Board of Directors
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Our Board of Directors is responsible for the mission of The Farmer’s House, which is to provide a community-integrated hands-on work environment that will provide youth and adults with developmental disabilities practical vocational skills.  Farmer's House is a place to cultivate self-esteem, grow self-worth and harvest the confidence and passion that come from a job well done.  Through its actions, the Board oversees an array of exceptional program to individuals with developmental disabilities.

Mary "Peaches" Cunningham, Board President

Armond Bechard

Judith Buchta

David Cunningham

Michele Kilo, MD

James Landrum, MSW

Alan Zimmerman

Suzanne Zimmerman


David CunninghamCo-Founder of The Farmer’s House. David graduated from The University of Kansas with a BS degree in 1984. He studied International Business at The University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology in Manchester, England. He began his career in the financial services industry by joining the Equitable Life Insurance Company in 1990. David became a Vice President with AXA in 1991 and built one of the company’s top divisions. He concentrated in the health care industry and worked with employers in managing employee benefit and group insurance contracts. In 1994, Cunningham began consulting with hospitals and nursing homes across the United States to provide state-of-the-art education and enrollment capabilities to their organizations. He has worked with some of the country’s largest long-term care providers. In 2007, he founded Benefitz USA and now consults with companies in the long term and health care industry. Governor Kathleen Sebelius appointed David to the Kansas Governors Commission on Autism in 2006. He became the Chairman of the Commission in 2007 and worked closely with The Autism Task Force to advise and make recommendations to the Office of the Governor regarding matters related to Autism. In 2005, David along with his wife Peaches co-founded The Farmers House.

Mary Margaret Tutera Cunningham (known as Peaches), Co-Founder of The Farmer's House. Peaches comes from a background of banking and adult-care administration. Peaches received her BA from Williams Woods College. In 1984 she began her community involvement with the KC Junior League and was presented at the 1984 BOTAR Ball, and has continued her service to the community through The American Royal. Peaches was a vice-president with Central Bank and specialized in bookkeeping and customer service. Peaches changed career directions when her family opened The Atriums, a luxury senior living community. She was executive director and is currently the executive director of Carnegie Village in Belton, another Tutera Family Community. In 1996, Peaches found herself a happy mother of a son, John David. In 1998, she was forced to realize that John David had received a diagnosis of autism. It was at this moment that her life was changed forever. Since that time, Peaches has been a relentless activist for children with developmental issues. She immersed herself in her son’s therapy at The Children’s Spot, where she served for over five years as its president, and currently holds a position on its advisory board. She held a position on the board of directors of The Autism-Asberger’s Resource Center and the Bi-State Initiative of Kansas and Missouri, formed to foster a collaborative effort for the two states to work together on autism initiatives. She has also been a positive force and support of the G.R.A.M.S. (Grandmothers Raising Autism Money) program. Peaches has also been an active member of other organizations, including being president of The Prairie School PTA and vice-president of the board of the Belton Chamber of Commerce.

Suzanne Zimmerman Suzanne has a diverse background in accounting, property management, small business ownership and nonprofit management which has contributed significantly to the co-founding and operation of The Farmer’s House.  For the past nine years she has served as Executive Director pro tem for the organization. Suzanne currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Weston Chamber of Commerce and the Platte County Cares Diversion Program. She and her family have been long standing members of Platte Woods United Methodist Church.  Suzanne’s passion for individuals with developmental disabilities was ignited when her oldest daughter Julianna, “Anna”, was diagnosed with a chromosome 6 deletion at birth.  She is, and always will be, deeply committed to providing programs and services that are transformative for the amazing people that The Farmer’s House serves.

Judith A. Buchta Judi is currently employed at The Atriums, a luxury senior living community. For over 17 years, she was an executive assistant in administration at Providence Medical Center. Through the last several years, she has served in a variety of volunteer service positions at White Church Christian Church. During her sons’ school years, Judi served on the school board and other committees at Grace Lutheran School, and was an active supporter in all of their activities at Sumner Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

Michele Kilo, MD is a pediatrician specializing in children with developmental disabilities. She has currently started a practice focusing on Physician Well-Being through the use of Coaching, Conflict Resolution and Mediation, as well as serving as an advocate and liaison to the assessment and treatment community for physicians in need of these resources.

Michele graduated from the University of Missouri, Kansas City School of Medicine in 1984 and remained in Kansas City for her Residency in General Pediatrics and Fellowship in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities, both at Children’s Mercy Hospital. Immediately upon completion of her fellowship, Dr. Kilo became Chief of the Section of Developmental Medicine and Psychology. The Section was renamed as the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Sciences in 2010, and Michele continued as Division Director. In the 27 years of her leadership of pediatric developmental, behavioral and mental health services, Michele is most proud of the unique model of collaboration between Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Clinical and Behavioral Psychology, and Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics that she created and has strongly supported. In 1996 these specialties were merged from 3 separate Sections into one to form the present Division. What began in 1991 as 3 small Sections each with a few pediatric behavioral health providers has today become one of the largest, most integrated Developmental and Behavioral Division in the country with 53 Psychologists, 7 Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists and 10 Developmental-Behavioral Pediatricians. As well, the Division is home to 2 fully accredited training programs; an APA approved Psychology Internship and Post-Doctoral Fellowship, and an ACGME Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Fellowship.

In her 34 years at Children’s Mercy, Kansas City, 27 of which were as a faculty physician and medical staff leader, Michele served in many medical staff roles including her election as President of the Medical Staff for 2003 – 04. Beginning in 1998 she also served as Chair of the Medical Staff Health and Wellness Committee, creating the first program at Children’s Mercy and the UMKC system for residents, fellows, physicians and nurses experiencing stress-related health and mental health issues. In November 2013 this program grew to include a proactive/preventive component including mindfulness interventions, and was renamed the Center for Professionalism and Well-Being with Dr. Kilo named as Medical Director. Michele was the medical staff representative to the Staff Advocacy Committee, supporting members of the allied healthcare staff with issues of health and well-being. Michele also served for 10 years as the Chair of the Medical Staff Bylaws Committee, and in 2007 along with the then Director of Employee Relations and other medical staff leaders, wrote the policy on addressing Disruptive Behavior in the workplace. From this policy came the process for investigating and remediating those found to exhibit disruptive behaviors and the creation of the Professional Behavior Committee, to which Michele was a member from 2007 through Spring 2018.

Since 2003 Michele has been an appointed member of the Missouri State Physician Health Committee. As an advocate for children with developmental, behavioral and mental health concerns, Dr. Kilo volunteers as a member or Chairs several Boards of not-for-profit organizations in the Kansas City area. In 2006 she was integrally involved in the formation of the Bi-State Autism Initiative, bringing together parents and professionals interested in Autism awareness, diagnosis, intervention in both Kansas and Missouri. With her leadership the Division of Developmental and Behavioral (D&B) Sciences was selected in 2007 as one of the three Missouri Autism Centers of Excellence and has continued receiving significant funding from the State of Missouri/Department of Mental Health supporting timely diagnosis and intervention of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. In September 2008 Dr. Kilo was appointed by Missouri Governor Matt Blunt to the Missouri Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorders. In 2007 Michele received the esteemed Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine award from the nationally recognized Gold Humanism Society. Michele is also a founding Board member of The Farmer’s House, a not-for-profit organization supporting young adults with developmental disabilities after completion of high school, in developing job and employment skills.

Throughout the 27 years spent leading the D&B Division, Dr. Kilo proudly maintained a clinical practice in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics and continued to see patients and their families 50% of her time. She is the recipient of many other awards for her advocacy and leadership efforts and has truly loved her work in all of these areas.

In April 2018 Dr. Kilo left Children’s Mercy. She is pursuing the development of a practice that focuses on advocacy and resource liaising for the growing number of physicians and licensed healthcare professionals experiencing burnout, mental/ behavioral health disorders or who are in life/career transitions.



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The Farmers House

Embracing, Enhancing, and Supporting the Lives of Youth and Adults with Developmental Disabilities (our Farmers)

23200 Highway 273 - Weston, MO  64098
415 Main Street - Weston, MO  64098 - 816-640-3276
4740 Rainbow Blvd. - Westwood, KS 66205 - 913-283-8402

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A Place Where Exceptional Farmers

Live, Work, Play and Grow