Five Appointed To State Independent Living Council by Governor Abbott

Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Lisa Thompson for a term set to expire on June 20, 2025, and appointed Juanita Webber and Erin “Amanda” Bowdoin and reappointed Bonnie Notargiacomo and Melva Henderson to the State Independent Living Council for terms set to expire on October 24, 2026. The Council develops the State Plan for Independent Living and serves as a resource to state and local organizations on Independent Living and related issues for persons with disabilities.

Lisa Thompson of Atlanta is the External Affairs Officer for the City of Texarkana and an adjunct professor at the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana. She is a member of the Opportunities, Inc. Board of Directors, Industrial Asset Management Council, International Economic Development Council, Texas Economic Development Council, Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers, Atlanta Tourism Committee, Texarkana Arts & Historic District Committee, Atlanta Hometown Christmas Committee, and the TXK 150 Planning Committee. She is a member and volunteer at the First Baptist Church of Queen City and a freelance writer for local magazine publications. Thompson received a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication from the University of Central Arkansas and a Master of Public Service from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. Additionally, she received a certificate of public communication from Texas Christian University and a Certificate of Public Management from Texas State University.

Juanita Webber of Houston is the ADA Compliance Program Manager at the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). She is a member of the TxDOT Civil Rights Division Engagement Workgroup, TxDOT Conference Governance Workgroup, TxDOT Corporate Governance Risk Management Workgroup, and the TxDOT Campus Consolidation Project. Webber received a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Consumer Science from the University of Houston and a Juris Doctor from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University.

Erin “Amanda” Bowdoin of Forney has been an educator for 25 years and is currently a teacher of students with visual impairments and a braillist for Mesquite Independent School District. She is a member of the Association of Texas Professional Educators, the National Family Association of DeafBlind and DeafBlind International. Bowdoin received a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Texas A&M University – Commerce and a Master of Education in Special Education specializing in visual impairment from Stephen F. Austin University. She is currently attending Texas Tech University to specialize in DeafBlind.

Bonnie Notargiacomo of Willis is an older individual blind program specialist at the Texas Workforce Commission and has over 25 years of experience working with people with disabilities. Notargiacomo received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from The University of Texas at Brownsville and a Master of Arts in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling from The University of Texas Pan American. 

Melva Henderson of Dallas has over 10 years of professional experience working within the blind and visually impaired community. She is the founder and CEO of Living Beyond Limits nonprofit organization and Seeing Me for Me. Her compassion and advocacy have allowed her to be the keynote speaker at universities and organizations. She is a vision life coach, helping others create a roadmap to successfully live a life beyond limits while providing events that bring awareness to an underserved community. Henderson received a Bachelor of Social Work from Texas Woman’s University and a Master of Social Work from Texas A&M University – Commerce. Additionally, she received a certificate in business management from George Mason University.