Board of Directors

Executive Board

President: Dave Gazzillo

Email: president@dsadelaware.org

Dave and his wife, Jeanne, live in Wilmington. They are the proud parents of Kathryn, Jonathan, and Jason (Ds). Their family has been active with the DSA since J’s birth 21 years ago. Dave 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 an SVP of Statement Marketing Operations. In his spare time, he works on the board of his local civic association and supports other civic priorities and is looking forward to his continued work with the Board and rest of the community and the organization to promote all of the DSA of DE’s important initiatives now and in the future.

 

Vice-President: Shelvia Neely

Email: vicepresident@dsadelaware.org

Shelvia lives in Wilmington 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. 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.

 

Treasurer: Ted Griffith

Email: treasurer@dsadelaware.org

Ted and his wife Krista joined the Down Syndrome Association of Delaware in 2014. Ted became the organization’s treasurer in 2018. Professionally, Ted is a Certified Financial Planner (TM). He and Krista live in North Wilmington with their sons, Sam and Nate.

Secretary: Tauheedah Muhammad

Email: secretary@dsadelaware.org

Tauheedah and her husband Leon Sr. lives in Newark, De  with their two children, Leon II, 11 (Ds) and Lea (7). Tahita and Leon are from Philadelphia and moved to Delaware 9 years ago right before their first child, Leon II was born. Leon is now in 2nd grade and he loves school. Tauheedah works full time as a Registered Dental Hygienist in a pediatric office. She is very passionate about dental care. She wants to make sure that children with disabilities are able to have a great dental experience and good oral hygiene habits. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with my family. They enjoy beach vacations, all Philadelphia sports and hanging out at the pool.

Self-Advocates

Rachel Rhea

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 Scott 

Laura is 36 years old and has lived in Middletown with her parents since 2001.  She is the oldest of 3 children and an aunt.  Shortly after graduating from Middletown High School, Laura found employment as a baker with Waggies by Maggie and Friends (a dog biscuit company) and Bob Evans restaurant.as an assistant to the servers.  She is still employed by both companies.  In her free time, Laura enjoys many activities.  She plays bocce, bowls, golfs and cycles with Special Olympics where she also serves on the Athlete Leadership Team.  Laura loves taking dance lessons with Bella Dancenter, acting lessons with Totally Awesome Players and The Improvaneers, and participating in all the DSA activities such as yoga, cooking, Bingo, dances and fundraisers.  In addition to being a camp counselor for DSA’s Days of Summer Camp, she loves to attend Easter Seals Camp Fairlee every summer.  Laura is a “party girl” who looks forward to birthday parties, social outings and get togethers with her friends.

Members at Large

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.

Vanessa Cannon

Vanessa is married to Orrie ‘Terry” Cannon and reside in Seaford.  They have daughters Libby 22, Adrianna 17, and Avary (DS) 9.  Vanessa has over 20 year of experience in Human Resources.  She is active in the Seaford School District as a volunteer and advocate.  She also plans several DSA events for Sussex County. In her free time you can find Vanessa enjoying the beach, shopping and visiting local antique and flea markets and supporting the girls in their sports and activities.

Ed Gootzait

Along with his wife Susan and their 40-year old daughter Amy (Ds), Ed and his family moved to Delaware in 2012 to be closer to their older daughter and her family, thinking ahead for Amy’s future care needs.

After a 40+ year career in industry and academia Ed retired as a Director of a Virginia company that developed sensors for healthcare, military and homeland security applications.

Ed has been an active volunteer in both Virginia and Delaware.  He is the treasurer and a board member of Innovative Community Living, Inc. a Delaware-based nonprofit working to establish fully integrated neighborhoods where people with intellectual and developmental disabilities will live alongside non-disabled residents.

He is also a member of the Christiana Care Health System Patient and Family Advisory Committee and Christiana’s Center for Special Health Care Needs Patient and Family Advisory Committee and volunteers with the ARC of Delaware and Special Olympics Delaware.

Gail Hamblin

Gail Hamblin lives in Dover, Delaware.  She has an earned Master’s in Applied Educational Technology from Wilmington University, a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education and Care from Wilmington University, and an Associate’s in Early Childhood Education from Delaware Technical & Community College.   She is a mother to three, Natalie, Calvin (DS) and Aurora. Gail currently works as an Assistive Technology Manager.  Her passion for teaching, advocacy, and young children inspired her to write her first children’s book entitled, “More Alike Than Different… A Down Syndrome Awareness Tale“. Gail enjoys advocating for Down syndrome awareness, medical complexities, and overall acceptance.

Cameron Harwood

Cameron lives in Middletown with his wife and their two sons. Their oldest son Landen (5yo) was born with Down syndrome and has changed their lives in the best possible way from day 1. Their youngest son Carson (3yo) is their wild child, risk taker, and wildly intelligent. They are both the best of friends. Professionally, He is a fraud agent with BofA and his wife Megan is a high school math teacher for Bo Manor HS. They have been involved with the DE DSA since 2016 and he became the DADS Coordinator in 2020. They love to travel and exploring new adventures with their boys.

Nat Measley

Nat Measley is the founder at YourCultureDesign.com and has worked as a workplace culture consultant for 15+ years. Nat is also an adjunct professor at the University of Delaware’s Horn Program in Entrepreneurship and leads their study abroad programming to Australia. Nat lives in Wilmington, DE with his wife, Kami, who is a licensed clinical social worker at AI Dupont Hospital for Children.

Heather Mergenthaler

For 13 years Heather has worked as a community service coordinator for New Castle County Government. During her first 11 years she worked in the Sports office and was responsible for youth camps, afterschool, and adaptive programs. Since 2018, she oversees recreation centers and implements programs for active adults and the 55+ population along with continuing adaptive program manager. Heather currently holds the position of President of the Delaware Recreation Parks Society, a non-profit organization. Heather shares her life with her husband of 32 years Paul, a retired police detective, and has grown children and their spouses, Jacob, Ben, Olivia, Annalie and Jeffrey.

Paul O’Brien

Paul is a Delaware native who grew up in Wilmington. After working on Capitol Hill for Tom Carper during law school, he joined the law practice established by his father, Kevin O’Brien. Their practice focuses on wills, trusts and estate planning, with an emphasis on planning for families who have children with Special Needs. Paul serves many of our families through his practice.

He is married to Juliana Hayman O’Brien and they have two daughters, Rowan and Claire. When he is not working, Paul enjoys hiking and sailing.

.

Tara Pickett

Tara and her husband, Ryan Pickett, reside in Lincoln, DE.  She is mom to Landon (8 years old) and Kenzie (Ds, 6 years old).  Tara currently teaches sixth grade special education.  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 Rhea

Pam, her husband Joe, and their youngest daughter Rachel (24-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 Scott

Susan and her husband, Brian, reside in Middletown.  They joined the DSA 36 years ago when their first daughter, Laura, was born while living in Elkton, MD.  They are the proud parents of 3 children and 1 grandson.  Susan grew up in Wilmington and graduated from the University of Delaware.  She retired 2 years ago after working in education as an Instructional Assistant and Special Education Coordinator at MOT Charter School and as an Assistant Teacher at St. Anne’s Episcopal School.  Susan has fulfilled many roles with the DSA over the years but most recently she coordinates the dances for our teens and adults and serves on the Outreach Committee and Jack’s Baskets.  In addition, Susan actively volunteers with Special Olympics of DE and serves on the Leadership Team for the MOT area as Registration Manager and Bowling Director.