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Andrew Gerbitz, Self Advocate
Andrew Gerbitz is from the town of Oconomowoc. He is the first self advocate to hold a position on the DSAW board. Andrew graduated from high school twice, once from home-school in 2002 and again from Mukwonago High School in 2004. While at MHS he was a member of the swim team.
He is a certified child - care teacher and active in Special Olympics basketball and swimming. Andrew is a voting member of his church and serves as an usher. Andrew has worked as a self advocate in the past for other groups and the DSAW board is thrilled to count him as our own! His insight is priceless.
Tom O'Day, President
Tom O'Day is a native of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin and now lives in Milwaukee's North Shore. Tom is an attorney with Assurant Health located in the Milwaukee area. Tom worked for a large law firm prior to his current position where he specialized in labor and employment law, as well as education law.
In addition to his J.D., Tom holds a Masters Degree in Education Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin. His studies and past practice included analysis of state and federal education law, including the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and state and federal education finance policies. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001, with distinction and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Tom also has experience in state government in legal, policy and campaign roles. Tom has worked in every branch of state government in various capacities for the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, the Wisconsin legislature, and the Governor's Office.
Mike Knoebel, Vice President
Mike Knoebel grew up in Waukesha and currently resides in Menomonee Falls with his wife Cherie and three children. Mike graduated with a Bachelors Degree in business Administration from Lakeland College, and is currently a partner at Techstaff, a search firm specializing in recruiting engineering and technical professionals. Mike got involved in DSAW after the birth of his son, Matthew age 5, and was actively involved in helping launch the DSAW D.A.D.S. group. In his free time he enjoys reading, golf, and volunteering at church.
Andrea Zahn, Treasurer
Andrea Zahn is a native ofBrookfieldand now resides inWaukesha. She is the sole proprietor of a specialty baking company that bakes gluten free and allergen free foods. Andrea graduated from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point in 2007 with a degree in Political Science and moved to Washington, DC shortly after graduation for four years. Upon her return, she quickly became involve with DSAW, Wisconsin Women’s Entrepreneurs and the Special Olympics Young Professionals Board.
Andrea is looking forward to using her experience from DC in nonprofit management and event planning as well as her current experience in the financial industry in helping DSAW. She has become a member of the DSAW finance committee. Andrea’s strong connection to the special needs community stems from having several family members who are special needs teachers. In her spare time, Andrea enjoys baking and spending time with her boxer puppy.
Marita Stannis, Secretary
Marita Stannis grew up in New Berlin and currently resides in
West Allis with her husband and daughter, Madelyn. Marita is a
Health and Safety Professional at Caterpillar. She graduated from the University of WI-Whitewater with a Bachelor Degree in Occupational Safety and Health. Marita became involved with DSAW after the birth of her daughter. She also serves on DSAW's Medical Outreach Committee. Marita enjoys spending time with her family and traveling in her free time.
Nicole Cook, Member at Large
Nicole Cook lives in Bayside, Wisconsin with her husband Jack and their children, Lily and William. Nicole is a tax senior manager at Deloitte in the Private Company Services group. Nicole graduated from Central Michigan University in May of 2000 with a Bachelor Degree in accounting and moved to Milwaukee shortly after graduation.
Nicole has participated in events for various organizations through Deloitte, such as Junior Achievement and Big Brothers Big Sisters. She served as the DSAW camp coordinator for the 2008 Lose the Training Wheels Milwaukee Camp. She is looking forward to helping DSAW as a member of the finance committee and will continue to assist with the planning of several events.
Nicole enjoys traveling and running in her free time.
Pete Loeffel, Member at Large
Pete Loeffel lives in Wauwatosa with his wife, Jennifer, and two daughters, one of whom has Down syndrome. He received his Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and is Director of the St. Francis Public Library. He is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research and enjoys running, reading and hiking.
Mike Bare, Member at Large
Mike Bare is a native of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and currently resides on Milwaukee’s East Side with his wife. Mike is a research consultant for the Community Advocates Public Policy Institute. He specializes in energy, housing, and health care policy research, and is an expert on the intersection of policy with politics and the legislative process. Mike has an extensive grassroots politics and government background, having worked for and provided consulting to several campaigns. He also served as an aide to former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold in his Washington, DC office, and as the Research Director for his 2010 campaign. Mike holds an MA in political science from American University, where he was President of the Graduate Student Council. Mike has been a longtime volunteer for Special Olympics, and other disability organizations.
Liz Struebel, Member at Large
Liz Streubel lives in Whitefish Bay with her husband Vince and their dog Daisy. She is a special education teacher for the West Bend School District teaching special education at Jackson Elementary for grades kindergarten through second. Liz graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and went on to earn a Master of Education Degree in Special Education from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.
Liz specializes in providing inclusive environments for students with disabilities. She is an advocate for inclusion and the benefits of creating a school community where all students are included and welcomed. She is a trained Reading Recovery Advocate and a Certified Non-Violent Crisis Intervention instructor for her district. She has spoken at WOTA (Wisconsin Occupational Therapy Association) Conferences and with parent groups on the benefits of inclusive education services.
Amy Bontempo, Member at Large
Amy Bontempo is originally from Green Bay, WI and currently resides in Milwaukee with her husband Tony, their daughter, Ave, and dog, Tank. Amy earned her Bachelors Degree in Social Welfare from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee and is licensed through the state of Wisconsin. Amy has been employed by Penfield Children's Center in Milwaukee for over 10 years. Amy is a Birth-to-Three Service Coordinator, supervises the Parent Mentor Program, and is Penfield's Family Program Coordinator. As Penfield's Family Program Coordinator Amy is in charge of special events, educational programs, and social events. Amy serves on The Children's Service Society of Wisconsin's Volunteer Respite Program Advisory Board and has helped in implementing respite events for the Spanish speaking community in collaboration with Alianza Latina and their Down syndrome Support Group.
In her free time Amy enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
Patrick Murtaugh, Member at Large
Patrick Murtaugh grew up in Winnetka, IL, and currently lives on the East Side of Milwaukee. He works in Institutional Equity Sales at Robert W. Baird & Co. after earning his B.S. in Business Management with a concentration in Finance from the Carroll School of Management at Boston College. Patrick became involved with DSAW to honor the life of his uncle who lived with Down syndrome and for his nephew. He also serves as a Board Member for Milwaukee's East Town Association and on the Advancement Committee for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Patrick enjoys golfing, skiing, and traveling in his free time.
Sandy Siira, Member at Large
A Milwaukee area native, Sandy Siira is currently a Managing Director of Human Resources with FedEx and has held executive level human resources positions over the past thirteen years. Sandy earned a master's degree in Labor Relations and Human Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a bachelor's degree in Business Management and Professional Communication from Alverno College. Sandy enjoys spending time with family, serving the community, appreciating nature, and physical fitness activities. Sandy supports numerous local organizations by sharing her gifts of time, talent and treasure. Some of the support includes board member of St. Coletta Day School of Milwaukee, United Way of Waukesha County's Developing Self-Reliance committee member, Alverno College Alumnae board member and student assessor at Alverno College.
Sam Wahlen, Member at Large
Sam Wahlen, born and raised in the city of Racine, he is currently earning his Bachelor of Arts economics at Marquette University. Along with his studies, Sam works at the Bode Financial Group Ltd. as a communications specialist, helping them with marketing, branding, and social media. From his early days in Middle School when he was first involved in organizations such as the Special Olympics, Sam has always had a heart for being involved in the Down Syndrome community.