Kelly Thompson - Executive Director
I have worked with people with disabilities for more than 20 years. I taught for 14 years in the REACH Program at Minooka High School for the Grundy County Special Education Cooperative, before becoming a full-time mom to twins, Anna and Ben.
I have coached Special Olympics for the last 16 years and am a founding member of Special Connections. Providing social and leisure opportunities in the community for people with disabilities of all ages has been a goal of mine for many years and I am blessed to be a part of an organization that is doing just that!
I enjoy spending time with my husband, Aaron, our children and family.
President of the BoardBIO
Jennifer Price - President of the Board
I am originally from Mankato, Minnesota (Go Vikings) and have lived in Morris, Illinois for over 16 years with my husband Ben and two kids Jett and Maya. My husband Ben grew up in Morris and we own and operate The Turf Team, Inc.
I am the Director of Trinity Services- North Central Illinois and serve as the Board President for Special Connections. As one of the founding members of Special Connections and a parent of a child with special needs I knew that the services here in Grundy County and throughout Illinois were not sufficient. Special Connections was formed as a starting point for disability services and awareness in and around Grundy County.
Kelly Dransfeldt - Board Member
I am currently a Financial Advisor for Grundy Investments which is located at Grundy Bank in Morris IL.
I enjoy spending time with my wife Erin and my three kids Kameron, Kennedy, and Karson. Special Connections is an extremely important part of my life.
I have an uncle and a niece that benefit from all the great activities and services that Special Connections has to offer.
Kristie Witte - Board Member
I am a Special Education teacher at LaSalle Peru Township High School. I have been in the teaching profession for 15 years and have been working with people with disabilities for 20 years. My family resides in the rural area of Seneca. My husband is a teacher at Seneca and we have two children.
I currently serve as a board member, the head track and field coach and assistant golf coach for our Special Connections Special Olympic teams. I am grateful to have been one of the founding members of Special Connections and believe in this organization for what it has and will continue to bring to our community.
Jeff Rzasa - Board Member
I am currently Senior Vice President for Standard Bank & Trust Co. in Morris. I have been a board member with Special Connections since 2011 and also serve as a board member with the Grundy Economic Development Council, Immaculate Conception School and the University of St. Francis Academic Advisory Board.
I enjoy running, golfing, playing basketball, coaching youth baseball and basketball, and spending time with my wife, Ann, and our children, TJ and Katie.
Jeremy McNabb - Board Member
I live in Morris with my wife,Jen, daughter, Grace (6), and son, Lane (3) and I am a mechanic for Exelon’s Braidwood Generating Station.
For the last 8 years I have coached Special Olympics. I have coached basketball, bowling, and bocce ball. I became involved with Special Connections because I love working with our special needs community. I want to see them succeed and be more involved in their community. There is no comparison to seeing the smiles on their faces when they accomplish something.
Susan McNabb - Board Member
I am a born and raised Morris girl. I am married with 2 children and 4 grandchildren. Having a family member with disabilities, I have been involved with people with disabilities my whole life.
I worked for the Grundy County Special Education Cooperative for 11 years. For the last 16 years I have worked for Illinois Valley Industries as the Community Living Director.
My family and I brought Special Olympics back to the local area, coaching Special Olympics basketball, bowling and bocce. I have been involved with Special Connections since the beginning.
Stephanie Kessler - Board Member
I am the Home Based Services Director at Illinois Valley Industries, an organization that, like Special Connections, empowers individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
When I had the chance to become a board member of Special Connections, I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of another organization that prioritizes enhancing quality of life for all participants and their families. Inclusion, opportunity, experience, choice and support are all part of the Special Connections experience.
Dave Bzdill - Board Member
I am an attorney and partner at Hynds, Rooks, Yohnka and Bzdill Attorneys at Law in Morris. Working and living in Morris, with my wife, Anne, and our two children, I have an ongoing commitment to the community.
In addition to serving on the Special Connections board, I am a board member at Morris Hospital and We Care of Grundy County. I am also a member and past president of the Grundy County Bar and former member of the Grundy County Health Department.
Val Frazier - Board Member
I am a wife and mother of 3 girls. I have been a hair dresser for 28 years and still practice. I am a personal trainer and am very passionate about how food, nutrition and exercise can change one's life. I have a 17 year old who is differently abled, and changing her lifestyle was life changing for our whole family.
Special Connections has helped to give me the opportunity to serve those in our community who are differently abled by letting me share my love of a healthy lifestyle and fitness training! I am so blessed to be a part of Special Connections and to help promote our mission in the community!
Kate Ross - Board Member
I currently work as the transition, C.H.O.I.C.E.S. and R.E.A.C.H. coordinator for the Grundy County Special Education Cooperative where I have been employed since 2001.
In addition to serving on the Special Connections board, I am involved with volunteering with the American Cancer Society, specifically through participating in the Joliet Relay for Life with my extended family. In the past few years, I have also been a member of the “C0-OP Chillers” Polar Plunge team to support our Special Olympians.
In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my husband, Jeff, and my son, Isaac. It is an honor to be on the Special Connections board and I look forward to helping this wonderful community.