Mary Sturm, MD – Board Chair
Sarah White – Vice Chair
Sue Freiburger – Board Secretary
Joshua Zellers – Board Treasurer
Jeanne Lippert – Board Member
Tim Burns – Board Member
Stephanie Fera – Board Member
Gary Fernando – Board Member
Lou LaVecchia – Board Member
Jeffrey Mills – Board Member
Lincoln Purdy – Board Member
John Wilson – Board Member
Ruth Stoeckel – Board Member
Alyson Taylor – Board Member
Kara Bayer – Social Media & Analytics Assistant
Kara is a recent graduate from the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh. In her time at school, she was a board member for several organizations, where she spent time volunteering and focusing on community outreach. She previously managed social media strategies for several small businesses, and writes her own blog about all things Pittsburgh! In her free time, she enjoys trying new restaurants, yoga, and watching the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Angela Grimm – Executive Director
Angela Grimm was a member of the senior leadership team at the Alzheimer’s Association for 12 years, serving on various committees and strategic plan work groups at the local and national level. Prior to her experience there, Angela led development roles within the Salvation Army of Western Pennsylvania, including serving as the Director of Project Bundle-Up, a joint fundraising venture with WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh. Through her 25 year career in the non-profit sector she has continually built valuable relationships between organizations and key constituents to further the mission. Angela has a personal connection to CAS and is committed to maintaining Apraxia Kid’s high quality programming.
David Hammer – Vice President of Programs
Dave Hammer is the Vice President of Programs for Apraxia Kids. Prior to this position, Dave had 35 years of pediatric clinical experience at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, PA with specialty interests in childhood apraxia of speech, speech sound disorders and childhood stuttering. Dave received his Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh in 1979 after completing a Bachelor’s in Speech/Hearing Science and Psychology. He has been invited to present over 200 workshops on childhood apraxia and speech sound disorders throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia. Dave was a member of the ASHA AdHoc committee on childhood apraxia of speech. He has been involved in the production of a number of apraxia-related DVD’s and an innovative children’s CD. Dave is known for his practical and therapy-rich presentations. His passion at Apraxia Kids is helping children “find their voices” and families find the support services they desperately need. Outside of work, Dave enjoys reading, making music, attending musicals and plays, and spending time traveling. Dave was lucky to have married his high school sweetheart with whom he just celebrated 40 years of marriage. He has a daughter, age 31, who works for the US Patent and Trademark office and a son, age 26, who is pursuing a career as a musician.
Kathy Hennessy – Director of Education
Kathy Hennessy, BA, is the Director of Education at Apraxia Kids. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Communications from St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN. Prior to Ms. Hennessy’s current role at Apraxia Kids, she worked in various professional theatres located throughout the Pittsburgh area, including the Pittsburgh Laboratory Theater as the Managing Director. Kathy and her daughter Kate are co-authors of the book, Anything But Silent, Our Journey through Childhood Apraxia of Speech. Kathy is the single mother of two young adults diagnosed with severe Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) as toddlers. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Management at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. As a founding board member of and currently the Director of Education for Apraxia Kids, she has devoted much of her time to the special issues surrounding children with CAS and has counseled thousands of families dealing with this overwhelming diagnosis.
Molly Kestner – Donor Relations Coordinator
Molly Kestner came to Apraxia Kids upon completing a Masters in Public Administration focusing on Nonprofit Management at the University of Pittsburgh. She spent two years serving at local and national nonprofits through the Lutheran Volunteer Corps where she grew her love of building community. Molly also serves on the board of directors for the Allegheny Family Network. Outside of work, she enjoys cooking, spending time outside, and hanging out with family and friends.
Justin LeWinter – Director of Fundraising
Justin LeWinter is the Director of Fundraising for Apraxia Kids. He was born and raised on Long Island, NY and attended Penn State University where he graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Recreation and Park Management, and a minor in Sociology. Staying in Pennsylvania after college he spent his first stint in Pittsburgh coordinating an AmeriCorps federal grant. After later relocating to New York, he obtained his Masters in Education from St. Johns University while teaching mathematics at both the middle and high school levels in New York City public schools. Prior to coming to Apraxia Kids he worked as the Director of Teen and Family Services at a YMCA in North Carolina. His latest move brought him back to Pittsburgh where he joined the Apraxia Kids family. He oversees the Walk for Apraxia, builds relationships with donors, and provides guidance to over 80 volunteer Walk Coordinators and support to countless team leaders and donors across the country. When not at work he enjoys spending time with his wife, son and dog outdoors – hiking, camping, gardening and enjoying live music!
Tara Olexa Madoni – Program Manager
Tara Olexa Madoni is a graduate of Allegheny College in Meadville, PA. After serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, West Africa, she accepted a position as an AmeriCorps member with the Brashear Association in Pittsburgh, PA where she coordinated after school and summer programs for at-risk youth. Upon completion of her service, Tara continued with the Brashear Association managing self-sufficiency programs for individuals and families. Before arriving at Apraxia Kids, Tara was working as a service coordinator for Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Early Intervention Program. She lives in Stanton Heights with her husband and three children.
Earnie Sotirokos – Director of Content Marketing
As Apraxia Kids’ Director of Education, Kathy Hennessy, says, “Earnie is the ‘Internet Guy’.” While his official title of Director of Content Marketing encompasses skills like website maintenance, social media posting and graphic design, friends of Apraxia Kids are most likely to see his work in the emails they receive. After graduating college at the height of the recession with a B.S. in Human Resource Management, Earnie’s career trajectory took a few interesting turns that included jobs in radio production, online journalism, and science fiction writing before he found a home at Apraxia Kids.
At his other home just up the road from Apraxia Kids’ office, he likes to read, cook and attempt to make hipster furniture that he’d never pay full price for.
Savannah Tracy – Media and Content Specialist
Savannah is the Media and Content Specialist at Apraxia Kids. She received a degree of Sociology and Religion from Oberlin College and originally came to Apraxia Kids as a fellow through Pittsburgh Urban Service and Leadership Experience (PULSE), which pairs university grads with Pittsburgh nonprofits for eleven months. Savannah now lives in Boston and is attending graduate school at Emerson College while working for Apraxia Kids. She loves all things media, including radio, film, writing, and podcasting, and is dedicated to the importance of using media to motivate social change and equity.
Heather Vallone – Executive Assistant
Heather graduated Carlow University with a degree in Art History. She has spent much of her 20-year career in administrative support and marketing roles with such local non-profits as the Carnegie Museums, Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh before joining Apraxia Kids in June of 2017. Outside of work, Heather enjoys hobbies like knitting and coloring, and spending time with her husband, son, and 2 cats.