About Suzanne Ripley
Suzanne brings an authentic perspective on the lives, services and needs of individuals with disabilities, their families, and those who work for and with them. She has worked in the field for many years, both professionally and as a volunteer, and is the parent of two sons with multiple and complex disabilities who are now adults living in the community -- with a lot of excellent supports.
Suzanne knows the needs, the questions, the frustrations and the joy of finding out what works best. She's been through the ups and downs and learned a lot along the way. She has met wonderful people and survived the ones who weren't all that wonderful.
Areas of Expertise
- Special Education
- Information and Referral
- Health and Mental Health
- Rare Disorders
- Post-Secondary Education
- K-12 Education and Training
Accessing Disability Services
Founder and owner (2011 - present) Provide one-to-one guidance and referrals to individuals with disabilities, families, educators, and service providers. Services available to people of any age and any disabling conditions. Work with individuals and families to review their current lifestyles and assist them in identifying a range of options to address their goals.
DC Advocacy Partners (2011 – present) Develop training curriculum, collect resources and lead classes on local and national policy making. Based on the Partners in Policymaking project, this new organization in Washington, DC, trains individuals with developmental disabilities and/or family members to actively participate in policy decisions that affect their lives.
Global Community Services Foundation (2011 –2015) Assist with development of proposals to fund education, health and income generation projects in Vietnam and in Myanmar (formerly Burma). Facilitate Board meetings and special committees focused on supporting the foundation’s work.
West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (2014 – 2015) Community Liaison, assisting staff and students with community involvement activities with an emphasis on work experience. Previously worked in this position as a volunteer beginning in 2012. Developed on-campus work experience program and Career Day programs to bring workers who are either deaf/hearing impaired or blind/visually impaired to campus to talk with students and staff.
Academy for Educational Development
Project Director, Family Support Center on Disabilities: Knowledge & Involvement Network, KIN (2008-2010). This was a two year project. Manage all budgetary activities; hire and supervise staff: supervise all project activities; oversee development of new Web site, layout and contents; oversee acquisition of resources; conduct focus groups and present at conferences; oversee technical assistance and responses to inquiries; manage work of subcontractors; recruit members of State Action Teams for all states and territories; arrange for and lead national conference for State Action Team members; and maintain communication with Administration on Developmental Disabilities, meeting with Project Officer and filing regular reports.
Project Director, National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities, NICHCY (1993-2008). Manage NICHCY; manage all budgetary activities; hire staff; supervise activities; oversee acquisition of resources; develop new types of publications and products; increase quality of products and dissemination strategies; disseminate research findings; and evaluate regularly. Primary responsibilities include overseeing the development and distribution of all products, materials, and technical assistance; interfacing with Federal Project Officer and Grants Specialist regarding direction of project; development and preparation or written reports; networking with major national disability organizations, parent groups, service providers, educators, and other groups serving children and youth with disabilities; managing Clearinghouses in Collaborations, a joint effort of six OSEP funded Clearinghouses; collaborating with disability related organizations and agencies on written materials, seminars and product development; developing evaluation strategies; and, increasing outreach and collaboration with traditionally underserved populations.
Deputy Director, National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities. Responsible for outreach and development of NICHCY publications. Assisted the Director in all facets of managing the Clearinghouse.
Information Specialist, National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities. Responsible for responding to inquiries from families and professionals on the full range of disability issues. Developed information packages for use in answering responses. Reorganized library and research holding. Specialized in the areas of Learning Disabilities; Health Insurance; Mass Media; Recreation; and Family issues. Also, participated in the conceptualization of an information database. Helped develop NICHCY publications and participated in conferences nationally.
Research Librarian, President’s Private Sector Survey, Grace Foundation, Washington, DC. Provided research for the 35 Task Force in all Federal Agencies, developed and managed the central library for the Task Forces, prepared archives for public access to the work done by the Task Forces.
Research Subscription/Publications Coordinator, National School Public Relations Association. Responsible for providing research support for staff writers on special issues in education; also, serving as public relations liaison for subscriptions/billing department.
Research Librarian, National Association of Educational Broadcasters. Responsible for managing a small, specialized library for national membership professional organization; also, responding to information inquiries from members.
Instructor, Northern Virginia Community College. Taught in English Department, basics of research, composition, and remedial composition.
Instructor, Atlantic Business College. Taught a high school equivalency course to inner city young adults.
English Teacher, W.T. Woodson High School and Ft. Hunt High School.
Homebound Instructor/Private Tutor. Fairfax County, Virginia
Stock Footage Research. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
Free Lance Research. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
- Ph.D., Human Services, Walden University.
- M.A. University of Maryland, Communications, Mass Media and English.
- B.A. Miami University, Oxford OH, English, Secondary Education.
- Mercury Awards, Silver Award for Outstanding Achievement in Professional Communications
- Mobius Advertising Award, Informational Competition for Public Service Announcements
- National Easter Seals, Broadcast Journalism Award
- ACRES Member of the Year
- Virginia Board for People with Disabilities (DD Council)
- Alliance of Information and Referral Systems
- American Council for Rural Special Education
- Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
- Collaborative Information Centers
- Council for Exceptional Children
- National 211 Coalition
- National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education
- National Education Network
- National Indian Education Association
- National Rural Education Association