Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin  

Board Members

Interested in attending a board meeting or joining our Board of Directors? Let us know!

 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. In 2015, Andrew started his own business, Andrew's Voice, and speaks to groups around the state advocating for people with Down syndrome.

Mike Knoebel, 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 of Brookfieldand now resides inWaukesha.  She is the Sr. Director of Fan Experience for the Milwaukee Bucks. 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.

Andrea enjoys using her experience in guest services, marketing, arena operations and event planning to help DSAW. 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.  


Kerry Laurin, Secretary

Pete Loeffel, Member at Large
Pete Loeffel

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 Muskego 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 Research and Program Coordinator for the Community Advocates Public Policy Institute. He specializes in policy research and advocacy on disability, energy assistance, housing, and health care policies. Mike has worked on a number of the Institute’s projects, including managing the Effective ACA Implementation Project, and assisting with the Milwaukee Brighter Futures Initiative, the Milwaukee Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, and the Working our Way Out of Poverty Project. He has worked on political campaigns and for and with policymakers at all levels of government. Mike is the Chapter Director of New Leaders Council - Wisconsin. He’s also an adjunct professor of public health policy at UW-Milwaukee.



Tom O'Day, Member at Large

Tom O'Day is a native of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin and now lives in Madison with his family.  He has been a member of the DSAW Board of Directors for over ten years.  

Tom is an attorney with Godfrey & Kahn, S.C. and specializes 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, 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.


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.


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.




Jim Fackelman, Member at Large

Jim Fackelman has been a DSAW Board member since the beginning of 2015 and currently serves as Chair of the Medical Outreach Committee.

Jim is employed as a manufacturing consultant for the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a non-profit organization that provides assistance to small manufacturers in Wisconsin.  He has a BS in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA, both from the University of Notre Dame.

Jim has been involved for many years with the Threshold in West Bend, an organization that provides services to people of all ages with disabilities, and has served on their Board for the past 8 years.  He became more involved with the Down syndrome community after the birth of his first grandson, James, in 2012.  Jim and his daughter, Siobhan Pritchard from Colorado, got connected with Research Down Syndrome ( ), a foundation that raises funds for research to improve the lives of those with Down syndrome by sponsoring running events.  Siobhan has become very well known in that community for her 100 mile trail runs in the mountains of Colorado to raise funds for this research.  These connections with Down syndrome led to Jim’s contact with DSAW.


Ellen Trytek, Member at Large

Jeff Kallio, Member at Large



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