Governor Abbott Names Chair, Appoints Six To Texas Council For Developmental Disabilities | Office of the Texas Governor

May 22, 2024 | Austin, Texas


Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Lisa Marenco, Roni Jo Frazier, Shana Halvorsen, and Beatrice Degree and reappointed Robert Schier, III to the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) for terms set to expire on February 1, 2029. Additionally, the Governor appointed Barbara Knighton for a term set to expire on February 1, 2027, and named Andrew Crim as chair. The Committee recommends changes in disability policies and programs, supports a network of committees on people with disabilities, issues awards to promote greater awareness, and promotes compliance with disability related laws.

Lisa Marenco of El Paso volunteers with several agencies including Education Service Center Region 19, Children’s Disabilities Information Coalition, Autism HOPE El Paso Inc, Beautiful Minds MALI, and the Ysleta Independent School District. She is a single parent of two special needs children and has a disability as well. Marenco received an Associate in Applied Science in Computer Information Systems from Daley College and attended El Paso Community College.

Roni Jo Frazier of Porter is the chief executive officer of Bloom Consulting. She is a board member and conference planner for the Texas Association of People Supporting Employment and member of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Additionally, she is a member of Delta Kappa Gamma Teaching Organization and serves as the president for the Lambda Delta Chapter. Frazier received a Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Education from the American InterContinental University. She holds an autism specialist certificate from The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards and holds an executive leadership certificate from Cornell University. 

Shana Halvorsen of Houston is the founder and chief executive officer of Empower Education LLC and co-founder of the Houston Special Education Parent Association. Halvorsen is a parent liaison for the Houston Independent School District’s Office of Special Education Services and board member of the Family Literacy Network. Additionally, she is a member of Steel Magnolia Moms, Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, and the Texas Organization of Parent Attorneys and Advocates. Halvorsen received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Psychology from Tufts University, a Juris Doctor from Northeastern School of Law, and an advanced advocacy certificate from the TCDD Texas Partners in Policymaking Program.

Beatrice Degree of Missouri City serves as a distinguished community educator with the University of Texas (UT) Health Houston. She is a former fellow for Lone Star Leadership Education in Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities and former volunteer with the UT Chosen Transition Clinic. Degree received basic vocational training from Houston Community College VAST Academy.

Robert Schier, III of Elgin is the residential program manager at Down Home Ranch. Schier founded and managed a weekend respite camp that operated from 2016 to 2022 and served over 300 individuals. He is an editorial board member of the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals, Solomon Masonic Lodge #484, and the Thorndale Masonic Lodge #978. Schier attended UT San Antonio and McLennan Community College.

Barbara Knighton of Spring is an advocate for students with disabilities and has been involved with family engagement for many years. She is a school safety committee member for the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) and a family leader for TSBVI Family Lynx, the Texas Education Action Committee, and the Alliance for Visually Impaired Texans. Knighton received a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Houston and a certificate in real estate from Champions Houston School of Real Estate.

Andrew Crim of Fort Worth is the director of education and professional development for the American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists. He is a board member for the Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions and member of the American Society of Association Executives. Additionally, he is a former member of the Dallas Fort Worth Association Executives Education Committee, the Down Syndrome Partnership of North Texas, and past co-chair of the Fort Worth Safe Community Coalition. Crim received a Bachelor of Political Science from UT Tyler and a Master of Education from the University of North Texas.

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