Governor Abbott Appoints Six To Governor’s Committee On People With Disabilities

September 15, 2023 | Austin, Texas | Appointment

Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Neva Fairchild and Lauren Taylor and reappointed Ellen Bauman, Elyse Lieberman, Ph.D., Eric Lindsay, and Kristie Orr, Ph.D. to the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities for terms set to expire on February 1, 2025. The Committee recommends changes in disability policies and programs, supports a network of committees on people with disabilities, issues awards to promote greater awareness, and promotes compliance with disability related laws.

Neva Fairchild of Flower Mound recently retired as national aging & vision loss specialist at the American Foundation for the Blind and has worked in the field of blindness services for over 30 years. She is the immediate past president of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired and the newsletter editor for the American Council of the Blind of Texas. Fairchild received a Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Science and a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling Psychology from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

Lauren Taylor of Denton is a certified rehabilitation counselor and a licensed professional counselor associate. She was born with Muscular Dystrophy and has used a power chair for mobility since the age of 3. She currently works as a senior program project coordinator for the ENGAGE program, which is housed under the University of North Texas Workplace Inclusion and Sustainable Employment office. She is also a LEADer for To Be Like Me, where she educates school age children as well as the general public about disabilities. She earned the title of Miss Wheelchair Texas 2019 and currently volunteers for Canine Companions.

Ellen M. Bauman of Joshua is the special needs ministry liaison for First United Methodist Church in Arlington. She is a member of the Texas Council on Consumer Direction, Central Texas Aging Disability Resource Center advisory committee, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Council of Tarrant County, and Cook Children’s Oral Health Coalition. Additionally, she is the board president of the Arc of DFW Area, a committee member for the Arc of Texas, and chair of Texas Parent to Parent. Bauman is the 2023 recipient of the The ARC of Texas Virginia Eernisse Legacy Award. Bauman attended Texas Wesleyan University and Tarrant County College and received a certificate of Christian Education from Columbia College in Columbia, South Carolina.

Elyse Lieberman, Ph.D. of Victoria is a complaints manager at the Texas Education Agency. She has over 25 years of experience in Texas public schools as a teacher and administrator of special education programs. She served as a faculty member of Western Governors University in the Educational Leadership Department of the Teachers College. She is a member of the Texas Council of Administrators for Special Education and the Council for Exceptional Children. Lieberman received a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in American Studies and Psychology from the University of Delaware and a Master of Education in Education Administration and a Doctor of Philosophy in Education Administration from Texas A&M University.

Eric Lindsay of San Antonio retired as a lieutenant colonel after serving in the United States Army for 21 years. He is a member of the Paralyzed Veterans of America – Texas Chapter. Lindsay received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Washington State University and a Master of Arts in Diplomacy and a Master of Science in International Business from Seton Hall University. 

Kristie Orr, Ph.D. of College Station is disability resources director for Texas A&M University. She is past president of the Association on Higher Education and Disability and a member of the Association on Higher Education and Disability in Texas. She provides peer workshops, lectures, and external reviews at state and national conferences on campuses throughout the nation. Orr received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Doctor of Philosophy in School Psychology from Texas A&M University, and a Master of Education in Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.