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SPEAKERS

We were able to gather an incredible group of world changers who led us at last year's 2023 Together Conference: BEYOND.

 

READ BELOW TO MEET THESE INCREDIBLE LEADERS!

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JILLIAN PALMIOTTO
FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR @
TOGETHER 
WE CARE

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Breakout Sessions: Starting a Disability Ministry | Building a Leadership Team

Jillian Palmiotto is the Founder of the Together Conference and the Executive Director of Together We Care, a nonprofit organization that focuses on meeting the everyday needs of families impacted by disability as well as equipping organizations for disability inclusion. In 2016, Jillian launched the Together Conference after receiving requests to help other ministry leaders learn the how-tos for developing an inclusive ministry. What began as a small gathering of volunteers, church staff, and pastors has now developed into a nationally known conference. She holds a BA in Early Childhood Education and a MA in Inclusive Education. She is also a licensed minister and served as the disability pastor at Mount Paran Church for seven years. Jillian is married to her husband, Anthony, and they have two children, Samantha and Nicholas, and two furbabies, Noelle and Beau.

LYNN WILKERSON
SPECIAL NEEDS MINISTER @ JOHNSON FERRY BAPTIST CHURCH

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Breakout Sessions: Everyone Needs A Spiritual IEP | Budgeting for a Special Needs Ministry

Lynn Wilkerson is the director of the special needs ministry, called the Shine Ministry, at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, GA. She has served there for eight years. Her inspiration for this ministry is her son, Isaac. The ministry includes 50+ special needs families that the church is reaching through inclusion or specialized classes. The ministry is dedicated to sharing the gospel and discipling all the participants. This is done through weekly programs, support groups, family retreats, and other special events. Lynn enjoys a great cup of joe at unique coffee shops around town, being outside, and recently took up running, determined to run the Peachtree Road Race for the first time! She is married to her super supportive husband, Tommy, and they have two awesome children; Emily is a freshman at UGA and Isaac is a sophomore at Walton High School.

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JOHN FELAGELLER
MINISTRY RELATIONS MANAGER @
JONI & FRIENDS CHICAGO

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Breakout Sessions: The Power of Community | Faith and the Special Needs Single Father | Putting Faith to Work

John Felageller is the Ministry Relations Manager at Joni and Friends Chicago. Prior to that, he spent almost 20 years in education, working with children from infants to middle school, serving in a variety of roles, including Teacher, Mentor Teacher, and School Director. John lives in Highwood, IL, and is a single father to his son Christopher who is on the Autism spectrum. He is a public speaker, podcast guest on numerous podcasts, and a regular contributor to Key Ministry’s Special Needs Family blog, as well as other special needs blogs, including Hope Anew and The Mighty.

EMILY SAUM
ASSOCIATE CHILDREN'S PASTOR @ 
MOUNT PARAN CHURCH

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Breakout Sessions: Inclusion in Children's Ministry | Inclusion for Special Events

Emily Saum has spent her entire life involved in kids ministry in many different ways. Growing up, her family served as itinerant children's ministry evangelists. She spent many years at children's camps and various churches during her childhood. Much of her life was spent working at an orphanage in Uganda where she lived full-time for several years, serving as the resident director. Emily has been on staff at Mount Paran Church for the last 4 years as the Associate Children's Pastor. She has a passion for outreach and discipleship and teaching children how to serve in their community and grow in their relationship with Jesus. Emily has a strong desire to see children's lives forever changed through the gospel of Jesus Christ and for them to experience the power of God at a young age.

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JEANETTA BRYANT
FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR @ 
ABILITIES WORKSHOP

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Breakout Sessions: Understanding the Grief of a Diagnosis

Jeanetta Bryant is the Founder and Executive Director of Abilities Workshop, Inc. in Orlando, FL. The purpose of Abilities Workshop is to provide an educational platform and informational clearinghouse, mentoring, training, and support for parents, pastors, and teachers to empower families to successfully navigate their child’s special needs journey for optimal success. Jeanetta was named the Top Autism Advocate in 2021 by Exceptional Needs Today. She is the mother of two children, one who lives with Autism. She is an author and developer, who has recently acquired Bright Feats, a directory that helps thousands of families find support and services.

KEN CHATHAM
MIDDLE SCHOOL PASTOR @ MOUNT PARAN CHURCH

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Breakout Sessions: Inclusion in Youth Ministry | Inclusion for Special Events

Ken Chatham is currently the Middle School Pastor at Mount Paran Church in Atlanta, GA. Since joining the staff at Mount Paran in 2012, Ken has served in many different areas, including coordinating local outreach ministries, leading short-term missions, and pastoral roles in youth ministry. Ken is passionate about using the gift of evangelism to reach the families within our city and the youth of this generation with the life-changing Good News of Jesus Christ.

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JEFF JANSMA
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT DIRECTOR @
CHURCH ON MAIN

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Breakout Sessions: Inclusion Facility Tour | Programming for Adults with Disabilities

Jeff Jansma is the Community Engagement Director of Church on Main in Snellville, GA. As a parent of a special needs adult son and full-time Ministry Director, Jeff is uniquely qualified to understand the needs of not only the adult special needs population but also the parents' needs. Jeff is an advocate, consultant, volunteer, board member, and coach of Gwinnett Masters Special Teams and Greater Atlanta Pathways, Inc. He has been a program director, development director, and public relations specialist in other non-profit organizations benefiting people with special needs and disabilities.

HAILEY POLSON
SPECIAL NEEDS DIRECTOR @ MOUNT PARAN CHURCH

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Breakouts: Inclusion in Children's Minsitry | Inclusion in Youth Ministry

Hailey attended Piedmont University, where she received her Bachelor's degree in education and her Master's degree in Math and History. She is a certified special education teacher and taught in the Gwinnett County public school system for seven years. Currently, Hailey is the special needs ministry director at Mount Paran Church. At Mount Paran, they believe that ALL children are capable of discipleship and service. In their ministry they provide an environment that is equipped to support special needs families/family members throughout their spiritual journey and walk with Christ.

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RYAN WOLFE
PRESIDENT & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR @
ABILITY MINISTRY

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Breakout Sessions: Starting a Disability Ministry | Disability Ministry Curriculum

Ryan Wolfe is the President and CEO of Ability Ministry, a non-profit organization that provides homes for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Ability Ministry also works with religious organizations, helping them to establish and advance Disability Ministry programming and outreach. In addition to being an author and featured speaker, Ryan is a passionate advocate for individuals with disabilities. His personal mission is to fight not only for inclusion but also for meaningful opportunities of belonging.

PAMELA VANDEWALKER
CREATOR & AUTHOR @
THE TYKES HUB

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Breakout Sessions: We Worship Together

Pamela Vandewalker is the Dove-Award winning author of more than forty books and children’s musicals and is the creator of Tykes Hub curriculum and devotions including the Teeny Tykes & Tunes series. As a nationally recognized clinician and conference speaker, Pamela has the opportunity to share insight and relevant ministry tools to hundreds of people every year across the globe. She serves a congregation of over 3500 active worshipers as worship programmer and coordinates the Kid’s music program with 500 children actively participating weekly.

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TONYA NASH
PRESIDENT @ 
AUTISM FAITH NETWORK, INC.

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Breakout Sessions: Promoting Autism Awareness in Your Faith Community

Tonya Nash is the founder and Board President of the Autism Faith Network. The nonprofit organization’s mission is to promote autism awareness, acceptance, and inclusion in local and faith-based communities all over the world. Since 2016, the Autism Faith Network has served over 55 churches, with thousands of people learning about autism at church. Tonya is a public health consultant with over 20 years of experience in health promotion and advocacy. She has participated in numerous podcasts, speaking engagements, conferences, and webinars designed to educate and inspire audiences from diverse backgrounds. Tonya and her husband Jamie have two amazing sons who are autistic. Her youngest son was also diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy in 2020. As a mother and caregiver, Tonya is passionate about empowering and equipping churches to minister to families affected by disability. 

CATHERINE BOYLE
MENTAL HEALTH MINISTRY DIRECTOR @

KEY MINISTRY

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Breakout Sessions: Including Kids on the High End of the Spectrum

Catherine has been impacted by mental health issues her entire life, including her own struggles with anorexia, bulimia, anxiety and depression. Catherine has led and started various ministries, including a ministry home for women with eating disorders and Outside In Ministries, founded to help the church minister to and with people with mental health issues. Catherine also authored Hungry Souls: What the Bible Says About Eating Disorder. Prior to working in ministry, Catherine served as an executive at a large U.S. bank. Catherine has been interviewed for her ministry work on radio, television and in online magazines. Catherine has a BBA in Accounting and an MBA from Virginia Commonwealth University, is married to husband Barney, and has two adult children.

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STEPHEN "DOC" HUNSLEY
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & FOUNDER @
SOAR SPECIAL NEEDS

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Breakout Sessions: Getting Senior Leadership on Board | How to Plan a Respite Event | Weekend Buddy Training

Stephen “Doc” Hunsley, M.D. is the Executive Director and founder of SOAR Special Needs in Lenexa, Kansas. SOAR (Special Opportunities, Abilities, and Relationships) serves over 1000 individuals with disabilities through regular respite events and Special Needs Day Camps. Doc is currently assisting over 500 churches locally, nationally, and globally in starting a Disability Ministry. Doc also organizes the Wonderfully Made Disability Conference held annually every October in Kansas City. Doc is a retired pediatrician while his wife, Kay, continues practicing pediatrics. They are proud parents to three beautiful children: Luke, Mark, and Sarah. The Hunsley’s middle child, Mark, is presently running the halls of heaven. During Mark’s five-year earthly stay, he gave his family the opportunity to learn from and love a child with autism.

HEATHER CROAS
PEER SPECIALISTS &
PUBLIC SPEAKER

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Breakout Sessions: Identity Stolen

Heather Croas is a Certified Peer Specialist and a Whole Health Action Management Coach who resides in Cartersville, GA. Diagnosed with a mental illness at an early age, Heather was able to find solace through the lens of a camera, and she learned to use art as a way to communicate her thoughts and emotions. When she was just 8 years old, she discovered her love for photography and capturing moments that brought her comfort and gave her the courage to fight and overcome challenges. As an adult, her personal triumph over mental illness motivated her to assist others on their journey to wellness, and using her own experiences, she assists others in learning coping and self-help strategies. Through her public speaking platform, Heather speaks her truth to audiences across North Georgia and works to illuminate a side of mental illness that is often not portrayed in the media.

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DR. STEPHEN GRCEVICH
PRESIDENT & FOUNDER @ KEY MINISTRY

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Breakout Sessions: Welcoming Kids with Anxiety Disorders | Doing Ministry with Kids (or Colleagues) with ADHD

Dr. Stephen Grcevich (MD, Northeast Ohio Medical University) is a child and adolescent psychiatrist serving as President and Founder of Key Ministry. Dr. Grcevich is the primary spokesperson and vision caster for Key Ministry and leads efforts to build collaborations with pastors, leaders, and other ministry organizations. His book, Mental Health and the Church was published by Zondervan in 2018. In addition to his work for Key Ministry, Dr. Grcevich is an experienced clinician, researcher, and medical school professor with over 35 presentations at major medical conferences, a past recipient of the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and a participant in the 2019 White House Summit on Mental Health.

RACHAEL CHISHOLM
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT THERAPIST @

ASCENT CHRISTIAN COUNSELING SERVICES

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Breakout Sessions: Strengthening & Supporting Marriages That Are Impacted by Disability

Rachael has always wanted to help people live abundant lives. In 2007 she received her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and set off on a career helping people to strengthen their relationships, specifically their marriages. She has been married to David since 2005, and they serve as Christian ministers at Gwinnett Church of Christ in Lawrenceville, GA. They have two beautiful and spirited sons. Their oldest, Luke, was born with a severe congenital heart defect and faces difficult physical and cognitive challenges. Being the parent of a child with special needs oftentimes feels like walking through deep, swirling water and scorching fire. It has sent Rachael on a search for natural tools to help parents thrive physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It is her mission to share those tools with other special needs families through coaching, workshops, and social media.

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ABIGAIL BURLE
FOUNDER @
LOVE YOUR STORY 

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Breakout Sessions: Creating Spaces of Belonging

Abigail is passionate about creating spaces of belonging and advocating for every person to have a seat at the table. She is a former middle school math teacher turned stay-at-home mom to five-year-old triplets. She also is the founder of Love Your Story, a local non-profit that provides physical and financial rest for families impacted by disabilities. When she isn’t writing, speaking, or playing with her kids, you can find her reading, using her metal detector, or singing at the top of her lungs. She is an expert at making salsa and is a loud laugher. She believes education and laughter will help the future be accessible and inclusive.

KENT WRIGHT
SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER @ COBB COUNTY SCHOOLS

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Breakout Sessions: Managing Difficult Behavior

Kent Wright Jr. is a special education teacher in the Cobb County school district who is following his calling to work with students who have many exceptionalities. He has a naturally calm spirit which is a true gift for students with emotional and behavioral disorders. He has been serving in the special needs and disability ministry for 13 years. He finds joy in bringing comfort to parents who are no longer nervous when they drop their kids off for church. He currently works for Marietta City Schools and teaches children with special needs at the elementary level. He has realized, as years have passed, how his God-given gift has touched so many children and parents. He continues to serve in the Unlimited Ministry at Mount Paran Church and serves in the schools as a guiding light to minister to the kids. He is currently working on his 2nd master's degree in Special Education with a focus on Science. He also holds an M.A. in Special Education. One of Kent's strengths is in dealing with behaviors in the areas of emotional behavior disorder, autism, and whatever else God puts in his path. He learned from his brother, whom he considers the best in his field. Kent's brother has been his mentor and still is to this day. Like sports and music, he has a passion for special needs in his heart and because of God, he has found a way to be a support for others.

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SHARON WEATHERSPOON
FOUNDER & ADVOCATE @
MOSES MOMS, USA

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Breakout Sessions: Launching a Life Group for Special Needs Moms

Originally from Michigan, Sharon has been a resident of Georgia for the past 32 years with her with three amazing sons. The Good Lord gave her the vision to start a national chapter organization and to call it Moses Moms, USA. Their mission is to help mothers of special education students prepare for the future. As a mother of a son on the autism spectrum, she knows firsthand how important this mission is. Since 2017,  her Moses Moms advocacy and outreach to mothers expanded to include the development of several initiatives and workshops. The pandemic taught her valuable lessons: rethink possible, move the initiatives online, and as God told Moses “keep moving forward!” She and her son Xavier currently participate in the praise band at The Nett Church in Lilburn, GA. They love making a joyful noise unto the Lord! Xavier is a gifted and talented drummer for churches, and Sharon loves to sing.  During an interview, a movie producer once asked her son this question “What is autism?” Xavier’s response: “It's a different kind of ability!” Sharon is one grateful Mom!  

ELIZABETH NEWMAN
AUTHOR & VOLUNTEER @

TOGETHER WE CARE

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Breakout Sessions: Supporting Parents of Special Needs Children

Elizabeth is the author of two books. A Long Way From Shattered Glass to Mosaic is a book that details a parent’s perspective on the challenges and emotions of parenting a special needs child. Her newest book, All In With The Almighty: Parenting Special Needs Children by Faith, is a 10-week Bible study for those raising children with unique challenges. Elizabeth has been sharing the parent perspective at conferences for 12 years. A mother to four girls, Elizabeth’s youngest, now 23, is diagnosed with autism. Elizabeth has a passion for helping families navigate the roller coaster of life as they raise children with special needs. 

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CAROLYN POLAKOWSKI
PRESIDENT & CEO @
CAY COMMUNICATIONS, LLC

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Breakout Sessions: Fundraising for Your Special Needs Ministry

Carolyn has experience in leading corporate and nonprofit foundations with an emphasis on disabilities, human service, animal welfare, youth development social services community, as well as pediatric adult specialty healthcare sectors. She has extensive expertise in grant writing, fundraising strategy, special events, public and media relations, community affairs, and corporate relations.
She has consistently exceeded goals and objectives in progressively challenging leadership positions.  In 2015 Carolyn launched Cay Communications, LLC, a nonprofit consulting and direct services firm. Her vision to gather a professional team with expertise in all areas of the nonprofit sector to “light the way for great organizations to make a greater impact” has been realized.

STEPHEN CULVER
BEHAVIORAL SPECIALIST @ COBB COUNTY SCHOOLS

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Breakout Sessions: Managing Difficult Behavior

Stephen L. Culver is a proud native of Atlanta, Georgia. He has a passion for children and loves working with the youth ministry at church. Stephen also serves as the Minister of Music for Great Faith Cathedral Church of God in Christ, located in Mableton, Ga. He enjoys teaching, singing, playing the keyboard, writing plays, and choreographing routines for miming and stepping in order to keep children motivated. Stephen's passion for children extends to ALL children, especially children with special needs. For the past 27 years, Stephen has devoted his time to assisting children in all areas of special education. He currently serves as one of the Support and Services Administrators in the district. His willingness and ability to serve all children, especially those with disabilities, will impact generations to come by successfully meeting their educational, social, and emotional needs.

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BETH GOLIK
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS @ KEY MINISTRY

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Breakout Sessions: Training Your Children’s Ministry Volunteers for Disability Inclusion | Using Multi-Sensory Strategies to Teach Scripture

Beth Golik is the Director of Operations for Key Ministry, maintaining the day-to-day operations of Key Ministry and supporting the other staff members and the Board of Directors. Beth hosts a monthly Disability Ministry Video Roundtable for ministry leaders and has convened a weekly Idea Share with church leaders across the country during the time of COVID-19. Beth also serves as the special needs ministry director at Bay Presbyterian Church in suburban Cleveland. She has a passion for connecting people to resources through networking and relationship building.

MARY TATUM
DEAF & DISABILITIES MINISTRIES DIRECTOR @
SOUTHEAST CHRISTIAN CHURCH

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Breakout Sessions: Marketing for Your Disability Ministry

Mary is the director of Deaf and Disabilities Ministries at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY. For more than 20 years, she has shared her passion for accessibility and inclusion with the staff and congregation at their 12 campuses. Mary lives with her husband and three children in LaGrange, KY. Prior to her time in ministry, she worked as a special education teacher and an interpreter for the Deaf.

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SHELLY ROACH
SHINE CAFE DIRECTOR @
SOUTHEAST CHRISTIAN CHURCH

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Breakout Sessions: Taking Disabilities Ministry on the Road

You will usually find Shelley in the Shine Café at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY. She oversees this inclusive café where adults with developmental disabilities are given the opportunity to learn job skills and serve their congregation. Shelley has been a part of the church staff for 5 years. When she joined staff she brought with her years of experience as the sibling of a sister with Down Syndrome as well as professional work in the disabilities community. She and her husband live on a farm in Mt. Eden, KY.

KYLE PEASE
FOUNDER @ KYLE PEASE FOUNDATION

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Breakout Sessions: Serving with a Disability | Creating Places Where People with Disabilities Belong

A four-time IRONMAN triathlete, Kyle Pease has a career total of more than 75 races. Since 2011, he and his brother, Brent, have competed in races across the country, most recently becoming the first brother duo in history to complete the grueling IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. Born with Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, Kyle has strived for life beyond his wheelchair; and he has achieved that and so much more. Kyle graduated from Kennesaw State University with a B.S. in Sports Management, and is the founder of the Kyle Pease Foundation, a successful motivational speaker, and spends his time as a full-time greeter at Piedmont Hospital in his home town of Atlanta.

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GARETT WALL
MINISTER @
SOUTHEAST CHRISTIAN CHURCH

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Breakout Sessions: Discipling Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Garett is a minister at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY where he has been on staff with the Shine Disabilities Ministry for 4 years. After many years working in college athletics communications, he felt a call to ministry. Garett is passionate about helping churches become a place that recognizes all people are uniquely gifted for involvement and service in the body of Christ. He and his wife Becky are raising two children, one who has Down syndrome.

RON SANDISON
FOUNDER @
SPECTRUM INCLUSION

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Breakout Sessions: Equipping Individuals with Disabilities for Ministry | Overcoming the Hopeless Complex | Empowering Individuals with Autism for Life’s Transitions & Employment

Ron Sandison works full time in the medical field and is a professor of theology at Destiny School of Ministry. He is an advisory board member of the Art of Autism and the Els Center of Excellence. Sandison has a Master of Divinity from Oral Roberts University and is the author of A Parent’s Guide to Autism: Practical Advice. Biblical Wisdom published by Charisma House and Views from the Spectrum. He has memorized over 15,000 Scriptures including 22 complete books of the New Testament. Sandison speaks at over 70 events a year including 20 plus education conferences. He is the founder of Spectrum Inclusion which empowers young adults with autism for employment. Ron and his wife, Kristen, reside in Rochester Hills, MI, with daughter, Makayla

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GRIFFIN MARSHALL
SHINE DISABILITIES MINISTRY RESIDENT @
SOUTHEAST CHRISTIAN CHURCH

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Breakout Sessions: Discipling Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Griffin is currently a resident with the Shine Disabilities Ministry at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY. He is from Lexington, KY where he served as a volunteer with Access Ministry of Southland Christian Church. His passion for serving those with disabilities led this recent graduate of Asbury College from a career in accounting to seeking God's plan for his time in ministry.

KATIE MATTHEWS
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR @
THE BANQUET NETWORK

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Breakout Sessions: Tools to Include Students with Disabilities | Opening our Eyes to Invisible Disabilities

Katie Matthews is a mom of two, a pastor's wife, The Banquet Network’s Executive Director, and the director of a special needs ministry called Bethany Blessings. She is passionate about bringing the gospel to families of individuals with special needs and seeks to train other church members on how to minister to these families. Her desire is for the church to love individuals who have different needs as best we can on this side of eternity so that they would one day be able to meet Jesus face to face.

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BRIAN PAGE
SPECIAL ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT @
SHEPHERDS COLLEGE

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Breakout Sessions: Partnering with Adult Programs | Post-Secondary Programming for Adults with Disabilities

Brian Page grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and is the son of a physician father and college professor/social worker mother--so caregiving is a part of his DNA.  He has been married for 35 years to Dr. Natalie Page and serves on several Boards, one of which is Elim Christian Services, a school that supports children and adults with disabilities. The Pages have three adult children: HC, Benjamin, and Autumn Grace. Benjamin is their special needs miracle son, a graduate of Elim Christian School, and a technology/culinary graduate of Shepherds College, a faith-based three-year residential college serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He is a business/marketing graduate of Tennessee State University, has an MBA from Regent University, and is a licensed and ordained chaplain. Brian is a tremendous communicator, engaging trainer, and pastor. Brian has served as Senior Vice President of Advancement and currently serves as Special Advisor to the President at Shepherds College. He is also the Vice President of Development and Communications for All Chicago. Brian had a successful career in commercial and personal banking, financial planning, and investment management--before moving into the non-profit world as a Regional Vice President for Prison Fellowship and then an Executive Director for several YMCA's.  Brian is a huge sports fan, enjoys traveling, connecting with strangers, and laughing with family and friends. Most importantly, he is a passionate follower of Jesus and a big-time advocate for the special needs community.

ALTHEA PENN, Ed.D, PDS, ODP
DIRECTOR OF EARLY EDUCATION @
ASSOCIATION OF CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS INTERNATIONAL

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Breakout Sessions: Private School Accreditation for Serving Children With Exceptional Needs

Dr. Penn is the Association of Christian Schools International Director of Early Education. She also serves as executive director of The Shepherd’s Academy for Teaching Excellence a private EE-12 school and educational consulting firm. Dr. Penn has served as a professional development specialist and program administrator for over three decades. She served on the American Academy of Pediatrics National Health and Standards Review committee and has facilitated Child Development Associate training and the Georgia Director Credential course since 2005. She has 35 years of experience teaching at both the primary and secondary education levels.  She is a sought-after educational organization development practitioner and conference speaker. She has a passion for intentionally cultivating potential in others. Dr. Penn has authored several books, including The Christian Education Mandate,  Disorder Fact Sheet Resource Booklet: For Parents and Teachers of Exceptional Learners,  Firmly Rooted: Cultivating Faith Development in the Next Generation and Equipping and Empowering Early Educators. She is married to her best friend and high school sweetheart.  They are the parents of two beautiful daughters and a son-in-love.  You can usually find her curled up with a book or gardening with her grandchildren.

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STEVE CHATMAN
VICE PRESIDENT @
RISING ABOVE MINISTRIES

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Breakout Sessions: Helping Church Leadership Understand and Support Disability/Special Needs Ministry

Steve Chatman serves as Vice President of Rising Above Ministries which is a non-profit ministry dedicated to providing special-needs families around the world with support, encouragement, inspiration, resources, and community. Prior to joining Rising Above, he served as the Family Pastor at his church for 20 years. He and his wife Lori have been married for 25 years and have five children and three grandchildren. They have two daughters with Down Syndrome. Steve has a passion for encouraging and resourcing families touched by special needs, as well as helping churches discover how to better love and serve these families. In addition to his role at Rising Above, he serves as an elder and teaching pastor in his church, and sits on the executive board at Hope Center Adoption and Family Services in Cookeville, TN.

VICTORIA WHITE
CHURCH SERVICE DIRECTOR @
ALL BELONG

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Breakout Sessions: Restorative Practices in Education 

Victoria White learns from best practices in inclusive education to support congregations building belonging with people of all abilities. Combining the resources of Friendship Ministries and All Belong Center for Inclusive Education, she speaks, writes, consults, and promotes inclusive worship across the country.

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JOHN GRIFFITH
SPORTS & FITNESS ASSOCIATE @
JOHNSON FERRY BAPTIST CHURCH

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Breakout Sessions: Creating a When, Win Community

John Griffith is on the team of Sports and Fitness Ministry at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church. He is an associate in charge of flag football, baseball, softball, and Shine Sports, which is a partnership with Johnson Ferry's Shine Ministry for special needs. Shine Sports offers basketball, bowling, and soccer to athletes of all abilities. Prior to Johnson Ferry, John was a teacher of fourth grade, coach of baseball, basketball, football, soccer, and tennis and Director of Auxiliary Programs at the Westminster Schools and Galloway School. John and his wife Jennifer have been married eighteen years and have four children. John's daughter Julia, 14, is autistic, writes a blog, and is the inspiration behind John's efforts to advocate for change.

RACHAEL BARRON
FOUNDER @
EFFECTIVE STUDENTS

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Breakout Sessions: Executive Functions and Impact on Student Success.

A graduate of Emory University, Rachael has spent her professional career coaching and solving complex educational problems. From applying problem solving and vision casting skills in the business environment through applying these principles to the education realm, she excels at helping individual educators, students and families find educational success. Prior to founding Effective Students, Rachael solved complex educational problems in her role as an educational advocate mastering the maze of finding solutions for families within Georgia’s public and private schools, helping the most difficult learners find success. Rachael now spends all of her time working with educators, children, young adults, and families who are focused on achieving success in their school environment and acquiring a set of self-management skills that last a lifetime.

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BEN SATTERFIELD
RESEARCH ASSOCIATE @
CENTER FOR INCLUSIVE DESIGN

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Breakout Sessions: Teaching the Bible to Children with Special Needs

Dr. Ben Satterfield is a Research Associate with the Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  He also a part-time Assistant Professor at the College of Education at the University of Georgia, teaching the Master's Level Course in AAC  in the Department of Communication Sciences & Special Education. He currently serves on the Research Committee of the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) and as an associate editor of the Assistive Technology Outcomes & Benefits Journal. Ben‘s research focuses upon outcomes of AT use and upon Mastery of AT.

PAT SATTERFIELD
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR @
DUNAMIS EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION

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Breakout Sessions: Teaching the Bible to Children with Special Needs

Pat is passionate about seeing individuals with disabilities and their families included in the Body of Christ!  She currently serves as the Director of the Dunamis Educational Foundation where she oversees free learning activities for teens and adults with Developmental Disabilities, including life skills, book club, and pre-employment skills.  She brings almost 30 years of experience in Assistive Technology implementation, curriculum adaptation, evaluation, and training experience to her current endeavors.  Pat and Ben are the parents of 4 sons, the youngest is Blake, born with Down Syndrome.

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