Board & Staff

Board Officers

John Phillips – President

Stifel Bank & Trust

Marcia Ambrose – Vice President

Community Volunteer

Christina Schoemehl – Treasurer

Community Volunteer

Cari Wegge – Secretary

XIL Consulting

Board Members

Bob Ahern

First Bank

Carla Allen-Hughes

The Allen Law Firm

Melanie Barrier

IBM

Joe Bergan

Edward Jones

Ryan Blackburn

Matter® Family Office

Robert Cahn

Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC

Maryanne Dersch

501creative

Hon. Jack Garvey

Carey Danis & Lowe

Jim Martin

Dowd Bennett

Misty Watson Narayan

Danna McKitrick, PC

Mike Normile

First Bank

Jackie Olinger Rochelle

Maune Raichle Hartley French & Mudd

Christine Pennell

Community Volunteer

Leslie Ridgley

FedEx

JoAnn Sandifer

Husch Blackwell

Dr. Wilmetta Toliver-Diallo

Washington University

Joe Williams-Nelson

Author

About the Board of Directors

As a non-profit, 501(c)(3) agency, we are overseen by a Board of Directors.  The Board is made up of a variety of corporate and child welfare representatives, many of whom are foster/adoptive parents.

Executive Junior Board

President

Rachael Lynch

VP of Service

Kourtney House

VP of Networking

Gabrielle Kudrnka

VPs of Trivia

Joey Bedford

Junior Board Members

Brianna Baldwin
Jacklyn Barron
Diana Blair
Diana Blair
Laura Dobsch
Allison Johnson
Lashonda Lambert
Kathryn Modeer
Laura Ng
Vanessa Palka
Lindsay Pritchett
Diane Ross
Elizabeth Roth
Melissa Schopfer
Brea Tabernik
Krystina Younglove
Shawn Younglove
Kevin Zhou

About the Junior Board

Our Junior Board is an auxiliary committee made up of young professionals, ages 25-35 who want to get involved and make a difference.  The Junior Board serves three distinct purposes:

  • Be ambassadors for the Coalition in the community.
  • Participate in an annual service project.
  • Help fundraise for the organization.

If you are interested in joining our Junior Board, please contact Kyle Williams at at 800.FOSTER.3 (314.367.8373).

Melanie Scheetz – Executive Director

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
e melaniescheetz@foster-adopt.org
Melanie Scheetz and her husband are proud adoptive parents of two children. Melanie has 29 years of non-profit management experience in the areas of administration and development. She joined the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition as its Executive Director in 1999. Under her guidance, the agency developed the groundbreaking programs, Extreme Recruitment® and 30 Days to Family®. Melanie has been honored with the North American Council on Adoptable Children’s “National Adoption Advocate” award; the Congressional “Angels in Adoption” award; and the “Women of the Well” award. She has a B.S. in accountancy from Miami University.

Karen Alyasiry – Extreme Recruiter

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
e karenalyasiry@foster-adopt.org
Karen joined the Coalition on May 21, 2018. Karen graduated from Saint Louis University with a BA degree in Criminal Justice and a Masters in Organizational Leadership. Karen has dedicated 18 years of community service and development within the underprivileged communities of St Louis. After working over 10 years as a career foster placement provider and adoptive parent of a loving boy with high needs, Karen decided to assist families find permanency from a different capacity. Karen is passionate about advocating for families and dedicated to ensure that all children and families who have been impacted by foster care receive the support, value, and voice that they deserve.

Maddie Bannes – 30 Days to Family® Specialist

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
e maddiebannes@foster-adopt.org
Maddie joined the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition in September 2017 as a 30 Days to Family® Specialist. Maddie graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. As a 30 Days to Family® Specialist, Maddie is responsible for locating safe and appropriate relative supports and placement options for children in foster care. Prior to working at the Coalition, Maddie worked as a Foster Care Case Manager for three years in St. Louis and Jefferson County. Foster care and adoption have played a big part in Maddie’s life and she is honored to serve children and families through the Coalition.

Stephanie Barbee – Family Works Specialist

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
e stephaniebarbee@foster-adopt.org

Stephanie joined the coalition in June 2017 as a Family Works Specialist. Stephanie graduated from Saint Louis University with her Master’s in Social Work. As a family works specialist, Stephanie provide short-term in home support services, with a goal of facilitating growth and healing for the family unit.

Cisely Beard – Dynamic Access Coordinator

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
e ciselybeard@foster-adopt.org
Cisely joined the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition in December 2011 as a 30 Days to Family® Specialist.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Psychology from Southern Illinois University in 1999, and has a Master of Arts degree in Professional Counseling from Lindenwood University.  As a 30 Days to Family® Specialist, Cisely is responsible for finding safe, appropriate relative supports for children entering the foster care system.  Cisely’s fifteen years of child welfare experience includes specialized case management, foster/kinship parent training and licensing, and program development.

Erica R. Brooks – Family Works Specialist

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
c 314.452.4283
e ericabrooks@foster-adopt.org
Erica R. Brooks joined the Coalition as a Family Works Specialist in January 2012. Since August 1994, she has passionately served children and families involved in the child welfare system. Erica’s work history includes residential treatment, community-based mental health services, foster care case management, resource family development, and adoption recruitment/placement. Her service as a Family Works Specialist has been the pinnacle of her career. Facilitating a process of healing and growth for the family unit has shown to be an essential resource for the child welfare community. Erica earned a Bachelor of Art in Psychology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and a Master of Education in Community Counseling from the University of Missouri – St. Louis. She also met the requirements for licensure through the Missouri Committee for Professional Counselors.

Nikole Brown – Educational Advocate

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
c 314.881.8414
e nikolebrown@foster-adopt.org
Nikole joined the Coalition in December 2017, and brings nearly eight years of education experience and community-based services to the team. Nikole is committed to working with at-risk youth and their families to provide trauma-informed support and connections to resources. Prior to joining the Coalition team, Nikole served as a Teen Counselor in the St. Louis area – providing educational support, advocacy, parent engagement programs, and financial literacy programming for students. With her expertise in youth-driven services, Nikole is excited to provide educational advocacy for foster and adoptive children and their families. Nikole holds a Masters in Media Literacy and Education. She earned an undergraduate degree in Journalism, from Webster University in St. Louis, MO.

Angela Chewe – Extreme Recruiter

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
c 314.614.7623
e angelachewe@foster-adopt.org
Angela joined the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition in September of 2014. Angela has always had a passion and desire to help older children in the child welfare system. Angela’s sixteen years of child welfare experience with a contract agency includes crisis management, creating community partnerships, and securing and coordinating resources that ensure client success through stabilization and utilization of services. Angela also has experience being the lead drug court case manager for her consortium for over five years. While in this position she was able to build successful relationships with St. Louis Family County Courts, residential facilities, Probation and Parole, and the Department of Mental Services. Angela graduated from UMSL with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Adolescence in May of 1998. As an Extreme Recruiter, Angela will be able to help children achieve permanency by finding them forever homes.

Connie Christman – Family Development Specialist

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
conniechristman@foster-adopt.org
Connie first began with the Coalition in 2014 as a contractor, providing training services to foster and adoptive families. In February of 2017, she came aboard full time in the role of Family Development Specialist as part of the innovative Dennis and Judy Jones Foster Care and Adoption Program. In addition to past experience in child welfare, Connie brings years of specialized training services to the Coalition, as well as personal experience in her favorite role she shares with her husband–proud adoptive parent of five children. She holds a B.A. in Communications Management from the University of Dayton.

Carrie Clark – Family Support Specialist

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
conniechristman@foster-adopt.org

Carrie joined the Coalition in August, 2017 as the Family Support Specialist. Carrie graduated from Jewish Hospital College of Nursing and Washington University with a B.S. in Nursing. After working for 10 years at Barnes Hospital, she decided to stay home with her and her husband’s three young children. In 2012, Carrie and her husband decided to become a foster family. Her nursing background allowed her to be able to foster children with intensive medical and health needs. Since then, Carrie and her husband have adopted two children through foster care, and continue to accept additional placements. She is excited to be a part of the Coalition, and come alongside and walk with foster families, supporting them in their work in behalf of children.

Jada Coleman – 30 Days to Family® Specialist

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
c 314.737.0996
e jadacoleman@foster-adopt.org
Jada works to help children entering foster care to stay with family and find natural supports. She has worked in the social service area for several years working with children and families at Voices for Children, Every Child’s Hope and Mers Goodwill. Jada attended Southern University and A & M College in Baton Rouge, LA where she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. At Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO Jada obtained her Master of Arts degree in Counseling. In her free time Jada enjoys exercising, reading and spending time with family and friends.

Katie Corrigan – Director of Family Development

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
c 314.657.7866
e katiecorrigan@foster-adopt.org
Katie joined the Coalition team in July of 2015 with over 20 years experience in the areas of crisis intervention, case management, recruiting, training and supporting foster and adoptive families, non-profit management, program development and quality assurance. Katie received a degree in Psychology from Quincy University and her Masters in Social Work at Saint Louis University. Katie and her husband are the proud parents of 6 children, 4 of whom are adopted.

Sherry Diaz de Leon – 30 Days to Family® Specialist

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
e sherrydiazdeleon@foster-adopt.org

Sherry joined the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition in November 2017 as a 30 Days to Family® Specialist. As a 30 Days to Family® Specialist, Sherry is responsible for locating safe and appropriate relative supports and placement options for children in foster care. Sherry is a North Carolina native and she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work in 2008. She has worked as a Foster Care Social Worker for the Surry County Department of Social Services in North Carolina for 3 years and as a Foster and Adoption Supervisor for another 2 years. When she moved to St. Louis prior to working at the Coalition, Sherry worked as a Foster Care Case Manager for three years in St. Louis and St. Charles County. Sherry is passionate about working with and improving lives of the families and children she works with through the Coalition.

Shannon Durio – Director of Donor Engagement

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
e shannondurio@foster-adopt.org
Shannon Durio joined the Coalition in October 2018 to help the organization expand its impact in the St. Louis region and beyond. She has 13 years of experience working in development and communications for national and local nonprofit organizations, and is excited to help connect the community to the Coalition’s mission. Shannon graduated from Judson University with a B.A. in Communications and an M.A. in Organizational Leadership, and resides in the Metro East with her husband and two children.

Billy Flynn – Creative Director

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
e billyflynn@foster-adopt.org
Billy Flynn joined the Coalition in November 2014 as the Creative Director. Billy leads the creation and execution of the Coalition’s diverse digital and print media to create cohesion of creative assets across the organization. He graduated from Northland College with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. In 2014, he graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree from Newcastle University.

Ian Forber-Pratt – National Program Officer

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
ianforberpratt@foster-adopt.org
Ian Forber-Pratt joined the Foster & Adoptive Coalition in 2008 as a practicum student and was hired as an Extreme Recruiter for 3 years before moving to India to start the first foster care only organization in the country. In order to put family first for his wife and son he moved back to St Louis in mid-2018 and re-joined the Coalition as the National Program Officer. Ian completed his Masters in Social Work from Washington University’s George Warren Brown School of Social Work. Along with his work at the Coalition, Ian serves the international social work field and is also the Director of Global Advocacy for Children’s Emergency Relief International – ceri. He has worked in countries as part of child protection system reform in Eastern Europe, Africa and throughout South Asia. He consultants for international organizations on strategic planning and theory-of-change development in the field of family-based alternative care. Personally, Ian is an international adoptee and specializes in therapy with adoptive families both international and domestic. He deeply believes in every child’s right to family and helps governments, organizations and individuals be part of social change in demanding rigorous standards for children needing care and protection throughout the world.

Debbie Genung – Senior Director of Development

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
e debbiegenung@foster-adopt.org
Debbie joined the Coalition in early 2006 with six years of professional development experience and decades of volunteer fundraising. She launched the Coalition’s Junior Board in 2006, and is responsible for grant writing and reporting, special events, individual, foundation, and corporate giving, Annual Appeal, and the Fostering Hope newsletter. Debbie has received the Drue Lane Webster Volunteer Service Award (Junior League of St. Louis), Volunteer of the Year Award (Komen St. Louis), and the Founder’s Award (Fontbonne University). Debbie is the proud mother of four children and two “adopted” Spanish sons – brothers who lived with the Genung family the year they were each 12 years old. She and her husband have six grandchildren.

Edna Green – Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Recruiter

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
c 314.614.2413
e ednagreen@foster-adopt.org
Edna joined the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition in August of 2011 as an Extreme Recruiter.  Beginning in the late 1980’s, she began her work with families at St. Joseph’s Home for Boys as a Child Care Worker (CCW).  She has worked in the capacity as a Contacted Case Manager, Family Focus Case Manager, Family Advocate, briefly contracted with Probation & Parole as a case manager, mentor, and residential case manager.  Her previous work experience prepared her for her position as a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Recruiter in that she is more able to go into the field and actively advocate and recruit for children in foster care – building stronger relationships with families, and providing permanency for children.

Michael Hall – 30 Days to Family® Specialist

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
c 314.808.1293
e michaelhall@foster-adopt.org
Michael joined the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition in November 2017 as a 30 Days to Family® Specialist. Michael works with children as they enter foster care to identify safe and appropriate relatives/kin for placement with the goal of maintaining normalcy for children. Michael graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s University with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. Prior to the Coalition, Michael worked for two and half years as a Foster Care Case Manager and two years as a Correctional Officer in St. Louis City. Michael’s interest in the 30 Days to Family® program derived from his dedication to locating family supports for children in foster care.

Jan Joeckel – Director of General Recruitment

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
e janjoeckel@foster-adopt.org
Jan Joeckel has been with the Coalition since 2002.  She recruits and supports foster and adoptive families in the St. Louis Metropolitan area, including southern Illinois.  She works closely with the Missouri Children’s Division, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, and their private agency partners, to stay current on specific child placement needs and the licensing process for foster/adoptive families.  Prior to joining the Coalition, she served as a child welfare specialist for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and a social service worker for the Missouri Children’s Division.  She has a Master of Social Work degree and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Kimberly Johnson – Director of Special Events

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
e kimberlyjohnson@foster-adopt.org

Kimberly joined the Coalition in July 2017 with 15 years of professional event planning and fundraising experience. Previously, she served as the Director of the Tree of Lights Campaign and Director of Special Events for The Salvation Army. At The Coalition, she will be responsible for A Sizzling Celebration and our signature event Old Bags®, along with building corporate partnerships and community relations. Kim is excited to be at the Coalition, working to help every child find a place to call home. Kim lives in Columbia, Illinois with her husband and two sons. She enjoys watching her boys play football, soccer, and baseball, fishing, and boating.

Jenny Jones – Family Development Specialist

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
c 314-724-2827
e jennyjones@foster-adopt.org

Jenny joined the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition in July 2017 as a Family Development Specialist in the Dennis and Judy Jones Foundation Foster Care and Adoption Program.  As a Family Development Specialist, Jenny is responsible for training potential foster parents as well as providing them with resources and support during their first year of licensure.  Jenny graduated from Lindenwood University in 2011 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Sociology.  Prior to working at the Coalition, Jenny worked as a Licensing Worker for three years in St. Louis County.  Jenny is passionate about supporting and training families as they begin their exciting journey as foster and adoptive parents.

Denise Kelley – Director of Programs

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
e denisekelley@foster-adopt.org
In 2001, the Coalition expanded services to foster and adoptive families through its Family Advocacy program. Denise instituted a self-advocacy model to provide one-on-one case based advocacy to foster parents, adoptive parents, relative caregivers, biological parents, and child welfare professionals. When the Coalition launched its ground-breaking permanency program, Extreme Recruitment, Denise took on the role of supervisor. In addition to continuing supervision of Extreme Recruitment, in 2011 Denise became the Director of Programs to provide additional support to the Coalition’s expanded programming.

Prior to joining the Coalition team, Denise worked in the child welfare field providing crisis intervention services through the Intensive In-Home Services program and later as a foster care case manager. Denise holds a Masters in Social Work from Saint Louis University and has received on-going professional development in the areas of trauma and best practices to enhance child well-being.

Holly Kieu – Foster & Adoptive Home Recruiter

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
hollykieu@foster-adopt.org
Holly joined the Coalition in October 2013 as a Foster and Adoptive Home Recruiter. Holly graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She later returned and earned her Master of Social Work in 2013. She has over 8 years experience in social services including 6 years as a Foster Home Licensing Specialist in Illinois. At the Coalition, Holly works to recruit and support foster and adoptive families throughout the St. Louis Metropolitan area including Southern Illinois.

Colleen Larson – Family Works Specialist

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
e colleenlarson@foster-adopt.org
Colleen joined the Coalition in November 2015 as a Family Works Specialist. In this role, Colleen helps to provide short-term, in-home support to foster and adoptive families in an effort to stabilize and maintain placements. Before joining the Coalition, Colleen worked to support children as a case manager. Colleen has a B.S. in Social Work from Bradley University and a Masters in Social Work with a Concentration in Family Systems from Saint Louis University.

Natasha Leonard – Director of External Relations

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
e natashaleonard@foster-adopt.org
Natasha Leonard joined Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition team October 2018. She saw this position as a perfect way to continue her passion for community empowerment and development with her background in fundraising, non-profits and event management. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from Millikin University and Master’s Degree from Lindenwood University in Public Administration. Her focus and ambition are to create sustainable relationships in the community sector and to continue to advocate and build lasting relationships for the Coalition.

Barbara Long – Director of Program Outcomes

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
e barbaralong@foster-adopt.org
Barbara Long joined the Coalition in May 2008 after earning her Master of Social Work from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University.  At the Coalition, she has developed and maintained data management systems for 9 programs, collaborated with program staff to establish outcome measures and measurement tools, and managed the data collection and reporting for a Federal Adoption Opportunities grant awarded to the state of Missouri.  Barbara also served as the liaison between the program site and the federal grant evaluators for the Adoption Opportunities grant to determine areas of focus for the evaluation and ensure accurate data collection.  Additionally, she developed and implemented the Coalition’s Performance and Quality Improvement Plan through which she leads quarterly Case File Review and Outcomes Review workgroups for direct service programs.

Carlos Lopez – Director of Investigations

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
c 314.614.2416
e carloslopez@foster-adopt.org
After serving 20 years in the St. Louis Police Department, Carlos Lopez joined the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition as the organization’s first Family Connections Investigator in 2008.  While with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, Carlos served as a patrol officer (11-years) and as a Juvenile Detective (9-years).  While a Detective assigned to the Juvenile Division, Carlos worked one on one with at risk youth specifically regarding gang prevention, detection and intervention.  He was also a part of the Truancy Initiative, which was a highly successful multi-agency program decreasing truancy in the St. Louis area.  Carlos’ investigation skills combined with his experience in serving children and families has helped facilitate successful reconnections of foster children with birth family.

Karen Martin – Family Works STEPS Specialist

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
c 314.607.0557
e karenmartin@foster-adopt.org
Karen Martin joined the Coalition as a 30 Days To Family® Specialist in January 2015. Job responsibilities are to locate safe and appropriate kinship placements for identified children entering into the foster care system. Karen has served Children and Families in various capacities for over 23 years. Karen’s work history includes DMH case management, residential care, supportive living, family reunification, intensive in-home, family focus and direct care. Karen received a Bachelor’s of Social Work Degree from the University of Missouri St. Louis.

Melanie Moredock – Director of Program Replication

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
e melaniemoredock@foster-adopt.org
Melanie began with the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition in 2011. Melanie’s previous child welfare experience includes residential treatment, specialized case management, and foster/kinship parent training and licensing. Melanie obtained her Juris Doctorate from Saint Louis University School of Law and has been a member of the Missouri Bar since 2007. Melanie’s passion is engaging and empowering family members, as well as working closely with the professional team members to ensure the laws regarding relative/kin placement are followed. Melanie enjoys sharing her knowledge of the program with others through providing individualized training and consultation to interested agencies and supervision of the 30 Days to Family® replication sites.

Kami Narayan – Educational Advocate

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
c 314.614.2428
e kaminarayan@foster-adopt.org
Kami Narayan joined the Coalition in December 2013. After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2008, Kami returned home to St. Louis and began to teach preschool through 12th grade in a wide variety of settings, from a summer preschool program to an alternative high school. After gaining experience teaching, Kami attended Washington University Law School with the career goal of impacting the educational futures of children in need. As a clerk in law school, Kami interned at the Children’s Legal Alliance (CLA), a division of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri. While at the CLA, which focuses on the educational needs and goals of disadvantaged children, Kami gained experience with federal and state educational law, the special education process, IEPs and 504 plans, and the rights of children facing suspension and expulsion. Kami is excited at the opportunity to bring this training to the Coalition, where she can help foster and adoptive children and their families navigate the school system and achieve their educational goals.

Shannon Nichols – Operations Manager

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
e shannonnichols@foster-adopt.org
Shannon Nichols joined the Coalition in December 2014 as the Director of Donor Relations and then stepped in to the role of Operations Manager in October 2018. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Nonprofit Management. Her nonprofit experience began in 2002 where she worked as the Development Manager at Dance St. Louis. In 2005, she served as the Associate Director of Development in the College of Fine Arts and Communication at the University of Missouri- St. Louis followed by the position of Senior Management Analyst in the Office of Research until 2008. That same year Shannon and her husband started their own small business which they both continue to operate to this day.

Valerie Njiiri – Director of Project SOAR, MSW, JD

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
valerienjiiri@foster-adopt.org

Valerie Njiiri joined the Coalition in July 2015. Valerie served as a guardian ad litem (pro bono) in cases involving unruly youth or status offenders, and delinquency proceedings for five years. She also worked with middle school students as a judge for their Teen Court program. Valerie has over seven years of experience working with children impacted by the foster care system. As the Director of Project SOAR, Valerie works with youth in residential treatment facilities to support their transition to a community placement. Valerie has a B.S. in Ecology from the University of Georgia and received her J.D. from Mercer University. She also has a Master’s degree in Social Work with a focus on Children, Youth, and Families from Washington University in St. Louis.

Patrick Pisani – 30 Days to Family® Specialist

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
patrickpisani@foster-adopt.org
o 314.367.8373
Joined the Coalition in January 2015. Duties include locating and evaluating relative and kinship placement options for children entering alternative care. Work history includes seven years of child welfare work including CA/N investigations, foster home licensing, and case management for the Children’s Division. Patrick previously worked as a substance abuse counselor for the Adair County Drug Court in Kirksville, MO. He obtained BS in Justice Systems from Truman State University and is currently working towards a MA in Criminology from University of Missouri, St. Louis. Go Cardinals!

Denise Pudlo – Director of Information Systems

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
denisepudlo@foster-adopt.org
o 314.367.8373
Denise joined the Coalition in  April 2014. After working 19 years at The Boeing Company as a Programmer/Analyst, Denise chose to stay home to raise her children for nine years. She graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a BS in Business Administration with Majors in Computer Science and Accounting.

Heather Quartuccio – Director of Extreme Recruitment

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
e heatherquartuccio@foster-adopt.org
Heather joined The Coalition in September, 2014 as an Extreme Recruiter. In 2018, she transitioned into her current role as the Director of Extreme Recruitment. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. In 2011, she obtained her Master’s degree in Social Work with a focus on Children, Youth, and Families from Washington University in St. Louis. Upon graduation from WUSTL, Heather gained experience as a specialized case manager and as a licensing worker. As a specialized case manager, Heather worked towards stability, safety, and permanency for older youth. She also advocated for youth to maintain connections with their biological family and kin. As a licensing worker, she recruited, trained, licensed, and retained foster and kinship/relative families.

Shonetta Reed – 30 Days to Family® Specialist

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
c 314.810.2265
e shonettareed@foster-adopt.org
Shonetta joined the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition in March 2012 as an Extreme Recruiter. In 2014, she joined Carlos Lopez as an investigator.  Shonetta always had a passion for working with and helping to improve the lives of the youth in our communities. After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with an emphasis on Adolescence and Criminology, she began her career in the child welfare system in 1999 as a Program Specialist with SafeFutures, a community based program for at-risk youth. Shonetta then dedicated 12 years to a position at the Missouri Children’s Division, where she worked with youth and families involved in foster care.  There, she built connections with community partners, court professionals, and other agencies.  This  experience matched with her understanding of the need for reconnecting children in foster care with their biological families is what drives her in her pursuit to track down lost relatives, get the facts, and help pursue permanency for kids and teens.

Summer Renne

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
e summerrenne@foster-adopt.org

Summer joined the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition in December 2016 as a Manager of Training & Community Engagement. Summer assists with developing and facilitating trainings, as well as coordinating “A Place to Call Home” in partnership with St. Louis’ NBC affiliate, KSDK 5 On Your Side. She is passionate about child welfare and brings over 5 years of experience to the Coalition, including early childhood education, foster care licensing, and adoption recruitment. Summer attended Lindenwood University where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work.

Ralph Ruffin – Investigator

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
c 314-409-5251

e ralphruffin@foster-adopt.org

Ralph Ruffin joined the Coalition in July 2018. He graduated from the St. Louis County and Municipal Police Academy in 2012 and has served as a Normandy Police Officer for 5 years. While serving as a patrol officer he developed a passion for community outreach, youth development, and served as a School Resource Officer for three school years. Ralph has worked with at-risk youth since 2013 during summer programs like Team Illinois Youth Police Camp with Illinois State Police, and D.A.R.E camp. Ralph established after-school programs for middle school boys to help them make safe and responsible choices and instructed national programs on social and emotional growth. Ralph is a senior political science student at Webster University and plans to use his training and experience to help reconnect families.

Nickie Steinhoff – Director of Training & Support

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
e nickiesteinhoff@foster-adopt.org
Nickie Steinhoff joined the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition as the Director of Training & Community Support in December 2009.  She brings more than 10 years of experience in child welfare, including case assessment and management, crisis intervention and permanency planning.  Most recently, she was the Director of Advocacy Services at CASA of St. Louis County, where she lead advocacy efforts, volunteer training and supervision, and program development.  She has provided child advocacy training to national audiences, and served on the National CASA volunteer curriculum development committee.  Nickie has a Bachelor’s degree in social work and a Master’s degree in professional counseling and is currently an adjunct professor of sociology at Fontbonne University.  Nickie and her husband are the proud parents of two children, one of whom is adopted.

Kelly Sullivan – 30 Days to Family® Specialist

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
e kellysullivan@foster-adopt.org
Kelly Sullivan, a dedicated youth advocate and foster care alumni, joined the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition in February 2012.  She has over a decade of experience working with at-risk youth.  At the Coalition, Kelly works as a  Specialist for the 30 Days to Family® program which helps search for safe, appropriate relatives/kin within 30 days of a child entering the foster care system.  Before joining the Coalition, she spent 4 years at Epworth Children’s Home as the Program Manager of the St. Louis Aging-Out Initiative.  Kelly recently located her own biological family in 2011.  Kelly holds a Bachelor of Arts from Webster University and resides in the City of St. Louis with her two children.

Rossi Summers – Director of Operations

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
e rossisummers@foster-adopt.org
Reshelle “Rossi” Summers has more than 20 years of child welfare experience.  She holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Kansas and master’s degrees in Human Service Agency Management and Human Resource Management.  Rossi joined the Coalition in 2000 and her duties have included workshop and support group facilitation, newsletter editor, business and human resource management.  As the Director of Operations, Rossi oversees the day-to-day operations of the agency.  Rossi and her husband are the proud parents of three children, two of whom were adopted.

Shelley Thomas-Benke – Director of FosterServe Volunteers

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
e shelleythomasbenke@foster-adopt.org
Shelley works with volunteers to make the time children spend in foster care as enjoyable as it can be. She works part-time, and has responsibility for the Birthday Buddy program, Cinderella Project, and the holiday Little Wishes program. She also organizes groups to volunteer at ReFresh and Extravaganzas, and she refers volunteers to other St. Louis area agencies that serve foster/adoptive children. Shelley worked as an attorney specializing in child abuse/neglect issues and appellate work for over 10 years before joining the Coalition. Shelley has a B.S. in Business from the University of Minnesota and received her J.D., cum laude, from the University of Wisconsin.

Trish Taddeucci – Director of Educational Advocacy

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
c 314.614.2420
e triciataddeucci@foster-adopt.org

Trish joined the Coalition in 2011 as an Educational Specialist working with our Crisis Intervention Team. With over 15 years of diverse teaching experience in the St. Louis area in both public and private schools, Trish has a rich understanding of the complexities of school operations  and students’ needs.  Trish graduated from The University of Tulsa with a BA, and she completed a Masters in Educational Administration at UMSL.  It was Trish’s last three years of professional experience, however, that drew her to the coalition. As a classroom teacher with the Division of Youth Services working with incarcerated youth, she witnessed first hand the profound difference a love of learning can have on a young person’s life path. She is committed to supporting our families and schools in developing a caring, personalized approach to education to instill a love of learning in all of our children. In 2014, her dedication and commitment to  children earned Trish a 2014 Missouri Child Advocate award.  In 2014, Trish became the Director of Educational Advocacy.

Kyle Williams – Director of Development

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
c 314.614.2420
e  kylewilliams@foster-adopt.org

Kyle Williams is the Director of Development at the Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition, helping donors and foundations create lasting, systemic change in foster care and adoption through Coalition programs. He has worked as a fundraiser in foster care his entire career, and has been at the Coalition since 2016. Kyle graduated from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana with a B.A. in Anthropology, focusing on Archaeology.

Jo Anne Zarky – Director of 30 Days to Family®

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
e joannezarky@foster-adopt.org
Jo Anne Zarky joined the 30 Days to Family® Team in September, 2012.  At the Coalition, Jo works as a Case Manager for the 30 Days to Family® program which helps search for safe, appropriate relatives/kin within 30 days of a child entering the foster care system. Prior to joining the Coalition, Jo had over 15 years experience in the child welfare system.  She has worked in residential care as children’s services case manager, a foster and adoptive licensing specialist, and a Deputy Juvenile Officer.  Jo earned her Psychology, Criminal Justice degree from Southwest Missouri State University. She resides in Webster Groves with her husband and five children.

Katie Zimmer – Office Manager

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
e  katiezimmer@foster-adopt.org

Katie joined the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition in July of 2018 as Office Manager. She graduated from University of Missouri, St. Louis with a BS in Public Policy Administration. She brings more than 10 years of experience in office and volunteer management. Katie lives in St. Louis with her husband and three children. She enjoys watching her kids play sports and taking them out in nature to swim, ride bikes and go hiking.

Anne Zink – Director of Family Support

1750 South Brentwood Boulevard, Suite 210, Saint Louis, MO 63144
o 314.367.8373
annezink@foster-adopt.org
Anne joined the Coalition in 2015 as the Director of Family Support. She manages the Family Works Program. Anne has 35 years of experience. Her certifications include: Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), Triple P® Positive Parenting Trainer, Batterer’s Intervention Trainer, Training for Adoption Competency (TAC), STARS Trainer, and Nurturing Parenting Program™ Trainer.