2018 Spring Conference Presenters

Cheryl Arndt, PhD

Is the Director of Performance Improvement for KidsPeace. She has experience in quantitative and qualitative research as well as in program administration in mental health programs and child welfare. Dr. Arndt is on the Board of the American Psychological Association’s Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice and the APA’s Section on Child Maltreatment. She is a peer reviewer for the Journal of Special Populations and a columnist for Forensic Mental Health Review. Her clinical background is in expressive arts therapy. In her free time, Dr. Arndt enjoys volunteering with her certified therapy dog, Merlin.

Julie Avalos, MSW

From Temple University has spent over 15 years working in Philadelphia to improve the health and social outcomes for the city's most vulnerable citizens. As the Deputy Director of Concilio since March of 2015, she provides strategic vision and oversight to health and social services to roughly 12,000 individuals each year. In addition to program development and evaluation, she is responsible for supervising the agency’s program leadership team, strategic communications and community engagement.

Adonis Banegas

Serves as the Executive Director of The Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations of Philadelphia (Concilio). As Executive Director of Concilio, Banegas oversees programs that provide social, educational, cultural, preventative and intervention services to underserved families in the Philadelphia region. Concilio, the oldest Latino non-profit in Philadelphia, serves as a voice for the diverse Latino community around issues impacting children, youth and families and convenes two major cultural events in Philadelphia each year: The Hispanic Fiesta on Penn’s Landing in July and the Puerto Rican Festival in September, which includes the Puerto Rican Day Parade. Banegas has a Master’s Degree in Health Education from Arcadia University, a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health from The Pennsylvania State University and over 13 years’ experience in the non-profit sector.

Erin Bastow

Is a Licensed Professional Counselor and National Certified Counselor who works as a clinical therapist at Harborcreek Youth Services in Erie, Pennsylvania. In her nine years as a therapist at Harborcreek, she has developed and continues to run a therapeutic writing group. Her work as an individual and family therapist is performed from a trauma-informed perspective integrating several forms of expressive therapy. Erin is a certified practitioner of Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy and is also trained in Progressive Counting (PC) trauma resolution therapy. In 2017, Erin completed a week long Trauma Trainers workshop in Massachusetts with Dr. Ricky Greenwald, originator of Progressive Counting and founder of the Trauma Institute and Child Trauma Institute. In addition to her work as a therapist, Erin serves on the Alumni Advisory Board for Gannon University’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program and provides trainings to local college classes and non-profit organizations.

Stacey Cheese

Is the Director of Claims for Keystone Risk Managers where she manages a team of 10 claim professionals. Stacey has her Pennsylvania property and casualty producers license. She has also obtained her Certified Workers Compensation Professional designation. Stacey has 25 years in the insurance industry with 23 of them in workers compensation claims management. Stacey spends a lot of her time consulting employers on many claims, OSHA, and human resource practices. Stacey is also a staff educator for the Academy of Insurance.

Erin R.J. Chick, M.A

Is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Common Sense Adoption Services in Camp Hill, PA. The agency specializes in the adoption of children from the public foster care system in Pennsylvania through its foster and adoption programs. Ms. Chick has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Smith College in Northampton, MA and a Master’s in Organizational Design and Effectiveness from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, CA. In addition to serving as Executive Director since 2001, Ms. Chick has served in a variety of roles with the agency over the last 25 years. She has experience as a case manager and trainer as well as a variety of administrative duties. She sits on the agency’s Board of Directors and is currently a member of the Public Policy Committee with PCCYFS.

Jamie Chubb

Is the Clinical Manager for the Pioneer Trauma and CSEC Center. She has been in the field of mental health over the past 15 years and was instrumental in the development and integration of trauma-informed practices into KidsPeace clinical approaches. She has a MSW from University of Pennsylvania and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of PA. Her holistic approaches have helped her clients gain a sense of hope, help and healing during their work with Jamie. Jamie is currently finishing the national certification process and will become a nationally certified TF-CBT therapist by the time of this presentation. Jamie’s hard work and dedication to the growth and success of her clients have made her driving force in the development of success for the Pioneer Trauma and CSEC Center.

Amy Deluca

Has spent the past 22 years in public education. She graduated from Clarion University with a BS in Elementary Education/Special Education. Amy earned her Master’s in Education from California University with a Reading Specialist Certification. Amy also earned a Supervisor of Special Education Certificate from the University of Pittsburgh. Amy began her career as a classroom teacher for both regular and special education students in the Baldwin Whitehall SD, she worked as an adjunct faculty member at Chatham University, and went on to supervise special education teachers in the field of cyber education. In her 11 years at the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education, she has been an adviser, the chairperson of the State Task Force, a member of the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council, a complaint specialist and most recently, the Division Chief for the Western Region of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Dominick DiSalvo

is the Senior Director of Clinical Services for PA Residential at KidsPeace. He completed his Graduate and Post Graduate education at LaSalle University earning a MA in Clinical Counseling and is a Licensed Professional Counselor. He was a teaching assistant at LaSalle and has been an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Lehigh Carbon Community College. Dominick has worked in the mental health field in numerous capacities for more than 10 years. Dominick was offered the opportunity to become one of the first in the state of Pennsylvania to become nationally certified as a Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT) therapist which occurred in 2013. At KidsPeace, Dominick has developed clinical programming with the emphasis on identifying core skills to help lead longer lasting success and improvement to their total quality of life. His work in Trauma and past experiences in RTF, has led to looking at ways to incorporate more holistic approaches in the treatment of adolescents, and helping to ensure all needs of clients can be addressed.

Alexandra Dolan, MSS, LSW

Is a Training Coordinator for the Center for Excellence in Advocacy at the Support Center for Child Advocates in Philadelphia. Ms. Dolan draws on more than ten years of experience as a social worker in the Philadelphia region in developing and delivering trainings on the topics of children’s behavioral health issues, the impact of trauma, and secondary trauma for professionals. Ms. Dolan has a bachelor’s degree in theology and gender studies from the University of Notre Dame and a graduate degree in social work from Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. Ms. Dolan regularly trains child serving professionals, including lawyers, social workers, mental health and healthcare workers, and educators throughout Pennsylvania and at national conferences.

David Fialko

Earned a BS in Human Development and Family Studies with a focus on adolescent development from Colorado State University. David is an Internationally Certified Prevention Specialist as a well as a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist. David has over 15 years’ experience working in the Drug & Alcohol and Mental Health fields as an adventure based counselor, educator, intensive outpatient counselor, tobacco treatment specialist and prevention specialist.

Amy Freeman

Is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 24 years of experience working in the human service field. Over the past 15 years she has specialized in program development and the clinical treatment of traumatic stress. She is designated a Diplomat by the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. Ms. Freeman has been appointed as an adjunct professor in Marywood University’s School of Social Work. She is also the clinical director & co-president at PATH (pathtochange.org). She will graduate with her Doctor of Social Work in 2019.

Gloria Gilligan

Is the Bureau Director for the Bureau of Budget and Fiscal Support within the Department of Human Services' Office of Children Youth and Families. The Bureau provides support to and oversight of the county children and youth agencies through its four Regional Offices. Ms. Gilligan has worked in child welfare for over 15 years; beginning in Jefferson County Children and Youth Services in 2001 and moving to the Office of Children, Youth and Families in 2008. She assumed the Bureau Director role in 2014.

Kelsi Graff

Earned her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Psychology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2013, and her masters in mental health counseling from Shippensburg University in 2015. She is a training and technical assistance specialist at The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Kelsi specializes in Child/teen abuse, elder abuse, public benefits, and economic justice at PCADV. Before PCADV she had multiple experiences working in the human services field as a family based counselor in Dauphin County, PA, a counselor at Dauphin County Prison, and as a medical and legal advocate at The Alice Paul House in Indiana, PA.

Shari Gross

Has worked in Erie, Pennsylvania in the field of Human Services for the past 30 years. A graduate in the Masters of Clinical Psychology program at Edinboro University, Gross has worked extensively in the social service arena in community as well as hospital settings. She served as the Director of the Erie County Department of Human Services from 2010 to 2014, and later as a consultant to human services non-profits and governmental organizations. In addition to currently serving as the Director of Behavioral Health Services at Harborcreek Youth Services in Erie, Pennsylvania, she is also a musician and unpublished novelist.

Teri Henning

Joined PCCYFS as its executive director in August, 2017. In that role, she is responsible for overseeing the Council’s advocacy and public affairs efforts, as well as member services, training, communications, outside partnerships, workgroups and committees. Prior to joining the Council, Teri was President of the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, its Foundation, and for-profit advertising placement subsidiary. Before joining PNA, Teri managed the Family and Disability Law Clinics at the Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University. She also worked in private practice and government in commercial litigation and environmental law. Teri graduated cum laude from Bucknell University, with a B.A. in psychology, and earned her J.D., cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center.

Kate Hooven

Is a Consultant with ASERT and a parent of a 16 year old son with ASD. Mrs. Hooven has a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice from Shippensburg University and is a former Juvenile Probation Officer and Juvenile Court Consultant with the PA Juvenile Court Judges Commission.

Dionne Jackson

When ordinary people make extraordinary gifts, both the donor and organization are transformed. Dionne Jackson’s great passion is helping to inspire and motivate donors to make transformational gifts. Through Million Dollar Moxie, a Philadelphia based fundraising and marketing consulting firm, she helps not-for-profits, religious organizations, and higher educational institutions, fundraise beyond their capacity so they can excel at fulfilling their missions and exist well into perpetuity. Prior to launching her firm, Dionne raised over $100M for organizations around the world, including the University of Pennsylvania, Vassar College, Lehigh University, Greenfield Intercultural Center, and the University of the Virgin Islands. Her educational background includes a BA from Vassar College, an MFA in Performing Arts from Brooklyn College, and an MBA from Cornell University.

Meghan Johnson, MPH

Is the Project Manager for the Center for Excellence in Advocacy at the Support Center for Child Advocates in Philadelphia. In this capacity, she develops, coordinates, and delivers advanced training programs to child-serving professionals throughout Pennsylvania, including lawyers, medical professionals, social workers, educators, and behavioral health professionals. Ms. Johnson earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Notre Dame, with a minor in public policy through the University’s Hesburgh Program of Public Service. She received her master’s degree in public health from the University of Wisconsin- Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. Ms. Johnson regularly trains on the topics of recognizing and reporting child abuse and neglect, the impact of childhood trauma, trauma-informed-advocacy, and vicarious trauma at agencies throughout the Philadelphia region and at national and statewide conferences.

Amy Kelly

Is a single mother to Danny (17), Annie (15 ½) and Ryan (13 ½). In 2004, Annie was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism, verbal apraxia, intellectual and developmental disabilities and general anxiety disorder. Since her diagnoses, Amy coordinated care to help Annie make progress through home, school and community ABA-based therapy programs, PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) and numerous itinerant services. Now Annie communicates with an iPad and some language, can read and write and attends an approved private school, Devereux CARES, since 2007. Amy currently works as the Director of Family & Community Services for Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health and serves as a family representative on several special needs boards in the community, locally and nationally, including the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network (AS-ATN), Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Autism Learning Network (ALN). Amy was a 2013 LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities) Fellow from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), a 2014 Strengths-based Family Development Trainer from Temple University and a 2015 Georgetown University Leadership Academy Alumni. Amy has her MBA from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and a Master’s from Johns Hopkins University in Nonprofit Management. Additionally, she is a USA Certified Mental Health First Aid Trainer.

Maria Kreiter, Director of Martin Luther School

Has worked in education for over 28 years in private, public, and university settings. Maria has served the past 15 years of her career to instructional leadership in the specializations of school leadership, curriculum and instruction, professional development, and parent education and presented nationally on these topics. In addition to her leadership roles, Maria has served as a university adjunct instructor after earning certifications as a superintendent, principal, curriculum and instruction supervisor, fine arts supervisor, and master level teacher. Maria is currently finishing her doctoral program, Ed.D. in Special Education, from Arcadia University. Maria has two children, who have inspired her dedication to special education.

Kayla Kressler, MA

Clinical Supervisor and Addictions Therapist for Blueprints for Addiction Recovery, has many years of experience in the field of addiction treatment and is widely regarded as a specialist in healing both the addicted person and their family. Kayla has a Masters of The Arts with a focus in clinical counseling from Alvernia University in Reading Pennsylvania. She is currently pursuing licensure to become a Licensed Professional Counselor. Kayla has worked in transitional housing, intensive case management with women and children, the forensic treatment setting in county jail systems, inpatient and outpatient treatment settings, and within the community in direct-care-clinical and supervisory roles.

Jennifer Lewis

Is the Quality Improvement Manager at MHY Family Services. Prior to her role in QI, Jennifer was the supervisor for MHY’s girls’ RTF program. Before coming to MHY, Jennifer worked for Gannondale in Erie. Jennifer earned her bachelor’s degree from Mercyhurst College

Cheryl Leyburn

Currently holds the position of Executive Vice President for Quality, Programs and Human Resources and is responsible for planning, organizing and managing the activities associated with the organization’s Quality Assurance Program, operations in two residential locations and the department of human resources. Ms. Leyburn has been with KidsPeace Inc. since 2004. Prior to joining KidsPeace, Ms. Leyburn served as a Director at LifePath Inc., a non-profit organization serving children and adults with disabilities, overseeing program and support department operations. Ms. Leyburn has a B.A. in Education from Kutztown University and holds an M.A. in Public Administration from Kutztown University and holds a certificate in Human Resource Management from Penn State University.

Lexi Livelsberger

Is the Children’s Advocacy Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and has worked with children and families in a variety of settings, including community-based, mental health and victim service programs. She has her masters of science in social administration from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. She currently provides training and support to counselors/advocates serving children who are survivors of sexual assault and their families.

Lisa Lowrie

Has been with Bradley since 2002 and serves as a liaison for issues related to policy, funding, and advocacy. She holds a Masters in Social Work degree from Temple University and is a licensed social worker. She began her career at the Pennsylvania Community Providers Association as a mental health policy specialist with the concentration on children’s mental health, policy, legislation and regulation for over 10 years. While at PCPA she also consulted on the development of the initial HealthChoices RFP proposal for CBHNP.

Ms. Lowrie

Left PCPA to work on the upstart of CCBHO in the Capital Region in 2001 and served as CCBHO’s Manager for Community Relations for the York/Adams and Berks Counties. Currently, she is in pursuit of her Doctor of Social Work degree at Kutztown University/Millersville University and expects to graduate in 2019. Her research interests include: staff retention, communication, mental health policy, and organizational leadership.

Roseann Perry

Is the Bureau Director for the Bureau of Children and Family Services within the Department of Human Services' Office of Children Youth and Families. The Bureau provides support to and oversight of the county children and youth agencies through its four Regional Offices. Ms. Perry has worked in the Office of Children, Youth and Families for over 24 years beginning as a Program Representative and eventually the Director of the Western Region Office before assuming the Bureau Director role in 2009. Prior to joining the Commonwealth, Ms. Perry worked in the county children and youth system in both Armstrong and Clarion Counties.

Joan Plump, ESQ., MA

Arrived at Silver Springs - Martin Luther School in 2008 after working for many years as a civil defense attorney in the Philadelphia region. When Joan first joined Silver Springs, she served as a Development Officer and later became the Development Director. As the Administrative Services Director, Joan also assumed oversight of Martin Luther School. Now as Vice President, she oversees Human Resources functions, insurance and litigation matters, and various special projects. Joan plays a critical role facilitating corporate communication efforts, including nurturing productive conversations among staff and promoting a collaborative culture between departments. Joan is passionate about Silver Springs’ mission to help vulnerable and remarkable children be safe and reach their full potential. Joan has a B.A. from Bucknell University, an M.A. in Education from La Salle University, and a J.D. from Fordham University. She is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and recently served as a volunteer lawyer for The Support Center for Child Advocates in Philadelphia.

Alex Rahn

Is an Associate with Wanner Associates. He has extensive experience in corporate, government, non-profit and political sectors. Prior to joining Wanner Associates, Alex successfully ran his own state, municipal and federal government relations firm. Alex has worked with PCCYFS for almost 9 years as their Government Affairs Consultant.

Caren Rosser-Morris, Ph.D.

Is a Licensed Psychologist and Consultant to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Children’s Behavioral Health Services since September 2016. Having completed her professional training at Vanderbilt University in 1993, she has gained over 25 years of experience providing consultation, psychological treatment & social/emotional education services to youth and families struggling with mental health and behavioral challenges in a wide variety of Inpatient, Outpatient, and Residential Education & Treatment Facilities.

Roni Russell

Has served for over 20 years as an educational consultant with the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network-Harrisburg, a division of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education. Her work includes regional coordination of Special Education Cyclical Monitoring in Correctional Facilities, Intensive Interagency Coordination with child serving agencies, Secondary Transition (Indicator 13) and Medicaid billing in schools. Additionally, she provides technical assistance to a number of schools with, Procedural Safeguards, IDEA/ Chapter 14 regulations, autism and inclusive practices.

Charissa Rychcik

Started her career at The Bradley Center in 2003 as a Special Education Teacher and currently serves as the Director of Education. In addition to her work at Bradley, Mrs. Rychcik has been involved in many community organizations to design quality after school and summer programming for at risk children and teens, including being the Founding Director of the ROCK Youth and Family Center. Mrs. Rychcik received her BA in Elementary Education with concentrations in Special Education and Emotional Disturbances. Mrs. Rychcik has earned her MEd in Curriculum and Education as well as certification as a Principal and Special Education Supervisor from Gannon University. She is also certified to teach Middle School Math, Secondary English, and Secondary Social Studies in the Commonwealth of PA.

Lisa Schiller, LCSW

Is the Executive Director at MHY Family Services in Mars, PA. She formerly served in various roles with Lutheran services in America including Director for Knowledge Strategies, Vice President, and Acting President and CEO. Lisa has worked in other nonprofit youth serving organizations in both western and eastern Pennsylvania. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Penn State University and MSW from Marywood University.

Vernick Smith

Is a passionate Mental Health Professional with 12 years of experience servicing at-risk youth and families. She earned her Master's Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Saint Joseph's University and is trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Currently, Mrs. Smith is a Lead Consultant at Devereux supporting the organization in enhancing family engagement across all treatment spectrums. Mrs. Smith is also an Independent Contractor providing innovative treatment through the Expressive Arts utilizing Spoken Word and theater techniques to support youth impacted by trauma in the journey of healing and self-discovery. In 2015, Mrs. Smith received the "Community of Hope" Award from Devereux for her significant work and dedication in working with youth devastated by complex trauma. In addition, Mrs. Smith is a Spoken Word artist and live theater performer who in 2015 wrote, produced and performed in a One-Woman Show titled, "No More Trauma," which is a memoir of her life journey in overcoming childhood trauma. She resides in Philadelphia, PA with her husband and daughter where she is continuing to make impact in the lives of youth through her community work. Her life mantra derives from the late Dr. Maya Angelou, "When you get give. When you learn teach.”

Stephanie Snyder, LCSW

Has 15 plus years of experience facilitating workshops for both social service and corporate organizations, including international training experience. She strives to guide participates to utilize their existing knowledge and skills as they learn and explore new knowledge and skills. Stephanie received her Master’s degree in Social Work from Temple University and she is a certified LCSW Supervisor and Choice Theory/Reality Therapy/Lead Management based practitioner. Stephanie is also certified as an Instructional Designer, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) practitioner, and Training Coordinator (CTC). She currently provides on-line therapy, resource/foster parent training, in person training and workshop facilitation for various organizations, and web-based training.

Lori J. Teeter

Is the Program Supervisor for Common Sense Adoption Services in Camp Hill, PA. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from the University of Pittsburgh. Ms. Teeter joined Common Sense Adoption Services in 1993 and has served in various roles over the years. Since 2008 she has served as the agency’s program supervisor, and is responsible for providing daily support to case management staff and agency clients. Ms. Teeter develops and implements client training programs and works closely with the Executive Director to support and coordinate agency operations. She currently serves on the agency’s Board of Directors.

William Walters

Is Director of Education at Mid-Atlantic Youth Services (MAYS). He holds a BA from Penn State University in International Politics and Foreign Relations and a MS from the University of Scranton in Secondary Education. Prior to joining the team at MAYS, he was a social studies instructor in the public-school system. During his time at MAYS they have transitioned from Alternative Education for Disruptive Youth (AEDY) to a Private Academic School, became a charter Pennsylvania Academic and Career/Technical Training (PACTT) affiliate, and developed a multifaceted vocational education program. They are currently an Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) service provider and are implementing vocational and job shadowing programs at their schools. They have developed an educational program rooted in Pennsylvania Common Core Standards and have appropriately certified instructors. They utilize multiple evidence based measures of school success based on academic outcomes, student performance, and student progress to continually monitor and improve school quality.

Tina Weaver

Is currently the Non-Public & Private Schools Coordinator for the Department of Education, with more than 30 years of Commonwealth service. In her current position, she is responsible for licensing private academic schools, registering non-public/non-licensed religious schools, Act 89 services, enrollment for over 3,200 schools, investigations surrounding private academic licensed schools, and FBI clearances for those schools. She has been with the Department of Education for more than 16 years, also serving in Alternative Education for Disruptive Youth, Private Academic School Licensure, and Teacher Certification. Prior to that, she worked in the Departments of Aging and Public Welfare

Jessica Winas-Devine

Earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2011, and a MSW from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 2016. Jessica has worked in the victim services field in various roles since 2009, as a volunteer at The Alice Paul House in Indiana, PA, counselor at the Women’s Help Center in Johnstown, PA, evening team leader at the WYCA in Harrisburg, PA and currently as a training and technical assistance Specialist for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Gail Yoder, CADC/CCDP

Has worked in the human services field for over 20 years and has held positions at the private, county, and state level. She began her career as a CCYA Caseworker then moved into the field of addictions as an Adolescent Counselor at Holy Spirit Hospital D&A Outpatient Services, Case Manager at Cumberland-Perry Drug & Alcohol Commission, and Program Analyst with the PA Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs. Gail’s career path lead her to the Office of Children, Youth and Families (OCYF), Bureau of Juvenile Justice Services, where she served as the Director of Transitional Services. In November 2016, she joined the OCYF, Bureau of Policy, Programs, and Operations, focusing upon child welfare and cross jurisdictional regulation and policy. Gail holds credentials from the Pa Certification Board as both a Drug & Alcohol Counselor and Co-Occurring Disorders Professional.