Where special needs = exceptional!
Board Members & Volunteer Staff
McNall Mason - President
McNall’s youngest son, Max (age 11) has autism. In 2007, when Max was not yet five, McNall began the journey into the world of autism with a deep fear of the unknown and a tireless desire to find ways to help Max learn to thrive. Over time, art became the platform upon which the duo learned to collaborate, communicate and interface with the world. In 2012, this path led to the creation of a series of children’s books which address social diversity issues we all face. In 2013, Max and McNall were recognized as Community Champions by KOMO News and Brotherton Cadillac and Max won an art contest at Seattle’s oldest skyscraper, The Smith Tower. Max’s artwork now appears on bottles of Jones Soda sold at their observation deck. Throughout 2013-2014, Max and McNall attended countless charity events and book signings where they sold books and gave the proceeds to support charities. In April 2014, they were keynote speakers for an autism awareness month lunch and learn at Starbucks HQ in Seattle. Max, who was once practically non-verbal is now in a mainstream public school classroom with no special services, has friends, plays sports and lives a very supported and regular life. Aside from being Max’s mom and a fierce advocate for autism, McNall is the Senior Marketing Manager for channel marketing consulting firm based out of Colorado. McNall lives in Tacoma with her family, which includes two mini-schnauzers who have been instrumental in helping Max.
Debbie Kray - Vice President
Debbie is a community advocate for families, children, and creative learning. She is the Education Manager at LeMay America's Car Museum. Previously, in her 13 years at the Children's Museum of Tacoma, she worked to provide families who have children with special needs access to informal learning environments. She joins the Board to strengthen its strategic plans and community engagement to ensure success in our mission. Debbie has actively volunteered in the athletic, academic, and artistic lives of her children in Tacoma and with her husband. She enthusiastically joined the Board to provide families with children with special needs opportunities to support the growth and learning of their children.
Angela Allison - Treasurer
Angela is a Pharmacy Technician at Group Health Cooperative. She's had an interest in Bookkeeping and Marketing for some time, and has been watching the work of the Exceptional Families Network for several years. After becoming educated on the many things the organization has accomplished and is working toward achieving, she knew she wanted to help provide budgetary and financial oversight. Angela is excited about the possibilities for the nonprofit, and has a strong desire to help our constituents by working as a Board Member. She lives in Tacoma with her family.
Corinne Dutton - Co-Secretary
Corinne is a Medical Records Director for a nursing home facility. She has an Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology and is nationally certified as a Registered Health Information Technologist. Corinne previously worked in children’s ministry and was a Para-Educator who did sign language interpretation in various South Sound school districts. She lives in Shelton.
Miranda Owen - Co-Secretary
Miranda is an Administrative Coordinator at the Children's Museum of Tacoma. Her relationship with the museum began as a volunteer, and she has enjoyed gaining professional experience while working with children, especially in the "Play to Learn" program, and also with the Exceptional Families Network's monthly support group meetings. Miranda has a passion for children and wants the community to have access to services that cater to children in Pierce County and beyond, from every background and ability. Miranda lives in Tacoma with her family, which includes 3 children ranging in age from newborn to 7 years old.
Angela Fish - Executive Director
Angela was recognized in 2013 as an Unsung Hero by the Washington State Department of Early Learning and her story was featured on the Seattle's Child Magazine website. She began blogging as "Caffeinated Autism Mom" in 2011, and in 2012 her blog was awarded "BEST Parenting Blog" through the Best of Western Washington contest. In 2011, Angela was honored as the Community Advocate of the Year by FEAT (Families for Effective Autism Treatment) of Washington. She is a contributing author in the book, Sensational Journeys: 48 Personal Stories of Sensory Processing Disorder. Angela founded the SPECIAL Families of Pierce County support group in 2008. She participates in several committees, including the Pierce County Interagency Coordinating Council and South Sound Autism Partnership. Angela has been an active participant and volunteer in the special needs community since 2007, previously serving as the Director of Community Outreach and Board Secretary for The Wyatt Holliday Foundation. She has a Master’s degree in Business Administration and has a diverse professional background in several different industries. Angela lives in Tacoma and has 2 children diagnosed on the autism spectrum.
Helen Caldart - Director of Advocacy
Helen was blessed with a special needs son in the middle 1990’s. Her life changed in many wonderful, and yes, difficult ways. Little did she know her unique and successful twenty plus year business career would give her some of the necessary tools to advocate for her son. It is through the growth of her son that her passion bloomed as a Special Education Advocate. Helen describes herself as Not An Attorney (NAA) but someone who is sharing her experiences working as a Special Education Advocate. Helen has extensive experience and knowledge in the development of effective educational programs for students with disabilities, addressing their individual and unique needs. She has an excellent working knowledge and understanding of Special Education Law/Regulations including the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). She actually loves to read them! Helen loves what she does and loves the families she works with throughout the United States. She is continually humbled by the trust that families put in her to come alongside them and assist in the overwhelming process of special education. You will find Helen knowledgeable, caring, extremely organized, dependable, open, and honest. She has a unique understanding of people, and is also an exceptional communicator that's supportive and realistic.
Denise Walk - Chair, Parent Advisory Council
Denise is passionate about helping others, which is displayed by her dedication to ensuring that all of her children - biological, adopted or foster - receive the care and attention they need. She is continually looking for ways to help others gain access to appropriate services while sharing her knowledge. Denise is eager to participate in activities that will further the education of others. She is a stay-at-home mom who has had the privilege of being the caregiver for over 100 foster children, most of which were children with special needs. Denise and her husband live in Tacoma and currently have three children - two on the autism spectrum and one that is developmentally delayed. They are able to provide and share their expertise with the support of their older children, friends, and a network of great providers.
The Wyatt Holliday Foundation, dba Exceptional Families Network
13117 Canyon Rd. E., Suite C, Puyallup, WA 98373