The Tidewater Autism Team

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Sharon Russell
President

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”!.

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Al Howard
Vice-President

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.  

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Kika Jessup
Secretary & Recorder

Originally from Massachusetts, I now call Virginia my home. I have two children Jayda and Arine' who has ASD. I myself was diagnosed in 2018. I enjoy helping families get the best services so they can live a thriving life like ours. Kika started out coming to our events, then volunteering, and now she is a prominent member of our board.

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Nicole Miller
Chapter Operations Manager

 

Nicole Miller came to the Autism Society, Tidewater Virginia almost a decade ago to find resources and services for her son with ASD. Instead, she found a village of local parents and caregivers who led her on a journey.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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

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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. 

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Robert Firestone
Board Memeber

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.

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Diego Zuniga
Immediate Past President (Advisory Board)

Diego is an engineer working in IT. His son’s Autism diagnosis got him and his family close to a community of amazing people, on a journey full of surprises. He is also part of VCU Partnership for People with Disabilities.

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Theresa Zano-McMillan
Past President
(Advisory Board)

Deena Myers-Morris
Virtual Programs Coordinator

Deena Myers-Morris is a proud Autistic individual on the Autism Spectrum, a wife of 26 years to a retired US Navy Sailor, and a mother of 2 adult men on the Autism Spectrum. Deena has worked with special needs children through many areas of her life. Deena is proud to be a part of the Autism Society Tidewater Virginia as the Virtual Programs Coordinator where she gets speakers for the parent's and adult support groups. She is happy to be part of an organization that is very understanding of her disability and providing valuable information to parents.

                                 

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.