KATE DEVANE, President
Kate is the mother of 12-year-old boy/girl twins. Her son is on the autism spectrum. She has lived year round on Martha’s Vineyard for 20 years. She and Marcy Bettencourt founded the Island Autism Group when their boys were in Project Headway preschool together. Kate is the landscape coordinator for Donaroma’s Nursery and Landscape. She attended Cornell University, where she earned her bachelor of fine arts degree. Kate also attended Scotland’s St. Andrews University and taught at the Foote School in New Haven, Conn., for five years. Kate is one of the West Tisbury representatives on the up-Island and All Island School Committees, was previously chair of the Parent Advisory Council on Special Education, and is on the board of the Cape Cod Collaborative representing Martha’s Vineyard. She has been a runner for the Martha’s Vineyard Community Services’ Possible Dreams auction for more than 20 years. Kate, her husband, two children, and two large dogs live in West Tisbury.
Brooke is the mother of two children, a son 4 and a daughter 3. She lives in Edgartown with her husband Derek. Her son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder when he was two-and-a-half. The autism world is still fairly new to her and her family. Brooke attended Plymouth State University and holds a bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education. She is an event/wedding planner for Plan It Martha’s Vineyard and Island Cocktail Company. Brooke is an active member of the Parent Advisory Committee for Community Services Family Center, member of the IPAC (island parent advisory committee for special education, and the Treasurer of the Head Start Policy Committee.
MARCY BRONZINO BETTENCOURT, Treasurer
Marcy is the mother of three children, two girls and a boy. Her son was diagnosed with autism at the age of two-and-a-half. She and Kate DeVane founded the Island Autism Group when their boys started Project Headway preschool together. Marcy attended Colby-Sawyer College where she earned her bachelor’s degree in American Studies and also attended Trinity College in the American Studies Masters program. She, her husband, and three children live in Oak Bluffs.
Kim is the mother of 12-year-old identical twin boys. She knows far more about the Sesame Street oeuvre, cloud formations, and U.S. history than she ever dreamed possible. Kim is active with the Island Parents’ Advisory Council on Special Education, serving on the board as corresponding secretary, and has served on a number of special task forces looking at special education on the island. She is a graphic designer, writer and blogger and a contributing author of the book, The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism. She and her children have lived on Martha’s Vineyard since 2013.
Kevin has been working in public education for 20 years, most recently as the librarian at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. He lives in Oak Bluffs with his wife Cynthia and 14-year-old son Connor.
Connie has three adult children and lives in Vineyard Haven with her husband Chris and son Dan. She was pursuing a degree in special education before changing her track to writing and editing. Her youngest son, Dan, has autism and enjoys making pottery and walking the beaches on the Island.
Joanie holds a master’s degree in counseling and education. She has been employed as a middle school guidance counselor at the Tisbury School in Vineyard Haven since 1999. As a guidance counselor, she especially enjoys her work with both regular and special education students facilitating social skills development, and supporting academic and personal success. Joanie lives in Edgartown with her husband Tim and their two children, Ethan and Sara.
Jo-Ann Eccher lives in Aquinnah with her teenage son Jacob and her husband Derrill Bazzy. Trained at the Autism Treatment Center of America in Sheffield MA in the Son-Rise Program Jo-Ann runs Jacob’s home based Son-Rise program based on unconditional love and acceptance joining in Jacob’s world of autism. Jo-Ann is an accomplished chef/cook specializing in gluten free and other healing diets including raw foods. She received her Masters in Public Health in Nutrition from the University of Minnesota. She enjoys paddle boarding, homeschooling Jacob, Shinrin-yoku /forest bathing i.e. being outside in nature and being on the Town of Aquinnah’s planning board.
Kristine is a 1988 graduate of Boston College, a 1993 graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine, and she received her Certificate in Pediatric Dentistry from St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, PA, in 1996. She founded South Shore Children’s Dentistry in Cohasset in 1999. Kristine is a board certified pediatric dentist and is a diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. She is actively involved in grassroots efforts on the state and national level to promote issues important to dentistry and to the patients she serves. She has been on the dental staff at Franciscan Hospital for Children in Brighton, MA since 1998, where she cares for patients under general anesthesia when they are unable to be cared for in an office setting. Kristine has a kinship for treating patients with special needs, particularly those on the autism spectrum.
She currently resides in Marshfield with her husband Henry and their sons, Alex and Nicholas. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, skiing, boating, and loves days at the beach.
Lea has been an OTR for thirteen years, working with children ages birth through 22 years. She co-developed an after school sensory program, presented a variety of topics to the community, assisted with the sensory lending library and has worked with Head Start consulting with parents. Using a sensory integrative approach when working with many children, Lea has excelled in her ability to develop sensory diets as well as work with teachers to embed sensory input directly into their classroom routine.
Jenny has been teaching preschool special education for sixteen years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology/sports medicine from Marietta College in Ohio and a master’s degree in interdisciplinary early childhood education/moderate/severe needs from the University of Kentucky. She worked for two years in administration as the director of Southern Preschool and Child Development Center in Frankfort, Kentucky, and as the early childhood coordinator here on Martha’s Vineyard. She enjoys working with children at all ability levels and finding out how they learn and adapting the curriculum to meet those learning styles. She lives in Oak Bluffs with her husband Chris and two children, Brody and Alex.
Julia is a family physician at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. She is a graduate of Brown University, B.A., 1996, and the University of Pittsburgh Medical School, M.D., 2001. She completed her residency at the Albany Medical Center in Family Medicine (2002-2005). She was board certified in 2005. She currently cares for Island residents of all ages in outpatient and inpatient settings. She is involved in IAG because of the patients and families in her practice who are affected by autism, and her desire to help all affected Island residents get the information, resources, services, and support that they need to meet the challenges presented by Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Growing up in Kent, England, Penny moved to Massachusetts in 1965, and settled on Martha’s Vineyard with her young son in 1976. After years of secretarial and paralegal work, she owned and ran an environmentally friendly store in Vineyard Haven, followed by a home-based desktop publishing business. Much of her time now is filled with volunteering for Island nonprofit organizations and serving on several local boards.