Vickie Mitchell, Ed.D. has been in education for over 40 years as a general education teacher, special education teacher, administrator, college professor, and parent of a child with a disability on an IEP from second grade through graduation from public school. Her passion is helping children with disabilities of all ages, their families, and teachers plan and implement an education plan that will transition to positive post-school results. Vickie’s passion is reaching the parents and families of school-age children and young adults. Her goal is to help parents/families learn and use Person-Centered Practices that partner in planning for their child’s future.​

Debbie Wilkes brings a wealth of knowledge and experiences supporting students who receive special education services to create transition plans that lead to a valued life in the community. Ms. Wilkes has developed training specific to supporting teachers, administrators, students and families to use Person-Centered Thinking tools as a part of the Transition process.


Learn more about materials and certification from The Learning Community for Person Centered Practices at

​​​​Laura Buckner, M.Ed.,founding partner of the Institute for Person-Centered Practices, is a Licensed Professional Counselor and former special educator. Laura has invested the last 15 years in providing training on the local, state, and national levels. Laura is a Certified Mentor Trainer in Person Centered Practices through the Learning Community for Person Centered Practices. She has considerable experience facilitating Person-Centered Plans using the materials of the Learning Community, and in training plan facilitators. Laura believes her greatest expertise comes from her experience as a mother. Her adult son has been both impetus and inspiration to Laura's work to create inclusive communities, along with plans that enable people to live lives of choice successfully with the right supports, in those communities.

Shelley Dumas, Ph.D. is a Certified Mentor Trainer with the Learning Community for Person-Centered Practices, a founding partner of the Institute for Person-Centered Practices, and is the Community Education Director for the Texas Center for Disability Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.  She has worked both statewide and internationally to deliver Person Centered Practice concepts to individuals and organizations. Her passion for this work is based on the personal experience of her daughter's support needs for becoming a valued member of the community in which she lives.

Jeff Garrison-Tate, M.Ed.,is a Certified Mentor Trainer with The Learning Community for Person Centered Practices. He has supported people with disabilities and their families for over 30 years. He is a founding partner of the Institute on Person-Centered Practices and is a Certified Person Centered Thinking Trainer. He works as a Project Director for the Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M University.

Amy Nelson Sharp, Ph.D. currently serves as the Executive Director at the Center For Disability Studies at University of Texas. Things that are important to Amy include her pets, fitness, and creative expression in gardening, cooking, and words.

(Click on Amy's name or photo to see her profile page) 

For More Information Or To Schedule Trainings:

Laura G. Buckner

Shelley Dumas, Ph.D.

Jeff Garrison-Tate 
University of Texas

Information regarding consultant fees, materials and travel expenses are available upon request.

Better Lives, Not Just Better Plans...

Trainings will be conducted by certified Mentor Trainers and Trainers. All of the founding partners have taught and presented at the state and national levels and have immediate family members who receive services.

Leadership Team