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Texas Partners in Policymaking Announces the 2021 Class

Texas Partners in Policymaking Announces 2021 Class

Nearly 40 disability advocates have been selected for the 2021 class of Texas Partners in Policymaking (Partners). Graduates from the statewide program will work to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities (DD).

  • Martha Aguilar – Austin
  • Jennifer Aleman – Corpus Christi
  • Deana Armstrong – Boerne
  • Akili Atkinson – Houston
  • Jennifer Bacak – Round Rock
  • Melissa Beam – Anna
  • Amy Burks – Quinlan
  • Leigh Calmes – Plano
  • Magaly Diaz – San Antonio
  • Rach Greaser – Bryan
  • Cynda Green – Austin
  • Manuel Gutierrez – Poteet
  • Tiffany Hammond – Abilene
  • Lisa Heine – Waxahachie
  • Darla Hill – Arlington 
  • Elizabeth Hinojosa – Mercedes
  • Misty Joubert – Beaumont
  • Rasha Kawar – Coppell
  • Julie Kehm – Conroe
  • Amy Kreller-Kochis – Lubbock
  • Catrina Longoria – Eagle Pass
  • Katy McBeth – Houston
  • Jennifer McCleskey – Lubbock
  • Cori McGhee – San Antonio
  • Kimberly Mosley – Grand Prairie
  • Alison Packard – San Antonio
  • Andrea Patrick – Allen
  • Stephanie Picazo – Alamo
  • Ana Pickens-Scruggs – Killeen
  • Sandra Pierce – Richmond
  • Maribel Piña Leos – Brownsville
  • Allison Schaberg – Sugar Land
  • Terri Schonfeld – Lone Oak
  • Meridith Silcox – Splendora
  • Tamera Smith-Fitzgerald – Allen 
  • Chandra Steppy – Fort Worth
  • Blanca Trout – El Paso 
  • Amy Turner – Flower Mound

About the Program

Partners is an advanced leadership training program for self-advocates and family members of people with DD. During the program, participants acquire the information and skills necessary to partner with policymakers and advocate for important disability issues at the local, state, and federal levels. Participants also work on innovative projects that will help improve the lives of people with DD in their communities.

Ultimately, graduates of the program work to influence policy and change systems so more people with DD are fully included in their communities and exercise control over their own lives. Some of the graduates may go on to become policymakers themselves.

To learn more about the program, visit the About Us section of our website. Partners is a project of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD).

About the Class

A total of 38 participants from across the state were selected for the 2021 class. When the participants graduate in April 2021, they will join a network of nearly 800 graduates in Texas. Listed below are names and hometowns of the participants who were selected for the 2021 class.


“It is a pleasure to welcome another stellar group of self-advocates and family members to the Partners network,” said Dr. Beth Stalvey, TCDD’s executive director. “We look forward to supporting these individuals to use their training in partnership with local and state leaders to improve the lives of Texans with developmental disabilities.”

Interested in Applying?

Partners is an annual program, and the application will open during the spring of 2021. To be alerted when the next application period begins and receive other information about our program, sign up for our newsletter