Community advisers providing quality leadership
DIS’s mission is to break through the language barrier, and improve educational, occupational and social opportunities for people who are deaf, while serving as advocates and community leaders.
Marilyn L. Weber, president and CEO of DIS, is a certified sign language interpreter and has an adult daughter who is deaf. Marilyn has been working for more than 25 years promoting accessible communication, and advocating for the rights of the deaf community. She has interpreted in hundreds of professional situations, and conducts deaf awareness workshops, cultural diversity training, and ADA Compliance Consulting. Marilyn has over 2,900 hours of related professional training.
Marilyn has received several awards from various organizations recognizing her work and dedication to the deaf community, including the National Innovation Award from the Women President’s Organization (WPO); Outstanding Philanthropic Small Corporation Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP); the San Antonio Ethics in Business Finalist Award from the City of San Antonio and the Ecumenical Center; Promoting Inclusion and Accessibility Award from the San Antonio Independent Living Services’ (SAILS) 24th Annual Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Celebration- San Antonio; and the ADA Employer of the Year award from the 18th Annual Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Celebration- San Antonio.
Marilyn has a pharmacy degree from the California Paramedical and Technical College where she graduated as salutatorian of her class.
John F. Weber, vice president of risk & compliance and COO for DIS, is responsible for risk management, technology, business operations and consulting. John is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and was elected to the Board of Regents for the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). He received the ACFE’s “Outstanding Achievement in Government Award” and is featured in the association’s “Effective Communications Video.”
As a member of the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) John earned the Certified Protection Professional (CPP) credential, making him Board Certified in Security Management. He was also co-winner of ASIS’s “Excellence in Performance Management” award.
John received his bachelor’s degree from St. John Fisher College in communications and sociology. He then received his master’s degree from California State University in social science and criminal justice. John later graduated from San Antonio College Law Enforcement Training Academy, earned his Texas Master Peace Officer license and is currently commissioned by two jurisdictions.
Sumner Bowen Sr. is a prominent resident of the New Braunfels area. He is the principal of Communication Professionals Ltd., provides telecommunications consulting, and owns numerous business and rental properties. Sumner is a member of Main Street Partners and Main Street Advisory, as well as the former chief of the Comal County Sheriff’s Criminal Investigation Division and Central Regional Commander for the Texas Narcotics Control Program. He is currently a licensed peace officer in Texas. Additionally, Sumner is the past president of the United Way of Comal County and the Comal County Republican Men’s Club. He is a graduate of Rice University.
Donna Lea Cantu is an educational standout with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Gallaudet University, and an all-level teaching certificate for the hearing impaired from Trinity University. She is skilled at developing and implementing educational and practical living programs for the deaf, and highly experienced in technology and communication techniques.
Richard Cannon is the director of international forensic investigations for Experian Worldwide. He is a certified forensic computer examiner, certified fraud examiner and a nationally known computer forensic expert. Richard previously worked for the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, State Auditor’s Office, Texas Department of Insurance and the Waco Police Department. He is a graduate of Texas State University.
Jan Longfellow brings extensive educational experience to the board, having previously served as a program coordinator for San Antonio’s North East Independent School District – Department of Special Education Program for the Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing and Regional Day School Program for the Deaf. Her educational background includes a bachelor’s degree from Trinity University in education of the deaf, and a master’s degree in education from the University of Texas, San Antonio. Jan is currently an educational consultant for numerous school districts, and holds many teaching certifications and endorsements.
Ronald K. Carson II, a marketing “guru” and a former vice president and partner of the Nelson Agency in New York, is currently the business development manager for Pharos Systems International. He is on the board of directors for the Association of Directory Marketing, as well as on their executive committee, and serves as the Association’s treasurer. Ron is a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology.
Judge Marion T. Carson has been a municipal court judge since 1984 and runs his own private practice. He is a graduate of St. Mary’s University, and obtained his law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law. Judge Carson, who lost his hearing in an accident, uses captioning (CART) services, interpreters and computer-based software to facilitate communication while on the bench.
An accomplished individual, Judge Carson has served as a litigator, counselor and civic speaker. In 2009, he was the recipient of DIS’ “Outstanding Achievement Award.” He has been a gubernatorial appointee, served on multiple planning councils, written various charters and is a director emeritus of the San Antonio Livestock Exposition (rodeo). Judge Carson is also licensed to practice before the Supreme Court of Texas and three federal courts.
Dr. Felix Aguilar is currently a Medical Director and Chief Medical Officer of the South Central Family Health Center in Los Angeles, California. He provides medical services to indigent patients. Dr. Aguilar has a bachelor’s degree in biology, master’s degree in public health from Harvard and a medical doctorate from University of California, Irvine. He currently holds memberships at the Fellowship of American Academy of Family Practice and the Fellowship of American College of Preventive Medicine.
Dr. Jenelle Abnett, assistant professor of special education at Neumann University, earned an associate degree in early childhood education from State University of New York at Cobleskill and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y. She continued her education at Notre Dame of Maryland University where she received her master’s in teaching leadership with a certification in special education, and her Ph.D. in changing education for the changing population.
As a teacher in Baltimore City and Baltimore County school districts, Dr. Abnett worked in both self-contained and inclusion classrooms for grades K-8 and led the special education department as IEP chair and administrative designee, teaching students with a wide range of disabilities and disadvantages. She taught as an adjunct professor at both the Community College of Baltimore County and Notre Dame of Maryland University.
Dr. Abnett has focused her professional interests in the areas of special education, autism, communication disabilities and urban education. She has presented on topics at the Council for Exceptional Children Expo, the diocese of Wilmington Professional Development initiative and for various school systems’ teacher professional development days. Dr. Abnett sits on the board of trustees for Nativity Preparatory School of Wilmington, D.E. and is team chaplain for Neumann University’s roller hockey team.
Dr. Hidalgo holds a doctorate in psychology, a master’s in social work from the University of Central Florida, a master’s in psychology from Carlos Albizu University, an associate’s degree in science in sign language interpreting and has a social work license.
Dr. Hidalgo has worked with the deaf community in different roles for over 24 years. He initially worked as a sign language interpreter followed by a job coach, social worker, and mental health counselor and psychologist for deaf and hard-of-hearing children and adults. He co-authored a chapter titled, “Counseling Issues for Latino Deaf Individuals and their Families” in the book, “Psychotherapy with Deaf Clients from Diverse Groups”.
Dr. Hidalgo has worked at the former National Mental Health Institute on Deafness, the National Deaf Academy and, for the last 14 years, at the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Outpatient Mental Health Program at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. For the last six years, he has continued his contribution to the Hispanic deaf community serving as a trilingual sign language interpreter for a nationwide video relay service.
Peruvian by birth, Dr. Hidalgo is the co-founder of the Foundation for the Rights of Deaf People- Peru (Fundación Pro-Derechos Sordos Perú, FUNDESORP). He has been a guest presenter at conferences in Argentina, Mexico and Peru, and has received awards and accolades for his work expertise and dedication to the deaf community in Peru and South Florida.