Gary Smith Scholarship for Public Managers

About the Scholarship

The Gary Smith Scholarship for Public Managers was established by the NASDDDS Board of Directors in honor of Gary Smith, an extraordinary leader in the intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) field who was intensely committed to making state government disabilities agencies effective at delivering good service and achieving positive outcomes for people. Gary served in senior management positions in the states of Illinois and Colorado. As the Director of Special Projects for NASDDDS from 1987 to 2001 and an expert in state operations and the use of Medicaid to fund services, Gary was well known for confronting state agencies with respectful criticism and the challenge to perform better and helping them do so.

Recognizing the importance of public professionals to receive leadership training and for other participants to be involved with state leaders during leadership training, the NASDDDS Board of Directors approved an annual contribution to the Gary Smith Scholarship Fund to support the participation of one participant from state government at the University of Delaware Leadership Consortium, held twice yearly. The scholarship fund in Gary Smith’s name is a legacy to support others who work for state, local, or the federal government in their pursuit to improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families.

What is the University of Delaware Leadership Consortium?

This week-long, leadership development program is designed for both current executive-level leaders and emerging leaders. Participants may work in organizations that provide, advocate for, or fund supports for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities and their families.

The focus of the Institute is on assessing and strengthening leadership skills, setting organizational direction, and understanding the future of the intellectual/developmental disabilities field.

For more information about the University of Delaware National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities go to

Who is Eligible?

Individuals working in state and local government agencies providing services and supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are eligible to apply for the scholarship.

What is Covered by the Scholarship?

The scholarship covers tuition and travel expenses.

View Past Award Recipients

LaToya Chancey (Winter 2021) has served in the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) field for over 16 years. She currently serves as the I/DD Team Lead for the North Carolina Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services. Prior to joining the Division in October of 2017, she served as the Chief Clinical Officer at a private provider agency that served individuals with I/DD.

LaToya has a Bachelor of Science in Human Development & Family Studies, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She also has a Master of Arts in Professional Counseling, as well as in Conflict Resolution. She is currently licensed as a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Associate.

LaToya began as a direct care staff and has held several roles, including Qualified Professional and Clinical Director, with a focus on supporting individuals with co-occurring mental health diagnoses and/or behavioral challenges. She also has clinical experience supporting survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Through these roles, she has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience with navigating the MH/IDD/SU system.

Jennifer La’a (Winter 2021) is the Branch Chief for the Hawaii Department of Health’s Developmental Disabilities Division’s Community Resources branch. She’s worked in a non-profit and State agency for disabilities services for the last 7 years and provider direct services for over 25 years. Jennifer has worked in non-profit environments with a constant commitment to social justice, civil, and human rights.

Kaleema Muhammad (Winter 2020) is a Program Administrator in the Program Development, Compliance and Policy Bureau at the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities, where she has worked since 2016. As the Program Administrator of the Quality Assurance Unit, Kaleema’s responsibilities include performing extensive research on federal requirements, internal and external compliance, and policy development.

Prior to working at the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Kaleema honed her relationship-building, problem-solving, and policy development skills as an administrative social worker for more than 20 years after spending almost 10 years in the United States Air Force.

Kaleema enjoys kayaking, reading, and spending quality time with her family in her spare time.

Tracey Cunningham-Martins (Winter 2020) Ms. Cunningham-Martins has over 30 years experience in the field of supported employment for individuals served by multiple state departments to include The Division of Developmental Disabilities, The Department of Veterans Affairs, state Vocational Rehabilitation agencies, and Ticket to Work. She has been the Director of Employment and Community Based Day Services, successfully assisting organizations in transformation projects and building successful employment teams, in multiple states until settling in Rhode Island as the Associate Director of Employment with the state. Other roles have included Essential Lifestyle Planning Coordinator, Transitional Services Coordinator, Grant Writer, Job Developer and Job Coach. Recently completing her master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, Martins is CESP certified; a former Advisory Board President at the Department of Transitional Assistance; member of the Greater Boston Employment Collaborative; and former board member of New Bedford Arc and Yonkers Private Industry Council.