top of page

ASTV Board and Staff Members


Sharon Russell


Sharon is the proud mom of three sons Dean, Joshua, and Deion. Deion was diagnosed with ASD at 2 ½ years of age: “Being a parent of a child with special needs has been the hardest yet most rewarding thing she has ever done”!.


Al Howard


Alfred ‘Al’ Howard is a licensed clinical social worker treating youth, adults, couples, and families impacted by various life experiences and diagnoses.  A New York native, his professional career spans nearly 20 years of mental health work in varying settings.

Al owns an outpatient practice in Virginia Beach where he specializes in working with populations traditionally underserved such as the LGBTQ+ community, Autism community, and men.  


Kika Jessup

Secretary & Recorder

Originally from Massachusetts, she now calls Virginia her home. Kika has two children and her youngest has Autism. She enjoys helping families get the best services so they can live a thriving life like theirs. Kika started out coming to our events, then volunteering, and now she is a prominent member of our board.


Nicole  Miller

Chapter Operations Manager

With 10 years of dedicated experience working in the local community as a parent advocate and non-profit manager, Nicole continues to pursue additional research and training opportunities as well as
develop programs, activities, and events in her community to benefit autistic individuals and their families. As a ‘00 graduate of James Madison University with a degree in political science and international affairs, Nicole has spent over 20 years in academic and private sector positions related to public policy and governmental relations. When her son was diagnosed with Autism, she pivoted into the non-profit arena to educate herself and others.


Brittany Fitzgerald

Resource Coordinator

Brittany is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University with a Bachelor's Degree in Sports Entertainment Event Management. She has previously worked in the event management and non-profit fields. Brittany was diagnosed with Autism in her late twenties, and she enjoys engaging with other self-advocates in the community. In her spare time, Brittany enjoys spending time with her furry friends, helping others, and utilizing her creative talents.


Derek Spohn

Board Member

Derek Spohn was diagnosed with Autism in the fall of 2014. He graduated from Old Dominion University in December of 2020 with a double major in Spanish and English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. He joined the board of the Autism Society Tidewater Virginia so that he can do his best to help others on the spectrum to thrive in the community and live fulfilling lives. 


John Kalman

Board Member

A native of Virginia Beach, he is one of the youngest board members, John became part of the board. John works at a local grocery store, he also dedicates his time to the practice of martial arts.


Jenn Brooks

Board Member

Jenn Brooks is a native Bostonian that has been living in Hampton Roads for the last 12 years. Professionally,  Jenn works in healthcare focused on supporting beneficiaries enrolled in Medicaid and Medicare. She is a proud mom of two boys, one of which is on the Autism spectrum. Jenn is passionate about health equity, advocating for people with disabilities, and inclusion.


John Kalman

Board Member

A native of Virginia Beach, he is one of the youngest board members, John became part of the board. John works at a local grocery store, he also dedicates his time to the practice of martial arts.


Franklin Grimes

Board Member

Originally from Baltimore, MD after retiring from United States Navy I now call Virginia Beach,  VA my home. I have two children Abigail 15 and Austin 7 they both are on the ASD spectrum.  I enjoy assisting families with finding the best services, so they can live a thriving life like ours.

Theresa Zano-McMillan
Past President


Teri George

Board Member

Teri George, MA, BCBA, LBA, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) with strong community connections and an avid desire to develop, implement, and guide medically necessary treatment for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.. When Teri is not working to address socially significant problems directly related to Autism or collaborating with other professionals, she enjoys spending time at the beach with her family, playing "Dr. T" (the animal veterinarian) with her daughter Kandice (aka "Dr. K"), and roasting marshmallows over a campfire. 


Robert Firestone

Board Member

Robert Firestone, MBA, MHA, MT (ASCP) is the Vice President of Operations at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital. Mr. Firestone earned his Masters of Business Administration and Masters of Healthcare Administration from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.  He earned his B.S. in Environmental Health Sciences from Purdue University. He and his wife Tiffany have three children including a son on the Autism spectrum.

Small Title


Diego Zuniga

Immediate Past President

Diego is Computer Science Engineer with a passion for helping thrive our community. His son’s diagnosis got him and his family  in the Autism journey. He has served in many capacities for a diversity of organizations: Family to Family Network @ VCU, partners in policy making to name a couple. Those experiences granted him the capacity and knowledge to serve in the Autism society for 9 years so far.

Small Title


Theresa Zano-McMillan

Past President (Advisory Board)

Theresa is a mother of 3 children, Lindsay, Grant and Izzy, Izzy has a DX of Autism. Theresa has been a member of the Society for 15 years either on the board or as Medicaid Mentor for the area.

bottom of page