The Council

Meet our Council members from across Texas.

Table of Contents

TCDD is governed by a 27-member board that includes people with disabilities, family members, and representatives from state agencies, university centers for excellence in developmental disabilities, and other organizations. To learn about how to join the Council, see Become a Council Member.

Governor-Appointed Council Members

Andrew Crim, Chair
Fort Worth
Andrew Crim is the director of education and professional development for the American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists. He’s a board member for the Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions and member of the American Society of Association Executives. He’s also a former member of the Dallas Fort Worth Association Executives Education Committee and the Down Syndrome Partnership of North Texas as well as the past co-chair of the Fort Worth Safe Community Coalition. Crim received a bachelor’s degree in political science from The University of Texas at Tyler and a Master of Education from the University of North Texas.
Jamie Thomas, Vice Chair
Jamie Thomas of Abilene is a Regional Coordinator for Partners Resource Network. Thomas received a degree in Early Childhood Education from Cisco Junior College.
Deborah “Debbie” Carlisle
San Antonio
Deborah “Debbie” Carlisle is a Personal Care Attendant for Alegre Home Health Care. She also serves as a Clinical Coordinator at Premier Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Health. Carlisle received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Schreiner University and an Associate in Applied Science in Surgical Technology from Baptist School of Health Professions.
Kyle Cox
College Station
Kyle Cox is a Special Projects Coordinator for 12th Man Technology. Cox received a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Texas A&M University and a Master of Public Administration from the Bush School of Government and Public Service.
Maverick Crawford III
San Antonio
Maverick Crawford III is an advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illness. He holds a master’s degree from The University of Texas at Arlington. He is also a board member of the Autism Society of Texas and a volunteer with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Beatrice Degree
Missouri City
Beatrice Degree serves as a distinguished community educator with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth Houston). She is a former fellow for Lone Star Leadership Education in Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities and a former volunteer with the UTHealth Houston Chosen Transition Clinic. Degree received basic vocational training from Houston Community College’s VAST Academy.
Roni Jo Frazier
Roni Jo Frazier is the chief executive officer of Bloom Consulting. She’s a board member and conference planner for the Texas Association of People Supporting Employment and a member of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. She’s also a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma Teaching Organization and serves as the president for the Lambda Delta Chapter. Frazier received a Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Education from the American InterContinental University. She holds an autism specialist certificate from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards as well as an executive leadership certificate from Cornell University.
Shana Halvorsen
Shana Halvorsen is the founder and chief executive officer of Empower Education and co-founder of the Houston Special Education Parent Association. Halvorsen is a parent liaison for the Houston Independent School District’s Office of Special Education Services and a board member of the Family Literacy Network. She’s also a member of Steel Magnolia Moms, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, and the Texas Organization of Parent Attorneys and Advocates. Halvorsen received a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and psychology from Tufts University, a Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law, and an advanced advocacy certificate from Texas Partners in Policymaking.
Barbara Knighton
Barbara Knighton is an advocate for students with disabilities and has been involved with family engagement for many years. She’s a school safety committee member for the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) and a family leader for TSBVI Family Lynx, the Texas Education Action Committee, and the Alliance for Visually Impaired Texans. Knighton received a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Houston and a certificate in real estate from Champions Houston School of Real Estate.
Lisa Marenco
El Paso
Lisa Marenco volunteers with several agencies, including Education Service Center Region 19, the Children’s Disabilities Information Coalition, Autism HOPE El Paso, Beautiful Minds MALI, and the Ysleta Independent School District. She is a single parent of two children with disabilities and has a disability, herself, as well. Marenco received an associate degree in applied science in computer information systems from Daley College and attended El Paso Community College.
Scott McAvoy
Cedar Park
Scott McAvoy is the President/CEO for the Marbridge Foundation. McAvoy received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Maine and a Master of Business Administration from the University of New Orleans.
Amanda Miles
Amanda Miles is a board member for Alvin Meals on Wheels. She also serves as the board Vice President of Gulf Coast Self Advocates. Miles is a graduate of Pearland High School.
Angela “Angie” Panzica
Angela “Angie” Panzica is a Program Facilitator for Baylor College of Medicine. Panzica received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Social Work from the University of Houston.
Michael Peace
Michael Peace is a habilitation worker. He is a volunteer for the Sand Branch Baptist Church Food Bank. Peace attends Baptist University of the Americas in San Antonio.
Robert Schier III
Robert Schier III is the residential program manager at Down Home Ranch. Schier founded and managed a weekend respite camp that operated from 2016 to 2022 and served over 300 individuals. He is an editorial board member of the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals, the Solomon Masonic Lodge No. 484, and the Thorndale Masonic Lodge No. 978. Schier attended The University of Texas at San Antonio and McLennan Community College.
Eric Shahid
Eric Shahid is a Certified Direct Support Professional and a graduate of the Texas A&M University PATHS (Postsecondary Access and Training in Human Services) Certificate Program. His mission is to support people who feel hopeless and lost because of their disabilities. Shahid spearheads The Shahid Center for Ability and Development and has partnered with community agencies to bring education, resources, and implementable plans to people with developmental and physical disabilities along with their family members and advocates.
Meridith Silcox
Meridith Silcox is the ADA and accessibility administrator for ASM Global at NRG Park. Silcox serves as the chair of the Houston Commission on Disabilities. She received a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Houston and a Master of Arts in psychology from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.
Lora Taylor
Lora Taylor of Houston is a piano teacher. She is a member of the Music Teachers National Association, Texas and Houston Music Teachers associations and National Guild of Piano Teachers. Taylor received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas.
Kimberly Torres
Kimberly Torres is the CEO of Thrive Nonprofit Solutions. Torres received a Bachelor of Science in Applied Learning and Development from The University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Agency Representatives

Disability Rights Texas
Sean Jackson, Patty Anderson (alternate)  

Texas Center for Disability Studies at The University of Texas at Austin
Dr. Sandra Magaña, Dr. Nina Zuna (alternate)

Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M University
Dr. Dan Zhang, Dr. Meagan Orsag (alternate)

Texas Education Agency — Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
Elizabeth Danner, Kathrine Snelling (alternate) 

Texas Health and Human Services Commission — Title XIX Medicaid
Kate Layman (alternate)

Texas Health and Human Services Commission — Older Americans Act
Katelyn Le (alternate) 

Texas Workforce Commission —  Rehabilitation Act
Jonas Schwartz, Lauren Chenoweth (alternate)

Texas Department of State Health Services — Title V Maternal & Child Health
Ivy Goldstein (alternate)     

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