State Rehabilitation Council Members

Juliet Hardeman - Chair
Juliet Hardeman is a mentor in the Georgia Parent Mentor Partnership, where she supports families of students with disabilities in Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools. During her career, she also taught high school students with disabilities. Additionally, Juliet served in the Army Medical Service Corps for over 21 years; she has been deployed globally in support of combat and humanitarian missions.

Juliet holds a master of Education from Georgia Southern University. She and her husband, Frank, have been married over 32 years and raised two daughters on Wilmington Island, Georgia.

Karen Addams 
Karen Addams is a vice president at Parent to Parent of Georgia, where she has worked for over 15 years. Previously, she worked for six years as a Parent Educator for the Babies Can’t Wait program for Georgia State University.

Karen has been supporting the disability community since the birth of her daughter over 35 years ago. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. Karen and her husband, Peter, live in Lilburn and are the parents of two daughters.

Matthew Barnes
Matthew Barnes has been employed at The ARC of Southwest Georgia for more than 22 years. In his current role as an employment specialist, he strives to help disabled job seekers find meaningful employment. During his tenure at The ARC, he has held several positions within the organization. Matthew has served as an instructor of work readiness training as well as anger management training and behavior management training. He has been a manager at one of the ARC of SWGA employment work training sites. Matthew also has been a director, building relationships with business leaders and community stakeholders.

A native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Matthew moved to the U.S. with his family at the age of 12. He graduated from Georgia Southwestern State University with a bachelor of science in Psychology in 1998. He obtained a master of education in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Georgia in 2000. Matthew passed the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor exam and has maintained his CRC Certification for over 22 years. He lives in Albany.

Jerry Haywood
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erry Haywood is a program coordinator and an associate professor of Psychology at Fort Valley State University. Before accepting his full-time faculty appointment, Jerry worked nearly 10 years as director of Academic Counseling & Disability Services. In that role, he served as an advocate and a liaison for students with disabilities. In addition to his experience in higher education, Jerry has over 15 years of experience and training in group and individual counseling.

His research and program development strategies on African American Males in Higher Education are well recognized by colleagues and scholars across the nation. Jerry attributes much of his success and his passion to his experiences growing up in a small town in rural Georgia. He earned a bachelor of arts in Psychology and a master of science in Rehabilitation Counseling, both from Fort Valley State University. In 2012, Jerry received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Capella University.

Katie Hearn
At the age of 28, Katie was diagnosed with pseudotumor cerebri, a rare disorder related to high pressure around the brain due to an excess of spinal fluid. That condition caused the loss of her eyesight.

Currently, she works for the Atlanta Braves as senior coordinator, Digital & Accessible Services, and also serves as the Club’s ADA Coordinator. In 2018, the Braves awarded Katie the Walker Banks Award for her extraordinary customer service. She is passionate about providing opportunities for people with disabilities to live, work, and thrive in our state. Katie resides in Smyrna.

Deborah Hibben
Deborah Hibben is a retired high school public educator who previously worked for Henry and Clayton County Schools. In addition to being a member of the SRC, she also serves on the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities.

Deborah has two children, Hillary Anne and Hannah Elizabeth, the younger of whom is an adult with Down syndrome who has been meaningfully employed since finishing school in 2016. Deborah’s highest degree is an Education Specialist from Lincoln Memorial University. She lives in McDonough.

Myndi Kuhlmann
A native Mississippian, Myndi Kuhlmann Pryor moved to Athens in 2006 to work for the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, first as a certified rehabilitation counselor, then as a rehabilitation unit manager. In 2011, Myndi accepted employment with Goodwill of North Georgia. She currently serves as senior director of career services at Goodwill; her previous positions with the organization include regional manager in Workforce Development and director of Workforce Development. During her tenure at Goodwill of North Georgia, Myndi has worked on a variety of state, federal, and private foundation grants/contracts which serve people with disabilities, veterans, returning citizens, low-income Georgians, and youth.

Myndi is passionate about understanding people with other abilities and supporting their success in work and in life. Currently she serves as vice president of the Georgia Association of Training and Employment Supports; chairman of the board for the Georgia Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, High School High Tech program; a provider council member, Metro Atlanta Exchange; a steering committee member, United Way Metro Atlanta Youth Collaborative; as a NextGen Youth committee member, Atlanta Regional Commission WorkSource; and a member of the Work-based Learning Advisory Panel, National Skills Coalition. In 2016, she served as president of the Georgia Rehabilitation Association. Myndi holds a bachelor’s in Psychology from Mississippi State University and a master’s in Counseling Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Lisa Leiter 
Lisa Leiter is a Transition Coordinator for Marietta City Schools. Lisa earned a bachelor of science in Education, with a concentration in Intellectual Disabilities, from the University of Georgia. She holds a master of science in Education with an emphasis in Secondary Special Education and Transition from the University of Kansas. Lisa is an active member of both the Metro Atlanta Transition Council and the Statewide Interagency Council.

Lisa, along with her family, served as the ambassador family for the 2013 March of Dimes Cobb Signature Chefs. Additional honors include being named 2014 “Volunteer of the Year” by Cobb Life Magazine and 2018 “Teacher of the Year” by the Marriott Foundation’s Bridges from School to Work Program. She and her husband, Jason, have four children and live in Marietta.

Wina H. Low
Wina Low is the State Director of the Division for Special Education Services and Supports with the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE). Prior to serving as State Director, she worked in other roles at GaDOE. Before joining GaDOE, Wina was the director of student services for Carrollton City Schools and served as an educational diagnostician and as a classroom teacher.

Wina earned a bachelor’s degree in Middle Grades Education from Brenau University. She holds a master’s degree as well as an education specialist degree in Special Education and Special Education Administration from the University of West Georgia. Wina and her husband, Michael, have two children and two granddaughters. They reside in Big Canoe in the North Georgia mountains.

Michele Mason
Michele Mason is the disability services lead for the Technical College System of Georgia’s (TCSG) Office of Workforce Development and serves as the state coordinator for the WorkSource Georgia Employment Network. An advocate for the disabled, Michele has committed her career to serving the special populations community. In 1996 she began her employment services career with United Cerebral Palsy of New York City, where she served as a supported employment specialist for significantly disabled adults. Before relocating to the great state of Georgia, Michele worked in New York City for various public and private organizations that implemented initiatives for special populations.

In her career with the State of Georgia, she has served in various positions including rehabilitation employment specialist, employment services manager, and board & council liaison for the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA). Michele studied Human Services at Audrey Cohen College of Human Services, obtained a degree in Organizational Leadership from Point University, and is a Certified Public Manager, Certified Work Incentive Practitioner, and Certified Train-the-Trainer for Windmills and EOPII placement practices. A native New Yorker, Michele lives in Griffin with her two daughters, Monet and Tamia.

Cherise Mlott 
A native Atlantan, Cherise Mlott is a staunch advocate for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. In the past 19 years, she has raised over $310,000 to find a cure for MS. Mlott currently serves as director of Corporate Real Estate Portfolio Management and Transactions at AT&T, where she has worked for 23 years.

Mlott earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia and an MBA from Georgia State University. She lives in Brookhaven with her husband, Brent, and their Irish Setter, Katie.

Joy Norman
For 18 years, Joy Norman served as the director of the Center for Accommodation and Access at Columbus State University. Recently retired, she continues to work as a part-time instructor at Columbus State University. She also delivers self-advocacy presentations to high school students with disabilities through High School High Tech.

Joy served six years as the chair of the Columbus Mayor’s Commission for Persons with Disabilities. To honor her public service, Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson proclaimed September 1, 2021, as Joy Norman Day in Columbus. Joy and her husband, Mickey Norman, have a son and a daughter, and six granddaughters. She holds a bachelor’s degree in health science and a master’s in community counseling.

Jennifer Page 
Jennifer M. Page is the director of the Georgia Client Assistance Program (CAP), where she has worked for the past 13 years. CAP advocates perform community outreach to educate individuals who may not be aware of the services GVRA (and CAP) provide. Having been involved with the disability community for 18 years, Jennifer is a member of the Georgia Rehabilitation Association and the Georgia Rehabilitation Counselors and Educators Association.

To increase her professional knowledge, Jennifer regularly attends workshops. She also participates in training sessions so she can better assist her clients. Jennifer holds a bachelor’s in psychology from South Carolina State University and a master’s in counseling from Webster University. She resides in Atlanta.

Aarti Sahgal
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arti Sahgal is the founder of Synergies Work, a 501-c-3 that is committed to expanding business opportunities for people with disabilities. By providing mentorship, training, and ongoing support through its network of industry experts and volunteers, the organization helps individuals find their special spark and turn it into a business. As a parent of a child with Down Syndrome, Aarti has always been an advocate for her son; she resisted services that might isolate or disempower him.

Prior to founding Synergies Work, Aarti was a consultant to the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, where she built inclusive communities and developed workforce strategies for individuals with different abilities. She worked in the for-profit world for 14 years and spent three years with Parent to Parent of Georgia as a diversity coordinator. Furthering her commitment to advocate for individuals with different abilities, Aarti currently serves as a board secretary for the Georgia Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE). She holds a degree in business administration.

Peggy Venable
Christina Peggy Venable brings over 40 years of experience with vocational rehabilitation services, case management, job placement, and vocational evaluation to the SRC. Currently, she is the project director of The Muskogee Vocational Rehabilitation Program. Peggy has also served as a family, individual, and mental health counselor with various other agencies. Peggy is certified in work adjustment, vocational evaluation, job placement, and worker’s compensation.Her professional affiliations include serving as a member of the Georgia and National Rehabilitation Association, Georgia State Rehab Council, and the Georgia Statewide Coalition on Blindness.

In addition, she serves as treasurer for the Executive Board of the Consortia of Administrators for Native American Rehabilitation (CANAR). Peggy is a member of The Lower Muskogee Creek Tribe and serves as the project director for the Muskogee Vocational Rehabilitation Program. She is a singer, songwriter, author, and serves as tribal historian of The Lower Muskogee Creek Tribe in Whigham, Georgia. Peggy holds a master’s in psychology, a doctorate in theology, a Ph.D. in philosophy, and a doctorate of Divinity, Summa Cum Laude.

Col. Dr. Samuel Verniero, Jr.
A resident of Holly Springs, Samuel is a Kentucky Colonel, an Arkansas Traveler and Ambassador, a United Nations World Humanity Commission Deputy High Commissioner-Ambassador, and a member of the Selective Service System Appellate Judicial Board. In 2020, Incyte Corp. and Cure Media Group named Samuel a 2020 MPN Hero for his advocacy on behalf of those living with Myeloproliferative Neoplasms (MPN). A tireless advocate, Samuel has also served on the DeKalb Community Service Board and the Department of Behavioral Health Advisory Council.

On Capitol Hill, Georgians honored Samuel’s advocacy through two separate Georgia Senate resolutions in 2020 and in 2023. Similarly, he was honored by the Georgia House of Representatives through two separate resolutions in 2020 and in 2021. In 2019, Gov. Brian Kemp named Samuel an Honorary Lt. Colonel Aide De Camp, along with other commendations.

Harriett Young - SRC Liaison

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (470)-763-5137

200 Piedmont Avenue SE │West Tower, Suite 1303│Atlanta, GA 30334