Governor Abbott Appoints 9 New Council Members

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Governor Greg Abbott recently appointed nine new members to the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD), and he also reappointed 10 members who currently serve on the Council.

The Governor appoints individuals to TCDD’s 27-member board in accordance with applicable state and federal laws. At least 60 percent of Council members must be people with developmental disabilities (DD), their parents or guardians, and other immediate relatives.

Listed below are the names, hometowns and bios of the new and reappointed Council members.

New Members

  • Richard “Ronnie” Browning, Spring, is vice president of the Board of Texas Advocates. He also serves as president of the “Bridging the Gap” chapter of Texas Advocates. He is a past president of the People First Advocacy group in Wichita Falls. (term expires Feb. 1, 2023)
  • Paul Cardarella, Denton, retired as vice president of human resources for AT&T. Cardarella received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of North Texas. (term expires Feb. 1, 2025)
  • Maverick Crawford III, San Antonio, is a pretrial services officer intern for a federal district court. Crawford received a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice from The University of Texas at San Antonio. (term expires Feb. 1, 2025)
  • Randell Resneder, Lubbock, is the executive director of Disability Awareness Programs of Texas. He is a former gubernatorial appointee to the State Independent Living Council. Resneder received a Bachelor of Science in family studies/human development from the University of North Texas, a Master of Arts in interdisciplinary studies and Master of Education in instructional technology from Texas Tech University. (term expires Feb. 1, 2021)
  • Robert Schier III, Elgin, is a camp director and co-founder of Camp DRIVE. Schier attended The University of Texas at San Antonio and McLennan Community College. (term expires Feb. 1, 2023)
  • Eric Shahid, Somerville, is a program aide at Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service. Shahid received a certificate through the Texas A&M PATHS (Postsecondary Access and Training in Human Services) Certificate Program. (term expires Feb. 1, 2025)
  • Molly Spratt, Austin, is a policy analyst for the Texas State Senate. Spratt received a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics and French from The University of Texas at Austin. (term expires Feb. 1, 2021)
  • Emmett “Toby” Summers III, San Antonio, is the president and CEO of Mission Road Ministries. Summers received a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Juris Doctor degree from The University of Texas at Austin. (term expires Feb. 1, 2021)
  • Kimberly Torres, Houston, is the executive director for the Down Syndrome Association of Houston. 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. (term expires Feb. 1, 2025)

Reappointed Members

  • Rebecca “Hunter” Adkins, Lakeway, is a volunteer and non-profit spokesperson for R.O.C.K. (Ride on Center for Kids). Adkins attended Austin Community College and Houston Community College. (term expires Feb. 1, 2021)
  • Kimberly Blackmon, Fort Worth, is an office assistant for Harman Construction, Inc. Blackmon graduated from the Eastern New Mexico University Office Skills Program. (term expires Feb. 1, 2021)
  • Gladys Cortez, McAllen, is an administrator for Mission Rehabilitation Services and is a licensed professional counselor. Cortez received a Bachelor of Science in rehab services and a Master of Science in rehab counseling from The University of Texas Pan-American. (term expires Feb. 1, 2023)
  • Kristen Cox, El Paso, is the president and CEO of Checkpoint Services, Inc., a technology company she formed in her garage in 1996. Cox received a Bachelor of Science in engineering from Texas A&M and a Master of Business Administration from The University of Texas at Dallas. (term expires Feb. 1, 2021)
  • Andrew “Andy” Crim, Fort Worth, is the director of education and professional development for the American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Crim received a Bachelor of Science in political science from The University of Texas at Tyler and a Master of Education in educational leadership from the University of North Texas. Crim currently serves as the Council Vice Chair. (term expires Feb. 1, 2025)
  • Mary Durheim, Spring, is the owner of Educational Rights Information and Consulting Center. Durheim received a Bachelor of Science in home economics from Oklahoma State University. Durheim currently serves as the Council Chair. (term expires Feb. 1, 2023)
  • Scott McAvoy, Cedar Park, is the executive vice president 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. (term expires Feb. 1, 2021)
  • Michael Peace, Poteet, is a habilitation provider for Consumer Directed Services. Peace currently attends Baptist University of the Americas in San Antonio. (term expires Feb. 1, 2025)
  • Lora Taylor, Katy, is a piano instructor for children and adults. Taylor received a Bachelor of Arts in music education from The University of Texas at Austin. (term expires Feb. 1, 2025)
  • John Thomas, Weatherford, is the founder of the Joseph Thomas Foundation which provides assistance for medically fragile children. He also serves on the Planning and Zoning Board for the City of Weatherford. Thomas received a Bachelor of Business Administration from Angelo State University. (term expires Feb. 1, 2023)

The appointments for the Council members listed above are effective as of July 1, 2019. The terms for the new and reappointed members are set to expire at various times, ranging from February 1, 2021 to February 1, 2025.

The new appointees will replace nine other members who have served on the Council for a number of years. During their service, the individuals listed below provided remarkable leadership and helped TCDD impact the lives of Texans with DD:

  • Kristine Clark, San Antonio
  • Mateo Delgado, El Paso
  • Stephen Gersuk, Plano
  • Diana Kern, Cedar Creek
  • Ruth L. Mason, Houston
  • Dana Smith Perry, Brownwood
  • Brandon Pharris, San Marcos
  • David Taylor, El Paso
  • Richard A. Tisch, Spring

The Council also includes representatives from the major state agencies that serve people with DD; a representative from both the Texas Center for Disability Studies at The University of Texas at Austin and the Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M University; a representative from Disability Rights Texas; and a member representing local, non-government organizations.

To learn more about becoming a Council member, click here.