“Joining the board is deeply personal to me,” said Shavers, director and associate professor of the School of Special Education, Leadership and Professional Studies and associate interim dean of the College of Education at Missouri State University.
“As a mother to an extraordinary son with Down syndrome, I want to help create a world where he and others like him are embraced and celebrated for their unique strengths and abilities.”
Shavers will serve a three-year term with a chance for renewal. Her first board meeting takes place in December.
“I’m so proud of this; I feel honored to contribute in such a meaningful way,” she said.
Shavers believes society needs to do more than accept people with Down syndrome.
“It’s not just about advocating for acceptance but forging a society that eagerly anticipates their contributions,” she said.
Shavers wants to improve education for teachers and academic professionals so they can best support people with Down syndrome.
“As a leader in the College of Education and a board member, I aim to influence the education sector, nurturing educators and professionals who can provide unparalleled support to students with Down syndrome,” she said.
“We must equip our educational institutions with the knowledge and compassion to empower these students and their families, ensuring they thrive in every aspect of their academic journey.”
Founded in 1979, the NDSS seeks to empower individuals with Down syndrome and their families through policy change, providing resources, engaging with local communities and changing public perceptions.
They aim to ensure all people with Down syndrome are valued by a more inclusive society and are assured of their human rights.