Sarah Brown, President
Sarah is an attorney in Annapolis and ardent supporter of GiGi’s Playhouse. Sarah’s cousin, who is also her best friend, was born with Down syndrome and has motivated Sarah to find additional resources and programs so all individuals like her cousin receive the best education and support.
Ray Pinkham, Board Member
Ray and his wife Katie are the proud parents of three boys: Thomas, Henry and Samuel. His youngest son, Samuel, has Down syndrome and has benefited from many programs at GiGi's Playhouse since it opened. Originally from Oregon, Ray now lives in the Annapolis area and is an attorney in Washington, DC. In his spare time, Ray enjoys watching and attending Washington Nationals and Capitals games with his sons and family day trips around the DC area.
Lynne Markowitz, Outreach Committee Chair
Lynne was born and raised in New York and moved to Maryland when she accepted her first Special Education Teaching position. She has worked in the Special Education field for 40 years with her last and most rewarding position being the Program Manager for the Infants and Toddlers Program. Her passion has always been advocating for and working with children with varying special needs and their families. As a recent retiree from Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Lynne is looking forward to using her professional background to support the mission of the Playhouse and to continue to provide awareness and outreach to new families and community partners.
Marissa Kleiman, Speech Language Pathologist
Marissa earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Development, with honors, from Binghamton University, a Master’s of Science in Speech-Language Pathology, and an Advanced Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders from Brooklyn College. She is a licensed speech language pathologist in New York and Maryland and certified by the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA). She previously worked at Loyola University as a clinical supervisor, mentoring graduate students pursuing a master’s degree in speech-language pathology. Prior to working at the university level, Marissa was employed in both elementary and middle schools in New York, Florida, and Maryland. Marissa has extensive experience working with students who present with a wide range of communication disorders, including language-based learning disabilities, receptive/expressive language disorders, autism spectrum disorders, speech sound disorders, pragmatic deficits, and Down syndrome. Additionally, Marissa has worked with students who struggle in the areas of reading and writing. Marissa is certified in the Orton-Gillingham Reading Program and the Compton PESL Accent Modification Program, with additional trainings in Story Grammar Marker, Lively Letters, and Social Thinking. Marissa believes in collaborating with the family and educators in the therapy process and treating the whole individual.
Marissa lives in Howard County with her husband, two children, and two pups! She enjoys spending time with family, traveling, yoga, and hiking. Marissa had the opportunity to work with GiGi’s Playhouse families last year during the launch of the Amina Grace Speech and Language Program. She is thrilled to be part of the GiGi’s Annapolis team and to work with the wonderful families!
Jennifer Craig, Fundraising Committee Chair
Jennifer resides in Pasadena with her husband Martin and four children Caitlin, Mikey, Allison, and Henry. Jennifer became involved with GiGi’s Playhouse Annapolis after receiving a pre-natal diagnosis of Down syndrome for her youngest son Henry. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Science in Business Communications and currently works as the Marketing Operations Manager at The Mom Project. Jennifer’s son Henry has benefited from the LMNOP program as well as the Amina Grace Speech and Language Program. Jennifer is very excited to join the board and use her background in marketing and event planning to help raise funds and awareness for GiGi’s Playhouse and Down syndrome.
Robert P. Taishoff, Board Member
Captian Robert P. Taishoff, JAGC, USN (ret) is the CEO of Annapolis Yacht Sales and Service. Before this he served on active duty as the Director of the Appellate Defense Division for Navy-Marine Corps Appellate Review Activity, managing Navy and Marine Corps attorneys and civilians who represent service members with cases on appeal at the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and the United States Supreme Court. Among his assignments during a career spanning 22 years, he has served in The Office of the Special Assistant for Transformation; as Executive Officer Trial Service Office NE; as Deputy Director and Director of the Office of the JAG Appellate Government Division; and as Navy Counsel for the State Department representing the United States on Iranian Claims Litigation. Following his deployment in the Arabian Gulf during Operation Enduring Freedom Captain Taishoff was assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency Office of General Counsel. His military awards include The Legion of Merit, five Meritorious Service Medals, a Joint Commendation Medal, three Navy Commendation Medals, a Navy Achievement Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
Captain Taishoff graduated from Syracuse University in 1986 and received a law degree from Widener Law School in May 1989. He completed an LL.M with highest honors at George Washington University School of Law in 2002. He has established a number of philanthropic programs through his family foundation, for which he is President and Trustee. Captain Taishoff established the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education at the Syracuse University School of Education. He serves as the Chairman of the Taishoff Family Foundation, is a member of the Syracuse University Board of Trustees and the Board of Directors for the National Down Syndrome Society. Captain Taishoff lives in Annapolis with his wife Kathy Taishoff and their 5 children.
Allyson Mccain, Executive Director
Allyson McCain has always been passionate about serving people with disabilities. Most recently, Allyson has been working for @ The Table, a national organization founded by the former President & CEO of the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) to advance strategic priorities and initiatives for disability nonprofits centered around housing, employment, education and community integration and inclusion. Allyson has also worked as an in-home caregiver to a young woman with Autism and volunteered as an art therapy instructor for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Allyson's goal is to help eliminate the barriers that people with Down syndrome and different abilities face in pursuing their dreams and aspirations. Allyson received her Bachelor’s in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Mississippi and is currently working towards her Master's in Public Policy and Administration at American University. Allyson is grateful to be a part of the GiGi’s Playhouse community and hopes to elevate the organization’s mission of changing the way the world views people with Down syndrome.