The Council engages in advocacy, system’s change and capacity building activities for people with developmental disabilities and their families in order to promote equal opportunity, self-determination, and community inclusion.


The Nevada Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities (NGCDD) is authorized in accordance with Public Law 106-402 of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act (DD Act) and established under NRS 232.320 within the State of Nevada.  The Council  operates in partnership with the Nevada Disability and Advocacy Law Center  (NDALC) and the Nevada Center for Excellence on Disabilities (NCED) under the “Developmental Disabilities Network”. The NGCDD is funded annually by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) with matching funds of 25% appropriated by the Nevada Legislature. The Council operates on the Federal Fiscal Year Dates of October 1 through September 30th.

What We Do

The Council is committed to the development of a coordinated array of component services, supports and other assistance designed to achieve independence, productivity, integration and inclusion into the community for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD). The Council does not participate in direct service activities as mandated by the DD Act. Key activities include conducting outreach, providing training and technical assistance, removing barriers, developing coalitions, encouraging citizen participation, and keeping policymakers informed about disability issues.

Our goals are based on gaps in service identified through the development of our FFY 2017-2021 5 year state plan based on Federal “Areas of Emphasis” as outlined in the DD Act. The DD Act allows the State Councils to determine the areas of emphasis upon which to focus. 

The Council accomplishes its goals through activities carried out by NGCDD staff and partnering with other established agencies and organizations to address areas of mutual concern through sub-grants to develop and implement projects that address innovative ways to fill service gaps and develop infrastructure for the State. Visit our Projects & Activities Page for more information on our current grants awarded and staff projects. 


NGCDD Bylaws 06-2014

Position Statements

Council Members

Council members are appointed by the Governor and include individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities; parents or family members of individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities; and individuals who represent agencies that provide services to people with intellectual/developmental disabilities. Sixty percent (60%) of the Council must be made up of individuals with disabilities and/or parents of individuals with disabilities.

  1. Jodi Thornley – Council Chair, Parent
  2. Stephen Schumacher – Council Vice Chair, Advocate
  3. Vickie Ives – Title V of the SSA (Public and Behavioral Health)
  4. Jacob Arant – Advocate
  5. Lisa Bonie – Non Governmental Agency (NNCIL)
  6. Jenny Casselman – Parent
  7. Robbin Dunn – Parent
  8. Vacant – Title XIX of the SSA (Medicaid)
  9. Ron Futrell – Parent
  10. Aimee Hadleigh – Parent
  11. Shelley Hendren – Rehab Act of 1973 (Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation)
  12. Christi Hines-Coates – Department of Education
  13. Kathleen Kingston – Parent
  14. Russell Lehmann – Advocate
  15. Jack Mayes – Protection and Advocacy Agency (NDALC)
  16. Lauralyn McCarthy – Parent
  17. Kimberly Palma-Ortega – Parent
  18. Brian Patchett – Non Governmental Agency (Easter Seals, NV)
  19. Santa Perez – Advocate
  20. Renee Portnell – Parent
  21. Steve Rock – University Center for Excellence in Disabilities (NCED)
  22. Dena Schmidt – Older Americans Act of 1965 (Aging and Disability Services Division)
  23. David Sorensen – Advocate

Council Staff

Council Committees

  1. Executive Committee: Chair: Jodi Thornley, Members: Robbin Dunn, Kimberly Palma-Ortega, and Renee Portnell
  2. Evaluation Committee: Chair: Kimberly Palma-Ortega, Members: Shelley Hendren, Jack Mayes, Santa Perez, Renee Portnell, Steve Rock, Jodi Thornley
  3. Budget Committee: Chair: Robbin Dunn, Members: Mary Liveratti, Steve Rock, Jodi Thornley, Jack Reid, Jenny Casselman
  4. Legislative Committee: Chair: Renee Portnell, Members:  Lisa Bonie, Erik Jimenez, Kathleen Kingston, Jack Mayes, Brian Patchett, Santa Perez, Stephen Schumacher

Agendas and minutes of past Committee meetings can be found on our Event Calendar, Agendas and Meeting Minutes Page.

Other Important Links

If you have further questions about the council, or becoming a council member, please email Ellen Marquez, Executive Assistant at elmarquez@dhhs.nv.gov or call 775-684-8619.