Susie Rutkowski inducted into the Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame

The Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame was established by the National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC) to honor those individuals who are making a significant difference in the lives of youth and adults with disabilities through mentoring and to raise awareness about the importance of mentoring for individuals with disabilities.

We are proud to induct Susie Rutkowski into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

Susie is the Co-Director and Educational Specialist for Project SEARCH. She is a nationally recognized transition expert with specific experience in program development in career technical education, job training and job development for young adults with disabilities. She served as the Manager for Disability Education at Great Oaks Career Campuses for over twelve years. During that tenure she, with Erin Riehle, co-founded Project SEARCH. Susie has been instrumental in designing the Project SEARCH Training Institute modules and leading replication efforts for new Project SEARCH sites. She speaks and writes on transition-related topics. With her Project SEARCH colleagues Maryellen Daston and Erin Riehle they wrote the books: High School Transition That Work: Lessons Learned from Project SEARCH.

Susie’s degree in Special Education was received from Bowling Green State University. Her Masters in Educational Administration was received from the University of Dayton and she did post-graduate work at Wright State University and Xavier University. In addition to her other positions, she taught young students with significant disabilities for eight years in northwest Ohio and worked for 10 years as a Job Placement Coordinator at Great Oaks for students and graduates with disabilities.

Susie lives in Loveland, Ohio with her husband, Joe, and is the proud mother of five children, Sharon, Noah, Kurt, Kevin, and Lucas. Most importantly, she is the proudest Mimi ever to Gallagher, Sophia and Jack. In her spare time, Susie dotes on her grandchildren, runs, and creates beautiful handmade greeting cards.

Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame: Information and Inductees

Curtis Richards inducted into the Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame

The Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame was established by the National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC) to honor those individuals who are making a significant difference in the lives of youth and adults with disabilities through mentoring and to raise awareness about the importance of mentoring for individuals with disabilities.

We are proud to induct Curtis Richards into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

Curtis Richards is Director of the Center for Workforce Development at IEL. He is a nationally-recognized leader in the disability community. Richards serves as the lead technical assistance (TA) provider for the National Collaborative on Workforce & Disability for Youth (NCWD/Y). With support from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, NCWD/Youth is a national technical assistance center focused on assisting the workforce development system to better serve youth, including youth with disabilities.

Examples of his TA include: (a) assisting the Florida Partners in Transition with the development of a comprehensive statewide Transition Strategic Plan (based on the NCWD/Y’s Guideposts for Success), and providing on-going TA to local-level teams implementing the plan; (b) providing content expertise and TA to the National Governors Association’s Policy Academy on Improving Outcomes for Young Adults with Disabilities; (c) assisting the HSC Foundation in convening a transition summit, identifying activities to support youth with disabilities, and using the Guideposts to identify gaps in services for youth with disabilities; and, (d) providing TA to the Gates Foundation’s East Coast Education Team.

Richards assisted in developing the framework, Guideposts for Success (including Guideposts specifically addressing foster care youth, juvenile justice youth, and youth with mental health needs), the Guideposts for Employers, the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities of Youth Service Practitioners, and the National Alliance for Secondary Education and Transition (NASET) Standards & Indicators. He writes issue briefs, background papers, policy analyses, and articles on various topics and serves as a trainer and workshop presenter for an array of workforce development audiences. He is the content lead at NCWD/Y on connecting activities, universal access, self-sufficiency, performance accountability, juvenile justice, significant disabilities, postsecondary education, and disability public policy. He conducts site visits under NCWD/Y’s Community College Case Study project.

Richards originally joined IEL as a Senior Policy Fellow (dedicated to the NCWD/Y) in 2001. He also formed his own public policy consulting firm, known as The Advocrat Group, in 2001 with an emphasis on issues of disability, education, employment, and health care.

Richards served the last three years of the Clinton Administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the U.S. Department of Education. In that capacity, he administered more than $10 billion of national programs in special education, disability research, and vocational rehabilitation for youth and adults with disabilities.

Before trekking to Washington, Richards was Chief Consultant to the California State Assembly’s Budget Committee, where he guided strategy for legislative discussion, modification, and adoption of a state-spending plan. As he did for several years, Richards held specific budget responsibilities for key programs and departments serving people with disabilities, including special education, vocational rehabilitation, aging and long-term care, mental health, and developmental services. And, from 1991 to 1995, Richards served as an Assistant Director for Consumer Affairs in the California Department of Rehabilitation.

Richards also has an extensive background in postsecondary education. He served as Consultant to a California State Assembly committee on higher education from 1985 to 1991, and, before that, lobbied for California State University students for five years.

Richards has spoken extensively on disability issues throughout the country, on a wide range of topics including the disability civil rights movement, the Americans with Disabilities Act, education of disabled youth and adults, and disability and employment. And, as a freelance writer, he has a number of magazine, journal, and newsletter articles in his portfolio, many addressing the same subjects.

Richards has been honored for his work in the disability field. Among his numerous awards are: a 2000 Certificate of Appreciation from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, a 1999 Disability Rights Activist Award from the California Foundation of Independent Living Centers, and the 1997 Lanterman Award from the California Association of Postsecondary Education and the Disabled.

Richards has been visually impaired since he was a toddler.

Richards holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Government-Journalism from the California State University, Sacramento.

Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame: Information and Inductees

Margaret Price inducted into the Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame

The Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame was established by the National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC) to honor those individuals who are making a significant difference in the lives of youth and adults with disabilities through mentoring and to raise awareness about the importance of mentoring for individuals with disabilities.

We are proud to induct Margaret Price into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

Margaret Price holds an MFA from the University of Michigan and a PhD from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Her book, Mad at School: Rhetorics of Mental Disability and Academic Life, won the Outstanding Book Award from the Conference on College Composition and Communication and was called “the book on mental health and higher education” in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Her work has also appeared in journals and magazines ranging from Disability Studies Quarterly to Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture. Margaret is currently at work on a study of disabled faculty in higher education, and writing a book titled Crip Spacetime. Learn more about her work at her website.

Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame: Information and Inductees

David Johns inducted into the Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame

The Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame was established by the National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC) to honor those individuals who are making a significant difference in the lives of youth and adults with disabilities through mentoring and to raise awareness about the importance of mentoring for individuals with disabilities.

We are proud to induct David Johns into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

Anyone who knows David J. Johns knows that he is passionate about children—specifically about ensuring that all children receive the cognitive, social and emotional support needed to excel. David is an adjunct professor at American University in Washington, DC. David most recently served as the executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans and was appointed to lead the Initiative by President Barack H. Obama. The Initiative works across federal agencies and with partners and communities nationwide to produce a more effective continuum of education programs for African American students.

Under his leadership, the Initiative studied the experiences of students—leveraged a partnership with Johnson Publishing Company—Ebony Magazine—to produce a series of Summits (AfAmEdSummits) at college campuses throughout the country where the only experts who sat in front of the White House seal were students, as young as elementary school. The recommendations students made at AfAmEdSummits have been used to improve policies, programs and practices designed to ensure that students thrive—both in school and life.

Johns has been featured as an influential politico and advocate by several publications and outlets including The Root, NBC, Ebony and the Washington Post. Johns is a prominent strategist who offers commentary for several media outlets including BET, CNN, EducationPost, The Real Housewives of Atlanta and TV One.

Prior to joining the Department, Johns was a senior education policy advisor to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) under the leadership of Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. Before working for the Senate HELP committee under Chairman Harkin, Johns served under the leadership of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass. Johns also was a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Fellow in the office of Congressman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y. Johns has worked on issues affecting low-income and minority students, neglected youth and early childhood education and with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). His research as an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow served as a catalyst to identify, disrupt and supplant negative perceptions of black males within academia and society.

Johns obtained a master’s degree in sociology and education policy at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he graduated summa cum laude while simultaneously teaching elementary school in New York City. He graduated with honors from Columbia University in 2004 with a triple major in English, creative writing and African American studies. Johns was named to the Root100 in both 2014 and 2013, selected as a member of the Ebony Power 100 in 2015 and received an early career award from Columbia University, Teachers College in 2016.

Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame: Information and Inductees

Rooted in Rights inducted into the Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame

The Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame was established by the National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC) to honor those individuals and organizations who are making a significant difference in the lives of youth and adults with disabilities through mentoring and to raise awareness about the importance of mentoring for individuals with disabilities.

We are proud to induct Rooted in Rights into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

The Rooted in Rights Storytellers Series recruits people with disabilities who want to tell stories through video, and mentors them as they write and direct their own projects. The stories are developed by program participants, called Storytellers. Rooted in Rights’ staff of creative professionals provide guidance in structuring their story for a social media audience.

Through mentorship, our Storytellers are able to discover and express their own self-advocacy voices, while also learning practical skills in video production that are applicable to several fields that they could pursue professionally. Lastly, the Storytellers’ videos are distributed via the large Rooted in Rights social media channels so their work is seen by tens of thousands of audience members all over the world, which is a valuable addition to an individual’s portfolio.

What does mentoring mean to you?

The Rooted in Rights team is committed to creating accessible, creative content that inspires our audience to advocate for disability rights. We also are committed to telling stories from the perspective of people with disabilities. In the face of adversity, it is easy to doubt whether one can really make a difference, especially when faced with multiple challenges, but through mentorship, Storytellers learn the power of using their own story to advance the disability rights movement.

By mentoring our Storytellers, we hope to develop a large cohort of people with disabilities who have the technical and creative skills to change media narratives, tell stories that others can’t or won’t tell about disability issues, and have the confidence to push back against the discriminatory forces that so often work against our aspirations.

Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame: Information and Inductees

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