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AAIDD Recognizes CQL CEO Mary Kay Rizzolo With Two Top Honors

The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) is acknowledging the accomplishments of Mary Kay Rizzolo, President and Chief Executive Officer of CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership, with two notable honors. Rizzolo is receiving the respected designation of Fellow of the Association (FAAIDD), as well as being presented with the 2018 AAIDD Leadership Award.

“Dr. Rizzolo has significantly contributed to new knowledge in the field, more responsive public policies, and greater implementation of effective practices,” said Dr. Margaret Nygren, Executive Director & CEO of AAIDD. “The Association is very pleased to recognize her for her work to increase the quality of life for people with disabilities.”

Following review and consideration by a committee of leaders in the Association, the FAAIDD recognition highlights the recipient’s meritorious contribution to the field of intellectual disability. The distinction represents excellence in areas such as program development, administration, the improvement of services, skillful and diligent advocacy, as well as academic achievements, research, publications, and presentation of professional papers.

In addition to the FAAIDD designation, Rizzolo will also be receiving the 2018 Leadership Award during AAIDD’s 142nd Annual Meeting in St. Louis, Missouri from June 25-28, 2018. The Leadership Award identifies individuals who demonstrate courage and dedication resulting in an outstanding contribution to the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“I am truly appreciative to receive these accolades from an organization as highly regarded as AAIDD,” says Mary Kay Rizzolo, President and Chief Executive Officer of CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership. “The award recipients and fellows are so influential in our field, and it is very meaningful to be recognized along with them.”

2018 Award Recipients

Early Career Award
Amy Weitlauf, PhD
Vanderbilt University

Education Award
David R. Johnson, PhD
University of Minnesota

International Award
Giulia Balboni, PhD
University of Perugia

Leadership Award
Mary Kay Rizzolo, PhD
CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership

Policy Award
Marty Ford, JD
The Arc of the US

Research Award
Ann P. Kaiser, PhD
Vanderbilt University

Service to the Association Award
Sharon Gomez
Evergreen Life Services

Service to the Field Award
Leslie Walker-Hirsch, MEd

Student Award
Jennifer Bumble, MEd
Vanderbilt University

2018 Fellows

Catherine Keiling Arnold, MS
University of Illinois at Chicago (Chicago, IL)

David Ervin, MA
The Resource Exchange, Inc. (Colorado Springs, CO)

Kim W. Fisher, PhD
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Champaign, IL)

Kelly Friedlander, MSW, MPA
Community Bridges Consulting Group (Durham, NC)

Jane L. Lurquin, EdD
Children’s Habilitation Center (Hometown, IL)

Gerald J. Nebeker, PhD
RISE, Inc. (Lindon, UT)

Margaret A. Nygren, EdD
AAIDD (Washington, DC)

Mary Kay Rizzolo, PhD,
CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership (Hopkins, MN)

Jennifer Sullivan Sulewski, PhD
UMass Boston (Boston, MA)

Emily Shea Tanis, PhD
University of Colorado (Boulder, CO)


Since 1969, CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership has been a leader in working with human service organizations and systems to continuously define, measure, and improve quality of life and quality of services for youth, adults, and older adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and psychiatric disabilities. CQL offers accreditation, training, certification, research, and consultation services to agencies that share our vision of dignity, opportunity, and community for all people.