Meet Our Staff
We welcome you to meet our dedicated team of talented professionals who offer guidance in several specialty areas. Our knowledge and expertise is a tremendous support to individuals and families seeking important information.
The Kennedy Willis Center on Down Syndrome and its outreach activities are led by Director Brittany Goodrich. She first joined Pathfinder Village in 2014 as a Medicaid Service Coordinator. In that role, she discovered her love for supporting individuals with Down syndrome in leading richer lives. Trained in CQL Personal Outcome Measures and proficient with various person-centered planning techniques, Brittany is skillful in facilitating Circle of Support meetings to identify individuals’ strengths, passions, and unique needs.
Furthermore, as a fierce advocate, Brittany has learned how to expertly navigate the disability services field to refer and link individuals to various community resources. She is an affiliated regional trainer with the National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices and a Virtual Dementia Tour® Facilitator.
Her experience and leadership have helped to advance the mission and objectives of the Kennedy Willis Center to ensure that individuals with Down syndrome are fully supported throughout the lifespan. In her personal time, Brittany enjoys reading, crafting, baking, and attending events at local craft breweries. Brittany resides in Sherburne with her husband, two young sons, and Ginger, their Goldendoodle.
Karen Knavel serves in a dual capacity as Chief Executive Officer for The Kennedy Willis Center on Down Syndrome as well as for Pathfinder Village. Ms. Knavel combines a passion for helping and improving the lives of people with disabilities with demonstrated excellence and leadership.
Ms. Knavel was hired in 2024 following a year-long national search among executive-level candidates. She brings a wealth of strategic, operational, and hands-on experience, having served in varied roles including chief operating officer, director of community relations and housing, staff development specialist, and supported living coordinator.
Named as CEO of New Avenues for Independence of Cleveland, Ohio in 2016, Ms. Knavel led her agency to become a leader in the delivery of services for people with I/DD during a transformational era. Serving Northeast Ohio, New Avenues offers supervised residential facilities, residential supports and day services for individuals living in private homes, and inclusion services for adults who want to be actively engaged in their communities.
A lifetime advocate for the I/DD community, Ms. Knavel has served on the Ohio Health Care Association as I/DD Board Chair since 2021, and on the Board of Representatives of ANCOR, the national advocacy group for the I/DD community. She also served as a grant reviewer for the Ohio Department of Education and contributed to research projects for the Social Security Administration, Columbus Children’s Hospital, retired Judge Linda Rocker, and late U.S. Representative Steven LaTourette.
Ms. Knavel earned a Juris Doctor at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Columbus, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History at Walsh University, North Canton. She is the mother of two adult children and enjoys nature, hiking, and reading.