About AHEAD in Texas
The mission of AHEAD in Texas is to provide leadership to professionals working with students with disabilities at post-secondary institutions in Texas.
The organization provides leadership by fostering educational and professional development opportunities, as well as professional networking for regional professionals serving students with disabilities at institutions of higher education, and other professionals engaged in serving people, especially students, with disabilities. Members of AHEAD in Texas include current and former disability service providers as well as others interested in disability-related issues such as vocational rehabilitation counselors, other higher education staff members, students, advocates, and parents.
AHEAD in Texas was created for professionals in Texas but membership is open and available to disability service providers in neighboring states including Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.
The origins of AHEAD in Texas can be traced back to 1992 with the first annual conference that was held at St. Philip’s College in San Antonio. Rhonda Rapp, charter member and first president of the organization, was integral in establishing the organization. According to Mrs. Rapp, she came back from the AHEAD conference with the idea of starting a state organization as a service for those who could not afford to attend the national conference. Together with the assistance of Patricia Candia of St. Phillips College in San Antonio, the first conference took place in 1992 with Jane Jarrow as the keynote speaker. From this conference and funds from a failed attempt to establish a similar organization in the Austin area, AHEAD in Texas was founded.
Following the first conference, a committee was formed to galvanize the organization. Initial members included Rhonda Rapp, Patricia Candia, Sandi Patton, Kerry Tate, Eileen Cross, Margie Skyles, Kay Carroll, and Diana Stiles. For two years, this group served as the first officers of AHEAD in Texas and a constitution and bylaws were written.
Important developments for AHEAD in Texas include:
Development of a webpage
Development of an electronic listserv for members
Recognition as a non-profit corporation by the State of Texas and granted an exemption from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
Bylaws and Constitution updated and changes ratified by member vote
AHEAD in Texas became a provider for continuing education credits for Licensed Professional Counselor and the Licensed Master Social Worker
AHEAD in Texas recognized as the Texas affiliate of the Association of Higher Education and Disabilities
Affiliate homepage moved to AHEAD website
Committee positions of Communication & Membership Chairs were combined and changed to an elected officer positions
Date for the annual conference permanently moved to the spring to facilitate federal income tax filing
Regional workshops changed to the fall/summer of the year
Constitution retired; Bylaws amended and approved by member ballot
Terms of Board officers changed to April 1 -March 31
Completed revisions on Board Policy and Procedure Manual begun in 2006
Revised the conference planning responsibilities; the Board of Directors took primary conference planning duties from the rotating “host” institutions and created a secondary role for volunteers of local host volunteers named the Site Conference Planning Committee; the first conference organized under this plan was held April 2008 in San Antonia, TX
Organization logo updated for the first time
Bylaws updated and approved by membership vote; changes included alterations to Board of Directors leadership positions and terms, and approved by membership vote
AHEAD in Texas offered online webinars as the Covid pandemic changed the required ways to provide service to our members in spring 2021, continuing in fall 2022 and fall 2023.
AHEAD in Texas provided an in person conference in San Antonio issuing in a return to conference gatherings.
A new website was created to address the ever changing needs of its members. AHEAD in Texas seeks to provide its members with current information, resources and opportunities for fellowship.
ARTICLE I: NAME AND PURPOSE
The name of this organization is the Association on Higher Education And Disability in Texas (AHEAD in Texas). AHEAD in Texas was established in 1992 and incorporated in the State of Texas as a non-profit corporation in 2000. AHEAD in Texas is an affiliate of the International Association on Higher Education And Disability, formerly known as the Association on Handicapped Student Service Programs in Post-Secondary Education. AHEAD in Texas (hereafter known as the Affiliate) shall educate, train and communicate with professionals of various educational agencies serving students with disabilities attending any public or private post-secondary institution in the State of Texas. AHEAD in Texas does not discriminate against any individual with regard to race, color, gender, age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other constitutionally or statutorily impermissible reason. This policy extends to all programs and activities supported by AHEAD in Texas.
The purpose of the Affiliate shall be to serve as a non-profit organization providing expertise and information on disability issues, rights of persons with disabilities, educational and professional development opportunities to higher education disability service providers and other professionals/interested parties, promoting coordination between agencies, associations and organizations for the purpose of promoting opportunity and advocacy for college and university students with disabilities and supporting legislation that benefits higher education and students with disabilities.
ARTICLE II: STRUCTURE
AHEAD in Texas (hereafter referred to as the Affiliate) is created as a volunteer professional organization directed by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Board of Directors will be composed of elected officers whose responsibility will be to carry out the mission of the Affiliate through policy formation, the execution of fiduciary responsibility, and maintenance and growth of the organization.
ARTICLE III: MEMBERSHIP
Membership shall be open and available to any interested person according to membership and dues categories as established by the Board of Directors and contained in the bylaws with rights and responsibilities contained therein.
1. Institutional Membership – Higher Education
Directors/Coordinators/Counselors/Staff of Disability Services at 2 and 4 year public and private colleges and universities. This membership level is eligible to hold office and has full voting privileges. This membership is transferable to another staff member at the same institution if there is a change of staff during the membership year as long as the original membership was paid for by the institution.
2. Professional – Higher Education Other
Directors/Coordinators/Counselors/Staff of Disability Services at 2 and 4 year public and private colleges and universities. In addition, Directors/Coordinators/Counselors/Case Managers of other agencies/professional organizations providing services to and promoting access or advocating for post-secondary students with disabilities can also serve as professional members. This membership level is eligible to hold office and has full voting privileges. This membership is transferable (higher education only).
Former professional members, administrative/support staff at any agency/professional organization/post-secondary institution, advocates or family members of students with disabilities. This membership level is not transferable, not eligible to hold office and has no voting privileges.
4. Emeritus Professional
Individual retired from positions in higher education who were previous members of AHEAD in Texas. This membership level is not transferable, not eligible to hold office and has no voting privileges.
Individuals enrolled as full-time students in an undergraduate or graduate program at an institution of higher learning. This membership level is not transferable, not eligible to hold office and has no voting privileges.
The membership/dues year shall run from January 1 – December 31.
ARTICLE IV: EXECUTIVE AUTHORITY
Executive Authority shall be vested in the Board of Directors, composed of elected Officers. The Board of Directors is empowered to do all things permitted by law and to exercise all authority within the purposes stated in the bylaws contained herein.
The officers of the Affiliate shall be the President, President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, Immediate Past-President, Director of Membership/Communication, and Director-at-Large.
All officers shall be elected at-large from the active and eligible voting members of the Affiliate by a date set by the Board of Directors. The terms of all officers will begin June 1. Nomination and elections of Officers will be in accordance with procedures established by the Board of Directors.
The term of office for the President, President-Elect, and Immediate Past-President shall be for a period of one (1) year. The term of office for the Treasurer, Secretary, Director of Membership/Communication and Director-at-Large shall be for a period of two (2) years. In the event of a vacancy in the office of President, President-Elect shall assume the duties of the President without prejudice to the ensuing term of office. All other midterm vacancies shall be filled by presidential appointment and approved by a majority of the officers.
The officers shall have full authority to conduct the affairs of the Affiliate between meetings of the Board of Directors.
Such authority must remain within the provisions of and not conflict with the bylaws, decisions, actions or policies established by the Affiliate.
ARTICLE V: OFFICERS
The officers of the board shall be the President, President Elect, Immediate Past President, Secretary, Treasurer, Director of Membership/Communication, and Director-at-Large. Duties of the Officers of the Board shall be delineated in the Board Policy and Procedure Manual.
ARTICLE VI: FINANCE
The Board of Directors shall be responsible for maintaining the fiscal integrity of the Affiliate and for ensuring financial stability and growth. The Treasurer will serve as the chief financial officer of the Affiliate.
Income shall be derived from sources consistent with the purpose and mission of the Affiliate. Affiliate funds shall be invested in instruments which are insured and/or are of a type and level of risk approved by the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors shall review periodically the types of instruments and the level of risk allowed for investments. All financial transactions, fees and references made thereto will be in U.S. funds.
The financial and accounting records of the Affiliate will be compiled into a summary report at the close of the fiscal year in a manner prescribed by the Board of Directors. The fiscal year shall be January 1 through December 31.
ARTICLE VII: COMMITTEES
The Affiliate President, in conjunction with the Board of Directors, shall establish, maintain, and dissolve such standing and ad hoc committees as may be needed to conduct its business and activities. Chairs of each committee will be selected and appointed by the President.
Chairs of standing and ad hoc committees may be expected to attend Board meetings and report on activities of their respective committees. Committee chairs function in an adjunct and advisory manner to the board and do not have voting privileges on Board matters.
ARTICLE VIII: IMPEACHMENT AND REMOVAL
An elected officer may be impeached by the Board of Directors for actions that are seriously negligent, fraudulent, illegal, and/or unethical within the duties of the respective office. Impeachment procedures will be delineated in the Board Policy and Procedure Manual.
ARTICLE IX: PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY
The most current edition of Robert’s Rule of Order shall be the Parliamentary guidelines for proceedings of the Affiliate whenever it does not conflict with Constitution and /or these bylaws.
ARTICLE X: AMENDMENTS
Amendments or other changes in these bylaws may be initiated in the following ways:
- 1. The President may propose amendments.
- 2. The Board of Directors may propose amendments.
- 3. Any active voting member may submit, in writing, a proposed amendment to the Board of Directors.
The Board of Directors will consider the proposed amendment(s) upon approval of a simple majority of the Board of Directors; the amendment shall be made available to the entire membership for vote. Upon two-thirds approval of those voting from the general membership the amendment shall become part of these bylaws.
Board of Directors (July 2023-June 2024)
Tamara Mancini, M.Ed.
Texas Tech University Health Science Center
President Elect (Vacant)
Cynthia Lowery, M.A,, LPC
The University of Texas at Arlington
817- 272-3364, firstname.lastname@example.org
Texas State Technical College
Director of Communication and Membership
Laura Marquez Ramsey, MA
Elvira Smith, M.A., CRC, LPC
University of Texas Arlington
Samantha Johnson , M.Ed, LPC-S
Past Board Members and Conference Locations