Stone Soup Group was founded on the principle that it takes the varied experiences and expertise of many to support families caring for children with special needs. Meet the Board and Staff that contribute to the mission of Stone Soup Group every day.
Board of Directors
Stone Soup Group (SSG) is overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors, who each brings unique and valuable skills and life experience to the table. If you are interested in becoming a part of this dynamic group of parents, family members, self-advocates and professionals, please contact Mary Middleton, Executive Director for more information.
Hans Clark, President
Hans Clark (aka: Santa) has been on the Stone Soup Group board since 2013. He has fifteen years of experience in finance and telecommunications and is currently Senior Director of Cost and Capital Management at GCI. Prior to that, he was an IT senior manager at Nana Development Corporation, and prior to that, he was Senior Manager of Network Performance at Alaska Communications. He received a B.A. in Economics from Hawaii Pacific University and has lived in Anchorage with his wife and two kids since 2005.
Eric Gurley, Vice President
Eric Gurley is the current Board Vice President for Stone Soup Group. He has an MBA from Western Governors University, a certificate in Non Profit Management and Leadership from The Foraker Group and is the Senior Deputy Director of Community Supports at Hope Community Resources. Mr. Gurley has been providing services and supports in the disabilities field in Alaska since 1991.
Rachel Vandiver, Treasurer & Parent
Rachel is the mother of 3 children, Aidan, Riley and Sadie. Prior to moving to Alaska, Rachel worked in the Financial Services Industry in Texas as a Consumer Lending Manager at a local Credit Union. Currently, she is staying at home to manage the day to day care of her two youngest children who have a rare genetic form of primordial dwarfism, Russell Silver Syndrome. In addition to serving on Stone Soup Group’s board, she is also serving on the Parent Advisory Committee for the LEND Program through Center for Human Development at UAA. She has participated in the Key Campaign in Juneau and has helped with special projects within the Women’s, Children’s and Family health Division of the Alaska Department of Public Health.
Christine Michel, Secretary & Parent
Christine completed her PhD in Perth, Western Australia, and relocated with her family to rural Alaska in 2010. She was employed as a Forensic Nurse for 2 and ½ years in Bethel, Alaska. Her previous 20 years of experience in clinical nursing includes working in the emergency department, pediatrics and critical care areas. Currently, she is employed as an Associate Professor at the University of Alaska, Anchorage in the School of Nursing. In early 2011, her son was diagnosed with Autism. Over the past five years, she has been actively involved is supporting community education and awareness for children with special needs. Dr. Michel is fluent in American Sign Language.
Adele Lessly, Parent
Adele is the mother of two school-aged children who have the best sense of humor! With both experiencing disabilities, she has become a pro in an IEP meeting. As a lifelong Alaskan, Adele cares deeply about our community and devotes an extraordinary amount of time to philanthropic efforts. She currently is a Real Estate Loan Originator at Alaska USA Federal Credit Union and is an active volunteer at her children’s school.
Amanda has over 23 years’ experience working with children & adults with intellectual developmental disabilities, 5 years were at the Fairbanks Resource Agency and the last 18 years have been working at Tanana Chiefs Conference. She has lived in Fairbanks since August 1986, where she was an undergrad at the University of Alaska until 1991. Ms. Race became a board member at Stone Soup Group in July 2015. Ms. Race supports the mission to assist in sustaining the health & well-being of all Alaskan children across the state, including interior rural, remote Alaska. She looks forward to listening to more stories from families and helping identify areas of need and work with communities to find solutions.
Anthony Cravalho, Parent
Anthony came to Alaska in 1996 when he was stationed at Fort Wainwright while serving in the U.S. Army. Anthony is a father of an adult son with autism and is a Kotzebue resident of 11 years who works as the director of Planning & Development for the Maniilaq Association. He has experience serving as a board member for the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC), Special Education Service Agency (SESA), and Governor Council for Disabilities & Special Education as well as serving locally on the Kotzebue advisory school council and Lions club board. Anthony, who is an Eagle scout, is a graduate of University of Nevada Las Vegas with a B.A. in History and a B.A. in Political Science.
Bryan Thomas, Parent
Bryan moved to Barrow from Sacramento in 2007. Bryan and his wife Laura have three children: Violet (age 6); Adele (age 4); and Ellis (age 2). The Thomas Pack also includes two dogs, two cats, and occasional visiting guinea pigs. Bryan studies Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), taking measurements and maintaining instruments as the Station Chief of the Barrow Observatory. He has previously worked in the non-profit sector as a Technician with Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative (ASTAC) and as a Logistics Planner and Senior Systems Programmer with the Barrow Arctic Science Consortium (BASC). Bryan’s hobbies include: reading; computer programming; museums; hiking; gardening; playing with Lego™ bricks; and citizen science.
Lynn is a former Executive Director of Stone Soup Group, retiring in 2009. In 2013, she returned to the Board of Directors of Stone Soup Group, where she had served for five years prior to becoming Executive Director. Ms. Caswell spent the last 17 years of her career managing agencies and programs serving individuals experiencing developmental disabilities and their families. Prior to that, she was the Executive Director of the United Way of Anchorage, where she worked 12 years. Her earlier career years were spent with public and private agencies in the field of child protection.
Matthew Findley, Parent
Matt has been a member of the Stone Soup Group Board since 2014. He and his wife, Marjorie Allard, are parents to two children, one with special needs.
Matt is a partner at the local law firm of Ashburn & Mason where he represents a wide array of clients in commercial litigation and appeals. Matt is a graduate of the George Washington University and University of Michigan Law School. Matt played trumpet professionally prior to law school and remains an active musician who has played with numerous local ensembles, including the Anchorage Symphony and Anchorage Civic Orchestras.
Mary Ann Pruitt, Parent
Arlene is a long time pediatric nurse and board member since 2016. She has worked with Stone Soup Group for over 14 years in her professional capacity and with the Alaska Native Community for the last 25 years. She came to Alaska from Pittsburgh PA. She graduated from Penn State University and recently obtained a Masters of Public Health from UAA. In 2013 she was accepted as a LEND fellow. As a 2013 LEND fellow, Arlene advocated on Capitol Hill for children with disabilities. She has one precocious four legged child Maggie.
Mary Middleton, Executive Director
Mary has been the Executive Director at Stone Soup Group since 2013 and moved to Alaska from Texas in 2001. Growing up an Army brat, she moved frequently and still enjoys traveling to new places. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University and has worked in non-profit management for more than 20 years. She is the mother of an adult son who experiences autism and a teenage daughter. Time away from work includes never-ending home renovations, spoiled dogs, hikes and travels.
Donna Nichols, Admin Services Manager
Donna Nichols has been with Stone Soup Group since 2003. At Stone Soup Group she keeps us running day-to-day as the Admin Services Manager. She serves as liaison with our contracted accountant and oversees the agency’s routine financial transactions. Donna is the mother of four children and is the sibling of an adult brother with developmental disabilities
Victoria Shanklin, Communications & Outreach Manager
Victoria (Tory) Shanklin has been the Communications & Outreach Manager at Stone Soup Group since 2012. Her career has been dedicated to the nonprofit sector, primarily in the area of healthcare advocacy. As a lifelong Alaskan, Tory is passionate about strengthening our community by investing and participating in the causes we care about. In her free time, chances are you will find her either playing outside or working on a house project.
Sheri Schwarz, Information & Referral Specialist
Sheri was the former assistant for the Developmental Disabilities Mini-Grant program, now she works at the front desk at Stone Soup Group as our Information and Referral Specialist!
Splendora Ulukivaiola, Communications & Training Specialist
Splendora Ulukivaiola is the Communication & Training Specialist and has been an employee at Stone Soup Group since 2009. In her current duties, she is responsible for all day to day logistics and promotion of training, as well as the management of data collection. She is fluent in Tongan and is a Board Member of the local Polynesian Community Center. Splendora is currently working on her undergraduate degree at the University of Alaska Anchorage and is the proud mother to a beautiful daughter, Velezia.
Alexandra Fogarty, Program Manager
Alexandra Fogarty has over 7 years of experience working in nonprofit leadership roles and with diverse groups. Alex is responsible for managing the Stone Stoup Group’s core programs, including grant management, program activities and training. Prior to joining Stone Soup Group, Alex was the program director for an organization working with school districts in Colorado to improve the health of students. Alex got her start at a health care research firm working in a graphic design department in Washington D.C. Outside of work Alex enjoys running, hiking and adventuring, especially with her two dogs Mattie and Kinley.
Amy Westfall, Family Support Coordinator
Amy Westfall has worked at Stone Soup Group since 2004 and has worn many hats in the organization. Currently, she is our Family Support Coordinator focusing on activities that connect families through peer-to-peer supports. Amy is a life-long Alaskan. She has five children and grew up with a brother with special needs. If you are searching for her office, look for the impressive collection of Mickey Mouse paraphernalia.
Barbe Neeson, Parent Navigator
Barbe Neeson is now a Parent Navigator but has been involved in Stone Soup Group in one capacity or another pretty much since the beginning! Barbe is the mother of three children (now grown). She raised two daughters and a son who was diagnosed with a seizure disorder, neurofibromatosis and Tourette syndrome. Thanks to her own personal story and years of working with families, she has extensive experience working with families through all transitions and stages. In Barbe’s free time you may find her making a mean pasta salad for the office or relaxing with some solo drumming.
Mandy Cleveland, Parent Navigator
Mandy Cleveland has been a Parent Navigator at Stone Soup Group since 2010. Both her and her husband are lifelong Alaskans and have two girls with special needs. Their oldest has a genetic condition along with profound deafness and youngest has ADHD. At Stone Soup Group Mandy is the resident expert when it comes to schools. She has many personal and professional years working with IEP’s, schools, specialist, private therapy and more. Her personal experience has given her a passion for helping families caring for children with special needs navigate when there are “stormy waters”.
Heidi Young, Parent Navigator – Prince of Wales Region
Heidi is a Stone Soup Group Parent Navigator and the owner and operator of Island Care Services, serving all of Prince of Wales Island, Metlakatla, Juneau, Petersburg, Hoonah, Ketchikan and Sitka. Heidi has lived on Prince of Wales for 9 years although she grew up working summers for her aunt and uncles’ lodge and attended school in Port Alice. She values and enjoys taking the time to listen to the people and parents in Southeast, AK. She especially likes to listen to the stories told by elders, and helping others to live more fulfilled lives. Heidi loves to spend time outdoors with her 5 children and her husband. They love to hunt, fish and hike.
Hilda Oscar, Parent Navigator – Bethel
Waqaa! Hilda Oscar has been a Parent Navigator with Stone Soup Group since 2010. She is Yupiaq from the village of Atmautluak, also known as Nanugaq. Her family has resided in Bethel, AK since 1997 and she speaks fluent Yugtun. She stays busy teaching Yupik at the charter school in Bethel and enjoys working with families who have children with special needs. Hilda is excited and ready to help families, like hers, that need the extra help in navigating through the services available in the Bethel region.
Tiffany Ruby, STAR Navigator
Tiffany Ruby has been the Short Term Assitance and Referal (STAR) Navigator for Stone Soup Group since January 2016. She has worked within non-profit agencies as a Case Manager and Quality Services Specialist. As a Case Manager, she oversaw care for families of Children with Complex Medical Conditions (CCMC), group home care and coordination of Waiver services. Overall Tiffany has over 15 years of experience working with families and children of all ages and care levels. She graduated from Bastyr University in 2007 with a degree in Health Psychology and Spirituality. Tiffany is the mother of two children, one of which experiences autism.
Natalie Van Hatten, Parent Navigator
Natalie Van Hatten is originally from Shaktoolik, Alaska which is located in the Norton Sound region. She received her A.A. and B.A. from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and has been working within Developmental Disabilities for the past 6 years. Natalie has been affiliated with Stone Soup Group since 2012. She started as the Short Term Assistance and Referral (STAR) Coordinator and is now working to help families who are seen through the Neuro Screening Clinic that travels throughout the State of Alaska. Her two-year-old son, Nolan, is a regular around the office!
Tracey Morgan, STAR Navigator
Tracey Morgan joined the team at Stone Soup Group as STAR Navigator September 2016. She has served individuals who experience developmental disabilities and/or complex medical conditions for over twenty-five years in various roles including, Direct Service Provider, Care Coordinator and as a Supported Living Specialist providing supervision and oversight of Medicaid waiver services. As a life long Alaskan in her free time she enjoys being outdoors camping, hiking, snowshoeing, and fishing, as well as road tripping and exploring nature and all our great state has to offer.
Sabrina Johnson, Parent Navigator – Kenai Peninsula
Sabrina started as a STAR Navigator at Stone Soup Group in September 2016. She and her now adult children spent their childhood years providing volunteer assistance to individuals experiencing dementia, as well as, physical and intellectual challenges. Her family commitment included foster parenting and the care of her daughter with an Intellectual Developmental Disability. Sabrina has always been passionate about advocating for supports for people with various abilities. She has enjoyed the opportunity touch the lives of others as a long-term mental health outreach provider, volunteer adaptive sports coach, special educational and home care assistant. Sabrina believes in focusing on people’s strengths, kindness, tolerance and respect for one another.
Rebekah Speck, Parent Navigator – Fairbanks
Rebekah Speck joined Stone Soup Group as a Parent Navigator in October 2016. She lives in the Fairbanks area with her husband and their two children. Through personal experiences with her own children and their special needs, Rebekah has learned the importance of knowing how to advocate for them. This has translated into a passion for helping other parents who are also on a journey with their families. When parents learn how become advocate for their children and how to incorporate the entire team we see our children blossom before our eyes.