Executive Board


April Swofford, director

April Swofford was born and raised in Altenburg, Missouri. After she graduated from Jackson High School, she went on to graduate from Stage One Cosmetology School in Cape Girardeau in 1999. April is currently a hair stylist at Studio Designs in Cape Girardeau however she resides in Jackson, Missouri. She is a proud Mother of three sons that she shares with her husband, Adam. Her passion for Autism Awareness started when one of her twins was diagnosed with Autism in 2011 at age 4. She started being involved in her community by serving as a Parent Mentor for MPACT for 3 years. She also serves on her other twin’s travel football team as the fundraising chairperson along with several other local community organizations.

scott bucher, assistant director

Scott Bucher was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri.  After he graduated from Parkway West High School, he attended college at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau.  Scott still resides in Cape Girardeau with three children and is the owner of the Imo's Pizza franchise in Eureka.  He is involved in his community as a Parent Mentor for MPACT and serves on the Southeast Missouri Parent Advisory Committee. 


Caroline Thornburgh, Treasurer

Caroline Thornburgh is from Jackson, Missouri. After graduating from Jackson High School she attended Southeast Missouri State University for her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Caroline is an instructor in the mathematics department at Southeast Missouri State University. The oldest of her and her husband's two sons has autism. 

Ashley Showalter.jpg

Ashley Showalter, Secretary 

Ashley Showalter was born and raised in Southern Illinois. She graduated from SIU Carbondale. Ashley currently works at Southeast Missouri State University and lives in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. She has a nonverbal son with autism. She also serves as the secretary for the Autism Society Southern Illinois Chapter.


SANDRA Deannza Newsome, Marketing and Grants Director 

Sandra was born and raised in Farmington, Kentucky. She moved to Southeast Missouri in 1990. Since moving here, she has obtained a bachelors in General Studies with an emphasis in English, Mass Communications, and Theater. She also received her MA in English from Southeast Missouri State University. She currently serves as an English instructor for several institutions. Her passion for Autism Awareness of Southeast Missouri began with attending a couple of events and a meeting. She states she just knew this is an organization where she wants to dedicate time and skills. Increasing awareness, understanding and programming are her main goals for this organization. She is the proud mother of two daughters and Mimi to three grandsons.


Elite Organizers

Autism Awareness of Southeast Missouri is blessed to have a group of amazing volunteers to help bring awareness to our mission. These members are called Elite Organizers.


If you would like to volunteer your talents to help us raise awareness, contact us or email April Swofford (april@autismsemo.org).