Executive Committee of the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council

Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council's Executive Committee members and responsibilities.

The Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary, Member at Large and the Executive Director shall be the members of the Executive Committee. The committee shall meet as necessary between the regularly scheduled Council meetings. The Executive Committee shall be empowered to act on behalf of the Council between regular Council meetings.  

Table of Contents

Roles and Responsibilities

Chairperson: The Chairperson presides at all meetings of the Council. He/she is responsible for maintaining communication with the Governor's office on relevant issues and represents the Council at public functions as appropriate. He/she shall also serve as a member of the Executive Committee.

Vice-Chairperson: The Vice-Chairperson is responsible for assisting the Chairperson in the performance of his/her duties and performing all duties of the Chairperson in his/her absence. He/she shall also serve as a member of the Executive Committee and the Membership Committee. The Vice-Chairperson also represents the Council at public functions as appropriate. Either the Chairperson or Vice-Chairperson shall be an individual with a developmental disability.

Secretary: The Secretary is the custodian of the records of the Council and keeps a permanent record of the minutes of its meetings. The Secretary supervises, reviews, and approves the development and distribution of the Council meeting minutes, maintains attendance records of Council meetings and is responsible for notifying the Chairperson of the inactivity of any member. He/she shall also serve as a member of the Executive Committee.

Member at Large: The Member at Large presides at all meetings of the Council. Duties and responsibilities will vary according to the needs of the Council and as directed by other officers. He/she shall also serve as a member of the Executive Committee.


A latina woman wearing a black suit, with long black hair stands in front of a blue banner with the MDDC logo.

Raquel Quezada began her two-year term as the MDDC Chairperson in October 2023.

Raquel Quezada is from the Dominican Republic and is a mother of 4 children - one with Cerebral Palsy and another medically complex. She is an avid advocate in the Latino community, but also for all Massachusetts families and wherever else her support is needed. Previously, Quezada was a Boston Children’s Hospital LEND program fellow from 2017-18, an Allen C. Crocker fellow from 2018-19, and a student studying Psychology. She is experienced in Communications, Radio, and TV Production in her home country of the Dominican Republic and has authored 9 books. 

Equipped with the knowledge, compassion, and care of a mother of a child with a disability and with education on different types of disabilities and situations, Quezada created and began hosting the local radio and TV program “Cambiando El Mundo de Personas con Discapacidades” (Changing the World of People with Disabilities.) Quezada’s overall mission is to educate, inform, and share knowledge on what information and resources are available for people with special needs, and provide a place where other families can come and share their experiences. 

In her show, Quezada talks about all topics that can help disability communities. Different organizations, public and private businesses, and companies are brought on to share information about different programs and to showcase any products or technology that can benefit people with special needs. 


A man with short brown hair and a beard and mustache smiling in front of a blue curtain.

Cody Rooney was appointed to the position of Vice-Chairperson in November 2023.

Cody is from Amherst, MA and is currently studying Political Science at UMass Amherst. He previously attended Holyoke Community College, where he graduated with a degree in Human Services.He was born with Cerebral Palsy and his family was told he would never walk or talk. 

Well, he does both now!

Cody has a passion for leadership and doing the work for a better tomorrow. He has worked with Partners for Youth with Disabilities as a fellow for the summer program “Young Leaders Rising” and as a peer leader for the Youth Leadership Forum.

During his time at Holyoke Community College, he served as Vice President of the student senate, and also served on the Teach Disability Committee. He is also a changemaker with New Deal for Youth where they work hard for a better tomorrow.

Cody is also very involved with his Native American culture. He enjoys traveling, Boston sports teams, and going to the beach. 


A white woman with medium length brown hair and bangs wearing a cream colored sweater stands in front of a blue banner with the MDDC logo on it.

Alana Russo began her one-year term as the MDDC Secretary in October 2023.

Alana Russo grew up in Billerica and now lives independently in an apartment in Bedford. She is an alumna of The Cotting School from which she graduated in 2003 with Honors. In addition to receiving numerous academic achievements and awards, she also served as Class Vice President, was the Captain of the Cheerleading Squad, wrote for the School Newspaper, ran track, and played softball.

Russo continued her education at Middlesex Community College’s Transition Program, graduating in 2006 at the top of her class and as Student of the Year. She received numerous scholarships and awards for her Middlesex education. She has served in numerous organizations, such as Partners for Youth with Disabilities, and Northeast Independent Living Program and she currently sits on the Tenant Board for the Bedford Housing Authority. She has also been a part of the Special Olympics in cheerleading, soccer, and bowling. 

Alana loves reading, doing puzzles, scrapbooking, traveling, baking, cooking, dancing, and hanging out with friends from the social club she belongs to, Springboard. Alana has a younger brother Domenic, who is a lawyer and works for the United States Government. 

Member at Large

A white woman with long blonde hair wearing a beige and black dress stands in front of a blue banner with the MDDC logo printed on it.

Sandra Heller began her two-year term as the MDDC Member at Large in October 2023.

Sandra Heller has worked in the field of developmental disabilities for over 30 years.  She currently serves as Associate Executive Director of Nemasket Group Inc. and directs the Southeastern Medically Complex Program, providing information/referrals, advocacy, and funding management for families with children and adults with developmental disabilities that are medically complex.  She formerly served as the Chairperson for Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change and supports the planning and development of the Southeastern Family Leadership Series.

Sandra has a tremendous passion and experience, facilitating classes and workshops on such topics as Supported Decision Making, Estate Planning, Legislative Advocacy, and Person-Centered Planning.  Ms. Heller is also an Ambassador for Charting the LifeCourse.  Ms. Heller has provided extensive testimony at legislative hearings on important disability issues for many years and will continue to offer and advocate for the rights to live, love, and belong in our society and have the “good things in life” that all deserve. Her most rewarding role is as a parent.

As the mother of a 34-year-old man born with Down Syndrome and complex medical needs, Sandra has always focused on him enjoying and being fully included in life, from school to working since age 16, to moving to his own home over 8 years ago. Person-centered planning and Supported Decision Making have been invaluable tools that help his family and friends on his journey.  Sandra is also the proud mother of two adult daughters and grandmother to two beautiful young boys.

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