Carol Wright Kenderdine
Assistant Vice President
Mobility & Transportation
Carol Wright Kenderdine serves as the director of Easterseals Transportation Group which includes serving as co-director of the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center. Carol’s work experience includes serving as Associate Director for the Small Urban & Rural Transit Center, Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, at North Dakota State University, where her primary responsibilities were the development and delivery of national training programs and outreach efforts. She has more than 12 years of experience as Executive Director of senior services and public transportation for a multi-county agency in central North Dakota, served as director of a residential facility for individuals with traumatic brain injuries, held management positions in long-term care, and was an independent consultant in marketing and development. Carol holds a M.S. in Human Development and Education/Gerontology from North Dakota State University and a B.S. in Speech/English/Education from North Dakota State University.
Donna Smith has over thirty-five years’ experience as a professional in the field of disability advocacy with most of those years as a training and technical assistance specialist on disability-related laws and issues. Since 2002, she has focused specifically on transportation issues. Her strongest skills are the ability to communicate clearly and to help diverse groups find common ground from which to seek and create solutions. Donna understands firsthand the essential role of accessible, affordable transportation in the lives of people with disabilities, and it is both her job and her passion to help find solutions to transportation needs. Donna is a graduate of Mississippi State University and has earned an ADA Coordinator certification from the Great Plains ADA Center and The University of Missouri.
Owner, McLaughlin & McLaughlin, LLC
Kristi McLaughlin is an experienced trainer with extensive knowledge of the transportation provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, best practices in customer service, and paratransit eligibility and operations. Her background includes travel training, coordination planning, writing training curriculum and providing technical assistance regarding accessible transportation. Kristi began her career in transportation as a scheduling clerk at Bloomington Transit in Bloomington, Indiana. She has since worked as manager of the paratransit system in Bloomington and as general manager of the Niles Dial-A-Ride in Niles, Michigan. Kristi has a B.A. in Philosophy and a M.S. in Applied Health Science, and holds ADA Coordinator and Master Project Manager certifications.
Training & Technical Assistance Specialist
Julie Dupree has over 10 years of experience in disability advocacy, with five of those years specializing in transportation accessibility and education. In her training role, Julie facilitates coordination strategies and provides customized training and resources to communities and individuals throughout the United States, specializing in supporting communities in beginning or enhancing travel instruction programs designed to support the independence of people with disabilities and older adults in utilizing public transportation safely and independently. Prior to joining Easterseals in 2013, Julie was the Travel Training Program Manager for Central Maryland Regional Transit, where she built community partnerships that promoted safe and independent travel, coordination and bus stop accessibility. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Maryland and is a Board Member of the Association of Travel Instruction.
Training & Technical Assistance Specialist
Ken Thompson provides technical assistance, training and information to customers on a variety of issues including accessible transportation, the ADA, veterans’ issues, building partnerships, and service planning. His over twenty years’ experience working in human services includes managing a human service transportation system that followed a U.S. Navy stint working in aviation. He grew up in a career military family and attended military schools overseas. Ken holds a Masters in Public Affairs and B.A. from Hood College in Maryland. He has completed the ADA Coordinator’s Training Certification Program, University of Missouri College of Human Environmental Sciences and is a Certified Information & Referral Specialist from the Association of Information & Referral Systems (AIRS).
Procurement & Special Project Coordinator
Grozda Tisma provides administrative assistance in the areas of finance and contract management, assists the Assistant Vice President, Mobility and Transportation, and provides procurement support for the entire Easterseals Transportation Group. Grozda is a native of Belgrade, Serbia, where she worked for 30 years as an Administrative Assistant and Secretary with SBS, IBM, and the University of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Grozda graduated from Belgrade College in English and has an associate degree from Belgrade University of Arts and Science. Her teacher’s background gives her the opportunity to teach Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian in language schools. She took classes in early childhood education and Applied Behavioral Analysis, and also works as a speech therapist with children with Autism.
Rachel Beyerle conducts research, produces original content for print, web and social media, provides editorial support, and coordinates marketing and communications outreach to professionals who provide and promote the availability and accessibility of transportation options that serve the needs of people with disabilities, seniors and caregivers. Rachel has served as a city and regional planner in both Louisville, Ky. and Janesville, Wis. and as a program coordinator for AASHTO–the association that represents all 50 state departments of transportation. She holds a B.S. in Geography from the University of Louisville, an M.A. in Geography from the University of Kentucky, and is working toward an M.A. in Contemporary Communication from Notre Dame of Maryland.
Allie Donnelly Gunderson
Allie Donnelly Gunderson formerly served as Assistant Director of Autism Services at Easterseals serving Chicagoland and Rockford, whose services include therapeutic day schools, adult programs, employment services, summer camps, and school district training and consultation services. Prior to joining Easterseals, Ms. Donnelly served as a Director in the special education office of Chicago Public Schools (CPS), overseeing district-wide post-secondary transition services supporting students with disabilities in the nation’s third largest school system. During her time there, she developed and executed the roll-out of a district-wide Travel Training program for students with disabilities, a program that has been continued despite extensive cuts to funding due to its success in establishing safe and effective travel skills using public transit for students transitioning from school to post-school activities, including employment. Ms. Donnelly has also worked for the Special Education Services Division of the Illinois State Board of Education, and as a transition coach and special education teacher in Pennsylvania, New York City, and Cleveland. Ms. Donnelly received a B.S. in Rehabilitation Services from Penn State University and an M.A. and M.Ed. in Education of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing from Teacher’s College, Columbia University, where she was triply certified as a general education teacher, special education teacher, and teacher of the Deaf.