The SHAV Board of Directors is made up of 10 members who work on behalf of the membership and professional community. Board members are elected by the membership and serve a two-year term. The president’s term is divided into three phases (president-elect, president and past president) to facilitate a smooth transition.
Concerns, suggestions and comments should be directed to the appropriate Board member for discussion at the Board Meetings.
2019-2020 Executive Board
Amber Handon, MEd, CCC-SLP
Amber Handon, Med, studied Linguistics and Kinesiology at the College of William and Mary and received her Bachelors of Arts in 2004. She received her master’s in communication disorders from the University of Virginia in 2007. Since graduation, she has been working as a school-based speech-language pathology with Charlottesville City Schools. For ten years she served preschool and elementary students and their families. She has recently made a transition to serve middle and high school students and their families.
Renee Garrett, MSEd, CCC-SLP, CBIS
Renee Garrett is a native of Hampton Roads, having graduated from Warwick High School and attended Christopher Newport University in Newport News. She later moved with her husband to Keflavik, Iceland, where she lived for three years. In 1997, her dad had a major stroke and she spent several months assisting with his rehabilitation for dysphagia and aphasia. She then had a career as a customer service representative for a large fundraising corporation, working with non-profit, community and school groups. In 2006, Renee decided to return to school and change career paths. She graduated with her Bachelors of Science in speech-language pathology in 2008 and her Masters of Science in Education in 2010, both from Old Dominion University. She has worked for Riverside Rehabilitation Institute in inpatient rehabilitation and outpatient settings, for Legacy Healthcare in assisted living, as well as for Sentara Health Systems in acute care hospitals and the day rehabilitation program, serving teenaged adolescents, adults and geriatric patients with dysphagia and a variety of communication and cognitive disorders. Renee is FEES trained, privileged and has supervised SLPs during their privileging process. Renee has a special interest in aphasia and in cognitive retraining post-TBI. She holds certification as a certified brain injury specialist from the Brain Injury Association of America and is active in educating families, friends and patients about dysphagia, communication and cognitive disorders.
Tamara Freeman-Nichols, PhD, CCC-SLP
Dr. Tamara L. Freeman-Nichols brings a unique blend of clinical, qualitative research, teaching and administrative experiences to her positions as Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders at Hampton University and school-based speech-language pathologist with Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services. Tamara earned a bachelor of arts (BA) degree in mass media arts and a master of arts degree in communicative sciences and disorders from Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia. She continued her training at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia where she earned the doctor of philosophy (PhD) degree in educational policy, planning and leadership with an emphasis in special education administration. Tamara teaches undergraduate and graduate courses addressing language disorders, clinical observation, diagnostic methods, treatment methods, professional communication and current issues in the field of speech-language pathology. Her teaching is enhanced by her experience in early childhood and secondary public education settings. Tamara’s research interests include cultural competence in service delivery, supervision and mentorship and the role of speech-language pathologists in the delivery of academic support for adult learners in institutions of higher education (IHEs).
Vice President for Member Services
Tammy Davis, MS, CCC-SLP
Ms. Davis received both her bachelor’s of science and master’s of science degrees in communication disorders from Penn State University. She has been a speech-language pathologist since 1995, working in a variety of settings including acute care, skilled nursing, rehabilitation and public schools. Ms. Davis is beginning her twentieth year with Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) and is currently the special education supervisor for related services and assistive technology for the division. In her role as supervisor, Ms. Davis is responsible for the recruitment and retention of speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists and physical therapists for one of the largest school divisions in the Commonwealth. Recognizing that recruitment of new therapists is a high need and the key to a successful program, Ms. Davis has developed university partnerships both in Virginia and surrounding states in an effort to increase the graduate student internship program within LCPS. Advocacy for lower caseloads, funding for materials and professional learning opportunities as well as the development of a strong mentor program has assisted in the maintenance of high retention rates for all related services disciplines.
Vice President for Governmental and Professional Affairs
Dawn Craig, MS, CCC-SLP
After starting her career in early childhood education and later moving on to work as a behaviorist in the autism field, Dawn found herself drawn to the field of speech-language pathology. She attended East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania for both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Since graduation, she has served as a school-based speech-language pathologist (SLP) in both public and public charter schools in PA, working with students from K-12. She has provided speech and language services for children in general education settings as well as autistic support, emotional support, partial hospitalization and multiple disabilities. Despite her interest in all areas of speech and language, she is particularly interested in pragmatic language skills, autism and augmentative and alternative communication. Recently, Dawn moved to the Eastern Shore where she serves as an SLP for the Accomack County Public Schools where she serves students in Pre-K through fifth grade.
Vice President for Audiology
Vice President for Speech-Language Pathology
Leslie Dulay, MA, CCC-SLP
Ms. Dulay is a speech-language pathologist from Chesterfield County Public Schools. She has been a speech-language pathologist since 1996, though her love for children began long before then. Over the course of her career, she has experienced opportunities to develop an extensive knowledge of speech language pathology assessment and treatment practices, the special education process, as well as gain skills and knowledge of techniques for leading difficult meetings. She has a strong understanding of developmental and grade level curriculum expectations and use dynamic assessment techniques to assess skills and to establish a pattern of strengths and weaknesses for goal development. She helps colleagues with behavior strategies and classroom modifications for optimal student learning. To support other members on her team, she has helped supervise graduate students and therapists in their clinical fellowship year. In addition, she has led her school-based team in developing individual sound development program for a student who was not responding to traditional phonics learning approaches in order to individualize his instruction. Furthermore, she has experience working in skilled nursing facilities in addition to experience working in the schools. She firmly believes that strong interpersonal skills using emotionally intelligent professional language are vital for effective communication with all stakeholders in any setting.
Vice President for Public Relations and Communication
Jennifer Ruckner, MS, CCC-SLP
Jennifer Ruckner, MS, CCC-SLP received her Bachelor’s of Science Degree and a Master’s Degree in Communication Disorders from Auburn University. She has been a speech-language pathologist since 1990, working in a variety of settings to include Early Intervention, school districts and private practice. Jennifer piloted a preschool expressive language program for Stafford County Schools. She has been a guest speaker at the University of Mary Washington, Prince William County Early Intervention and presented Social Skills Workshops at The Arc’s Circle of Support Conference. She and her business partner co-developed an Early Language Skills checklist for Pediatricians and held trainings for pediatricians. As an adoptive mother, Jennifer was invited to present on special needs of children at the Joy for the Journey Conference which is for adoptive parents. Jennifer specializes in Social/Pragmatic Language, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Expressive Language Disorder, Feeding Disorders, and is Beckman Oral Motor Certified. In 2008, she and partner, Patti Minicucci, created Tots To Teens Therapy Services to provide speech and language resources to the families of Northern Virginia.
Vice President for Continuing Education
M. Johanna Fox Klein, MS, CCC-SLP
M. Johanna Fox Klein was born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and graduated with a bachelor of science in communication sciences and disorders and with a master of science in speech language pathology at James Madison University. She has been a school based speech-language pathologist (SLP) for 14 years and is currently serving the preschool through middle school populations in Rockingham County. In the past few years, Johanna has begun supervising graduate students and truly enjoys sharing her expertise and knowledge with future SLPs. Her peaked interests include apraxia, selective mutism, language differences of rural areas and fluency. One of her favorite aspects of being a SLP is putting the pieces together during an assessment to figure out what exactly is going on with each child and why. She currently lives in McGaheysville, Virginia with her husband, son, daughter and two cats.
Kirnetta Pittman, BS
Kirnetta Pittman is a native of Richmond, Virginia. She received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in communication sciences and disorders from Old Dominion University in 2017. Currently, she is a graduate student at Hampton University, where she is pursuing a Master’s degree in communicative sciences and disorders. At Hampton University, she is recognized as a scholar through the US Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), through which she is being trained to serve as an SLP in high poverty and/or low achieving urban or rural school systems. Additionally, Kirnetta is a proud alumna of the 2017 class of the ASHA Minority Student Leadership Program. Upon graduation, she plans to practice as a pediatric SLP.
Kaleigh Johnson is currently a senior at James Madison University where she studies communication sciences and disorders. She has spent the past year serving as Virginia’s Audiology Student State Officer for National NSSLHA and has just begun her term as Virginia’s State Ambassador for the Student Academy of Audiology. Additionally, Kaleigh is the proud recipient of National NSSLHA’s 2019 Legislative Liaison of the Year Award. Upon graduation, she plans to practice as an audiologist within the Veterans Health Administration.
The Office of President is a three year term, one year as President-Elect, one year as President and one year as Past President.
VP Offices are for two year and are elected in the follow years:
- VP for Membership
- VP for Speech-Language Pathology
- VP for Public Relations and Communication
- VP for Governmental Affairs
- VP for Continuing Education
- VP for Audiology
The President shall serve as chief executive officer of the Association, shall serve as Chair of the Executive Committee, shall serve with the Vice President of Finance as the official signatory of the Association on all contractual agreements, and shall coordinate the functions of the Board of Directors and who shall automatically become Past President at the end of the term of President.
The President-Elect shall serve as chief executive officer of the Association and as Chair of the Executive Committee in the absence of the President, shall work in conjunction with the President in developing goals and policies of the Association, and shall automatically become President at the end of the term of President-Elect.
The Past President shall serve shall serve as the chief executive officer in the absence of the President and President-Elect.
Vice President of Public Relations and Communications
The Vice President for Public Relations and Communications shall lead the Association in the areas of marketing/public relations and communication.
Vice President For Member Services
The Vice President for Member Services shall be responsible for the direction of services provided to the general membership.
Vice President For Speech-Language Pathology
The Vice President for Speech-Language Pathology shall provide leadership in the clinical area of speech-language pathology. This will entail maintaining regular and consistent communication with the VP for Audiology and among the related interest groups/committees.
Vice President of Audiology
The Vice Presidents for Audiology shall provide leadership in the clinical area of audiology respectively. This will entail maintaining regular and consistent communication with the VP of Speech-Language Pathology and among the related interest groups/committees.
Vice President of Continuing Education
The Vice President for Continuing Education shall be responsible for the planning of the annual conference and/or additional educational opportunities.
Vice President of Governmental Affairs
The Vice President for Governmental and Professional Affairs shall provide leadership in the professional concerns of the members. This shall include monitoring governmental and third party activities that may impact the Association and its membership, and advocating for the Association, its members and the clients served.
Nominations for board positions should be directed to the President Elect. Nominees must be voting members of SHAV. Self nominations are permitted.