Our History

Shewood’s mission is to empower children and adults with autism and related disabilities to maximize their potential in family and community life

It started in 1974, when Debbie Wood was a UMKC psychology student, working with a boy in the Olathe Psychiatric Hospital. Debbie and another student had been taking turns, working with him day and night for eight months. The hospital was getting ready to discharge him, yet there were no schools for him to attend. They were going to send him home, without services. Debbie said – no way! There has to be something better. Debbie, and two other students, started Sherwood Center with six students in a church basement. They used a combination of their last names to create the name and drew toothpicks to see who would be president.

At that time, it was the first agency to provide specialized education and support services to individuals with autism in the Kansas City area. Today, Sherwood Center provides high-quality services to both children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and a wide range of developmental disabilities.

The philosophy that “there has to be something better” still drives us today. We constantly seek to find the most effective methods and resources available to the individuals that we serve. 

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.

  • ASD affects 1 in 68 children.

  • There is no medical detection or cure for ASD.

  • ASD is five times more likely in boys than in girls.

  • Although ASD varies significantly in character and severity, it occurs in all ethnic and socioeconomic groups and affects every age group.

  • People with ASD have a typical life span.

Financial Information is available by viewing Sherwood Center’s profile on the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation’s website.

Additional questions should be directed to contactus@sherwoodcenter.org

Our Board of Directors

Craig Reid, President

Country Club Financial Services

Larry Hisle, Vice President

Kansas City Federal Executive Board

Nathan Martin,Treasurer


Jewell Colbert, Secretary

Social Security Administration

Aaron Nichols, Young Advisory Board Presidnet

National Advisors Trust Companys

“I have been blessed in my professional and personal life and wanted to find a way to share this blessing with others. Sherwood Center’s mission to improve the quality of life for children and adults with, among other challenges, autism spectrum disorder, struck a chord with me and I felt a calling to be a part of this mission. I want to be one of the key people who shapes the vision and outreach of this organization for years to come.”

-Craig Reid

  • Jim Hoelzel,
    Center School District
  • Megan E. Carmen,
    Kansas City Autism Training Center
  • Cliff Smith,
    Kansas City Kansas Community College
  • Kerry Schmittling,
  • Ashley Shroyer,
    Lakemary Center
  • Melissa Spencer,
    Cerner Corporation
  • Jennifer Rucker,
    Bank of Oklahoma


  • Howard Barewin,
    Volleyball Beach
  • J. Dale Youngs,
    Jackson County Courthouse
  • Leigh Anne Guminger,
    Kansas City Missouri School District

Leadership Team



Laci Maltbie joined Sherwood Center from KidsTLC, where she served as Autism Program Director and a member of the Senior Leadership Team. She holds an undergraduate degree in Education and a graduate degree in Special Education.

Laci has 15 years of experience developing and supporting high quality programs for individuals with autism on the West Coast and in the Midwest Region. Throughout her work in Kansas City, she has had the opportunity to partner with the Autism Society of the Heartland, Kansas Center for Autism Training and Research, University of Kansas Special Education Department and the Olathe Public Library in efforts to educate and increase quality services in our community.



Sarah Guthrie, MA, CFRE, is a seasoned development professional with more than 18 years experience helping not-for profit organizations reach their funding goals.  She has a bachelor’s in broadcast journalism from the University of Tennessee and a master’s in broadcast communication arts from San Francisco State University. A speaker and writer, she obtained her Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) certification in 2014. Formerly a member of the board of directors for the Mid-America chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, she now serves on the National Philanthropy day Committee.  When she’s not raising money, she’s dreaming about it.



Rachael joined Sherwood Center in 2011 after working in non-profit fundraising and marketing for over 15 years. She has worked for organizations such as the Menorah Legacy Foundation/Jewish Heritage Foundation, United Way of Greater Kansas City, Camp Fire USA and Academie Lafayette. Rachael graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in Human Development and Social Work. She supports Sherwood Center by acting as a community liaison for volunteers and heading the charge for fundraising and marketing.



Christine Hernandez joined Sherwood Center in June of 2017. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and Special Education, a Master’s Degree in Educational and Special Education Administration, and a Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership.  

Christine has 35 years of experiencing working in education, 30 of which have been in the Kansas City metro area. During this time she has had the opportunity to hold a variety of positions from teaching preschool through graduate school, Principal, Coordinator of Instruction, and Director of Special Education, Gifted and Talented and Psychological Services.  She has a background in developing new programs from the ground up for both Special Education and Alternative Education. Christine is passionate about serving children and their families!



Tracy Tormes joined Sherwood Center in January of 2017. She comes to us with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, a certification in Special Education and 20 years of special education experience.  She is also a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA).  In addition, she has a lifetime of experience with a sibling with special needs.  Her personal experience is what drives her passion to help individuals with disabilities reach their full potential. Tracy is responsible for providing curriculum and training support to students and teachers throughout the Sherwood Special Education Program.



Tiffany joined Sherwood Center in April 2017 after working in multi-level Organizations throughout Iowa, Missouri and Arkansas for the past 20 years. She has worked with local and state government agencies, in rural, suburban and urban settings to develop much needed programs for Adults with Developmental Disabilities as well as Mental Health Services for Adults with primary diagnosis of Mental Illness. Tiffany graduated from Buena Vista University with a double major in Social Services and Psychology.

Tiffany is passionate about providing quality programs for individuals with autism, developmental disabilities and other related “varying levels of abilities” to reach their optimal level of independence. Tiffany’s strengths are day habilitation services, vocational training and employment services. She is super excited to work at Sherwood Center and looks forward to increasing adult services opportunities for the Kansas City community.



Special Education Program Teaching Team

  • Josh Brown | Certified Special Education Teacher
  • Amy Lawder | Certified Special Education Teacher
  • Wendy Scraggs  | Certified Special Education Teacher
  • Michelle Christensen | Certified Special Education Teacher
  • Chris Yeager | Certified Special Education Teacher
  • Holly Jacobs, MSEd | Certified Physical Education Teacher
  • Kelley Yeokum | Certified Special Education Teacher
  • Seth Correa | Associate Teacher
  • Kayla Greenwood | Certified Special Education Teacher

Special Education Program Therapist Team

  • Diana Garcia, B.S. | Bi-Lingual Speech Therapist
  • Holly Jacobs, MSEd | Counselor
  • Kristie Clifft, OTR/L | Occupational Therapist
  • Patty Dierking, Ed.S., M.S., CCC-SLP | Speech Language Pathologist
  • Kimberly Cheney, M.S., CCC-SLP | Speech Language Pathologist
  • Patricia Stark, M.S., CCC-SLP | Speech Language Pathologist
  • Trina Rice, OTR/L | Occupational Therapists
  • Kristi Hanson | Music Therapist

Sherwood Center Support Team

  • Anita Townsend | Adult Day Services Secretary
  • Milka Ramirez | Special Education Program Office Manager
  • Lyle Roach | Facilities Manager
  • Susan Sheeley | Fiscal Manager