New Directions for Maine Families
Board of Directors
Donald Trites, PhD, President
Don has more than 30 years’ experience as a parent of 3 children with a disability. He has served as the director of a state protection and advocacy agency, the director of an innovative service providing agency and as a state official in Maine overseeing disability services. He has provided training in over 20 states, several Canadian provinces and 3 European countries.
Deb Thibodeau, Secretary
Deb is the mother of two children and cares for her 81 year old father. Ms.Thibodeau worked in a variety of community agency positions for 17 years, advocating inclusive community roles for individuals with a disability. In Maine she continues her advocacy serving as a School Counselor in Georgetown and as an Information Specialist with the Autism Society of Maine. She travels extensively to present a variety of trainings on topics of advocacy and inclusion. She has her CAS in Mental Health.
Paul Tabor, Treasurer
Paul is the parent of 2 children and has worked with individuals with developmental disabilities and services supporting them for 40 years. As a training coordinator in Maine, he has significant training experience in values based training, human sexuality, and person-centered planning. He has worked with the Autism Society of Maine, Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Speaking Up for Us, the Maine Center on Deafness, and the Maine Developmental Disabilities Council.
Anna Cyr, Board Member
Anna is the parent of 2 children with special health care needs. As their advocate for almost 30 years,she has become knowledgeable about complex medical systems and has provided support, encouragement and advocacy for families in Maine and nationally. She served as the Family Representative to Maine’s Children with Special Health Needs program. Ms.Cyr has been recognized as a national family leader and mentor and was the recipient of the 2012 Merle McPherson Family and Youth Leadership Award.
Margaret Degon Carr, Board Member
Maggie is the mother of 4 children, one of whom has a significant physical disability. Over three decades of work, she has held leadership roles in the UCEDD and in a statewide family organization where her leadership was crucial to the design, development, implementation and evaluation of training and information programs for families. She conducted research related to disparities of health care services to individuals with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Ms. Carr serves as the Region 1 Respite Director for the Family Respite Program of NAMI.
Robbin Pelletier, Board Member
Robbin is the parent of one child with a disability. As a young parent, she gained knowledge of the neonatal intensive care unit in Maine and continues to work on issues related to health care and schooling. For several years she served as a family support coordinator and as a parent information trainer where she also served on several significant education policy initiatives. She is the Associate Academic Dean at Kaplan University where she oversee the coordination of Kaplan’s work with STRIVE U.
Heather Bowie, Board Member
Heather is parent to two teenagers, one of whom has a rare disease. She writes about her journey at Family Synapse and has spoken to both parent and medical professional groups about the joys and challenges of raising a child with a disability. Her son lived without a diagnosis for thirteen years and when he was finally diagnosed through Whole Exome Sequencing, she became part of a leadership team that is supporting families a nd researchers in hopes of learning more about Pura Syndrome