Posted on: September 12, 2017

MCBDDS welcomes new Board member

Naima Quarles-Burnley appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Montgomery County Board of Developmental Disabilities Services

The Montgomery County Board of Developmental Disabilities Services (MCBDDS) welcomed a new member, Naima Quarles-Burnley, to its Board of Trustees in August.

Quarles-Burnley, an attorney and civil rights activist, was appointed by Montgomery County Probate Judge Alice McCollum, and sworn in at the organization’s August 15 Board meeting.  She will fill the unexpired term of James McCarthy, who is leaving the Board.  Her four-year term expires December 31, 2019.

Quarles-Burnley, a parent of a child with developmental disabilities, has extensive experience as an advocate at the local and state levels in Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and Washington state.  Her involvement in civil rights activism encompasses advocacy for people with developmental disabilities, refugees, homeless and indigent persons, and racial justice causes. 

She participated in the Leadership Development Program of The Arc of Spokane, which allowed her to focus on legislative issues that impacted the well-being of children with disabilities throughout the state of Washington, and served as both a founding member and officer of the Spokane County Special Needs Parent Teacher Association.  Her career has also included services as a Staff Attorney at the Pittsburgh Neighborhood Legal Services office, where she provided representation for indigent individuals in civil disputes related to housing, unemployment compensation, bankruptcy, disability benefits and protection from abuse; as International Mission Advocate Project Director for the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in New York City; and as a Refugee Sponsorship Developer for the United Church of Christ in Cleveland.  In addition, her leadership experience includes service as both President and Vice President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Spokane, WA.

“As the parent of a child with Down Syndrome, I have a vested interest in the success of MCBDDS,” said Quarles-Burnley.  “I have become intimately familiar with the importance of quality services being provided to families, and know how much our son benefited from the Early Intervention services he received.  My husband and I are grateful that the county provides support to parents and families, as we want all people with disabilities to have an equal opportunity to develop to their greatest potential.”

Quarles-Burnley, and her son moved to Dayton with her husband, Lawrence Burnley, who accepted the inaugural position of Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Dayton.

Quarles-Burnley holds a Juris Doctorate from the Antioch School of Law and a Master of Divinity in Theology from Lancaster Theological Seminary.  She also earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Oberlin College. 

“Naima’s experiences as a parent of a child with a disability, and her professional experiences in law, and in her work as an advocate in multiple states, will certainly enrich our Board,” said William Linesch, Board president. “We’re happy she is willing to share her knowledge and talents.”

About MCBDDS: The Montgomery County Board of Developmental Disabilities Services (MCBDDS) serves more than 3,400 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and works to empower them so they can live productive and rewarding lives aligned with their goals and choices.  MCBDDS is a Human Services Levy-funded agency.

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