New executive director named to Kansas Developmental Disabilities Council
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Developmental Disabilities Council has named a new executive director who brings a wealth of knowledge with her.
The Kansas Council on Developmental Disabilities says it has chosen a new executive director, Sara Hart Weir, to take the helm as Steve Gieber retires. The national nonprofit executive, disability policy expert and proud Kansan took over on Monday, Sept. 19.
“The KCDD is honored to have Sara join us to continue the very important work of the Council in the mission of ‘Empowering individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families to lead systems change, build capacity, and advocate for inclusive, integrated, accessible communities where everyone belongs and thrives,” said Kathy Keck, KCDD chair. “Her leadership style and background will be an asset to this very important work!”
KCDD said Weir previously led the National Down Syndrome Society as President and CEO and was fundamental in a variety of legislative acts, including the Stephen Beck Jr., Achieving A Better Life Experience Act, ABLE to Work Act, and the ABLE Financial Planning Act.
An innovative leader, KCDD said Weir is inspired by her late best friend, Kasey, who had Down Syndrome. She came to understand that the disability community did not have much advocating on Capitol Hill. Realizing this, she became passionate about “giving a voice to the voiceless” and encouraging solutions that would allow those with disabilities to achieve the life they deserve.
KCDD also noted that Weir created a first-of-its-kind employment program for those with Down Syndrome which matched those searching for work with various companies. She also co-founded the U.S. Future of Work for People with Disabilities Commission, which continues to be used by employers to create better workforce development programs.
KCDD indicated that Weir most recently worked as a senior adviser with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services with a focus on guiding and encouraging disability inclusion to be a part of its COVID-19 plan and co-chaired the state’s health equity committee.
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