Our Staff

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Dr. Despina Wilson

Executive Director

Dr. Despina Wilson comes to Independent Resources Inc., after serving in multiple senior leadership positions over the course of 21 years in State and local governments as well as non-profit organizations.  Within her leadership positions she directed multi-million dollar projects achieving breakthrough innovations.  She is a published author of a peer reviewed book named “The Measure of Library Excellence” which links public entity performance improvement criteria with balanced scorecard measures, and completed a Doctoral research on Leadership. She was also a speaker at multiple national conferences on process improvement, organizational performance models and measuring for results. Her expertise ranges from public entity financial and organizational management practices to statistical and data analysis tools and strategic planning.  Despina has a passion for learning and is a lifelong learner. She holds a Doctorate degree in Education: Organizational Leadership & Innovation. In addition she holds a Masters degree in Business Administration, Masters degree in Public Administration, and Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting with Minors in Finance & Economics.  Despina is a strong advocate for people with disabilities. She played a vital role with the Department of Education as the Director of school construction in Delaware, for all 19 districts, ensuring that new and existing school buildings met all accessibility requirements as per the Americans with Disabilities Act. Despina also volunteered with Independent Resources Inc. for at least two years before she was hired as the Executive Director.  Despina comes to IRI with an innovative spirit, and her passion for helping and connecting with people and being resourceful with solutions is ripe for taking Independent Resources Inc. to the next level in the 21st Century.

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Dr. Theresa “Tes” del Tufo

Deputy Director

Dr. Theresa del Tufo is a community leader, an educator, an organizational consultant, and a technical and motivational writer. She is currently the Deputy Director for Independent Resources, Inc. and CEO and principal consultant at Del Tufo Consulting, LLC. Tes served as the Deputy Director for the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Director of Women’s Vocational Services, where she championed the rights of persons with disabilities and women. In March of 2009, Tes was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women by Governor Jack Markell. She is the recipient of many other awards, including an Outstanding Service Award from the DE Developmental Disabilities Council, the Interdepartmental School to Work Transition Program and the Women’s Vocational Services.

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Edwin Perez

Program Development & Marketing Outreach Specialist

Edwin Perez currently serves as Program Development & Marketing Outreach Specialist for Independent Resources, Inc. He has a degree in Business Administration from Temple University. His work experience includes a number of progressively responsible professional positions in the field of economic and community development. He has participated on fifteen nonprofit boards and three planning commissions involved in community revitalization. For the last fifteen years, Mr. Perez has served as Project Manager for the Downtown Dover Partnership; a nonprofit agency providing planning and economic development strategies to the City of Dover. He has experience as a Program Manager with three Main Street Programs in the states of Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Delaware. Mr. Perez’s also has experience implementing and facilitating Rural Enterprise Program’s in the towns of Smyrna, DE., Philadelphia, PA. and Dover DE. He has certification through the United States Small Business Administration as a Technical Assistance Provider.

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Dr. Jacqueline Reyes

State Coordinator LaunchSpace Small Business Program

Dr. Reyes career as a medical entrepreneur started more than 10 years ago when she had the privilege of starting up a primary care practice. She had hands-on experience with all the complexities involved in dealing with various entities. As the practice administrator, she had worked on the legal preparation for the practice, was totally responsible for managing the business and was in-charge of logistics and budget. With her marketing abilities, Dr. Reyes was instrumental in expanding their patient population from about 100 in one month to more than 2,000 in less than 3 years. Using her medical background and knowledge of public health, Dr. Reyes also acted as the patients’ navigator- identifying and coordinating their care, oftentimes going beyond their medical needs. Jackie is currently the State Coordinator for the LaunchSpace Small Business Program.

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Romaine Beasley

Office Manager

Romaine Beasley has been with Independent Resources Inc. since 2012. She has more than 10 years in customer service and office management experience mainly in the non-profit industry. She has worked in agencies such as Rescare as a Billing Manager, the University of Delaware PT Clinic as an Office Supervisor, Easter Seals as an Accounts Receivable Supervisor, and the Delaware Curative Workshop both as a Secretary Coordinator and Financial Coordinator. With her experience and an education from Delaware Technical and Community College, Ms. Beasley currently manages the Independent Resources Inc. main office in Wilmington to include administrative assistant duties, liaise between agencies, State grant program reimbursements, Disability Ball financial oversight and Board member, human resource responsibilities, policy and procedures compliance; and general office operations monitoring.

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Wendy Malone

Independent living specialist


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Ruth Ann Christophersen

Bookkeeper

Ruth Ann has been with Independent Resources Inc. since 2015. She attended Camden County College in Blackwood NJ, and spent most of her working life in corporate accounting.  She retired from GE Capital Mortgage after 18 years as Cash Manager; Funding Department Manager; and Mortgage Specialist. Ms. Christophersen has also worked for American Mortgage in the accounting department, as well as for H&R Block as an income tax preparer.

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Bartie Rochester

Peer Support Specialist

Bartie has dedicated her life to helping others–whether it is working as a foster mother, helping pregnant at-risk women and young adults, or working in a shelter for children waiting to be placed in a home. Bartie holds an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Delaware Technical and Community College. Bartie Is one of our success stories. After completing the Life Skills Transition Program at IRI, she was selected to start the Peer Support Program, first in the Wilmington Office and later In the Dover Office.

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Marsha McCabe

Independent Living Specialist

Marsha McCabe has 27 years of combined service in the Public and Academic Libraries, she has served as a Supervisor of Circulation Services, Volunteer Coordinator, and a Technical Services Specialist which entailed cataloging and training the library staff on circulation, cataloging, and using the Libraries online database. She has worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant at Bayhealth. While at the Laurel library, she assisted blind patrons with the audiobook program and administered the programming for the Laurel Senior Center in Sussex county DE. Marsha has also served as a children’s librarian at the Seaford public library, planning and coordinating the youth programming.

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Alanna Smith

Independent Living Specialist for Individuals Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Ms. Smith graduated from Gallaudet University with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. She worked briefly at various agencies, such as the Powell Life Skills, Inc., the Office for Students with Disabilities and the Center for Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. She completed her college internship at the Child Support Services Division, Office of the Attorney General in Washington, D.C.

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Sharon Thomas

Peer Support Specialist for Individuals Who are Blind or Have Visual Impairments

Ms. Thomas graduated from Georgia College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Development. Prior to working for IRI, she worked as an elementary school teacher, then as a law enforcement officer and finally, as a manager of a mortgage company.

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James Carter

Social Worker and Transition Program Coordinator

James Carter received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology in 1975, and a Master’s Degree in Social Work, with a focus on Family and Children, in 2006 from DE State University.  He has over forty-five years of experience in the field of Social Work. He has worked with children, youth and families, as a Child Care Worker, Casework Therapist, Youth Services Counselor, Emergency Services Worker and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. He has experience working with adults having multiple and diverse disabilities. He worked as In-Home Service Manager for homebound senior citizens; Pre-Admission Assessment Worker for adults 18 years and older; Director of Senior Centers; and as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Lead worker, and District Administrator for the DE Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. His experience (both direct service and management) and training provide him with competent understanding of most disabilities, and their psycho-social and economic factors.

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Ken Rolph

Program Coordinator for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Ken has been with Independent Resources Inc. since 2002 and earned the employee of the year award in 2017. He teaches useful skills for daily living and work to Blind and Visually Impaired individuals. This includes assistive technologies, Peer-Support, and sensitivity training. Technologies include smartphone use (Android and Apple), learning to use computers and concepts of Windows, typing, using MS Word, Excel, and Windows 10, Scanning programs such as Kurtzweil 1000 scanning program, Open Book scanning program and related technologies. Ken utilizes and teaches in the Windows as well as IOS platforms. Mr. Rolph has worked as a Counselor in the past and has worked with young adults to middle aged college students; people with severe mental illness and substance abuse and extensive experience in family dynamics related to these issues. He is an avid advocate for the Blind; President of the Board for BlindSight Delaware 2003-Present; On the Board of the Delaware Association for the Blind February 2006-present; On the Delaware Association for the Blind Capital Campaign 2006- 2010 committee; On the Delaware Association for the Blind Long-Term Planning committee 2010; Access Wilmington Committee 2010 to present, and a participant and member of other numerous advocacy venues. Ken also holds a Master Degree in Social Work and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Widener University, and an Associates in Human Services from Delaware Technical and Community College.

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Christy Hennessey

Program Coordinator for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Services

Christy has been with Independent Resources Inc. for over 20 years and has been part of the Deaf community for over 25 years.  Christy focuses in providing services to Deaf/Hard of Hearing/Deaf-Blind individuals/families in State of Delaware.  Christy born from a recessive gene, uses and cherishes the American Sign Language. She embraces the Deaf culture and is an active member of the Deaf community. In 1996, Christy graduated from Gallaudet University with a Bachelor Degree, then 1998, graduated with a Masters degree from the University of Tennessee in Rehabilitation Counseling on Deafness.