Tim is the CEO of Compeer International. Compeer facilitates non-clinical social emotional support through one-to-one volunteer relationships that are vital to an individuals’ mental health recovery. Compeer is located in 52 locations in four countries and 8 states. He resides on the West Side of Buffalo and is the father of an adopted child with special needs.
John R. Drexelius, Jr. Esq.
John R. Drexelius, Jr. is an experienced attorney with a broad range of governmental, legal, political and administrative expertise. He has acquired over 32 years of governmental experience and has served as an Assistant County Attorney in Erie County, Assistant New York State Attorney General and counsel to several New York State Senators.
Kristin Dudek is a Certified Special Education Teacher and currently a Director of Pupil Personnel Services in the Salamanca City Central School District. She has over 22 years’ experience in various capacities of working with families and students with special needs from Birth to age 21 and beyond. She is also currently a stakeholder in Albany regarding upcoming Part 200 regulations.
Lauren Ferranti is a Relationship Manager at M&T Bank. Lauren received her Bachelors of Science Degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and received her Masters of Business Administration in 2014. Lauren is highly active in various organizations in Buffalo and is a strong supporter of volunteering and making a difference in the area. Lauren has been involved in working and volunteering with individuals with special needs since high school. Her passion to support and bring awareness to the Buffalo community is something she consistently strives to accomplish.
Joseph Gardella, Jr., Ph.D.
Joseph Gardella is a parent of two children with special needs who graduated from Buffalo schools and a longtime education and environmental activist in WNY. He directs the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Partnership (ISEP, isep.buffalo.edu) with Buffalo Public Schools, a $10M STEM education initiative in 12 high needs Buffalo schools, as a part of his responsibilities as a SUNY Distinguished Professor in Chemistry at the University at Buffalo. He and his family live in North Buffalo.
Donna Gonser is the Director of Auditing and Accounting at Lumsden McCormick, LLP, where her primary client responsibility is management and oversight of services provided to exempt organizations and professional service corporations. She has specific expertise with charitable organizations, foundations, governmental agencies, public authorities and educational institutions, including colleges, universities and private and charter schools.
Harold N. Harden, Jr.
Harold N. Harden, Jr. is a New York State Certified School Counselor and Licensed Mental Health Counselor for Buffalo Public Schools at The Occupational Training Center #42. He teaches Social Development classes with an emphasis on Transitioning to Adulthood, coordinates student transition; serves as advisor to the Parent Involvement Group, and several committees/teams within the school. Harold assists students and their families to link with OPWDD, ACCES-VR, and a variety of related programs and services that benefit person with developmental disabilities. He is a father of a child with multiple disabilities.
Janice E. McKinnie serves as Executive Director for True Community Development Corporation the community development arm of True Bethel Baptist Church. She is instrumental in the creation of affordable housing and economic development on the East side of Buffalo. She is committed to providing education and resources to assist families and individuals with special needs.
Bradford R. Watts, Community Relations Coordinator at People Inc. received a M.A. In Communication Theory from SUNY Buffalo State, he serves as Board Chair at Parent Network as a representative of People Inc., and grandparent to children that received early intervention services. He is passionate about service to the community. Mr. Watts serves on boards for The Buffalo Urban League, Housing Opportunities Made Equal, and is Community Council President of Buffalo Promise Neighborhoods. In his other service efforts; he is a part-time mentor to ESL students in the Buffalo Adult Education division as a mentor for Erie Community College, and serves as a NYS Chaplain through his church Dayspring Church of God of Prophecy in Buffalo.