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Accessibility Advisory Board Member Bios

Elaine Cooluris

As Executive Director of Able-Disabled Advocacy (A-DA), Elaine Cooluris has over 40 years of experience at A-DA in providing advocacy, universal technology assistance, disability and accessibility awareness consulting and overseeing employment-related services for youth and adults representing all ethnicities and disability groups. Under her vision, A-DA was the first organization in the San Diego region to offer Assistive Technology computer training and employment assistance to the Blind, Deaf and hard-of-hearing, and individuals with severe mobility challenges.

In 1998, Elaine received the Governor of California’s “Distinguished Service Award” which is sparingly given in recognition of an individual who made major local, statewide and national impact on the employment of individuals with disabilities. In 2000, Elaine was appointed to the Governor’s Committee for the Employment of Disabled People; and in 2004, she was appointed to the State of California’s Workforce Investment Board as an advisory member on youth with disabilities. Elaine co-chaired the U.S. Department of Education’s National Project Director’s Planning Committee for five years.

Elaine has also represented San Diego’s disability community on numerous city-sponsored taskforces on disability, homelessness, and social services. Elaine was a recipient of San Diego’s YWCA “Tribute to Women in Industry (TWIN) Award,” and was again recognized as a local leader when she was appointed to the San Diego Association of Government’s Stakeholders Work Group that guides policy development and practices of its Regional Comprehensive Plan.

Elaine, who has a disability, holds a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and has been a lifelong advocate in helping individuals with disabilities achieve independence and become self-supporting through employment.

 

Michelle Crisci

Michelle Crisci is currently a school psychologist serving non-public schools contracted by the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD). She previously served SDUSD as a classroom teacher and the American with Disabilities Act, Section 504, Title IX, Coordinator.

Throughout her career, Mrs. Crisci endeavored to provide any and all necessary accommodations and modifications to allow parents, students, and staff to access and enjoy facilities, programs, activities, instruction, and curriculum at SDUSD.

Mrs. Crisci earned a Master's degree in School Psychology from National University, is a Licensed Educational Psychologist (LEP #2557), is an Association Representative for the San Diego Educators Association (SDEA), and a volunteer board member for a local non-profit which serves children and adults with developmental disabilities. She is also the proud mother of two adult children one who happens to be visually impaired and uses a wheelchair.

 

Kim Zillgitt Gibbens

An almost-native San Diegan (she was one when her parents moved to San Diego), Kim Zillgitt Gibbens has worked at the San Diego Center for the Blind since 1975 and has been its Chief Executive Officer since 1989.

Kim has been a member of the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind since 1975, Treasurer of the California Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired, Past Secretary of the National VisionServe Alliance, Past President and Treasurer of the North Park Lions Club, Past Secretary of the Zonta Club of San Diego, and served on the United Way Board as an Agency Representative and Agency Executive Association.

She was honored as a Woman of the Year by the Soroptimist Club of San Diego, earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Barrio Station, and recognized as Woman of the Year from the Women’s Reclamation Project.

Kim graduated cum laude from St. Olaf College and attended the University in Oslo, Norway.

 

Wayne Landon

Wayne Landon currently serves as the Government Relations Director for Paralyzed Veterans of America, Cal-Diego Chapter where he has been employed since 1995.

Wayne has served on the Veteran's Advisory Board and the Disability Action Coalition and currently on the Association of Government Relations Directors, Veterans' Employment Committee, San Diego Police Chief Disabilities Advisory Board, Social Services Transportation Advisory Council for SANDAG and immediate past chair for the San Diego Accessible Advisory Board.

Wayne is a United States Army veteran. In 1990 he graduated from the University of Montana. He previously worked as the Transitional Counselor at Fort Belknap College, where he assisted with transfers from tribal to traditional colleges and assisted in both personal and academic counseling.

Wayne presently resides in San Diego where he lives happily married to his wife Sandra. They have one daughter who lives in San Diego and is working on her M.S. in biology from San Diego State University.

 

Mary Wolford, Chair

Mary Wolford was appointed to the City of San Diego Accessibility Advisory Board in September 2019 and currently serves as Vice Chair.  She has over 20 years’ experience in the accessibility arena, is a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) in the state of California, and has completed the ADA Coordinator Certification Program offered by the University of Missouri and the Great Plains ADA Center. 

Mary currently works as an accessibility consultant in Southern California.  Formerly an employee of the City of San Diego (City), Mary reported directly to the ADA Coordinator.  Her responsibilities included managing the technical data and scope of work for the city’s ADA transition plan and grievance process projects, and offering technical advice to all city departments regarding access regulations and how to apply them to the city’s responsibilities under Title II of the ADA.  Her past assignments working for the City included engineering materials testing, land surveying, public works inspection in the public right of way and project management for capital improvement projects. 

Mary earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from San Diego State University in Public Administration and her Master of Science degree from National University in Engineering Management/Project Management. 

Mary lives in the Bay Park area of San Diego with her husband Dan and their Labradoodle, Ginger. 

 

Patricia Sieglen-Perry, Vice Chair

Patricia Sieglen-Perry has over 40 years’ experience in the disability field and has specialized in the provision of social services within the Deaf Community for the majority of her career. Ms. Sieglen-Perry has a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from San Diego State University.

Ms. Sieglen-Perry started her professional career with Deaf Community Services (DCS) as the Resource Specialist/Counselor and was promoted to Executive Director after four years. As Executive Director, she incorporated the agency, established a deaf-majority board of directors, and expanded the services and scope of the non-profit during her 13-year tenure. Her expertise on the Americans with Disabilities Act and knowledge of other disability groups secured her a position with the City of San Diego as the Disability Services Coordinator. As such, Patricia was responsible for developing the City’s ADA transition and Self-Evaluation plans and remained there for 7 years.

Patricia’s background in Rehabilitation Counseling gave her a foundation regarding employment for people with disabilities and particularly Deaf individuals.  Beginning in the 1980s she applied and was awarded funding for job search and placement activities including the Wagner Peyser Act, Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA), and the Job Training and Partnership Training Act. 

Patricia has worked as a free-lance sign language interpreter, a substitute American Sign Language instructor at Grossmont and Cuyamaca community colleges and as a trainer on deafness and disability issues. She was an appointee to the Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities for 25 years, as well as a member of DCS’ Board of Directors from 2011-2014. She is currently a member of the City of San Diego’s Accessibility Advisory Board as well as the Port of San Diego’s Accessibility Advisory Committee.

In 2015, Patricia returned to Deaf Community Services as Executive Director.  In that time, she has expanded services to include a Youth and Family Services Department which operates five programs targeted at mentoring Deaf and Hard of Hearing youth and their families, opened a satellite office in North San Diego, opened two sober living homes for Deaf and Hard of Hearing men and women, and obtained Drug Medi-cal Certification from the State of California for DCS’ Substance Use Disorder program.