Who We Are
In August, 1970, a “Town Hall” meeting of parents and persons interested in individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities was held in the Community room of Northeast National Bank in Birdville, TX. From this meeting emerged the Birdville Arc. Chartered and incorporated in May, 1971, the organization is affiliated with The Arc of Texas and The Arc of the United States.
Since its founding, the Birdville Arc has been expanding its influence across the DFW Metroplex, becoming The Arc of Northeast Tarrant County in 1995, then Arc Greater Mid Cities in 2016, and The Arc of DFW Area in 2019. Throughout all these changes we have remained true to our grass-roots advocacy heritage, and we are still an all-volunteer membership-driven agency.
Ellen Bauman President
Currently serving as President of The Arc, Ellen Bauman of Joshua is a grass-roots advocate for people with disabilities and their families. Her journey has evolved out of personal experience while navigating life in search of resources for her granddaughter. Her passion is to inform, educate and empower not only these individuals and their families, but those who are in places of authority, responsible for protecting their rights and providing for their needs. She strives to secure the best quality of life possible for every individual. Her goal is that all are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Ellen is the Special Needs Ministry Liaison for First United Methodist Church in Arlington and is a Certified Christian Educator. She is a Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities member, Department of Aging and Disabilities of North Central Texas Advisory Committee member, IDD Council of Tarrant County member and Texas Parent 2 Parent volunteer. She attended Texas Wesleyan University and Tarrant County College.
Sandra Quin Heaslet Secretary
Currently serving as Secretary for The Arc, Sandra Quin Heaslet started supporting individuals with disabilities early in life. She first worked as a student aide in Alief ISD and served as a volunteer with Special Olympics. It seemed only natural after graduating from St. Agnes Academy that Sandra would study to become a special education teacher. She graduated from what was then called Southwest Texas State University (now known as Texas State University) with a degree in General Studies and a specialization in Special Education. She became a certified teacher for grades 1-8 in general education and all levels for special education.
Sandra later moved to Denton and received her Master’s of Science at the University of North Texas, and married Michael. They now have a 14-year old son, Nate, who is the joy of their lives. As a speechlanguage pathologist for the last 19 years, Sandra has worked in a few different settings: schools, home health, outpatient clinic, and now a managed care organization. She has had countless encounters with families and professionals throughout this time. These encounters are what have shaped Sandra into not only the speech-language pathologist she is today, but also had a significant impact on the person she has become. Some of those amazing families are members of The Arc of DFW Area and remain treasured friends to this day.
James Lunday Treasurer
Currently serving as Treasurer for The Arc, James Lunday has worked in the accounting field for 20 years; the past 8 as Controller for Tenaska Power Services Co in Arlington. James, his wife of 10 years Michelle and their 6-year-old son Luke live in Trophy Club. Luke has an intellectual disability and cortical visual impairment (CVI).
James is an active member of the Metroport Rotary Club of Southlake, currently serving as Treasurer for its non-profit Metroport Rotary Charities, Inc. Other volunteer experience includes Junior Achievement (Tulsa, OK), Presbyterian Night Shelter (Ft. Worth) and various mission projects through his church, Whites Chapel UMC. He and his wife Michelle are also members of the Pediatric Cortical Visual Impairment Society.
Beverly Black joined The Arc of DFW Area board of directors in 2018. She and her husband, Wayne, have been married for over 40 years and both live life with a disability. Beverly is also a retired worker and an active advocate for people with disabilities. She is a member of United Advocates and The SelfDetermination Group. She has served as President, Sergeant of Arms and Treasurer. Beverly can often be seen walking the halls at the Texas Capital speaking up for herself and those who don’t have a voice.
Marie Cooney joined The Arc of DFW Area board of directors in 2018 and is the mother of 6 children, 2 that she adopted when they were very young. She has 11 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. One of her grandchildren lives life with a disability which leads Marie to try and help others. Her desire to help others began when she was young. Marie has always gone out of her way to make others comfortable. She worked in the aircraft industry for over 30 years and during that time Marie was selected by her union to serve others at Lockheed Martin representing the International Association of Machinists on the Contribution Club which later became the AERO Club.
As a member of the executive board for 14 years, Marie served both employees and the community before retiring in 2010. She also served on the Crisis Relief and Area on Aging with United Way for 8 years. After meeting Beverly Black in 1981 they formed a bond that eventually led to her working in the disability field. Marie joined The Arc of DFW Area board of directors and strives to help others understand the need of people with disabilities to live the life they imagine.
Melissa Griffiths joined The Arc of DFW Area board of directors in 2019 and is a passionate advocate for disability rights. Since her childhood she has been involved in supporting individuals with disabilities. She has many family members who have disabilities, and since having her own child with a disability, has advocated for change on Capitol Hill and in her local community.
Melissa’s formal education includes a Bachelor’s Degree from Brigham Young University in Public Relations and an MBA from Stevens-Henager College. She has received Special Education Advocacy Training provided by the Council of Parent Attorneys, and Advocates, coursework by Down Syndrome Education International, and has attended conferences and trainings on learning disabilities. As a Texas Partners in Policy Making Graduate she continues to make strides to improve legislation at the state level.
Melissa is especially passionate about education advocacy and actively supports families in navigating the IEP process through the company she founded, DFW Advocacy. DFW Advocacy aims to promote inclusion, person-centered practices and policies, and encourage self-determination for individuals with disabilities.
Vanessa Daniel joined The Arc of DFW Area board of directors in 2019. Vanessa had what she considers the fortunate experience to be raised at a state hospital in Logansport, IN, as the result of being a child of the state hospital chaplain. She had the unique opportunity of being introduced to the mentally ill residents who lived there at a young age. Vanessa was able to accompany her dad for various activities with hospital residents. This nurtured her passion for becoming a nurse which led to where she is today.
Trained as an RN, Vanessa has worked most of her career as a case manager, also working for major insurance carriers, third party administrators for group health and workers’ compensation. She has worked in the areas of Medicare, Medicaid, Med/Surg and Mental Health. It is her desire to use her knowledge to be of assistance to others any way she can.
Interested in Serving on Our Board?
We can always use your help. The Board officially meets 10 times per year.
- Board Requirements
- Board Nomination Form
- Conflict of Interest Policy
- Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form
Complete Board Nomination Form and submit by August 1st.