2018-2019 Class Selection Notification

for Austin and McAllen will be Friday 15 June.

Class 2018

Congratulations to our Class of 2018. May your training and your passion change the world for those with developmental disabilities!

The 2017-2018 class of the Texas Partners in Policymaking program graduated during a ceremony held at the State Capitol on Saturday, April 14, 2018.

Texas Partners in Policymaking is an advanced disability advocacy and leadership development program. The program is designed for people with developmental disabilities (DD) and family members of people with DD. During the program, participants from across the state receive over 100 hours of training over the course of nine months. Training sessions are conducted by state and national experts and cover topics like disability history, employment, inclusive education, advocacy, disability policy, systems change, and more.

Graduates of the program have the knowledge and skills necessary to be leaders in their communities and to engage in disability advocacy at the local, state, and national levels. Ultimately, graduates will create change to ensure the full participation and inclusion of children and adults with disabilities in all areas of life.

The 2017-2018 class graduated 30 people who represented a diverse cross-section of the state. The graduation ceremony was held at the State Capitol and State Sen. Judith Zaffirini was the keynote speaker. Over 150 people attended the graduation ceremony. Below are the names and hometowns of the graduates:

Blakley Hernandez

Blakley Hernandez

Arlington
Brandie Wiley

Brandie Wiley

Fort Worth
Brenda Nelson

Brenda Nelson

El Campo
Caroline Bordelon

Caroline Bordelon

Houston
Claudia Rios

Claudia Rios

Von Ormy
Deborah Tomai

Deborah Tomai

Edinburg
Gloria Rankin

Gloria Rankin

San Antonio
Gwendolyn Guidry

Gwendolyn Guidry

Austin
Jaishree Ellis

Jaishree Ellis

Houston
Jake Pinher

Jake Pinher

Buda
Jane Friou

Jane Friou

Houston
Joy Siebenman

Joy Siebenman

Katy
Julie Ross

Julie Ross

Dallas
Kate Sanger

Kate Sanger

Dickenson
Katie Hollingsworth

Katie Hollingsworth

Dripping Springs
Kristen Tilson Mueller

Kristen Tilson Mueller

Houston
Kristin Romero

Kristin Romero

Lumberton
Laura Saenz

Laura Saenz

Marble Falls
Lisa Flores

Lisa Flores

Austin
Lisa Flores-Puente

Lisa Flores-Puente

Lisa Flores-Puente
Macy Godeaux

Macy Godeaux

San Antonio
Maricela Martinez

Maricela Martinez

Austin
Mariela Rios

Mariela Rios

Roma
Meredyth Alexander

Meredyth Alexander

San Antonio
Michael Garcia

Michael Garcia

Palestine
Michelle Lunday

Michelle Lunday

Trophy Club
Michelle Valero

Michelle Valero

Abbott
Roya Sayed

Roya Sayed

Keller
Stephanie Giovannie

Stephanie Giovannie

Burleson
Veronica Ayala

Veronica Ayala

San Antonio

Each graduate of the 2017-2018 class has plans to create change to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities in their community. Graduates will be part of Texas Partners in Policymaking’s large alumni network and will have access to future educational trainings and events.

  • I'm impressed by the passion and energy this class has to make change for people with disabilities in Texas. Even before they graduated, these Partners were making an impact in their communities.

    Beth Stalvey, executive director for the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD).

What Our Graduates Say

  • A few short months after graduation, I learned about an education bill at the state level that would be harmful to children with disabilities. I attended the legislative hearing on the bill and provided my personal testimony (along with other advocates). I felt confident and prepared, thanks to the Partners training - and thanks to all of our testimonials, the legislative committee killed the bill that day -success!

    Texas Partners Alumnus