Jan Alderman

Program Director

Jan began working at St. Louis School in 1987 and was there until 1992. She left to pursue her career as a hair stylist and owner of her own shop for a few years. She returned to work at St. Louis School in 1998 and stayed there until 2005. Jan left St. Louis and went to work for Breckenridge Village as a teacher in the Day Program in 2005. She loves Breckenridge as she loved St. Louis but was ready for a new chapter in her career.

While she was employed at the school and the village, she was also very active in various other activities in our community. She was involved with Walk a Mile for a Special Child and she worked for 24 years as staff at Camp Heyday and has been the camp director for two years. She was a head coach with Special Olympics from 2006-2013 and was a Therapet owner from 2002-2007. She has been hired as the ARC Adult Performing Arts director effective September.  Jan started as Program Director for Achieving Dreams August, 2014.

Jan is an asset to our program, and she enjoys sharing her experiences, enthusiasm, and love with our Achievers.

Sandi Richards

Program Director

Sandi was born in Anchorage, AK at Elmendorf Air Force Base to K.D. and Anita Chrietzberg.  She is the daughter of a retired United States Air Force fighter pilot and his late wife, who was a homemaker.  She enjoyed living and growing up in Alaska, California, Kansas and Missouri with her sister and brother.

Sandi was a paraprofessional educator who worked with special needs students for five years.  That experience was a blessing to her as she made a positive impact in the lives of her students.  Helping her students become successful academically as well as socially was particularly fulfilling for her.

Sandi has been active on church committees, volunteering for the Humane Society, Girl Scouts and various school and community activities.

She feels very blessed and excited about being a Program Director of Achieving Dreams and enjoys working with all of the Achievers and wonderful volunteers. She began with us in 2016.

Lazara Gutierrez

Program Assistant

Laz joined the Achieving Dreams team in July 2019, and she immediately connected well with the Achievers and  everyone.  In addition to a work history which includes serving as a teacher's assistant in Special Education with TISD, she has many years of experience in case management and administrative work which proves beneficial in her organizational and supportive role.  As a parent and a family caregiver, her sensitivity and warm personality helps enhance a welcoming atmosphere for Achievers and our other valued personnel including volunteers whom she coordinates. Dependable and dedicated to serving others, her heart matches our mission.

Laura Mattheis

Executive Director


Laura is originally from Missouri, and her family moved to East Texas when she was a child. She has worked since her teen years and began her college studies in both commercial art and general business just out of high school. Ultimately, soon after marrying, while working full-time in a corporate executive role, she completed her Bachelor's degree with honors in management from UT Tyler. Although graduate studies were initiated, family, employment  and volunteer obligations have limited time to complete that still intended goal. Over the years, she has worked in a variety of responsible coordinating and managerial positions in various sectors with special emphasis on serving non-profit organizations. Laura is a Leadership Tyler alum, and has long been committed to volunteer service in a number of areas. Having a passion for helping others, especially those with disabilities similar to that of a deceased sister, she became aware of Achieving Dreams due to establishing a collaborative working relationship while serving as Executive Director at another disability services organization. She later began volunteering with Achieving Dreams in 2017 soon after resigning from the former role after 8 1/2 years of successful development there. While self-employed as a Federal/State consultant/researcher during this period, she was missing connection with professional local peers which led her to accept a part-time position with 2-1-1 / United Way of Smith County where she appreciated being a part of their exceptional team, being trained as a Certified Community Resource Specialist, and gathering/sharing information about the numerous great service organizations all over East Texas. Due to scheduling, Laura was not able to volunteer with Achieving Dreams any longer during that time. However, about a year or so later, a friend contacted her about the posting for the first Executive Director position with Achieving Dreams.  She felt called to apply. God's plan and the decision of the Board of Director's opened the door to an unanticipated and unimaginable blessing to serve in February 2019.  She feels honored and grateful to be a part of a great mission in service to exceptional people known as  "Achievers" and their families. She also deeply appreciates working with respected visionary community leaders/board members, valued caring and professional staff and the numerous generous collaborative community partners and supporters who make our shared purpose possible. 

Board of Directors