Accountant and Director of Finance
Mary joined MCIE in 2004. In conjunction with the CEO, she oversees and manages all aspects of the organization’s financial functions, including the day-to-day accounting, budget development and management, and financial statement preparation. In addition, she helps to manage and oversee the daily operations and some aspects of human resources. Starting in public accounting at Ernst & Young, her career has spanned more than 36 years of varied experience in accounting and financial management. For the last 22 years, she has worked solely in the nonprofit sector. Mary is a Certified Public Accountant with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Bachelor of Science in Business with a minor in Economics from North Carolina State University.
Barb Gruber, Ph.D.
Barb and has worked at MCIE over 25 years with a focus on systems change and building the capacity of school-based staff to include all learners, especially those with significant support needs. She received her B.A. in Sociology and Psychology from Alderson-Broaddus College, her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from West Virginia University, and her Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Maryland. Prior to MCIE, Barb worked at the May Institute in Massachusetts, providing behavioral interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and has been an instructor at the University of Maryland, College Park, teaching a course on inclusive practices in the Department of Special Education. Barb has brought several projects to MCIE, including training and technical assistance for schools and districts in Pennsylvania, Illinoi, Virginia, and Arkansas, as well as a 5-year national technical assistance project for the Professional Development in Autism Center with the University of Washington.
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Kayla Kingston, B.A.
Kayla joined MCIE's communications team to help spread the message that inclusive education is a right that betters all schools and learners. She received a B.A. in communications with a concentration in public relations and a minor in human rights studies from the University of Dayton (UD) in Ohio. Before joining MCIE, Kayla interned with the National Conference for Community and Justice of Greater Dayton, the Council on Social Work Education, and Project EverGreen. She also was extremely active during her time at UD, serving as the vice president of Feminists United, a writer for Flyer News, and a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America. Kayla's experiences have taught her the importance of inclusion, the beauty in building a diverse community, and the power in being a catalyst for intentional social change.
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Carol Quirk, Ed.D.
Chief Executive Officer
Carol is one of the founders of MCIE and CEO of MCIE. She received her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Connecticut, and her Ed.D. from the Johns Hopkins University. Prior to MCIE, Carol was the Executive Director of an adult services agency in Baltimore City, a consultant to Philadelphia Public Schools, Early Intervention Specialist for MSDE, Director of Technical Assistance to Early Intervention Programs in North Carolina, and a special education teacher in Connecticut. Carol served on the Boards of Directors for TASH, the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, and was appointed to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. She is the recipient of the Johns Hopkins University Distinguished Alumna Award, the Top 100 Mid-Atlantic MBE Entrepreneurs, and the Brava! Award for Baltimore area executives who give to their community. Carol served on the Executive Team for the SWIFT Center, a National Inclusive School Reform Center funded by the US Dept. of Education in partnership with the University of Kansas. Carol has brought MCIE’s practices to promote inclusive education to Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, Kazakhstan, Australia, and Viet Nam.
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Nolan Taylor, M.Ed
Nolan hails from the Pacific Northwest and received his undergraduate in Elementary Education from Linfield College and his Master in Education from Concordia University-Portland in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Equity, Ethics, and Justice. Nolan is currently pursuing his Doctorate of Business Administration. Before joining MCIE, Nolan was an elementary teacher in rural Oregon where he included learners with disabilities. Nolan also served as the professional development coordinator for his district, implementing improvement science methods and teacher-led professional learning opportunities. He prides himself on dynamic student-led environments, equity in all discussions, humor, and supporting educators to be their best. As the late Rita Person said: “Every child deserves a champion—an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.”
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Tim Villegas, B.A.
Director of Communications
Throughout his sixteen-year career as a special education teacher, Tim advocated for the inclusion of learners with significant disabilities in general education classrooms and systems change in schools and districts. Tim spent thirteen years as a classroom teacher and three years as a district-level program specialist supporting learners with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), emotional and behavioral needs, and intellectual disabilities. He founded Think Inclusive, now MCIE’s official blog, that serves to build a bridge between families, educators, and people with disabilities to advocate for inclusive education by publishing news, opinion, and educational articles. Tim earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Azusa Pacific University, and later a teaching credential for moderate to severe disabilities from California State University Fullerton. Tim’s ultimate goal is for people to learn, live, and play in an inclusive community and to advance the vision that neighborhood schools be the foundation for those inclusive communities.
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Kathi Foley, M.Ed.
Professional Learning Facilitator
Kathi first joined MCIE in its early years before leaving to work in Anne Arundel County Public Schools in MD. She also served on the MCIE Board of Directors from 2019 – 2020, and returned to MCIE’s state August 2020. She received a dual undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and Special Education
and a master’s degree in special education
with an emphasis in severe disabilities at the University of Maryland. Kathi has taught at both the high school and elementary levels with a broad range of learners.
Kathi served as a district resource teacher in two school districts with a focus on building the capacity of school staff to successfully plan for and include learners with significant disabilities. Kathi has extensive experience co-teaching math and language arts in the intermediate elementary grades, writing elementary mathematics curriculum, and differentiation for diverse learners, and has been trained in a
variety of evidenced-based literacy and mathematics interventions.
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Salimah Jasani, MS.Ed, MPAff
Professional Learning Facilitator; MSDE Performance Specialist
Salimah supports the Maryland State Department of Education as a member of the Access, Equity, and Progress team. In that capacity she works with local school systems. She previously worked as a Special Education Secondary English teacher in Baltimore City Public Schools, where she was received Phi Delta Kappa’s Outstanding Early Career Educator award. She has also served as an Education Policy Fellow in the Office of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, an Educational Equity Fellow in the Baltimore City Council, and a Strategy Team Leader in the community organization, Baltimoreans for Educational Equity. Salimah earned her B.A. from the University of Texas, her M.S. in Education Studies from the Johns Hopkins University, and her Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School at the University of Texas. Her academic research has focused on the role of the federal government in funding early intervention for infants and toddlers with disabilities, and on the relationship between school poverty level and student dropout rates.
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Sarah O'Rourke, MALS
Professional Learning Coordinator
Sarah received her undergraduate degree in Political Science at Lewis and Clark College and her Master’s in Liberal Studies from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) with an emphasis on disability and education. Prior to joining MCIE, Sarah worked at the UNH Institute on Disability, supporting several federal and state grants with a focus on learners with emotional and behavioral challenges. She coordinated a randomized controlled study of an intervention called RENEW (Rehabilitation for Empowerment, Natural Supports, Education and Work) in high schools in Maryland, funded by the US Department of Education Institutes for Educational Sciences (IES). As a part of this work, Sarah provided training and technical assistance in the development and expansion of the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Tier III implementation of RENEW. Sarah’s deftness in data organization has been a gift to MCIE’s Self-Determination project with the University of Kansas, and other projects involving local school district data analysis.
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Steve Smith, Ed.D.
Steve coordinates the MCIE research partnership on the Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction (SDLMI) with the University of Kansas, and provides technical assistance to schools in Maryland and Delaware. Previously, Steve was a special education paraprofessional, special education teacher, behavior specialist, and statewide instructional coach. Steve received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Washington College, Master’s degree in Special Education from Wilmington University, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Wilmington University. Through these positions, Steve has provided professional learning opportunities in behavior support, development of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), and Universal Design for Learning. He is also a member of the CAST National UDL Cadre.
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Betsy Tornquist, Ph.D
Secondary Transition Project Coordinator
Betsy’s received her B.A. in Special Education from the University of North Carolina Charlotte, her M.A. in Special Education from the University of Maryland, and her Ph.D. in Special Education from George Mason University. Before coming to MCIE, Betsy worked as a transition specialist in two school districts in the Washington Metropolitan area, assisting youth and families with the transition planning process; and she was a Professional Development School Coordinator at the University of Maryland, where she taught in the College of Education and supervised University of Maryland students in their internships in local school districts. Through her work at MCIE, she provides support on various projects related to high school and secondary transition practices, and she collaborates closely with the Maryland State Department of Education to provide technical assistance on secondary transition services for learners with disabilities in Maryland public schools. Betsy supports national partnerships in using evidence-based practices in secondary and post-secondary education.
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Jeffrey Wyatt, M.Ed.
Secondary Transition Facilitator
Jeff joined MCIE to support the Maryland State Department of Education’s Secondary Transition priority, and through that work offers resources and technical assistance on secondary transition services to Maryland public schools. Prior coming to MCIE, Jeff provided leadership and support to secondary transition programs in the Baltimore Public School System. His career began as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Service (DORS) in Maryland, where he also served as a manager for the School Unit. Jeff received his undergraduate degree from Loyola College-Maryland and a Master’s degree from The George Washington University in the field of Education and Human Development. As an experienced practitioner in the world of Secondary Transition, Jeff is a strong advocate for individuals with disabilities achieving successful outcomes in areas of employment, education, training and independent living.
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