Board of Directors
President: Dave Gazzillo
Dave and his wife, Jeanne, live in Wilmington. They are proud parents of Kathryn, Jonathan, and Jason (DS). Their family has been active with the DSA since J’s birth 19 years ago. Dave is a member of the Buddy Walk Committee. He is the current President of the DSA of Delaware and has held previous board positions over the years, Vice President 2015 and 2016 and Secretary from 1998 to 2007. Dave works full time for Bank of America as SVP Statement Marketing Operation manager. In his spare time, he works on the board of his local civic association and supports other civic priorities and is looking forward to working with the Board and rest of the organization to continue promoting all of DSA of DE’s important initiatives.
Vice President: Krista Griffith
Krista and her husband, Ted, are proud parents to two boys- Sam and Nate. They reside in New Castle County. Krista is an attorney who dedicated her career to legal issues facing children, vulnerable adults, senior citizens and Delaware families. Krista is excited to organize the outreach committee and continue to develop compelling and useful programs for individuals with Down syndrome and their families.
Treasurer: Theresa Berry
Theresa and her husband, Dave live in Townsend. They are proud parents of Lauren who will attend Wesley College in the Fall as Special Education major and be a goalie on their Field Hockey team. Theresa is a member of the Buddy Walk Committee and Days of Summer Camp Committee, and has volunteered with the Run for the Buds, Easter Egg Hunt, Teen Dance, and Rock Your Socks Mis-Matching Event. Theresa and Lauren are volunteers with the DSA and enjoy having fun with the kids and advocating for people with disabilities. Theresa is the HR Manager for the Town of Middletown and Dave is a Foreman for JW Walker & Sons. Theresa co-created the MOT Challenger League Division in 2001, which enables kids with disabilities to play t-ball. In her spare time, Theresa enjoys spending time with her family and friends, camping, kayaking, going to concerts, attending her daughter’s field hockey games, actively supporting her daughter’s interests, and volunteering with various organizations.
Secretary: Shannon Luxton
Shannon and her husband, James, live in Newark with their four rambunctious children, Sean (9), Max (7), Piper (7) and Harper (2). Shannon’s passion for Down syndrome advocacy started in 2007 when her daughter, Piper, was born. Currently, she works within the social, education and outreach committees and is looking forward to further the Down Syndrome Association of Delaware’s mission and vision.
Rachel is a self advocate who lives at home with her parents in Wilmington Delaware. She graduated from Newark High School in 2013 and the Network Program in 2015. While at Newark High, Rachel received two varsity letters for cheerleading during Basketball season. Rachel was a member of YAC with Special Olympics of Delaware and completed the Toast Masters Class. Rachel has been an active Down Syndrome Association Board member for 5 years and is the coordinator of the Friendship club, organizing monthly social events for young adults with disabilities and sending out monthly Birthday Cards. Rachel was crowned Delaware’s Miss Amazing 2016 and went on to compete in the National Miss Amazing Pageant in Chicago. Rachel is actively involved with Special Olympics of Delaware, Bella Dance Center and Totally Awesome Players. Currently Rachel is volunteering at the Christiania Early Education Center and works two jobs, at a Law Office and Red Robin.
Laura is 33 years old and has lived in Middletown with her parents since 2001. She is the oldest of 3 children and has a brother, a sister, and a brother-In-law. Laura attended Middletown High School and shortly after graduation, found employment as a baker with Waggies by Maggie and Friends (a dog biscuit company). Laura can also be found every week at Bob Evans in Middletown helping the servers wrap silverware for the Sunday morning crowd. In her free time, Laura participates in bowling, volleyball, and swimming with Special Olympics Delaware. In addition to being a DSAD board member as a self-advocate, she also serves on the Athlete Leadership Council for SODE. Laura acts with Totally Awesome Players and takes a hip-hop dance class. She is a “party girl” and loves to help her mom plan the DSAD teen/adult dances. Laura enjoys every opportunity to get together with her friends for social outings of all kinds.
Members at Large
Vanessa is married to Orrie “Terry” Cannon and we reside in Seaford, DE. We have daughters Libby who will be a senior in college, Adrianna who will be a sophomore in HS, and Avary (6 1/2-DS) who is completing her 3rd year of Pre-school and will be entering Kindergarten next year. I have 20 years of experience in Human Resource Management and recently transitioned into the HR role at a long term healthcare facility. Vanessa is actively involved in the Seaford School District both as an advocate and volunteer and recently completed training to be an (ESP) Educational Surrogate Parent, being a voice for students in the foster-care system. Vanessa enjoys attending the girls sporting events, going to the beach, shopping and visiting local flea markets. We also enjoy and participate with the Sussex Riptides through the DE Special Olympics and the Blue/Gold Hand-in-Hand Program.
Mary Jo Gilligan
The DSA of Delaware had been a part their lives since Amanda arrived in 2003. In the past, she has served on the Social Committee, Buddy Walk Committee, Run for the Buds Committee, and as Secretary. This year she is volunteering with the Special Olympics MOT division. She work as an MRI Technologist for Christiana Care. Mary Jo and her husband, Sean, reside in Middletown with Amanda and their two sons, Tommy and Ryan. As Amanda grows older she realizes that she wants to be a part of ensuring that she has ample employment opportunities and social outlets. The DSA of Delaware shares this vision and will assist in accomplishing these goals.
Jim is the father of three active children, Sarah (DS), Aidan and Conor. Jim works for a tax software and solutions company implementing corporate tax solutions for Fortune 1000 clients. Jim is a CPA with over 20 years of experience in financial software systems. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his children, traveling and playing guitar.
Gail Hamblin is a mom to three children, Natalie, Calvin (DS) and Aurora. Formerly a public school teacher, Gail has since taken to writing. Her first children’s book is More Alike Than Different… A Down Syndrome Awareness Tale. Gail is passionate about Down syndrome awareness and acceptance. She resides with her husband and three children in Kent County.
Tahita and her husband Leon Sr. live in Newark with their two children, Leon II (Ds) and Lea. Tahita was born and raised in Philadelphia and moved to Delaware 9 years ago when she was pregnant with her first child, Leon II. Leon is now in 1st grade and 8. She works full time as a Registered Dental Hygienist. She enjoys spending time with my family Leon Sr, Leon II and Lea. They enjoy family vacations hanging out at the pool.
Shelvia, and her husband Stuart, live in Newark, DE with their two wonderful sons, Solomon and Stuart III. Shelvia is a native of Virginia. Since moving to Delaware in 2003, she has established herself as an advocate, teacher, and mentor of children with special needs. Shelvia earned a Bachelor of Science in Music from Virginia State University and has utilized her expertise to teach children of all ages and learning needs to love and appreciate music. Shelvia is a current member of Delaware Down Syndrome Association where she plans social events for the 5-8 age groups. She actively participates in numerous DSA events, including the Easter Egg Hunt, Annual Holiday party, the Hayride, and Rock your socks events. To further raise awareness and gather support for Delaware DSA, Shelvia organizes a team of family, friends, and community members to participate in the Annual Buddy Walk each year.
Tara and her husband, Ryan Pickett, reside in Lincoln, DE. She is a former regular and special education elementary teacher. Currently, she is a stay-at-home mom to Landon (five years old) and Kenzie (DS, 3 years old). She has been advocating for Kenzie since her birth in 2013. She is eager to advocate for other children and adults as well. She has been a member of IEP teams as an educator and as a parent.
Pam, her husband Joe, and their youngest daughter Rachel (23-DS) moved to Delaware in 2006 after Joe retired from the US Navy of 24+ years. Pam has 3 children, ages 33, 31 and 23(DS). In Virginia Beach, Pam served on the Down Syndrome Board (TDSA) for 6 years and was an Ombudsman for a Navy Command for over 6 years. Pam has been serving on the Down Syndrome Association Boards of Delaware for 5 years. Pam is the Special Olympics Family Liaison for the Newark Dragons and volunteers at Camp Barnes as the arts and crafts coordinator, also she is the SODE Summer Bowling League Coordinator. Pam also volunteers with Read Aloud Delaware. Pam has been a preschool teacher for over 20 years and is currently working as a paraprofessional at the CEEC school.
Susan and her husband, Brian, have lived in Middletown since 2001. They joined the DSA more than 30 years ago, however, while living in Cecil County, MD. They are the parents of 3 grown children; Laura (Ds age 33), Tracy (married to Chad Armstrong), and Chris. Susan has been organizing the DSA teen/adult dances for 15 years, serves on the Outreach Committee, and is an active volunteer with other DSA events and Days of Summer camp. In addition, Susan serves on the Leadership Team of the Special Olympics MOT Area as Registration Manager and works part-time as a 1st grade Associate Teacher at St. Anne’s Episcopal School.