Board of Directors
Eilene Franks has been married to her husband, Jason, for 11 years. They have two super-handsome and mischievous boys- Hudson and Bryson as well as one beautiful little girl named Hadley. She is a graduate of Southern Nazarene University, holding a degree in Early Childhood Education. Eilene currently serves NICU families as a Family Advocate at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital. The Down Syndrome Association has been an incredible source of support for the Franks family since the birth of Hudson in 2011. Eilene has served on multiple committees and participates in new parent outreach.
Joseph Ryan Mallory
Joe Mallory lives in Yukon with his wife Keely, their son Rhett (DS), and their dog Daisy. He graduated from East Central University with a BS in Business Administration and has worked in the oil and gas industry as a petroleum landman for the better part of 10 years. Joe and Keely have both been involved with DSACO since RhettÕs birth in 2016. He serves on the new building and golf tournament committees and Keely is active with first connections. Joe enjoys raising cattle with his dad and brother at the family farm in Noble as well as hunting, fishing, and playing golf. He hopes that Rhett will find the same enjoyment when he gets older and can take part. Until then, they enjoy playing blocks, rolling the ball, pat a cake, and making lots of noise together!
Reed Early graduated with his BachelorÕs in Business Administration in 2006 from the University of Central Oklahoma and began his career in the oil and gas industry. His experience has ranged from large corporations to startup companies with knowledge in leasing, owner relations, mineral rights, and divestitures. Reed completed his MBA with an emphasis in leadership in 2012 from Oklahoma Christian University.nReed has been involved with various charitable organizations here in OKC including The Red Cross, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and also works to raise money for MS through the non-profit group Rolling with the Homies. He volunteers his time regularly with the Oklahoma County SheriffÕs Department, continues to be ÒTop DogÓ or coordinator of the Watch Dog program at his daughterÕs elementary school, and has been a mentor to several students through his place of employment. Reed has lived in Yukon for 12 years with his wife, Marissa and their three daughters Cadence, Berkley, and Annabelle.
Brooke Blackwood is a Corporate Communications Associate for the Oklahoma City Thunder. She is also a freelance photographer/videographer. Brooke graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Media Production. She also have an associateÕs degree in Music Business from the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma. Brooke has been volunteering with DSACO since February 2017 and became an official board member in September 2018. Brooke enjoys photography, traveling, reading, watching movies, and spending quality time with loved ones.
Cindy Gould and her husband, Allen, live in Edmond and have been married for over 32 years. They have four children: 3 daughters, Tressa, Tamra & Taryn, and their youngest and only son, Trafford. Since Trafford's diagnosis of Down syndrome at his 2-week checkup over 16 years ago, Cindy has become an active parent with DSACO and became a Board member in August 2017. From January 2013 to September 2018, Cindy worked part-time at the OUHSC Child Study Center as the Family Partner for the Jumpstart Developmental Assessment Clinic. She has also served/serves on numerous developmental disability advisory committees. Over nine years ago, Cindy began volunteering to speak to college students to provide a parent perspective of being an IEP team member and parent involvement in the education planning for a child in special education.
Tessa Wilken Gross is a graduate of University of OklahomaÕs School of Business, with a degree in Management Information Systems. She met her husband Jon in 2001 and they married in 2002. She started on the nurturing path of a parent in 2006, with the birth of their daughter Marlena. In 2007 she left her position with the Oklahoma State Supreme Court to start a home business and raise her daughter full time.nIn 2011, she gave birth to Terence, a person with Down Syndrome; and this is where their lives diverged from the norm. In 2013 she started in a new position working at a local tech company, a rising star in the payroll and human resource market. Since that time, she has fiercely advocated to integrate him with other children his age, through daycares and schools that are sometimes ill equipped, and ignorant of his needs. In that time, she discovered DSACO, a resource that fit with her need to embrace an under-appreciated community; one that works to support and advocate for so many families. In her spare time between working and family life, she tends a vegetable garden, plays Dungeons and Dragons, rocks out on violin and sings in a heavy metal band.
Heather Hancock-Blackburn is a Self-Advocate and a Motivational Speaker. She previously served as a DSACO board member from 2006-2012. She is currently a Board member of Oklahoma Special Olympics. She is very involved as a Special Olympic Athlete where she is a Global Messenger and promotes Special Olympics throughout the State. She participates in swimming, basketball, bocce, and bowling events year-round. Heather graduated from Westmoore High School in 2005, where she was selected as Miss Westmoore High School at her senior prom. Heather received a scholarship at the end of her senior year to the Moore Norman Technology Center where she studied business technology. She has been working as an administrative assistant at the Oklahoma State Department of EducationÕs Special Education Section since 2008. She married the love of her life, Craig Blackburn, in June of 2016.
Bobby Kern, president, is the proud husband of Lisa and father to Lydia and Josiah. Bobby has been a member of DSACO since the birth of Josiah in 2013. Bobby holds a BS and MA from Oklahoma Christian University and a PhD in Human Development and Family Science from Oklahoma State, and is a Certified Family Life Educator. Currently, he serves as Assistant Professor of Psychology and Family Studies at Oklahoma Christian. He also serves as a representative on the National Affiliates Board for the National Council on Family Relations, and on the board of the Oklahoma affiliate.
Leonard D.T. Newby
Leonard D.T. Newby is a husband, son, and Assistant Professor of Special Education in the School of Education and Behavioral Sciences at Langston University. Dr. Newby specializes in the theoretical and applied aspects of learning and has dedicated his expertise to elevating student motivation to excel and thrive in- and outside of educational settings. Dr. Newby is not your average teaching professional, he is a catalyst for the culture. He's a voice for the silenced and a warrior for the oppressed. On any given day you can catch Newby giving 'Ted Talks' in Sanford and Moore Hall.
Noble Public Schools
Ashley Proctor resides with her husband, SGM Proctor in Noble, OK. She is a current 4th & 5th Grade Special Education Teacher with Noble Public Schools and Special Olympics Coach.
Mrs. Proctor is Nationally Board-Certified with thirteen years of experience, teaching students with Exceptional Needs. Ashley is a strong advocate of students with disabilites and their families. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, volunteering with DASCO, and traveling!!
Breanna RobisonÊis a self-advocate and recent graduate of Westmoore High School and is currently exploring all kinds of possibilities for her future.Ê She is the youngest daughter of Mark and Marji Robison, sister to Logan and bro-in-law, Tod, and Alex and she is a super-aunt to Bryce and Raegan. ÊBreanna loves music of all kinds and enjoys writing down lyrics to her favorite songs.Ê She spends lots of time drawing, coloring, and working word-search puzzles.Ê She is part of a competitive cheer squad and enjoys working out at her neighborhood gym.Ê She also participates in Special Olympics in many sports. Breanna and her family have been part of DSACO since its very beginning and have participated in the Bountiful Blessings Calendar, the Festival & 5K, New Parent Visits, KyleeÕs Kitchen, and a lot of the fun activities the Self Advocates Group offers.ÊBre looks forward to learning a lot while on the DSACO board and hopes she can contribute some great ideas as well!
Hudson Talley is a native Oklahoman and co-owner of Ascend Action, a general consulting firm specializing in campaign management, digital marketing, and polling research. His political work has taken him all across the country working with dozens of successful campaigns including Ted Cruz for President, Greg Abbott for Texas Governor, and Kevin Stitt for Oklahoma Governor. While his day job keeps him busy, his more notable work includes hunting any animal in season, spending too much time checking OKC Thunder box scores, and noodling for catfish in murky Oklahoma rivers.
Leigh Ann Taylor
Leigh Ann Taylor has been married to her husband, Brett, for over 8 years and is a proud mom to Alyssa, age 6, and stepmom to Chloe, age 19. Leigh Ann has a BS in Organizational Leadership from Southern Nazarene University and a Masters of Business Administration with an emphasis in Human Resources from Oklahoma Christian University. She also serves on the board as Secretary of the PTO at Alyssa's school, Spring Creek Elementary. Leigh Ann has helped with DSACOs annual Festival and 5K in a lead role, Co-chairperson since 2015 and assisted with outreach awareness.
Laura Tontz, treasurer, graduated from OU with a Journalism degree in Public Relations. She serves as the director of the Oklahoma Memorial Union, overseeing all events, activities and programing for the facility. She also manages 45 employees, of those 4 are special needs. She was a member of the inaugural class 2017 of the OU Leadership Council and has served as a member of the Sexual Assault Response Team. She is also a member of the Big 12 Union Directors Association American College Unions International. Laura is a graduate of Leadership Norman class of 2000 and has served on the OU United Way Committee for several years and as Co-Chair for the OU United Way Campaign in the fall of 2011, raising over $214,000. In 2009, she was initiated as an honorary member of PE-ET, an OU honor society recognizing the top 10 students. Laura was honored as a Namesake for Camp Crimson, a program which welcomes incoming freshman, in 2007 and 2018 and received the OU Student Government Association Outstanding Staff Award in 2000. Laura lives in Goldsby with her husband Greg and children; Ellis, Jeremiah and Scarlett and pets, Amos and Olive. She enjoys, gardening, travelling, scrapbooking and reading.
Victoria Tourville is from south OKC/Moore. She has been married to Shaun for 17 years and have three sons Rodney, Tank, and Zander. The Tourvilles are parent advocates for their youngest daughter, Rosalie who has Down syndrome. Victoria loves being involved in DSACO for the past five years where Rosalie has been receiving tutoring and speech therapy along with joining in the Mommy Mingle play group, as well as many other activities. Victoria has served on the calendar committee and Festival and 5K committee for the last two years. She is excited for the future of DSACO and to see what the future holds for Rosalie.
Kathy Trout has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Oklahoma and a master’s degree in special education from the University of Central Oklahoma. She and her husband, Kevin, have two children Addie, age 13 and Luke, age 10. She began her career in the field of mental health in 1998 at a therapeutic foster care agency. She has served many roles to include counselor, foster parent recruiter and developer, grievance coordinator and quality improvement. She has worked in Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio, Alabama, and Nevada developing policies and procedures as well as monitoring needs and performance. She is a member of the Down Syndrome Association of Oklahoma and served on the parent board at Special Care (a day care for children of all abilities).