Meet the SDA Team
Michael Smull has been working with people with disabilities since 1972. His extensive experience covers nearly all aspects of developing community services. Michael is the Chair of The Learning Community for Person Centered Practices (TLC-PCP) and a senior partner in Support Development Associates (SDA). He is the co-developer of Essential Lifestyle Planning and has worked in 48 states and seven countries. He has helped found three (3) community agencies, assisted existing agencies with the conversion from programs to supports, and helped states, regions, and counties change their structures in order to support self-determination. He has helped people leave institutions in the US and the UK.
Michael has written extensively on issues relating to supporting people with challenging behaviors, person centered planning, and the challenge of changing our system to one that will support self-determination. From 1982 through 1997 he worked at the University of Maryland.
When he left in 1997 he was a Research Assistant Professor with the Department of Counseling and Personnel Services at the College Park Campus and a Clinical Assistant Professor with the Department of Pediatrics at the University Of Maryland School of Medicine.
Michael and Mary Lou Bourne are the co-designers of efforts to develop person centered systems. His current efforts are focused on helping organizations and systems make the needed changes in skills, practices, and policies that result in supporting people to have self-directed lives. This work has taken place in over 50 agencies and 10 states. Mr. Smull is the recipient of the 2015 Compass Award from the National Association of Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services and the 2006 American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities service award. Michael lives in Annapolis, MD with his wife Andy and their four dogs.
Bob Sattler joined Support Development Associates in 2007 and became a Partner of the company in 2016. Over the past 40 years his career has focused on building person centered community supports. He began his career as a direct support professional and early on redesigned HCBS residential programs that created opportunities for fewer people to live together. His career has allowed him to gain first-hand experience in primarily the I/DD system, ranging from creating supported employment programs as options to sheltered work, coordinating supports as a case manager, and focusing on administrative and executive roles at the county and state level. This eventually led to establishing a service agency to support people with co-occurring needs (developmental disabilities and behavioral health challenges) to demonstrate how person centered practices could truly be provided within traditional Waiver funded structures and practices.
Prior to joining SDA, he served as the Executive Director of the Provider Association in Colorado and worked closely with system stakeholders to improve services and supports for people, including the design of Self-Determination models.
Mr. Sattler’s work has provided him unique opportunities to work and train in partnership with professionals from the fields of mental health, law enforcement and criminal justice, aging, vocational rehabilitation and state operated services in order to better support people with complex support needs. He currently consults across the nation to help people move to more community integrated settings and assist states and organizations with creating sustainable person centered systems and processes.
Mr. Sattler is a Person Centered Thinking, People Planning Together and Person Centered Plan Facilitation Mentor Trainer through the Learning Community for Person Centered Practices and is a Charting the LifeCourse Ambassador.
Tanya M. Richmond, MSW, LCSW, has over 30 years of experience working as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). Tanya is also a Certified Death Doula and works with people and families to plan for having positive control at the end of life. She has expertise in direct practice with older adults; adults with mental health and behavioral health concerns; children and their families; people who are deaf or hearing impaired; children and adults with developmental and cognitive disabilities; and with individuals who are in crisis due to rape. She has directed program coordination and evaluation in both community service agencies and university settings.
A former Assistant Clinical Professor at the UNC Chapel Hill School of Social Work, Tanya directed Jordan Institute’s Center for Aging Research and Educational Services (CARES). She is a certified person centered thinking trainer, a mentor for Person centered Thinking, Person Centered Planning and People Planning Together. She is the Chair of the board of directors for the International Learning Community for Person Centered Practices.
Tanya is also a Grove-certified graphic facilitator and graphic recorder and has created specialized hand-drawn large-scale graphics for over 60 events. Her specialized professional areas of interest are Geriatrics, End of Life, Leadership and Coaching, Person Centered Practice, Outcome Evaluation and Research, and Ethics.
Tanya earned a BA in Psychology with a triple minor in Spanish, Anthropology, and Astronomy and a Master’s of Social Work (MSW) from Louisiana State University. She is a licensed clinical social worker. She currently lives in Greensboro, NC, where she practices yoga and is an avid seamstress and dollhouse builder.
Sherrie has worked in the field of disability services for over 35 years. A passionate interest in person centered and person directed living is at the heart of all her efforts. Starting in the early 1990’s, Sherrie received her training and mentoring from a variety of internationally recognized practitioners, including learning Personal Futures Planning, MAPS, and PATH from John O’Brien, Judith Snow, Marsha Forest, and Jack Pearpoint. Sherrie also worked with Jack, John, and Lynda Kahn to bring the time-honored Summer Institute to Australia and New Zealand as The Down Under Institute just a few years ago.
Her connection with Michael Smull began in the mid 1990s, when closing Fairview Training Center, Oregon’s largest institution for people who have disabilities. Sherrie led the team that developed the plans that were used to help people move during transition and afterwards provided technical assistance as people settled into new community homes. Working collaboratively with Michael and others nationally, Sherrie and her team organized and hosted the first Portland Gatherings. This annual event that continues to this day to support and promote work of The Learning Community for Person Centered Practice (TLCPCP). As a mentor trainer in The Learning Community for Person Centered Practices, she supports potential trainers to develop their skills and practices in training others.
Sherrie’s work history includes roles as a direct support professional, vocational trainer, secondary special education teacher, residential group home manager, and various training and statewide technical assistance roles. Sherrie’s work has largely been Oregon-based, but she recently spent a decade in Australia, working within agencies to provide training on using a variety of person centered thinking and planning processes in a number of states as Australia moves towards a nationwide self-directed disability support system.
Since returning to the US, Sherrie has worked at Support Development Associates (SDA) in a variety of projects. The largest included providing person centered thinking training to over 2200 people who are direct support professionals and service coordinators in Colorado. She is currently working with service providers in Georgia to develop person centered thinking coaches and with the state office in Washington to support facilitators working to help people move from the state’s regional habilitation centers. Sherrie is looking forward to continuing to work with individuals, families, groups, and organizations in the work of visioning, creating, re-creating, and pursuing people-empowered supports, services, and communities.
Debbie Paul, BBA, MSM, Administrative Manager, has worked in management and higher education since 1996. Debbie was introduced to person centered thinking by Tanya after adopting her grandson, Tanner, who has autism. After creating and using one page descriptions and communication charts during his IEP meetings and realizing the great benefits and positive change that this made in their lives Debbie really wanted to be a part of the Person Centered community. The opportunity presented itself in June 2021 and although it meant a total career change it was one that Debbie was willing to make in order to be a small part of the big positive change that is Support Development Associates and The Learning Community.
Debbie has a Bachelor’s of Business Administration and Masters of Science in Management. She is Microsoft certified in Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. Debbie loves technology and the challenge of learning new software.
Debbie lives in the beautiful hills of Tennessee with her husband, Rick, son, Tanner, her daughter, Teresa and grandson, Josiah, 7 dogs, and 2 cats. Debbie is an avid crocheter and yarn collector.