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Pink Graphic Shapes
About Marya

When asked if I have a gift, the word inspiration always comes to mind.  After twenty years in a classroom, one might expect teaching to be my response ~ but teaching is the very act of inspiring... it's inspiring to learn and question and grow.

My Passion for Autism Awareness

As an educator and administrator, and mother, I know first-hand that our schools and communities are not prepared, learned, or have a general understanding of autism.  Furthermore, while ABA centers are opening across the country, low-income and communities of color are denied access.  Most centers are private and can turn away a family at their discretion.  I hope to see a legislature which will ensure ALL families are able to receive support and services. 


Marya's 3rd children's book, "What if My Pieces Don't Fit" -- released in April 2024 in honor of Autism Awareness & Acceptance. 

My Survivor Season 42 Story

I have so much to say about my experience on Survivor, but nothing is more captivating than 'my why'.  

It was a decision I made, quite literally shaking in my boots.  I always loved the series, but I never intended to play.  Never. 

Life, the universe, the Holy Spirit, and James all seemed to beckon me to jump into that which I feared.  

My experience, lessons, and a handful of amazing new friends I would have otherwise never crossed paths with made my time on Survivor life-changing and pivotal. 

James Kious-Kelly
His Legacy

My brother James, Kious Kelly, would unexpectedly die after treating patients who tested positive for COVID-19 on March 24, 2020.  He was in fact the first known nurse to die.  

I am committed to telling his story in full color and honoring him.  His loss would alter my life in ways I could not imagine - some positive and some negative.  A feature-length film is in the works.  

His life and death inspired the world.  My recent children's book, "Time to Dance" was breathed by the very way James lived his life. Even my stint on Survivor was rooted in his fearless pursuit to live boldly.  

He was my best friend. 

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