CREATE AWARENESS ~ COMBAT STIGMA ~ CONNECT COMMUNITIES
Exceptional Humans supports humans with diverse abilities to live self-determined lives.
We are strongly committed to identifying each person’s strengths, dreams, and aspirations. Those strengths and aspirations provide the roadmap for each person’s journey to leading the life they deserve and dream of.
We value all people
We value person-centered practices and positive supports
We value self-determination and self-advocacy
We value practices promoting quality of life outcomes
We value friendship, love, and fun
We value rights, choices, and supported decision making
We value health and wellness
We value a culture of learning and partnership
We value each other
Dr. Kelly Cogan was the driving force behind the development of inclusive programs for students with disabilities in school districts throughout the Kansas City northland. During her tenure as a senior program director for an agency that provides services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, she created person-centered programming that included early work experience, community integration, and employment services from the ground up. She also led the agency to obtain the internationally recognized CARF accreditation. Kelly’s commitment to excellence is second to none. Over the years she has recruited and mentored exceptional teams to support individuals with disabilities to live the lives they desire and deserve. Kelly has worked in all administrative capacities, which include the development and oversight of agency budgets and personnel, community outreach, and donor cultivation. Kelly owned and operated a very successful fine dining restaurant in Weston, MO for 10 years. Following her time as a small business owner, she worked as a special education teacher, served as an Autism Consultant, and collaborated to develop inclusive education opportunities for students with disabilities. Dr. Kelly Cogan recently published, Exploring Postsecondary Transition in Relationship to Quality of Life for Young Adults with Intellectual Disability, in completion of her doctorate degree.
Currently, Kelly is the director of special education and an assistant professor, as well as, the
executive director of Exceptional Humans.
Special Education Teacher
North Kansas City School District
Sarah McDaniels is a Special Education teacher in the North Kansas City School district and has been teaching for 20 years. She is married to Russ, who is also a well-respected teacher and coach in the North Kansas City School District. Together they have two wonderful children: Payton and Kale. Sarah enjoys giving time and support to young adults and has a strong desire to increase knowledge, inclusion and understanding of all exceptional humans. During her time as a teacher, she also founded Mondays with McDaniels LLC. McDaniels wanted to create a post-secondary option for young adults to continue learning in their community, with the goal of increased independence. Together, MWM and McDaniels work to enhance all areas of independent living, within their community, one Monday at a time. Sarah has served on grant writing committees, career service program and development committees, has implemented career fair and career exploration opportunities and is an active member of her school department and leadership committees. Sarah greatly enjoys spending time with her husband and watching her children participate in their school and extra curricular activities. Sarah is eager to assist with the mission and vision of Exceptional Humans.
Respiratory Therapist/IT Professional
Dorthi is a Registered Respiratory Therapist and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Management Systems. She worked for INTEGRIS Health in Oklahoma as the Education/Clinical Site Coordinator, where she loved working with patients, their families, multiple disciplines within the health system and Respiratory programs throughout the state. She had many duties and truly enjoyed teaching about respiratory and healthcare. Dorthi sat on many hospital committees and was part of a hospital-wide quality improvement project team. She served as system manager for the Cardiopulmonary health information system and implemented the first module for the health system. She was responsible for training physicians, nurses, computer analysts and other disciplines about the new system. She then joined Cerner Corporation in Kansas City, and focused on the design, implementation, and education of software for health systems. Dorthi’s volunteer activities include past president for the Weston Community Theatre, and working with an agency focusing on individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She is now retired and excited to join the Board of Exceptional Humans and is looking forward to assisting with their mission and teaching about inclusion.
Westside~Kansas City, MO
Cheryl Hartell is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and community leader. A 1993 graduate of Missouri Western State University, Cheryl started her first business in 1995 as chef and owner of the Vineyards Restaurant in Weston, Missouri. After selling the restaurant in 2008, she began writing grants as the PTA president for her children’s school. Since 2017 Cheryl has started two new businesses as a real estate developer in the Westside neighborhood of Kansas City. As an advocate of her neighborhood, she also serves as co-chair of Westside North KC’s neighborhood group. In continuing her culinary endeavors, Cheryl joined Les Dames d’ Escoffier International, a women’s culinary group and is the Vice President of the Kansas City chapter. Cheryl is a mother of two fun loving and beautiful adult daughters, Elle and Halle. Cheryl is excited to join the board of Exceptional Humans to help carry out their mission.
Kindred at Home
I've been a therapist for 12 years, graduating from Penn Valley in 2009. I reside in Kansas City, MO and have lived here for over 30 years. I am married to Ray and have 2 biological children, Justyce age 25 and Kenedy 22. I have 2 bonus boys, Sam 25 and Quinton 19. We are a blended family! I have a 5 month old granddaughter, Nora. My son, Justyce was diagnosed with autism at 29 months, following a 47 minute, febrile seizure following his MMR vaccination. I have been an advocate for Unlocking Autism and also serve as a mentor for parents of newly diagnosed children. I enjoy spending time with my family, reading and traveling. I love hosting and planning events.
Self-Advocate / Election Judge
Nicole Noblet is a self-advocate, her passion is voting rights. She serves as an election judge for Clay County and is a member of Missouri's Voter Protection and Advocacy Coalition with a focus on voting accessibility. She grew up in Rosemount, Minnesota and now lives in Kansas City, Missouri. Nicole lives with her family which includes her mom, Cathy, dad, Ken, a Pit Bull named Pebble, 3 cats named Stevie, Domino, and Minskey, 2 guinea pigs named LillyPad and TillyTwo, and a Red Eared Slider turtle named Sunshine. Nicole is a 2022 graduate of Missouri Partners in Policymaking and is a current LEND trainee at the University of Kansas Medical Center where she is helping with a research project on Supported Decision Making. Nicole is a published author and cotaught writing classes with Cow Tipping Press, a Minnesota based publisher of works by adults with Intellectual and Developmental disabilities. She is excited to join the Exceptional Humans Board of Directors board because as an adult with multiple disabilities she has experienced first-hand the lack of quality service providers and wants to help Exceptional Humans in their mission to serve people with disabilities in living the life they want and deserve.
Stein Law Firm
Tony is a graduate of Avila University (1984) where he graduated with Honors with a degree in Business Finance (was named the outstanding Business Finance graduate by the Department of Business), and a graduate of the University of Missouri, Kansas City School of Law (Class of 1987). He has been in private law practice since then. In 1993, Tony founded The Stein Law Firm where he represents many local, regional and national business clients. A number of years ago, he was awarded an AV-Rating from Martindale-Hubbell. This is the highest peer rating standard
and is given only to attorneys who are ranked at the highest
level of professional excellence for their legal expertise, communication skills, and ethical standards by their peers.
Tony is an active member of the National Corvette Restorers Society (NCRS.org) where he is a national judge of Corvette Stingrays from the mid-1960s. The NCRS has approximately 12,000 members.
Tony's particular interest in Exceptional Humans is based on his twenty-eight-year-old son who was born with disabilities. His
son recently joined EH. Tony states, his son has made him a better man and a better father. Tony and his family reside in Parkville, Missouri.