The Human Development Center does some of its most effective work when talented people indigenous to their communities step forward and join the team we know as HDC. Donna Hammons is a well-respected educator in north Louisiana. Originally, from the Baton Rouge area, Donna moved to Ruston, La. in 1992 to be closer to her husband’s origins. Donna says, “it was a culture shock to say the least but I really do enjoy the tall pine trees and (for the most part) slower pace. And, I really do not miss getting to see any of Louisiana since my family is scattered across the state.” When asked about what she is grateful for, Donna replied, “Family, Immediate and extended “they often drive me crazy but I love them!” (and my daughters are 24 and 26 but they never really leave the nest…do they??); Friendship…it is a vital piece of who I am and helps me to find balance; and Vacation! (I’m a true believer that everyone needs to unplug and find their place of piece for a while.)
In 2009, Donna began work as a facilitator with the Louisiana Autism Spectrum and Related Disabilities (LASARD) Project. Donna, strategically located in Ruston, Louisiana, provides opportunities for HDC to reach the northern part of the state. Donna has collaborated with LASARD partner school districts in Lincoln, Vernon, Natchitoches, DeSoto, Ouachita, and Webster Parishes. A dynamic presenter, Donna has presented numerous webinars and workshops on topics related to educating students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and related disabilities. She is also well-regarded as a great collaborator with educators and family members. Donna has worked with students with disabilities and their families since 1988.
Prior to joining HDC and LASARD, Donna served as a K-5th grade special educator, behavioral consultant, and ASD facilitator within Lincoln Parish. Prior to and since her employment as a LASARD facilitator, Donna has actively pursued professional development opportunities to acquire and strengthen her knowledge and implementation of instructional practices for students with ASD and related disabilities. Donna also participates in community outreach opportunities to share effective strategies for students with school administrators, educators, and families. Donna has a BA in Sociology from Louisiana College and, additionally, holds certification as a highly qualified K-12 special education teacher. Her colleagues appreciate the insightful perspectives Donna brings to the conversation – any conversation! She is not afraid to ask questions and dig deeper. In her spare time, Donna enjoys spending time with her family and friends, especially at the beach.