Who's Who at PEATC
PEATC is staffed by a talented and diverse group of parents and professionals committed to building better futures for children with disabilities by working collaboratively with families, schools and professionals who serve them, to improve opportunities for excellence in education and success in school and community life.
Suzanne Bowers brings a wealth of expertise to this role. She taught elementary school for five years before becoming an Educational Advocate for military and civilian families, as well as her own children. She changed her career path in order to dedicate her talents to helping families of children with special needs. She brings a rich background in education, administration, management, training, and advocacy. Suzanne is the proud mother of four children, two of whom have special needs. She served on the Virginia State Special Education Advisory Committee for four years as the Vice Chair and the as the Chair of the Policy and Regulations committee. She is very active in her community as a volunteer in the schools and serves on her local Special Education Advisory Committee.
Daniela R. Ancalle earned a Bachelor's degree in Global Affairs and Foreign Languages at George Mason University where she studied the political, social, cultural, and economic dimensions of many countries. Her studies include Middle Eastern, Franco-phone, and Latin American studies. She understands the importance of intercultural communication, and has experience working with the Hispanic community in Northern Virginia. She volunteers at Immanuel Bible Church were she prepares slide presentations for the Hispanic congregation. Daniela has assisted with research, primarily focusing on Colombia, at George Mason University. She is glad to contribute her research experience and her experience with the Hispanic community to provide reliable, easy to access information to the families that PEATC serves, in particular making special education resources accessible to Spanish-speaking families in Virginia.
Blanca R. Ansbro has a Bachelor's degree in the health service field from Virginia College and is continuing her education to obtain her Master’s degree. Blanca currently resides in the Chesapeake and has joined PEATC as the Bilingual Information Specialist for the Hampton Roads and surrounding cities. She believes that children enrich our lives with their smile, laughter, unconditional love, the knowledge they bring and their interaction within our lives. She brings a wealth experience in Early Childhood Development, working with the Hispanic population and over 12 years’ experience in administration, training, outreach worker and working with the public. She volunteers her time in several community committees and currently is the Vice President of Women's Division of Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce in Chesapeake. She is a wife, mother of two grown children and a grandmother of twin boys. She feels her biggest accomplishments in her life has been her children, her education and being able to give back to others.
Heather Arbeen is a life-long Northern Virginia native, born and raised in Annandale, Virginia. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Masters of Science in Library Science from The Catholic University of America. She has over 15 years of experience, in both the public and private sectors, in education, information technology, acquisition management, and library settings. She brings her passion for research and information dissemination to PEATC to assist families navigating the Special Education process.
She and her husband, Mark, have two beautiful children, one of whom is on the Autism spectrum. Outside of PEATC, she keeps extremely busy volunteering in her son’s Special Needs religious education class and participating with her family in a variety of organizations and activities such as KEEN Greater DC, Dreams for Kids DC, Special Olympics, and Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services.
Carolyn Beckett is a researcher, grant writer, advocate, facilitator, conference planner and more. Most recently, Carolyn served as federal project manager at the Counsel for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), where she directed a $450,000 contract from Health and Human Services to incorporate disaster mental health competencies into the 2009 standards of the counseling profession. For over 25 years, both personally and professionally, she has promoted inclusive communities that recognize the strengths and unique contributions of every individual. Carolyn first worked at PEATC in 1980, developing training programs for parents, self-advocates, and school and rehabilitation professionals. She coordinated an Illinois statewide network of NEXT STEPS volunteer trainers recognized as ‘strangely stable’ by the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation Services. Carolyn believes in the mission of PEATC down to her toes!
Nichole Drummond, a senior PEATC staff member, brings both executive managerial expertise and program development skills to the organization. With great proficiency she serves as Office Manager and Partnership Facilitator. In her management role, Nichole carries to completion all administrative activities with an indispensable sense of humor. Her responsibilities include the ongoing preparation of well-articulated special education related list-servs and website postings for use by parents, educators and self-advocates and multiple professionals. As Partnership Facilitator, Nichole directs PEATC’s Family Engagement Initiative which provides school districts and PTA’s with practical partnership strategies that bolster student learning. Using research based materials from Solid Foundations and the Harvard Family Research Project, Nichole facilitates the development of engagement plans that increase families’ involvement in their children’s academic efforts through home and school activities. Throughout Virginia, Nichole spreads the word that families are not needy – they are needed. Nichole is the proud momma of three beautiful girls, Eden (10), Nevaeh (6) and Aven (1). A trained chef, Nichole also finds time to cater small parties (she considers 50 people small!) and conducts culinary classes for children and adults.
Leslie earned her bachelor’s degree in Family Studies at Lamar University. She has life long experience volunteering and working with nonprofit organizations. Some of her other expertise include education and outreach of families and working with parents of children with special needs. She most recently served as an Early Childhood Intervention Specialist and Case Manager at her local birth to three program. Leslie is thrilled to be a part of PEATC, an organization whose mission and philosophy she feels very strongly about. In her personal time, Leslie enjoys spending time with her husband, Joseph and cocker spaniel, Luke.
100 N Washington Street, Suite 234
Falls Church, VA 22046
800-869-6782 (toll free)
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Content on this site was produced, in part, with grant funds from the U.S. Department of Education, under CFDA # 84.328M, #84.310A, and #84.235F. The content herein does not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Education, any other agency of the U.S. government, or any other source.
PEATC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit committed to building positive futures for Virginia's children by working collaboratively with families, schools and communities in order to improve opportunities for excellence in education and success in school and community life. Our special focus is children with disabilities. You can reach PEATC by calling 703-923-0010 (Voice/TTY), or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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