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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 35 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 of 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 provided training and evaluations using IRQR evaluations throughout the United States, Ontario, Canada, and at Aras Attracta (2015) and St. Raphael’s Center (2016) within Ireland’s Health Business Services.

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, and a master’s in social work from the University of Denver. Since 2005, she has worked with individuals, provider agencies, advocacy groups and states, and other large- scale enterprises toward effective SIS implementation. Her work focuses on an array of SIS training, assessment, consultation, technical supports, and on-line curriculum development and training. This includes SIS interviewer and trainer training, and the development of techniques to incorporate into system transformation. 

Her international experience includes training and consultancies in Australia, Taiwan, Ireland, Jamaica, and Latvia. In her role as the Coordinator for the School-to-Work Alliance Program/Department of Education, Colorado, she assists young people with disabilities to find and maintain community employment.



Kathy Varner

Kathy Varner

Ms. Varner earned a bachelor’s 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.

She 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 contributed to the development of the training curricula for the SIS-A and SIS-C, the SIS-C online training program, and the  SIS-C Training videos. She has facilitated the following trainings with many groups: Respondent/Stakeholders, Train-the-Interviewer, Train-the Trainer, Quality Assurance, Advanced Interviewer, Quality Lead, Information Lead. In addition, she has facilitated over 1,000 Interviewer Reliability and Qualifications Reviews (IRQR). 

Internationally, Kathy has facilitated training in Ireland, and in 2015 and 2016, was the Project Coordinator/Lead for two high profile support needs assessment projects in Counites Mayo and Cork, Ireland, respectively. In her role as a Project Coordinator for large-scale pilot projects in Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Virginia, Kathy has had responsibility for coordination and oversight of project tasks, supervision of SIS assessors, and ensuring timely and successful completion of over 4,000 quality assessments.

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