Fred Shafer, President
Fred Shafer has served in the field of special education for 39 years. He began his career in special education in 1976 as an Associate Psychologist with the Region 3 Education Service Center in Victoria, Texas at the time the Education of the Handicapped Act-Part B (EHA Part B) was passed into law that allowed students disabilities the right to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). As an Associate Psychologist, Shafer was responsible for evaluating students to determine their need for special education services. He also worked with districts in the Region 3 area to develop programs for students with behavior problems. He was later promoted to Coordinator for Special Education for Region 3 ESC and provided leadership in the delivery of services to local school districts in programming for students with disabilities.
After 22 years at Region 3 ESC Shafer was hired by the Katy Independent School District as the Director of Special Education and later became the Executive Director for Special Education, Counseling and Psychological Services. During his tenure as Executive Director for Katy ISD the district was recognized for the many exemplary programs and services that were developed for students with disabilities. The district was recognized two consecutive years by the Texas Education Agency for Preschool Programs for Children with Disabilities (PPCD) promising practices, recognized by the Texas Psychological Association for the district’s delivery of psychological services, developed and implement research based programs for students with autism and developed a specialized program for medically fragile students.
After a 10 year career with Katy ISD, Shafer was hired as the Director of Special Education for Region 4 Education Service Center. Region 4 is the largest of the 20 service centers in the state of Texas serving over one million students. Shafer lead a team of 20 education specialist in providing services to local school districts that included professional development, program evaluations and reviews, technical assistance and program development.
Upon retirement in 2012 Shafer started Shafer Consulting, LLC. He has contracted with Region 4 ESC as a Field Supervisor for the Region 4 ESC Alternative Certification Program and serves as a special education consultant to local school districts providing professional development and serving as an Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) facilitator. He has worked for Region 4 ESC as a Field Supervisor for the Region 4 Alternative Certification Program.
Shafer has contracted with the Texas Education Agency as a conservator and special education monitor. In 2014 he was assigned by the TEA Commissioner of Education as a conservator and special education monitor in Beaumont ISD to provide oversight of the district’s operations and special education program.
In 2015 Shafer was hired by the Beaumont ISD to serve as the Executive Director of Special Education Services for the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years. During his tenure as Executive Director Shafer restructured the special education department, implemented program standards to ensure program quality and consistency across the district, restructured the delivery of related services to students and corrected all areas of non-compliance identified by the Texas Education Agency.
Shafer continues to be active in local, regional and state organizations that support children with disabilities and their families. In 2000 Shafer was honored by the Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education with the Hall of Honor award which is given to one Special Education Director in the state nominated by his/her peers who demonstrates statewide leadership in the field of special education.
Recognized for their years of work in the field of education, Fred and his wife Patti were honored by Katy ISD as namesakes for the Fred and Patti Shafer Elementary School. Recognizing the importance of being a namesake the Shafer’s give much of their time to the school by mentoring students and being actively involved in the school’s activities.
Shafer’s continued involvement in Katy ISD includes the KEYS mentoring program where he was recognized as a 2014 Mentor of the Year, Leadership Katy, Katy ISD Education Foundation and the 2014 Katy Bond Committee.
Fred is an active member of Kingsland Baptist Church where is serves as a Deacon and a member of the Adult Bible Fellowship class. Fred also serves in the Children’s Ministry by assisting with students with special needs.
Margaret Laney, Vice President
Margaret was elected to The Arc of Katy Board of Directors in 2012, became vice-president in 2015 and has been acting/interim president since November 2016. She previously chaired the organization’s Communications Committee.
A native of Denver, Colo., Margaret has more than 30 years of experience in public, government and regulatory affairs and communications, mostly in the energy industry. She is currently Director of Industry & Regulatory Coordination for BP’s Global Wells Organization.
Margaret has served on the boards of directors and committees of a variety of energy industry trade associations as well as several non-profit organizations in Louisiana, Texas, Colorado and Illinois and is a 2005 fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago. Margaret completed the Kellogg Management Institute at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and earned her bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Political Science from The Metropolitan State College in Denver.
Margaret lives in Katy, Texas, with her husband, Steve Laney, who is a day program instructor for The Arc of Katy. They have four adult children and three grandchildren.
Donna Bode, Secretary
Donna Bode is a native West Virginian and graduated with a teaching degree in English and physical education in 1969 from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. She taught three years before she and her husband moved to Beaumont, Texas in 1972. They have two sons, a daughter with Down Syndrome, and two grandchildren who are all native Texans.
Due to her husband’s job, they moved to Katy, Texas in 1985. Since that time, they have been members of Epiphany of the Lord Catholic Community. Donna is a retired Katy ISD school teacher.
Donna served on the committee to develop The Arc of Katy Day Program that opened in February, 2005. She also served as an instructor for the program. She continues to volunteer with the Day Program. She has served as secretary and was the social director for four years.
Amy Campbell, Board Member
A native of the Texas Panhandle, Amy also grew up in the Houston/Memorial area and attended school in Spring Branch I.S.D. After graduating from Sam Houston State University in December of 1981, Amy began her teaching career as a substitute teacher in Spring Branch I.S.D in the Spring of 1982, and then as a Special Education teacher at Katy High School in the Fall of 1982. While at Katy High School, she piloted the Life Skills Program and helped to start a swim program for students with special needs that later became known as the Adaptive Aquatics Program. She later moved to James E. Taylor High School in 1995 and started the Life Skills Program and Vocational Adjustment Program there. Amy served as a faculty sponsor of the James E. Taylor High School Best Buddies Club from its start in 2001, as the 2nd high school Best Buddies Club in the State of Texas, until December 2016.
In 1989 she was present at the first organizational meeting of Katy I.S.D. staff and parents of students with special needs who worked together to form a local chapter of The Arc. Amy has been a member of the organization since its original charter in August of 1990. She later served as a member of the Board of Directors, and then as Vice- President of the organization, and was recently elected again to the Board of Directors in May of 2015.
She helped start The Arc of Katy’s Pilot Adult Day Camp in 2005, and that same year she was also named James E. Taylor High School’s Teacher of the Year. In 2014 she was recognized for her service to The Arc of Katy by being named as honoree of their Annual Triumph Gala Event. In addition to being a member of the Board of Directors, Amy also serves as co-chair of the Communications Committee, and is a member of the Program Committee.Amy recently retired from a rewarding teaching career after 34 years with Katy I.S.D., but plans to continue serving The Arc of Katy for many years to come.
Ellen Candito, Board Member
Ellen was born, raised and educated in Boston, MA, but got to Katy as quickly as she could. Ellen was elected to The Arc of Katy Board in 2012, and serves on the Development Committee, as well as on the Gala Committee.
Ellen is employed as a Speech Language Pathologist with KISD, and works with the junior- and senior-high populations. She received her undergraduate degree from Bridgewater State University, MA, in Communication Disorders, with a minor in Special Education and Psychology. She did graduate work at University of Houston and University of Denver.
Ellen was a Speech Pathologist with HISD before moving to Denver, where her son and daughter were born. From there, she lived in Dallas, and Billings, MT, before arriving in Katy in 1994.
Ellen has been a confirmation catechist at Epiphany of the Lord for the past eight years, and taught CCE while her children were going through the program. In her spare time she enjoys outdoor activities including kayaking, biking, traveling and spending precious time enjoying family and friends.
Dennis Combrink, Board Member
Dennis Combrink joined The Arc of Katy Board of Directors in 2015. He and his wife, Jeanne Ann, moved to Katy from San Marcos in 1994 and got involved with The Arc of Katy and Special Olympics with their daughter Joy. She was one of the first campers in the Day Program and really enjoyed it. They chair the Social Committee for The Arc of Katy and are coaches of the Katy Comets bowling team for Special Olympics.
Dennis is the City Director of Houston for CRU/Campus Crusade for Christ and the Priority Associates marketplace ministry. He is a graduate of Kansas State University in Business Administration. He and Jeanne Ann have been on staff with CRU for 46 years. Dennis and Jeanne Ann have five other children and 15 grandchildren. They are members of Grace Fellowship of Cinco Ranch.
Sherry Davies, Board Member
Sherry Davies joined The Arc of Katy Board of Directors in August 2016. She is a member of the Katy Area Economic Development Council, Katy Chamber of Commerce, Texas Networking-Tomball Chapter, Katy Military Affairs and The Ballard House.
A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Sherry is employed by Service Corporation International (SCI), beginning her career in April 1993 at Sparkman-Hillcrest, in Dallas. She transferred to Houston in 1998 and managed the construction project for Dignity Memorial-Katy Funeral Home, which opened August 2013. She is the Location Manager, licensed Funeral Director and serves as a mentor to our industry professionals.
Sherry and her husband, Horace, have four grown daughters: Jennifer, Pamela, Miki and Jordon and a beloved fur kid, Walter. An avid runner and cyclist, Sherry enjoys “all things outdoors” such as kayaking, hiking, long walks with Walter and gardening.
Don Elder Jr., Board Member
Don Elder Jr. was raised on a rice farm and ranch in Katy, Texas, where his dad and two uncles farmed for over 33 years. Don graduated from Katy High School and attended Sam Houston State University where he received Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees. He taught college courses at both Sam Houston State University and Hill College. Don has over 30 years of experience in sales/marketing in the Ready-Mix business. He owns Elder Consulting where he works with school and governmental entities.
Don served on the Katy Independent School District Board of Trustees for two terms. After that, he was elected to the Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) County Board. He served on this Board for ten years, two terms as president. He resigned from Katy City Council to run for Mayor and was elected May 12, 2007. He ran unopposed in the May 2009 election and was re-elected for a second term. He again ran unopposed in May 2011 and served until 2013.
Don served on the Talent Committee of the Economic Development Board as well as the Governing Board of the EDC. He has served on the Business Development Board of Sterling Bank and presently serves on the Development Board for Houston Community College (HCC). Some of Don’s other community involvement, to name a few, are past member of the Katy Athletic Booster Club; past president of Katy High School Alumni Association; honorary member of Katy FFA, as well as other schools in the district; past member of the Katy FFA Sales Committee; past member of Board of Directors for Katy Area A&M Club; past president of Katy Area A&M Club; past member of Board of Directors for Katy FFA Rodeo Committee; member of the 12th Man Foundation, Texas A&M University.
Don and his wife of over 50 years, Ida Faye, have one son, Shane. The Elders are active members of the First United Methodist Church in the “Heart of Katy.” Shane is married and is the Assistant Athletic Director for Football for the University of North Texas.
Ida Faye Elder, Board Member
Ida Faye Elder was raised in Katy, Texas, where she attended Katy Elementary, Katy Junior High and Katy High School. She graduated in May of 1966 from Katy High. She married Don Elder that same year and moved to Huntsville. She attended Sam Houston State University for one year. She also had a full-time job at the college as secretary and then later worked at the Huntsville Prison as a file clerk. They moved to Hillsboro, Texas, where she worked as a secretary and also attended classes to receive her Associate of Applied Science Degree. They moved back to Katy where Ida Faye worked for the Katy School District as an administrative assistant. She retired in December of 2011 after 35 years of service.
Ida Faye has been a member and president of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority. She was involved in Katy athletics when their son, Shane, was in school and later was an officer with the Katy Aggie Mom’s. Along with Don, Ida Faye has been involved with the Katy A&M Club, Katy FFA & Rodeo and church committees at First United Methodist Church where they are members. She currently is on the City’s Parks and Recreation Board. During the 6 years that Don was Mayor, she was involved in many city activities and functions.
Since Ida Faye’s retirement, she enjoys finding time to travel, cook and work in the yard. She and Don are still involved with the Aggies as well as Mean Green Football. Don and Ida Faye have been married over 50 years.
Denise Hester, Board Member
Denise is a Managing Director in KPMG’s Advisory Services practice with over 16 years of experience in contract compliance, internal audit, and SOX compliance. She is a member of KPMG’s Global Software Asset Management team.
Denise has her MS in Information Systems, MS in Accounting, and BS in Accounting and is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor, and a Certified Information Systems Auditor. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accounting; Institute of Internal Auditors; Information Systems Audit and Control Association and National Association of Black Accountants.
Denise is originally from Louisiana, but moved to Texas in 1999. She and her husband live in the Reserve at Katy. They have three sons. They enjoy spending time with their sons in the park. They are also sports fans so whenever they get the chance, they are attending sporting events.
Carolyn Kares, Board Member
Carolyn was elected to The Arc of Katy Board of Directors in May, 2015. She is a native Texan having been born and raised in Port Arthur, Texas. She has an autistic nephew who attends the Arc Day Camp and began volunteering with the Summer Camp, Day Camp and Gala Committee. She also enjoys volunteering with Interfaith Ministries Katy Meals on Wheels, the Katy Fussell Senior Center and Katy’s Wolf Pack Special Olympics Team. She serves on the boards of the Houston Junior Forum and All Saints Third Age Learning Center. She is a 50 year member of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority and has served in various offices including President of the Houston Council and is a recipient of the sorority’s highest honor, the International Award of Distinction.
She and husband Joe, a recently retired CPA, attend Tallowood Baptist Church and have a daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons.
Carolyn serves as The Arc of Katy Program Committee Chairman and participates on the social and development committees.
Mike Lattal, Treasurer
Mike joined The Arc Board in May 2010 and is past president of the Board. He also has supported The Arc as a volunteer assisting in fund-raising and charity events and the program committee. He has developed his passion for Arc participants through his wife, Therese, who is a counselor for the Day Camp program. He has spent over 30 years in the oil and gas business specializing in Natural Gas and Gas liquids business with BP and Statoil.
Mike served on the Board and as president of the Natural Gas Processors Association, an industry organization associated with Natural Gas Midstream Operations. Originally a native of the Chicago area, he received his Masters in Business Administration Degree from DePaul University, and undergraduate degree from Western Illinois. He currently is a member of Epiphany of the Lord Catholic Church in Katy, and assists the St. Vincent DePaul organization. Mike and Therese have three children and two grandchildren.
Kristie Ondracek, Board Member
Kristie joined the board in 2016 and has been active on fundraising and finance committees. Kristie Ondracek is a native Nebraskan who moved to Houston in 2010 for her employment. Kristie is the Controller at the Houston Certified Public Accountants Society and has over 20 years of financial reporting experience. She has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Management and a Master’s in Business Administration. She is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Global Management Accountant.
Outside of work, Kristie volunteers for the Houston Certified Public Accountants Society and Special Olympics. Kristie’s hobbies include scrapbooking, making handmade cards, reading and spending time with friends and family.
Kristie’s sister, Wanda, is a participant in The Arc of Katy.
Robert Crutchfield, Board Member
Robert is a bi-vocational minister who is the founder/editor of FaithInspires.Org. He has been in the Katy area for fifteen years. During this time, Robert has been very involved in the community. He was a local board member for the United States Selective Service System in the Ship Channel area, before moving to Katy. He was named Admiral Texas Navy by Governor Mark White in 1986. He is the former chaplain for the Katy Fire Department and former Chairman for the Public Relations Committee Republican Party of Harris County. He has preached weekly at the Spanish Meadows Nursing Home in Katy for five years. He was also the Race Marshal for the Katy Color Run in 2017. These are just a few of his involvements and accomplishments.
Robert and his wife Karen have two children, Michelle, and Rachel, and four grandsons. He enjoys writing, online video and social media. He was Scriggler.Com's Author of the Month for October 2016 competing against writers from several different countries.
Cherie Duddridge, Board Member
Cherie Duddridge joined the Arc of Katy board in board in 2017. She and her family moved to Katy in Katy, TX in 2011 from Wheaton, IL.
Cherie is a native of Pittsburgh, PA with 30 years of experience in the oil and gas industry in a wide range of roles from engineering, quality control, construction, and property management at a variety of locations ranging from Cleveland, Los Angeles, London, UK, and Chicago, IL. She is currently the Property Director of the Houston Westlake campus for BP.
Cherie served on the Board of Director for SIDS of IL and the Taylor High School Orchestra Parents Association. Cherie obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA as well as attending University of Houston to study Environmental Engineering.
Cherie lives in Katy, Tx with her husband, Ian. They have two sons, Andrew and Kristian. She is active in the USA Swimming and UIL swimming as a certified Official. Cherie enjoys walking, yoga and reading.
Marchelle Peters, Board Member
Marchelle Peters received her Bachelor’s of Education in Special Education from Baylor University and her Master’s in Educational Psychology/Special Education from the University of Houston. Marchelle has served as a Diagnostician Coordinator in Spring ISD, Program Specialist for Assessment and Inclusion and Educational Diagnostician in Tomball ISD. She was an Educational Diagnostician in Cypress Fairbanks ISD and was a Teacher of Students with Autism and a PPCD Teacher in Pasadena ISD. She is currently the Instructional Officer for PPCD, Life Skills and TIP in Katy ISD. Katy ISD is fortunate to have Marchelle join the Special Education staff. She will bring a wealth of personal knowledge to the Board.
Marchelle has three children: Brandon, 15; Bryce, 9; and Brea, 6. She enjoys spending time outside as well traveling and visiting new places.