Board of Directors


Linda Rhodes, President is dedicated to achieving full inclusion for people with disabilities and is a Speech Language Pathologist in the Colchester Schools.

Diane Aubin, Vice-President – offers a lifetime of experience in special education and is a tireless supporter of The Arc New London County. Her commitment is rooted in her early days as a single mom and teacher, when she won an Arc scholarship. In addition to having served as our Board President, Diane is past Board President for The Arc Connecticut. She also serves as a special education teaching consultant and contractor for the Stonington Schools.


Attorney Alan Messier, Treasurer provides volunteer legal services for The Arc.  Alan had a family member with intellectual disabilities.

Attorney Ray Baribeault, Secretary is a Director at the New London law firm of Suisman, Shapiro, Wool Brennan, Gray & Greenberg, P.C. He concentrates his practice in the areas of contracts, business, commercial transactions, corporate law and municipal law. Attorney Baribeault received his Bachelor of Science magna cum laude from the University of Connecticut in 1986 and received his Juris Doctor magna cum laude from Vermont Law School in 1989. He is a member of the bar in Connecticut (1989) and Rhode Island (1991) as well as the U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut (1990). He is currently a member of the Connecticut and New London County Bar Associations, the Connecticut Bar Examining Committee, the Eastern Connecticut Association of Realtors Commercial Committee, the New England Land Title Association, the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, the Norwich Rotary Club, and the Board of Directors of Madonna Place and the Otis Library in Norwich.


Enrico DeMatto, Immediate Past President served as Director of Special Services in our local schools for many years. He now works as an independent consultant to local districts supporting people with intellectual disabilities. He is an active adviser to The Arc New London County in the areas of new business development and personnel.


Michael Demers, Client Representative – has been a member of The Arc since 2010 when he joined the IHS (Individualized Home Supports) program. Mike helped start the Aquaponics program and Farm Stand, and continues as an aquaculture laborer as part of the Employment Transition Center program. Mike is well liked and respected among his peers and in the community, and is an integral part of The Arc NLC’s Volunteer Corps. He lives independently as a member of The Arc’s Apartment program, and is passionate about advocating for people with disabilities.

Shannon Aiello has been an active volunteer with The Arc for twelve years and has served on the Board Directors for the last six. She has a Bachelors in Art Education from Radford University and focused her graduate work at the University of Wisconsin in Special Education.  Shannon also holds a Master Gardener Certificate through the University of Connecticut; this is a rigorous 16-week program designed to train volunteers committed to sharing their passion and enthusiasm for gardening, education and outreach with their communities. Her volunteer work includes education and landscaping projects for local non-profits, including several of The Arc’s group homes, as well as coaching The Arc’s Special Olympics bowling team. Shannon continues to donate her time and artistic talent to making The Arc a beautiful place for both staff and participants.

Nancy Cowser is the Executive Director of the Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region (SeCTer), in Groton, CT. Formerly Senior Vice President for Strategy at United Community and Family Services, Inc., in Norwich, Connecticut, she has experience in economic development, strategic planning, grant development, legislative affairs, community needs assessment and federal health center requirements. Ms. Cowser holds a Master of Business from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Bachelor of Finance from Boston College. She also serves on the Board of the United Way, the Greater Norwich Area Chamber of Commerce, the Thames River Innovation Place, the Thames River Heritage Park, and is a Trustee for the Eastern CT Chamber of Commerce.

Senator Paul Formica – represents the residents of the 20th Senatorial District, which includes Bozrah, East Lyme, a portion of Montville, New London, Old Lyme, a portion of Old Saybrook, Salem, and Waterford. Senator Formica has been the owner and operator of Flanders Fish Market & Restaurant for 31 years. He previously served as First Selectman of East Lyme, crafting balanced budgets, encouraging bipartisan participation and reaching regional solutions with neighboring communities to improve transportation, public safety and environmental policies. Prior to his terms as First Selectman, he served as a member of the Zoning Commission and the Board of Finance. Senator Formica has been Chairman of the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments, where he chaired the regional rail committee and served on the regional water committee that resulted in a tri-town interconnection to conserve and share water.

In addition to town responsibilities, Senator Formica has also served in a leadership capacity for many organizations, from Chambers of Commerce to The Heart Walk, and through membership has supported great causes from Rotary to Little League.

At the State Capitol, Senator Formica is pushing to make state government more efficient through fiscal discipline, work to ease the regulatory burden on businesses, and fight to preserve essential services for local communities.

Ellen Maus is a Registered Nurse in the Lyme-Old Lyme Public Schools, with a focus on the adolescent population. She is a part of a team that assists with transition planning for students and families as they face the post-secondary high school years. Ellen has had previous experience with The Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center serving as a parent consultant and workshop coordinator. One of her goals is to be able to identify resources to assist the aging population of people with disabilities as they move through life transitions. Ellen is the mother of three children, one of whom is a son with multiple disabilities.

Michele Scott – is Executive Director of Eastern CT Area Health Education Center (AHEC). Formerly Community Development Strategist with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, she brings with her a wealth of experience in marketing, development, and community organization, focusing on Native American, African American, mental health, community health, and youth-related issues.

Catherine Steel began her professional career in social services as an advocate for children and adults with disabilities. Trained as a Speech Language Pathologist, Cate believes that true inclusion for all is vital and necessary. Accomplishing this goal has been Cate’s life mission. Cate is also a Toastmaster, a Storyteller, an artist, a gardener, an author and a musician. Cate believes “Seek first the kingdom of God.” --Matthew 6:33

Denise Walstra – is a registered dental hygienist employed at Coastal Connecticut Dentistry. She and her husband Tony are parents to three children: Vance, Nicole and Paige. Nicole, now 17, has an intellectual disability called Angelman Syndrome. The need for services brought Denise and her family to The Arc New London County in 2005, and she continues to be a strong advocate and volunteer for the organization. Denise is also involved with Save the River/Save the Hills and FAST (Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics). She is a trained musician, donating her singer/songwriting talents for local and national non-profit fundraisers, including The Arc New London County’s annual fundraising events. Her single, “Losing My Control” was awarded Song of the Year by

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