Caroline Levy, President
Caroline Levy’s efforts may be music to your ears. As SEPTA’s President she is a conductor of outreach — to families, and to staff across APS. Caroline served as VP of Membership for two years before being nominated for President.
When not holding the baton at SEPTA, she is holding a bow: Caroline is a professional violinist and a certified instrumental music teacher, busy with a private violin studio and performances around the DC metro area. A house concert of Caroline and two colleagues was a biddable option at the 2015 SEPTA Silent Auction. (Keep your eyes on future Auction catalog with a possible reprise!) Her favorite audience: her husband and two kids. Caroline is sure that her training as a musician and a teacher, as well as her work as a care provider for developmentally delayed adults prepared her for role as a special mom.
Hannah Grieco, Deputy Treasurer
Linda Campanelli, VP Fundraising
“If you’re not in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?” T.S.Elliot.
T.S. Elliot’s statement pretty much defines Linda Campanelli: short but willing to grow. That quality should help Linda thrive in her current role as SEPTA’s Vice President of Fundraising. As a professional health educator and gerontologist of more than 25 years, Linda has held positions in both non-profits and corporate organizations. Currently, she is blending her professions as a consultant, speaking to government groups nationally on Transition and Keys to Wellness in pre-retirement seminars. She is part time faculty in the Milken Institute, School of Public Health at The George Washington University, where she teaches online and in the classroom. She is honored to be a fellow of the Mid-Atlantic Health Leadership Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and of the Washington Area Geriatric Education College Consortium. Linda uses all platforms to introduce special needs subjects ranging from human sexuality for special needs individuals to the health risks posed to caregivers by raising special needs children. Additionally, Linda has trained young adults with ID on human sexuality and family life issues for the ARC of Montgomery County.
As a volunteer, Linda is as tall as they come. She has volunteered with the Hurricane Katrina Relief team, she founded a special needs ministry at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown, and she established the first Alzheimer’s caregiver support group in Prince George’s County. She directed and helped build Bethesda Senior Source, the first urban center for adults over 50, blending educational opportunities with health and wellness. Little did she know that working with both persons affected by Alzheimer’s and their respective caregivers would be an apprenticeship for a special needs parenting life. Linda is a former member of ASEAC and the APS Special Education Evaluation Committee. She is also a member of the Travel Training Advisory Committee at the Arc of Northern Virginia, representing the Arlington County Community Service Board.
Linda is a long distance primary caregiver to her parents (ages 91 & 85), who live independently in Montreal, Quebec, and she is the mother of a daughter, 23, who lives in Boston, and a son, 20, who was diagnosed with regressive autism in 1998. Richard Gonzales is her more-than-supportive husband and a doting father. Ben (ObiWan) and Leah (Princess) are their two cats. Linda loves Nutella so much that she cannot have it in the house… and, if that wasn’t enough, she is a member of the Marine Corps Marathon Runner Club and former marathon coach for first-timers. And, she is still short.
Adam Johnson, VP Membership
“The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a … heart.” ~ Albert Camus
Adam is a father, a husband, an older brother, and a friend who learned at an early age the necessity of standing beside those who need support. He has a great passion and capacity for education, holds two Master degrees in English Literature and Special Education. Adam has been an academic coach, consultant, tutor and advocate for children of all abilities in Northern VA for 15+ years. He was raised in Falls Church, VA, attended Georgetown University, George Mason University, and the University of Virginia. Aside from a zeal for education, teaching, and advocacy, Adam is a music composer and provides original music for filmmakers and corporations. He happily resides in a little house near Hoffman-Boston elementary school with his wife Christin, his puppy Ping Pong and two daughters. His ultimate vision in education is, for once, to make it work efficiently and bring all politicians, administrators, teachers, parents, and most importantly the students, together, for maximum achievement. He believes that the “child comes first” and is fearless in his efforts to promote and protect the students of Arlington, VA.
Karen Sosnoski, Secretary
Karen is pleased to be this year’s Secretary for SEPTA, which she describes as a fun, inclusive, visionary and hard-working group. Karen and her husband Fred have two children in APS, both unique, creative, fierce and funny. Their daughter, an eighth grader at Kenmore, is “typically developing,” if there is such a thing, and their son in fifth grade at Campbell has mosaic Down syndrome. Inspired as a writer by both children, among other resilient people, Karen’s work across genres explores what happens when we face our human limitations through disability, illness, extreme sports, art or other intense encounters. Publications include the LA Times, the Washington City Paper, Poets and Writers, and Grappling Magazine. Additionally, she has had audio pieces featured on Boundoff, Studio 360 and This American Life and her documentary film, “Wedding Advice: Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace,” is distributed by Berkeley Media. Most recently, she finished a novel Rosemary’s Models which is under consideration by agents. Fingers crossed!
Janna Dressel, Parent Liaison Coordinator
“If you want to go fast… go alone. If you want to go far…go together.”
– African Proverb
Janna Dressel excitedly joins the SEPTA board as the SEPTA Parent Liaison Coordinator after serving as a parent liaison for two years for The Integration Station Program at Reed and one year as a co-liaison for Jamestown Elementary School. As both a special education teacher and special needs mother, she is particularly dedicated to helping families navigate the sometimes-overwhelming world of special education. Janna received her Masters of Special Education from the University of Virginia and is an enthusiastic UVA Cavalier – wahoowa! Teaching most recently in Fairfax County, she has also worked with children with a wide variety of developmental, behavioral, and medical needs in Charlottesville City, Albemarle County, Chesterfield County, and Eustis, FL. Along with her many years teaching in public school systems, Janna co-coordinated the art program at The Boggy Creek Gang Camp, the ropes course at Camp Holiday Trails (both specialized camps for children living with chronic and life-threatening illnesses), the art program for The Greater Richmond ARC’s Camp Baker, and the teen travel program at Congressional Camp in Falls Church, VA.
She is especially passionate about the importance of inclusion for all students and is a member of the Arlington Inclusion Task Force. Other special interests include: autism advocacy; AAC access and spelling to communicate; as well as, helping families who are living with significant allergies and chronic/life-threatening illnesses.
As a special educator and special needs mom, Janna understands the importance of collaboration and open communication. She hopes to bring families and school communities in APS together in authentic partnerships toward a shared goal for the success of all students.
Maria Votsch, VP Communications
As SEPTA’s Vice President for Communications, Maria leads SEPTA’s communications outreach efforts and manages its social media accounts, www.facebook.com/ arlingtonsepta and @ArlingtonSEPTA. A full-time lawyer and the mother of two children in Arlington Public Schools, Maria is happiest when she’s learning something new, sharing it with others, and discussing how collectively we can help our children, our teachers and each other reach our fullest potential.
Katherine Harris, Past – President
Katherine is passionate about helping Arlington’s teachers and parents as they support the needs and dreams of our students, as is increasing the opportunities for genuine inclusion of special needs students in Arlington’s schools and community. Aside from special needs advocacy, Katherine juggles a full time job in media communications and caring for her two amazing sons – including an aspiring author/illustrator with autism – who both attend Henry Elementary School. When you meet Katherine, you will understand the term, a force to be reckoned with!