Vice President 2017-2018
Treasurer 2015-2017After moving to Maryland in 2011, Laura Gordon quickly fell into the role of advocate and volunteer for her son's school and other nonprofit organizations that serve children with disabilities. She currently serves as President of the parent association at Carl Sandburg Learning Center (where her son attends school), Secretary for Kids Being Kids, and also works part-time as a special education para-educator.
Vice PresidentA native of Baton Rouge, LA, Melissa Montealegre Egan is the mother of a 9-year-old son with autism, who attends a Learning for Independence program in MCPS, and a typically developing 6-year-old daughter. She works part-time as the Communications Coordinator for St. Francis of Assisi Church in Derwood, MD. She is grateful to hone her advocacy skills through xMinds and help further its important work as the Events Chair.
SecretaryNora recently retired from her work as an anthropologist in international development, first at the World Bank, and more recently, as a member of the gender and social inclusion team at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (a US bilateral aid organization). She has spent many years as an MCPS parent advocating for her son (who has ADHD) and her daughter (in the Autism Resources Program) and brings that valuable experience to her work at xMinds.
Executive DirectorSue earned a JD and MBA from the University of Chicago and practiced law at Sidley and Austin until giving it up to be home with her three children. Sue has spent years tutoring children with learning disabilities, has served on the Board of the Edmund Burke School, and has taken a leadership role in development efforts at several independent schools in DC and Montgomery County. Sue brings to xMinds her experience with non-profit governance, fund-raising, and inclusive education.
TreasurerJean Winegardner is a parent and autistic self-advocate who has lived in Montgomery County since 2003. She has three children who have been taught in many different MCPS programs and settings. Although she has a master's degree in journalism, she currently works as Office Manager for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, where she is able to frequently indulge in one of her special interests: filling out forms. (Yes, really.)
Board MemberKate worked in the Interior Design field for many years before the diagnosis of her eldest child with ASD. She focused her attention on specialists and therapies for her son, and was gladdened to find xMinds to provide her with support and community. She currently serves as the Family Outreach Chair, and hopes that more families in Montgomery County can find community with xMinds. In addition to her work with xMinds, Kate works as a Design Consultant on residential projects and teaches art classes.
Board MemberCarolina believes in parent involvement and collaboration between home and school to ensure the success of every child. In 2017, Carolina completed the Parents' Place of Maryland's LEADers program, a training series that provides parents with the information they need to be informed and active in special education advocacy at the state and local levels. Carolina currently works full-time with a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Board MemberMaria is an attorney with a JD from the Catholic University of America. She also earned her MSEd from the University of Pennsylvania specializing in Intercultural Communications. After her daughter was diagnosed with ASD, Maria has represented pro bono clients in special education in the District of Columbia and has become involved in seeking best practices in educating children who are non- or minimally verbal.
Executive DirectorMonica earned a MA in Slavic Literature from Columbia University and a MLS from the University of Maryland. She worked as an analyst at the MITRE Corporation until one of her twins was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in 2008. Soon after the diagnosis, Monica discovered xMinds and has been an integral part of the xMinds community ever since. In addition to leading xMinds, Monica is training to become a special education advocate through the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates.