Board of Directors
Laurie Block, co-founder and Executive Director, oversees the development and production of all SAP projects the organization has produced. Block has led Straight Ahead Pictures into new web-based production, and towards serving education audiences directly. She also serves as Executive Director of the Disability History Museum.
Over the past 15 years, Block's work has consistently focused on the way in which questions about who is fit and who is not in American society are shaped by and reflect historical factors. Her first film, FIT: Episodes In The History Of The Body is a groundbreaking visual essay on the representation of the body. Block produced, with Jay Allison, the four-hour NPR radio documentary series, Beyond Affliction, winner of the 1999 Robert Kennedy Radio Journalism Social Justice Award. She also worked as a producer with Karen Brown on Trauma and Recovery: A Cambodian Refugee Experience, winner of the Daniel Schorr award. With Patricia Deegan and Bestor Cram, she produced a short film documentary called Remember My Name, about the restoration of the cemetery at Danvers State Hospital for the Mentally Ill by a group of ex-patients. Block has received fellowships for her work from the American Antiquarian Society and the National Library of Medicine.
John Crowley, Writer and Chief Editor, provides scriptwriting and editing skills to the organization and has long experience in developing teaching tools. He has co-written many documentary film scripts with Block, and has worked with numerous independent film and television producers. In addition to his film work he is a novelist, and teacher of fiction and screenwriting at Yale University. Crowley’s film work has won many awards including Academy Award nominations, presentation at the Berlin, New York Film Festival, and on PBS and HBO.
Graham Warder, Education Materials Development. Warder has worked with the Disability History Museum project since 2002. He began as its Library Cataloguer and Acquisitions Director and helped create and catalog a study collection of artifacts related to many aspects of disability cultural history in the United States. Warder is now taking on the lead role developing education materials for the Becoming Helen Keller project designed for use by secondary school and higher ed professionals and their students. Warder serves on the advisory board for the forthcoming reference work, The Encyclopedia of Disability History, to be published by Facts On File. Warder teaches American History at Keene State College in New Hampshire. His other research interests include temperance and commercial culture in antebellum America. Warder received a Ph.D in History from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2000.
Erin Fahy, Information Manager. Fahy provides information management and production assistance for the organization and is working to keep the databases working beautifully. She is interested in American cultural history, specifically when veteran's issues are involved, and spends a lot of her free time reading massive history texts. Fahy graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in History in 2007, and is currently pursuing a Master's in Library Science with a focus on digital multimedia libraries.
William F. Kuracina, Online Digital History Collections & Project Information Manager.
Kuracina is responsible for cataloguing documents and artifacts for the Disability History Museum. He is also involved in developing secondary and post-secondary education materials. Kuracina is proficient in American sign language, and has extensive teaching and grant writing experience. He received a Ph.D. in History from Syracuse University in May 2008.
Mary Irwin, Marketing & Development Coordinator. Irwin has worked in corporate marketing and non-profit development in Europe and in North America. She received a B.A. from the National University of Ireland, and pursued graduate work at New York University. She is actively involved in local history projects and brings a great calm and sense of humor to any day.