Our highly trained staff is up-to-date on the latest in parent engagement, special education advocacy, and how schools in this state work. Each Parent Consultant takes part in a rigorous mentoring program designed to share information and develop skills that are essential in helping parents understand how to support their child’s learning.
Staff members at the Parent Information Center are selected for their exceptional skills and expertise related to parent engagement, advocacy, and support. Parent Consultants participate in regular trainings as related to special education, disabilities issues, general education, and technology. Our Parent Consultants understand the challenges of parenting, especially parenting children with disabilities, because they, too, are parents.
Meedra Surratte, M.Ed. - Executive Director Meedra is a community and education advocate serving students with disabilities and their families at PIC for over 15 years. Her area of focus lies in education and capacity building, particularly in the areas of special education, family engagement and/or strengthening sustaining partnerships between families and schools. She is committed to ensuring equity in education, representing the interests of students and families from our most undeserved communities. Meedra holds a B.A. in Organizational Dynamics and a Masters in Special Education. Meedra also serves as the aRPy Ambassador for Delaware, promoting awareness of evidenced based practices that improve outcomes for infants and toddlers. She represents the needs, concerns and interests of children with disabilities and their families on several statewide councils. Meedra previously served as education contributor to the Arthur J. Turner Jr. Scholarship Foundation, and served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and an Educational Surrogate Parent for 10 years. Meedra is the proud parent of 3 girls, and grandparent of a granddaughter born in 2021.
"Through my work, my goal is to encourage, empower, and inform families about the special education process, and the importance of advocacy in education and community, specifically reaching underserved parents of children with disabilities and families with low Income and/or limited resources."
Mary is a Sussex County Native who started her career as a Public Ally in 2002, where she completed 1700 hours of community service with a non profit in Sussex County. She then moved on as a Program Coordinator at Interfaith Mission where she developed and ran an after school program. When she is not working she is spending time with her fabulous daughter and family.
"" Growing up as a child with a disability, I saw the obstacles my mother faced to ensure I had the tools succeed in school. I want to make sure every parent has the tools to advocate for their children as my mother did for me." "
Darne’Jia provides support to families of children birth-8 who receive or may qualify for special education services. She is dedicated to contributing to a parent’s ability to learn and grow in their journey of effective advocacy for their children. Darne’Jia previously worked with adults with disabilities, and was drawn to her current position when her youngest son was diagnosed with multiple birth defects and disabilities. She brings a wealth of personal experience to the process of obtaining services and advocating for children.
Kimyada joined the PIC staff in November 2018 and coordinates our new intakes and data collection. Kim has over 10 years experience in customer service and finance and is a passionate advocate for children. She is excited to help families advocate and learn about the special education process, as she was when advocating for her daughter.
Christina previously worked here as a program coordinator for the PIRC grant. She worked with schools increasing parent engagement, taught workshops, facilitated Family Friendly Walkthroughs and learned so much about education, parental engagement and working with families of kids with unique needs. After her time with PIC, Tina went back to school and got a Masters in Special Education with an autism certification. She worked for 5 years in schools in Delaware and Maryland as a classroom teacher and as a special educator. Tina is coming back to PIC, in this role as a parent consultant, with this additional education, experience, and passion. Tina's hope is that she is able to partner with families to help them find resources and supports to improve their child’s educational experiences and, ultimately, improve their lives. Tina will be working on initiatives throughout the state but her primary focus will be on Sussex County. She grew up in Sussex County and graduated from Sussex Central High School. She also worked in nonprofits there for many years building relationships and coaching young people at the beginning of their careers. Tina is excited to work with many of the people that she grew up with and went to school with as they are now teachers, administrators, and parents in Sussex County. An important focus of Tina's in the next few months, is to increase PICs visibility in Sussex County so that more families and children can benefit from our services. When Tina is not at work, she is living an awesome life with her 5 children and menagerie of animals. Tina's children also are unique individuals with special needs and as their parent she is an ardent advocate for their needs as well.
"“My goal is to ensure families of children with special needs have access to the information, programs, and support they need to make informed decisions about their children’s education. There is nothing more anxiety producing than facing the unique challenges of being a parent of a child with special needs and not knowing how to get the resources you need for that child. I am so glad to be a part of PIC and be able to be a community connector for our families.”"
Paula provides information and resources for families of children with disabilities, meeting personally with parents and caregivers of children with disabilities and conducting workshops in Spanish on topics related to special education and effective advocacy.
"I know firsthand the challenges that families have to face having a child with a disability. One of my two sons has autism and I know that it’s not only a challenge emotionally and physically but it can also provide an extra challenge socially and with parents and families in the community who may not be as educated or understanding of having a child with a disability."
"I am passionate in this field and I will not stop until all families feel heard and helped. I also want children with disabilities to be challenged and have all of their needs and gifts met."
Kathie ensures that eligible children in Delaware’s foster care system are appointed a trained and knowledgeable Educational Surrogate Parent (ESP) who acts as the foster child’s parent in the special education process. She delivers training, consultation and support to foster parents, community volunteers, educators and professionals regarding parental rights and special education regulations, as well as working closely with state agencies and school districts to ensure effective implementation of the program on behalf of foster children. Kathie holds a B.S., in Recreation & Park Administration, University of Delaware, M.S. in Management, Wilmington University.
"Children in foster care experience numerous challenges due to life altering and traumatic events. They deserve to have knowledgeable advocates ready to support them in school. Through my work, I hope to positively influence educational outcomes for children in foster care."
Arielle supports families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing, by offering education, information, and guidance. Originally trained in graphic design, her passion shifted focus when her profoundly deaf daughter was born in 2015. Her daughter's diagnosis led to Arielle's involvement in the deaf and hard of hearing community as she continued to be an advocate for her child. Arielle is a trained parent guide for Delaware Hands & Voices and has a great familiarity with early intervention services in the state of Delaware due to her daughter’s participation in several of them.
""I know firsthand how important a support system can be after a child's hearing loss diagnosis. I know the value of it, and the impact it has on our children's growth and prosperity.""
Jennifer Aaron is a Family to Family program consultant. Her role is to work with families who are seeking assistance in identifying available services related to special healthcare needs. Jenn has a professional history in mortgage banking, and has received Provisional Certification as a Family Support Provider. She enjoys vacationing with her family, swimming, and football.
Kelly is a Delaware native who graduated from Woodbridge High School and the University of Delaware. She has been a lifelong passionate advocate for teens and young adults, as well as the LGBTQIA+ community. Kelly lived in New Zealand for several years, where she was a volunteer and mentor with the Rainbow Youth organization and was a volunteer with the New Zealand AIDS Foundation. Kelly worked at Sussex County Family Court for many years, managing the Mental Health Court diversion program for juveniles. Diagnosed as neurodivergent in adulthood, Kelly is dedicated to supporting young people with special needs and/or disabilities and their families and helping them find the best strategies for positive outcomes.
"“I’m excited to join the PIC family, and my goal is to be the advocate I wish I’d had as a young person.” "
Devon Hynson, MBA is presently the Project Director for the Delaware Public Education Ombudsperson Program (DPEOP), a student advocacy organization and has been widely recognized in the Delaware education community for his commitment to students and his ability to collaborate with school districts to resolve student related educational issues. Devon is the former Executive Director and Co-founder of Education Voices Inc., which was also a nonprofit organization responsible for protecting the educational rights and equity interests of students in Delaware. Educational accomplishments include an Associate degree in Education, Bachelor of Public Administration, Master’s in Business Administration, and a national board certification for special education advocacy. Devon has received a Resolution from the Wilmington City Council in recognition of his more than 20 years of service, advocating for Delaware children, and expert knowledge as it pertains to education related laws/regulations. He has developed student advocacy training curriculums, performed countless training workshops/classes, and consulted with multiple school districts for special education programming. Devon has been successfully navigating both worlds; he is recognized as a tireless student advocate by families, while professionally is a trusted advisor in the field of special education and related services.
Teshia has10 years’ experience working with families of individuals with autism, special needs, and intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD). Her focus has been the empowerment of each person to lead a life as independent as possible. In order to assist in this outcome, Teshia previously held a role that provided her the opportunity to inspire and support individuals in becoming self-sufficient through the achievement of one small goal at a time. As Intake Coordinator with the DPEOP, she will continue to support families and individuals in finding solutions to barriers that may keep them from obtaining educational and personal development.
"“ I believe in the saying ‘Every child is one caring adult away from being a success story’ - Josh Shipp. So, it is my personal mission to become the adult I needed when I was a child. I will do this by placing people first and being the bridge for them on their journey from one road to another.”"
Tara joined the PIC staff in May 2022 as a Family Resource Specialist for the Delaware Public Education Ombudsperson Program. She has over 15 years’ experience supporting and advocating for students as a Case Worker within the school system. Tara holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Delaware, and a Paralegal Studies certificate from Widener University Delaware Law School. She currently resides in New Castle County with her daughter and their beloved dog, Monkey.
Dawn has lived in Sussex county for the last 21 years. As a child who overcame the struggles of dealing with learning disabilities in school herself she is aware of the challenges that a child faces on a daily basis. As a mother of three sons, she became their advocate for their special education needs. She became very involved with the process of advocating for her son with ADHD and working with the teachers and staff within the school system to ensure that IEP accommodations are met and upheld. She has also been a volunteer for many support groups for parents and students dealing with bullying and youth grief counseling. She is also an advocate for the equal rights of students within the LGBTQIA+ community. Dawn was a Senior Social Worker for the State of Delaware for 4 years and brings her training and experience to help families receive various types of support. She is the mother of 3 sons who all have very unique specialalities as well as her 3 rescue furbabies Gypsy, Binx and Salem.
"“ As an adult with disabilities and a mother of 3 sons who have dealt with bullying and educational discrimination and social struggles. I believe that advocating for our children by working with the school staff to provide the best learning experience for them to succeed in life is paramount. Only by working together can we make a difference. I strongly feel that you should be a voice for the voiceless.”"
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