FLRA Board of Directors
Jean Sherman, Ed.D.,RN
University of Miami Mailman Center, University Center on Excellence in Developmental Disabilities
Jean Sherman, Ed.D, RN is currently a Voluntary Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Miami Mailman Center UCEDD (University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities). A registered nurse for all of her professional career, she holds both a doctorate in Adult Education and a graduate certificate in Gerontology from Florida International University. On the faculty of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine for twenty years Dr. Sherman held dual appointments in the Center on Aging in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences as well as the Mailman Center in the Department of Pediatrics. In the Center on Aging she spent many years as director of the Center on Aging and Disabilities and later as the associate director of the Miami Area Geriatric Educational Center (MAGEC). In the Mailman Center she served as both the LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) Nursing Director and the Director of Adult Programs. In these dual roles Dr. Sherman obtained and directed dozens of grant projects and presented at more than 120 national, state and local conferences on a variety of topics concerning aging with a developmental disability and family caregivers. She also authored a number of newsletter, journal articles and book chapters on related topics. Throughout her career she has worked in the Aging and Developmental Disabilities networks and been a member of a number of health, aging and developmental disability professional organizations. Currently Dr. Sherman is a board member of the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council and a member of the leadership team of BIND, the Broward Information Network on Disabilities, a collaborative that focuses on the needs of adults with developmental disabilities in Broward County. As the mother of a man with a severe intellectual disability, Dr. Sherman maintains a long-term interest in the lives and concerns of family caregivers.
Vice President & Treasurer
Horton Townes, MBA, Director of Handicapable Ministry St. Paul's United Methodist Church, Largo, FL
Horton Townes, has an undergraduate degree in Banking and Finance and a MBA from the University of Mississippi. Horton has been involved with Handicapable Ministry, a Ministry for developmentally disabled adults, since December 1997 and has served as its Director since July 2002. The Ministry, which started with a group of 7 in October 1997, has today grown into a Ministry which has over 300 members and has participants who attend from all quadrants of Pinellas County. Handicapable Ministry provides its members weekly activities including Wednesday Worship, seasonal parties, an annual talent show, retreats, a Thanksgiving Worship service for St. Paul Church and an annual Christmas Banquet among other activities.
The Ministry is very involved with Special Olympics and attends baseball games of the Tampa Bay Rays and Clearwater Threshers. Handicapable also visits residents at several local nursing homes, handicapped children at The Children’s Center and has performed talent shows at three different public schools in the community. Our goal with FLRA is to share, with other caregivers throughout the state, how a Ministry like ours is providing a ray of sunshine into the lives of others and bringing joy, happiness and fulfillment to them. We encourage other organizations, in communities all over the state, to follow our template and provide the same opportunities for caregivers and care recipients alike.
Lisa Bretz, MSW, Executive Director - Area Agency on Aging for North Florida, Inc. (AAANF)
Lisa Bretz is responsible for oversight of day-to-day operations and coordination of programs and services for elders in a fourteen county planning and service area. She has been engaged in the aging network for over twenty one years, having started her career as a case manager for Elder Care Services, Inc. Prior to her appointment as Executive Director in 2013, Lisa was the Planning Administrator for the AAANF, where one of her major projects was overseeing the planning, coordination and transition of her agency into an Aging and Disability Resource Center. This led to the development of new working relationships with the Agency for Persons with Disabilities and numerous other organizations meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities. Lisa has also been coordinating the Capital Area Coalition on Aging (CACOA), an informational and networking forum made up of over 200 aging service providers and advocates in the Big Bend. Monthly meetings provide updates on local, innovative resources designed to improve the quality of life for seniors for over 14 years. Ms. Bretz received her BSW and MSW degrees from Florida State University.
Connie Siskowski, RN, PhD, President- American Association for Caregiving Youth
Connie Siskowski, RN, PhD – educated at Johns Hopkins and New York University, she obtained her PhD in 2004 from Lynn University to have a bigger voice for family caregivers. Connie never expected her doctoral research to uncover the high prevalence of family health situations and concomitant caregiving with detrimental academic effects upon children in Palm Beach County. Her broad background in healthcare and dedication to diminishing caregiver isolation and struggles led to the 1998 establishment of what is now the American Association for Caregiving Youth. It includes the Caregiving Youth Project, the first US program to support the hidden population of child caregivers. Her dream is for all family caregivers to be honored and respected but especially youth for their contributions to family and to society; no child in the US should have to drop out of school because he or she has to care for a family member.
In June of 2009, Connie was awarded a lifetime Ashoka Fellowship and in October 2009 she became one of 10 Purpose Prize winners, a national endeavor honoring persons over 60 years of age who initiated an innovative solution for social change. In September 2010 The Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association presented her with The Distinguished Alumna Award. In 2011 AACY won the Palm Beach County Medical Society’s Heroes in Medicine Award for Community Outreach and later that year Connie was named a Woman of Grace by Bethesda Hospital Foundation. During May 2012 she was named a CNN Hero and in September was one the Top Ten Heroes for 2012.