Connie Silva has over 30 years of experience and expertise in the field of human services. She currently serves as Managing Director for the Research and Professional Development Center (RPDC) of the Napa County Office of Education. Her current work focuses on providing guidance to local education agencies (LEAs) in addressing ethnic and racial disproportionality in special education. Her statewide efforts support systemic improvements that create meaningful family and student engagement and help LEAs better serve students with disabilities and ensure equitable educational opportunities for all students.
STEVE LOHRER, PH.D.
Co-Director, Desired Results Access Project, Napa County Office of Education, Board Member since 2008
Steve Lohrer works with the Napa County Office of Education and serves as the Co‐Director for the Desired Results access Project sponsored by the California Department of Education, Special Education Division. Dr. Lohrer has overseen research and technical assistance projects for the state of California focused on early childhood special education, autism spectrum disorders, and inter-agency collaboration. He has more than 30 yrs of experience as a researcher, clinical social worker, and program manager in the fields of developmental disabilities, aging, mental health, and family caregiving. Dr. Lohrer has published a number of peer-reviewed research articles on disabilities and family caregiving and has been involved in the development and testing of state-wide assessment instruments used in special education. Dr. Lohrer received his Ph.D. from the Columbia University School of Social Work in New York and was a Post‐Doctoral Fellow in Developmental Disabilities Research at the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Additionally, he and his wife, Neda, are the parents of two amazing daughters, both with special needs.
Mariah has worked in the insurance industry since her adolescence, mentored by her father a Partner of Arrow Benefits Group, Jordan Shields. Her role with the company became official less than a week after graduating from Lewis & Clark College when Mariah accepted a position at Arrow as an account manager. During the last eleven years, Mariah has worked in almost every position available in the company to learn the intricacies of the business and build her skill set enough to become a Principal at the firm. Outside of the office, Mariah is passionate about her work in the community. She is currently the President of the Board of North Bay Children’s Center, volunteers as an instructor every Saturday at Giant Steps Therapeutic Riding Center and is honored to be the Board Secretary for United Cerebral Palsy of the North Bay.
Information coming soon.
MARY ANN MALINAK
UCPNB Board Member 2014-2019, returning April, 2022-present
Mary Ann Malinak is honored to serve as Chair of the Legacy Circle Committee
at UCPNB. She is a member of the North Bay Housing Coalition Board. She is
also co-founder of Celebrations, a program for young adults with special needs
at Congregation Ner Shalom. Mary Ann is also a long time volunteer with
Canine Companions for Independence.
She is the proud mom of a son with autism, a former student at Cypress School
who is now working with OADS, a division of the adult programs with UCPNB.
Mary Ann and her son enjoy delivering holiday bags to seniors with Jewish
Family Children Services and are volunteer sheep feeders with nonproKit
Mustang Acres Farms!
Mary Ann was a corporate recruiter and HR/training project manager at
M Squared Consulting in San Francisco for over twenty-one years.
Previously, Mary Ann was a special education principal with the Sonoma
County OfKice of Education. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh
with a BS and M.Ed. in Special Education.
ELAINE MCHUGH, PH.D.
Professor Emerita in Adapted Physical Education from Sonoma State University. Member since 1995.
Dr. McHugh retired from Sonoma State University in 2016 after more than 21 years teaching in the Kinesiology Department and directing “Saturday Sidekicks,” an activity program for children with disabilities. She continues to direct UCPNB’s “Cycle without Limits” bike camp for children with disabilities twice a year – at 20+ years, the longest running bike camp in the country! She also works part time at local schools. As a volunteer with the Humane Society of Sonoma County, she and her therapy dog, Remy, enjoy visiting adults and children in the area, including participants in UCPNB’s senior program. Dr. McHugh serves on the Strategy and Program Committee at UCP of the North Bay.
Laura has 47 years of professional experience as a Non-Public School Director, Board Certified Behavior Analyst, and Special Education Teacher. She received a Master of Science degree in Special Education from Dominican University in 1987. Laura established and served as the Director of ABC School at the California Autism Foundation. During her 11 years, Laura developed a new 6,000 square foot school site and increased enrollment to 45 students with autism spectrum disorders, developmental disabilities, and emotional disabilities.
In 2007.Laura worked with the UCPNB Board of Directors, the CEO, Margaret Farman, the Bay Area wide Special Education Local Plan Areas, school districts, and parents to develop and run Cypress School. Since that time Cypress expanded to ABA community-based Afterschool and Summer Enrichment program and added a second school building- allowing the school to operate a Primary School and a Secondary School which serves up to 90 students.
When asked about the Cypress School, Laura said, “It’s a dream come true – when we open our doors in the morning, our students enter, in high spirits, as they know they will be treated with dignity, respect and commitment. Laura retired in June 2020 and has continued to support the schools and afterschool programs with Behavioral and Administrative consultation.
BOARD MEMBER EMERITA
Participant and Volunteer, UCPNB, Retired. Board Member since 1990.
Born with Cerebral Palsy and having attended high school and college in the 1940’s, Ms. Martin has participated in the dramatic changes that have taken place for people with disabilities. Her expertise and experience has been invaluable to the growth and development of services for children and adults with developmental disabilities in Sonoma, Napa, and Solano Counties. Ms. Martin is a long-time advocate for persons with cerebral palsy and she provides support for all Board Committees of UCP of the North Bay.