Melissa Gallagher, Advocate

Melissa is our out-reach  Advocate, serving Garfield, Rio Blanco, Moffat, Routt, Summit, Lake, Pitkin and Eagle Counties.   She has extensive experience working with children who have behavioral concerns related to disabilities.  Melissa holds a bachelors degree in teaching and Adaptive Physical Education. She also holds a Masters degree in  Special Education and a degree in  Educational Leadership.    Her extensive  18 year educational background includes: Physical Education, Special Education, Adaptive Physical Education, Autism Specialist,  Behavior Specialist, Special Education Coordinator, and Special Education Adjunct Graduate Professor at Colorado Mesa University.  She also sat on the Colorado Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders.  Melissa brings years of experience and  compassion to The Arc Mesa County.  


Jennifer is a graduate of Mesa State College with a B.S.. Early in her career she ran a recreation program for people of all abilities in accessing life skills and experiences within the community.  Since then she has worked as a group home supervisor providing services for individuals with I/DD, Foster Parent, Grant Writer and Advocate. Prior to joining The Arc Mesa County team in September 2015, she worked as an Advocate with Disability Law Colorado for nearly 10 years. Being a part of positive change for inclusion and equality is the passion and vision Jennifer brings to The Arc Mesa County.  


​​Dr. Tanya Skalecki is the Executive Director at The Arc Mesa County as of January 1, 2017.  Dr. Skalecki received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Vocational Rehabilitation and Special Education, her Master’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Superior in Administrative Leadership and her Juris Doctorate degree from Concord Law School.

After graduation, Dr. Skalecki worked eleven years as a special education teacher, where she began her specialization in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Dr. Skalecki was named “Teacher of the Year” in 2001 in Wisconsin and Outstanding Faculty of the Year at Colorado Christian University (CCU) in 2016.  Dr. Skalecki has served as a Principal for at risk children, Director of Special Education, Executive Director of Student Services, Director of Advocacy and Affiliate Faculty member of CCU. Dr. Skalecki has worked on many state and local committees which include but are not limited to; Colorado Autism State Task Force, Colorado State Re-Invent Special Education Task Force, The Educator Preparation Program, Wisconsin State Curriculum Team, Technology Governance, Curriculum & Instruction Team, Special Needs Advisory Committee, Disability Alliance and Colorado Discover Ability. 

Tanya's  easy going personality  and  extensive  background promotes a warm environment for The Arc Mesa County. She tenaciously preserves the mission and focus of "why" The Arc Mesa County was created and leads with passion and commitment.   

The Staff at The Arc Mesa County believe in providing families with information, education, and advocacy to help navigate the "system" successfully

    Tanya Skalecki, Executive Director

Candace is a long-time resident of Grand Junction.  She received a Bachelor’s degree in Language Arts and elementary education from Mesa State College. Candace received her Master’s generalist special education degree and education specialist degree (Principal and Special Education Director License) from University of Northern Colorado.   She worked as a significant support needs teacher for eleven years in an elementary school.  Candace brings her enthusiasm and love for her job to The Arc Mesa County.   

      Candace Diaz, Advocate

      Jennifer Shook, Advocate