Disability Leadership Institute

The Institute uniquely provides elementary, middle school and high school teachers, school counselors and school nurses with an understanding of the critical intersections between contemporary theory and effective learning and service practices, examining them within the context of disability rights narrative, special education and social theories of marginalization.

By the conclusion of the Institute professionals will expand their knowledge about serving the needs of each individual learner as they explore how to: understand each students most pressing needs, evaluate organizational structures as they apply to the students experience and design methods of practice based on a whole child approach.

Course/Important Information

Summer session II:
Course: SPED 601
CRN: 3761
Location: Stayer MPR, Millersville University Campus
Meeting Dates: June 22 - 27, 2015
Meetings Times: 8:00am - 4:30pm

Institute Director

Dr. Thomas Neuville

Dr. Thomas NeuvilleThomas Neuville is an Associate Professor of Education at Millersville University in Millersville, PA. He has more than twenty-five years experience in community and organizational development.

As a consultant he is engaged in strategizing, organizing, and creating values-based organizational systems that thrive in rapidly changing business cultures. Dr. Neuville is the former CEO & President of the Resource Exchange in Colorado Springs, the Denver Independent Living Center, the CASSP Institute in Harrisburg, PA., and the Commonwealth Institute in Harrisburg PA. All organizations are non-profit groups dedicated to excellence in the building of strong communities. Dr. Neuville has worked extensively in the area of organizational and community opportunities for sustainable systems. He also owned and operated socially responsible businesses.

Dr. Neuville holds a Bachelors degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin, a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and has a Ph.D. in Human Resource and Education from Colorado State University.

Institute Schedule

Day 1: 
  • Morning: Marginalization and the Culturally Valued Analogue - Betsy Neuville
  • Afternoon Session: Work group formation and Scope of work.
Day 2: 
  • Morning Session: Disability Studies in Education - David Connor
  • Afternoon Session: Work Group Research and Review.
Day 3:
  • Morning Session: Autistic Self-Advocacy Network - Ari Ne'eman (Invited Guest).
  • Afternoon Session: Intructional Methods - A Tool Box Approach by Oliver Dreon
Day 4:
  • Morning Session: The Politics of Disability - Theotis Braddy
  • Afternoon Session: Product Completion and Event Preparation
Day 5:
  • Morning Session - Affinity (what we know)
  • Afternoon Session - Stories to bring it all home

Institute Speakers

Theotis W. Braddy

Theotis W. BraddyTheotis W. Braddy graduated from Temple University with a Masters degree in Social Work in 1988. He also attended Edinboro University and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work. Mr. Braddy currently teaches SPED 330 - Social Discrimination and Oppression of People with Disabilities as an adjunct professor and has taught Social Welfare Policy I & II at the Temple University Harrisburg Campus.

At the early age of 15, he became a person with a disability due to a high school football accident. For over 25 years, Mr. Braddy has advocated on behalf of persons with disabilities. He was hired in 1988 to establish and administer the Center for Independent Living of Central Pennsylvania (CILCP). As Executive Director, Mr. Braddy has created an independent living center that has become a strong and growing voice for persons with disabilities.

He serves on a number of boards and committees. He was appointed by the Governor in 1998 to serve as a Commissioner for the Pennsylvania Human Relation Commission . Mr. Braddy works diligently towards ensuring that the Americans with Disabilities Act is fully implemented to allow for full participation of all citizens with disabilities.

In addition to his continued commitment and service as executive director of the Center for Independent Living of Central PA (CILCP), Mr. Braddy serves as President of Arms Around Communities, a nonprofit faith-based service ministry of DaySpring Ministries in Middletown, Pennsylvania under the leadership of the Pastor and Founder Rev. Clifford Ashe III. Mr. Braddy is married to Rovenia Braddy and is the father of two children, a daughter, Kimmi Braddy (19) and a son, Theo Braddy II (14).

Elizabeth "Betsy" Neuville

Elizabeth Betsy NeuvilleElizabeth Neuville has served as the Executive Director of The Keystone Institute for well over a decade.  She has over 25 years of experience as a human service worker, administrator, agency director, evaluator, educator and personal advocate. She has extensive experience designing and developing supports for very vulnerable people, and has developed regionally recognized leadership teams, meaningful quality measurements, and extraordinary employee development programs.

She served as the Executive Director of Keystone Human Services of Lancaster for 14 years, where she designed and directed supports for adults and children experiencing developmental disabilities and/or mental disorders. She has assisted over 200 people to leave institutions, and establish themselves as valued and contributing members of their communities. She been involved with the closure of several large institutions, and established the use of person-centered processes to assist people to gain a vision of full, rich, community life. She is currently involved in the development of community services for institutionalized people in Romania, Azerbaijan, and the Republic of Moldova.

Ari Ne'eman

Ari NAri Ne’eman, ASAN’s President, serves as an ex officio board member. He is an Autistic adult and a leading advocate in the neurodiversity and self-advocacy movements. In 2009, President Obama nominated Ari to the National Council on Disability, a federal agency charged with advising Congress and the President on disability policy issues. He was confirmed by the Senate in July 2010 and currently chairs the Council’s Entitlements Committee. Between 2010 and 2012, Ari chaired NCD’s Policy & Program Evaluation Committee. Ari worked to shut down the New York University Child Study Center’s “Ransom Notes” campaign and also led other successful disability community responses to offensive advertisements, including the response to the Autism Speaks “I am Autism” fundraising video. In his policy work, Ari has worked on a wide variety of disability rights related legislation relating to education, transition, employment, rights protection and other areas.

From 2010 to 2012, he served as a public member to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, a Federal advisory committee that coordinates all efforts within the Department of Health and Human Services concerning autism. Appointed by Governor Jon Corzine, Ari served as Vice Chair of the New Jersey Adults with Autism Task Force, where he represented autistic adults in reviewing the state’s autism services. He also previously served on the New Jersey Special Education Review Commission, where he authored a minority report on the topic of aversives, restraint and seclusion. In 2008, Ari served as the first ever Patricia Morrissey Disability Policy Fellow at the Institute for Educational Leadership. That year, he also received the HSC Foundation “Advocates in Disability” Award, and in 2009, he received the Expanding Horizons Award from United Cerebral Palsy. He is also a board member of TASH, an advocacy organization focusing on advancing social justice for people with significant disabilities. In addition, he was named by the New York Jewish Week as one of their “36 by 36″ in 2010. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, where he studied political science in the Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program.

Susan Gable, PhD

Susan GableSusan L. Gabel is the Director of the PhD in Education program. She is known internationally for her work in Disability Studies in Education and inclusive education. Susan’s areas of research include: global issues in disability studies, intellectual and developmental disability, and inclusive education. She is the co-editor of a book series with Peter Lang Publishers. Her articles have appeared in numerous peer reviewed journals and she has edited several books. In May-June 2013 Susan completed a Fulbright Specialist assignment in New Zealand where she worked nationally on inclusive education. Her new book, Disability and Teaching, will be available fall 2013.


  • Oral Roberts University, Bachelor of Arts
  • Wayne State University, Master of Arts in Reading
  • Michigan State University, Ph.D.

For information about Susan Gabel's publications, please visit: http://www.chapman.edu/our-faculty/susan-gabel

David J. Connor

David ConnorDr. Connor has worked in the field of education for twenty-five years as a classroom teacher, tutor, teacher coach, regional professional development specialist, adjunct instructor, and full time professor. In his school teaching career, Dr. Connor taught all content areas to students with learning disabilities in resource room, self-contained, and inclusive classes. He worked for the New York State Special Education Training and Resource Center (SETRC) network, based in Manhattan, and was responsible for district-wide professional development in all areas of special and inclusive education.
Professor Connor received a B.A. with Honors in Literature and Film from the University of East Anglia in England; a M.S. in Special Education (Learning Disabilities) at Hunter College; a M.A. in Creative Writing and Literature from City College, New York; and an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Teaching (Learning Disabilities) from Teachers College, Columbia University.

In the Learning Disabilities program, Dr. Connor variously teaches: Inclusive Education; Methods of Reading; Methods of Writing, Mathematics, & Organization; and Practicum. He is also a faculty member at large of the Urban Education doctoral program at CUNY’s Graduate Center.

Dr. Connor’s research interests include social, cultural, and historical understandings of disability, learning disabilities, inclusive education, and kindergarten through college classroom pedagogy. He has authored/co-authored over fifty publications in the form of peer-reviewed journals and book chapters, in addition to four books: Reading Resistance: Discourses of Exclusion in Desegregation and Inclusion Debates (2006); Urban Narratives: Life at the Intersections of Learning Disability, Race, and Social Class (2008); Rethinking Disability: A Disability Studies Guide to Inclusive Education (2010); and, Disability & Teaching (2014). In addition to contributing to conferences throughout the U.S., Dr. Connor has also presented in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, and Scotland. For more information about publications, see: http://hunter-cuny.academia.edu/DavidJConnor

Dr. Connor has won several awards including: the 2003 Teachers College President’s Grant for Student Research in Diversity; the 2005 Outstanding Junior Scholar Award in Disability Studies in Education; and the 2006 Emerging Scholar in Disabilities Studies in Education, awarded by the DSE/Special Interest Group of the American Education Research Association; and the 2012 Hunter College President’s Award for Applied Scholarship.

Dr. Oliver Dreon

Dr. Oliver DreonDr. Oliver Dreon is an assistant professor at Millersville University where he teaches Instructional Technology and supervises preservice science teachers. Dr. Dreon also coordinates the Digital Learning Studio, a technology integration and outreach center that serves the Millersville community. Prior to coming to Millersville in 2007, Dr. Dreon taught math, science and gifted classes. He speaks locally and nationally on the integration of technology in classroom settings, the incorporation of 21st Century Skills across the PK-12 curriculum and the ability of Web 2.0 applications to foster collaborative learning communities. He is the co-author of the book Authentic instruction with technology: A Student-centered approach and has published in various journals including the Middle Level Journal and TechTrends.