TLC Board of Trustees Honors Exceptional Service

Rockville, MD—TLC—The Treatment and Learning Centers’ Board of Trustees recognized the exceptional efforts of board members, staff, and volunteers at the Annual Meeting and Celebration held at Normandie Farm in Potomac in May. TLC is a private, non-profit organization providing educational, therapeutic and employment services to improve lives and expand possibilities for children and adults with special needs.

Benefactor of the Year was awarded to The Carbonell Family for their extraordinary commitment to TLC and KTS. “Through the Carbonell Family Foundation, grants to the Katherine Thomas School and Imagination Stage fostered a very successful collaboration to bring innovative digital animation classes to KTS, an excellent learning experience for our students,” stated Bruce Hunter, TLC Board President.

TLC’s prestigious Rosemary R. Colston Award for exceptional board service went to Steve Orens, a 15-year board veteran who has served as president and general counsel. “Steve has facilitated two relocations for TLC utilizing his skill as a zoning attorney and has been extraordinarily generous with his time and expertise. I am pleased to recognize his outstanding contributions with this most prestigious award,” said Pat Ritter, Executive Director.

Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Steve Carroll, an attorney with Miles & Stockbridge who provided critical bro bono legal counsel for the TLC’s new Gaither Road lease. “Steve was very generous with his time and expertise, helping provide a thorough understanding of complex issues that allowed me to make thoughtful decisions in the best interests of our clients and staff,” said Ritter.

Employer of the Year was awarded to The Evergreen School and presented to Merrill Hall, Head of the School, and Jocelyn Basturescu, Toddler Teacher, by John Raymer and Sarah Bretz of TLC’s Outcomes Service. Outcomes provides employment support services to adults with disabilities. “Merrill and Jocelyn received the award for their leadership, outstanding support and dedicated service that fulfilled our consumer’s dream of working with children and becoming self-sufficient. They truly made a significant difference in our consumer’s life,” said Raymer, Director of Outcomes.

The Barry Scher Award for Public Relations was presented to Gus Plakotaris, Print Shop Supervisor at Geico, which donates in-kind paper products, printing and copy services to TLC. “Over the last five years, Gus and his team have done a stellar job in completing over 430 jobs on behalf of TLC, saving the organization nearly $100,000 in administrative overhead,” said Ritter.

The Richard J. Pavlin Leadership Award, given annually to a TLC staff member who demonstrates leadership characteristics that significantly impact TLC’s mission and vision, went to Brigid Baker, Director of Outpatient Occupational Therapy. According to her staff, “Brigid is such an asset to our department and her ability to be open and flexible and learn from others has allowed us to bridge our ideas and differences to become a stronger OT Team.”

The Teamwork Award acknowledged outstanding efforts of the Katherine Thomas Lower/Middle School Director Search Team of parent and staff volunteers. The parent advisory committee was led by Cara Tommer and included Karen Dorigan, Pam Peckinpaugh, Melodia Phillips, David Lang and Kristin Patterson. Christina Bernabe and Judy Cromwell led the staff advisory committee that included Sally Neuberger, Matt Vadney, Joan Morris, Marjorie Theard, Debra Paton, Katherine Hartley, Shawna Page, Sylvia Valdivia and Rema Haddad. “The work of this team over the course of eight months is just one example of how a collaborative effort can strengthen and support an organization. We are thrilled to welcome the team’s selection of Cathleen Burgess in July,” said Ritter.

Outgoing board members Tom Nordlinger (12 year tenure), Richard Alper (16 year tenure), and Barry Scher (33 year tenure) were also honored. “Under Tom’s leadership, Transwestern provided outstanding support for TLC as our brokers for our moves to Research Boulevard and Gaither Road,” stated Hunter.

“Richard has been an outstanding supporter of TLC, serving as president and general counsel. His largest legacy, the Alper Family Endowment Fund, provides scholarships to KTS students from financially disadvantaged families,” continued Hunter.

Lastly, Hunter thanked Barry Scher, TLC’s longest serving board member: “Barry Scher began his service to TLC in 1978 after bringing his son to our Family Hearing Center for services. Barry has been a tremendous leader for TLC for more than 30 years, including serving as president as well as being an outstanding fundraiser and public relations master.”

About TLC

TLC—The Treatment and Learning Centers, located in Rockville, Md., improves lives and expands possibilities for individuals with special needs. Celebrating over 60 years of service to the community in 2011, TLC is committed to integrity and excellence in our care and strives to assist all, regardless of their ability to pay. For more information visit

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