Impact 5: Autism Advisory Board

Learn more about our Autism Advisory Board:

Pedro Castellanos & Liliana Pagan-Castellanos

Will J. Gordillo

Donna Lane

Ann Levene-Eisenberg

Jacqueline Nicholson

Jack Scott

Candi Spitz

Melissa and Brett Winter

Mary Kay Willson

Pedro Castellanos & Liliana Pagan-Castellanos are proud parents of two children, Victoria 6 and Nicholas 5 who was diagnosed with autism when he was 18 months old. We are the founders of Familias Hispanas Unidas, a nonprofit organization that offer support to Hispanic families of children with autism. Our main goal is to educate the Latino families, in their own language about their child's disability, and encourage them to find therapies, services and community resources that can help their children to be successful in life. Liliana also participates, in the parent advisory committee at FAU-CARD and as a Parent Liaison for the Palm Beach School District. . Pedro Castellanos & Liliana Pagan-Castellanos

Will J. Gordillo
Will J. Gordillo, serves as the Director for the Department of Exceptional Student Education (ESE) for the School District of Palm Beach County and is responsible for the provision of programs and services to ESE students in accordance with IDEA requirements including Gifted Education and Section 504 students and their families in the nation's 11th largest highly rated school district serving over 36,000 ESE students. He currently serves a three year term as appointed by the Commissioner of Education on the Florida Exceptional Education and Student Services Advisory Committee. He also serves as Past President of the Florida Council for Administrators of Special Education and on the Board of Directors of the South Florida Chapter of Autism Speaks as well as on the Advisory Board for the Urban Special Education Collaborative.

Donna is the sister of a 49-year-old brother with autism. She was a former member of the NewsChannel 5 management team for over 20 years and spearheaded many of the events and activities that WPTV has created or supported for the cause of autism. It began in 1986 with the first-ever major fundraiser for autism in South Florida, "THE RAIN MAN BALL" and other events such as Autism Speaks Week in 2008 that included a Channel 5 Telethon that raised more than $200,000 for Autism Speaks. She has been a past board member of the Autism Society of America and more recently has worked on special events such as "Light It Up Blue" for Autism Speaks. Donna Lane

Ann Levene-Eisenberg
Ann has been the Executive Director at Palm Beach School for Autism since 2007. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Communications and Child and Family Studies from Syracuse University and a Master's Degree in Non-Profit Management from Regis University. Ann was introduced to the field of Autism when her own child was diagnosed at the age of 18 months and she could not imagine doing anything else. Ann says, "I have lived in Florida for 20 years and began working in the field of disabilities in 1994. I have worked at the state level and the county level for the past 18 years. The Palm Beach School for Autism was born in 1996 because of the lack of services for children with autism in the public school system. I am proud of how far our school has come with regards to the quality of programming, teaching staff and operations of our charter school." In her free time Ann enjoys hiking, skiing, riding the Harley and surfing

Jacqueline Nicholson is the parent of an adult on the autism spectrum and previously served as the Palm Beach County Field Development Director for Autism Speaks. She oversaw the Annual Walk Now For Autism Speaks and other local fundraising events as well as community outreach and awareness activities about the autism spectrum disorder.

She has also been a volunteer for a variety of children and adult causes including  Boca Raton Promise for Youth, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (South Florida Chapter), and the Junior League of Boca Raton.  

She is a graduate of Leadership Boca, Class of 2003 and Leadership Palm Beach Class of 2005. 

She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, International Honor Society of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University.

She is a registered nurse with a Bachelor's in Science Degree from Florida International University and a Master's Degree in Communication from the University of Miami.

She has over 25 years of experience in the field of community health services, health education, non- profit management, community and board relations, and special event management.

 

Jacqueline Nicholson

Jack Scott
Jack Scott
Jack Scott is the executive director of the Center forAutism and Related Disabilities at Florida Atlantic University. CARD is an autism support agency funded by the state of Florida. Dr. Scott is also an associate professor in the Department Exceptional Student Education. He teaches courses on autism, special education and behavior analysis. Dr Scott received his doctoral degree from the University of Florida. Jack has written a textbook on autism, Students with autism: Characteristics and instructional programming (2000) and has several chapters and articles on autism and individual instruction. He is just completing a book for Woodbine House of safety from unintentional injuries for children with autism and has explored the high-risk status of the ASD population. He has research interests in early intensive behavioral intervention, particularly parent-directed home programs and reading instruction for children with autism and safety. He is a board certified behavior analyst with the Doctoral designation. In addition, he serves as a consultant to several programs and hospitals and on the boards of several charter schools, and is president of Project LifeSaver of Palm Beach County, a volunteer on the Impact Committee for Palm Beach County United Way and as a board member for Reaching Potentials.

Candi Spitz is a Mother to six year old identical twin boys, Brendan and Jaden, who have Autism. 

She is a National Spokesperson for Autism Speaks, the Ambassador to Project Lifesaver International and a volunteer at The Palm Beach School for Autism. 

She is married to heavy metal guitarist, Dan Spitz, of the band Anthrax.
Candi Spitz

Mary Kay Willson
The proud godmother of a 5-year old boy with autism, Mary Kay Willson is with the Jupiter based Els for Autism Foundation which was started in 2009 by World Golf Hall of Famer Ernie Els and his wife Liezl. Ms. Willson serves as the Tournament Director for the Els for Autism Golf Challenge, the world's largest charity golf series, raising over $5 million dollars in three years to benefit the development of the Els Center of Excellence – a $30 million dollar project based in Jupiter, FL. Scheduled to break ground in the coming year the Center is an extraordinary project including virtual outreach and international training, an educational program for 300 students ages 3-21, and plans for applied research, medical and professional services, transition to adulthood and its myriad of aspects including adult living and job training. Owner of a Florida-based marketing company, Ms. Willson has 25 years of experience marketing and providing consulting for charity organizations, Fortune 100 companies, multiple Olympic Games, Goodwill Games and Paralympic Games. She serves on the Board of the Jupiter Children's Foundation and has enjoyed volunteering for multiple health and children's charities over her career. A native of New Jersey, Ms. Willson has called Florida home for 16 years with her husband, local Realtor, Todd Willson, and their three children.

Melissa & Brett Winter are the parents of, Max and Sam Winter.

Both boys are awesome kids. One son has autism and one does not.

Melissa is the founder and creator of The Puzzling Piece.

The Puzzling Piece is an organization dedicated to Autism Awareness, donating to autism-based charities and placing iPads into the hands of people touched by autism.

Brett is the owner of L & B Home Decor, importing home decor products to some of the largest retailers in the US.

Sometimes the things we can't change end up changing us!

Melissa and Brett Winter

 

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