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Meet Our Team: AAIDD SIS Trainers

These highly-qualified and experienced AAIDD trainers provide in-depth training on the SIS suite of tools.

Karen Golem

Karen Golem

Ms. Golem earned a Developmental Service Worker Diploma from Fanshawe College, and holds certifications in Strategic Communication, Assessment Strategies and Best Practices Administrator, Collaborative Conflict Resolution, Policies and Procedures in Multiple Work Environments and Data Interpretation Strategies. She has over 40 years of experience working in the developmental service sector that has inspired her to design and implement specialized services to assist people with IDD in reaching their goals in life.

Her past senior management responsibilities include implementing Ontario’s Ministry of Community and Social Services legislation, developing policy and procedure standards, and developing and implementing financial accountability processes. In 2007, she began providing SIS assessment services and implementation of the Quality Assurance (QA) plan to individuals and organizations across the Canadian province of Ontario.

Ms. Golem qualified as an AAIDD SIS trainer in 2012, and she continues to provide SIS-A 2nd Edition and SIS-C training, evaluations and project coordination throughout the United States, Canada, and internationally.

Her expertise is in providing essential elements to maintain high training standards of professional excellence while developing SIS assessment services in a responsible and ethical manner.



Natalie  Ihli

Natalie Ihli

Ms. Ihli earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Wyoming, a master’s in social work from the University of Denver and a master’s in education from the University of Colorado.  Her experience in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities includes case management, program coordination, project management and employment services.   Since 2005, she has worked globally with individuals, agencies, advocacy groups and jurisdictions toward effective SIS implementation. Her work also includes an array of SIS-A and SIS-C products and training courses. 



Kathy Varner

Kathy Varner

Kathy Varner earned a Bachelor of Social Work degree and has over 30 years’ experience working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including those with extensive medical and behavioral support needs and dual diagnoses. She has worked with people in residential settings ranging from individual apartments to large institutions, and extensive experience in day supports and connecting people with their communities.

Kathy has worked in various capacities in the AAIDD SIS program, as trainer, assessor, and project coordinator across the U.S. and several Canadian provinces since 2007; she is currently AAIDD’s SIS Training Manager. Kathy’s extensive experience with the SIS suite of tools includes her contribution to the development of the training curricula for the SIS-A (2015), SIS-A 2nd Edition (2023), and SIS-C (2016), as well as related training materials such as training videos and e-Learning training courses. She has extensive experience facilitating SIS related training sessions, including but not limited to stakeholder education, interviewer training as well as trainer training. In addition, Kathy has facilitated over 1,000 Interviewer Reliability and Qualifications Reviews (IRQRs) and SIS-A/SIS-C assessments.

Internationally, Kathy has facilitated training in Ireland, Iceland, and Latvia, and was the Project Coordinator/Lead for several high-profile support needs assessment projects in Ireland. In her role as a Project Coordinator for large-scale assessment projects in Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina, Hawaii, and Virginia, Kathy has had responsibility for coordination and oversight of project tasks, collaboration with jurisdictions’ leadership, supervision of SIS assessors, and ensuring timely and successful completion of over 5,000 quality assessments.



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