NFADB Board of Directors


Patti McGowan

Adult Life Committee Chair
Membership Committee Chair

I live outside of Pittsburgh, PA with my husband and have three adult children. Our youngest son, Hunter, is Deaf-Blind and clinically diagnosed with Usher Syndrome type II.  I also work as one of the two family engagement coordinators with the Pennsylvania Deaf-Blind Project, and have had the opportunity to work with National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB) and Perkins in my role as a parent leader.


Diana Griffen

Vice President
Nominations Committee Chair

I joined the board to continue the work of my mother, Mary O'Donnell, who was one of the founders of NFADB.  I live in Exton, Pennsylvania with my husband Charlie.  I work as a nurse and community volunteer, and we have three adult children.  I am co-guardian with my brother Tim for our sister, Sara, who has been Deaf-Blind since birth as a result of congenital rubella syndrome.

Jacqueline Izaguirre

Finance Committee Chair
Policy, Information, and Education Committee Co-Chair

My husband and I live in Texas and have three adult children. Our middle child, Patsy is Deaf-Blind due to a Ciliopathy. In addition to NFADB, I am a founding board member and President of DeafBlind Camp of Texas.  I work as my daughter's Intervener and love to spend time with my grand babies!


Melanie Knapp

Policy, Information, and Education Committee Co-Chair

I live in Texas with my husband, Gary. We had two sons. Christian was a preemie who, as a result of many complications, was diagnosed with Deaf-Blindness. He was known as "The Great Motivator" to all who knew him.  Christian died suddenly in 2005 at the age of 25. We have continued our involvement and advocacy for all children and adults who are Deaf-Blind in Texas and the US.  I was on the Board of DBMAT - The Deaf-Blind Multihandicapped Association of Texas - for 14 years, the last 4 years as President. I am honored to continue my journey with the NFADB.


Edgenie Bellah

Affiliate Coordinator
Affiliate Committee Chair

I am from Texas and serve on the NFADB board as a professional member. My husband and I have three sons who share our passions for fun, food, and serving. Professionally, I work for the Texas DeafBlind Project as the family engagement coordinators.

Nilam agrawal

Board Member

It’s my honor to join the NFADB board, and work for the DeafBlind community. I have an MBA in finance and marketing, and have worked in the field of business development, client management and recruitment. I have been associated with nonprofit organizations since 2008 and have served as the co-leader for the Tar-Heel chapter of UMDF. I bring in my experience in the field of children and parent advocacy, fundraising, social media networking, family engagement events, and community outreach programs. I live in Texas with my husband and our two amazing and kind kids, who are diagnosed with Deaf-Blindness. I draw my passion and strength from my children, and I am determined to be a change agent to drive awareness to the unique challenges of DeafBlind community, and improve opportunities for them. 



Mary Gyori

Board Member
Development Committee Chair

I live in Vermont, part of a blended family with four adult children.  Our middle son, Sasha, is Deaf-Blind as a result of prematurity.  Since 1999, Sasha has lived at Black Mountain Assisted Family Living, a small nonprofit of which I am a founding board member.  I joined the NFADB board because, through the years, the support and inspiration of other families has kept me energized, and it's now time for me to give back to the Deaf-Blind community.


Myrna Medina

Board Member

I am native of Mexico, and live in California, where I got married and had two children.  My youngest child was born with Deaf-Blindness and was the reason I entered this field.  In 2000, I joined California DeafBlind Services as the Family Engagement Specialist.  This position which gives me the opportunity to work directly with families, and also ensures that linguistic and cultural sensitivity is offered to our Spanish speaking community.  I am involved in several parent groups through southern California including the Birth to Five Vision Network Advisory Group for Dicapta Accessible Communication Developers.

rebecca cowan-story

Board Member

I reside in the tiny metropolis of Adairsville, Georgia with my three children and two felines.  My professional journey has afforded me the opportunity to work as an American Sign Language Interpreter, a high school vocational instructor at a residential school for the Deaf , a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the Deaf, and a coordinator for DeafBlind services, and I still do not know what I want to be when I grow up! You may find me on the lake with Georgia Blind Sports kayaking, taking  the secretary notes at a Georgia Association of the DeafBlind meeting, or participating at a Northwest Georgia Council for the Blind lunch and learn!

NFADB Special Advisors


Megan Cote

Special Advisor & NCDB Liaison

I am from Kansas where I live with my husband and 3 children.  I started my career as a classroom teacher and then moved to providing technical assistance to teams serving children with Deaf-Blindness.  Presently I am working as a Project Specialist for the National Center on Deaf-Blindness for early Identification/Referral and Family Engagement.


Peggy Malloy

Special Advisor & NCDB Liaison

I started my professional life as a registered nurse working in pediatrics and neonatal intensive care.  I later changed careers and became a librarian.  I was introduced to Deaf-Blindness when I started working for DB-LINK, a national information center.  DB-LINK ultimately became part of the National Center on Deaf-Blindness, where I still work almost 20 years later.



Special Advisor

I live in Austin, Texas, where I am a TVI and mother of two adult children.  I am the former Director of the Texas DB Project (1990-2018) and currently working part-time as a VI Outreach teacher with the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) Outreach Programs.  I attended the University of Texas at Austin for my TVI certification coursework.  My first teaching job was as an itinerant TVI in San Antonio and then I taught in a VI elementary resource room in Austin ISD.  A few years off, getting a master's in public affairs, a year of wandering to England, a stint working for the City of Austin and I was back in the VI field as an assistant to the TSBVI Superintendent and then became Outreach Director, which included supervising the TX DB Project.  I am thrilled to have a chance to work closely with the NFADB Board, who are innovators and advocates par excellence!

OUR MISSION:  NFADB exists to empower the voices of families with individuals who are deaf-blind and advocate for their unique needs.


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