About the Board

  Definition of Developmental Disability

The Board serves as the Developmental Disabilities Council, addressing the needs of people with developmental disabilities as established under the federal "Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act" and the state "Virginians with Disabilities Act". Since 1992, the Board has been an executive branch state agency located within the Secretariat of Health and Human Resources. The Board has autonomy over the use of its federal funding and the hiring of its staff.

The Board advises the Governor, the Secretary of Health and Human Resources, federal and state legislators, and other constituent groups on issues related to people with disabilities in Virginia. The Board's purpose is to engage in advocacy, capacity building, and systems change activities that contribute to a coordinated consumer and family centered, consumer and family directed, comprehensive system of services, individualized supports, and other forms of assistance that enable individuals with DD to exercise self-determination, be independent, be productive, and be integrated and included in all facets of community life.

This is accomplished through outreach, training, technical assistance, supporting and educating communities, barrier elimination, system design/redesign, coalition development and citizen participation, informing policymakers, demonstration of new approaches, services, and supports to community-based service delivery.

The Governor appoints 31 of the Board's 39 members. The remaining eight members are state agency designees. Sixty percent of the Board's 39 members are people with disabilities or family members of people with disabilities. The Board meets at least quarterly in Richmond, Virginia. The Board encourages public comment on its planning activities and at Board meetings, and encourages individuals to contact the Board with needs, information or concerns about disability-related issues.

"Developmental disability," as defined in federal law, is a severe, chronic, often lifelong disability that causes substantial limitations in several major life activities such as: self care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, the capacity for independent living, and economic self-sufficiency. It is attributable to a mental, emotional, sensory, and/or physical impairment that is apparent before the age of twenty-two. People with developmental disabilities often need a combination of special services, support, and other assistance that is likely to continue indefinitely.

  Director's Message

Welcome to the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities (VBPD) website. VBPD serves as Virginia's Developmental Disabilities (DD) Council. DD Councils are in every state and territory of the United States. They work for the benefit of individuals with DD and their families to identify needs and help develop policies, programs and services that will meet these needs in a manner that respects dignity and independence.

Under mandate of federal and state law, VBPD works to promote and guide public policy changes and create opportunities for new approaches in our service delivery systems. VBPD is proud to have enriched the lives of Virginians with developmental and other disabilities by investing in over 200 best practice, model demonstration and research grant projects that have created change in the areas of education, employment, housing, early intervention, transportation, recreation, and community integration. We work with many public and private groups across the state and nationally to identify best practices, new approaches, and collaborative ventures that facilitate our mission and increase the independence, productivity, and integration of people with disabilities in our Commonwealth.

A key aspect of our work is to advise the Governor, legislators and government agencies on public policy issues as well as on how to develop programs and services for people with DD that will eliminate barriers to full inclusion in all facets of community life. We believe that people with disabilities and their family members play a critical role in identifying needs and in having a say in the policies and programs that affect their lives. Twenty four of our 39 Board members are individuals with disabilities, parents, or family members of individuals with disabilities. Their experiences and perspectives play a vital role in guiding our ongoing efforts to ensure responsive, individualized, and flexible systems of services and supports in our communities.

We look forward to working with you on the important issues and challenges ahead and hope that you find the information and resources on this website helpful.

  Mission & Vision


To create a Commonwealth that advances opportunities for independence, personal decision-making and full participation in community life for individuals with developmental and other disabilities.

Vision Statement

Virginians with developmental and other disabilities direct their own lives and choose how they live, learn, work, and play.

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   Structure & Member Roster

The Board is organized into an Executive Committee (EC) and three standing committees: Investment & State Plan Oversight (ISP), Policy Research & Evaluation (PRE), and Advocacy, Outreach, & Training (AOT).

Board Organization Chart

Board Member Roster

Executive Committee

Chair: Alexus Smith
Vice-Chair: Alexandra Dixon
Secretary: Sarah Kranz-Ciment
At-Large: Jocelyn Kilgore
At-Large: Dennis Findley
At-Large: Kate Olson
Advocacy, Outreach, & Training Chair: Allison Coles-Johnson
Investment Committee Chair: Alexus Smith
Policy Advisory Committee Chair: Phil Caldwell

Dianna Banks
Frank Carillo
Theresa Simonds
Felicia Hamilton
Molly Korte
Sarah Kranz-Ciment
Dennis Lites
Donna Lockwood
Eric Mann
Dawn Missory
Madeline Nunnally
Lindsay Pearse
Olivia Price
Caroline Raker
Vasantha Rayman
Chandra Robinson
Cindy Rudy
Maya Simmons
Edmond Turner
Niki Zimmerman
Frederique Vincent

Ann Bevan, Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS)
Donna Gilles, VCU Partnership for People with Disabilities (UCEDD)
Ray Hopkins, Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DVBI)
Richard Kriner, Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS)
Deanna Parker, Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS)
Eric Raff, Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH)
Samatha Hollins, Virginia Deptartment of Education (VDOE)
Colleen Miller, disAbility Law Center of Virginia (DLCV)

  Appointment Information

Individuals achieve membership to the Board through appointments by the Governor. The Governor directly appoints Virginia citizens to fill 31 positions of the total 39 member Board as specified in the "Virginians with Disabilities Act." The remaining eight positions are filled by agency heads designated by the Act who serve on the Board by virtue of their position in state government. The Act permits the agency heads to designate a person to represent them on the Board. Individuals directly appointed to the 31 citizen positions and the remaining two agency head positions may not designate a substitute. Acceptance of a direct appointment to the Board is an express commitment to individually meet the responsibilities of membership.

Individuals are appointed to the Board to fill unexpired terms or for full four year terms. Individuals appointed to unexpired terms are eligible for additional appointments for two full terms. The Act limits service on the Board to two successive terms.

To nominate yourself or someone else for Board appointment, you must use the Commonwealth's Online Application System, Secretary of the Commonwealth's website. When submitting an application, be sure to denote the specific board vacancy for which you are applying on the application page.

Anyone who needs assistance filling out the online application because of a disability can call the Secretary of the Commonwealth's office at (804) 786-2441 or use the TTY/TDD line at 1-800-828-1120, or 711.

Prior to completing your application, you may also wish to review the Member Guide for people serving or interested in serving on a Council on Developmental Disabilities. Please note that the definition of developmental disability as defined in the "Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act", is a severe, chronic, often lifelong disability that causes substantial limitations in several major life activities such as: self care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, the capacity for independent living, and economic self-sufficiency. It is attributable to a mental, emotional, sensory, and/or physical impairment that is apparent before the age of twenty-two. People with developmental disabilities often need a combination of special services, support, and other assistance that is likely to continue indefinitely.

  Staff Information

Name Position Phone Number E-Mail Address
Director's Office
Teri Morgan Executive Director 804-786-9369 Teri.Morgan@vbpd.virginia.gov
Policy, Planning & Evaluation
Clare Huerta Deputy Director of Public Policy & Legislative
804-786-9380 clare.huerta@vbpd.virginia.gov
Linh Thi Nguyen Policy Analyst (804) 786-9376 linh.nguyen@vbpd.virginia.gov
Nia Harrison Director of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (804) 786-7333 Nia.Harrison@vbpd.virginia.gov
Vacant Director of Communications
Megan Weems Communications Assistant (804) 786-2089 Megan.Weems@vbpd.virginia.gov
Outreach & Training
Penni Sweetenburg-Lee Director of Training & Alumni Development Programs (804) 786-9381 Penni.Sweetenburg-Lee@vbpd.virginia.gov
Ronita Wilson Alumni Development Program Coordinator (804) 786-3456 Ronita.Wilson@vbpd.virginia.gov
Evette Wingfield-Woodley Training Programs Coordinator (804) 786-3441 Evette.Wingfield-Woodley@vbpd.virginia.gov
Grants & Contracts Administration
Jason Withers Grants & Contracts Manager (804) 786-9375 Jason.Withers@vbpd.virginia.gov
Henry Street Director of Administration (804) 786-0016 Henry.Street@vbpd.virginia.gov
Kelly Bolden Board Administration Manager (804) 786-1254 Kelly.Bolden@vbpd.virginia.gov
Tara Bethea Board Administration Specialist (804) 786-0016 Tara.Bethea@vbpd.virginia.gov

VBPD Employee Code of Ethics

  Current Employment Opportunities

Communications Director

Director: The Board is currently looking for a new Director of Communications. The Communications Director will provide leadership and direction to assist the Executive Director in the areas of internal & external communications, marketing, public relations, and media relations. Other responsibilities include design of publications and other VBPD products, editing, and developing communications and marketing support strategies for Board programs and initiatives.

Knowledge of and/or experience with the disability community, as well as Section 508 document accessibility requirements, creation of accessible documents using Adobe Acrobat, and video captioning are needed. The Communications Director will provide staff support to a Board committee; conduct communications and public information activities as well as consultation and support on communication strategies for policy and program related initiatives. On occasion, this role may represent the Executive Director on behalf of the Board in various arenas and with multiple constituencies; and supports and participates in the Board’s program performance and accountability for federal and state mandated reporting. Minorities, Individuals with disabilities, Veterans, Americorp, Peace Corps, and other National Service Alumni are encouraged to apply. Equal Opportunity Employer.

The application period is open until the end of day on July 21, 2021. For the full position listing and to submit an application visit https://virginiajobs.peopleadmin.com/postings/232745

  Public Comment Policy and Form

Visit our Public Comment page to submit your thoughts and comments to the Board. Please be sure to read the VBPD Public Comment Policy available in PDF Format and Microsoft Word Format