Wendy Wegman, MA Ed
Tourette Association of America Education Specialist, Co-Chair of the Education Advisory Board
Wendy Wegman is an Education Specialist for the Tourette Association of America. In this role, Wendy provides knowledge, awareness and understanding of Tourette syndrome by speaking with parents and school personnel around the country to help best meet the needs of students with Tourette syndrome. Additionally, she presents nationally at school districts and education conferences. Prior to joining the Association, Wendy was a classroom teacher for over twenty years. Her passion and love for serving the TS community stem from her son’s personal challenges and successes with Tourette syndrome. Wendy has a BA and an MA in Education from Mills College
Amanda Coffman, MSEd
Special Education Teacher, Co-Chair of the Education Advisory Board
Amanda Coffman has more than 20 years as a classroom teacher. She has a bachelor’s degree from Boston University and graduate degrees from both the University of Connecticut and the University of Kansas. She has taught in elementary and middle schools, private and public schools, and both general education and special education. Like many of you she now finds herself as primary educator for three children in 5th grade, 8th grade, and college.
Brian Lane, MA Ed
Behavioral Support Administrator
Brian T. Lane is a public school administrator and educator with 25+ years of experience at all levels (Pre-K through Adult/College). He is currently a member of the Educational Advisory Board and the Diversity Advisory Board for the Tourette Association of America. Brian serves as the 7th Grade Team Leader and Choral/Theatre Director at Stonybrook Middle School in Indianapolis, Indiana. Brian has previously been an Assistant Principal, Dean of Students, and Behavior Specialist for several years in Indiana and Florida. He is an award-winning choral music and theatre educator, clinician, certified vocal music adjudicator, guest conductor, performer, and organist with experience teaching choral music and theatre throughout Indiana and Florida.
Brian was born and raised in Columbus, Indiana. He is a graduate of Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana with a Master of Arts in Education specializing in Building Level Leadership and Supervision. He received a Master of Music in Choral Conducting and his Bachelor of Music Education specializing in Choral and General Music from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana. In his free time, Brian serves a volunteer firefighter/EMT, enjoys playing golf, is an IHSAA Official in Basketball, Baseball, and Track/Cross Country, and is a former part-time police officer.
Kathleen Giordano, BS
Retired educator, Tourette Association of America education consultant
Kathy Giordano is currently a Tourette syndrome education consultant and was a Tourette Association’s Education Specialist from 2003-2019. She has a background in teaching Grade 7-12 English and was the Coordinator for The Tourette Education & Support program from 1995 to 2014 at The Advocacy Center in Rochester, NY. Additionally, Kathy owned and operated Tourette Plus, providing educational and behavioral consultant services to school districts and human service agencies from 1998-2003. For over thirty years, she has presented internationally regarding Tourette Syndrome, Functional Behavioral Assessments and positive/proactive behavioral management plans. Kathy has authored numerous resources for TAA, as well as co-authoring “A Family’s Quest for Rhythm”; “Treatment and Management of Youth with Tourette Syndrome and Tic Disorder” and several CDC Education research articles.
Margery Henning, MS, OTR/L
Licensed Occupational Therapist
Margery has over 25 years of experience in pediatric OT, initially as an OTA and now as an OTR, after earning her BS/MS in OT from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She conducts frequent in-services regarding the efficacy of Occupational Therapy for individuals with Tourette and related neurological conditions at local, state, regional and National Tourette conferences as well as for the Niagara Frontier District OT Association. She has been involved with transition services and has presented on programs for adolescents with dual diagnoses. Margery served as the chairman of the board of the Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA) of Western New York and currently serves on the National Tourette Association of America Education Advisory Committee. Margie has two adult sons, a grandson, and several extended family members living with TS and related disorders. Currently, in private practice, she previously worked at the University of Buffalo Center for Assistive Technology.
Jen Stenger, PhD
Jen Stenger Ph.D. has been in public education for 20 years, first as a high school English teacher and currently as a school counselor. She has also taught adjunct classes at two universities in Southern Illinois. In 2011, she received a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Her dissertation research was based on other public K-12 educators who, like herself, have Tourette syndrome. After completing her doctorate, she self-published The Life that Chose Us: Educators with Tourette Syndrome, based on this work. Since publishing in 2013, she has presented at multiple conferences and speaking engagements; she also meets with younger children with disabilities to promote positive self-image and self-confidence. She is energized when working with and serving the TS community, as she is driven to help school-aged children succeed both academically and socially. Jen has served on the Education Advisory Board since 2016.
Helene Walisever, PhD
Helene Walisever, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist and member of the Tourette Association of America Education Advisory Board, as well as co-chair of the NY Hudson Valley Chapter of the Tourette Association of America. She and several of her children have Tourette and other learning differences
Kate Mielitz, Ph.D., AFC®
Assistant Professor in Family Financial Planning, Accredited Financial Counselor
Kate is an Assistant Professor in Family Financial Planning at Oklahoma State University and an Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC®). She holds her Ph.D. in Personal Financial Planning from Kansas State University (M.A.—Communications (Wyoming); B.A.—Broadcasting (Wyoming)).
Kate and her children present each semester to emerging Oklahoma State University Early Childhood Education teachers. They are currently working to get involved with the Exceptional Learners course required for all Education majors at Oklahoma State. Kate also gives presentations about Tourettes in Psychopathology (Master’s level course) and other (Undergraduate) Human Development and Family Science courses. She is an advocate for mental health awareness and talks openly with her students about her diagnosis and what to expect in class. Kate currently serves on the Board of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Tourette Association.
Kate was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome in her early 20s. Kate is happily married to a retired Army Soldier (Slade) and they have two children (Kaden (from Raising Tourettes) and Slaeda) who also have Tourettes diagnoses. Kate enjoys reading, sewing, and hanging out with the family’s 4 dogs in her free time.
Patty Mendoza, M.S.
Lead School Psychologist
Patty Mendoza is the Lead School Psychologist in the Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD). She holds a Master’s degree from California State University, Fresno. Her experience as a School Psychologist has been extensive, serving grades from preschool to high school.
Her experiences include a broad range of services, such as psychoeducational evaluations, consultations with teachers, parents, and administrators, counseling, crisis interventions, threat assessments, functional behavior assessments, behavior intervention plans, manifestation determinations, collaboration in 504 plans, collaboration in the implementation and monitoring of Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS), district-level Nonviolent Crisis Intervention (NCI), and district-level Safety Care trainings.
In addition, she is a Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT) practitioner. She participated in the Treating Tourette Together (TTT) project, which brought together people with Tourette Syndrome, their families, clinicians, researchers, and other stakeholders to set an agenda for the next generation of CBIT research.
Mary Russell, M.S.
Mary Russell is a NYS licensed and ASHA certified Speech-Language Pathologist. She received her BS in Speech and Language Handicapped and her MS, Ed in Speech Language Pathology at SUNY Buffalo. Over the past 26 years, she has worked in private agencies and public schools. Currently, she’s a school based SLP in Tonawanda, NY. Mary has Tourette syndrome and is a parent of two children with TS. She has been involved in Tourette syndrome Association- Greater New York State Chapter for 17 years and is currently the Second Vice-Chair of that chapter.