Trustee Bios

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Don received a doctorate in educational psychology-special education from the University of Texas at Austin in 1963. He had previously served as a teacher in the Corpus Christi (Texas) public schools and as a speech and language therapist in the Deer Park (Texas) public schools. He earned a certificate of clinical competence from the American Speech and Hearing Association in 1963. From 1963 to 1965, he held an assistant research professorship at the Institute of Logopedics at Wichita State University in Kansas, where he studied the language problems of children with brain damage. In 1965 he went to Temple University in Philadelphia, rising quickly to the rank of full professor of special education. He resigned from Temple in 1972 in order to return home to Texas. In 1977, Donald established PRO-ED, an international publishing company, and he serves as its president. Today PRO-ED is one of the major international publishers in the areas of special and remedial education, rehabilitation, psychology, assessment, and speech and hearing disorders. The extensive product line includes tests, teaching and therapeutic materials, books and reference materials, and thirteen journals.

Bob is currently Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of PRO-ED, Inc., an educational publishing company. Prior to joining PRO-ED in this position, he practiced law in the corporate reorganizations and bankruptcy section of the Houston law firm of Sheinfeld, Maley & Kay, P.C. In addition, he was previously an officer in the Corporate Banking department of The Chase Manhattan Bank, working at various times in New York, Boston, and Houston. Bob, raised in Portland, Oregon, holds a B.A. in economics from Boston College and a law degree from The University of Texas School of Law. Bob is also a Board Director and Vice President of the Hammill Institute on Disabilities, a nonprofit public charity.

Phyllis was educated in the Philadelphia area and received her doctorate in special education from Temple University, where her advisor was Donald Hammill. Phyllis’s interest in special education began when she was a seventh-grade language arts teacher working with children who had learning and behavioral problems. Shortly thereafter she followed that interest and began teaching a class of adolescents with social and emotional disturbances. She went on to become a school psychologist and director of special education before entering academia at the University of Arizona in 1973. From there she went to the University of Texas at Austin for several years, then to Beaver College in Pennsylvania as a professor of special education. There she chaired the Education Department and coordinated the special education program. Among Phyllis’s professional contributions are several textbooks dealing with emotional disturbance, numerous journal articles pertaining to special education, and several assessment instruments used to identify aspects of children’s learning. From 1981 to 1986, she served as editor of Learning Disability Quarterly, the professional journal of the Council for Learning Disabilities. Currently Phyllis is an independent researcher and author.

Jim is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and his masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Virginia. He was formerly a special education teacher in the Charlottesville (Virginia) city school system and a teacher of gifted students and students with special needs at ASSETS School in Hawaii. During his doctoral program work, he was involved with adult services for individuals with developmental disabilities. Jim was a member of the faculty of the Department of Special Education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa for 10 years; during his last year, he served as department chair. He has been on the faculty in the Department of Special Education at the University of Texas at Austin since 1990. He has served on the editorial boards of many professional journals and in leadership positions with national organizations devoted to the areas of learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, transition, and international special education. He has written extensively in the area of human exceptionality and special education, authoring or co-authoring more than 50 books as well as over 50 articles, contributed book chapters, and assessment instruments. His primary areas of professional interest include life skills instruction, transition, adults with disabilities, instructional accommodations, and international issues related to special education. From 1990 to 2001 he was executive editor in charge of books and materials for PRO-ED. Currently, Jim teaches classes at the University of Texas at Austin, consults with schools throughout the country, serves as an expert in death penalty cases, conducts research, and continues to write books, assessments instruments, articles, and chapters.

Nils was raised on Long Island, New York. Soon after receiving an undergraduate degree in psychology with an emphasis on persons with disabilities, he and his wife, Kathleen, worked as houseparents for young women with emotional and behavior problems. Nils then joined the staff of the Austin (Texas) State School, an institutional facility for individuals with mental retardation. While there, Nils helped change the roles of the institutional staff, allowing residents greater freedom to actively participate in decisions regarding their daily lives. He moved on to work with students identified as deaf/blind while also pursuing a master of arts degree in special education. From 1976 through 1987, he served as assistant director of community-based services at the Infant-Parent Training Program. He continued to work while pursing his doctoral degree at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1988, Nils joined the research staff at PRO-ED. In 1993, he became director of research, a position he held until 2002. After leaving PRO-ED, he became an independent author and spends his days developing new tests and revising existing instruments in the area of disability. He currently resides in Austin with his wife Kathleen. Their children Ingrid and Nils Erik live in the central Texas area along with grandchildren Kiersten and Jacob.

Cindy began her career working for the State of Texas, eventually serving as Chief Fiscal Officer for the State Preservation Board and the Office of State–Federal Relations. Upon leaving state government, she moved into the non-profit sector serving as Executive Secretary for the Consortium of State Organizations for Texas Teacher Education (CSOTTE), the Texas Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (TACTE), and the Texas Council for Exceptional Children. Cindy was also the Executive Secretary of the Donald D. Hammill Foundation from 1999 – 2007; she continues to serve on the Board as Treasurer. She joined PRO-ED in 1999 as Executive Assistant to the President, Donald Hammill, and continues to work in that capacity. Cindy has three sons, 2 granddaughters, and a grandson. She is a native Texan.

Judy started teaching at a county school for children with moderate mental retardation while working on her undergraduate degree at Bowling Green State University. Following graduation, she taught a middle school special education class and general education elementary classes. She went on to get her master’s degree from Ball State University, joining the university’s faculty for 3 years. In 1983, Judy received her doctorate in learning disabilities from the University of New Mexico. She taught at The University of Texas at Arlington, then left to accept a position as program coordinator for 9 counties in Texas for an early childhood intervention program. Judy joined PRO-ED in 1986 as associate editor of the Journal of Learning Disabilities, serving in that position for 10 years. During this time, she also held an adjunct position in the Department of Special Education at The University of Texas at Austin. Judy was Periodicals Director at PRO-ED until 2005. She is an author of several tests and materials.