Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors is composed of a group of dedicated volunteers. They provide an invaluable service to our association, performing a governance role, while being accountable to our membership. If you would like to learn more about the volunteer opportunities available through our Board, please contact us at: 905-985-8511


Below you can view the bios of our dedicated board members 

Clare Suggitt

Clare was raised on a farm near Sunderland with two sisters. His youngest sister had Down Syndrome and was cared for at home. He earned a B. Sc. from University of Waterloo and then a B. Ed. from Queen’s University. Clare taught for one year in Ajax, and then worked for Black’s Cameras for 3 years before re-entering the teaching profession. He taught for 30 years and was the head of the Science Department at Brock High School upon retirement. During his teaching career, Clare was an auxiliary police officer with Durham Regional Police Service rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant. After retirement, he was the chair of the School Community Council at Port Perry High School. Clare and his family have lived in Port Perry for over 25 years and he still has many connections in Brock Township. 

Nicky Jones

Nicky is a resident of the town of Port Perry. She has been a volunteer at Community Living Durham North’s Resource Centre for the past 15 years. Nicky is also an active member of the Self-Advocate group, the A-TEAM currently holding the position of past President. Nicky also holds a board position on Community Living Ontario’s Self-Advocacy Council.

Len Wright

Len and his wife live in the Township of Uxbridge. Len is a stroke survivor which has given him an awareness of the need to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. He has extensive experience in the financial services sector and the farm co-operative sector and he has previously served on the boards of Peel Crime Stoppers and Habitat for Humanity-Brampton. He is active in his church and is currently Chair of the Benevolent Committee.

Denise Graham

Denise has lived in Port Perry since 2003 She and her husband were franchisees of a retail establishment for 35 years until his passing nine years ago. Denise has three sons; the youngest has resided in a local group home since 2011. Denise has served on several committees, including a Special Education Advisory Committee, and says she would be honoured to serve on the Community Living Durham North Board and help in any way that she can.

Stephen Connors

Stephen began his career as a Consultant with IG Wealth Management in 2006. His specialized practice services incorporated business owners, professionals, and retirees. He works with a team of professionals to provide world class financial planning and estate planning for his clients. Stephen has lived in Durham Region for 45+ years, and raises his family in Port Perry. Prior to becoming a Consultant, Stephen was a volunteer firefighter for 9 years. In 1990, Stephen attended the Texas A&M University. Stephen is working towards his Certified Financial Planner designation, which he will obtain by the end of 2021. Stephen participates in the Big Brothers & Big Sisters of North Durham, Durham Ride for Dad, Port Perry Hospital Foundation and he is an active member with the 100 Men of Scugog.

Shona Casola

As a Social Worker, Shona has a fundamental belief in the protection of respect and dignity of all persons and she is a disability rights advocate.  As a professional Shona, has worked for nearly a decade in a charitable organization supporting individuals and families living on the autism spectrum to advocate, navigate and integrate into their communities and now works in a policy branch at the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.  As a volunteer Shona serves on the Board of Directors for Community Connection in Whitby and has experience volunteering with Kerry's Place, Elizabeth Fry Society, Telecare Orillia, Roots of Empathy and the Canadian Red Cross.  Shona is a mother of three incredible children who inspire her to celebrate uniqueness and imagination every day. She lives in Brooklin with her family.

Elise Hawley 

Elise holds a Broadcast Journalism Diploma and Corporate Communication and Public Relations Graduate Certificate, both from Fanshawe College, as well as a Digital Marketing and Social Media Management Certificate from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Elise has worked in various corporate communications and social media roles in both tiers of municipal government (municipal and regional levels). She currently sits on the Sunderland Maple Syrup Festival Committee as Vice-Chairperson, and assists various local organizations/individuals with their communications, social media and web development efforts. 

Brian Robert

Born and raised in Montreal, Brian moved to Ontario to attend university, where he got a B.A. (Honours) and B. Ed. From Queen’s University.  Brian taught high school for the Durham D.S.B. for 32 years, the last 27 in Uxbridge and Brock Township, including one year of contract teaching in Australia.  During his teaching career, Brian taught dozens of students living with a number of disabilities and is also a caregiver for an autistic family member.  Brian has served as a Chair of a School Community Council, as a representative on a number of teacher federation councils, a member of the Board of a curling club and a Historical Society.  Retired from his day job since 2016, Brian has maintained his interest in public education as an online Instructor for Queen’s University’s Faculty of Education.

Karen Dillon 

Karen has an MA in Social Work from York University and is the Manager of Specialty and Assessment Services at Children’s Treatment Network in Richmond Hill.  She is currently on secondment for the second time with the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services supporting the redesign of the Ontario Autism Program.   She has worked with individuals and families of children and youth with developmental and physical disabilities for the past two decades.Karen moved to Port Perry three years ago with her husband and step-son.  

Danielle Arscott 

Danielle moved to Oshawa at the age of 12 with her family. She spent her high school years at Paul Dwyer and went on to study law enforcement at Durham College. After graduating from college, Danielle began to work as a security guard and quickly realized law enforcement was not for her.  She returned to school three years later after working as security in a hospital, the place she discovered her passion for helping those in need. Looking for a program that would prepare her for an environment where she could really help people, Danielle settled on Human Rights and Equity Studies in Toronto at York University.  Recently graduated, Danielle is excited to begin a new chapter in her career.  

Samantha Starr Hillis — A-team Representative

Samantha was born in Africa as her dad was teaching there at the time.  Samantha has been associated with Community Living Durham North for 27 years and moved into the Supported Independent Living (SIL) Program when she was 21 years old.  Samantha has been involved with the Self Advocate group ( A-Team) for the past 3 years where she held the position of Treasurer for 2 years before becoming the representative on the Board of Directors this year.   Samantha has a job at the Port Perry High School as a lunch monitor and volunteers with Big Brother/Big Sister Association.  Samantha is also a participant with the Special Olympics and sits on the Scugog Township Accessibility Committee.