Three governing councils include the CDS Council, the Community Advisory Council (CAC), and the University Coordinating Council (UCC).
The CDS Council plans biannual assemblies for all CDS personnel to attend with the purpose of community-building and heightening communication and accountability throughout the center.
The CDS Council is comprised of eight representatives from CDS including six faculty members, one Administrative, Professional, and Technical (APT) member, and one graduate assistant (GA). Faculty members typically serve two-year terms, and APT and GAs serve one-year terms. Every year, CDS conducts a center-wide election where faculty members nominate and elect fellow faculty members, APT personnel nominate and elect fellow APT personnel, and GAs nominate and elect other GAs.
Community Advisory Council
The Community Advisory Council (CAC) is composed of persons with disabilities, family members of persons with disabilities, and representatives of key community agencies. The CAC meets at least quarterly to review the work of the CDS, and provide input for strategic planning and agenda setting. Research on evidence-based practices is also shared with members of the CAC during these sessions. View the CAC Orientation and Bylaws.
Martha M. Guinan, CAC Chair
Martha M. Guinan is an educator, researcher and mother to a young man with Down syndrome. In addition to special education, her interests lay in teaming, leadership, educational technology, literacy and cultural diversity. She has worked for many years with parents, schools and support groups across the Pacific to engage them in the education of children with special needs. She currently serves as Chair of the Special Education Advisory Council of Hawaiʻi (SEAC).
Isabella Barrett earned a Bachelor in Philosophy and Theology and a Master of Education both from Point Loma Nazarene University. Her 12 years of teaching includes both private and public schools with teaching credentials in California, Oklahoma, and Hawaiʻi. Her teaching experience ranges from elementary to high school aged students, with a specialty in reading and writing.
Kirk Barth graduated from University of California, Berkeley in 1971, with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. Kirk has been a financial planner since 1989. He has been working with the special needs community since 2004. Kirk’s hobbies include killing orchids and losing golf balls.
Daintry Bartoldus has served as the executive administrator of Hawaiʻi State Council on Developmental Disabilities (DD Council) since 2018. The DD Council is an agency which provides advocacy, capacity building, and systems change activities on behalf of persons with developmental disabilities. Daintry is very passionate about educating the community on inclusion of individuals with I/DD.
Gigi Davidson is the founder of two nonprofit organizations: FASD Communities provides housing for young adults with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and advocacy throughout the US to build awareness of this lifelong invisible disability; and ʻOhana Komputer provides computer literacy skills training to the economically disadvantaged people of Hawaiʻi.
Louis Erteschik grew up in New York City. He attended Northwestern University and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He is the Executive Director of the Hawaiʻi Disability Rights Center. He has served in that capacity for ten years. Prior to that he was a Staff Attorney with the Disability Rights Center and also was a staff attorney at the Hawaiʻi State Legislature and a Hearing Officer for the Hawaiʻi Department of Health.
Barbara Fischlowitz-Leong is the executive director of ATRC. She oversees and ensures the evaluation and effectiveness of all programs, services, and activities of the agency and works with the Board of Directors to develop and implement short- and long-range goals, policies, and programs. She is an internationally and nationally recognized advocate for persons with disabilities and employs a knowledgeable and assertive leadership style to accomplish the goals and objectives of numerous projects. She is also a consultant to various state departments and legislators on disability and assistive technology issues.
Gayle Fox has been a special educator in the DOE for nearly 15 years. Currently, she is in her fourth year providing special education transition services to students at Farrington High School with disabilities. Gayle’s mission is to be a resource and advocate for students with special needs and their families to help them be successful after high school and maximize their quality of life. “One thing I love about my job is when I can provide a resource that a student and/ or parent was not aware of, and that resource brings an opportunity that they otherwise would not have had.”
Karen Glasser is the State Director of Best Buddies in Hawaiʻi (BBH), a graduate of the University of Michigan, and New York University in film production. Since February ’20, she has overseen all programmatic, operations and fundraising initiatives for BBH; and opened Citizens Best Buddies. Karen is a member of Best Buddies International’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, sits on several national pilot initiative committees, an alumna of and contributing author of content for Leadership Best Buddies, and a new hire mentor. She is also a member of the Rotary Club of Honolulu and a volunteer with Hawaiʻi Help is on the Way.
Holly Manaseri is the Outreach Coordinator and Associate Specialist at the Center on Disability Studies where she also teaches courses in the graduate Disability Studies program. Holly is a former teacher, school administrator, and professor of both teacher preparation and school leadership preparation where her work has focused on creating inclusive and caring classrooms. Holly is also a passionate family advocate as a parent of a now adult son with a disability.
Meriah Nichols was raised in the Pacific and Asia. Meriah Nichols is a deaf mom to 3 young children, one on the Autism spectrum and one with Down syndrome. She is also a plant nerd, film buff and a professional career counselor who runs the award-winning blog, Unpacking Disability with Meriah Nichols: www.meriahnichols.com.
Sandra Oshiro is a veteran journalist who coordinates HYAIT, a family support group that helps young adults on the autism spectrum. She is pursuing a UH certificate in disability studies and serves on the board and as an officer of PHAC, a developer of affordable housing for senior, low-income, and special needs communities
Kiele Pennington parent of three teen/adult children, two on the Autism Spectrum, and an active member of Hawai’i’s autism community. As the The Autism Community in Action (TACA) Program Design Coordinator, she supports and facilitates family education through regional/national virtual events and online support. As a volunteer for 10+ years, she coordinates TACA Hawai’i and mentors families in the TACA Mentor program. As a community member she is involved with Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) and LDAH Parent Partner; alumni of the Institute of Special Education, William & Mary College; and student member of Hawai’i Association of Behavior Analysts.
Linee Reeves is a Special Education Advocate, Mom of children with learning disabilities, and a continuous learner and health and fitness fanatic. Her greatest joy in life is serving my community and helping people.
Charlene Robles is the Early Intervention Section Supervisor/Part C Coordinator in the Hawaii Department of Health Early Intervention Section (EIS). The EIS provides early intervention services in accordance with Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to support the development of infants and toddlers from birth to three years age and their families. Charlene worked in early intervention (EI) as a Speech-Language Pathologist prior to working in various EI program support and administrator roles.
Susan Rocco found her true calling when she answered a job posting in 1985 for a coordinator of a new parent information and referral program within the Disability and Communication Access Board. She likes to say that her son Jason “got her the job” as they were looking for a parent of a child with a disability to provide parentto-parent support to other parents. During her decades at SPIN, Susan has realized the importance of systems advocacy in making the world a more welcoming place for her son and all people with disabilities.
Clayton Takemoto is the supervisor of the Social Work Services Unit in the Hawaiʻi Department of Health’s Early Intervention. He provides statewide technical support to social workers and care coordinators;, and oversees the Early Intervention Referral Line which is the state’s central point of contact for referring children. He has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Hawaiʻi; is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers; and is licensed in the State of Hawaiʻi. Mr. Takemoto’s entire career has been dedicated to early intervention and supporting family centered practice.
Adam Tanners received his Ph.D. in Education from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, with a specialization is Special Education. His research interests include universal design in education and use of everyday technologies as accommodations to students with disabilities. Adam is currently working as an Instructional Designer for the College of Education at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. He stays true to his background and interest in special education by following universal design principles on all courses he works on. In addition to his role as Instructional Designer Adam occasionally teaches classes for the Department of Special Education.
Matthew Ulanski joined CDS around 2010, with an initial focus on a Medicaid Infrastructure grant about a buy-in option for people with disabilities. His duties included serving as Vice Chair of the CAC for several meetings. “Most people would describe me as well-read and able to take criticism and use it constructively.”
University Coordinating Council
The University Coordinating Council (UCC) is an internal university partnership that assures CDS programs are responsive to national initiatives and the university’s academic program objectives. UCC membership consists of representatives from departments, colleges, and programs at the University of Hawai‘i, which interface with training and research activities focused upon persons with disabilities and their families. The UCC meets bi-annually and supports the recruitment for and expansion of the Interdisciplinary Certificate in Disability and Diversity Studies and other CDS coursework.