Abbott Appoints 6 To Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities

Three of the appointees are from North Texas, and all have terms set to expire on February 1, 2025.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has appointed Neva Fairchild and Lauren Taylor and reappointed Ellen Bauman, Elyse Lieberman, Ph.D., Eric Lindsay, and Kristie Orr, Ph.D. to the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities.

Three of the appointees are from North Texas, and all have terms set to expire on Feb. 1, 2025.

The committee recommends changes in disability policies and programs, supports a network of committees on people with disabilities, issues awards to promote greater awareness, and promotes compliance with disability related laws.

Neva Fairchild, of Flower Mound, recently retired as national aging & vision loss specialist at the American Foundation for the Blind and has worked in the field of blindness services for more than 30 years. She is the immediate past president of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired and the newsletter editor for the American Council of the Blind of Texas.

Fairchild received a Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Science and a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling Psychology from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

Denton’s Lauren Taylor is a certified rehabilitation counselor and a licensed professional counselor associate. She was born with Muscular Dystrophy and has used a power chair for mobility since the age of 3. Taylor works as a senior program project coordinator for the ENGAGE program, which is housed under the University of North Texas Workplace Inclusion and Sustainable Employment office. She is a LEADer for To Be Like Me, where she educates school age children as well as the general public about disabilities.

She earned the title of Miss Wheelchair Texas 2019 and volunteers for Canine Companions.

Ellen Bauman, of Joshua, is the special needs ministry liaison for First United Methodist Church in Arlington and is a member of the Texas Council on Consumer Direction, Central Texas Aging Disability Resource Center advisory committee, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Council of Tarrant County, and Cook Children’s Oral Health Coalition.

She is the board president of The Arc of DFW Area, a committee member for The Arc of Texas, and chair of Texas Parent to Parent. Bauman is the 2023 recipient of the The Arc of Texas Virginia Eernisse Legacy Award.

Bauman attended Texas Wesleyan University and Tarrant County College and received a certificate of Christian Education from Columbia College in Columbia, South Carolina.

Elyse Lieberman, of Victoria, is a complaints manager at the Texas Education Agency and has over 25 years of experience in Texas public schools as a teacher and administrator of special education programs.

She served as a faculty member of Western Governors University in the Educational Leadership Department of the Teachers College. Lieberman is a member of the Texas Council of Administrators for Special Education and the Council for Exceptional Children. She received a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in American Studies and Psychology from the University of Delaware and a Master of Education in Education Administration and a Doctor of Philosophy in Education Administration from Texas A&M University.

San Antonio’s Eric Lindsay retired as a lieutenant colonel after serving in the United States Army for 21 years. He is a member of the Paralyzed Veterans of America – Texas Chapter.

Lindsay received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Washington State University and a Master of Arts in Diplomacy and a Master of Science in International Business from Seton Hall University.

Kristie Orr, of College Station, is disability resources director for Texas A&M University and is past president of the Association on Higher Education and Disability and a member of the Association on Higher Education and Disability in Texas.

She provides peer workshops, lectures, and external reviews at state and national conferences on campuses throughout the nation. Orr received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Doctor of Philosophy in School Psychology from Texas A&M University, and a Master of Education in Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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