Board of Directors
Cheryl Cisneros, Board President
Cheryl is a strong advocate with more than 20 years of leadership experience and expertise dedicated to enhancing the lives of children and adults with developmental disabilities, and their families. Cheryl enjoys participation in several projects, including the Oregon Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorders; Oregon IDD Coalition’s Grassroots Oregon Project; Marion-Polk Employment First Team; Oregon’s One ISP Redesign Team; and Person-Centered Planning Facilitation. Cheryl has also previously worked with the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities and as Project Manager for The Arc Oregon’s Project Employ. Prior to moving to Oregon, Cheryl established a non-profit organization called FACTS (Families & Autistic Children Together Succeed) and served as Executive Director & President from 1996 to 2008. Under Cheryl’s leadership, FACTS mobilized families, regional service agencies and community organizations which resulted in the development of essential educational and social services for hundreds of children with autism in California’s Temecula Valley region. Services to families included IEP advocacy, parent training, support group meetings, social events, support staff recruitment & referrals, lending library, and website. Of all the roles Cheryl has had in the past two decades, she is most proud of her role as a mother to a remarkable young man who experiences developmental disabilities.
Sarah Brentano, Board Vice President
Sarah resides in Marion County and is the mother of two young children, of which one experiences a developmental disability. She was an Elementary Educator for eleven years and is currently the Advancement Director for two Catholic schools in Stayton. Sarah holds a Master’s Degree in the Art of Teaching, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies and is currently earning her Administrative Licensure through the University of Portland. Ms. Brentano is experienced in grant writing, leadership and advocacy. Sarah has connections with community leaders in Marion County and is passionate about helping families become strong advocates and active participants in their communities who gain strength and inspiration from their connections with each other. Sarah graduated from our Creating Leaders training program in 2015, is the chair of the Creating Opportunities Celebrating Achievements Gala and is currently a member of the State Interagency Coordinating Council.
Megan Newell, Board Secretary
Megan resides in Polk County and is the parent of a child with a developmental disability. Megan is a certified educator with a Masters Degree. Megan taught full time for 11 years and currently works as a substitute teacher for local school districts in general and special education classrooms. Megan has served as President for local elementary and middle school parent teacher clubs. In 2015, Megan helped to support the start of a therapeutic horseback riding program in the Willamette Valley. Megan is a graduate of our organization’s Creating Leaders training program and serves as a volunteer on our Celebrating Achievements Gala planning committee. Ms. Newell’s experience as an educator, community volunteer and a parent of a child with a disability provides her with a multifaceted perspective that will help her effectively support families and encourage a more inclusive community.
Paula Boga, Board Treasurer
We are thrilled to welcome Paula to our Board. Paula is the Executive Director of OTAC…
Jan resides in Polk County and is a grandmother of an adult with a developmental disability. She has experience in non-profit management, business management, financial management, human resources and organizational leadership. Ms. Ahrendt owns a bank auditing firm and brings vast directorate experience, including more than a decade in Executive Committee roles within non-profit organizations and her recent role as Chairman of the Board of a financial institution in California. She is committed to promoting appropriate Board governance and to support the mission of the Creating Opportunities organization.
Natalie is the sister of an adult with a developmental disability. She has knowledge and experience in the areas of health, wellness, social services and advocacy, and received Bachelor of Science Degrees in Nutrition and Psychology from Oregon State University. For over 5 years, Natalie worked as a Direct Support Professional at Partnerships in Community Living as an active member of her sibling’s service planning team. Now serving as the Nutrition Specialist Assistant at Community Action Head Start, Ms. Bratton is enthusiastic about sharing her unique perspective to the board, and is dedicated to promoting health and wellness to create positive change in the community.
Vanessa resides in Polk County and is an auxiliary community member. Vanessa is a student at Western Oregon University who will graduate with a community health degree. Ms. Sandoval has worked for several years as direct support professional for a young adult with developmental disabilities. Vanessa speaks both Spanish and English fluently, and is eager to support Creating Opportunities in enhancing our outreach and support to families whose primary language is Spanish. Ms. Sandoval is interested in helping our organization connect with community volunteers at local universities and colleges.
Kay resides in Yamhill County and is the parent of a young boy who experiences a developmental disability…
Front L-R: Megan Newell, Cheryl Cisneros & Sarah Brentano
Back L-R: Vanessa Sandoval & Natalie Bratton
Not Pictured: Paula Boga, Jan Ahrendt & Kaylin Huff