Our Leadership

Judy Averill

Judy Averill

Director for Center on Transition Innovations

jmaverill@vcu.edu | Full Bio

Wendy Parent-Johnson

Wendy Parent-Johnson

Director, Rehabilitation Research & Training Center

parentjohnw@vcu.edu | Full Bio

Paul Wehman

Paul Wehman, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scientist

pwehman@vcu.org | Full Bio

Dr. Wehman receiving the 2018 Distinguished Scholarship Award

Dr. Wehman speaks about the employment of people with physical and intellectual disabilities

Paul Wehman, Ph.D., has been a tenured faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University since 1976. Originally with the VCU School of Education, he moved to a joint appointment with SOE and the School of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and has now returned to an exclusive faculty appointment with SOE. His highly interdisciplinary background and pioneering work in the beginning of supported employment have facilitated millions of persons with neurodevelopmental disabilities, brain injury, and spinal cord injury all over the world to gain and retain competitive employment.

He was Director of the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center for 40 years (1983-2023) and has recently stepped down to concentrate on research, mentoring, and grantsmanship. He will be working closely with the new Director, Dr. Wendy Parent-Johnson.  He has written extensively on issues related to transition from school to adulthood and special education as it relates to young adulthood and employment and is founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation. Dr.Wehman has been the recipient of numerous awards, and he’s been the Principal Investigator on more than $80 million in federal and state grants since joining VCU.

John Kregel

John Kregel, Ed.D.

Co-PI, VCU National Training and Data Center

jkregel@vcu.edu | Full Bio

In more than 30 years at VCU, Dr. John J. Kregel has authored more than 100 publications of various types, focusing on promoting the employment and financial independence of adolescents and adults with disabilities. In addition, he has served as the principal investigator on more than $50 million in externally-funded projects that have supported his research activities.

The associate director of the VCU Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, Dr. Kregel has testified numerous times before Congress on issues related to employment and return to work for Social Security beneficiaries, most recently in 2015. He frequently provides technical assistance to federal agencies, including the House of Representatives, Social Security Administration, Administration on Children and Families, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, the Institute of Medicine and the National Council on Disability.

Dr. Kregel has made 16 international presentations and previously served as a visiting professor at Keio University in Japan. He is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance.

Jennifer McDonough

Jennifer McDonough, M.S., C.R.C.

Director of Training

jltodd@vcu.edu | Full Bio

Jennifer Todd McDonough has been a faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and working in the field of employment for people with disabilities for over 20 years. She earned her M.S. from the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University in Rehabilitation Counseling. Ms. McDonough is the Associate Director of Training at VCU-RRTC. She is also the Project Director for a national research study related to employer practices of hiring and retaining employees with disabilities and a subcontract related to providing technical assistance to vocational rehabilitation agencies across the country.

Additionally, Ms. McDonough provides technical assistance and disseminates resources nationally to individuals with disabilities interested in employment. Ms. McDonough is a national expert on Social Security Disability Benefits and Work Incentives. She also serves as the Virginia Project SEARCH Statewide Coordinator and directly oversees four Project SEARCH sites for youth with autism and/or intellectual disabilities. Throughout her career with VCU-RRTC, Ms. McDonough has worked directly with individuals with disabilities assisting them in locating employment and determining accommodation needs.

Susan O'Mara

Susan O'Mara

Director, Co-PI, VCU National Training and Data Center

soevans@vcu.edu | Full Bio

Susan O’Mara is a faculty member in the Department of Counseling and Special Education at VCU's School of Education. She is the Project Director and Co-Principal Investigator of VCU's Work Incentives Planning and Assistance National Training and Data Center. Since 2009, she has led a team of professionals in the development of the national WIPA training curriculum, initial training content, and certification protocols; pioneered protocols for remote benefits counseling and the development of state specific benefit templates; and designed the current continuing certification program that has dramatically improved the quality of services provided to beneficiaries. Susan also currently serves as the national Site Director for Social Security's Promoting Opportunities Demonstration, leading VCU's work on the design of intervention protocols and managing the training and technical support provided to demonstration sites across the country.

Over the past 30 years, Susan's work has focused on increasing knowledge and understanding, supporting research, and influencing needed policy reform on the Social Security Disability benefit programs, public health care programs, and other federal and state benefit programs. Ms. O'Mara's recent work experience includes providing technical support to state and local projects on five Social Security Administration funded initiatives. In her work on these projects, she played a lead role in the design and implementation of national training and technical assistance efforts.

Ms. O'Mara was accepted as a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance in 2006.

Carol Schall

Carol Schall

Director of ACE Technical Assistance and Co-Investigator, Research and Project Director of Deployed 2 Work

cmschall@vcu.edu | Full Bio

Dr. Carol Schall is the Co-Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Autism Center for Excellence, the Principal Investigator of the Virginia Autism Resource Center, and the researcher in the grant, The Effect of a 9-month Internship Intervention for Military Dependents with ASD.  She has over 30 years of experience supporting adolescents and adults with ASD as a teacher, group home supervisor, administrator, researcher, and consultant.  Dr. Schall provided positive behavior support consultation and instructional technical assistance for the Project SEARCH Plus ASD Supports program for the past 8 years at Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Schall was also the research coordinator for this project. 

She is well-versed in completing functional behavior assessments and using positive behavior supports to develop comprehensive plans for individuals from a person-centered approach. She is a state trainer for the Positive Behavior Support project with the Partnership for People with Disabilities at Virginia Commonwealth University.  

Her research interests include the monitoring of psychotropic medication for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, transition from school to work and adulthood, and training for parents and professionals on serving individuals with developmental disabilities.  Dr. Schall is listed in the 2005 and 2006 editions of Who’s Who in America and has recently been honored by TASH with their Positive Approaches Award.  Finally, she is the lead author of the Youth with Autism Chapter in the 4th edition of Dr. Paul Wehman’s popular book Life Beyond the Classroom and Editor of a new book on Transition and Autism by Brookes Publishing.  This book, Autism and the Transition to Adulthood: Success Beyond the Classroom is now available through Paul H. Brookes Publishers.