Our Staff & Board

Our unique team consists of people with autism, educators, parents, college interns, and community members working together for a common purpose: to enrich the lives of adults with autism.

If you live in the Centre Region and share this passion, we're always looking for caring, committed individuals to join our board! Please contact us for more details.

Board of Directors

Bellamarie Bregar

Founder/Executive Director

With 38 years of experience as a special education teacher, Bellamarie Bregar is driven to make ACRES a place where adults with autism can live and thrive. She has a strong passion for autistic individuals and strives to bring peace of mind to many parents who hope for their children's future.

Douglas Martin


Douglas is a State College High School alum and entrepreneur who spent many years in Philadelphia after graduating from Drexel University. During his time in Philadelphia, Douglas served as VP of Friends of Bancroft, supporting a leading non-profit provider of specialized services for individuals with brain injuries, autism and intellectual disabilities in the Philadelphia region. Upon returning to State College with his experience from Bancroft he was excited to find out about The ACRES project and its vision and immediately jumped in to help it grow in any way possible.

Derek Canova

Vice President

Bio coming soon!

Bellamarie Ludwig

Acting Secretary

Bellamarie Ludwig joined The ACRES Project team upon its founding in 2014. She currently works as an Assistant Research Professor at the Pennsylvania State University and serves as the acting secretary. She is also lucky enough to be the daughter of the ACRES project founder, Bella Bregar.

 Will Hooten


Will is a business consultant for the Penn State Small Business Development Center, where he specializes in providing free financial consultation to local business owners. Previously, Will worked at Bloomberg L.P. on their financial forecasting team. His extensive business experience includes accounting and bookkeeping, financial forecasting, social media and digital strategy, market research, contract negotiation and sales. He is very excited to bring is experience to the ACRES Project.

Len Kowalski

Board Member

Bio coming soon!

Lenny Rutecki

Board Member

Lenny Rutecki is an autistic support teacher at Central Mountain High School. An avid powerlifter, Lenny is the founder and president of LennyLifts for Autism Awareness, which supports the autism community through strength sports. Lenny lives in Bellefonte with his wife Jennifer and enjoys reading, physical activity and the outdoors.

Darlene Maple

Board Member

Bio coming soon!

Interns & Staff

Becca Stroschein

Programs Director

Bio coming soon!

Mary Krupa


Mary graduated from Penn State in 2016 and has been deeply involved with the ACRES Project since its inception. Her primary role at ACRES is as a graphic designer and copywriter, as well as maintaining our website and social media presence. She also assists ACRES with grant-writing, launching new programs, giving tours, and speaking at presentations.
As an adult with autism, Mary is excited about the new opportunities the ACRES Project is creating for the autistic community.
She can often be found volunteering at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center, helping to care for nonreleasable birds of prey and sharing her passion for wildlife and nature conservation.

Jeff Rose


Bio coming soon!