About NDSC

Board of Directors

The NDSC is governed by a twenty-one member Board of Directors composed of parents and family members of individuals with Down syndrome, self-advocates, and other individuals involved with people with Down syndrome. NDSC board members are elected by the membership to a three-year term. Officers are elected to serve one-year terms. Our National Center is located in Atlanta, Georgia, while our board members live all across the United States.

All members of the NDSC Executive Committee and Board of Directors may be contacted via email at info@NDSCcenter.org

Executive Committee

Kate Dougherty, President – Taylor, MO
Zach Caroll, 1st Vice President – Washinton, DC
Dana Halle, J.D. 2nd Vice President – Costa Mesa, CA
Daniel Chaplin, 3rd Vice President – Homewood, AL
Mitch Rothholz, Treasurer – Harleysville, PA
Nicole Baumer, M.D., M.Ed, Secretary – Boston, MA
Shauntel Neal-Howe, Immediate Past President – Smyrna, GA


Craig Blackburn – Metairie, LA
Beau Brooks
– Thibodaux, LA
David Chaplin – Homewood, AL
John Dickerson
– Indianapolis, IN
Barb Helm – Overland Park, KS
Andrea Holmes – Dalton, GA
Macarena Lizama, M.D. – Santiago, Chile
Lora Olson – Columbia, MO
Sean Smith – Lawrence, KS
Jenny Stone – Fort Worth, TX
Jill Reffett – Lawrence, KS
Megan Smulski – Pittsburgh, PA
Noemi Spinazzi
 – Oakland, CA
Anthony Zanfordino – Brandywine, MD

Past NDSC Presidents

2020-2022: Shauntel Neal-Howe; Smyrna, GA
2017-2020: Kishore Vellody, M.D.; Pittsburgh, PA
2014-2017: Marilyn Tolbert; Fort Worth, TX
2011-2014: Jim Faber; Monument, CO
2008-2011: Brooks Robinson; Pittsburgh, PA
2005-2008: Rich Robison; Sudbury, MA
2002-2005: Judy Martz; Littleton, CO
2001-2002: Kathleen Marafino; Cicero, NY
2000-2001: Jo Ann Simons; Swampscott, MA
1996-1999: Betty Hersey; Dallas, Texas
1993-1996: Maureen Babula; Phillipsburg, NJ
1990-1993: Michael Clark, PhD, Bakersfield, CA
1988-1990: Kathleen Marafino, JD; St. Louis, MO
1985-1988: Frank J. Murphy; Atlanta, GA
1982-1985: Tom O’Neill; Ft Wayne, IN
1979-1982: Diane Crutcher; Normal, IL
1978-1979: Lucille Msall; Oak Park, IL
1977-1978: Col. Robert Glasgow; Washington, DC
1976-1977: Sig Pueschel, MD; Greenwich, RI
1973-1976: Pete Starr, Ph.D.; Owings Mills, MD

Board Service Overview

The NDSC Board is composed of 20 members from across the country, three of whom are self-advocates and elected by their peers. We hold two face-to-face meetings each year, one on a weekend in the midwinter and one onsite before the convention opens. Typically the mid-winter meeting is held in the upcoming convention city and hotel to familiarize the Board with the locale ahead of time.

We have a long tradition that board members assume all the costs of their own travel, though in recent years the organization has assisted in a few instances for board members whose financial situation is such that they could not participate otherwise. Our goal is to have a board that is diverse ethnically, culturally, and economically. We have not wanted the expectation of covering one’s own travel to eliminate qualified candidates.

In addition to attending the board meetings, each board member is expected to serve on one or more committees and/or strategic teams who meet by conference call periodically, most often, but not always, during daytime hours. The committees and teams are very active; some meet monthly, others, such as the convention committee, meet more often. Our strategic plan is very dynamic and is being actualized. In our face-to-face meetings, we devote a block of time to strategic planning. During the times the Board of Directors does not meet face-to-face, the Executive Committee (eight persons) meets monthly by conference call with the Executive Director.

The terms are three years and individuals can serve three consecutive terms (total of nine years), though our self-advocate board members serve only one 3-year term. Board members are elected by the membership annually at the general membership meeting, which occurs during the convention. Board members then elect the officers for the ensuing year. Officers serve one-year terms, up to a total of 3 years in any office.

Other expectations of board members are that each person makes an annual gift to the NDSC according to family means. It is especially critical that a non-profit be able to state to its membership and potential corporate funders or foundations that 100% of the Board supports the organization financially; any amount of money will satisfy this requirement.

Our organization is on a solid financial footing, and you will find the most recent annual reports on our website here.

Summary of Expectations:

  • Attend two board meetings annually, one of which is just before the convention and one in the mid-winter
  • Support the NDSC financially, so we have 100% financial support from the Board (size of gift is not important)
  • Serve on a committee or strategic team to share one’s expertise as appropriate (meetings by conference call)
  • Be actively committed to the overall mission of the NDSC

Ours is a very collegial group and is a working board. We are not just policymakers, so there is an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of people with Down syndrome.

Board Nomination Process and Forms

Board of Director Nomination

The Deadline for nominations for the 2023 Election is May 15, 2023.

Board of Director Nomination Process

Self-Advocate Board Position Nomination 

Three self-advocates serve on the BOD and each year one self-advocate is elected by his or her peers at the convention’s Y&A Conference for a three-year term. Any member with Down syndrome, 22 years old or older, in good standing in the NDSC, and having attended three(3) of the last five(5) NDSC Annual Convention Y&A Conferences is eligible for this position. If you are interesting in running for the board please complete the SA Board Nomination Form before the May 15, 2023 deadline. Financial support is available for self-advocate directors to attend the two annual board meetings held each year.

Self-Advocate Board Position Nomination Process