MIH Executive Director Tim Wiens has announced the additions of Michael Ferron, J.D., Chris Knoerlein and Tracy Wright to the organization’s Board of Directors, bringing the total membership to 13.
Michael Ferron, J.D. will chair the Board’s Governance Committee. He is a lawyer and housing advocate with more than a decade of experience in real estate and public service. His professional and research interests focus on the intersection of race, housing and poverty. In 2022, Michael and his family moved to Prince George’s County from Indianapolis.
Promoting total equity, inclusion and access for people with disabilities is nothing new for Michael. Since 2017, he has served on the Board of Directors for Easterseals Crossroads—Indiana’s largest nonprofit disability-services organization—and was chair of the development committee from 2018-22.
Michael obtained his Florida real estate license in 2009 and holds broker and instructor licenses from the State of Indiana. As a broker, he primarily represented developers seeking to create or revitalize affordable housing. Michael has been teaching real estate since 2016, specializing in fair housing, diversity in the real estate industry, and professional ethics. As an individual with a disability, his lived experience influences his pedagogical approach to adult education. Furthermore, Michael grew up in an extremely low-income community, which inspired his personal mission statement: To combat and eliminate the barriers to fair, affordable and accessible housing.
He earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) and a Graduate Certificate in civil and human rights law from the Indiana University McKinney School of Law. During this time, he interned with the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville, Va., and the Re-Entry Assistance and Community Help (REACH) Clinic at IU McKinney, focused on delivering legal remedies to socioeconomic problems.
Michael worked with his law school mentor to research solutions to lead hazards in public housing; analyzing the relationship between health, housing, and the law; and studying the environmental benefits of housing justice. For his pro bono service, Michael received the Norman Lefstein Award of Excellence.
Chris Knoerlein is the Director of Development and Communications for The Arc Baltimore, an MIH partner and agency that supports people with developmental disabilities to lead fulfilling lives with a sense of belonging, purpose, and meaningful relationships. Before his 17 years there, he started his career as a residential treatment counselor at Catholic Charities’ Villa Maria for young boys with severe emotional disabilities.
He was the Maryland Chapter President of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD). In addition, Chris co-chaired AFP Maryland’s Fundraising Day in Maryland event in 2017 and 2018 and was a board member from 2018 to 2020. Most recently in 2023, he graduated from Leadership Baltimore County.
Chris brings nearly a decade of experience in nonprofit development, marketing, communications, and grant writing to MIH. He will assist with the spreading of MIH’s mission to the disability community, State legislators, and the general community across the state. Chris is also contributing to MIH’s Advocacy Communications Team.
Chris is a proud alumnus of Calvert Hall College High School and Villanova University.
Tracy Wright currently serves as the director of training at People On the Go. She is also the Life Enrichment Consultant for By Their Side Maryland, an advisory committee member and a trainer for Expectations Matter, My Life My Choice. Tracy formerly served as the voting advocate for Disability Rights Maryland (DRM) and as a lead trainer for People On the Go.
After graduating from Maryland Partners in Policymaking, Tracy worked at The Arc Maryland for more than 15 years. During her tenure, she designed and presented trainings on self-determination, self-advocacy, disability rights, risk taking and quality of life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and the professionals who support them. She was a project director for the Self Advocacy Network (SAN) Peer Mentoring program.
Tracy mentored individuals residing in state residential centers, including the Holly Center (Eastern Shore) and Potomac Center (Western Maryland), and provided education on living in the community. She was the lead SAN mentor during the closure of the Rosewood Center in Baltimore.