ADDRESS: 350 Braden Avenue Sarasota, FL 34243 PHONE: (941) 355-7637 FAX: (941) 358-3069 Office Hours: 7:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Our Team

    Leadership



  • Tom Waters, longtime local philanthropy leader, became President and CEO of Easterseals in October 2014. Most recently, Tom also became the CEO of our partner organization, InStride Therapy, LLC. Tom brings significant experience in nonprofit management, fundraising, and community partnerships to Easterseals.

    Prior to running Easterseals and InStride, Tom was the Chief Advancement Officer at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. During his time at Mote Marine he was responsible for leading the laboratory and aquarium’s 2020 Vision and Strategic Plan. Tom was also responsible for heading the organization’s fundraising efforts.

    In addition, Tom has held leadership positions at nonprofits including Mile High United Way in Denver, Colorado and Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

    As President and CEO of Easterseals, Tom is leading one of Southwest Florida’s oldest and most successful nonprofits serving children, teens, and adults with developmental disabilities.


  • Debbie Timpone is the Executive Assistant to Tom Waters, President & CEO of Easterseals Southwest Florida. She is a native of Sarasota and has over 40 years’ experience as an executive and administrative assistant for various local companies. Debbie joined Easterseals in 2015 and is a vital part of the organization. Her heart and passion lie in helping make a difference in the daily lives of each student, family, and co-worker here at Easterseals. In her spare time, Debbie enjoys traveling with her husband and spending time with her daughter and granddaughter.


  • George Pfeiffer comes to Easterseals with a thirty-year history in the business world, with over twenty years of those in Executive Management as both a President and EVP of two companies with multiple locations and over 300 employees each. Focusing on Sales, Marketing, and Development, George is also an entrepreneur, owning various and diverse businesses inclusive of one with multiple locations.

    Raised by two social workers in the non-profit world, George was ‘engineered’ to be involved and give back. Living in both Asheville NC and Miami, Fl, he has served on numerous boards inclusive of The Boy Scouts, Meals on Wheels, Junior Achievement, AB Tech Community College, etc., and has always been involved with the community.

    After selling his business and doing some consulting work, George came to Sarasota with his family on vacation and happened to visit Easterseals. Truly moved by both the clients and the team serving alongside them, as well as the happiness that existed inside The Happiness House, the decision to move down and join the Easterseals team was an easy one for him. After commuting on a part-time basis, George and his family moved to Florida full-time in the summer of 2018.



  • As Director of Human Resources, Linda Poteat-Brown brings to Easterseals nearly four decades of experience working in the areas of marketing, event planning and human resources. She offers a wealth of knowledge and a diverse background working for both nonprofit and for-profit companies including Philip Morris, Avon and Bloomingdales.

    A native of New York, Linda obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing from Hampton Institute, then went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Business Administration. Before moving to Sarasota in 2015, she worked in the Human Resources Department at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta for 14 years. Shortly after moving to the Sunshine State, Linda accepted the position of Director of Human Resources here at Easterseals Southwest Florida.


  • Nicole Murby is the Director of Therapy and Partnerships at Easterseals Southwest Florida, overseeing the Therapy Department at multiple locations throughout Manatee and Sarasota County. She is also the Director of Therapy for InStride Therapy. Nicole currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Early Learning Coalition and is a former Board Member for InStride Therapy.

    The Easterseals Therapy Team is comprised of Speech-Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Infant-Toddler Developmental Specialists, Behavior Analysts, Registered Behavior Technicians and Music Therapists. This team provides Hippotherapy at InStride Therapy in Nokomis, and at present time the serves over 600 individuals per year in our community.



    Nicole was born in Michigan but spent most of her years in the Northeast in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. She graduated from Salem State College in Massachusetts with a B.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders. In 2005 received her M.S. in Communication Disorders from the University of New Hampshire to become a Speech-Language Pathologist.

    Nicole has been creating programs and working with children and adults with unique abilities for the past 17 years in Florida and New Hampshire.


  • Brittany Bryant is the Director of The Lily School for Child Development. Brittany was born and raised in Ohio and attended the University of Toledo where she graduated from with her B.A. in Early Childhood Education. She currently is pursuing her M.A. in Education at the University of Toledo.

    Brittany has been in childcare management for the past ten years with experience in non-profit, corporate, private and home care. She currently holds a teaching license through the State of Florida for Pre-K through 3rd grade and an Advanced Level Directors Credential through the Department of Children and Families with a VPK Endorsement.

    Brittany is also a certified Child Development Associate PD Specialist for the nation.
    Brittany has always been passionate about educating the youth, as they are the leaders of tomorrow. She is dedicated to impacting future generations and empowering others to do the same.


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  • Bio coming soon...


  • Denise was born and raised in Rockford Illinois. When she turned 21 years old, she applied to work at a Community integrated living arrangement where she was honored to be able to work with children with disabilities. After working at the residential facility for five years, Denise felt the need to explore other opportunities where she could gain more knowledge to better support these students. She found the educational avenue was her passion.

    Prior to moving to Florida, Denise was employed at Easterseals Academy, in Machesney Park Illinois where she worked exclusively with students and adults with Autism. In February of 2019. Denise was presented with the amazing opportunity to join the Easterseals team in southwest Florida as the Director of the Adult Programs and the Arts. Denise feels that she brings experience and a wide range of evidence-based practices that will assist our adults with person-centered opportunities for all life and work-related skills. She would like to broaden our programming, integrate best practices, and seek out new and encouraging experiences for our consumers. Denise has a total of 30 years of experience in this field and would love to work for 30 more.

    Denise loves animals, especially dogs, of which she has three. Denise loves all art-related activities. On weekends she spends time painting, drawing, and creating. She is also very fond of event planning and has planned and decorated for several wedding receptions. Most of all, Denise loves spending time with her children, Amanda and Alex, and her best friend, Jeff, who happens to be her husband.


  • Don Herndon is the Director of the VIP Academy and Employment Services at Easterseals Southwest Florida. Don graduated from the University of South Dakota with a BS in political science. He completed his teacher certification through a program sponsored by the School Board of Manatee County called Alternative Certification for Educators (ACE). He is currently certified to teach Exceptional Student Education Grades K-12 and Elementary Education Grades K-6.

    Don came to Easterseals Southwest Florida as a teacher’s aide in the VIP Academy program. During his first year as teacher, Don completed all of the requirements of the ACT program including his certification in elementary education which elevates him to the status of “highly qualified” according to the School Board of Manatee County.

    Prior to coming to Easterseals, Don was the supervisor of the Sarasota County office of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation for 11 years. His experience at the Division, which is charged with assisting persons with disabilities in obtaining employment, has proved to be invaluable in his work here at Easterseals Southwest Florida. Don enjoys giving his students an opportunity to learn real life skills in the real world which assists them in becoming successful, independent adults.


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  • Missy Wilson was born and raised in Rockford, Illinois and joins us with over twenty years of experience focusing on business solutions. Missy graduated from Northern Illinois University with a B.S. in Business Administration and has worked in HR, Training, IT, and Management roles in her career.

    Prior to coming to Florida, Missy worked with another Easterseals affiliate for 14 years and brings a vast knowledge on the inner workings of our business. She is excited to begin reviewing and learning our processes to create streamlined, efficient data collection systems for our organization.

    Missy loves working at Easterseals where she gets a chance to interact with the children and adults on a daily basis and considers herself very fortunate to have a career servicing children and adults with developmental disabilities in a fun-loving, educational environment.


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  • Jeff came to Easterseals Southwest Florida after previously working for Easterseals Metropolitan Chicago managing their Northern Illinois facilities. Originally born and raised in Osceola, Arkansas, Jeff studied Business Administration at Ouachita Baptist University and Arkansas State before moving to Northern Illinois. Once in Illinois, Jeff worked for 22 years at Estwing Manufacturing. During his tenure, he managed many diverse departments in the manufacturing setting. Seeking a change, Jeff joined the Easterseals Metropolitan Chicago team and found his true calling, working with people with unique abilities. Jeff brings his expertise in facilities and project management to Easterseals Southwest Florida and looks forward to building relationships with community stakeholders to serve as many people as possible throughout the Gulf Coast Region.


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    Board of Directors

























  • Dr. Karen Holbrook
    Dr. Karen Holbrook
    Dr. Karen Holbrook








  • Stan Muessle is a retired IBM marketing and product development executive who then spent several years as a Management Consultant in the field of teamwork and effective persuasion skills in internal corporate relationships. In 1997 he founded Global Outreach to introduce computer literacy into the Tanzanian secondary school curriculum as a way of improving student skills and increasing educational opportunities. He is a leading advocate of the power of computer and internet technology to change the quality of education in developing nations. In 2015, he received the Thomas J Oddo Award from the University of Portland (Oregon) as its Alumnus of the Year for Public Service.
    He is an active member and former President of the Sarasota Sunrise Rotary club. He sits on the Board of Directors of the Woman’s Exchange. He is a member of St. Thomas More church, where he is an active member of the Social Justice Committee.
    Mr. Muessle and his wife Betty live year-round in University Park. Betty is a licensed MSW who was the first Director of Community Resources, an organization which reached out to local community members with developmental disabilities and their caregivers in Potomac, MD. She participates in several volunteer counseling activities in the Sarasota community.








    Foundation Board of Directors



















  • As a shareholder, Ms Jones’ areas of practice include individual taxation, financial and estate planning and estate and trust taxation. Her focus includes estate and trust planning and taxation, 529 college savings plans, financial planning, Roth IRA’s and retirement plan distributions. In addition to her tax practice, she heads the firm's Estate and Trust Planning segment.

    Ms Jones joined Kerkering, Barberio & Co. in 1997 and was admitted as a shareholder in 2003. She has 20 years’ experience in the banking industry as a member of senior management and as a consultant.