Dr. Daniel Biegun is an educator who enjoys building relationships and spreading the word about engaging and equitable instruction for all students. Daniel offers a range of perspectives, having experienced the transition process as a special education teacher, specialist, and parent. In his present role as an Educational Specialist for the Virginia Department of Education’s Training & Technical Assistance Center (T-TAC) at Old Dominion University, Daniel’s areas of focus include post-secondary transition, self-determination skills, academic instruction for students with intellectual disabilities, and Universal Design for Learning. Daniel is grateful for the opportunity to serve as president of VADCDT and looks forward to successful collaborations with practitioners, community members, scholars, and his fellow VADCDT board members.
Dr. Karen Akom has been working in the field of K-12 Special Education since 2001. Currently serving as the Lead Teacher Specialist for Secondary Special Education in Hanover County Public Schools in Virginia, Dr. Akom is passionate about inclusion, collaboration, and positive transition experiences for all students. She is proud to continue supporting collaborative practices focused on transition among K-12 educators, post-secondary educators, employers, service providers, families, and, most importantly, students.
Terry Lyle began her journey supporting people over 25 years ago by teaching special education. Throughout those years, she was a teacher for students with intellectual disabilities. These early years formed her passion for making sure each student has the opportunity to make their way in this world. She became a principal and enjoyed leading a regional public day school program for 16 years. Under her leadership, the program successfully opened a coffee shop run and managed by the students and became a training site for the area’s local school systems. Most recently, Ms. Lyle has started working with Portsmouth Public Schools as a Special Education Program Specialist. She supports students from grade K-12 with self-determination skills and meaningful academic instruction. She is excited to expand her leadership role and continue learning by collaborating with the talented members of the VADCDT board.
Dr. Katherine (Katie) Brendli earned a PhD in Special Education and Disability Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her research interests include self-determination, culturally-responsive practices, post-secondary transitions, and inclusive higher education for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). As a lover of learning, with a passion to make positive change, Ms. Brendli’s ultimate goal is to conduct quality research, to make influential contributions to the special education field, and to develop innovative means to best support individuals with IDD in the post-secondary transition process. Specifically, Ms. Brendli hopes to foster greater opportunities and experiences in post-secondary education for individuals with IDD through powerful advocacy, research, and collaboration.
Wanda Bass is the Regional Coordinator of Youth Services for Goodwill Industries of the Valleys located in Roanoke. Wanda earned a Master of Art from East Carolina University and a Master of Science from the University of Kansas. She also earned a certification in Vocational Evaluation from East Carolina University. At the present time, Wanda oversees YouthHQ@Goodwill, Youth Work Experience, Youth Mentoring Programs in Roanoke and Franklin County, Community School to Work Transition Programs in the Roanoke Valley and Franklin County area, Project SEARCH, and Pre-Employment Transition Services programs to include work readiness training and work-based learning experience.