Our History

LeadLearnLive began in 2012, when two parents were searching for opportunities to help their son reach his full potential after high school. Julie and Tom Lackey decided it was not OK that their son and hundreds of others with Down syndrome, autism spectrum and similar disabilities have to go out of Oklahoma to continue their education. 

Their impassioned, grassroots effort quickly gained the attention of parents and subject matter experts, which led to a solid strategy to begin affordable, comprehensive programs throughout Oklahoma. The effort has included presenting to hundreds of people across the state to raise awareness, including conferences, support groups, transition fairs, state agency representatives and to members of our legislature, including working to enroll HR1065 which urges the development of these programs in Oklahoma. LeadLearnLive has built an impressive board and advisory board of national and local experts that will ensure the programs are modeled after top programs in the country that result in life-changing outcomes in independent living and employment. 


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Message from the Founder


The efforts of LeadLearnLive are being driven by an all-volunteer board of directors. Critical knowledge has been gained from a strong advisory board that is made up of professionals with expertise in programs of this type or interact daily with individuals that are candidates for these programs, as well as parents of kids with intellectual or developmental disabilities. All of these dynamic and impassioned professionals are determined to start inclusive and comprehensive college programs in Oklahoma and assist them to be programs of excellence.


Julie Lackey

Founder / Board President

Aietah Stephens

Vice President


Jodi Legnon, Ph.D.


Christina Knight



Donna Lawrence

Fundraising Chair



Advisory Board


Donald Bailey – South Carolina
Executive Director of College Transition Connection (CTC), an organization in South Carolina that worked with select colleges and universities to design, create and fund 5 transition and post-secondary programs for young adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities. CTC retired their 401c3 in 2016 as they reached their goals and Donald is still very active in enhancing the lives of students with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Janet Borden, LCSW - Tulsa
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Stacy M. Brklacich - Tulsa
Attorney at Law
Of Counsel with Murphy Francy, PLLC

Edie L. Cusack – South Carolina
Executive Director
REACH Program, College of Charleston

Meg Grigal, Ph.D - Massachusetts
Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Community Inclusion at University of Massachusetts Boston Co-Director of Think College, a national organization focused on research, policy and practice in inclusive higher education and people with intellectual disability

Rhonda Heller - Owasso
Director of Special Services, Owasso Public Schools Ret.

Rebecca Bostian Parrack - Tulsa
Parent and Community Volunteer
Past President, OSU College of Education Alumni Board

Sherilyn Walton, LCSW - Tulsa
Family Support Program Coordinator at TARC

Lori Wathen – Oklahoma City
Region 3 County Coordinator, Sooner Success 

Keely Wheeler. D.O. - Tulsa
Board-Certified Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychiatrist

Janet Willis, RN, Ph.D. - Tulsa
Health Service Psychologist



We need your financial support!

We are working to begin our second program as well as support more programs for Oklahoma!  There continues to be more and more students that want the choice for college in Oklahoma that provides the supports they need.  Universities are interested – help us support them to begin more programs!