ASCONN Board Members and Staff


If you are interested in serving on our board, please contact Kim Newgass (


Kim R. Newgass – President
Kim and her husband have a 21 year old daughter with an autism spectrum disorder. Kim is a jewelry artisan and the designer of the “Real Jewelry to Make a Real Difference” autism awareness collection. She holds certification in Diamond Appraisal and Colored Stones from the Gemological Institute of America and has extensive experience in designing, manufacturing and retailing jewelry that spans several decades. In her work for ASCONN, Kim has served on Connecticut State Department of Education committees, including the task force responsible for the current Guidelines for the Identification and Education of Children and Youth with Autism. Kim and her family live in the Greater New Haven area.


Bruce Putterman – Vice President
Bruce and his wife, Teri Bayer, have a 14 year old son living with autism. They also have a 16 year old son and 11 year old daughter who are not on the spectrum. Bruce has operated Marketing Edge Consulting/Nonprofit Consulting Group, a strategic planning and marketing consulting practice, for 10 years. He graduated from Cornell University with a B.A. in History (1982) and an MBA in marketing (1984). Bruce and his family live in West Hartford, where he also serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Education.


Jonathan Stein – Treasurer

Jonathan resides in West Hartford with his wife Gillian and their two sons. He has a 9 year old who is on the spectrum and a 6 year old who is not. Jonathan is a finance professional and holds an MBA in Finance from the University of St Thomas in St Paul, Minnesota and a BA from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. In his free time, Jonathan enjoys reading and spending time with his family.


Jean Brooks – Secretary

Jean lives in Meriden with her husband James. Her adult son is on the autism spectrum and also is profoundly deaf. Jean was instrumental in starting up ASCONN in 1977 and has a long and distinguished career as a valuable member of the ASCONN Board, currently serving as Secretary and Board Member Emeritus. Jean received the ASCONN Distinguished Service Award in 2002 for all her years of service to ASCONN and the autism and disability community in Connecticut. Jean worked for many years with the Education Program of the Department of Mental Retardation and then as a case manager for private group homes.


Melissa Dumont
Melissa joined the board of ASCONN in 2007, at which time she was named the Chairperson for Puzzlethon™, ASCONN’s major fundraising event. Melissa and her husband Matthew have 2 children with autism, a 15 year old daughter and a 12 year old son. They also have an 11 year old daughter who is not on the autism spectrum. Melissa owns her own educational advocacy practice, helping parents obtain appropriate services for their children in the educational arena. Melissa is very active in her church and teaches Sunday School to a busy group of 4th and 5th graders each week. Melissa and her family reside in Manchester.


Jennifer Twachtmann

Jennifer Twachtman-Bassett, M.S., CCC-SLP. Jennifer is a speech-language pathologist who has served individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders for nearly 20 years. She is a member of the Autism Society of America’s Panel of Professional Advisors and has served on the Board of Directors of ASCONN for the past 3 years. She holds a B.A. in psychology from the University of Richmond and an MS in speech-language pathology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Jennifer is part of the Autism Spectrum Assessment Program (ASAP), at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, where she contributes to the diagnosis of children with ASD in collaboration with the Department of Developmental Pediatrics. She also provides social language and problem solving evaluations through Connecticut Children’s and Butler Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, as well as individual therapy and parent training. Jennifer is also associate editor of Autism Spectrum Quarterly where she contributes a column on translating research into practice. She has published her work in books, chapters, and articles and has presented many professional workshops. Jennifer and her husband, Les Bassett, live in Colchester, with their blended family of four daughters. At home, Jennifer serves on the Board of Directors of her daughters’ before-and-after school program (CASTLE) and supervises homework, dance class and Brownie/Day Troop meetings.


Jerusia J. Chasse

Jerusia J. Chasse M.S., BCBA. Jerusiahas served individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders for over 14 years. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and is one of the first in her field to complete her master’s degree concentration in Autism at Southern Connecticut State University. Jerusiaha's expertise in development of comprehensive ABA programs in home, private, and public school environments. In 2008, she was recognized with the Award of Excellency from the State of Connecticut for her work in developing a district wide autism program for a public school. In addition, Jerusia continues to be involved in the community by sitting on the Legislative Action Committee for the Connecticut Association of Behavior Analysis. She is the Executive Director of Program Builders Inc. , a private practice located in Marlborough, CT for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Most of all Jerusia enjoys helping people and spending time with her husband and their two dogs “Percy” and “Pearl”.


Sara Reed – Executive Director
Sara became Executive Director of ASCONN in 2005 after serving on the Board of Directors for many years. A former health care and securities lawyer, Sara has also worked as an educational advocate advising parents about obtaining appropriate services for their children with autism. Sara has served on many statewide committees serving the autism and disability communities and currently is a member of the Advisory Council to the Division of Autism Services at the Department of Disability Services and sits on the executive committee. Sara has provided workshops and trainings on autism here in Connecticut and at national conferences. She graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in History (1984) and received a J.D. magna cum laude from Brooklyn Law School (1990). She resides in Guilford with her son.

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