Dr.Jacqui Kellher wearing winter clothes stands in front of a snowy pond.
Vermont Family Network (VFN) is thrilled to have Dr. Jacqueline Kelleher join the team as the new Executive Director. Dr. Kelleher brings a wealth of experience and knowledge about the needs of families of children with a disability, special health need or mental health issue. She is also the parent of four now-adult children with developmental disabilities and disorders. She understands firsthand the lived experience of families navigating essential but complex systems to support their loved ones. “Dr. Kelleher embodies the spirit of our mission and her expertise establishes a strong foundation to move VFN forward as we continue to expand services to support Vermont families. We are thrilled to have her as the Executive Director. We are confident that the families we serve, our partnerships, staff, and supporters will value her vision and leadership,” said VFN’s Board Co-Chair, Kevin Kelleher, (no relation to Dr. Kelleher). Dr. Kelleher worked as the State Director of Special Education with the Vermont Agency of Education from 2019-2022. She oversaw the implementation of special education policies, practices, and procedures with federal and state laws for districts in the state. In this role, she viewed VFN as a partner and was a vocal proponent of the education system’s need to partner with parents to serve students best. Notably, Dr. Kelleher understands that the needs of the families VFN serves are extensive, both in the number of families who need support and the degree to which families need help. She hopes to elevate the “go to” family organization to ensure that all families have a strong start, advance inclusive communities, and lift family voices for change. “It’s a genuine honor to be allowed to join the VFN team. As a parent with lived experience, I know how important VFN is for families with a child with a disability, special health need or mental health issue. And it’s easy to see that its strength lies with its exceptional staff, most of who have lived experiences and have deep expertise on how to support families. Combined with VFN’s strategic partnerships with essential community-based services and state agencies and departments, the possibilities of what we can accomplish together are endless, and I am excited to get started,” said Dr. Kelleher. VFN is always looking for ways to better serve and support families of children with disabilities, special health needs or mental health issues. We recently expanded our programming to help families of children with mental health issues. Additionally, we launched a new program to help families advocate for necessary system changes to eliminate or lower barriers to help. As VFN continues to deepen its work in supporting families, we are pleased to have Dr. Kelleher at the helm beginning on Monday, November 7, 2022.