Board of Directors

Washtenaw Association for Community Advocacy

Our People

Current Slate

Officers

Chairperson

Sandee Koski

Sandee was born and raised in Ypsilanti.  She earned her BA and MA in Speech and Language Pathology from Eastern Michigan University. Seven years ago she and her family returned to Washtenaw County after living in Livingston County for many years. Sandee bringings the experience of a parent of a person with an intellectual/developmental disability. She recently retired from Michigan Alliance for Families – a statewide organization providing information, mentoring and education to families whose children receive special education support and services. Sandee joined the Board of Directors because she believes in WACA’s crucial role as an advocacy organization in the lives people with intellectual/developmental disabilities and their families.

Vice-Chair

Blair Gerdes

Blair Gerdes currently serves as the Vice Chair for Washtenaw ACA.

Secretary

Debbie Purcell

Deb Purcell

Deb Purcell grew up with a brother who has special needs, which has framed her understanding of the goals and struggles of families supported by WACA.  She is a Financial Advisor and Chartered Special Needs Consultant™.  She holds a BA and MBA, both from The University of Michigan.  She and her husband are longtime Ann Arbor residents.  Deb is a volunteer with AFS USA foreign exchange organization, and she enjoys travel, cooking and spending time with her kids and grandkids.

Treasurer

Beth Pelkey ACA

Beth Pelkey

Hello, my name is Beth Pelkey.  I have served on the WACA Board since late 2018, as the Board Treasurer.

I live in Alpena, MI and retired from banking after over 30 years in the business.

I got involved in WACA through my daughter, Melissa Epstein, who served on the Board in the past, most recently, Board President.  Her daughter, my granddaughter, Charlotte, has Down Syndrome.

Not only did I get involved in the organization because of my daughter and granddaughter’s involvement, I got excited about the great things WACA does to build an inclusive community for those with developmental disabilities.  We help families to figure out how to use support systems for their needs, offer a variety of educational systems and works to promote legislative actions to aid those who can benefit for our services.  I am proud to be a part of this organization.

Directors

Matt Hall

Matt Hall is a local entrepreneur and marketer who has been serving on ACA’s Board of Directors since November 2017.

After growing up and attending a small public high school in nearby Adrian, MI, he attended the University of Michigan, which he left three years later to pursue a career in media sales.

Though not supporting a direct relative living with IDD, Matt has extended family members and acquaintences with this experience and believes everyone wins when all people can experience maximal inclusion and dignity. In addition to his time with ACA, he also serves as a Big Brother for Washtenaw Big Brothers Big Sisters and in leadership for his Border 2 Border Business Connections Networking Group.

Matt prides himself on providing his resourcefulness, creativity, and technical know-how to maximize ACA’s mission.

Kevin McMahon ACA

Kevin McMahon

Hi, I’m Kevin McMahon.   I have grown up and lived in the Dexter and Ann Arbor area most of my life.
Having gained a Journeyman Toolmaker Card with training at General Motors, I used it to be employed in various large and small industries for 46 years, retiring in 2020.

I’m married to Sandra and we have three children. Erin, the youngest, was born in Washington state with Trisomy 21 in 1980.
At that time, we were faced with outdated opinions and outcomes for such a disability.  One of the resources we found was the Association for Retarded Citizens.  When we returned to Ann Arbor in 1986, we started our relationship with the then, Washtenaw Arc.

Through the Citizens Alliance to Uphold Special Education, I received training to act as a parent trainer and advocate.  Learning what the laws and rules were and how to make them effective, for the individual needs of the child.

When my daughter graduated in 2000 from Ann Arbor Pioneer, she became part of the Young Adult Pilot Program operated by the Washtenaw Association for Community Advocacy. She became an independent, effective adult.

Thankfully WACA provided the necessary and required guidance for Erin to get successfully and happily married in 2021. Even though it made for a long engagement to end up right.

Having a child with a Developmental Disability pointed my life in new directions.
Helping others to make a better life for their children with IDD’s , has been a good path.

Colin Northrop

My name is Colin Northrup. I hail from Dexter, Michigan and am a graduate of Washtenaw Community College and Eastern Michigan University. I was fortunate to be involved in college life while living in the dorms at EMU. As a full-time wheelchair user, these experiences would have been impossible without the support of home and community-based services. Before joining the board, I collaborated with President Kathy Homan on a series of instructional videos on some of the government services available to people with developmental and intellectual disabilities for my communication capstone course at EMU. It was through this project, as well as my advocacy before the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners budget hearings, that led me to joining the Washtenaw ACA board in December 2021. I have a Fox Red Lab service dog named Denver, enjoy sports broadcasting, model trains, and am passionate about advocating for others.

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