State Rehabilitation Council Members

Helping Families. Supporting Communities. Empowering Individuals.

 As of August 1, 2017, members of the State Rehabilitation Council include:

  1. Makenzie Hayden - Disability/Advocacy Group
  2. Homer Bizzle - Disability/Advocacy Group
  3. Kristy Giacomini - Disability/Advocacy Group
  4. Rahnee Patrick - Disability/Advocacy Group
  5. Matthew Rosenberg - Disability/Advocacy Group
  6. Bruce Himelstein - Business, Industry, & Labor
  7. LaDonna Henson - Business, Industry, & Labor
  8. Melynda McKeever - Business, Industry, & Labor
  9. Prerak Mehta - Business, Industry, & Labor
  10. Michael Predmore - Community Rehabilitation Program
  11. Leslie Jenkins - Client Assistance Program
  12. Bryan Dallas - Secondary or Higher Education
  13. Patika Hackleman - Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor
  14. Matthew Fred - Current or Former Recipient of VR Services
  15. Consuelo Puente - Parent Training Information Center
  16. Connie Heinz - State Board of Education
  17. Matthew Hillen - State Workforce Innovation Board
  18. Alyson Slaughter - Blind Services Planning Council
  19. Shelly Richardson - Statewide Independent Living Council
  20. Quinetta L. Wade, Director - Division of Rehabilitation Services

Makenzie Hayden - Disability/Advocacy Group

Makenzie is from the small town of Greenup, Illinois where she resides while commuting to school. She is currently a senior at Eastern Illinois University studying Communication Studies with a concentration in Public Relations and two minors in Marketing and Health Communication.

Throughout her undergraduate years at EIU she has completed her own research regarding Health Communication, as well as been involved within two organizations on campus. In both of these, she had leadership roles to further advance her educational career. Makenzie has a great passion for helping others achieve their goals - just as so many wonderful individuals helped her to achieve hers'!

Upon completion of her undergraduate degree at EIU, Makenzie plans to further her education by obtaining a Masters Degree in Communication Studies.

Homer Bizzle - Disability/Advocacy Group

Homer Bizzle has been working with the Client Assistance Program (CAP) for 8 years; first as an advocate, and for the past 3 years as a Human Services Caseworker with Illinois Department of Human Services. Homer is also a Disabled Veteran and has served in the U.S. Army as a first Lieutenant for 7 years. He graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a Master of Arts in Inner City Studies Education & Bachelor of Arts from the Board of Governors.

Homer was appointed to serve on the Employment and Economic Opportunity for Persons with Disabilities Task Force, and is currently working with the state's Employment First Plan and Implementation Process to help break down barriers for people with disabilities to obtain employment.

Kristy Giacomini - Disability/Advocacy Group

Kristy is the Supervisor of Individual Placement and Support (IPS) for the Memorial Behavioral Health (MBH), a not-for-profit organization in Springfield. An affiliate of Memorial Health System, MBH is one of the largest providers of behavioral healthcare in central Illinois. Kristy is a certified IPS fidelity reviewer, oversees the Springfield IPS advisory council, and participates in the Emerging Leaders initiative at MBH. Kristy project manages the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Project for MBH and is working towards certification to become a Certified Occupancy Specialist.

Kristy received a Bachelors of Art at Millikin University in Human Services. She has worked in various roles at MBH since 2010 helping individuals with Mental Illness achieve their employment goals. She was a Residential Advisor, Employment Specialist, and currently performs a duel role of Lead Employment Specialist and HUD Project Manager.

Rahnee Patrick - Disability/Advocacy Group

Rahnee Patrick is the Director of Independent Living at Access Living. In 2008, the American Association of People with Disabilities recognized Rahnee as an emerging national leader. From the age of 22, Rahnee joined work on federal legislation to create an entitlement to home and community-based services for Americans with disabilities. She led the campaign to press Illinois to apply for Money Follows the Person in 2006 which increased revenue to the State and integrated disabled Illinoisans in the community. Rahnee has logged thousands of hours managing services for people deinstitutionalized from state-operated facilities and continues to oversee direct service delivery for over 1,500 Chicagoans with disabilities each year.

Her father is a retired comptroller for Peerless of America who met her Thai mother during the Viet Nam/American War. Rahnee and her husband Mike Ervin live in downtown Chicago with their two dogs, Rosita and Mister Bojangles.

Matthew Rosenberg - Disability/Advocacy Group

Matt currently works as a Vocational Facilitator at the Special Education District of Lake County where he works with youths with disabilities on job skills and assisting them with finding jobs. Matt is a graduate of Northern Illinois University with a Bachelors degree in Communications.

In addition, Matt has 5 years of experience in working with people with disabilities having previously worked at the Lake County Center for Independent Living as an Employment Advocate working with youths and adults on job skills as well as teaching people with disabilities independent living skills.

Bruce Himelstein - Business, Industry, & Labor

Bruce is focused, creative, collaborative and a passionate physician executive, interdisciplinary team organizer and motivator. He is a data-driven quality improvement leader and end-to-end strategic program designer and implementation expert. He has managed care experience with Centene, WellCare, Aetna Better Health and Health Care Service Corporation and received an MBA in May of 2016 from the Muma College of Business at the University of South Florida.

LaDonna Henson - Business, Industry, & Labor

LaDonna has worked in the rehabilitation field for over 20 years. She is currently the Director of the Evaluation and Developmental Center (EDC) for 4 years. EDC is a direct service component of the Rehabilitation Institute at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Prior to working at EDC, LaDonna worked for 20 years in St. Louis, MO in various capacities in the rehabilitation field.

LaDonna obtained her Master's Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from SIU in Carbondale in 1994 and is a licensed clinical professional counselor and a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor in Illinois. She is the Co-President of IL APSE and works on the regional WIOA planning team in Southern Illinois.

Melynda McKeever - Business, Industry, & Labor

Melynda is the Chief Operating Officer at Peoria Production Shop (PPS), with responsibility for providing leadership, management and vision necessary to ensure the company has proper controls and procedures in place for growth and financial strength while assuring commitment to the PPS mission of hiring adults with disabilities.

Melynda volunteers in the Peoria community where she serves as the Advocates for Access Board Vice President, Committee member for the Peoria Mayor's Advisory Committee for the Disabled, volunteer for Peoria District 150 Reading Buddies program, and past member of Chuck Weaver's Leaders Change Illinois. Melynda has achieved her Six Sigma Black Belt, a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management and recently completed her MBA. In 2015, Melynda was recognized as one of Peoria's 25 Women in Leadership for her commitment to the disability community.

Prerak Mehta - Business, Industry, & Labor

Currently Prerak is a Community Liaison at Aetna Better Health of Illinois. In his 3 years since joining the team, he has held positions as a Peer Advocate and a Care Manager. Prerak is responsible for engagement with community stakeholders on various disability rights initiatives, developing community collaborations and providing community education.

Prerak graduated with a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Shortly after his graduation, he was selected as an intern in the White House summer- internship program, which was sponsored by the American Association of Persons with Disabilities. He has participated on the National Disability Rights Network. Additionally Prerak was one of 11 interns selected from the program to discuss National Disability Policy issues with President Obama.

Michael Predmore - Community Rehabilitation Program

Michael is the Senior Vice President of Day Programs and Education at Marcfirst in Normal. Marcfirst provides services to children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In his role, Michael works with their pediatric therapy, developmental training and employment programs.

He graduated with a B.S. from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. After a 4 year enlistment in the U.S. Army, he started his career in this field as a program instructor in the Peoria ARC's workshop and spent 23 years at PARC, working in varying capacities in the workshop, Developmental Training, ICF/DD and CILAs. Michael has been at Marcfirst since 2012 where his primary focus has been on community employment for people with disabilities. Over the past 5 years, their employment program has grown from serving 54 people to a current caseload of 120. They also work closely with McLean County school districts to assist students with the transition from school to community employment and engage over 100 students and their families at their IEPs and through our transition program activities each year. As a part of their employment program, they offer Customized Employment services as well.

Michael serves on the Illinois APSE's Board of Directors, the Provider work group for the EEOPD Task Force and the Facilities Advisory Committee. Locally, he has worked with families in the development of an Autism Friendly Community initiative that promotes a culture of acceptance of children and adults living with autism and recognition of businesses that are autism friendly, including those that hire people with autism. Michael also serves on the Hult Center for Healthy Living's Mental Health Committee and has given presentations on suicide prevention as well as working with local legislators to pass legislation to prevent suicides on college campuses.

Leslie Jenkins - Client Assistance Program

Leslie has been working with the Client Assistance Program (CAP) for 3 years in the role of advocate and as the temporary manager following the previous manager's retirement. CAP's goal is to work with customers and with DRS staff to resolve problems at the lowest possible level. Prior to joining CAP Leslie was a Child Welfare Specialist for 20 years working with children and families in foster care and adoption. She advocated for children and adolescents, first as a case manager for children with social, emotional, and behavioral issues assuring that their needs were met within the home, school, and social environments; and later as a licensing representative recruiting and preparing foster/adoptive homes to meet the challenges of caring for foster/adoptive children.

Working within the child welfare system parallels the work in her move to the Department of Human Services working with people with disabilities. She often times accessed rehabilitative services, especially the youth transition programs, due to the number of children in foster care with disabilities.

Bryan Dallas - Secondary or Higher Education

Bryan, Ph.D., CRC, LPC is an Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Counseling and Co-Coordinator of the Rehabilitation Counseling program at Northern Illinois University. He earned his Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Education from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

Dr. Dallas' experience involves providing disability-supports for college students with disabilities and vocational evaluation for injured workers. As a researcher, he studies academic outcomes of college students with disabilities, the impact of assistive technology, and universal design instructional methods. Dr. Dallas is a certified rehabilitation counselor and licensed professional counselor. Additionally, he serves as a reviewer for the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability.

Patika Hackleman - Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor

Patika is a Senior Rehabilitation Counselor in the Belleville office and began her career with DHS at Alton Mental Health Center as an Office Associate in 2007. While working at Alton Mental Health Center, she earned her Masters Degree in Professional Counseling. She went on to work as a Human Services Caseworker in Granite City for a very short period of time before receiving the promotion to Rehabilitation Counselor Trainee with DRS in December 2010.

Prior to earning her Masters Degree, Patika was a case manager for Children's Home + Aid (aka, CHASI) under the Unified Delinquency Intervention Services (UDIS) Program, where she primarily worked with children and young adults who were involved in the Illinois Juvenile Justice System.

Matthew Fred - Current or Former Recipient of VR Services

Matthew works at the Southern Illinois Center for Independent Living (SICIL). He has seven 7 years of experience working with people disabilities as an Independent Living Specialist and 5 years as the PA Coordinator. He regularly works with Disabled Student Services counseling students as they transition from high school to college. Matthew received his Bachelor Degree in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy, and a Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

Consuelo Puente - Parent Training Information Center

Consuelo Puente is an attorney currently working for Family Resource Center on Disabilities (FRCD) as their Bilingual Parent Trainer. Working for FRCD, Consuelo has incorporated active learning strategies in all her presentations on Special Education and has certified over a hundred Spanish-speaking parents as IEP Parent Support Specialists.

Consuelo is known for her knowledge on the rights of immigrant students and is the mother of two adult sons on the Autism Spectrum. As such, she understands the challenges faced by families who have children with special needs and shares that her sons guide and inspire all she does.

Connie Heinz - State Board of Education

Connie is a Special Education Principal Consultant for the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) for the past three (3) years. She has served on the ISBE Statewide Secondary Transition Team since May of 2014. During this time, Connie has provided a variety of technical assistance activities at the district or cooperative level on secondary transition planning and compliance. In addition to this, Connie is a member of the Autism Task Force with a concentration on secondary transition.

Connie graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Special Education with endorsements as a vocational teacher/coordinator, and Director of Special Education. Professionally, Connie taught youth with disabilities for ten years and was a special education administrator in public education for six years in central IL. During her teaching career, Connie worked with youth on job skills, independent living skills and self-advocacy. She also worked with employers to develop job opportunities for youth with disabilities in a variety of community settings. She was instrumental in promoting as well as sustaining the STEP program for the students in her district.

Matthew Hillen - State Workforce Innovation Board

Matt is the Special Populations Manager for the Office of Employment and Training at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. As Illinois' administrative entity for WIOA Title I services, the Department of Commerce is a dedicated partner in the WIOA vision laid out in conjunction with the Division of Rehabilitation Services and the other Core Partner agencies under WIOA.

Matt has spent 14 years in the field of workforce development in various capacities, helping jobseekers find successful employment outcomes. He also has experience working in both inpatient mental health and alternative school settings.

Alyson Slaughter - Blind Services Planning Council

Alyson represents the Blind Services Planning Council, which she has been a member of since January 2013. Legally blind her entire life, Alyson enjoys taking on the challenges of society in all aspects of life and finding realistic ways to break down these barriers for herself and others.

After receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Mass Communications from Saint Mary's College in South Bend, IN in 2002, she graduated from Saint Louis University's School of Law's highly acclaimed Health Law program and became a licensed attorney in Illinois in 2005. Soon after, she returned to Saint Louis University to study Nutrition and Dietetics, and became a Registered Dietitian in 2011.

Alyson also served as a board member for the Illinois Association of Blind Students from 2007-2012, during which time she lobbied on both the state and national levels for issues affecting the blind and visually impaired communities.

Shelly Richardson - Statewide Independent Living Council

The Board of Directors of the Statewide Independent Living Council of Illinois is pleased to announce the selection of Dawn Shelly Richardson as its next Executive Director. Shelly will begin her employment on March 1, 2017.

Ms. Richardson has been employed at IMPACT CIL since January of 2007 as their Community Reintegration Specialist-- now referred to as Transition Coordinator, for Money Follows the Person. She is also the CIL's Housing Specialist. While in this position she has helped to forge a relationship with Madison County Housing Authority and has been instrumental in a policy change which now recognizes preference points for those residing in nursing facilities.

Shelly completed her Masters of Public Administration and Policy Analysis degree in December of 2012. Within this program she completed specific course work in labor relations and contract negotiations, not for profit agency management, personnel management, budgeting, and public policy analysis. Shelly has a Bachelor Degree in Political Science with a Minor in Psychology.

Quinetta L. Wade, Director - Division of Rehabilitation Services

Quinetta became the Director of the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) in January 2017 and brings 18 years of experience with the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) to the position.

She brings a wealth of experience to the position, having served most recently as Deputy Director for DRS responsible for the Bureau of Disability Determination Services. In this role she earned the 2016 Social Security Administration Commissioner's Award for Disability Program Leadership in recognition of her exceptional leadership and dedication to the disability program in Illinois. She began her career with the division in 1999 and has held multiple positions throughout her tenure with the agency.

She also serves on the Springfield Disability Commission, which is charged with educating the public on issues concerning people with disabilities, monitoring accessibility of public and private facilities, and advocating for increased opportunities for people with disabilities in the areas of education, employment, housing, health, transportation, recreation and social and cultural programs through legislative, financial and other appropriate means.

Prior to state service, Quinetta served the United States in the United States Army Reserve for 6 years. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Springfield.