Meet Our Board Of Directors
Alicia is a resident of Monkton Maryland. She is an advocate for those with developmental disabilities working to ensure happy and fulfilling lives. Alicia began working with SDAN in 2016 and currently serves as Board President. She also serves as a Board Member with Pathfinders for Autism beginning in 2015. She has a back ground in Real Estate as well as finance and investments. She excels at research and thoughtful and creative solutions to problem solving.
Meg Carter has been assisting participants to design and implement their self-directed services since 2010 when her daughter Lucy Carter entered the SD program. A graduate of University of Md. College Park with a BA in English, Meg has worked as a writer and composition teacher. She is the mother of five daughters. In the past eight years she has provided support broker services and counseling to more than 20 participants and their families. She is committed to working with SDAN to help to preserve participant choice and control of services. She has been a SDAN Board member since its formation in 2016.
Carol Custer resides in Rosemont, Maryland. She is a founding member of SDAN and is an original board member. Carol worked as a special education teacher for eight years before becoming a resource coordinator. After budget cuts eliminated her position, she became a support broker for individuals who self -direct their DDA budgets. She has worked with over 50 individuals. She sees firsthand how person-centered plans work to all participants’ best interests, including having family members as staff. She is passionate that self-direction remain flexible to meet each individuals’ needs without state-imposed restrictions not required by Federal guidelines.
Ashley VanCleef, Esq.
Ashley VanCleef is not only an experienced education law attorney but also a certified special educator. This past summer she received 36 hours in Orton Gillingham training and is scheduled to complete the 60 hours this fall. Ashley has served students with disabilities as special education teacher, school and state level administrator, and school attorney. Prior to forming Law for Parents, Ashley’s experience as a special education attorney included working for the Law Office of Brian K. Gruber, P.C., staff attorney for Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) in Maryland, as well as Supervisor and 504 Coordinator for the MCPS Resolution and Compliance Unit. While in MCPS, Ashley instituted informal, collaborative solutions to assist families and school system staff to resolve concerns through the least adversarial means focusing on win-win resolutions. As an attorney for parents, she continues to find dynamic approaches to resolving concerns with student-focused outcomes.
Ashley’s experience also includes serving as as a resource teacher for middle schools, nonpublic schools, and compliance in Howard County Public Schools in Maryland. She provided training for special educators on instructional frameworks and interventions, administration of the Woodcock Johnson educational assessment, writing/conducting individualized education programs (IEPs), and compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Additionally, she worked as a case manager for students placed in nonpublic settings and served as a member of the Central Educational Placement Team (CEPT).
Prior to moving to Maryland, Ashley worked for the state departments of education in both Texas and Oklahoma. Her many duties included compliance monitoring of school districts, technical assistance for families to access the dispute resolution options of IDEA, state complaint investigations, and providing statewide training on special education requirements.
Ashley works with multiple groups to provide professional learning on federal and state education requirements. She is a former adjunct faculty member of Morgan State University where she taught Legal Aspects of Educational Administration and has been a guest lecturer for many other colleges. She is currently serving on the Board for the Self Directed Advocacy Network (SDAN). Ashley is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association, Frederick County Bar Association, International Dyslexia Association, and Learning Disabilities Association. In her spare time, Ms. VanCleef enjoys spending time with her family and volunteering with her church youth group.
Sunny Cefaratti has been a resident of Annapolis Maryland since 1988. She is the co-founder of the non-profit organization, The Musical Autist. She is an Autistic Self-Advocate and mentor to others on the autism spectrum. Sunny is also an active member of the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council. Sunny is a performing pianist and vocalist who plays at local nursing homes and assisted living facilities and community events. Sunny was born in South Korea, completely blind, and was adopted by her family in the US at 2 years of age. She was diagnosed with autism in 2001. She is a graduate of Maryland School for the Blind. Sunny’s support broker connected her to SDAN and she has been attending meetings since August of 2018. Sunny is committed to help other participants be active members in their community and make others aware of Self- Directed Services.
Patti is the proud mother of three adult children, Emma, Adam and the late Ethan Saylor. Her oldest son, Ethan was a 26 year young man with down syndrome who tragically lost his life during an interaction with law enforcement officers in a movie theater in Frederick County in January 2013. Patti continues her advocacy in Maryland and throughout the country to improve relationships and interactions between first responders and individuals with disabilities.
Patti has served on many national, state and local boards, committees and councils during her 30 plus years of advocacy and looks forward to working as a SDAN Board member to further the vision of Self Direction in Maryland.