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 (18), Peter (16) and Fiona (10). 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: Dave Gazzillo 

Dave and his wife Jeanne live in Wilmington. They are the proud parents of Kathryn, Jonathan, and Jason (DS).  Their family has been active with the DSA since J’s birth 17 years ago. Dave is a member of the Buddy Walk committee. He is a past DSA board member, previously holding the position of Secretary 1998 to 2007. Dave works full time for Bank of America as SVP Statement Marketing Operations manager.  In his spare time he works on the board of his local civic association and supports other civic priorities and is looking forward to working on Legislative priorities for the DSA.

Treasurer: Jim Kelly

Jim is the father of three active children, Sarah (DS), Aidan and Conor. Jim works for a tax software and solutions company implementing corporate tax solutions for Fortune 1000 clients. Jim is a CPA with over 20 years of experience in financial software systems. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his children, traveling and playing guitar.

Secretary: 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.


Laura Kelly 

Laura is a young woman with Down syndrome. She graduated from Newark High School earning a diploma in 2007. She then attended classes at the University of Delaware. Currently she is working for Governor Jack Markell as an office assistant in his Wilmington office. Laura us involved in many different organizations including Special Olympics, Best Buddies, Totally Awesome Players, the UD Unified Theater and Community Connectors. She has often been a motivational speaker for Special Olympics and has delivered the Invocation at the Blue Gold Football Game for the last few years. Laura enjoys movies, music, swimming, bowling and bocce. She especially enjoys being on stage and is a very good actress.

Rachel Rhea 

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 

Laura (30) lives in Middletown with her parents. She has a younger sister who is a physical therapist and a younger brother who is in grad school at the University of Delaware. Laura commutes to north Wilmington 3 days a week to work as a baker at Waggies. She can also be found every Sunday working at Bob Evans assisting the servers and wrapping silverware. In her free time, Laura participates in sports with Special Olympics, acts with Totally Awesome Players, and takes a hip-hop dance class. Laura is a “party girl” and loves to help plan the DSAD teen/adult dances with her mom. She enjoys every opportunity to gather her peers for a good time.
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.

Krista Griffith

Krista and her husband Ted are the proud parents of two boys, Sam (7yrs), and Nate (7 months).  They live in New Castle County, DE.  Krista works as an attorney. Krista organizes and leads the New Baby Play group for the northern part of Delaware and is a member of the Outreach committee.  The Griffith family is grateful to all of their friends in the DSA of Delaware.

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 three 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.

Jim Mullikin

Jim, his wife Deborah and their lovely daughter Lily live in Elkton, Maryland, where Lily is fully included in the North East Maryland Middle School.  Jim will soon retire from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta where he is a Grants Program Management Administrator.  Jim’s wife Deborah is an elementary school librarian in the Brandywine School District in Wilmington, Delaware.  Jim, Deb and Lily have participated in DSA Delaware programs since Lily was an infant.  DSA Delaware, along with the Delaware Special Olympics, have been instrumental in the development of a peer network for the family and many opportunities physical and healthy activities for Lily.

Michelle Ray

Michelle and her husband, Brian, live in Wilmington, DE with their four active children, Nate, Matthew, Ellie and Ava.  They have both been involved in the Down syndrome community, locally and nationally, since their second son, Matthew was born nearly 10 years ago.  Previously, Michelle was a Board member for the Down Syndrome Association in Northern Virginia (DSANV), co-chair of the DSANV Buddy Walk, co-chair of the State Government Affairs Committee and a National Down Syndrome Society Ambassador (NDSS) while living in Virginia.  Additionally, Michelle is a graduate of Partners in Policy Making.  Michelle joined the DSA of DE Board as a Member-At Large after moving to Delaware in the Fall of 2015.  She is also serving as a NDSS Ambassador for Delaware.   Michelle works for Metron Aviation as a VP of Human Resources and has a passion for coaching others in fitness and nutrition. She is an avid runner and currently training for a half Ironman.

Vanessa Adams-Cannon 

I am married to Orrie “Terry” Cannon and we reside in Seaford, DE.  We have daughters Libby (20) who will be a senior in college in 2016-2017,  Adrianna (14) who will be a freshmen in HS, and Avary (5-DS) who is completing her 3rd year of Pre-school and will be entering Kindergarten next year.   I have 18 years of experience being a Human Resource Manager and recently transitioned into the HR role at a long term healthcare facility.  I am actively involved in the Seaford School District both as an advocate and volunteer.  In my free time, I enjoy attending the girls sporting events, going to the beach, shopping and visiting local flea markets.

Michelle Balan

Michelle is 27 years old and a teacher at the Christina Early Education Center.  She teaches full day 4s in a full inclusion classroom.  This is her sixth year teaching, and she loves this age and group of children.  She graduated from the University of Delaware in 2010 and earned a degree in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education.  In 2013, she received her Masters Degree from Wilmington University in Instruction: Teaching & Learning. Her reason for going into this field was because of her brother who is 13 years old and has Down Syndrome.  Her brother, Jacob, is her pride and enjoy, and she loves seeing him grow every single day.  He amazes her at what he has accomplished and she is so proud of the young man he has become. Through him, she has been able to meet other families with children with Down Syndrome, go to DS events, and help advocate for DS awareness.

Kimberly Finn 

Kimberly moved to Delaware in 2008 and shortly thereafter met her fiancé, Steve Curran.  Kimberly and Steve are the very busy parents of a beautifully blended family of six children: Karlie, Stevie, Patrick, Luke, Caroline and Ava (Ds).  Kimberly is the president of Ambit Business Solutions, Inc., a professional firm providing management consulting services to the utility sector, which she founded in 2003.  Prior to Ambit, Kimberly worked at Accenture where she specialized in change management and business process design.  In every free moment, Kimberly enjoys laughing with (and at!!) her children, running and yoga. 

Pat Kelly

Pat is the mother of a young adult with Down syndrome and is commonly known as Laura Kelly’s mom. She was on the Board of Directors for the DSA of DE in the early 1990′s as the Librarian and Outreach Coordinator. Pat was very involved in Special Education while Laura was in school and was the Chair of the Citizen’s Advisory Council for Special Education in the Christina School District for 5 years. More recently she has been involved as a volunteer, coach and unified partner for Special Olympics.

Shannon Luxton 

 Transplanted from Montana, Shannon fell in love with the vibrant Down syndrome community and families of Delaware. Her passion for Down syndrome developed after her daughter, Piper, was born in 2009. Since that time she has traveled far and wide to conferences and specialists but through that journey has gained the most from parents and individuals with Down syndrome. She now hopes to give back and partner with other families and self advocates in the areas of inclusion and advocacy in the community.

 Katrina Filliaux

My husband and I live in Rising sun, Md. I currently work as Pharmacy Technician at a compounding pharmacy in Delaware. Prior to Working in the pharmacy profession I worked with children ages 2-5 in a preschool/daycare setting for about 5 years. My college background is in early childhood education and pharmacy technician courses. In my free time I like to go to the beach, create fun get-togethers for our family and friends, and explore pinterest.

Andrew Mensack

I am a father of a child with Down Syndrome. Her name is Annabelle and she is 18 months old. She has taught me more about life and love in her time with me than I ever experienced before her. I have made it my life’s goal to be an advocate for her and people like her that are blessed with Trisomy 21. I am an Operational Risk Manager for a Fortune 500 Company and have held various roles in advocacy, government compliance, regulatory governance, software development, data management and process analysis.

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.

Shelvia Neely

Shelvia, and her husband Stuart, live in Newark, DE with their two wonderful sons, Solomon and Stuart III.   Shelvia is a native of Virginia.  Since moving to Delaware in 2003, she has established herself as an advocate, teacher, and mentor of children with special needs.   Shelvia earned a Bachelor of Science in Music from Virginia State University and has utilized her expertise to teach children of all ages and learning needs to love and appreciate music.  Shelvia is a current member of Delaware Down Syndrome Association where she plans social events for the 5-8 age groups.  She actively participates in numerous DSA events, including the Easter Egg Hunt, Annual Holiday party, the Hayride, and Rock your socks events.  To further raise awareness and gather support for Delaware DSA, Shelvia organizes a team of family, friends, and community members to participate in the Annual Buddy Walk each year.