Michael I. Jeffery, J.D.
Retired Superior Court Judge
After living in India almost five years, Michael Jeffery moved to Barrow (now, Utqiagvik) Alaska in January 1977 to start the Alaska Legal Services Corporation office. After nearly six years with ALSC, he was appointed the North Slope’s first Superior Court Judge. After a 32-year judicial career, he reached the constitutional age limit of 70 and had to retire in December 2014. He became energized in 1996 about the disconnect between FASD and the justice system and started to adapt to reduce the unintentional injustice. His continuing efforts were recognized in state-wide media outlets and awards, including from the Alaska Federation of Natives. He assisted in the successful effort to have FASD recognized in Alaska as a possible “mitigating factor” in sentencing for serious crimes. As an active member of statewide FASD committees, he helped produce Alaska’s FASD 5-Year Plan. He has trained groups in “FASD 101” and has given FASD/justice system presentations in Vancouver, BC; Alaska; several other states, and a 2019 Rotary-sponsored training team journey to Western Australia. He joined the board of the Alaska Center for FASD to assist in public education and community service for persons and families affected by FASD. Previously recognized as a member of the national NOFAS Hall of Fame, he is now the board’s liaison to NOFAS’s Affiliate Network. He is a long-time drummer in an Eskimo dance group. He is an active member of the Rotary Club of Barrow and in his faith community. He is married to Esther and they are blessed with three grown children. He graduated from Stanford University and the Yale Law School.
Catherine Mannix Board Treasurer
Special Education Teacher/Collaborator, Anchorage School District
Catherine Mannix is a special education teacher who has worked in the Anchorage School District for the past 17 years, at the preschool and middle school levels. She has practiced in the field of education in various capacities, and at all grade levels, since graduating in 1980 with a B.S. in Education from Western Illinois University. Catherine has worked with students coping with the effects of FAS and FASD since her earliest days in the classroom in Montana. She has been a consistent activist pursuing grants and training for staff and families regarding FASD. Catherine participated for many years on the Anchorage School District FAS committee and co-produced an online FASD resource for district teachers. She has worked on various boards and brings this experience to pursue her greatest passion: recognizing and appropriately addressing the educational needs of students with FASD, while raising community understanding, acceptance, and support for students and their families. “Until all teachers and society at large have a deep understanding and respect for the prevalence of brain-based differences of students, the school system will continue to wound FASD affected individuals and their families. Students must be recognized for the strengths they possess and accommodated for their weaknesses. Success must be measured beyond the limits of current standardized testing.”
Gina is an adult with FASD who received a diagnosis 3 years ago. She went to a presentation about FASD with a friend who invited her to go to ‘prove’ that she did not have an FASD. What they learned there was an ‘ah ha’ moment for Gina and sent her in search of a diagnosis for answers. Very few of the current FASD teams are seeing adults (most have pediatric providers participating so it is out of their scope of practice) but she found support from Vicki Tinker, the Coordinator at Frontier Community Services in Kenai/Soldotna. After a false start with a bad neuropsychology experience in Anchorage, she was able to sit down with someone who could describe her brain-based strengths and challenges and provide her with a diagnosis. She is married, has two children, is parenting successfully and runs two businesses. But life has not been without its’ challenges as her story includes leaving a tumultuous home at age 16, substance use as a teen, multiple (some abusive) marriages, being taken advantage of during financial transactions with her business, and years of depression and blaming herself for her limitations. With the new information after diagnosis, she is better able to understand and forgive herself for things she cannot do. This allows her to move through the world with less self-criticism and more acceptance of her life and abilities. She needs her home/life to be very organized and structured, understands there will be good brain/bad brain days, and wants to support others who have FASDs.
Teri Tibbett Board President
Teri Tibbett is has over 25 years experience in public advocacy. For ten years she served as a legislative aide with the Alaska State Legislature and later served 14 years coordinating the advocacy effort for the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority and partner advisory boards. In 2010, she co-founded the Alaska Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Partnership, now called the Alaska Prenatal Alcohol Exposure (PAE) Partnership, a statewide coalition of advocates promoting PAE/FASD awareness, policies, and funding for Alaskans impacted by PAE/FASD. In 2016, she co-authored with Judge Michael Jeffery, Smart Justice and FASD in Alaska: From Prevention to Sentence Mitigation, a chapter in a Springer International Publication entitled Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in Adults: Ethical and Legal Perspectives. In 2022, she co-authored and edited 9 Core Messages: What Everyone Should Know About Prenatal Alcohol Exposure, published by the Alaska Department of Health. Teri has coordinated and presented at conferences and trainings on the topic of prenatal alcohol exposure and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in Alaska, United States, and Canada.