Our Team

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Staff listed left to right / back to front: Laurie Jackson, Elizabeth Smith Miller, Rachel Hurst, Tammy Hopper, Mark Wolf, Sherry Casey, Susan Harmon, Shauna Brooks, April Carthorn, Autumn Sandlin, Kim Frierson, Eric Tadatada, Hillary Ladig

Laurie Jackson
President/CEO
Email: ljackson@nspnetwork.org
 

Laurie Jackson is the President/CEO for National Safe Place Network, which also administers the Runaway and Homeless Youth Training and Technical Assistance Center (RHYTTAC) cooperative agreement. She joined the organization in June 2010 and has been active with the Safe Place program for more than 15 years. She served as Associate Executive Director for Synergy Services, Inc. in Kansas City, Missouri. Jackson was with Synergy Services for 19 years and prior to that she worked for several years with Cedars Youth Services in Lincoln, Nebraska. She has been active with local, regional, state and national efforts in the areas of runaway and homeless youth, child welfare and domestic violence. 

Jackson holds an Executive Master's Degree in Business Administration from the University of Missouri Kansas City and a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work from the University of Nebraska Kearney. She serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Network for Youth and is dedicated to bringing awareness to the issues of runaway and homeless youth.

Tammy Hopper
Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer
Email: tammy@nspnetwork.org
 

Tammy L. Hopper brings more than 25 years of experience as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker to her role at National Safe Place Network.  This experience includes basic center, transitional living program and street outreach program management. She has also worked on an impatient psychiatric unit for youth; served as a member of a Mobile Crisis Unit; and, worked as a therapist for a project dedicated to preventing sexual abuse of Appalachian Children. She has served as the Chair of the National Council on Youth Policy and spent 20 years as a member of the National Safe Place Advisory Board. Hopper is also a member of the first class of Certified Grants Professionals, recognized by the American Association of Grant Professionals.

Hopper is an advocate and enthusiastic believer in youth development and is committed to working with individuals and organizations that embrace the power and promise that comes from partnering with youth. 

Shauna Brooks
Performance and Evaluation Specialist
Email: sbrooks@nspnetwork.org


Shauna Brooks found her rightful place as a social worker after fifteen years of project management experience in the information technology field.  She started her first job as a youth care worker with the Florence Crittenton Agency (FCA) in 2010 while enrolled in the College of Social Work bachelor’s program at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.  After earning a BSSW in 2012, Shauna continued in their graduate program, earning an MSSW in Management, Leadership and Community Practice in 2014.  In addition to working for FCA throughout school, Brooks had field placements with the Youth Villages Transitional Living Program (TLP), Project Grad’s College Access office at Fulton High School, and National Safe Place Network (NSPN).  She also worked as a Youth Advocate in Helen Ross McNabb Center’s Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) programs, primarily with transition age youth in their TLP before joining the NSPN Team as a full-time staff member in 2015.  Brooks brings her business experience along with a commitment to youth, love of research, and passion for continuous improvement to the NSPN team.

April Carthorn
RHYTTAC General Specialist
Email: acarthorn@nspnetwork.org
 

April Carthorn brings more than 20 years’ experience working with youth in both child welfare and runaway and homeless youth (RHY) programs. As the project manager for Youth OPEN and Project NOW, she assisted at-risk youth to become financially literate, secure caring adult connections, and find forever homes.  In the role of Director of Adolescent Services for a member organization, Carthorn supervised various programs that provided a range of services to include three gender specific group homes, the foster care department, child abuse awareness programming, as well as after school enrichment and education training. Carthorn has been a trainer for many years in areas of Trauma-Informed Care, Therapeutic Crisis Intervention, Youth Development, Case Management and Permanency Planning. Carthorn started working with RHY youth in a Basic Center Program as a student intern and immediately discovered her career purpose; to advocate and promote safety, financial stability, resilience and self-sufficiency for at-risk and homeless youth. As a former staff person of a member agency and having served on the NSPN Board of Directors prior to the merger of Youth and Family Services Network (YFSN) and National Safe Place (NSP), Carthorn understands the essential support needs of organizations and shares excitement to have opportunities to work one-on-one with agencies to fulfill their purpose, mission, and service goals to vulnerable populations.

On a personal note, Carthorn lives in Tennessee and travels whenever she can. When she returns home, she is greeted by Pretty Lady, Honey, and Nugget. In her spare time, she enjoys being with people and engaging in social activities. Carthorn likes listening to comedy and loves all animals except for groundhogs that stalk her when she goes to her car.

Sherry Casey

Operations and Administration Manager
Email: scasey@nspnetwork.org 

Sherry Casey serves as the primary contact for more than 140 Safe Place coordinators across the country. She joined the organization in February 2003 as an administrative assistant and was promoted to her current position in 2006. Casey is responsible for monitoring each Safe Place program’s annual goals and maintaining the national database of Safe Place statistics. In addition, she serves as the lead staff member on the National Safe Place Network’s Advisory Board’s Quality Enhancement Committee. Prior to joining National Safe Place Network, she spent seven years in a variety of roles for the YMCA of Greater Louisville, including both office manager of the Bullitt County branch and site director for its Before/After Child Care program. 

TC Cassidy
Director of Organizational Advancement
Email: tccassidy@nspnetwork.org

TC Cassidy holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from East Tennessee State University. She is currently completing a second Master’s Degree in Divinity from Phillips Theological Seminary. She has extensive experience in the youth services field and has worked in both direct care and supervisory positions in basic center, transitional living, and street outreach programs. Cassidy is a talented facilitator and has provided training and technical assistance for more than 12 years to RHY providers, first as a representative of a major agency in the Southeastern Network and most recently for NRCYS, as a Senior Program Development Specialist. She is already well known to RHY providers across the country and she will continue to lead the technical assistance team.

Zach Elmore
Operations Specialist
Email: zelmore@nspnetwork.org


Zach Elmore joined the NSPN team in 2016. Elmore is now an Operations Specialist who assists with organizational and program operations. In addition to these responsibilities, Elmore also offers direct support to licensed Safe Place agencies. Elmore has worked in hospitality management, and organic farming. He is currently pursuing an Information Technology degree at Jefferson Community and Technical College. In his spare time, Elmore enjoys reading, hiking the Red River Gorge, and volunteering for his local CSA program.

Kim Frierson
RHYTTAC Training Specialist
Email: kfrierson@nspnetwork.org


Kim Frierson assists in coordinating RHYTTAC training opportunities, creating and researching content for trainings, and planning the annual RHYTTAC conference. Previously, she spent six years as a case manager at YMCA Safe Place Services youth shelter in Louisville, Kentucky. Frierson received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Kentucky in 2005 and, after a year as an AmeriCorpos VISTA in 2006, returned to school and earned her Master’s of Science in Social Work from the University of Louisville. In addition to her role with RHYTTAC, Frierson contracts with the University of Louisville as a facilitator on a Pregnancy Prevention grant funded by the Department for Health & Human Service. She has spent the past six years as a sexual health educator with the university and other local agencies.

Susan Harmon
Director of Safe Place National Operations
Email: sharmon@nspnetwork.org

Susan Harmon works to expand Safe Place’s national network of programs and provides consultation, technical support and instruction for new Safe Place agencies. She joined the organization in July 2000 after serving 10 years as the Safe Place coordinator for the Louisville, Kentucky program.

Harmon specializes in organizing and conducting training sessions geared towards preparing new agencies and coordinators on how to operate a Safe Place program. She represents the Safe Place program and conducts training and networking opportunities at regional and national conferences for Safe Place personnel and other agencies interested in learning more about the program. Prior to joining Safe Place, Harmon worked for Louisville’s Jefferson County Public Schools. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education and History from Shorter College in northwest Georgia.

Hillary Ladig
Communications Coordinator
Email: hladig@nspnetwork.org


Hillary Ladig provides public relations and communications support for National Safe Place Network and its network of members and licensed Safe Place agencies across the country. She manages media relations, social media marketing efforts, website maintenance, and the creation and distribution of print and electronic publications. In addition, Ladig  serves as the lead staff member on the National Safe Place Network Advisory Board’s Awareness Committee. Prior to joining the organization in 2011, she served as a publicist for an independent book publishing company. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Relations from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Autumn Sandlin
Operations Specialist
Email: asandlin@nspnetwork.org
 

Autumn Sandlin is the Marketing and Communications intern for National Safe Place Network. A graduate of Western Kentucky University, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations. She has a great deal of knowledge in social media management, and is looking to learn the ins and outs of working for a non-profit. Autumn is always actively seeking to make a difference, and is delighted by all of the work that comes out of National Safe Place Network, its members, and licensed agencies. A native of Kentucky, Autumn enjoys playing with or talking about any type of dog, reading, writing and binge watching Netflix when she has the time.

Elizabeth Smith Miller
Director of Marketing and Events
Email: esmiller@nspnetwork.org
 

Elizabeth Smith Miller is a marketing and events professional who has led business initiatives for more than 20 years and has been connected to the youth and family services field for more than 25 years.  She has served on and lead youth advisory boards and completed two terms of service with Ameri Corps.  She also has led the development and implementation of a volunteer support center for an organization with more than 35 distinct programs.  She has implemented policies and procedures for state and national organizations.  Smith Miller’s creative vision drives branding and marketing efforts for nationally recognized programs and has worked directly with federally funded grantees as a professional marketing and branding consultant.  She has also served as a subject matter expert for national trainings and facilitated webinars.  She is an effective leader of events who excels in attention to detail, organization, and time management.  Smith Miller is resourceful and has a keen ability to proactively solve problems.  Regardless of how busy she is during events and meetings, she always makes time for members, licensed agencies, and grantees of the Network.  There's never an event where she doesn't hear one or more attendees say to her “you’re always smiling; it’s contagious”!  She doesn’t hesitate to share “I love my NSPN family and I’m excited each and every moment that I get to work with such amazing thought leaders of the youth and family services field”.  Smith Miller is a playmaker for events that successfully leaves participants motivated to change the world. 

Eric Tadatada
RHYTTAC Technical Assistance Specialist
Email: etadatada@nspnetwork.org

Eric Tadatada provides technical assistance via telephone, on-site, or online to runaway and homeless youth grantees in need for RHYTTAC. In addition, he assists with the preparation of reports for Federal Project Officers as well as presenting and planning at technical assistance clinics. He has supervised and worked in youth programming for 21 years. This includes basic center, transitional living, and street outreach program management experience. Prior to joining the organization in 2013, Eric worked for the YMCA Safe Place Services branch in various roles starting as a youth worker and ending as their Outreach Director. In between these two roles, he served as a counselor, Residential Shelter Director, Independent Living Program Director, and Aftercare Program Director. In 2003 he received the Southeastern Network’s Dick Moran Youth Services Award. Tadatada holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology/Social Work from the University of Louisville.

Mark Wolf
RHYTTAC Training and Technical Assistance Director
Email: mwolf@nspnetwork.org

Mark Wolf received his MSW Degree from West Virginia University and he holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Work and Sociology from Utah State University. Prior to his work at RHYTTAC, Wolf served as the Director of the K-Town Youth Empowerment Network for Tennessee Voices for Children. In this role, he was responsible for program development, management, and oversight of a $1.5 million a year SAMHSA System of Care grant with 20 staff. The program, which began in 2010, has been recognized by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Wolf has directed state-wide initiatives related to permanency for youth and has more than 30 years of experience with runaway and homeless youth. He has an extensive history of training, including certification through the Child Welfare League for Effective Supervisory Training. He has provided leadership in youth services at the local, state, regional and national level and has presented at multiple national conferences. Mark has been recognized for excellence by National Safe Place Network, the Child Welfare League of America and the National Network for Youth.