Staff

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Jennifer Pfaltzgraff, Executive Director is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a BS in Communications. She is the mother of two children, Madeleine and Ethan. Jennifer began advocating for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) when her son Ethan was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 7 months old. Her career as a graphic designer and small business owner made this possible. She joined the Wake County LICC, an early intervention collaborative, to make sure she understood the intricacies of the IDD world. She held the position of co-chair of the LICC for 7 years. While looking for supports for Ethan she learned about The Arc of Wake County and started off as a volunteer graphic designer and won the The Arc's President's Award that first year for her service to The Arc. She was elected to the board of directors in July 2007, serving as a director, then President and Past President. Her career took a turn when she accepted the position as Executive Director for The Arc of Wake County leading up to The Arc of the Triangle merger in July 2014. She was integral in the planning and execution of the merger- helping to bring Medicaid services to Wake and Durham counties as well as developing systems to ensure growth was balanced with stability. At the time of the merger, Jennifer transitioned in to the Marketing and Communications Director role promoting the new brand of The Arc of the Triangle- educating stakeholders on the myriad of services and programs and The Arc's mission and philosophy. She also took the lead on creating and organizing fundraising efforts like the Casino Royale and the ever-popular Bowl-a-thon. She readily accepted the challenge of Executive Director in November 2016 when approached by the Board of Directors. Jennifer has served as Chair for the Wake County Special Education Advisory Council and is currently the Co-Chair, representing The Arc for 9 years. Outside of work, she loves to cook and spend time with her family, including her dog Charlie.

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Lisa Maier, Quality Assurance Director grew up in New York where she graduated from State University of New York, New Paltz with a BS in Education. Lisa taught in New York for a year before moving to Tulsa, Oklahoma and started working for people with developmental disabilities. She supported people that lived in Intermediate Care Facilities, group homes, community setting, therapeutic foster care and was served as a State Case Manager. After moving to North Carolina, Lisa served as a QA Analyst supporting people with mental health/dual diagnosis needs. Supports included, Therapeutic Foster Care, and an array of community mental health services across NC. After joining The Arc of the Triangle Lisa is once again advocating for children and adults with IDD.

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Michael Kirschner, Individual Services Director  Originally from upstate New York, Michael received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Stetson University in DeLand, Florida.  He has also lived in Orlando Florida, West Lafayette Indiana and settled here in the North Carolina.  Michael’s passion for working in the IDD field came from his first experience working as a Teacher Assistant at East Chapel Hill High School in Chapel Hill, NC.  In a self-contained classroom of students with Autism, Michael learned and implemented TEACCH strategies in the classroom and in job coaching.  While working as a TA, Michael was taking IT classes in the evening to help get his foot in the door in the IT world, but soon realized that he found his calling in the IDD world instead.  He then received an opportunity that changed his life forever and started working at The Arc in 2003. He has worn many hats at The Arc since then and continues to enjoy seeing those The Arc serves, grow.  Outside of The Arc Michael enjoys spending time with his family, hiking and cycling.

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Susan Swearingen, Supported Employment Director is a native North Carolinian. She attended East Carolina University where she received her BS in Special Education and in 2015 became a Nationally Certified Employment Support Professional.   She has held teaching positions in Wilson, Pitt, and Wake County Special Education classrooms and has been teaching and advocating for persons with I/DD for over 30 years. Her career with The Arc of the Triangle began as a job coach in the Project SEE summer program in the summer of 2010. She is passionate about providing quality services and ensuring that individuals who want to work have the opportunity to work.

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Michelle Foy, Community Programs Director has worked as a Registered Movement Therapist in various settings working with children, adolescents and adults that have Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Mental Illness. In 2005 she began working for The Arc of Wake County as the Program Director for the Retirement and Leisure Supports and Services Program. She now oversees all of the community programs in the Triangle area. She earned her Master’s of Arts Degree in Movement Therapy from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and received her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts Degree in Dance from US International University (now known as Alliant International University) in San Diego, California. She is truly passionate about the people she serves and supports and feels fortunate that she has such a fun and exciting job!

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Eileen Patrick, Human Resources Director, grew up in Cary, NC and graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in Communication. After 15 years in corporate management and recruiting roles, she decided to make a career change to a more fulfilling industry. She started working with The Arc of the Triangle in 2015 as the Recruitment Specialist. In 2020, she was promoted to HR Director. Eileen spends most of her free time with her husband and two sons, but occasionally finds time for running and trying new recipes.     

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THERAPEUTIC & MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

Kathy Mayer, LCMHC-A received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and her Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. She enjoys working with both adults and children with special needs. She has worked directly with children with intellectual and developmental disabilities [IDD] as a Direct Support Professional and has supported teens as a Job Coach for The Arc of the Triangle’s Project See program. She has been with The Arc as an Employment Specialist since 2014 helping adults with IDD to fulfill their dreams of finding gainful employment in the community. Her passion for working with people with IDD comes from being mother to a young man with autism. Kathy decided to pursue her master’s degree in professional counseling in 2018 and is dedicated to supporting individuals in obtaining the services they need. Kathy looks forward to working in her new role as a Professional Counselor and continuing to support individuals with IDD and their families. She specializes in working with teens and adults who struggle with anxiety, depression, grief and loss, self-esteem, relationship problems in individual, family and group therapy settings.

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INDIVIDUAL SERVICES

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Marie Dionne, Assistant Director of Individual Services received her Bachelor's Degree in Wildlife Conservation from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Marie worked in a variety of different educational positions in the following years. In 2011 she began working for The Arc of Orange as a Support Professional and later as Coordinator of the Summer Work & Wellness Program. Having discovered a passion for working with people with disabilities, she worked as an EC Teacher Assistant for four years before becoming a QP with The Arc of the Triangle. Now, as Assistant Director of IS, she is able to support a larger number of individuals in a variety of ways. When she’s not working, Marie enjoys spending time with animals; she has three cats, two fish tanks, and cares for a small herd of horses.

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Stephanie Cole, Individual Services Supervisor received her Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in Social Work from Appalachian State University in 2016. Since then, Stephanie has worked in a variety of direct support roles with people who have IDD in North Carolina and Vermont. Her favorite roles included connecting those with IDD with the community. While living in Seattle, Washington from 2018 to early 2020, Stephanie switched gears and worked professionally with dogs as a dog wrangler and lead at a doggy daycare in the city. She moved back to North Carolina in early 2020. Outside of work, Stephanie enjoys spending time riding her horse, Ducky, spending time with her family, including her dog Bennett. She’s very excited to be back to community connection and involvement, and is pleased to be a part of the team.

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Tony Hall, Community Navigator is a native of Silver Spring, Maryland, a suburb of Washington D.C. . He is a graduate of Pennsylvania College of Technology where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Web and Applications Development in 2011. Early in his career, he worked as a Web Developer for various government contractors under the National Institutes of Health in Maryland. Relocating to North Carolina in 2017, he continued his work in IT. Deciding to pursue a career in serving the disabled community in 2019, he joined The Arc of The Triangle as a job coach. He soon began job coaching groups of high school students in the Project SEE program. Tony received The Arc's Support Professional of the Year Award in 2021. Being a person with a disability himself, he states that he has a passion for advocating for adults and children with disabilities. Outside of work, he enjoys trying new recipes, raising his 7-year-old dog, participating in adaptive recreational activities, attending and participating in poetry events and spending time with friends.

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Angell Harrell, Community Navigator was born and raised in Raleigh, NC. She has always had a passion for helping others, so she decided to turn it into a career. Angell joined The Arc of the Triangle as a job coach in 2019. Since then, she’s studied human services technology at Wake Technical Community College. She has also decided to continue her education by studying behavioral and social science at North Carolina Central University, in Durham, NC. Angell spends her free time with family and friends. She enjoys baking, making handcrafted soap, and reading science-fiction novels.  

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Nina Rhoades, Individual Services Supervisor received her Bachelor’s in Social Work from Appalachian State University and her Master’s in Social Work from UNC Charlotte in 2018. She worked as a clinical therapist with all walks of life, including individuals with IDD, until 2021 when she decided to shift towards more community centered work. She enjoys advocacy and supporting others in any way she can. Outside of work, Nina enjoys hiking, horseback riding, art, and spending time with her two cats, Coco and Hazel.

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SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT SERVICES

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Rachel Werdebaugh, Assistant Director of Supported Employment has lived in North Carolina except for a few years in Arizona. Rachel began her employment with The Arc of the Triangle as a Direct Support Professional in the Spring of 2017. Rachel was promoted to the position of Employment Specialist in March 2018. Rachel received her Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Psychology and Sociology from UNC-Greensboro. She loves to serve those supported by The Arc of the Triangle by helping them achieve their goals.

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Zaejai Dunn, Employment Specialist received her Bachelor of Social Work from Livingstone College. She began working with students with IDD while teaching writing for Wake County Public Schools. She started at The Arc and as a Job Coach with Project SEE and has now returned as an Employment Specialist. When she is not studying hard to obtain her Master’s degree, she enjoys DIY’s! Zaejai really enjoys “just being there for someone.” She tries to find any way that she can to help anyone in need.

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Athena McWhorter, Project SEE Coordinator is a retired Air Force Master Sergeant (E-7). Athena received her Bachelor in Social Work from Stockton University in Pomona, NJ. She has worked as an employment specialist and guardianship Specialist in NJ. In 2012 she began work as a Guardianship Specialist with The Arc of North Carolina until 2015 when her husband (retired from active duty Air Force) received orders and the family was moved to Wichita, Kansas where Athena became a Targeted Case Manager. Athena and her husband moved back home in 2019. Athena enjoys working with students with disabilities and helping them make an impact in their community. In her free time she likes to read, play Xbox, and has recently rediscovered her love for photography.

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Antionette Mitchel, Employment Specialist received her Bachelors of Science in Healthcare Management from Winston Salem State University and received her Masters of Science in Health Administration from Capella University.  She has a mind for business and a heart to serve which led her to The Arc of the Triangle.  She loves spending time with her family, friends and her church family. She also loves to bake cupcakes/cookies and enjoys eating them too. Antionette has a big heart and does not mind going the extra mile to see someone smile.

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Majesty Robinson, Employment Specialist received her BA in Sociology from NC State University. She began working with students with IDD while serving as a College Adviser in the public school system. In January 2018, she began working for The Arc as a Job Coach and became an Employment Specialist in May 2018. In her free time, she enjoys reading, spending time with friends and family, and binge watching shows on Netflix! Majesty enjoys helping others and is passionate about serving her community.

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Abbie Woten, Employment Specialist received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Biology from North Carolina State University. She is a native Floridian who is thrilled to claim both Asheville and Durham as home. Abbie is passionate about promoting social equity and deeply committed to bridging the gap between people with and without disabilities. Outside of work, Abbie enjoys living in a community developed for those with disabilities in mind, walking her dog all over Durham, and laughing with her family and friends!

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COMMUNITY PROGRAMS

Hailey McCulloch, MT-BC, Music Therapist a native of Raleigh, received her Music Therapy Equivalency Certificate from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Terre Haute, Indiana and her undergraduate degree in music performance from Campbell University. A long-time music performer and educator, she recently completed her training as a board-certified music therapist at Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro and Atlantic Music Therapy in Clayton. Hailey has clinical music therapy experience working with children and adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities, adults and teens with mental illness, and individuals with Parkinson’s, stroke, and traumatic brain injuries. Recently, she has been a presenter for The Parkinson’s Foundation and for the Western Region of the American Music Therapy Association. Hailey served as The Arc’s Every Voice Choir Director for over 2 years in 2017-2020. Hailey is a member of the American Music Therapy Association and when not working, she enjoys performing throughout the Triangle. 

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Natasha Pratt, Arc Triangle University Day Program Coordinator is a Colorado native with a big drive for adventure and all things sunshine! She graduated from Colorado State University in 2017 with Bachelor of Social Work and Bachelor of Arts in Sociology degrees then made her way out East to experience the coast. She has supported people in the IDD community since 2011 in a variety of capacities including direct support and as an Employment Specialist for The Arc of the Triangle. Natasha is bright, welcoming, and eager to bring everyone together. She is over-the-moon excited to be apart of ATU’s Transitional Day Program and to help bring The Arc’s mission to fruition! 😊

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ADMINISTRATIVE

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Heather Sapp, Recruitment Specialist was born and raised in Burlington, NC and graduated from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Public Health. She has always enjoyed volunteering with the Special Olympics and coaching the youth in volleyball and softball. She feels honored to be apart of The Arc family, and help to educate the community on intellectual and developmental disabilities. She has a spunky toddler and is wife to a “committed for life” LSU fan. She cherishes family time, growing in her faith and especially her morning cup of coffee (or 2). 

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Shannon Williams, Data & Billing Support Specialist is a native of North Carolina. She relocated to Wake County to access more opportunities for her two sons and services for her oldest who is a member of the IDD community. Shannon has been involved with advocacy as a foster home houseparent, independent living director and utilization management. Shannon received a Bachelor's degree in Graphic Communications and Business Administration from Chowan University in 2003 and a Master's of Public Health and Administration from UNC Pembroke. Shannon returns to the work force after spending the past nine years homemaking and advocating for her son. She is happy to be working at an organization that is making a difference in an area dear to her heart.

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Keara Suzik, Executive Assistant is originally from New York where she graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a BFA in Graphic Design.  She has been working within the Wake County School System arts community for over 20 years in many capacities from volunteering with PTA, creating and designing signage to co-teaching stage & costume design. Before joining The Arc, she was a Teaching Assistant for a cross-categorical kindergarten class.  Keara hopes to combine her passion for the arts and community outreach to benefit The Arc’s mission.  In her spare time you can find her drawing, reading and spending time with her husband and two daughters.

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Kenneth Kelty, Administrative Assistant was born and raised in West Palm Beach South Florida.  He is a graduate of the Western Carolina University Participants UP Program at Western Carolina University, a two year inclusion program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. While at WCU Kenneth studied criminal justice and political science. Upon graduating Kenneth joined The Arc of The Triangle in 2014. In his spare time he loves knitting blankets and scarfs. Kenneth is an award winning blogger and motivational speaker on life with disabilities and has a public Facebook page Kenneth Kelty Public Speaker and Author. He has done advocacy work on a local and national level. Kenneth has participated in advanced leadership training in the disability community at The UNC CIDD and Alliance of Disability Advocates.

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