Jennifer Marble, Board President
I am a wife to an amazing and supportive husband and a very proud mom of a daughter with Down syndrome. As a family we have participated at Gigi's Playhouse Phoenix since opening day in 2014 when my daughter was three. After visiting my hometown of Chicago and going to Gigi's Playhouse in Hoffman Estates I saw the incredible potential and future for my daughter and our community. That vision plus the gratitude my husband and I have for our “home away from home” and our amazing extended GiGi’s family has fueled my passion and drive to help change the world for my daughter and all individuals with Down syndrome. For the past twenty years I have worked in the legal field as a paralegal helping clients navigate the system and as an office manager with many hats for a well known Phoenix law firm. When one of my attorneys retired making my job a little less demanding I knew it was time to for me to become more involved and use my experience in a whole new way. Over the past two and a half years I have been thrilled to be a part of the GiGi’s Playhouse Phoenix Board and I could not be more excited and honored to be elected as Board President starting in January 2020.
Jennifer Gage, Founder GiGi’s Playhouse Scottsdale/Phoenix
GiGi’s Playhouse has given me a platform to make the world a better place for my 20-year-old daughter Kaitlyn, who has Down syndrome. When she was born, there were little to no resources for parents to help navigate this diagnosis. GiGi’s offers a holistic approach to families; not just helping the person with Down syndrome, but their parents, siblings, extended family and so forth. GiGi’s Playhouse is making real-time impact on peoples lives right in our own community and I am excited to be on the front lines of a movement for acceptance, kindness and generosity.
Nicole Abbott, Treasurer
Nicole is a CPA with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Arizona State University. For the past nine years, she has been with Dobridge & Company, P.C. where she now holds the position of director. Nicole is highly involved in her community and serves as the treasurer of the Coronado Neighborhood Association. Nicole is married to Aaron, with two children. Lincoln (4) and Jude (2)
My passion for teaching has spanned over 38 years, encompassing every grade between preschool through college, with emphasis in special education and gifted education. A friend invited me to accompany her to one of the programs for her son at GiGi’s Playhouse. Within minutes, I knew I wanted to volunteer and become a part of GiGi’s family. I enjoy working with the kids and parents in the many of the programs as well as the Literacy and Math Program.
Laura Currier, Director of Medical Outreach and Development
Laura Currier has a BS in Speech Pathology/Audiology from Bradley University and a Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology with a Minor in Special Education from Arizona State University.
She has worked as a Speech Pathologist in public schools for 16 years. As a fitness enthusiast, Laura coached Special Olympics for many years. She has and continues to serve as a Volunteer in several different organizations. She has served as the PTO Board President for Kiva and Mohave Schools. She was a Board Member and Board President for Xavier Girls Preparatory School for 8 years and has served on the Desert Foundation Auxiliary Board for 4 years. Laura is married and has 3 children all in their 20’s. Her Family has lived in Arizona for 36 years. Laura has been the Program Leader for our GiGi’s Language, Music ‘ N Our Peeps (LMNOP) Program for three years and has watched this program progressively grow as a result of her dedication and enthusiasm.
Brett Schatzman, Board Member
I moved to Arizona from Chicago and I am happy I found GiGi’s Phoenix. I love all the fun programs where I can hang out with my friends. I am very excited for GiGi U, where once I complete the program, I can work at the GiGi Cafe....come in for a cup of coffee and say hi! I am very proud to be on the board of directors and help the Playhouse and GiGi U keep moving forward. Every day I try to give my Best of All!
Sheri Kelly, Operations Manager
Sheri Kelly has been involved with GiGi's Phoenix from the planning stages and continues today as one of the Site Coordinators lending support to the operations of the Playhouse. Her background is in accounting and spent over 14 years as Manager of Operations of a federal government TRIO Educational Program in San Francisco.
Cathy Judge, Operations Manager
As a member of the initial Startup Committee for GiGi’s Playhouse Phoenix, Cathy Judge took on the part-time role of Site Coordinator. Cathy has extensive operations management experience, which proved valuable to setup operations. Cathy is passionate about the success of the Playhouse. Her granddaughter, Kaitlyn Gage, participates in several programs. Cathy’s Daughter, Jennifer Gage, was an initial Founder and served as President. Cathy is grateful to serve many families in the Phoenix Area.
Christel Baker, Director of Adult Learning
I am a wife and mother of four wonderful kids. They range in age from fifteen to twenty-five. My twenty-year-old son is a Type 1 diabetic. He was diagnosed at the age of three. It is a disease that never takes a day off and requires me to be his advocate in a world that often doesn’t understand the severity of his disease. I believe this helps me feel a connection to the families at GiGi’s because every family I meet has had their own triumphs and struggles as they advocate for their child.
I have worked for the Scottsdale Unified School District as a substitute teacher and paraeducator since 2008. When I first began teaching, I was placed frequently in a special needs classroom that I loved. I found myself missing the students when I wasn’t there. It was my first indication that teaching special needs students is something I am good at and enjoy.
I am now the Director of Adult Learning for the first ever GiGi Prep class and the GIGI U Program for the Phoenix area location. The participants and families are such a pleasure to work with and I am looking forward to meeting more families and hearing their stories. They are very inspiring, and I am thankful to be a part of something so special.