WHO WE ARE
MEET OUR STAFF
Welcome to the staff information page of Disability Rights Connecticut (DRCT). We hope that you will take a few minutes to learn about the disability and civil rights experience that staff bring to the organization. There may also be a few other interesting details, too!
Gretchen in the Executive Director at Disability Rights Connecticut. With the exception of a short period of time as a program auditor, Gretchen held various jobs at the State Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities. In 1987, she began her tenure as an Information and Referral Specialist and later became a Management Analyst before advancing to the position of Assistant Director of the agency. Gretchen supervised the Advocacy Unit with direct supervision for the Assistive Technology and Voting programs focusing on the rights of persons with disabilities in these areas. She also directly supervised the advocacy program at Southbury Training School and has been active in Campaign 2020, a movement to close Southbury Training School and the regional centers run by the Department of Developmental Services. Gretchen is also excited to be working on Customized Employment and creating a new way of approaching employment for people with disabilities.
Gretchen enjoys providing presentations and training on topics including the Americans with Disabilities Act, Assistive Technology, and the Voting Rights of people with disabilities. She was also a faculty member for Partners in Policymaking, an intense leadership training program for people with disabilities and family members. Gretchen was a member of a national committee that assisted other protection and advocacy agencies with addressing organizational capacity and development issues, chairing the committee for three years. Outside of the responsibilities of her daily job, Gretchen also taught a class on assistive technology for adults at a local community college.
Please feel free to call her discuss Disability Rights Connecticut and how it can best serve people with disabilities in Connecticut!
Nancy is the Legal Director of Disability Rights Connecticut. Prior to joining DRCT, Nancy was the Managing Attorney at the State of Connecticut Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (OPA) for more than 17 years. She has a long history as a civil rights lawyer, dating back to 1983 when she was a Reginald Heber Smith Community Lawyer Fellow, better known as a “Reggie.” She worked at Neighborhood Legal Services in Hartford specializing in Employment Discrimination, Police Misconduct and Farmworker Law. While at NLS she was one of the original attorneys in the Sheff v. O’Neill school desegregation case. She then moved to New York where she was a staff attorney and later a supervising attorney at the New York City Commission on Human Rights where she specialized in disability discrimination cases.
At OPA, Nancy brought a number of cases in the District Court of Connecticut and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals that affirmed the right of OPA to have access to the records of individuals with disabilities and to facilities where they receive services. She brought litigation affirming the rights of people with mental illness and cases challenging the way prisoners with mental illness were treated by the Department of Correction. OPA also challenged the failure of movie theaters to provide captioning to its deaf constituents and the failure of the State to provide services to individuals with mental illness in the least restrictive environment.
Nancy was also a member of the Legal Committee of NDRN for approximately six years and was the chair of the Committee for her last two years. She has presented at NDRN conferences, at NARPA, and in front of various other groups. She is thrilled to be part of this new exciting venture!
Linda is the Information and Referral Coordinator and the Client Assistance Program (CAP) Advocate at the Disability Rights Connecticut (DRCT). Linda brings more than 26 years of disability advocacy experience to DRCT. After 23 years of state service, she retired from the State of Connecticut’s Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (P&A). Before coming to DRCT Linda spent 16 years as the Assistant Program Director for P&A’s Information and Referral Unit and Client Assistance Program. Linda also developed self-help publications, participated as a faculty member of the Partners in Policymaking leadership training, and represented P&A on several boards and councils.
Linda is passionate about employment for all people with disabilities and community inclusion.