Maria Peak Executive Director email@example.com
Maria Peak worked in the field of Special Education for 30 years as a classroom teacher and transition coordinator for Eaton Regional Education Services Agency, and a project coordinator for Michigan Transition Outcomes Project through Michigan Department of Education, Office of Special Education. Maria first became involved with ASPPIRE as a facilitator and curriculum consultant. In 2015, she became the Executive Director of ASPPIRE. Maria enjoys spending time with her family and friends, antiquing and decorating their old farm house.
Aileen Hecht Financial Analyst firstname.lastname@example.org
Aileen lives in Lansing with her husband and two children. She was diagnosed with autism at age 28. Aileen graduated from Baker College in 2009 with a degree in Business Management concentrated in Accounting and has worked for ASPPIRE since 2012. As a previous participant, she relates well to others in the program and acts as a peer mentor in various capacities. In her spare time, Aileen enjoys reading, cooking, and socializing.
Jennie Brandenburg Employment Specialist email@example.com
Jennie graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree with a focus in Community Development and Community Services from Central Michigan University. Jennie has worked for non-profit organizations for over 15 years. She has 6 years of experience in the workforce development field and has worked as a case manager in job development through Michigan Works! While at Michigan Works! she completed the Global Career Development Facilitator Training. Jennie has also worked for various grants with the Michigan Department of Education Office of Special Education for over 7 years. She has a passion working with individuals with disabilities and assisting individuals in finding employment. Jennie lives in Lansing with her husband, daughter, son, and three cats.
Lisa Barnett Facilitator firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Barnett is a retired special education teacher who taught in Bellevue for 25 years. She enjoys spending time with her children and vacationing with friends and family. Lisa also enjoys cooking, gardening, and making arts and crafts. She became involved with ASPPIRE through her sister Maria Peak.
Chantal Charron Facilitator email@example.com
Chantal has worked in Special Education for 30 years as a Program Consultant and a Speech and Language Pathologist at the Livingston Educational Service Agency. Her experience includes working with students of all ages and disabilities, providing social coaching for high school students with High Functioning Autism and co-authoring a resource for individuals with social and cognitive challenges. She finds great satisfaction when individuals increase their advocacy skills and achieve maximum independence in their lives. Her husband, Dave, and two wonderful children, Max and Renee, love to spend time in northern Michigan and travel to new places.
Joanne Davids Facilitator firstname.lastname@example.org
After working for 31 years as a Design Engineer for General Motors, Joanne Davids retired and went back to school to become and a Special Education Teacher. She currently works doing Applied Behavior Analysis therapy with young students on the Autism Spectrum. Joanne has been married to the love of her life for over 20 years, and together they have four children, one of whom is on the Autism Spectrum, and 11 grandchildren.
Leanne Decker Facilitator email@example.com
Leanne is retired with over 32 years working in schools. She is a licensed and registered Occupational Therapist. She has worked for Ingham Intermediate School District and Lansing Schools as Itinerant Staff, in Early On, and in a center-based program. She has also worked for CMH, provided home-based Occupational Therapy, and has taught for MSU. Leanne is married to a wonderful man, has 3 children, 2 dogs and one cat. She has a strong faith. Leanne loves warm sunny weather, beaches, and water. She enjoys boating, swimming, traveling, camping, reading, and time spent with people. She feels life is meant to be fun!
Lena Peak Facilitator firstname.lastname@example.org
Lena received her Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from Aquinas College. Lena currently serves as an Employment Specialist Assistant and Facilitator through ASPPIRE. Lena has experience in “helping professions” working with reputable organizations such as Capital Area Michigan Works! and D.A. Blodgett – St. Johns. In her free time, Lena enjoys live music, yoga, and listening to podcasts. Lena will be attending graduate school next fall with goals to attain a career in academia.
Steve Peak Facilitator email@example.com
Steve Peak has worked as an adaptive physical education teacher for over 30 years. He earned his Master’s degree from Michigan State University and his Bachelor’s degree from North Texas State University. In Steve’s free time, he enjoys restoring his 1959 Shasta travel trailor and driving his 1970s classic Oldsmobile. Steve was the varsity boys and girls soccer coach for Olivet Community Schools, and still enjoys playing soccer on a local league. Steve and Maria have three adult children that they spend as much time as possible with.
Katlyn Taylor Facilitator firstname.lastname@example.org
Katlyn received her Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling from Michigan State University in Spring of 2018. She is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and Limited License Professional Counselor. Katlyn works at PAR Rehab Services in Lansing as a mental health therapist. She has specialized training and clinical experience in working with persons with disabilities and a special interest in neurodevelopmental and intellectual disabilities. At ASPPIRE, she is a facilitator for the sexual health group and other social coaching groups. Katlyn lives in Eastside Lansing and enjoys hula hooping, traveling, and snuggling with her cat.
Matt Arends Social Club Facilitator, Facilitator Assistant
Matt has been with ASPPIRE as a participant and advisory board member since 2009. Matt currently works at the MRT Systems in Lansing. Matt lives in the first Lansing Intentional Communities, Inc (LINCS) home. Matt attended local community colleges, Michigan State University, and Michigan Career and Technical Institute. Matt has had experience working with young people with disabilities as a community living support staff member and respite care worker through Community Mental Health. Matt enjoys spending time with his niece, nephew and family members. He loves to watch movies, play board games, read books and socialize with friends.
Katie Woerderhoff Facilitator, Job Coach
Social Club Facilitator Assistant email@example.com
Madison is from Norton Shores, Michigan. She currently resides in East Lansing as a student at Michigan State University. She is studying behavioral neuroscience and pharmacology and plans to attend graduate school to further her studies in one of these two fields. In her free time, she enjoys drinking coffee, spending time with friends and family, and reading.
Luna (Nathan) Brown Facilitator Assistant
Luna is a peer mentor and advocate for people with disabilities. They are a Lansing native, autistic and very active in the local LGBTQ and disability communities. Luna is also the executive director of the LGBTQ Abilities organization. In their spare time Luna likes to spend time with friends, their cat George, and keeps busy working towards a degree in religious studies.
Olivia Beckman Facilitator Assistant
Volunteers from MSU, LCC, and the Greater Lansing area support ASPPIRE’s social coaching programs. If you would like to volunteer, please check out the Get Involved tab.