Patric Barbieri M.Ed has been working in the field of special education for over 32 years. He recently retired as Executive Director of LABBB Collaborative. LABBB is known statewide as one of the premier special education programs that offer a robust Academic, Career, and Social/Recreational experience for all students ages 3-22. His strength is in developing specialized programs for students with special needs from pre-school through high school. He has also developed a college program in collaboration with Middlesex Community College for students with disabilities who attend LABBB. Patric is a frequent speaker for Massachusetts Partnership for Youth, Seaside Consultants, and teaches both Mindfulness workshops and a new perspective for those struggling with anxiety, which he calls, “Positive Anxiety.” He also teaches workshops on how to develop a mindful culture in schools and organizations both for students and staff. He has been practicing mindfulness for 35 years. Patric has also conducted many program evaluations and professional development trainings for public school districts. One of his passions for the past seven years has been to help families who have a child with special needs transition and plan for the future. He has run many workshops, podcasts and written many articles on the importance of beginning this process based on his own family’s experience.
Dafna Krouk-Gordon, Founder and President of Toward Independent Living and Learning, Inc. (tillinc.org), is a leader and innovator on a statewide and national level in developing services for people with specialized needs. Established in 1980 in response to the needs of individuals and families seeking community-based supports, TILL has developed into a comprehensive human service agency providing supported, integrated, community-based residential, vocational and support services to individuals and their families throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Ms. Krouk-Gordon’s combined management and clinical background in psychology brings a unique combination of professional expertise, fiscal management, and clinical excellence to services. She is co-author of “Moving Out: A Family Guide to Residential Planning for Adults with Disabilities,” designed to educate and support individual and family choice. She has worked with numerous small groups of families in helping them to navigate the complex world of adult services as their children transition to adulthood. In addition to her work with hundreds of families and individuals throughout her career, she is a frequent presenter at statewide, national, and international advocacy and family conferences. TILL, Inc. has been recognized by the Commonwealth Institute as one of the Top 100 Women-led Businesses in Massachusetts and included in this celebrated listing for six consecutive years.
Richard W. Ronder is Chairman of the Board of The Columbus Organization, which he founded in 1984. The Columbus Organization, (columbusorg.com), based in Blue Bell, PA, is a national healthcare company with services focused on people with intellectual disabilities and mental illness. Columbus has worked with more than 150 agencies in 44 states providing services that include onsite clinical staffing of physicians, psychiatrists, therapists, etc., and quality improvement technical assistance. The company currently provides monthly case management/care coordination for approximately 15,000 individuals with special needs. Mr. Ronder has a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Michigan and is a former nationally certified paramedic.