Council names top disability expert as new executive director
by Sarah Ruf, Community Relations Specialist
Dec. 1, 2016
PHOENIX—Dr. Erica McFadden knows a thing or two about how to support people with disabilities. As an individual with cerebral palsy and nearly 20 years of hands-on experience in the disability field, she is stepping into the director’s role at the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council in our mission to support innovative projects that serve the 100,000 Arizonans with a developmental disability.
“I want to hear what big ideas people have because it’s going to take big ideas to move the needle and make significant change for Arizonans with developmental disabilities,” said Dr. McFadden. “I’m excited to use my passion and energies toward tackling barriers and highlighting solutions.
“Disability access to education, employment, and overall community life remains one of the most significant unrecognized social justice issues of our time,” she added.
Dr. McFadden comes to the Council after years of partnership in her work as a senior policy analyst for the Morrison Institute on Public Policy at Arizona State University. Prior to her move to Arizona, McFadden served as executive director of LINC Inc., a community-based service and advocacy organization for people with disabilities in Illinois.
“It’s an honor to have her at the Council,” said Council chairman Ray Morris. “Erica brings a lifetime of experience and I’m looking forward to working together in enhancing the quality of life for Arizona’s residents.”
Dr. McFadden holds a doctorate in Public Administration and Policy from Arizona State University, a master’s in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University, and dual bachelor's degrees in Business Administration and Spanish from the University of Texas at Austin.
In addition to her duties as researcher and director, Dr. McFadden has worked as a counselor, consultant, educator, professor, grant writer, lobbyist and marketer in the aging and disability fields.
Outgoing director Larry Clausen is retiring after nearly seven years with the Council. “I’m pleased to pass the torch to a top-notch leader like Erica,” Clausen said. “Council members will have a solid partner with lots of passion and expertise.”