Advocacy. Education. Awareness.

Board of Directors

Executive Board

President: Sheila Walsh

Sheila and her husband Tom live in Wilmington, DE with their three wonderful children, Harry (16), Peter (14) and Fiona (8).  Their family has been active in the DSA of Delaware since Fiona’s birth in 2005. Sheila officially joined the DSA of DE board in 2008 as an at-large member and served as the chair of the Outreach Committee.  She is long standing  member of the Buddy Walk Committee. She works full time for JP Morgan Chase in the Marketing Services department.  Sheila was on the board of a non-profit daycare for 12 years and ultimately served as board president before retiring.

Vice President: 

Treasurer: Jim Kelly

Jim is the father of three active children, Sarah (10-DS), Aidan (8) and Conor (6). Jim works for Vertex, Inc as a Principal-Tax Consultant implementing corporate tax solutions for Fortune 1000 clients. Jim is a CPA with over 15 years of experience in financial systems. Last year he joined the finance committee. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his children and traveling.

Secretary: Mary Jo Gilligan

Mary Jo and her husband Sean are the parents of three wonderful children, Tommy, Amanda (DS) and Ryan. She has served on the board with the Social and the Outreach Committees. She works as an MRI technologist at Christiana Hospital and volunteers with St. Joseph’s Parish in Middletown. She looks forward to serving our community by bringing families together in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere where friends can share their experiences.


Elizabeth Nolan (Self Advocate Council)

Elizabeth works two days at Christiana Care Healthcare Center and two days at Waggies by Maggies, a non-profit dog treat company whose mission is to employ persons with intellectual disabilities. She is involved with Special Olympics and will be representing Delaware on the woman’s basketball team at the National Special Olympic Games in New Jersey. Elizabeth was the first self-advocate representative on the board and aims to continue to help represent her peers.  If you need any help she is your go-to girl. Elizabeth enjoys her time acting in the Delaware Theater Company. She loves people and really loves attending socials with her friends.

Rachel Rhea (Self Advocate Council)

Rachel graduated from Newark High school in 2013, where she was a prominent member of  the cheerleading squad.  Rachel currently cheers with  the East Coast Nitros competition team the Heroes. She is a member of the Special Olympic Youth Activation committee [YAC] and a Special Olympic Athlete year round.  Rachel also is active with the Delaware Theater Company in Totally Awesome Players [TAPS]. In her first year on the board she established the Friendship Club, an opportunity for her peers to meet social once a month.

Laura Scott (Self Advocate Council)

Laura graduated from Middletown High School in 2004. Laura has been employed by Bob Evans Restaurant for over 3 years, busing tables, hostessing, assisting the wait staff, and wrapping silverware. Laura is also employed by Waggies by Maggie & Friends as a baker. Two days a week she travels by Para transit to North Wilmington to prepare tasty treats for our four-legged friends. Laura also volunteers one day each week at the MOT Senior Center where she is known to call numbers for BINGO and play Dominoes with the seniors. In her free time, Laura takes a jazz hip-hop class with New Castle Dance Academy, acts with Totally Awesome Players, and participates in Special Olympics where she swims, plays bocce, volleyball and basketball. At home she enjoys listening to music, scrap booking, and watching her favorite TV shows and movies.

Members at Large

Ashley Archer (Southern Delaware Board Representative)

Ashley and her husband Kyle live in Milton, Delaware with their daughter Ryleigh (2007), son Luke (2010-DS), and son Logan (2013).  Ashley graduated from University of Delaware in 2006 with a degree in Elementary Education (K-12 and special education) and has since been teaching at Milford Central Academy as a math teacher. In her free time, she enjoys horseback riding, photography, reading, camping, and going to the beach. She is excited to bring support to families Southern Delaware.

Anna Berkner

Anna and her husband Joachim live in Hockessin with their children, Katherine (10), Tommy (7-DS) and Ryan (5). Anna is a Certified Public Accountant. Currently she is a parent representative on a strategic team for Red Clay Consolidated Schools working to close the  achievement gap for children with intellectual and other disabilities.

Teesie Bonk 

Teesie has been on the board of the DSA of Delaware for six years. Her brother Michael (53), has Down syndrome and lives with Teesie and her husband John in Hockessin, Delaware. Teesie and John are parents to three grown children, Michael Pat, Shawn, and Meghan. In her tenure on the board, Teesie has concentrated on increasing programs for adults with DS. Teesie chairs the Teen and Adult group, coordinating Karaoke Nights and monthly line dancing. Teesie also manages the Parents/Siblings/Guardians of Adults with Down Syndrome Support Group which meets once a month. She is looking forward to her continued work with the DSA, increasing activities for our adults and continuing to work with our support group to help the parents of our older population.

Hazel Cole

A native of England and Iran, I moved to Florida in 1984.  My husband Robert and I are proud parents of four daughters.  We have and continue to advocate for all of our daughters through their school years and beyond.  We experienced the world of special education services in 1995 when we moved to Delaware and had our daughter Marilyn enrolled in Child Development Watch. Marilyn had an IEP until second grade and is now a junior at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Our daughter Lydia also has a 504 plan for fine motor deficits.  In 2004, our daughter Grace was born and changed our lives.  I quit my 60 hour a week job in corporate American and started with Parent Information Center of Delaware to help other parents advocate for their children’s education. I have served on the DSA board for the last two years primarily helping bring speakers and educators the to the parent support group meetings.

Candice Coleman

Candice and her family hail originally from Colorado, but transferred from Nevada  to Delaware in the fall of 2013.  She has been very involved with the Mile High Down Syndrome Association in Colorado and various Special Needs nonprofits in Nevada including the Down Syndrome Network of Northern Nevada. She loves to advocate, help other families, and spread awareness in the hope to make a difference for her daughter Molly (4) and others with intellectual disabilities.

Gail Hamblin

Gail is currently a stay at home mom who works part time for Easter Seals as an ECE.  Gail and her husband Jonathan have two small children.  As an educator, Gail is eager to share and gain information about Ds with others.  She coordinates DSA sponsored activities for the Dover area.

Pam Rhea

Pam, her husband Joe, and their youngest daughter, Rachel (20 -DS) moved to Delaware in October 2006 after Joe retired from the US Navy of 24+years. Their oldest daughter, son and his wife, live in Virginia Beach.  Pam works part time at St. Paul’s Lutheran School, where she teaches Pre-K 4’s. She is  also the Family Liaison for the Newark Dragons with Special Olympics. In the summer she volunteers for Special Olympics at Camp Barns planning and running their crafts for their summer camps. She has been helping Rachel organize monthly social events for the DSA of DE Friendship Club.
While her husband was in the active duty she was the Ombudsman for his last command. She was a girl scout leader for over 10 years and sat on the Board of Directors for the Tidewater Down Syndrome Association.

Mary Stephens

Mary is married to Tom Stephens and the mom of Keegan (7) and Callie (3-DS).  She is a part time family doctor and has lived in Wilmington for six years.  She and her family are grateful for the friends and heroes they have met through DSA.