tags: Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities
Maureen van Stone

Congratulations are in order for Maureen van Stone, Esq., MS, assistant vice president and director of the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD), for being inducted into the Daily Record’s Top 100 Women Circle of Excellence. Van Stone will be honored at a reception and awards celebration on May 6, 2024 at The Lyric in Baltimore, Maryland. The MCDD team celebrates van Stone’s achievement and is grateful for her continued leadership.

Valeria Tskhay

The MCDD is delighted to welcome Valeria Tskhay as the team’s new training coordinator. Before becoming a team member, Tskhay served as an MCDD trainee and contributed to the MCDD Faith Community Learning Collaborative project, supervised by Dr. Mirian Ofonedu, PhD, LCSW-C, the director of training for the MCDD. The project aimed to provide training and resources to faith leaders, assisting them in making their faith spaces more inclusive for people with disabilities. Tskhay earned a bachelor’s degree in public health from the University of Maryland. She advocates for public health education and believes that to effect meaningful change towards inclusion, we must provide access to pertinent information and resources that empower communities to enact such changes. Being an advocate for those in need is one of the most effective ways to serve communities and foster a healthier environment for all.

Kristine Nellenbach

Congratulations are extended to Kristine Nellenbach, MS, Resource Finder program coordinator, for being appointed to the Maryland Assistive Technology Loan Program Board of Directors. Nellenbach will be a great representative of the MCDD and Kennedy Krieger Institute.

Christopher Mason-Hale

Christopher Mason-Hale, BSW, MCDD community advocate, has been selected to participate in the inaugural class of the Leadership Maryland Emerging Leader Program. The program gathers a cohort of 30 forward-thinking individuals from Maryland’s public, private, government, education and nonprofit sectors, providing them with skills and tools to advance in their careers. The MCDD team takes pride in Mason-Hale’s outstanding achievement!

Kendall Murphy headshot.

The MCDD is thrilled to welcome Kendall Murphy, JD, to the team as a legal advocate for Project HEAL (Health, Education, Advocacy, and Law). Murphy brings a wealth of experience and dedication to her role, having earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from The Catholic University of America and her Juris Doctor from Elon University School of Law. During her time in law school, Murphy demonstrated her commitment to advocacy by serving as a Project HEAL law trainee and intern for Disability Rights Maryland. Additionally, she worked as a research assistant at Elon Law, focusing on law related to students with specific learning disabilities and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Prior to attending law school, Murphy worked as a behavioral therapist for students with autism spectrum disorder in the District of Columbia. We are confident that Murphy's expertise and passion will greatly benefit our mission to support individuals with disabilities.

We are pleased to announce that the MCDD was recently awarded a Maryland Elevates grant from the Maryland State Department of Education Division of Early Intervention and Special Education Services. Under this grant, Kennedy Krieger staff members from the MCDD, Department of Behavioral Psychology and the Center for Innovation and Leadership in Special Education will provide professional learning and coaching for Wicomico County Public Schools’ early childhood general educators, special educators, related service providers, instructional assistants and Judy Center Early Learning Hub staff. Topics of learning will include the use of equitable, culturally responsive assessment, evaluation and service delivery in natural environments rather than relying on a clinical or pull-out model. Kennedy Krieger staff members hope to support the development and implementation of effective, equitable and culturally responsive education services resulting in increased access to instruction, improved educational achievement and functional outcomes, and reduced gaps between early learners with and without disabilities.