The PEAL Center
Helping Families of Children with Disabilities and Special Health Care Needs
412-281-4404 (Pittsburgh)
215-567-6143 (Philadelphia)
866-950-1040 Toll Free
412-281-4409 TTY

About PEAL

Press Room


For Immediate Release
Contact: Grace D'Angelis, Director of Outreach & Marketing
412-281-4404 ext. 210
gdangelis@pealcenter.org

PEAL Center Names New Executive Director | The PEAL Center Board of Directors Announces Jeannine H. Brinkley as Executive Director

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – September 19, 2016 – The PEAL Center, the Pennsylvania Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) and Family-­‐to-­‐Family Health Information Center (F2F), is pleased to announce Jeannine H. Brinkley as its new executive director. Jeannine brings to PEAL more than three decades of expertise in inclusive practices, special education, and supporting school teams to transform service delivery. Brinkley will begin her new position at the PEAL Center on January 1, 2017; she is the second person to lead the organization. 

“On behalf of the Board of Directors of the PEAL Center, I am delighted to welcome Jeannine H. Brinkley as the new executive director,” said Board President Dr. Linda Rhen. “Her wealth of experience and demonstrated leadership in helping to create new possibilities for children and youth with disabilities will help the PEAL Center move forward in its mission to ensure that all children, youth, young adults, and adults with disabilities or special health care needs lead rich active lives and participate as full members of their schools and communities.”  

As executive director of the PEAL Center, Brinkley will oversee PEAL’s statewide organization of parent advocates who help parents and guardians before and after IEP meetings with strategies and plans to ensure appropriate education for their children with disabilities, as well as assist families with health-­‐ related issues through support, information, and resources. The PEAL Center supports families across   the state of Pennsylvania and advocates at the state and federal levels for public policies that prepare children and youth with disabilities to lead active lives in the community.  Jeannine was instrumental in the implementation of professional development in Inclusive Practices for schools. She also led the development and implementation of a Supplementary Aids and Services Toolkit for student-­‐focused teams to support inclusion of students with disabilities in general education, as well as co-­‐authoring and managing grants, publications, and training materials for statewide distribution.

In June, Liz Healey, founder of the PEAL Center and current executive director, announced her    retirement after eleven years of dedicated service. Healey has guided the PEAL Center since its inception with an annual budget of $242,000 and has grown it to a statewide organization that serves more than 20,000 families. Healey has led PEAL in taking on new projects while remaining true to its original    mission of inclusion for all children; PEAL now operates with an annual budget that is more than $1M. Healey will support the organization for a short period during the transition to Brinkley. 

The PEAL Center is an organization of parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs reaching out to assist families of children with disabilities and special health care needs, professionals who assist them, and children, youth, and young adults with disabilities and special health care needs (ages 0-­‐26). The mission of the PEAL Center is to ensure that children, youth, and adults with disabilities and special health care needs lead rich, active live and participate as full members of their schools and communities by providing training, information, parent leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance based on best practices to individuals and families and all the people who support them.

For more information about PEAL and parent advocacy contact PEAL at 1-866-950-­1040 or email  info@pealcenter.org.



For Immediate Release
Contact: Grace D'Angelis, Director of Outreach & Marketing
412-281-4404 ext. 210
gdangelis@pealcenter.org


PEAL Executive Director to Retire | Board Begins Search for Next Executive Director of PEAL Center

Pittsburgh, PA – June 14, 2016 – PEAL Center, the Pennsylvania Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) and statewide Family-to-Family Health Information Center (F2F), announces that its executive director, Elisabeth (Liz) Healey, will retire at the end of the calendar year after more than a decade of dedicated service. Liz founded the PEAL Center in 2005 as an organization of parents of children with disabilities who provide support for families to be able to get inclusive educational services for their children. She quickly grew the organization to meet the needs of families to address special health care needs and extended services and support across the entire state of Pennsylvania. Liz has guided the PEAL Center in taking on new projects while staying true to PEAL’s original mission of inclusion for all children.

“Liz Healey is a tireless advocate of inclusion for all. In founding the PEAL Center in 2005, she was able to move forward her vision of a world in which those with differing abilities lead active lives and participate fully in the community. Her efforts will continue to have an impact long after her tenure at PEAL, as she leaves a legacy of inclusion, advocacy, and empowerment that has impacted education, health care, and policy in Pennsylvania,” says Dorene Ciletti, Board of Directors, Secretary.

The Board of Directors of the PEAL Center will be conducting a search to identify the next executive director. Details of the search are posted to www.pealcenter.org. Inquires about the position can be sent to execdirsearch@pealcenter.org.

The PEAL Center is an organization of parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs reaching out to assist families of children with disabilities and special health care needs, professionals who assist them, and children, youth, and young adults with disabilities or special health care needs (ages 0-26). The mission of the PEAL Center is to ensure that children, youth, and adults with disabilities and special health care needs lead rich, active lives and participate as full members of their schools and communities by providing training, information, parent leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance based on best practices to individuals and families and all people who support them.

As stated above, inquiries about the position can be sent to execdirsearch@pealcenter.org. For more information about PEAL and parent advocacy contact PEAL at 412-281-4404 or email info@pealcenter.org


For Immediate Release
Contact: Grace D'Angelis, Director of Outreach
412-281-4404 ext. 210
gdangelis@pealcenter.org

PEAL Center Expands Parent Advisor Team | Kathleen Haigh Hired as PEAL Center's Central Region Parent Advisor

Pittsburgh, PA - June 8, 2016– PEAL Center, the Pennsylvania Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) and statewide Family-to-Family Health Information Center (F2F), today announced that Kathleen Haigh has joined the Parent Advisory Team as the Central Region Parent Advisor. Based in the Greater Harrisburg Area, Kathleen will provide a strong regional advocacy presence for families with children with disabilities and special health care needs, as well as the local professionals who support them. She is available to help navigate the education system and assist parents with IEPs, 504s, and parent rights.

“Kathleen has already shown to be a great asset to the PEAL Center. She came to PEAL with in-depth knowledge of special education and effective practices, with exceptional communication skills. The PEAL Center Parent Advisory Team looks forward to providing an even better experience to families and professionals in the Central Region of Pennsylvania,” said Cindy Duch, Director of Parent Advising.

Kathleen Haigh is a mother of twins, a boy and a girl. Her son was diagnosed with autism before the age of three. Through her advocacy, her son has been included throughout school; her children, together, are currently in high school and set to graduate in 2017. Kathleen joined the board of directors of the Autism Society of Greater Harrisburg Area in 2011 and has served as the president since 2014. She is committed to empowering parents to become the best advocates for their children, with the belief that every child, disability or not, has a gift to offer the world.

“If I had to do it all over again, I would. Considering all that I have learned and how much it changed me for the better,” said Kathleen Haigh.

The PEAL Center is an organization of parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs reaching out to assist families of children with disabilities or special health care needs, professionals who assist them, and children, youth, and young adults with disabilities or special health care needs (ages 0-26). The mission of the PEAL Center is to ensure that children, youth, and adults with disabilities and special health care needs lead rich, active lives and participate as full members of their schools and communities by providing training, information, parent leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance based on best practices to individuals and families and all people who support them.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Grace D’Angelis at 412-281-4404 or email at gdangelis@pealcenter.org.


For Immediate Release

May 5th 2013
Contact: Amy Fascio-Burke
412-281-4404 (office)
afascio-burke@pealcenter.org


PEAL receives the 2013 “Parent Center Standards Excellence” award
Liz Healy and Cindy Duch accept the Parent Center Standards Excellence award

The Parent Education and Advocacy Leadership Center (PEAL) is the recipient of the 2013 “Parent Center Standards Excellence” award from the Parent Technical Assistance Center Network. The award was presented at the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) Leadership Conference held in Washington, DC in July of 2013, and was accepted by Executive Director Elisabeth Healey and Director of Parent Advising Cindy Duch.

The Parent Center Standards for Excellence were developed by the national Parent Center network of more than 100 Parent Centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs. The Standards are a self-assessment tool that Parent Centers use to engage in a process of continuous improvement. This Excellence Award reflects that our Parent Center has worked hard as an organization to implement best practices and procedures in operating our Center and in providing quality information and services to families in the 43 counties that we serve. This award also demonstrates to the PEAL Center’s board, donors, and most importantly to families, we are accountable and transparent in our business practices with a desire to operate a healthy organization.


As always, the PEAL Center will continue our mission to further enhance the capacity of the center and serve families in Western and Central Pennsylvania.
For Immediate Release

October 12, 2012
Contact: Elisabeth Healey
412-281-4404 (office)
lhealey@pealcenter.org

PEAL Center Receives Two Grants from the PA Developmental Disabilities Council

PITTSBURGH — The PEAL Center receives two grants from the PA Developmental Disabilities Council totaling to $150,000.00 per year. The PEAL Center is an organization of parents of children with disabilities reaching out to assist other parents located in Pittsburgh.

The "Parent Leaders for Inclusive Education Beyond Public School" grant will connect parents of children with disabilities who have selected non-traditional public and private school settings for their children. Through PEAL trainings parents will gain the knowledge they need about inclusion and their rights and responsibilities in the special education process. This project will support collaboration between parents and professionals that may lead to policy change.

"We're excited to bring this training opportunity to the growing number of parents who choose non-traditional educational settings for their children with disabilities" said grant facilitator Ceil Belasco, Director of Training at the PEAL Center.

The Congregate Care "Imagine Different" grant will create pathways for children with disabilities in Pennsylvania who are living in institutions to instead grow up and thrive in families. The PEAL Center, working closely with EveryChild, Inc. of Texas and the project Advisory Committee, will develop a toolkit that will be used to train parents, system representatives, and policy makers. This project will foster a common knowledge base of the value of permanent family life and effective strategies towards moving children with disabilities into stable family settings. Data will be collected for policymakers with the overarching goal of eventual system change.

"We know that all children benefit from growing up in families, and this is even more true for children who have disabilities" said grant facilitator Elisabeth Healey, founding Executive Director of the PEAL Center. "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with systems to lay the groundwork for concrete plans toward making this a reality for children currently growing up in congregate settings."