Leadership Team

Mitchell Bowman

Program Director (he/him)

Mitchell is an experienced leader in community arts, wellness, education, and job skills training, with a passion for serving individuals with autism and other neurodiversities.

Mitchell helped launch Greenleaf NCC in August 2019, after serving as Director of Out-of-School Programs for Creative Action, where he was instrumental in helping to expand the organization’s reach to nearly 20,000 youth a year and instituting training and program delivery changes to make programs more inclusive for students with special needs. Mitchell is also an accomplished multi-disciplinary teaching artist, with over 17 years of experience in youth development, education, and recreation.

Mitchell is a Certified Autism Specialist, Certified Job Skills Trainer, and he has over 10 years of experience working directly with individuals with disabilities and their families. Mitchell studied film/digital media at Ohio University and music education at Otterbein University. He holds a master’s degree in education from Naropa University, where he also developed skills as a mindfulness and wellness educator.

Andy Manns

Lead Teacher, (he/him)

Andy is an Austin musician and Special Education Teacher with extensive experience in supporting students with autism and related neurodivergent conditions.

Andy joined the Greenleaf NCC team in the summer of 2021 after 15 years of dedicated service to Austin ISD, working as a SCORES and Project Search Teacher, as well as a high school special education department chair. Andy is passionate about incorporating technology and arts into his lesson plans, especially when teaching social-communication, organizational and executive functioning, career and transition skills, and independent living.

Andy is known for serving as a positive role model to his students, and he is committed to using a whole-child approach to enable all his students to meet their potential. Andy earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Texas at Austin and holds teacher certification credentials in special education and general education.

Anne Dowd

Speech Language Pathologist (she/her)

Anne is an improv theater performer and licensed Speech Language Pathologist with fifteen years of experience working with students with speech/language needs including individuals with autism and other neurodivergent conditions. Anne joined the Greenleaf NCC team in the fall of 2021 after serving students in Chicagoland public schools as well as private practice and home-based therapy settings.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from DePaul University with an emphasis in linguistics and media studies. She earned a Master of Arts in Communicative Disorders from Northern Illinois University.

She is passionate about teaching functional social skills and has completed extensive continuing education in the area of social emotional learning. She studied improvisational and sketch comedy at the Second City in Chicago.

She incorporates tenets of improv into her teaching to foster students’ abilities to build self-esteem and form healthy connections with others.

Amanda Varcelotti

Associate Program Director (she/her)

Amanda has more than 10 years of experience working in fine arts and with students with autism. Amanda joined the Greenleaf NCC team as a full-time staff member in the summer of 2021 but has been dedicating her time and talent to the Social Creativity program since its inception.

Amanda has supported curriculum development and program activities at Creative Action, ZACH, and Joshua’s Stage, and she has an amazing track record for bringing creativity and energy to all she does.

Amanda earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater from Syracuse University and a Master of Fine Arts in Performance and Pedagogy from Texas Tech where she also led activities to help build life and social skills for students at the Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research through her role as a teaching artist and company member of the BurkTech Players. Amanda is also a Certified Autism Specialist and Certified Job Skills Trainer.

Thomas Brocato

Paraprofessional (he/him)

After graduating from the University of Puget Sound with a B.A. in psychology, Thomas has been working as a Behavioral Technician for the last three years in Tacoma Washington. Recently he has moved back to Austin to be closer to family and friends as he continues his career in psychology. Among other areas of support, Thomas will be assisting students at Greenleaf NCC’s 18+ School with workforce readiness and work experience opportunities. In his free time, Thomas enjoys spending time creating art and playing many different musical instruments.

Randi Shade

Greenleaf NCC, Co-Chair

Randi stays busy volunteering for countless causes while raising a son (age 16) who is on the autism spectrum and a daughter (age 14) with her wife, Kayla Shell, an attorney and executive at Dell. In 2008, Randi became the first openly gay person elected to serve as a member of the Austin City Council.

Previously, Randi was Executive Director of the Austin Entrepreneurs Foundation and the CEO of CharityGift, a venture capital backed Internet company she founded in 1999 and sold to a publicly traded company in 2005. Randi began her career at Procter & Gamble and later worked for Texas Governors Ann Richards and George W. Bush, serving as Founding Executive Director of the Texas Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service (now called OneStar Foundation) during which time she launched and managed the AmeriCorps program statewide. Randi also formerly served as Director of National Development for City Year and was awarded an Echoing Green Foundation-Harvard Public Management Fellowship to work for Teach for America in 1991.

Randi earned a BA in the Plan II Honors Program at the University of Texas at Austin in 1988 where she served as student body president and an MBA from Harvard Graduate School of Business in 1992.

Rebecca Yerly

Greenleaf NCC, Co-Chair

As the mother of two sons, one of whom has autism and IDD, Rebecca has spent the past fifteen years researching and managing the complex medical and behavioral condition that is autism.  

With a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Texas, she and her husband, Jon Hockenyos, have been involved in legislative efforts at the state level to expand insurance coverage for people with autism and were recognized by the Texas Senate for their uncommon dedication and perseverance in improving the lives of children with autism spectrum disorder.

In addition to autism advocacy, Rebecca is employed at TXP as a Project Analyst where she has worked on numerous projects in the public policy arena, including the role of microlending in economic development of the disadvantaged community in Texas and the effects of the earned income tax credit on the working poor in the San Antonio region.  

She serves on the board of directors for YouthLaunch, an organization that empowers young people to become change makers in their schools, communities, and the world beyond through service.  A sixth generation Texan, Rebecca and her family are guaranteed to be found eating Mexican food every Friday night in South Austin.