Staff

John Cocciolone

John Cocciolone
Executive Director

John has more than 30 years of executive leadership experience in the disability field. Before joining Thrive Upstate in April 2013, John spent 21 years as CEO for Easter Seals of Michigan, Inc. John served in the US Armed Forces as a member of the USAF Pararescue Team in Vietnam.

He is a surveyor for CARF, a national accreditation organization that provides standards of care for serving individuals with disabilities. Throughout his career in disabilities services, John has won numerous awards for leadership and fundraising, including the Easter Seals Medders Award (2004).

John has a Bachelors Degree in teaching the deaf and has a Masters Degree in Services Administration & Health Care Finance from Central Michigan University.  He has also completed post-graduate studies at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.  John and his wife, Jane, have two sons.

Anne Arrington

Anne Arrington, LMSW
Director of Family Supports

Anne is a Licensed Master Social Worker, and also has a Masters degree in Education in Personnel Services. She has spent her career working in the disabilities and special needs field. She began at Whitten Center in 1974, before moving on the Child Find and Early Intervention program at Oconee County DSN. She joined Thrive Upstate in 1979 as a social worker for the Hollis Center. During her time with the agency, Anne has shared her talents in Service Coordination and Family Supports since 1985, in addition to serving as Interim Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director.

Anne is married to John Arrington and they have three adult daughters and five grandchildren. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Sterling Hope Center Corporation Board and the Julie Valentine Center. Anne is an active member at Christ Church Episcopal

Al Hill

Arnold L. Hill “Al”
Director of Operations

Al holds degrees in Civil Engineering (Registered Professional Engineer), Organizational Management and a Masters in Human Resource Development. Prior to his service in the disabilities community, Al spent over 40 years in construction and engineering or, in his words, “working with bricks and sticks to build buildings and things.” He has brought his technical abilities and development skills to the nonprofit world, and joined Thrive Upstate in 2013. Al is pleased to have spent the last seven years working in the disabilities and special needs field to improve lives.

Elise Hardin

Elise W. Hardin
Director of Day Services

A graduate of The College of Charleston, Elise holds a B.A. in Psychology. She has built her career in Human Services (as a Direct Support Professional and later, Service Coordinator and Supervisor) during her time with the Thrive Upstate since 1985. She brings her experiences in management and hands-on support to her new position as Director of Day Services.

When she’s not in the office, Elise spends her time with her husband and three daughters. She also plays the flute, appreciates a good mystery novel, enjoys travel with her family, and loves horseback riding.

Stacy Whitsel

Stacy Whitsel
Director of Residential Services

Stacy has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a strong background in human services. Although new to Thrive Upstate, Stacy is a long time servant in the nonprofit world. She has been a service coordination supervisor, a qualified intellectual disabilities professional, and a CRCF Administrator in multiple DDSN facilities. Additionally, she has worked with the Governor’s Office Continuum of Care for emotionally disturbed children, as a senior options day program director, and opened and managed a for-profit CRCF in Clinton.

Stacy has a daughter in the US Navy, currently stationed in San Diego, CA., and her son attends Broome High School. In her free time, Stacy water skis and wakeboards in summer, and enjoys riding ATVs when the weather is cooler.

Nicky Lanford
Director of Nursing

Biography coming soon.

Alicia Grubel

Alicia Grubel
Director of Quality Services

Alicia began working in the disabilities community in 1997 as a Direct Support Professional in New York. During that time, she earned a B.A. in Psychology from Stony Brook University. Alicia joined Thrive Upstate in 2005 and diligently works to support staff and resident safety.

When she isn’t involved in Thrive Upstate safety and wellness activities, Alicia loves to spend time with her 4-year-old daughter. She has a passion for travel and hopes to visit Italy in the near future.

Jennifer Sperry

Jennifer Sperry
Associate Director of Respite Services

Jennifer graduated in 2001 from Winthrop University with a Bachelors of Social Work. She worked in geriatric long-term care before coming to Thrive Upstate in August 2002 as a Service Coordinator. Jennifer advanced to the Respite Associate Director position in January 2005. She supports individuals with disabilities living at home with their families in the Greenville community. She also works with self-advocates to be engaged in disabilities awareness events.

In her time off, Jennifer enjoys reading, gardening and spending time with family and friends.

Kay Brooks

Kay Brooks
Associate Director of HASCI Services

Kay has worked with individuals with brain and spinal cord injuries at Thrive Upstate since 1998. She is a certified Brain Injury Specialist Trainer and has special interests in applied behavior analysis and developing treatment materials for individuals with cognitive disabilities. Kay holds a Master of Arts in Psychology from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She is also an adjunct instructor of psychology at Greenville Technical College, where she has taught since 2003.

Kay is married to James and enjoys hiking, reading, cooking, and spending time with family.

Feldon Roberts

Feldon Roberts
Associate Director of Residential Services

Feldon started working with Thrive Upstate in 1985 as Counselor/Recreation Coordinator. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Southern Wesleyan University in 2005. During his career, he has also served as Program Manager of Edgefield ICF and as Director of High Management. He was promoted to Associate Director of Residential Services in 2002.

Feldon is married to Angela and they’ve celebrated 33 years together. They have a daughter, Michelle, and son, Jermaine, as well as 2 grandchildren and 1 on the way. His greatest passion is his family.

Beth Justice

Beth Justice
Associate Director of Early Intervention Services

Beth received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Western Carolina University in 1990. Her career working with children with various abilities began shortly after graduation and she knew immediately that she wanted to work with children with developmental delays

Beth moved to Greenville, SC after getting married and joined Thrive Upstate, where she has diligently contributed in several positions during her 20 year employment with the agency. She is also a member of the Center for Developmental Services Management Team, and a participant on the BabyNet Coordination Team.

Curtis Arrowwood

Curtis Arrowood
IT Manager

Curtis graduated from Phoenix University with an Associates Degree in Technology. He spent 12 years in the Armed Forces and has held positions in the corporate and nonprofit sectors. He is currently hard at work supporting the efforts of everyone at Thrive Upstate as the IT Wizard.

Outside of work, Curtis enjoys hunting, fishing, and learning about the great outdoors. He and his wife Christine are proud parents to their daughter, Anna, three cats (Ozzy, Ringo, and Coco) and two dogs (Jaxon & Khloe).

Peggy White

Peggy White
Accounting Manager

Peggy holds a degree in Business Administration and joined Thrive Upstate in 1997 as a Financial Analyst. She was promoted to Accounting Manager in July 2013 and supports Thrive Upstate in our mission to provide services and support to as many individuals and families as possible.

Peggy and her husband celebrated their silver anniversary in 2013 and have two sons. Their family also includes Humphries, a terrier mix, and Deja, a pitbull.

Mike Teachey

Mike Teachey
Director of Community Engagement

Mike Teachey joined Thrive Upstate in January 2015 to assist with networking and building community partnerships for the people that we serve.

In addition to working with Thrive Upstate, Mike is also spearheading the new GreenvilleCAN (Collaborative Action Network) a grassroots efforts with parents and providers to help identify gaps in services and meet the needs of people with disabilities by sharing and using existing resources.

Mike has been married to Joelle for 14 years and they have a 10 year old son. He previously worked for Greenville County Rec as their Director of Community Relations. Mike enjoys outdoor activities, especially bicycling.

Craig Byrd
Director of Development and Marketing

Craig has over 20 years of senior leadership experience in disability services as the chief executive at Easter Seals in Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois and Kansas, and at United Cerebral Palsy of East Central Florida in Daytona Beach, Florida. He is the new Director of Development and Marketing at Thrive Upstate. In this role he is a member of the senior leadership team and works closely with the Executive Director and Board of Directors to ensure all fundraising and marketing activities are consistent with the mission, vision, and goals of the organization. Craig is also a certified accreditation surveyor for the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF International) and consults for organizations in the United States and Canada on the business operations of non-profit organizations. He is retired from the United States Army as a Lieutenant Colonel.

Craig is married to the former Inge Peiszan and together they have 4 adult children and 2 grandchildren. His hobbies include gardening, golf, fishing and hiking.

Kate Patino Byrum
Development and Communications Associate

Kate comes to Thrive Upstate from the Detroit Zoological Society where she was the Marketing Events Supervisor, in this role she was responsible for all aspects of event management at the Detroit Zoo.  Prior to her time with the Detroit Zoo she was the Association Manager and Event Planner for the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Detroit Chapter.

Kate holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising and Public Relations from Grand Valley State University. Creativity, relationship building, teamwork, and continuous growth are of utmost importance to her.

Kate and her husband Rob recently moved to South Carolina with their rescued Australian Shepherd, Cooper.  She enjoys traveling, hiking and cooking in her spare time.