Theresa Nix, Founder and CEO
My husband and I received our son's Down syndrome diagnosis the day after he was born. We felt shocked, afraid and alone. But we chose to turn our powerful emotions into energy that propelled us forward, allowing us to become the advocates—and parents—that Everett needed.
Immediately, we began researching. I spent two years simply figuring things out—not only as the mom of a child with Down syndrome, but also as a first-time mom. After meeting fabulous women through my Mom 2 Mom group, I realized that sharing personal experiences is the best resource (and therapy) we could ever hope to find. I learned more in a few moments from moms who “get it” than I had in all of my hours of Googling. But we needed more: more information, more activities, more help, more togetherness.
This is why I established Downside Up—a parent-directed non-profit providing support, education, and encouragement for parents, families and others who love and care about people with Down Syndrome. We connect children with the resources they need to grow and thrive. We inspire community acceptance by sharing with others the presence and potential of people with Down Syndrome. And we welcome every new family into our own, meeting them exactly where they are on this wild ride.
Theresa with her husband, Rob, and their 4-year-old son, Everett.
Meet Our Board
Cheryl Couteaud, Vice Chair
Cheryl has a heart for helping children and families with special needs. She has worked with children of all ages for over 25 years, including five years with Tennessee Early Intervention and MTSU Home and Community Based Early Intervention.
In addition to teaching at the Columbia Home-School Co-op, HUB, Cheryl writes children's books and curriculum for homeschoolers. She also helps other authors publish their writing through her company, Sweetwater Pubs.
Cheryl earned her B.A. in English Education from Covenant College, and serves on the board for Columbia Rec Soccer, Home-schoolers United Biblically, Crusader Soccer, and the Chris Adams Flight Academy where she also serves as Director of Marketing and Development.
Haley Turner, Secretary
A Chattanooga native, Hayley collaborates with a community of passionate advocates for a true inclusive environment for children of all abilities within the Chattanooga area. Her experience with educators, therapists, health care professionals and a variety of school systems within the southeast district has provided her with the knowledge to connect families with necessary tools and resources.
Hayley has a background in Montessori education and was a lead classroom teacher at Siskin Children’s Institute, an inclusive preschool environment, for five years. She served as an early interventionist with the research department under Dr. Robin McWilliam and later worked for Tennessee Early Intervention Systems as a Service Coordinator, where she continued serving families of children with special needs and became a certified Routine Based Interview trainer. While working with TEIS, she was promoted to Program Coordinator of the Southeast District.
Haley earned her BS in Social Science from UTC in 2005. A wife and stay-at-home mother of her new daughter, she loves yoga, the outdoors, and spending time with her family and two dogs.
Allie Levine, Treasurer
As a physical therapist, Allie has served multiple school systems spanning five counties across Northern Alabama. Allie's passion lies in sensory processing issues. She has worked with a range of schools, educators, and families to identify sensory deficits and strategies to improve classroom performance. She earned her B.S. in Physical Therapy from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where she received the Amy Mildram Pediatric scholarship for excellence in pediatric therapy.
Originally from Sevierville, TN, Allie moved to the Chattanooga area in 1992 and now lives on Signal Mountain with her husband, David, and their four daughters.
Drew Clark is Vice President and General Counsel of McKee Foods Corporation, headquartered in Collegedale, TN. Previously, he was a shareholder with the law firm of Chambliss, Bahner, and Stophel in Chattanooga, TN. He is an honors graduate of Washington and Lee University School of Law and earned his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Morehead Scholar. He and his wife, Candy, have four children and live on Signal Mountain.