Every FORWARD board member has been touched by someone with autism, and several board members have children or other close relatives with autism. Our board members also have a host of specific skills relative to the project, including land development and construction, social work, nonprofit administration and housing creation.
Board of Directors (President)
Kathy McNamara Ohman the Founder and Board President of FORWARD. She is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, (LICSW), in Massachusetts. She has experience working with children & families. She is also the Owner/Operator of Kate’s Seafood & Ice Cream, a classic Cape Cod Clam Shack, celebrating over 30 seasons of business, on Route 6A, in Brewster.
As the mother of two young men with Autism she has served as the Chair of the Dennis-Yarmouth Special Needs Advisory Council, participated as a member of the Autism Commission’s Transition Committee, & as an advocate for the needs of the developmentally disabled in the Cape Cod community.
With her husband John & oldest son, Liam, she continues to guide the path of two uniquely talented young men.
1980 – MSW, Boston College Graduate School Of Social Work
1978 – BA, Westfield State University, Westfield, MA
- Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, LICSW
- Member; National Association of Social Workers, ACSW
- Board Member; Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce
- Member; Sons of Erin, W. Yarmouth, MA.
- Member; Dennis Conservation Trust
- Past President & Current Board Member; Cape & Islands Democratic Council
- Member; Dennis Democratic Town Committee
- Member; Cape Abilities Positive Behavioral Supports, (PBS), Leadership Team
Board of Directors, Vice President
Building Committee (Co-Chair)
Robert L. Brennan, Jr. is an award-winning real estate developer, with an accomplished background in the law, politics and community development.
Rob is the President of CapeBuilt Development, LLC and the developer of Heritage Sands in Dennis Port, Cape Cod, Massachusetts (www.HeritageSands.com). Located on 8 acres of Nantucket Sound shoreline, Heritage Sands is Cape Cod’s first oceanfront cottage community in more than 50 years. Heritage Sands has been recognized as “Best Residential Development in the Americas” by the International Property Awards, and received four 2015 PRISM Awards from the Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Boston for “Best Land Planning” (Gold), “Best Home Under 2500 s.f.” (Gold), “Best Sales Model Under $650,000” (Gold) and “Best Residential Development” (Silver).
Prior for founding CapeBuilt Development, Rob practiced as a land use attorney for almost 20 years and represented regional and national real estate developers on a variety of resort, residential and commercial properties and a wide range of transactions, permitting, environmental compliance and property operation matters.
Rob was a founding partner of the Boston law firm Brennan, Dain, Le Ray & Wiest (now Dain Torpy)and began his career practicing in the Real Estate Development, Environmental Law, and Litigation practice areas of Goodwin Procter LLP, Edwards & Angell and Palmer & Dodge.
Bar Admissions and Licenses: Rob is admitted to the bars of Massachusetts and the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals. He is also a licensed MA Real Estate Broker.
Board of Directors (Clerk)
Building Committee (Co-Chair)
Bob Samoluk is a Human Resources Executive with over 25 years of experience in the field. Bob was the
Human Resources Director at BNY Mellon supporting the Finance and Risk and Compliance groups at
BNY Mellon Headquarters in New York. Additionally, Bob was the Human Resources Director for BNY
Mellon’s Asset Servicing group, a larger financial services operations group with over 12,000 employees
across the globe.
Since leaving the corporate world Bob has focused on working with non-profit organizations, with a
focus on housing issues. He served as the Chair of the Dennis Affordable Housing Trust, was an active
participant in the Cape Housing Institute, and served as Chair of the Dennis Democratic Committee.
Bob is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and holds a Certificate in Human
Resources Management for Bentley University.
Board of Directors, Treasurer
Chair, Finance Committee
Heather has been a Commercial Lender at The Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank in South Dennis for seven years. Prior to that she was a TD Bank as a Small Business Relationship Manager for 9 years, and spent 14 years in various roles at The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod. Heather attended Tabor Academy and The Massachusetts Bankers School for Financial Studies, served on the boards of Calmer Choice, and the Comminity Development Partnership. And currently is a member of their Advisory Council.
Board of Directors (Treasurer)
Finance/Fundraising Committee (Co-Chair)
I’ve been a South Dennis Resident since the early 80s. I’m currently employed by a small liquor chain in South Dennis. I am a member of the Dennis Board of Health. In my recent past I delivered Department of Housing Community Development Block Grants to the Cape and Martha’s Vineyard. Through these grants we rehabbed many homes belonging to low to moderate income homeowners. We also purchased a vacant church and rectory converting them into four affordable one bedroom apartments and a 3 bedroom home. I have become involved with F.O.R.W.A.R.D for many reasons. The most important of which is to see that young adults with developmental disabilities have a safe and comfortable place to live and receive the services that they need.
Board of Directors
Events & Fundraising Committee (Co-Chair)
Sheila Lyons recently stepped down from her elected position as Barnstable County Commissioner, a position she held for eight years. As Commissioner, she represented the County on various intergovernmental and non-profit boards. During her time in office, Sheila was an outspoken advocate for Cape Cod, leading the County’s influence in areas of the environment and wastewater remediation, poverty, opioid addiction and smart economic growth.
A Boston native, Sheila began her career as a geriatric social worker, working in the communities of South Boston and Cambridge. She relocated to Maryland to work as a Director of Social Service and staff development in the long-term healthcare industry. Over the years, Sheila was always politically active and is the former Chair of the Democratic Women of Howard County, Chair of the Wellfleet Democratic Town Committee and Vice President of the Cape and Islands Democratic Council.
Sheila lives in Wellfleet and has one daughter who lives in New York City.
Boards & Government
- Barnstable County Commissioner: 2008 – 2016
- Chair: 2009, 2015 & Vice- Chair: 2012, 2014
- Chief Elected Official, (CEO), Workforce Investment Board: 2011- 2016
- Chair, Barnstable County Ad Hoc Committee on Risk Analysis of Vegetation Management 2010
- Chair, Regional Network To End Homelessness: 2008 – 2016
- Convener & Chair, Regional Task Force on Substance Abuse: January 2014 to 2016
- County Representative, Cape Cod Commission: 2008-2011
- County Representative, Cape Cod Water Protection Collaborative: 2008 – 2015
- County Representative, Barnstable County Cooperative Extension: Jan 2011- 2016
- County Representative, Children’s Cove: 2009-2012
- County Representative, National Seashore Advisory Committee: 2009 –present
- County Representative, Arts Foundation of Cape Cod: 2012 – 2015
- Representative to the Assembly of Delegates Wellfleet: 2006-2008
- Delegate Alternate, Human Service Advisory Council: 2006- 2008
- Board Member, Cape Cod American Red Cross: 2010 – 2013
- Board Member, Wellfleet Preservation Hall: 2008-2011
- Board Member, Veterans Outreach Grace Center2009-2013
Paul is the Coordinator of the Hotel/Restaurant Management Program at Cape Cod Community College, and the owner of the Ebb Tide and Sea View Restaurants in Dennis Port. He also Chaired the Dennis Board of Selectmen and served on the board for 18 years.
Rev. Nancy S. McHugh is a pastor within the United Church of Christ and has recently relocated to the Cape from Vermont. She currently serves at the Dennis Union Church. She and her husband, Mike who retired from the USMC, have five children who live throughout New England. Nancy went into the ministry after a 12 career as a Marital and Family Therapist in Philadelphia PA. She loves being outdoors on her bike or Kayaking and she and Mike have an English Black Lab named Sophie.
Board of Directors
Fundraising Committee (Co-Chair)
Maura lives with her husband John and their three sons in Forestdale. She currently works as a Job Coach at Project Forward, the vocational training program at Cape Cod Community College. She has worked in a variety of capacities at the program for the last nine years including as an instructor and facilitating their peer leadership program. She also works weekends and summers at Cafe Chew in Sandwich. She started working at Cafe Chew to help supplement her sons’ college education tuition, but she likes it so much, she may just stay when they’re done.
Maura is the proud mother of three sons. Her youngest son, Timothy is a sophomore in the Honors College / Business School at UMass Lowell, her middle son, Patrick, is a junior in the Honors College / Business School at Northeastern University, and her oldest son, Will, just graduated from the GROW program at Riverview after attending the school for 10 years. Will also has his high school degree from Sandwich Public Schools, and he is on the Autism Spectrum. Her husband John is beginning his 25th year as a probation officer at Orleans District Court.
Maura graduated Magna Cum Laude from UMass Dartmouth with a BA degree in English and has a MA degree in Writing, Literature and Publishing from Emerson College. Her professional background includes working as an editor in contract publishing for Miles Media Group and as a Staff Director for the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
Over the years, Maura has served as a volunteer for Special Olympics, and has worked on many political campaigns for local, statewide and Congressional candidates. She is committed to the idea of helping the autism spectrum population on Cape Cod to find dignity and purpose in all facets of their lives, whether it be through employment, housing or social engagement.
The bulk of Ann’s professional life has been in education. She has served as a special education chair, has written curriculums on diversity and tolerance, bullying and The Peaceful Classroom, and has received national attention for her work on sexual abuse and abduction prevention (featured on 48 Hours/Connie Chung). She has held many positions in social work and counseling in the Central MA and Cape Cod areas as well as in the Caribbean. Ann completed a year-long certification as an Informed Trauma Specialist. She is a Mindfulness Instructor and trained as a handler for a therapeutic dog. She also is a trained Sexual Education Specialist for individuals with disabilities. Recently, Ann completed coursework to become a Transition Specialist (MA Certificate) working with students, “Turning 22″.
Ann’s skills include” Case Management, Employee Assistance, Counseling/Adolescent/Young Adults, Team Building, Abuse and Abduction Prevention Specialist, Learning Disability Specialist with Emphasis on Spectrum Diagnosis, Diversity and Tolerance Training, Mindfulness,
Informed Trauma Specialist, Therapeutic dog handler, Sexual Educator for Individuals with Disabilities
Board of Directors
Rick Presbrey was the President, CEO and Founder of the Housing Assistance Corporation until his retirement in March of 2017. Under Rick’s leadership the agency grew from one and a half staff members and an annual budget of $32,000.00 to 125 staff members and total annual expenditures nearly $30m.
It is estimated that HAC helped approximately 100,000 unduplicated people through its 37 different programs. HAC was known to be creative and caring and committed to helping anyone and everyone in the region that is facing a housing crisis. Funding, always the key to success of any enterprise, came from a variety of sources including local, county, state and federal governments, donations, sponsorships, fees, services, events, rents and grants from foundations and businesses. Through the years HAC, and Rick on behalf of the agency, received many awards and recognitions for the accomplishments in its especially client centered work often most successfully in partnership with other organizations.
Rose Marie Strippoli
Events & Community Engagement Committee
Rose Marie is a retired educator and administrator from Tappan, New York. Her BS and MS degrees in art education from The State University of New York/New Paltz enabled her to teach art to students at all grade levels.
Developing and teaching high school curriculum, speaking on Gifted and Talented Education in Art, and exhibiting student work in her community, were all components of her work as an art teacher. Rose Marie’s accomplishments included getting her students to think through art, to enjoy creating art and to develop an awareness of the world of art. Her students also had fun writing and acting in plays focused on various artists. Their outdoor art happenings were enjoyed by 150 or more students at once!
During her career in education, Rose Marie also designed and implemented a progressive program entitled “Humanities in the Elementary School,” for which she was awarded a New York State Grant.
Rose Marie later earned a School Administrator and Supervisor (SAS) Professional Diploma from Bank Street College and became Director of the South Orangetown Central School District Extended Educational Care Program. Her innovative morning and afternoon program for children of working parents was recognized by The New York State Education Department. Rose Marie was also invited to attend the 21st Century Schools Project at the Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy at Yale University.
Rose Marie served as a consultant in Humanities to the American Bar Association, with a focusing on Law-related Education through the visual arts and humanities.
- Cape Cod Museum of Art: Art instructor (1998 – 2000), Educational Consultant (2003 – 2009).
- Art Teacher Association of Cape Cod (2004 – 2009).
- Massachusetts Cultural Council: Site evaluator (2008).
- The Educational Foundation for Dennis & Yarmouth, Inc.: Board member.
- Yarmouth New Church Preservation Foundation: Board member (2013 – 2015).
- Yarmouth Democratic Town Committee: Vice Chair & Treasurer (2007 – present).
- Theta Phi Gamma Alumnae Association: President, 2005 – present.
Following a career in publishing in New York and Massachusetts, David and his family moved to Cape Cod in 2003. Upon arriving on the Cape, he entered the real estate business, eventually holding a Brokers License and representing tenants and landlords for both residential rental properties and commercial leasing, and was active in Rotary and Chamber of Commerce committees in both Dennis and Yarmouth. As his engagement with the community grew he joined the boards of the Cape Cod Museum of Art, Eventide Theatre Company, the Town of Dennis Arts & Cultural Committee, and the Dennis Village Improvement Society. In 2014 David was asked to be the Executive Director of the Cape & Islands Theater Coalition, which started his transition out of real estate and into nonprofit administration. Along the way he also served as the interim Executive Director of the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod and as a freelance grant writer. Today, in addition to his work with FORWARD, he is on the board of the Eventide Theatre Company, Treasurer of the Dennis Arts and Cultural Council, and continues to serve on the Dennis Village Improvement Society board. David is deeply committed to FORWARD and its work. David grew up in Westport CT, and attended the Loomis Chafee School and Hampshire College. He lives just a mile from FORWARD at the Rock.