We are Disability Equality in Education (DEE), supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council. DEE began operations in July 2017. As a truly grassroots effort, all leadership of DEE are people with disabilities (both invisible and physical) and we rely on a network of volunteers who are people with disabilities and allies. DEE is affiliated with Disabled in Action (DIA). DIA is a civil rights organization committed to ending discrimination against people with disabilities. We embody the phrase “Nothing about us, without us” in the work we do with schools and colleges.
Curriculum Development for K-12 to Reduce Disability Stigma in Schools:
We have created a disability comprehensive curriculum lesson plan library. This is a resource for teachers to explore disability in multiple contexts (history, math, science and social studies) in the classroom. Our lessons and associated resources are informed by the Social Model of Disability Our focus with education is to normalize the idea of disability with all students. If you are interested in teaching our lessons, but need extra support, we are here for you! DEE can provide free training on teaching disability in the classroom just contact us to learn more.
Disability Pride is the notion that disability is a fundamental intersectional identity and community. Disability Pride celebrations are experiences for people with disabilities to share their stories with fellow comrades and allies. These events enhance the student experience on campus by encouraging discussion and celebration of disabilities. Our Disability Pride Day at Millersville University was a great success. DEE collaborates with colleges to help them build a good foundation to host Disability Pride events year after year. If you are interested in holding a Disability Pride event at your college or university, please contact us.
Meet Our Team
[Image description] Alan poses with Yoshiko Dart. They are both smiling. Yoshiko is wearing a bucket hat with ADAPT across the front and a purple shirt with a power button symbol. Alan is wearing a brown hat and a white disability pride shirt.
Alan (AKA Johnny Crescendo) is the Director of Disability Equality in Education. He is a disability civil rights activist, singer and songwriter, born in Salford, UK. He founded and spearheaded the Direct Action Network (DAN) in 1993. Alan moved to Philadelphia, USA, in 2003 to be with his wife and daughter. He is a member of Philly ADAPT, a disability grassroots activist organization. Listen to Alan talk about DEE on Barrier Free Futures with Bob Kafka here.
Stacy McCafferty is the business administrator for Disability Equality in Education and works to challenge disability stigma in schools and colleges throughout PA. Stacy has been with DEE for almost 4 years. Stacy earned her Master’s Degree in Clinical-Counseling Psychology from La Salle University with honors. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends.
[Image description] Vicki smiles for the camera.
Vicki Landers, the Executive Director of Disability Pride Philadelphia Inc., has joined our team on a part time basis. She has a flair for marketing and event planning, and will be helping us with our sustainability and networking with schools and colleges in Central PA. We are working together on Disability Pride Central PA this October in Harrisburg that will kick off Disability Action Month, and are actively involving schools and colleges.
[Image description] Lisa looks towards the camera with her hand by her chin.
Lisa has been an advocate for the independent living movement since the early 1990s. Lisa has worked as a personal care attendant for Home & Community based services since 2006. Lisa has been an active volunteer for Disability Equality in Education since 2017 and looks forward to contributing more to our mission in her role as one of the Education Outreach liaisons.
[Image description] Jessica smiles for the camera.
Jessica Keogh is one of our curricula writers. She teaches students who have difficulty regulating their emotions. Being born with a yet to be diagnosed type of Muscular Dystrophy, she has dedicated her life to educating, advocating, and empowering people with disabilities (and those without) so they can live their most empowered lives. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in educational policy, leadership, and administration. Jessica’s research surrounds critical disability studies and representation in curriculum.
[Image description] Barbara looks towards the camera.
Barbara Lisicki has joined our team as one of the curricula writers. She is a qualified teacher with decades of experience in further and adult education who has also worked in schools and with youth projects.
She has written, published and shared teaching materials on inclusion, accessibility and best practice in implementing disability equality. Barbara has spent much of her life campaigning for equality and a celebration of diversity so that the world will be fairer and better for everyone and she is committed to continuing this work.
Last word: don’t call her inspirational. However, feisty and gorgeous are perfectly acceptable.
[Image description] Sharon smiles for the camera.
Sharon Pennock is our Social Media and Systems Organizer. She’s been a volunteer with DEE since its inception in 2017 and is looking forward to expanding the work she’s been able to do to make more connections and work to bring more awareness, acceptance, understanding, visibility and representation surrounding disability.
[Image description] Connie smiles for the camera.
Connie Vandarakis has joined the DEE team temporarily to write curriculum related to our arts initiatives. She is an Arts expert for the Zero Project Arts & Museum’s Inclusive Arts and Museum Committee and International Disability’s consultant in movement. She holds a Master Teacher level certification in DanceAbility, and serves as Vice President of DanceAbility’s Executive Board. She served in higher academia at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA for thirty years in several roles including Associate Dean in Division of Liberal Arts, Title IX Coordinator, Dance Education Coordinator, and Assistant Professor in the School of Dance. Connie serves as part-time Program Director of Disability Pride PA and serves on their Board.