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Snyder makes appointments, reappointments to Autism Council

Friday, Sept. 19, 2014

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today announced the appointments of Catherine Kirby, of Holt, and George Mellos, of Farmington Hills, and the reappointments of Mary Chaliman, of Holt, and Joanne Winkelman, of Bloomfield, to the Autism Council. He also announced the appointment of Diane Heinzelman, of Petoskey, as chair of the council.

The 12-member council was created in 2012 and operates within the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) to oversee Michigan's Autism Spectrum Disorders state plan.

"The Michigan Autism Council advises and assists the MDCH to improve the quality of life for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families," Snyder said. "I thank the appointees for their willingness to serve and eagerness to make a positive difference in the lives of others."

Kirby is director of the Office of Consumer Services within the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services where she has worked for 15 years. Kirby earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Central Michigan University. She represents the Department of Insurance and Financial Services and replaces Rhonda Fossitt.

Mellos is acting hospital director and chief of clinical affairs for the Hawthorn Center and previously served as chief of psychiatry. Mello is a member of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Michigan Council of Child Psychiatry. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Michigan Technological University and earned his medical degree from Wayne State University. He represents the MDCH and replaces Elizabeth Knisely.

Chaliman is director of the permanency division in the Department of Human Service (DHS) where she has worked for 13 years. She previously worked with the Ingham County Family Independence Agency. Chaliman earned a bachelor’s degree in English and communication from Michigan State University. She continues to represent DHS.

Winkelman is policy coordinator for the policy and compliance program in the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) Office of Special Education. She worked as a special education consultant for MDE, adjunct professor at Madonna University, enrichment specialist and teacher at Berkshire Middle School in Birmingham, learning resource teacher in New York, and as a special education teacher in Wisconsin. She earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education and cognitive impairment from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, a master's degree in education from the College of Saint Rose in Albany and a Ph.D. in special education from Wayne State University. She continues to represent the MDE.

Heinzelman is director of special education for the Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education and a master’s degree in education administration from Grand Valley State University. Heinzelman is serving a term to expiring Sept. 30, 2015, and her term as chair expires at the pleasure of the governor. She replaces Colleen Allen, who resigned as chair, but remains on the council.

Members will serve four-year terms expiring Sept. 30, 2018. Their appointments are not subject to the advice and consent of the Senate.