veteran and was a Navy wife and has lived in several states and locations (Including Antarctica!) She has dealt with many different service organizations and school districts in her role as her son’s advocate. While living in California she was the parent liaison between her son’s school district and the Ventura County Special Education Local Plan Area. She also represented the Autism Society of Ventura County on the Community Advisory Committee of the SELPA. In Nebraska, California, Arizona and North Carolina she volunteered in her children’s classrooms and could always be counted on to chaperone field trips and organize book fairs. Although most of her adult life she was a stay at home mother and volunteer, while living in NC, Angie joined up with the Autism Society of North Carolina, the state’s preeminent non-profit service provider and support organization for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. In her accounting role with ASNC, Angie learned the ins and outs of Medicaid funding, service delivery and bureaucratic red tape, a role in which Angie thrives and excels. When she decided to move back to Arizona in November of 2017 to be near family, ASNC allowed her to continue in her position and work remotely from a home office in Gilbert.
Angie is also on the board of directors of the Autism Society of Greater Phoenix. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with her niece and nephews, embroidery, and going to concerts. She travels back to the east coast to see her favorite band play in multiple concerts throughout the southeast.
Kerrie is a single mom of a little boy named Conor and an adult daughter named Sarah. She is a huge advocate for anything autism, as it directly affects her little boy. As of today, he is considered non-verbal but she works on this every day. She is an employee of Johnson Plastic Plus, the Color Center Manager of the Phoenix location. She runs the lasers as well as UV-LED printers and helps the corporate marketing department when needed. Since February 2012, when her son was diagnosed with autism, she has been running a Facebook/Blog page called “Autism Will Not Define My Son” which chronicles the crazy autism journey that she and her son are on and everything they deal with on a daily basis, both good and bad. She believes that knowledge is power and having the power to spread awareness creates knowledge. Her life with her son is an open book for that reason. In May 2015, she formed a local autism advocacy organization called “Arizona Autism Network of the West Valley”. In January of 2018 she merged her organization with the Autism Society of Greater Phoenix, where she currently sits as the Board Secretary.
My name is Rebecca Adams. I’m a single Phx Native that has lived in Avondale, Buckeye, Glendale, Phoenix, Prescott and Mesa. I have also lived in Guam, California and Texas, with 4 special needs kids. I have two daughters who are 26 & 20 and my twins boys who are 8 1/2 years old. I retired from being a Forensic Accountant after my boys were both diagnosed with Autism in 2012. I have been involved in the California and Arizona Special Needs Community for almost 20 years after oldest daughter received her diagnosis.
Between volunteering my time with the Arizona Autism Network of the West Valley, Autism Society of Greater Phoenix, and working part-time, I love to read, play at the beach and swim.