Our Team

Debbie Fragner

Founder & Executive Director

Debbie Fragner is the Founder and Executive Director of Children’s Cerebral Palsy Movement.
Debbie’s daughter, Maddie, was born in 2006 with Spastic Diplegia, Cerebral Palsy. Having been a zealous advocate for her own daughter, Debbie has chosen to now stand in the gap for all children with Cerebral Palsy, to give them a future and a hope for a higher quality of life.
Based on her daughter’s dream to learn to dance ballet, a physical activity previously thought impossible for many children with Cerebral Palsy, Debbie went on to spearhead an innovative therapeutic dance pilot study. Envisioned by Debbie and designed in collaboration with Sofia Valenzuela (Physical Therapist), Janine Paulsen (Dancer) and Kim Caputo (Dancer), the efficacy of this innovative protocol was tested via a pilot study that included the University of California, Irvine, Chapman University and Children’s Hospital of Orange County’s Orthopaedic Institute.
This study will result in no fewer than five scientific papers being published, that we believe set the trajectory of proving that Cerebral Palsy is a diagnosis, not a destiny. Additionally, with these papers, we hope to compel the National Institutes of Health to fund future therapeutic research that could begin to reshape the way rehabilitation is handled in America for people with Cerebral Palsy.

With a successful pilot study now behind her, Debbie’s passion has shifted to developing programming that proactively seeks to bring Cerebral Palsy children and their families out of isolation and into community, all while improving their quality of life and long-term function.
She is a graduate of UCLA, with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics and has more than 23 years of professional mid-level sales management experience for Fortune 500 companies like Starbucks, Walt Disney and Nestle.

Board of Directors

David Hanighen:

Dave Hanighen has over 30 years of comprehensive senior management experience in the financial services industry and has acquired cross-disciplinary education, training and experience in Financial, Accounting and Information Systems disciplines. He is currently employed as the Chief Information Officer/Chief Information Security officer for one of the fastest growing $1B community credit unions in Southern California. Prior to his current employment at Credit Union of Southern California, Dave was employed in senior financial and Information Technology leadership positions for several industry leading Credit Unions and Banks including Simplicity Bank, SchoolsFirst FCU, IndyMac Bank, La Salle Bank and Bank of America.

Dave has had significant Board interaction as a member of executive management teams and has served on several financial industry Advisory Boards and Councils over the past 20 years.

When asked why he was excited about participating on the Children’s Cerebral Palsy Movement (CCPM) Board, Dave said: “My wife and I have had the privilege of being regular financial contributors to this wonderful organization since January, 2016. We have watched it grow and develop from a dream to the reality of a movement with significant potential and support. I have worked with and served on many financial industry Boards and Councils. But there is something special and uniquely satisfying about serving on a Board with such potential to radically improve the lives of children with Cerebral Palsy. CCPM’s belief that CP is “a diagnosis, but not a destiny” and their commitment to develop innovative therapeutic protocols and programs that stand to improve physical and cognitive function, with the words “what if and why not”, resonated with me at such a level that I eagerly accepted the offer to further support this organization with my time, skills and experience.”

 

 Marilyn Henley, CFO:

Marilyn Henley is a tenured accountant and business owner. She has volunteered her expertise and professional services to CCPM for past two years and has played a key role on our Board of Directors.

 

Ruth Denault

Ruth Denault is the founder and owner of Denault’s Hardware of Orange County. A true community leader, Ruth has served on countless nonprofit boards, including Casa Romantica, Arts & Learning, Concordia University, etc… Ruth is also well connected in the Orange County political realm.

Ruth brings a wealth of wisdom and passion to the CCPM board.

 

Kate Anderson

Kate Anderson is a professional educator with teaching experience in General and Special Education classes for preschool, elementary, middle, and high school grades. She holds a B.S. degree in Microbiology/Pre-Med, with a minor in Chemistry, from Brigham Young University, an Early Childhood Education Certificate from Saddleback College, a Preliminary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from California State University Fullerton, and a Cleared MS Credential from Azusa Pacific University. She is a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, ASCD.

After a decade of working in the public school system, Kate’s goal is for mainstreamed children to have equal opportunities to learn and practice strategies and tools enabling every student to be a successful lifelong learner. The understanding of the correlation between brain research and learning is responsible for her commitment to continuous study and improvement. She believes in the education of the whole child, cognitive, social and emotional development, and instilling a “growth mindset” in students to strengthen their belief in themselves and reinforce character qualities of perseverance, resilience, and a willingness to learn.

Kate is trained in differentiated instruction to plan personalized learning pathways based on students’ readiness to learn, their interests, and varying learning styles while building on prior knowledge to construct new ideas and understandings of subject concepts. As a new member to CCPM’s Board of Directors, Kate will be responsible for the implementation of our Academic Tutoring Initiative that aims to improve academic success of fully mainstreamed CP children in both a virtual and brick and mortar format.

 

Bill Stephens

Bill Stephens received a B.S. in Physical Education from Cal State Fullerton. Having spent 34 years working for Orange County Probation, on Special Assignment-Juvenile Court Work Program, Bill is presently retired.

He currently serves on the Share your Blessing Board of Directors and comes to Children’s Cerebral Palsy Movement Board as a local expert on the Beamz Interactive Music System. The Beamz is an interactive device that was invented to allow individuals of all abilities to create, play, and enjoy music. The beauty of The Beamz is that individuals receive therapy, education, and life skills benefits while simply having fun interacting with the music. Beamz programming will be fully integrated into CCPM’s Community Programming Initiatives.

Dr. Robyn Rakov, O.D., FCOVD

Dr. Rakov graduated with honors from the Southern California College of Optometry and has been passionate about Vision Therapy and Neuro Optometric Rehabilitation since her days as a student. She purchased the Vision Development Center of Laguna Hills in 1988 and has been involved in providing vision care in Orange County for 25+ years.

Dr. Rakov is quite excited to serve on the Children’s Cerebral Palsy Movement Board of Directors. She serves all populations and ages, but children with Cerebral Palsy have always held a special place in her heart. In fact, she was taught early on by a young patient with Cerebral Palsy, never to believe that a person with Cerebral Palsy is unable to overcome limitations or to accomplish goals. From that day on, she was a believer.

Since then, Dr. Rakov has been an ardent advocate for all children with disabilities. Dr. Rakov is particularly excited about CCPM’s new Academic Tutoring Initiative.

Dana Sperling, LCSW

Dana Sperling earned a Masters Degree in Social Work from Cal State University- Long Beach and a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Kent State University. She has worked as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the NICU at CHOC Children’s Hospital in Orange for over 15 years. During that time, she has coordinated an extensive bereavement support group to assist families hospital-wide.

Dana Sperling earned a Masters Degree in Social Work from Cal State University- Long Beach and a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Kent State University. She has worked as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the NICU at CHOC Children’s Hospital in Orange for over 15 years. During that time, she has coordinated an extensive bereavement support group to assist families hospital-wide.

Dana has developed a large network of professional connections that will be a very valuable asset to the Board. She looks forward to bringing her experience to the Board and will be instrumental in helping to build Children’s Cerebral Palsy Movement’s community-based family support programming.

National Advisors

Dr. Mindy Aisen

Neurologist

Dr. Aisen is Chief Medical Officer of Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center. Her professional experiences include CEO of the Cerebral Palsy International Research Foundation, member of the NIH Council – National Institute Child Health, and member of the ex-officio Board of American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine. Dr. Aisen is board certified in Neurology and Neurorehabilitation.

Dr. Aisen’s family has been personally touched by Cerebral Palsy and, as such, she has a passion for seeing innovative rehabilitative research reshape the way CP rehabilitation is handled in the United States. Dr. Aisen is a zealous proponent of Children’s Cerebral Palsy Movement’s work.