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 6-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.
Kari Reeves, Secretary
Kari is a stay-at-home parent and resides on Signal Mountain with her husband Matt and two boys Davis and Thomas. Her first child was diagnosed with Down syndrome at 25 weeks gestation. Kari has spent the last six years actively advocating for Down syndrome and helping other mothers who receive a diagnosis of Down syndrome or congenital heart disease.
Kari serves as volunteer with the Chattanooga Down Syndrome Society, having previously served on the CDSS Board of Directors. She is an active volunteer in both of her children’s schools. Her writings pertaining to her experience with Down syndrome have been published in books, blogs, and websites.
Kari earned a BS in Psychology from MTSU as well as completion of graduate hours in Counseling and Special Education. She has several years of experience working in public schools as an educator and as a parent. In addition to being a full-time mom and having a passion for advocating and community involvement, Kari enjoys music, yoga, writing, and the outdoors.
David Wolfe, Treasurer
David lives on Signal Mountain with his wife Cassidy and little boy Ward. He is a senior accountant with HHM in Chattanooga. Prior to joining HHM, David worked in financial operations of TVA, was a successful advertising sales executive, and did a stint as a real estate agent.
He earned a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. David volunteers as a coach with First Tee, a non-profit dedicated to teaching golf to under-served children. On evenings and weekends, David can be found spending time with his family hiking and mountain biking.
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.
Charlie & Vanessa Moss
Vanessa Moss is originally from Huntsville, Alabama, but Chattanooga has been "home" since 2005. She teaches American Lit., mainly, at the Mechatronics Akademie at Volkswagen and serves as an adjunct professor for Chattanooga State Community College. Other than teaching she loves reading, learning new things (like knitting and organic gardening), and spending time, especially outdoors, surrounded by the handsome fellas in her life: husband (Charlie Moss) and two sons, Noah and Emmett.
Charles Moss is a freelance writer based in Chattanooga. He’s written for The Atlantic, Washington Post, Slate, Paste, Thrillist, Vice and Mojo.
Kim Leffew is the Director of Auxiliary Programs at Girls Preparatory School, where she has been since 1999. She has also taught PE, coached softball, & is Summer Programs Director. She is a native Chattanoogan and an avid member of multiple organizations & committees which include Multiple Sclerosis Mid-South Chapter, Heart Association, Siskin Children’s Institute, Ironman, & ADK Zeta Chapter. Her husband, Todd, and her 8 year old son, Laik, are always on the go — at the lake in the summer, the mountains in the winter, and cheering on the Mocs every moment in between. Laik was born with Trisomy 12p which is a rare chromosomal duplication on the 12th chromosome (1 in 55,0000 births). Kim has helped other families who may need support, encouragement, and guidance by blogging her experience in Living Leffew — it’s a good way to live for sure Kim!!
Candido Segarra is the author of the highly-rated, internationally distributed book Are You The Architect Of Your Circumstances? He has over thirty-five years of senior management and business development experience. Candido is the founder of several high-profile organizations, including Foresight Management Development, Co., a leading management training company dedicated to helping managers reach their leadership potential, and Foresight Book Publishing, Co., a Chattanooga-based business that specializes in producing self-published branding books.