Jennifer O'Connell

Executive Director

Brenda Quinones

Manager of Family Resources & Enrichment Center

Brenda is very excited to join the DSNetwork team.  She has been passionate about Down Syndrome since the birth of her 7 year old son, Giovany.  She enjoys family vacations at the beach, watching movies and spending time with loved ones.

Sarah Hales, M.A. CCC-SLP

Project Manager

Sarah served on the DSNetwork board of directors and was Chair of the board. During her tenure on the board, she was instrumental in leading the board through strategic planning and was an influential representative of DSNetwork both locally and nationally. She advocated in Washington for people with Down syndrome and chaired a feasibility assessment for the need of an Adult Down Syndrome Clinic. Sarah earned her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology. In addition to her part-time work with DSNetwork, Sarah is a pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist, specializing in working with children who use Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC).

Brendan Gersten

Enrichment Center Assistant

Brendan is very excited to join DSNetwork. Previously he worked in the Town Clerks office of the Town of Hempstead, in Long Island, New York. There he was responsible for helping people as well as companies to obtain various permits for parking, dog licenses, taxi licenses, parades and other events and activities. He has also had positions at Annie Sez and Geico. When he is not working, Brendan enjoys playing sports in Special Olympics and listening to music, going to the movies and spending time with his nephews.

Janae Chokey

Program Assistant

Janae, a graduate of Mountain Point High School in Phoenix, began working for DSNetwork as the Programs Assistant in April 2018. This position is generously funded by the Global Down Syndrome Foundation to expand employment opportunities to self-advocates. Janae also enjoys to sing, dance and travel with her family – Mia, Darrin and Nathan.

Kacie Perry

Tweens and Teens UP Facilitator

Kacie Perry is a certified special education teacher that has been working in the Mesa Public Schools school district since 2007. Kacie started her career in a primary resource classroom and then moved to the junior high setting, where she taught in an orthopedic impaired classroom for 5 years. Kacie currently teaches a 7th/8th grade MIID classroom. Kacie is dedicated to bringing families and communities together to provide the most inclusive educational environment for students of all ages and abilities. She is excited to be part of DSNetwork and supporting children with Down syndrome and their families.

Barbara Bruno

Aging Matters Program Coordinator

Barbara Bruno joined DSNework in January 2020. She has two adult nieces with Down syndrome. Through her work as a habilitation, attendant care, and respite provider, Barbara has extensive experience in working with individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families. She is well connected with families who have a loved one with Down syndrome and volunteers as a coach with Special Olympics and the Detour Theatre Company.

Jill Pearns

Aging Matters Facilitator

Jill Pearns joined DSNetwork in February 2020. She is the facilitator of a specific aspect of the Aging Matters program that incorporates health and wellness for this aging population. The intent is to provide strategies that encourage a healthy lifestyle and in doing so, giving those who participate the knowledge and opportunity that can help them to have a better quality of life. Incorporated in these sessions will be yoga, cardio, mindfulness, breath work, gentle strength training, nutrition as well as emphasizing conversation and social skills. Jill is the proud mom of an adult son with Down syndrome

Ariel Sansom

SIBS and Marketing Coordinator

Ariel started working with DSNetwork in July of 2016 and has a 21 year-old sister, Sarah, with Down syndrome. She graduated from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in the Spring 2016 with a B.S. Mechanical Engineering and Astrodynamics. She is passionate about serving the special needs community, and has been a dedicated respite and habilitation provider for the past 10 years for many DSNetwork families. Ariel is a National Task Group Affiliated Trainer on Dementia Capable Care Practices for Adults with I/DD, and is very knowledgeable about local family resources and supports.