Interim Executive Director of the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL
Dan Kessler has extensive experience in independent living and am currently Interim Executive Director of the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL). Prior to that, he served as Executive Director of Disability Rights and Resources, a center for independent living in Birmingham, Alabama, until retirement in December of 2021. During his time at Disability Rights and Resources, he served as the Southeast ADA Center Network Administrator for Alabama.
Three days after his retirement, he was surprised by a phone call from the University of Alabama at Birmingham instructing him to be at the hospital within a couple of hours for a kidney transplant. The next morning, he went in for surgery and received a new kidney from a deceased donor.
Prior arriving in Birmingham, he worked at a center for independent living as a program director in New Orleans for 7 years. He worked closely with others to pass personal assistance legislation, a first in the state of Louisiana. While in New Orleans, he worked at a program that provided support services for deaf students attending a local community college, and worked as a social worker at a Rehabilitation Hospital.
He has held leadership positions with the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) as President, Vice-President, and Region IV Rep. He also served as co-chair of the Rehab Act/IL funding subcommittee and chair of the Housing subcommittee. He is a current member of the Rehab Act/IL funding subcommittee. At the state level he worked with other independent living advocates to successfully advocate for increased funding for CILs, resulting in the expansion of the CIL network. He also served on the Alabama State Independent Living Council.
Dan earned a master’s degree from Florida State University and an undergraduate degree from Purdue University.
He and his wife Gail in Birmingham