2022 Oklahoma Statewide Autism Conference
Peter Gerhardt, EdD
Executive Director, EPIC School
Peter Gerhardt, Ed.D., is the Executive Director of the EPIC School in Paramus, NJ. Dr. Gerhardt has over 40 years of experience utilizing the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis in support of adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorders in educational, employment, residential and community-based settings. He is the author or co-author on a number of articles and book chapters on the needs of adolescents and adults with ASD and has presented nationally and internationally on this topic. Dr. Gerhardt serves as Co-Chairman of the Scientific Council for the Organization for Autism Research and is on numerous professional advisory boards including the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies. He currently serves as adjunct faculty in the Institute for Behavioral Studies at Endicott College. Dr. Gerhardt received his doctorate from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey’s Graduate School of Education.
Parent& LEND Fellow
Family Support Coordinator, SoonerSuccess/ Child Study Center
Parent & Educator, School Counselor
Duane Howell is a LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) fellow. In addition, he has served as the Family Facilitator for the Child Study Center’s JumpStart Clinic, the Family Partner for Center for Learning and Leadership’s 360 center, and served alongside Danielle on the Oklahoma Healthcare Authorities’ MATF (Member Advisory Task Force).
Danielle Howell is an educator with over 18 years of classroom teaching experience and is currently beginning her second year as an Elementary School Counselor for the Yukon School District. Danielle has benefitted many districts with her passion for teaching accompanied by her specialty areas in reading recovery and ESL.
Recognized as the 2017 Special Olympics State Family of the Year, the Howell family has prided itself on living life outside the box. Always pushing the limits of what life has to offer, the Howell’s have chosen to approach challenges directly. With (20) year old triplet boys who are on the autism spectrum and a fiery (16) year old daughter to rule them all, the Howell’s are a divergent family at best. Duane and Danielle are committed to championing their efforts to further the awareness of Autism and the challenges it poses to families.
The Howell family consists of Duane, Danielle, Jacob, Keegan, Harrison, and Libby.
Whitney Nall, MD
Board Certified Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist
Dr. Whitney Nall is a child and adolescent psychiatrist currently in private practice in Norman, OK. Born and raise in Oklahoma City, she completed her undergraduate degree at OU and her Medical Degree at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. She attended psychiatry residency and child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis. Follwing training, Dr. Nall returned to Oklahoma City in 2018 to begin her career at OU Health Sciences Center as a board certified child and adolescent psychiatrist. She transitioned to private practice at Willow Youth Mental Health in 2020.
Lori Chesnut, MEd
Secondary Transition Program Specialist
Lori Chesnut is currently the Secondary Transition Program Specialist at the Oklahoma State Department of Education, Special Education Services in 2016. She is responsible for developing, coordinating, supervising, and providing professional development and technical assistance regarding secondary transition programs throughout Oklahoma. She serves on several councils and committees to promote self-determination and program effectiveness. Lori received her Master’s Degree in Special Education with an emphasis in Transition. Prior to her position as a transition specialist, Lori taught special education for 20 years. She has extensive experience in providing specially designed instruction to ensure student success. Lori is passionate about improving outcomes for students with disabilities.
Kerry Schubert-Frank, MEd
Doctoral Scholar at the University of Oklahoma
Kerry Frank is a doctoral scholar and graduate researcher at the Zarrrow Institute on Transition and Self-Determination at the University of Oklahoma. She is an experienced educator, speaker, and child advocate with a lifetime of serving children and families. A former transition coordinator and vocational rehabilitation specialist, Kerry holds an M.Ed in Professional Counseling from Concordia University in Mequon, Wisconsin. Of her most cherished accomplishments was the establishment of RIBBIT (Reaching Interests Beyond Boundaries Inquiry Trips) RIBBIT was a multi-district STEM-based initiative bringing together researchers, educators, and college-age volunteers to provide inclusive programming for at-risk and underrepresented elementary-age students taking students of all abilities into the wetlands of Wisconsin. Kerry continues to focus on programming designed to incorporate evidence-based practices to support whole-person inclusion, including creating and supporting appropriate linkages between school, home, and community.
Gretchen M. Cole-Lade, PhD
State Leadership Training Specialist
Gretchen Cole-Lade joined Oklahoma ABLE Tech at the end of June 2021 and is currently the State Leadership Training Specialist. Dr. Cole-Lade earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education from Old Dominion University, a Masters of Education in Early Childhood Education from Boston University, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification in Exceptional Needs in 2001 and renewed the certification in 2011, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Professional Education Studies with an emphasis in Special Education from Oklahoma State University. For the past ten years, Dr. Cole-Lade prepared early childhood education pre-service teachers to meet the needs of their future young children in inclusive classroom settings. Prior to teaching for Oklahoma State University, she was a special education teacher, having spent the majority of her long career teaching students with severe disabilities. She lives in Enid and has two adult children and four grandchildren. Gretchen is also the guardian of her brother, Michael, who has severe disabilities and lives in a group home in the Washington, DC area.
Special Education Teacher
Kasey Willden teaches elementary functional life skills at Angus Valley Elementary. She graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Special Education with an Emphasis in Early Childhood.
Taryn Ross is a stay at home mom with two kids, Gabe (7) and Giddy (2). Her oldest son Gabe has a diagnosis of autism. She enjoys crafting and baking.