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Board of Directors

Executive Director

Danielle Tessen (Fairbanks)

Danielle is the Executive Director for the Autism Society Alaska. She joined the board in 2012 while working on her Master’s thesis and later became the first hired Executive Director in October 2014. It was during a class on interpersonal relationships that she developed a passion for communication and advocacy. Her master’s thesis examined the experiences of mothers' raising children with autism in Alaska. A passion for public speaking developed as adjunct Communication Professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.In her time with the Autism Society of Alaska she has given numerous presentations and training courses in Alaska to inform others about Autism. Danielle's areas of responsibility span across committee management, media relations, finance, compliance, technology, board development and community outreach.

Danielle is a fourth generation Alaskan who values building relationships with people in the Golden Heart Community. 

In addition to her work with Autism Society Alaska, Danielle enjoys athletic adventures and spending time with her husband, Craig, and their daughter, Madison. Danielle considers her position with the Autism Society of Alaska an honor and continues to strive to making a positive impact for those who are affected by Autism in Alaska.

Board of Directors

Brandy Raby (Salcha) President

Brandy and her husband enjoy raising their two boys in Alaska. As a resident of this great State for 29 years, she graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with her Associates in Paralegal Studies and had a range of educational experiences from Elementary to Post-Secondary education. Her family enjoys fishing, traveling, hiking, and skiing. By the young age of 2 her oldest son was given the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. This diagnosis set her on a passionate journey which has created many opportunities. She has participated in many State-wide conferences, programs and trainings as well as out of State programs and National Autism Society Conferences. Brandy has held a position on the Board of Directors for the Autism Society of Alaska since 2010. She previously held the position as Vice President and is the current President. As a Board member she has lead parent support groups, participated in fundraising events and has had the opportunity to advocate for ASD awareness, acceptance and services. She is the State representative for the Society Assembly of Affiliate leaders for the National Autism Society Organization. This network of Affiliate leaders work together on local and National levels lobbying in D.C. as well as creating strategic plans and programs to be implemented and available across local and National arenas. Having been on this journey for a while, Brandy has seen the statistics; services and educational opportunities change over the years. She appreciates the individuality of every person who experiences Autism and intends to use her time on the Board as well as any other opportunity she is given to #StompTheStigma that surrounds them and their support systems so that the celebration of who they are can be joined by all.

Denys Collins Secretary

Dawn Ham Treasurer

I have lived in Alaska for over 30 years and have a desire to see the community come together and support one another.  I want to see non-profit organizations be successful and educate and encourage one another.  I do not have any children of my own, but am part of a large family and love being called aunt.

Autism is something that I feel is not understood well and am excited to be part of helping to educate others as well as learn more myself.   I appreciate your consideration on adding me to your board. 

Joshua Kamerick Board Member who experiences autism

Alana Frazier Board Member

Alana was born and raised in Virginia. She attended graduate school for occupational therapy at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in Saint Augustine, Florida, receiving her Master of Occupational Therapy degree in 2012. Alana has since worked in outpatient occupational therapy settings, first in Texas and now in Alaska. As an occupational therapist, she works with individuals on the autism spectrum each week. Much of her continuing education has related to sensory processing challenges and autism spectrum disorder. At work, her focus centers around increasing quality of life for the individual client and extends into the family.

Heidi Haas  Founding Honorary Board Member  (Fairbanks)

As the founding member of the Autism Society of Alaska, Heidi Haas has a dedicated passion for autism and education advocacy. Heidi and her husband were both born and raised in Fairbanks and value the support Alaskan's have shown the Autism Society and especially their family. After her daughter was diagnosed with autism in 2007, Heidi set out to create supports and advocacy for others. Heidi is also a member of the Governor's Council on Disabilities and Special Education, Autism Task Force for the state and is currently the president of the Fairbanks North Star Borough School Board. Being involved in the community that supports our future is important and rewarding for Heidi.

Betsey Jacobs Honorary Board Member

The Autism Society Board has voted Betsey Jacobs as the Honorary Board Member, a yearly rotating position. This honor is given to a member in the community who has positively impacted our families who experience autism.

Betsey Jacobs has been a practicing speech-language pathologist in Fairbanks for the past 12 years. She has been a therapy animal handler for over 20 years and currently trains service dogs with Paws for Purple Hearts and The Other Paw Assistance Dogs. Betsey has created Camp YES! in the woods, a camp for all kids, addressing social thinking and sensory regulation, along with service dogs-in-training, in a fun outdoor environment.
Thank you Betsey Jacobs for all you do for Autism in Alaska!