Staff: Jolene Sanders

Advocacy Director

A woman with long light brown hair and a purple blazer smiles broadly at the camera. In the background is a dark, wooden building.Jolene is called upon for research, policy analysis, and recommendations to the Texas Legislature and state agencies on issues surrounding disabilities, particularly those affecting children and youth; including Early Childhood Intervention (ECI), inclusive child care,  access to care, special education, child protection, school discipline, school-to prison-pipeline, emerging English learners, and higher education. Jolene has been working with children and families for more than 25 years in various capacities: providing direct services, conducting research and program evaluations, and advocating at the local, state, and federal levels for policies to protect and advance the rights of children and youth with disabilities.

Jolene’s undergraduate and graduate studies focused on Mass Communication and Family and Child Studies, with a strong emphasis on research. Before coming to CTD, she served as the Director of Advocacy and Public Policy with an Austin nonprofit where, in addition to her policy work, she also grew a program that provided advocacy training and empowered over 1,000 self-advocates and family members across the state to advocate for issues important to them. Jolene has lived experience and is also the parent of a child with a disability.

Outside of her work at CTD, she enjoys exploring small Texas towns with her 3 boys, gardening, listening to awesome music, and taking way too many pictures of her cats.

Boards and committees on which Jolene serves include:

Advocacy workgroups:

Advisory committees