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The Autism Society the Heartland received the National Autism Society Affiliate of The Year for 2015 as well as receiving the Midwest Regional EMMY for the film Just Like You Autism

Office Manager

Kathy Bennett

Kathy is blessed to have boy & girl twins, with her son being on the spectrum.  Kathy has a Bachelors Degree in Business and has worked in the financial industry for over 20 years.  Kathy is an active member of the special needs community and has been for over a decade.  She has been on the leadership team of the Blue Valley School District Special Education Advisory Council since 2011, was a member of the Kansas City Autism Speaks Walk committee for 4 years, and co-chaired the walk with her husband, Rick, in 2011.  Kathy has a passion to advocate for all families and provide those families with resources and support needed to make their loved ones with special needs lead happy and successful lives. 

Board of Directors 2017


Mandy Schefter

I am very excited to be the 2016 Vice President. My 17 year old son is on the spectrum. My 17 year old cousin is on the spectrum. And my 14 year old nephew is on the spectrum. Besides the hours and hours (years and years!) of researching autism, therapies, and just how to survive, I have also served as the Resource Fair Committee Chair for Autism Speaks (Kansas City walk), and on the board of Alpacas for Autism. I currently teach Pre-K and am a special needs consultant for Sasone. I am married and also have a 14 year old daughter. 


Tisha Fagan

Tisha has her Bachelor’s Degree from Kansas State University.  In her 20+ years of accounting experiences she has worn many different hats from bookkeeper to Controller.  She was born and raised in Manhattan, KS but has lived in Johnson County, KS the past 23 years.  Tisha and her husband Steve currently live in Western Shawnee where two of her children attend the DeSoto School district.  Tisha has 3 children;  Dylan is 24, graduate also of K-State and works in the finance department at Cerner. Daughter Alyssa is 15, a freshman and is in the center-based program at her high school, with A-typical Autism.  Daughter Kara is 5 and in Kindergarten.   She is excited to become involved with the Autism Society of the Heartland.  Her daughters diagnosis of A-typical Autism made it difficult for her to know where her family fit in for support.  "I’m realizing as I’ve gotten older and wiser that I don’t have to fit in….I can make a spot for us. I would like to help spread the mission and help other parents like me know they can make a spot too."



Nan Perrin

Nan Perrin is a Doctoral level Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D) and has graduate degrees in Human Development and Special Education from the University of Kansas. She has worked with individuals with autism since 1990. Nan currently works as an case manager for an insurance company.  Nan’s passion continues to be working with children, families, schools and providers to reach the best outcome for individuals on the spectrum. Her primary areas of focus are autism, positive behavior support for individuals and families, as well as policy and systems change.  Nan is also appointed to the Kansas Governor’s Commission on Autism as the BCBA member.  


Board Members

Lorena Mendoza

I'm 34 yrs.old, born and raised in K.C.K I have two wonderful children on the spectrum my son is 10yrs. old he is a high risk of non verbal my daughter is 6yrs. old, She is mild risk. I can also say I'm a very out going person once you get to know me, you can say that I'm that person that people come to when they need help with a gathering. I'm also bilingual in Spanish, I love spending time with my family, I have volunteered several times at the soup kitchen in my neighborhood. I do know this is my next step in life to help others in my community and my heritage.You have to live life to the fullest..... my families quote Santos "Believe"

LaKrystal McKnight

LaKrystal McKnight is currently a Special Education teacher  and teaches an Autism Program for grades K-5. She teaches students of all different levels of the Autism spectrum including kids who are nonverbal and/or need to be toilet trained, all the way to some that just need social skills instruction or self-advocacy skills. LaKrystal is taking classes and working on her supervision practicum experience in the field of behavior analysis. Her journey and experience with autism began when her cousin was diagnosed about 12 years at age 2. He is now 14 and growing and learning more everyday. She has always wanted to teach and help all children learn and because of her cousin Khoury, she developed a passion to impact and better the lives of children specifically with Autism or related diagnoses. She loves what she does and feels so blessed to be able to watch all of the children she has worked with, in both the school and home therapy setting, grow and learn to develop skills to be successful and interactive members of society.
Michelle Boyer

Michelle is a special education teacher in the USD 368 school district and a proud mother to Parker, 22 and Regan, 19 who are not on the spectrum.  She has been teaching special education for 28 years.  Her classroom consists of children with a variety of diagnosis and needs but she has seen the numbers in autism rise through the years within her program and the struggles her families face daily.  She realized that they needed more support and resources but those resources were not available in their area.  Michelle started a parent support group before joining ASH that was more conveniently located for her families.  The mission of this group was to provide knowledge and education, opportunities, support to the families and awareness to the community.  It is important to her that these families did not feel they were alone.  She feels it is equally important that society adapts to the needs of autism as it is for autism to make adaptions to fit into society. 

Michelle believes that we are all here to give back and serve in some way and God puts passions in our heart so that we know where to serve and for her it is to serve the families that live with autism.  She is very driven to be part of the changes that need to happen to support the families that face so many challenges and to help the world see how capable and beautiful these kids are.  

Tammy Scherer

Tammy is the mother of 3 children; the youngest is diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. She was a Foster Parent from 2000 to 2013. She volunteers as an Education Advocate for the state of Kansas through Families Together, Inc., serving children currently in the State’s custody in Johnson and Wyandotte County. She is an active Member in the PTA and in ABATE. (ABATE is a motorcycle rights organization that brings attention to issues affecting riders. They are also involved in safety training and charity work. The acronym ABATE stands for American Bikers Aimed Toward Education.) Tammy is also instrumental in organizing several fundraisers a year, with the largest being Rattlesnake’s Ride for Autism, a benefit for Autism Society – The Heartland. Her family has two mottos they try to follow. “Be Silly - Be Honest – Be Kind” and “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.  


A special THANK YOU to our amazing Volunteer Board Members for 2016 Thank you for your service to the Autism Community. Robin Masters, Alison Anderson, Jeff Blackwood, Jonathan Goering, Kate Duffy, Spencer Hunley, Terri Wible, Erik Nelson and Georgia Mueller.

The Board is currently looking for members of the community to fill vacant spots. If you are interested in finding out how to contribute please let us know.