Sharon Heddle

Executive Director


Sharon received her bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Phoenix and worked as an Accountant before changing career paths.  She began attending advocacy workshops to assist two close family members in advocating for benefits and appropriate educational supports. In 2012 an opportunity arose for Sharon to work as an Advocate at DNEC.  Through her hard work and dedication, she moved to the position of Executive Director in 2016. 


Sharon is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist and a CHOICES Counselor.


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Brynn Hickey

Program Director


Brynn received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut. She is a RID certified ASL interpreter who has worked in the field of deafness since 2001.  Brynn oversees the Independent Living Services, Vocational Services, Deaf Services, Interpreting Department and is an advocate for deaf, hard of hearing, blind and low vision consumers. She began working at DNEC in 2007 and was promoted to the position of Program Director in 2019.


Amy Dudek



Amy earned her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Applied Social Relations from Eastern CT State University.  Her previous work experience incorporates interacting with a variety of populations, including seniors, children, and individuals with special needs.  As an advocate for DNEC, Amy is dedicated to assisting consumers in reaching their goals for maintaining independent living within their community.   

Gerry Rivero

Vocational Lead


Geraldine earned her bachelor’s degree at Florida Atlantic University in Social Work. Prior to working at DNEC, she worked at a law firm for 4 years, which she enjoyed but wanted to use her interpersonal skills and education to make a difference in the lives of individuals with disabilities. She is passionate about working with employers and the community to ensure inclusion occurs. She is fluent in English and Spanish.  As a Vocational Advocate she works with consumers to provide employment opportunities for consumers and education to employers.

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Danielle Guy



Danielle has been an Advocate at DNEC since 2018.  She came to DNEC after working for the ARC of Eastern CT for 10 years as a Life Skills Instructor.   Danielle is Deaf, with bilateral cochlear implants, and is fluent in ASL.  Not only does she work as an Advocate with Deaf and Hard of Hearing consumers, she teaches our Community ASL classes, our Customized Provider classes, and does Deaf Awareness presentations.  She also works with our vocational team as a job coach.

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Michael Raye

COVID Response Advocate

Michael pursued a bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Human Management at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA.

Michael came to DNEC in 2018 with 25 years of human service industry experience, including extensive client management and vocational service experience. He has a keen ability to help others overcome challenges, particularly because he has successfully managed his own hearing disability since birth. Before joining DNEC, Michael worked for the American School for the Deaf, Adult Vocational Services, and the Connecticut Institute of the Blind.

Gabby Findley



Gabby attended the University of West Florida with studies in the healthcare industry. Since 2018, Gabby has been an Advocate and a Job Coach at DNEC. Prior to that, she worked as a medical office assistant and had the opportunity to help those in need of aid. With that background she became fully devoted to assisting those with disabilities within the community.

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