Meet Our Board & Advisory Council

Jennifer Kupiszewski, Esq., Board President

Attorney, Kile & Kupiszewski Law Firm
Before going into private practice, Jennifer represented the Arizona Department of Economic Security/Child Protective Services Division in juvenile court cases involving dependency, severance and guardianship matters. At the Arizona Center for Disability Law she was co-counsel on the class action lawsuit against the State of Arizona, Jason K. v. Eden, to obtain mental health services for children. Jennifer also represented the Maricopa County Public Fiduciary in court cases involving adult guardianship and conservatorships.

In private practice since 2007, Jennifer is a Managing Partner with Kile & Kupiszewski Law Firm. Jennifer practices in areas of elder, juvenile, and probate law. Her practice focuses on cases involving adults and children with special health care needs and non-traditional families. Jennifer represents families in matters in which there has been abuse, neglect, and/or financial exploitation or when a loved one becomes incapacitated. Her law partner, Emily Kile, manages the estate, benefits and special needs planning side of the practice.

Jennifer volunteers her time with several organizations. She is currently the on the Board of Raising Special Kids, the State Bar Elder Law, Mental Health and Special Needs Planning Council and the Arizona Center for Disability Law, Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Advisory Council.

Jennifer is married to Steve Kupiszewski and they have a blended family of five children plus Max the Yorkie and now one grandchild! Greatest accomplishment, they are five for five on college graduates and all the children are full-time employed.


Karin M. Smith, MBA, SFO, CFE, Board Vice President

Partner, Heinfeld Meech & Co., PC
Karin is a partner with Heinfeld, Meech & Co., P.C., a CPA and Business Consultant firm. With over 15 years of school finance, Karin has had the opportunity to work with school districts across the State. Karin received her Master in Business Administration from the University of Arizona. Her other college degrees include a Master of Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University and a Master of Public Administration from Arizona State University. Karin and her family have been involved with Raising Special Kids for 30 years. As an adolescent, teenager, and young adult, Raising Special Kids had an important place in Karin’s life both in connecting her with other siblings of children different abilities and assisting her when she was diagnosed with a learning disability in college.


Karen Barr, MBA, Board Secretary

Publisher, Raising Arizona Kids Magazine


Trish Robinson, BA, Board Treasurer

Vice President of Programs, Association for Supportive Childcare
Trish has held leadership positions in the social profit sector in education, public health and human service organizations for more than 15 years. She brings her experience of organizational management and leadership, staff development, community convening, strategic partnership collaborations and resource development.


Katie Barclay Penkoff, PhD, Board Member

Senior Technical Assistance Consultant, American Institutes for Research
Katie Barclay Penkoff is a consultant in the Health and Social Development program at American Institutes for Research. Her primary responsibilities include working with States to provide targeted training and technical assistance related to Title II of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act and the operation of State Advisory Groups. Katie has over 20 years of experience working in education, social service, government, and nonprofit sectors. Common threads throughout her experiences are working with youth in various systems (i.e. juvenile justice, child welfare, special education, mental health), facilitating coordination, and engaging in interagency collaboration. Katie holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in Special Education focusing on education, disability, and juvenile justice from Arizona State University.


Barbara Brent, MEd, Board Member

Director of State Policy, National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services 
Barbara is the Director of State Policy for the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS), a nonprofit organization that assists state agencies and others in the development of effective service delivery systems for people with developmental disabilities.

Prior to joining NASDDDS, Barbara served as the state director for the Arizona Division of Developmental Disabilities, supporting over 30,000 children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families.

Barbara has a master's degree in special education with emphasis on employment and community living for people with severe disabilities.

She has worked in both the public and private sectors in a variety of roles, including case management, early intervention, director of supported employment in the state of Oregon, executive director of a vocational provider agency, UCEDD education coordinator, and as the state developmental disabilities director in Tennessee. Her interests include systems change, community development, and bringing people together from communities and government to create positive change.


Kelly Carbone, MEd, Board Member

Principal, Mesa Center for Success West
Kelly moved to the West Valley in 2014 with her husband and four children ranging in ages from 8 to 23 from Northern Illinois. Kelly graduated from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona, with a Master’s of Educational Administration. In addition, she holds a Master’s of Elementary/Special Education from National Louis University in Chicago, Illinois.

Kelly has worked in the field of special education for eight years. She is currently the principal of Mesa Center for Success West, a public/private partnership school with the Menta Group® and Mesa Public Schools. The Menta Group® is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1973 that offers specialized programming and services to at-risk and special education students. Previously, Kelly was the Assistant Principal for a partnering Menta school, Southwest Academy, in Phoenix for two years. Kelly also teaches Introduction to Special Education and Parental/Family Involvement in Special Education with Arizona State University.


Michael A. Chapnek, MBA, Board Member

Senior Vice President, Bank of America


Charles Douglass, MBA, Board Member

Owner/Publisher, Attorney At Law Magazine


Tonya Gray, MBA, Board Member

Special Events Coordinator, Arizona State University Alumni Association
Tonya J. Gray is an experienced marketer, event coordinator and business professional. As a special events coordinator for Arizona State University Alumni Association, she manages the away game football tailgates, reunions and legislative advocacy efforts. Born and raised in Colorado, Tonya moved to Arizona to attend Arizona State University where she earned her bachelor of arts in Communication at the Hugh Downs School of Communication. After graduation, Tonya was hired at Southwest Airlines in the Phoenix Field Marketing Office. Tonya supported the sales and marketing efforts of one of the most celebrated airlines and business stories in the world for eight years, earning several promotions and even being named a Marketing Employee of the quarter. During her time at Southwest Airlines, is when she learned about the mission of Raising Special Kids and has since, been an advocate of the organization and its work in Arizona. Tonya Gray earned her masters of business administration from Devry University Keller Graduate School of Management in Scottsdale, Arizona and her career has taken her from Arizona to Dallas and back. Her diverse experience includes brand and product management, community development and relations, event coordination and management, public relations, and sales. Tonya is very active in her local community, but in her rare spare time, she loves to travel, go to the movies, and support her Sun Devils! 


Mallory Lee, Board Member

Customer Success Manager, Veeam Software


Lynda Mills, EdD, Board Member

Director of Special Education, EBS Schools/EBS Healthcare
Dr. Mills holds a bachelor’s degree in special education, a master’s degree in elementary education and a doctorate in educational leadership. She has worked in the field of special education for more than 26 years. This includes 15 years of special education classroom teaching experience across the continuum, and 11 years serving in a variety of special education leadership capacities in public, nonprofit and private sectors, in both Colorado and Arizona. Lynda worked as an adjunct faculty member for the University of Phoenix for eight years and served as a Curricular Consultant for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, writing two early childhood special education certification courses for the college.

While working as a director of special education for a public school district in the West Valley, Lynda became more familiar with Raising Special Kids and has been an advocate for the organization and its mission ever since. Lynda has a wealth of experience as a parent of a child with unique medical needs and as an educator and administrator for children with exceptionalities. She is passionate about cross-sector collaboration, parent partnerships and effective approaches for implementing change and is excited about supporting the mission of Raising Special Kids. 


Jill Nico, MS, Board Member

Student Services Manager, Disability Resources & Services, GateWay Community College  


Alan R. Tinsley, Board Member

Director of Operations, Tinsley Retail Insights 


Maya Rao, MS, Board Member

Customer Service Representative, U-Haul  

Advisory Council

Lisa Aaroe, Grand Canyon University
Mary Allare, MD Neonatologist
Jack Alspaugh, Gary Insurance Company
Kevin Bonner, Fennemore Craig
Paula Banahan, Arizona Heart Foundation
Heather Buchta, Quarles Brady Streich & Lang
Linda Cannon, Cannon & Associates
Jim Cole, AZ Family Channel 3
Bob Cox, Nothing But Net
Elaine Ellis, MD
Jodi Feuerhelm, Perkins Coie Brown & Bain
Elizabeth Freeburg
Conrad Greene, Assest Based Capital
Brad Harper, Trigon Executive Assessment Center
Miriam Hayanga, Realtor
Helen Holden, Spencer Fane
Mary Holman, Comerica Bank
Shirley Kaufman, Retired Attorney
Dan Kessler MD, Southwest Human Development
Ellen & Bill Leibow
Gina Maravilla,
Susan Morris, Southwest Performance Group
Michael Remus, Director of Special Education for Deer Valley Unified School District
Susan Riedel, Modern Woodmen Of America
Carolyn Sechler, Sechler CPA, PC
Mary Slaughter, Consultant
Chuck Smith
Bill Spain, Provident Partners Companies
Don Storrs, Wolz's Florist
Janelle Tassart, Development & Communications Manager, Gompers
Susan Voirol, Tempe Union High School District
Debbie Voll, Paradise Valley Unified School District
Tim Watters, Colliers International


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Raising Special Kids

5025 E. Washington St., Ste. 204 Phoenix, AZ 85034

  • Phoenix: 602-242-4366
  • Flagstaff: 928-444-8834
  • Tucson: 520-441-4007
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  • Toll Free: 800-237-3007