Launch Team

Dave Welsh

Dave has over 20 years of experience with special needs populations. He enjoys coaching young adults in practical life skills as they prepare to take the first daunting steps toward living away from home. In his own life, Dave has found that creativity can be a great outlet not only for self expression, but also for managing anxiety, something many Vanguard students cope with daily. As an avid adventurer and lover of the outdoors, Dave also helps Vanguard’s counselors on the New Mexico trip offered each summer. Dave loves being a part of his students’ journeys as they experience new things and stretch to reach new goalswhether it be in the classroom, working on a wood shop project, or learning to balance a checkbook in the Launch Program. Dave is a dedicated cheerleader for his students as they grow and gain confidence each step of the way.

Ross Sivertsen

Ross is Program Director of Launch and Adult Transition Services at Vanguard Preparatory School. Ross and his wife Jill are parents of two special needs sons with Autism and Down Syndrome. Not only does Ross bring 25+ years of executive leadership experience, but he and his wife also have 20+ years of non-profit board experience, having served as members and officers of the Autism Society and Community for Permanent Supported Housing, among others. Both he and his wife own and operate a companion care home for three young men with Autism and their caregiver. Ross holds a Bachelor of Science in business, a Master of Science in information assurance, a Master of Management in cybersecurity, and an MBA from the University of Dallas. Both he and his wife Jill live in Richardson, Texas.


Selena Harrell

Selena is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) and holds a Bachelor of Sciences in Therapeutic Recreation from Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Divinity with an emphasis on Chaplaincy. Selena has experience facilitating recreational interventions with children, adolescents, and adults with mental health challenges and social-emotional barriers. Since servicing in the military for over 8 years, she also understands the ebbs and flows of transitions and enjoys working in our Launch Program as a Life Coach. She aspires to help these students navigate the new transition into adulthood and advocates for more resources related to employment opportunities in the local community. As a bonus, Selena’s dog, Lolex, is a part of our pet therapy team at Vanguard!

DeAnna Brown

DeAnna received her Bachelor’s in Nursing from Union University in Germantown, Tennessee in 1997. Prior to completing her nursing education, she worked for the United States Navy as a civilian contractor, facilitating classes in stress and anger management, conflict resolution, and goal setting and coaching people to align their behaviors with their stated values. 

DeAnna will complete her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Counseling in the Fall 2021; however, she has already spent many years working in a wide range of healthcare settings caring for and walking alongside people dealing with life-altering health situations.

At Vanguard, DeAnna is an LMFT-intern working with families and students and is a Life Coach for Launch program participants.


Vanguard Preparatory School

4240 Sigma Road Dallas, TX 75244 | phone: 972.404.1616 | fax: 972.404.1641 | email:

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