Andrew J. Imparato Named to Maryland Commission for Effective Community Inclusion of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

October 2, 2013

Annapolis, MD - Governor Martin O'Malley today announced several appointments to the Commission for Effective Community Inclusion of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.  The Governor previously announced his designation of Dr. Timothy P. Shriver, Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics, to chair the Commission.  These appointments are effective today, October 2, 2013. 

The Commission was created by the Governor on September 17, 2013, in part as a response to the circumstances surrounding the death of Frederick County resident Ethan Saylor, an individual with Down syndrome.  The Commission is required to submit an initial progress report by January 9, 2014, which would have been Mr. Saylor's 27th birthday.

"I am pleased that these talented and committed individuals have agreed to serve on this important commission," Governor O'Malley said. "I am confident that they each possess the experience, knowledge and leadership necessary to ensure that the dignity of every Marylander, including individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is protected."

The Commission will develop recommendations about the types of training standards that Maryland should adopt to educate people that interact with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) - particularly those in public sector positions such as law enforcement officials, paramedics and other first responders - about the best approaches for safely managing situations involving individuals with IDD.  The Commission will also recommend statewide policies, guidance, or best practices regarding law enforcement and first responders' responses to situations involving individuals with IDD; and develop a coordinated, collaborative, and comprehensive strategy to ensure enhanced responses to such situations, including consideration of expanding Crisis Intervention Teams and Mobile Crisis Teams.

In addition to the Governor's appointments listed below, the Commission will also include eight members from the following Maryland agencies and organizations: the Department of Disabilities, the Maryland State Police, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems, the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, the Department of Juvenile Services, the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention, and the Police and Correctional Training Commissions.  The Speaker of the House of Delegates and the President of the Senate will also appoint members. 

The Commission members are:

Timothy P. Shriver, Ph.D. - Chair and Member At-Large - Dr. Shriver is the Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics. He also co-founded and chairs the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). Dr. Shriver earned a Bachelor's degree from Yale University, a Master's degree in Religion and Religious Education from Catholic University and a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Connecticut. He has produced and co-produced movies and several shows for major television networks, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and serves on the Board of the WPP Group, LLC. Dr. Shriver resides in Montgomery County. 

Hon. Anne Colt Leitess - Representative from a State's Attorney's Office - Ms. Leitess is the State's Attorney for Anne Arundel County. She earned a B.A. degree in Political Science from West Chester University and a law degree from the University of Baltimore Law School. Ms. Leitess is a Member of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and is the 2014 Secretary and 2013 Assistant Secretary and Bar Weekend Committee for the Anne Arundel Bar Association. She resides in Anne Arundel County.  

Officer Scott A. Davis - Representative from a City or County Police Department - Officer Davis is the Crisis Intervention Team Coordinator for the Montgomery County Police Department. He also serves as a School Resource Officer, Uniformed Patrolman, Tactical Medic, Crisis Negotiator and Police Academy Instructor. Officer Davis served for 20 years in the Army National Guard, Air Force Guard and Air Force Reserves.  He resides in Frederick County. 

Lieutenant Dwayne Embert - Representative from a Sheriff's Department - Lieutenant Embert has served in the Queen Anne's County Sheriff's Department for 24 years. He earned a B.S. Degree in Criminal Justice from Wilmington University and is a volunteer and committee member for the Boy Scouts of America. Lieutenant Embert resides in Caroline County. 

Theresa R. Sparks - Representative of a Maryland Organization that Advocates for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities - Ms. Sparks is a longtime Legal Advocate for the Maryland Disability Law Center (MDLC). She has served at MDLC for 25 years in various positions advocating for individuals with disabilities in the areas of community participation, individual rights protection and assistive technology. She resides in Anne Arundel County. 

Sara Hart Weir - Representative of a National Organization that Advocates for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities - Ms. Weir is a Vice President of the National Down Syndrome Society. She earned a B.A. degree in Psychology and Political Leadership from Westminster College and an M.S. degree in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University. Ms. Weir is a Board Member for the Westminster College Board of Trustees and a Member of the National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices.  

Erica Wheeler - Self-Advocate with an Intellectual or Developmental Disability - Ms. Wheeler is a Dietary Aide for Emeritus Assisted Living at Sommerville. She is also an athlete and outgoing Board Member for Special Olympics Maryland. Ms. Wheeler resides in Carroll County. 

Brian T. Cox - Member At-Large - Mr. Cox is Executive Director of the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council. He earned a B.A. degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland and an M.S.W. degree in Clinical and Administration from the University of Maryland School of Social Work and Community Planning. Mr. Cox resides in Baltimore County.

Thomas Curtis Member At-Large - Mr. Curtis is Director of Transportation Policy for the Maryland Department of Disabilities. He is also a retired Administrative Law Judge and military officer. Mr. Curtis is a graduate of Loyola College and Villanova Law School. He resides in Baltimore City.

Andrew J. Imparato Member At-Large - Mr. Imparato is Executive Director of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities. Most recently he served as Senior Counsel and Disability Policy Director for the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. He received a B.A. with distinction in Humanities from Yale College and a law degree from Stanford Law School. Mr. Imparato resides in Baltimore City.

Joanna L. Pierson, Ph.D. - Member At-Large - Dr. Pierson is Executive Director of The Arc of Frederick County and is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. She earned a B.A. degree in Sociology from the University of Maryland, an MSW degree from the University of Michigan and a PhD from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Dr. Pierson resides in Frederick County.