Endless Possibilities 2021
The Endless Possibilities conference is an annual event coordinated by WI FACETS, in collaboration with Wisconsin DPI, UW-Whitewater, WSPEI and other family support/disability organizations. This year the conference will be virtual and provides a full day of training from experts on various topics connected to special education for families of students with IEPs and the professionals who support them.
ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES 2021: Successful Transitions - PRESENTERS
Dan Habib is a Documentary Filmmaker, Parent Advocate, and Director of the Inclusive Communities Project at the Westchester Institute for Human Development. Habib's films have been nominated for Emmy awards, translated into 17 languages, and used worldwide to support inclusive education and disability rights. In 2012, Habib received the Champion of Human and Civil Rights Award from the National Education Association, and in 2013 he received the Justice for All Grassroots Award from the American Association of People with Disabilities. Habib delivered a widely viewed TEDx talk titled “Disabling Segregation” on the benefits of inclusion to students with and without disabilities. From 2014-2017, Habib served on President Barack Obama’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities—a committee that promotes policies and initiatives that support independence and lifelong inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities. Habib and his wife, Betsy, live in Concord, NH, with their sons, Isaiah, 24, and Samuel, 21.
Angie Alesci is a trainer, educator and chaplain. She has worked in youth ministry in addition to teaching communication and “coping with grief” classes for UW-Whitewater, as well as for local churches. Currently, Angie works for Aurora at Home Hospice in southeastern Wisconsin tending to patients and their families. She has used this time during COVID to build, reflect and help others reflect on their Joy Toolkits.
Melanie Bivens has more than 16 years of experience working with students with disabilities in various educational settings. As a Disability Transition Specialist at Waukesha County Technical College, Melanie is dedicated to eliminating barriers and ensuring equal opportunity for students to fully participate in the college community and achieve their academic goals. In her role, she works individually with students to develop and implement accommodation plans that support their unique learning needs; provides training and supports to faculty and staff; and partners with local high schools to provide transition services. Prior to her work in higher education, Melanie worked in the Milwaukee Public School District as a Special Education Teacher and Transition Coordinator.
Elizabeth Bouchard joined St. Coletta in 2011, after many years in the marketing and financial services fields. She worked with the Access Community Employment program and transitioned to the position of Manager of Admissions and Outreach in August 2013. In 2016 she was named as the Director of Day Programs. In 2021 she was named Director, Intergenerational Care Center of the Greater Milwaukee Area. Elizabeth received her BA from Carroll University and her Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Cardinal Stritch University. She and her husband live in Jefferson with their three school-age children. In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys reading, walking her dogs, and working on an endless list of home-improvement projects.
Scott Brown currently serves as an implementation specialist and supports several projects connected to Wisconsin's statewide system of supports and systems change efforts.
Jan Chapman joined Concordia University in August 2018 after 32 years as an Administrator of Pupil Services & Special Education in K-12 public education. Serving in many professional roles throughout her career, Jan has been a long-standing advocate to ensure that the rights of students with accessibility needs are upheld. Jan is excited to be working with students as they transition to postsecondary education and to ensure that any and all learning barriers are removed so each student can achieve their educational goal.
Jan earned her Educational Administration Leadership degree from UW-Milwaukee, a M.Ed. in Interdisciplinary Studies from National – Louis University, Chicago. IL , her P.BC – Special Education from Cardinal Stritch University, and a Bachelor’s of Science in Therapeutic Recreation from UW-LaCrosse.
Dr. James Collins is a school psychologist, associate professor of special education, and director of the UW-W LIFE (learning is for everyone) program. His professional and research interests include postsecondary programming for students with intellectual disabilities, behavior modification, special education law, and assessment.
Michaela Jasso is a Project SEARCH Skills Trainer at the Milwaukee County Zoo. She has been a Skills Trainer for 4 years and employed with Goodwill for 7 years. Michaela is experienced with onsite job coaching through Goodwill's Supported Employment Program and Goodwill's Community CONNECT program.
Brian Kenney is the Southern Regional Transition Coordinator for the Transition Improvement Grant (TIG). This is his 9th year with TIG and he is passionate and dedicated to helping youth, educators, agencies and families learn more about transition planning and programming that increases youth outcomes.
Deanna Krell has worked in the field of vocational rehabilitation and transition for over 20 years. Working as a DVR Counselor, Supervisor and now an area Director. She also helps to lead DVR's statewide Transition Resource Team. Previous to DVR, she spent some time working for a supported employment agency as a job coach and job developer.
Casey Leintz has a double Bachelor’s from Carroll University in Psychology and Communication with an emphasis on Relational Communication. She has done in home therapy with kids with Autism and worked in the group home setting before coming to day services almost eight years ago. (Curative Care Network)
Sharon Madsen is an Education Consultant on the Special Education Team at the WI Department of Public Instruction. She has served as a general education teacher and special education teacher in public schools for 14 years. Sharon holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Elementary Education from William Paterson University, and she received a Master’s degree in Special Education from UW Whitewater. In her spare time, Sharon enjoys practicing yoga, running, and spending time with her family and friends. Sharon resides in DeForest with her husband and two daughters.
Tim Markle is founder of Forgiveness Factor, dedicated to helping people learn how to forgive and learn how forgiveness can be beneficial to mental wellness. Tim has been teaching about forgiveness using Dr. Robert Enright's model and Tim's own personal journey. Tim currently lives in Stoughton and works for the Waisman Center.
PATCH Teen Educators are a group of high school students (aged 14-18) from Wausau and the surrounding area. They are trained as public speakers and advocates. The Teen Educators come from many diverse backgrounds and are experts on the needs and concerns of young people today. They use storytelling and guided discussion to share their own perspectives about adolescent health care and to advocate for changes within health care systems that would ensure access to high-quality, youth-friendly health care for all young people. Through their work they are breaking down stigma associated with many health issues and are prepared to discuss a wide variety of sensitive or challenging health topics.
Kathy Ryder currently serves as the Director of the Wisconsin RTI Center and leads a large statewide team in implementing Wisconsin's model of an equitable, multi-level system of supports.
Meg Steimle is the CYSHCN Project Manager for Transition for the SE Regional Center for CYSHCN at Children’s Hospital of WI. Meg brings over 26 years of experience to the job. She helps families consider the options of moving from pediatric to adult health care as well as other transition to adulthood topics. As parent of a young adult son with significant challenges, Meg has walked the road of transition with her son and is able to share what she has learned. Adam brings great joy to her and her husband’s life and gives them a great sense of connection with other families on this path. She is a strong advocate for families and helps them navigate an often complex system of services.
Meg earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Cardinal Stritch University. She completed a fellowship with the Maternal and Child Health Public Health Leadership Institute at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She completed Partners in Policymaking through the WI Board for People with Developmental Disabilities to enhance her advocacy skills. Meg is a board member for Family Voices of WI and a Commissioner with the Milwaukee County Commission for Persons with Disabilities.
Vicky Wedig is the community outreach specialist with Aptiv, a nonprofit organization in 44 Wisconsin counties that provides an array of services for people with disabilities of all ages. Vicky is based in Aptiv’s Janesville location in Rock County. Vicky obtained a journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1995 and worked as a newspaper editor and reporter for 27 years before joining Aptiv in 2019. She started her career in the social services field working in direct care at adult family homes part-time in 2015. She fell in love with IDD population, found the work extremely rewarding and decided to make it her full-time career. In her role as community outreach specialist, Vicky works with participants not yet in Aptiv services to help them learn more about the programs it offers and navigate the process of obtaining funding and services.
Jeanette Woodliff has been working with Goodwill for over 3 years, with two years spent as a job coach helping people with disabilities with on-the-job support. The last year has been at Project SEARCH at the Milwaukee County Zoo. This expands employment support to include soft skills and resume building.
Matthew Zellmer joined the WI FACETS staff in 2009 as the Transition Coordinator for the Youth Information, Training, and Resource Center grant after serving on the project’s youth steering committee for two years. He also serves as the Director of the Milwaukee County Advocacy grant and is the Lead Helpdesk Specialist on the statewide PTI Grant. In addition, he serves on a number of state and local committees related to transition. Matthew graduated from UW-Whitewater in 2003 with a degree in broadcast journalism, then earned his Master’s in communication from there in 2006.
Information from Past Conferences:
2020 Endless Possibilities Conference: A Closer Look at Invisible Disabilities
Hosted August 7, 2020 at UW-Whitewater
Key Note Session: Navigating Unfamiliar Spaces with an Invisible Disability
awareness for corporations, colleges, and community groups. Her travels have taken her to all 50 states and
20 countries, contributing to her passion to empower everyone to not only be ourselves, but to be the
best versions of ourselves – independent, inspired, and making remarkable contributions to our
communities and the world.
Communicating About Hidden Disabilities: Tips and Tools
Mental Health & Verbal De-escalation Training
Breaking the Phonics Code for Struggling Readers
Mental Illness and Support
Basics of Autism within Special Education
Making Sure Your 504 Plan is Not Invisible
Success Stories Panel
A Comprehensive Approach to Bullying Prevention: Creating Supportive and Responsive Environments to Address Bullying
2019 Endless Possibilities Conference: Supporting Students with Learning Disabilities
Hosted August 2nd, 2019 at UW-Whitewater
Key Note Session: Impossible to Possible: My Journey from Special Ed to Ph.D
Dr. Shawn Anthony Robinson, author of "Dr. Dyslexia Dude" spoke about his journey from Special Education to Ph.D and the experiences that shaped his identity as a scholar.
Access handouts and additional materials from all breakout sessions here
Orton-Gillingham Approach to Reading and Spelling
Teaching Strategies for Students with Dyslexia or Struggling Readers
DPI Specific Learning Disabilities in Wisconsin
Using Wisconsin Social and Emotional Competencies to Support Student IEP Development
Reading Drives Achievement – Wisconsin’s Approach to Results-Driven Accountability
Preventing the School to Prison Pipeline
Preparing for Work and/or College after High School through Transition Planning
Building the Foundations for Literacy through Music, Movement and Play
Literacy Resources from DPI
Using Visual Resumes to Increase Employment Outcomes
Helping Reluctant Adolescent Readers Build Reading Confidence
Compassion Resilience Toolkits for Schools, Healthcare, Community and Caregivers