Disability Rights Texas Appoints Five New Board Members

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
October 25, 2011

CONTACT:
Anne Marie Becka
Communications Manager
abecka@disabilityrightstx.org
512-407-2767

AUSTIN – Disability Rights Texas, the legal protection and advocacy agency for people with disabilities in Texas, recently appointed five new members to its board of directors. The new members include Calvin L. Lewis of Lubbock, Glenn McNeill of Carrollton, Elizabeth Molina of El Paso, James Earl Teague of Rockport and Mike Trevino of Plains, Texas.

Calvin L. Lewis is an attorney who serves as associate dean for student affairs at Texas Tech University School of Law. “I have a lifelong passion for helping people in need, especially as it pertains to ensuring equality of opportunity and fighting discrimination,” he said. For the past four years, Lewis has been the law school liaison to the Student Disabilities Services Office at Texas Tech, where he helps ensure that students with disabilities receive proper accommodations.

A certified public accountant at Lincoln Property Co. in Dallas, Glenn McNeill said he was motivated to join the Disability Rights Texas board by a desire to help people meet their goal of living independently. “People want to be treated with respect, not pity, and do as much as possible for themselves,” he explained. In addition to volunteering with Special Olympics, McNeil has spoken about the importance of child sponsorship at World Vision events.

A public interest attorney at Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, Elizabeth Molina frequently represents clients with a range of physical and mental disabilities, as well as cultural barriers to equality. “I see firsthand the difficulties that disenfranchised individuals face,” she said. “Unfortunately, many disabled individuals are a subset of this group and have even more obstacles to overcome.” Molina currently serves on the State Bar of Texas Disability Rights Committee, and previously was a member of the Border Fair Housing and Economic Development board of directors.

James Earl Teague, a solo practice attorney and former DRTx volunteer, has spent the last 25 years advocating the rights of people with disabilities. Throughout his career, he has handled cases involving a range of disability-related issues, including employment discrimination, transportation and access, mental health, and special education. A member of Paralyzed Veterans of America, Teague brings “legal experience combined with practical” knowledge to the Disability Rights Texas board.

A special needs educator for 16 years, Mike Trevino is principal of Plains Middle School in Yoakum County. In addition to personal experience working with students with an array of disabilities, Trevino has served on the Epilepsy Foundation of West Texas board of directors and the CASA of the South Plains advisory board. In March 2011 he traveled to Washington, D.C., to speak with members of the U.S. House and Senate on behalf of the Epilepsy Foundation.

“I am extremely excited to welcome these five outstanding individuals to the DRTx board,” said Mary Faithfull, executive director of Disability Rights Texas. “These new members have strong personal records of supporting and advocating the rights of people with disabilities. I believe they each bring a unique perspective and will add tremendous value to our board.”

The Disability Rights Texas board of directors is comprised of 16 members from across Texas. Fifteen are appointed by members of the board and one is chairperson of the agency’s Protection and Advocacy for People with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Council. Board members may serve up to two three-year terms. The Disability Rights Texas board of directors reflects the diverse constituency served by the agency, which is federally mandated to serve individuals with developmental, mental and physical disabilities.

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Disability Rights Texas (previously named Advocacy Inc.) is the federally designated legal protection and advocacy agency (P&A) for people with disabilities in Texas. Our mission is to help people with disabilities understand and exercise their rights under the law, ensuring their full and equal participation in society.