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Our Team

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Linda Shepard has a B.A. in Human Services and a long history of working with parents and children with special needs. She has two children, one with dyslexia and is dyslexic herself. Her background work and entry thesis for the Masters program in counseling was directed on child abuse and battered women prevention and intervention. Relocating to Georgia directed her into the disability related to abuse, and disability issues, directing the non-profit Parents Educating Parents and Professionals Inc. Linda’s Expertise includes conflict resolution; mediation, communication, and promoting collaborate within the systems, and protecting the human and civil rights of individuals with disabilities. In 1997 Ms. Shepard was invited to Washington D.C. and asked to be part of the working committee for the Reauthorization of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). Linda also worked on related legislation in Washington, and the state of Georgia. She served on the National Parent Network on Disabilities as the President of the Board of Directors, and has become the Executive Director. Linda is a Paul Hearne Awardee for leadership and works to protect and promote civil and human rights for individuals with disabilities nationally and internationally. Linda received the Ronald Reagan Gold Medal National Republican Congressional Committee Award of 2004.  She was selected based on unyielding support of the Republican Party, outstanding leadership in business and for displaying a commitment to President Ronald Reagan’s vision for an entrepreneurial America.  When she gets the opportunity to leave the office; Linda likes to get together with family, unwind with a good book, beading or crochet, and is active in travels to pursue the good of children’s education around the world. Her travels include Russia, Africa, and Middle East. Recently Mrs. Shepard was acknowledged by the State of Georgia by receiving the Advocate of the year award.

 

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Kevin Claussen “To make a difference, not just to one family, but to them all.”  Kevin currently directs the WorkReady Douglas and the Hall County SOC projects. Previous, to these projects he was the Co-Director of the PEPPAC project, which covered the State of Georgia as the PTI or Parent Training and Information Center. He contributes to the organization daily with his “outside of the box” thinking, humor, and cleverness working with youth. Kevin embarked on his path in this profession at an early age. During the summer of high school his vocation began as a counselor at the YMCA, organizing activities and supervising a group of youth.  He also facilitated at Parents Anonymous in Arizona, by delivering the “Free the Horses” program to a group of troubled children.  This program promoted self-esteem and choice & consequence.  With a knack for working with kids and presenting, he jumped at the opportunity to teach the Nurturing program to families resolving abusive situations. Kevin knew he was in the right field from the start and naturally took a position interning with PEPP, Inc in 1997 after moving to Georgia.  He began educating himself on disability law, IEP strategies, and resources available to families.  It was not long before he became a Parent Trainer over the rural area helping families to appropriate services and better outcomes for their children.  In 2003 Kevin had the opportunity to become the director of a pilot program to develop job skills training and leadership for adults with developmental disabilities.  He  became the part of the executive committee and PTI co-director in 2005.  During his path he has attended numerous educational seminars and conferences adding to his training in mediation, management, inclusion, IDEA, and brainstorming sessions to implement positive change.  He is a state certified mediator and grant specialist.  Kevin is also bi-lingual in Spanish and participated in a Mobility International USA, Mexico leadership diversity and disability rights exchange.  Some objectives included education on disability, inclusion, and making streets accessible.  Kevin participates in the community by serving on several committees and boards, which have included the presidential task force on disability in DC, the Better All Together- Inclusion Committee, and the PLC of Georgia. Kevin was awarded with the Presidents award on volunteers and participation for 4 years served.

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Sarah Claussen

Sarah Claussen is currently our developments director and grants specialist. She developed and promoted our Project Knowledge series and played a major role in developing new programing such as our youth initiative and  WorkReady Douglas project. She began working in this field 10 years ago with the National Parent Network on Disabilities in Washington, DC in research, legislation, and directing the Toys “R” Us project, which offered the Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids.  Sarah began working for PEPP, Inc in 2000 when offered a position to do a similar project here in Georgia.  A true humanitarian at heart, her passion is to help others in all aspects of life, but particularly by empowering individuals with disabilities and their families.  Sarah has a brother with a Significant Learning Disability and has a profound understanding of how support and education are needed for success. Sarah holds a Bachelors of Science in Art Education, and advocates the significance of arts based programing to advance thinking, decision making, communication, and learning within a visual age and society. She encourages youth to explore the arts as a space for positive development, self-esteem, expression. The visual arts have played a major role throughout her career. In 2003, she worked on a pilot project geared towards 40 adults with developmental disabilities ages 18 and over. With funding awarded through the Georgia Council for the Arts, Sarah worked to increase the local arts program for these adults and organize  local art events featuring their works along with other local artists. Through this opportunity, she taught art to individuals with disabilities, and directed this grant-funded project. Over the years she has gained experience teaching the arts to a variety of special populations and age groups. Sarah has served on the Board of Directors for the Cultural Arts Center in Douglasville, as a liaison for disability issues. She continues to support various art groups, including the National Art Educators Association. Sarah has received several certificates relating to IDEA, parenting and other topics relating to disability. She is a certificated grant specialist, and has contributed greatly to the PEPP organization by writing many award winning proposals.  Her forte to the PEPP team is her creative approach and and ability to brainstorm new possibilities. Sarah developed our corporation logo and other visual media.

Twa NaNaBuluku

Twa NaNaBuluku has over 20yrs working with youth.  He has taught drama and visual arts in the public school system and communities in Florida and the Atlanta Metro Area.  He has a Bachelors of Science in Theatre Education and a Masters of Education in Adult Education from Florida A&M University.  Twa’s experience is vast and he is committed to giving back to the community is the same way that he was embraced.  Twa has received numerous accolades for his work in the community but nothing is more rewarding to him then being able to use his experiences as a mechanism for change.  Twa hopes to continue his work with PEPP and other organizations that are committed to bettering the community for years to come. Twa is also the proud father of two boys Ajani and Sondai NaNaBuluku.

Keith Claussen

Keith Claussen has 13 years client relations experience and is now the program director of the ARWB Work Douglas Grant.  Being with PEPP for 3 years Keith has worked closely with approximately 600 youth in the community, assisting them with obtaining a high school diploma or GED, helping with enrollment to post secondary education and finding employment for these young adults.  Mr. Claussen works closely with each individual based on the specific needs they have by teaching a multitude of classes such as workplace etiquette, financial literacy, self esteem determination, time management and study skills development to name a few.  Keith thrives on successful completion of the program from each youth that takes advantage of the opportunities laid before them.

Michael Taylor

Michael Taylor has been working at PEPP since May 2011.  He is an assistant in our WorkReady Program.  Michael’s responsibilities consist of answering the phones, data entry, helping the kids in the computer lab and assisting in community service events.Michael’s connection to the Douglasville community is strong.  He is a graduate of Lithia Springs High School, class of 2008 and received an Automotive Technology Diploma from West Georgia Technical College.  He hopes to use the knowledge that he has gained from college to teach youth with disabilities the basic concepts and functions of automotive maintenance. Because of Michael’s strong connection to the community he is personally invested in creating a better environment throughout the Douglasville area. Micheal says that when he gets out of bed each day his goal is to help youth with disabilities find that passion within so that they can create a successful future for themselves.  ““I learn from them more then they learn from me.”

Lesia Glasper

 

Lesia Glasper has over 20 years in the administrative field. Lesia has been with PEPP since April 2012. Lesia is the assistant to our CEO, Linda Shepard. Lesia works closely with Linda in educational advocacy, meeting with parents, and youth in determining how PEPP can meet their needs in getting the right accommodations in place for each child with a learning disability so that they can get an education. Lesia attends IEP and SST meetings with Linda in learning how the process works. Since joining the PEPP team, Lesia has gained extensive knowledge about the IDEA law and youth with a learning disability. Lesia is also part of the team that is overseeing our Foster Care Pilot Project in helping foster youth transition from high school into college or a career they enjoy doing. Lesia says the best part of her job is seeing when the parents are happy that their child is getting the education they deserve and not being left behind because they have a learning disability.

 

 

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