Tracy Kahlo – Director for The Branch
Tracy is an avid supporter of this new national TA for our parent center staff and a huge fan of its work and the possibilities! Witnessing first-hand the struggles of loved ones with LDs and I/DD she’s part of the “If only my family had known there were such amazing and dedicated parent center staff growing up in the Virgin Islands and later in CT!” The daughter of a Marine and two educators who instilled a passion for continuous learning and service to others it is truly a gift to be a part of this team.
Vicki Farnsworth- Assistant Director for The Branch
She serves as the Assistant Director for The Branch (Military Parent Technical Assistance Center) and has a background in programs designed to assist military families as well as history working with STOMP (Specialized Training of Military Parents). Vicki Farnsworth is the wife of an Active Duty soldier and mother of two children, one of which is on the Autism Spectrum. Not just a wife, Vicki is also the daughter of a soldier who retired after 32 years of service in the Army and has a father-in-law who spent 26 years serving his country.
“I look forward to supporting and assisting Parent Centers in helping the military family because I know what it is like to be a military dependent and try to navigate the special needs world, both military and civilian, without guidance.” Vicki shares.
Barb Koumjian – The Branch (MPTAC) Project Coordinator
Barb has a long term-background in non-profit administration. Her recent focus is on accessible learning (universal design) and creating better inclusion for persons with disability in higher education. She would define herself as someone who loves to teach, and volunteers as an ESOL and literacy teacher. “I enjoy getting up in front of a group and teaching through playing games and pantomime. I make a fool of myself on a regular basis to get ideas across.” She values the teamwork approach at The Branch, where “all of us bring something a bit different to the table. As a result, I learn something valuable on a daily basis”.
Barb’s interest in inclusion comes from personal and family experience of living with hidden disability. A recent immigrant from New England, she’s a fan of Pacific Northwest weather which while often damp is rarely frozen!
Barb works out of PAVE headquarters on the TCC campus, where she is eager to be a resource to Parent Centers with questions about military family needs.
Andrea Bridges – The Branch (MPTAC) Project Coordinator
Andrea has just joined The Branch team as a Project Coordinator. She has extensive experience serving as an Ombudsman throughout her husband’s twenty year career in the United States Navy. She has three daughters and has worked diligently through the years guiding the two of her children with special needs through various school systems in several states. Andrea enjoys volunteering and has a background as a community activist. She is looking forward to utilizing her skills to benefit other families of children with special needs in our military community.