Our Board of Directors
Our Board of Directors is made up of dedicated members of the community who are committed to our cause and work tirelessly to provide opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Board Chair, Board of Directors
Jan Adams, our Board Chair has been the CFO for Home of Guiding Hands since 1996. Prior to this position, she was the Controller for the Arc of San Diego for 8 years. She has 30 years of experience working in the field of developmental disabilities representing various providers and has an excellent understanding of the numerous challenges faced by this group daily. In the past, Jan has served as chair of the Audit Committee for the Challenged Athlete's Foundation and treasurer of the San Diego Track Club.
Vice Chair, Board of Directors
Lori Kay has been a member of various nonprofit organizations. She has extensive experience in the field of special education. Lori is a parent of a 30-year-old son with severe autism. Lori had a BS and MA and worked for San Diego City Unified School District (SDUSD) as a special education parent facilitator. She also worked as an autism consultant for the Exceptional Family Resource Center. Lori was a board member on the Area Board 13 for several years and is currently an Autism Society of San Diego board member serving on several of their committees.
Secretary, Board of Directors
Angela McNeece discovered her passion for working with individuals with disabilities while volunteering in a special education class. After receiving her credentials, she taught students with mild to severe disabilities in the states of Wyoming, Illinois, Virginia, and California. Angela has been nominated as the Association of California School Administrators Administrator of the Year for Imperial County, served as the state chairperson of the Special Education Administrators of County Offices (SEACO), and been appointed ICOE Assistant Superintendent of Student Services. In 2012, Angela took on the role of San Diego County North Inland Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) Director to expand her role to support districts in the provision of quality special education services. Since her retirement in 2017, Angela has enjoyed traveling, spending time with her children and grandson, and continuing to serve her community as a member of our board.
Treasurer, Board of Directors
Edward Kenney retired from San Diego-Imperial Counties Developmental Services, Inc. (SDICDSI) after 10 years as the organization’s CFO. Prior to this, he ran SDICDSI Transportation program for 13 years. Edward also has twenty years of leadership experience in the United States Marine Corps, where he worked as a Transportation Service Contract Manager.
Member, Board of Directors
Wade Wilde has been the Executive Director for Mountain Shadows Support Group for 20+ years. Mountain Shadows is a community of homes designed to provide a secure family-like living environment for individuals with intellectual disabilities. This environment facilitates and encourages its residents to learn the many activities of daily living skills needed to maintain and live in a home. Wade has served on the San Diego Regional Center (SDRC) Finance Committee, has also been the Director and Treasurer of the Developmental Services Network, and a formerly a community member for Inland Regional Center Business Committee.
David Drazenovich’s early career in Canada included working in the fields of mental health, child welfare, and child development. Since 1994, David has worked in the nonprofit field in San Diego County– primarily in the field of developmental disabilities. With a successful background in creative program development and outcome measurement, David’s work has been commended by the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities for its commitment to strong outcomes evaluation. David has worked as a consultant, helping nonprofits innovate for greater mission impact and is currently working as the Director of Development & Communications for Palomar Family Counseling Service. Further, he holds a Master of Arts Degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management.
Jerry Harris currently owns and is involved with Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly. He is the founder and former chairman of Sports for Exceptional Athletes, an organization that provides recreational and social opportunities for adults and children who are developmentally disabled. Jerry also served as Chairman of the San Diego Mediation Center, Balboa Park/Morley Field Recreation Council, and the San Diego Table Tennis Association. Jerry is an Attorney and Real Estate investor. Further, he served a one year term as the Interim Executive Director of San Diego Mediation Center and has formed and been involved in many nonprofits in San Diego. Jerry has been involved in the Special Olympics for Sports for more than 40 years. Additionally, Jerry has a sister who has a developmental disability.
Dan Clark retired from the San Diego Imperial Counties Developmental Services Inc. (SDICDSI) after 39 years of service. For 25 years while at SDICDSI, Dan served as the Director of the Community Services Department, where he worked collaboratively with community service providers to develop services and support for persons with developmental disabilities and their families. While at SDICDSI, Dan also served as Director of the Case Management Department for 4 years. In this position, he supported the work of over 400 staff in providing high-quality case management services.
Sylvia Paulson-Peterson has lived and worked in the U.S. and Canada. She received a B.S. in Nursing from Pacific Lutheran followed by an M.N. from UCLA. Her journey led her to the San Diego Regional Center in 1969 where she was hired as the first nursing consultant. During her career, Sylvia focused on advocacy, education, and support for families while obtaining resources and developing community programs for children and adults with developmental disabilities, adapting those programs so they worked in the community was paramount. Sylvia received a provincial award for her work with families from the B.C. Council for the Family in British Columbia in 1993. Sylvia is the proud mom to two sons and four grandchildren who live with their parents in Oregon. Her youngest son, who was born with Down Syndrome, died in 2013 at the age of 34. She was a member of the Board of the Association for Community Living in Campbell River, B.C., Canada for several years. Sylvia returned to live in San Diego in 2016.
Supporting Organization Members
Linda Bay works for the San Diego Family Magazine (SDFM) and has been an employee since 2004. In 2014, the magazine created a nonprofit, The Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego (SNRFSD). Linda interacts with organizations that offer services to families with children with special needs. The SNRFSD creates and distributes a free, annual publication called Flourishing Families, a Resource Guide for Families with Children with Special Needs. They list over 1,200 organizations in San Diego and Imperial Counties that can help families who have children with special needs.
Rose Hanson is the Associate Director/CFO and Treasurer of Community Interface Services, a nonprofit organization supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Previously, she was the Director of Talent Solutions for PDRI, President of the Personnel Testing Council of Metropolitan Washington D.C., and served in the U.S. Air Force. Further, Rose earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology at Colorado State University.
Nathan Schmid has been the Executive Director of Southern California Housing Collaborative (SCHC), a vendor of SDRC since 2009. SCHC’s mission is to locate and secure affordable housing opportunities for persons with developmental disabilities. Additionally, Nathan received a Ruby Award in 2015 for the organization’s Independence Point project in District 4. SCHC has been successful in applying for and receiving grants from numerous sources, including the Foundation. Nathan has a 12-year-old daughter who was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.
Bruce Wexler currently serves as the Sr. Director at the Fred Finch Youth Center. He oversees an array of mental health-focused services for youth with developmental disabilities and significant mental health challenges. Bruce has been president of the Mental Health Contractors Association of San Diego County. He previously served on several local boards including the Crime Victim's Fund, Association of Foster Family Agencies, and the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition.
Falon Leszczynski is the Vice President of Operations for Home of Guiding Hands which has residential services, respite, adult foster homes, independent living skills, tailored day programs, financial management services, Infant Development assessments, Early childhood education, transportation, and life planning programs for individuals with developmental disabilities throughout San Diego and Imperial Valley. In her role at HGH, she oversees the Facilities, IT, Transportation, and Marketing Departments, as well as other special projects for the agency. Falon has a master’s degree in management and leadership from Western Governors University and a bachelor’s degree in human services from Springfield College. Prior to joining HGH, Falon was the Special Programs Manager for the San Diego Housing Commission where she was responsible for the planning, direction, and oversight of the City of San Diego’s Homelessness Response Center. Prior to the San Diego Housing Commission, Falon was with the YMCA and had a leadership role in the opening and operations at various YMCA’s throughout San Diego County. Falon and her husband, Lenny, have four school-aged daughters and three dogs. In their free time, they are often at the softball field, hockey rink, or participating in various events at Balboa Park.