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Spotlight on Self-Advocates

Jessica Barrett and Jason Gieschen of Nebraska were inducted into the 2020 Class of Self-Advocate Leadership Circle of the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) at the Annual Conference online kickoff on Thursday August 6, 2020.

Jessica Barrett
Jessica Barrett

Jessica Barrett was awarded the 2020 April Dunn Start Your Journey Award. The April Dunn Start Your Journey Award recognizes an up-and-coming advocate who has been making their mark in the state and is now engaging more on the national scene. Jessica is a promising young self-advocate in the Nebraska disability community. Through her self-advocacy, Jessica joined leadership roles on both the Nebraska Council on Developmental Disabilities and People First of Nebraska's State Board. When COVID-19 hit Nebraska and the legislature adjourned early, Jessica was able to pivot her advocacy work to provide information to people with disabilities about what the coronavirus was and how to stay healthy.


Jason Gieschen
Jason Gieschen

Jason Gieschen of Nebraska and Jessica were both inducted into the 2020 Class of Self-Advocate Leadership Circle of the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD). Members of the Self-Advocacy Leadership Circle provide vital insight and guidance on advocacy and leadership to NACDD and help NACDD to accomplish its goals, objectives, and advocacy initiatives. Jason is a Special Olympics athlete and served on the Special Olympics Nebraska Board of Directors. He continues his public advocacy work as a Special Olympics Health Messenger and a Nebraska Council on Developmental Disabilities member. Jason challenges his fellow Council members to be “difference makers" for Nebraskans with disabilities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jason has been the go-to person for his Special Olympic athlete peers who have questions about the coronavirus and how to stay safe and healthy.


NACDD Press Release: NACDD Names Alaska and Nebraska Disability Advocates as 2020 National Advocacy Awardees

NACDD Recording: 2020 Champion of Equal Opportunity Awards Virtual Ceremony


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Council Member List

​​Name Representation 
Jessica BarrettIndividual
Reagan BoyerFamily
​Quinton Corwin​Individual
Brenda DeLanceyFamily
Jason GieschenIndividual
​Tony GreenDHHS - Division of Developmental Disabilities
​Mikayla JohnsonDHHS - Division of Behavioral Health
​Matthew Kaslon​Individual
Seamus KellyDisability Rights Nebraska
Jennifer Meints (Chair)Family
​Cheryl Montgomery​Non-Governmental Representative
Ryan MooreIndividual
​Sara MorganDHHS - Division of Public Health
​Stephen Morton​Non-Profit Representative
Sharon OrduñaFamily
Erin PhillipsIndividual
​Amy RhoneNebraska Department of Education
Paige RoseNebraska VR
Mark Shriver, Ph.D.Munroe-Meyer Institute - University of Nebraska Medical Center
​Rachel Siffring​Family
​Judy Trent​Family
Dee ValentiFamily
​Nate WatsonDHHS - Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care and Aging Services
​Kirsten Wilcox
​Jane Ziebarth-Bovill​Family


Geographical location of council members