Our Team

Executive Team

Wayne Holder Chair of the Board and Founder View Bio

Wayne Holder

Wayne Holder

Chair of the Board and Founder

CELL PHONE: 715-313-0000
DIRECT PHONE: 715-313-0000
FAX: 715-313-0000

EMAIL: kevin@jbsystemsllc.com

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Theresa Costello Chief Executive Officer and Founder View Bio

Theresa Costello

Theresa Costello

Chief Executive Officer and Founder

What’s your background? 
I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico and continue to enjoy living there in addition to spending a good deal of time in Phoenix/Scottsdale Arizona. I received my Master’s Degree from the University of Minnesota Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs in 1982 and went to work for the Children’s Division of the American Humane Association where I had the good fortune to meet Wayne Holder which led to my long-term career with Action. I have been with Action since July of 1985, having worked in numerous positions and becoming Director/CEO in 2011. As the CEO I oversee all programmatic, personnel, marketing and outreach efforts for Action while working closely with our CFO, Kay Thomas who leads all financial management. In addition to my CEO duties, I serve as the President of the Board of Directors of Action.  

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? 
I enjoy exercising, traveling, spending time with my family, attending Arizona Cardinal’s football games, rooting for the New York Giants football team (yes, you can do both of those!, planting and arranging flowers, entertaining, serving at my church, having daily quiet time, hanging out with my grand-dog Charlie, reading, watching Netflix and listening to podcasts.  

Kay Thomas Chief Financial Officer View Bio

Kay Thomas

Kay Thomas

Chief Financial Officer

What’s your background? 
I’ve been employed by ACTION since its inception in 1984. The growth and stewardship of ACTION has been my life’s work and something I’m grateful and proud to have been a part of. I oversee all aspects of the financial operations of the organization including preparation of financial statements, managing annual financial and compliance audits as required, and report to our CEO and our Board of Directors. I am a native of Charlotte NC and live there with my husband Tim Harasek and my Westie Ellie.    

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? 
When I’m not working, Tim and I enjoy traveling to visit with family including my daughter Emily in Greensboro NC and his son and daughter and 3 grandchildren in New York City. We try to travel each year to a different location on our bucket list! I’m also an active member and frequent volunteer for The Compassionate Friends, a nationwide grief support group.  

Todd Holder Deputy Director View Bio

Todd Holder

Todd Holder

Deputy Director

What’s your background? 
I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and raised in Colorado.  I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado, and my Master’s degree in social work from the University of Denver.  I have been working in public child welfare for a fairly lengthy time- nearly three decades.  During this time I have observed and participated with peer colleagues in thoughtful and innovative work that has and continues to contribute to advancements in the field.  My work with ACTION involves practice model design and systematic implementation efforts in multiple states.  I am interested in furthering the evidence base for change-focused practice in public child welfare. I am motivated, as are all ACTION employees, by a desire to improve service delivery and outcomes for children and parents/caregivers. 

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? 
If the way I spend a considerable amount of my non-work time is indicative of "what I enjoying doing", then it would be reasonable to say that I enjoy mending fences, weed eating, and mowing around my ranchito in Jarales, New Mexico.  I also look forward to opportunities to get outdoors for some mountain ultra trail running, and I have eclectic taste in music, which I like to pair with different types of food. 

Clint Holder Sr. Project Director View Bio

Clint Holder

Clint Holder

Sr. Project Director

What is your background? 
I have 26 years of public child welfare experience in direct practice, staff training, practice model program evaluation, system installation, and evaluation. I have also provided technical assistance to various states, counties, and tribes. Other professional interests include all aspects of child safety intervention, workload evaluation, and implementation science. 

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? 
I like to watch and play golf whenever time permits. 

Lisa Ruiz-Lee Sr. Project Director View Bio

Lisa Ruiz-Lee

Lisa Ruiz-Lee

Sr. Project Director

What is your background? 
I grew up in Mesa, Arizona but have lived in Las Vegas, Nevada for more than 20 years.  I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Arizona State University and a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. I have nearly 20 years of experience working in local government, including working for many years as the Director of the state’s largest child welfare agency.  My role at Action for Child Protection includes managing practice model implementation projects, partnering on organizational and program assessments and evaluations, and helping to develop new partnerships. 

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? 
I enjoy spending time with my family and friends; time spent traveling to warm, beachy climates; and reading really good books.

Tarrin Reed Sr. Project Director View Bio

Tarrin Reed

Tarrin Reed

Sr. Project Director

What’s your background? 
I am a Senior Project Director for Action for Child Protection, and a member of its management team.  I provide expert consultation and technical assistance to public child welfare agencies and their stakeholders regarding systemic implementation of practice reform, particularly regarding safety decision-making throughout the life of the child welfare case process. In addition, I have worked with jurisdictions implementing Family Connections in New York, Florida, and Texas. I have an MSW from the University of Alaska Anchorage.  Prior to becoming a national consultant, I was a caseworker, supervisor and manager of public child welfare practice in Anchorage Alaska. During my tenure with the Office of Children’s services, I was a member of the state implementation team, implementing the safety decision-making principles developed by ACTION. I currently reside in Montana with my husband and son, who will be attending Arizona State University Fall 2019.   

Sr. Staff Associates

Anika Tillery, LMSW, MS Sr. Staff Associate View Bio

Anika Tillery, LMSW, MS

Anika Tillery, LMSW, MS

Sr. Staff Associate

What's your background? 
I am originally from Brooklyn, New York and currently live in New Jersey. I received my BA in Journalism from California University of Pennsylvania, my MS in Social Psychology from Walden University, and my MSW from Rutgers University with a certificate in Violence Against Women and Children. My child welfare background includes case planning and supervising in both Foster Care and Prevention. I've also worked with survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence. I first began my role at ACTION as a New York based consultant and then was offered the awesome opportunity to join ACTION as a fulltime employee.   

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? 
I enjoy spending time with my son, going to concerts and brunch with my girlfriends, traveling, working in my garden, reading for pleasure, and watching all crime shows.  

Heather Kohls Sr. Staff Associate View Bio

Heather Kohls

Heather Kohls

Sr. Staff Associate

What's your background?  
I have a BS in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and a Master's in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. Prior to joining Action, I worked in public child welfare as a social worker, supervisor, manager and trainer. I have worked for Action since 2014. My work thus far has spanned a large range of the services offered by Action, from Intake through Permanency, across several states.   


What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?  

Cooking, traveling with my husband, Milwaukee's summer festivals, and spending time with friends and family - especially my awesome nieces and nephews! 

Jennifer Wilson Sr. Staff Associate View Bio

Jennifer Wilson

Jennifer Wilson

Sr. Staff Associate

What is your background?
I grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where I have recently returned after a 25-year absence (It’s so good to be home). After graduating with my MSW from Florida State (Go Noles!), I worked within every aspect of Child Welfare for over 20 years, from Prevention (Family Preservation and Intensive Crisis Counseling), to Investigative consultant, all the way through to Adoptions and post-adoption support as a certified Adoption Competent Mental Health provider. The last three years of my career, prior to coming to Action, I was employed as a Critical Child Safety Practice Expert for the State of Florida, consulting on the highest risk child abuse investigations, as well as an adjunct professor at FSU for the School of Social Work. My parents were foster and adoptive parents, and my husband and I fostered teens aging out of foster care as well. 

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? 
I enjoy spending time with my family, watching my children play sports, hiking, kayaking, traveling, and exploring! 
 

Lauren Wagner-Ortiz Sr. Staff Associate View Bio

Lauren Wagner-Ortiz

Lauren Wagner-Ortiz

Sr. Staff Associate

What is your background? 
I currently live in Las Vegas, Nevada. I earned my Bachelor and Master degrees in Social Work at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. I am a LCSW with a focus on trauma and attachment and have a passion for working with children and families who have experienced adoption, familial separation  and abuse and neglect. I am also a Trust-Based Relational Intervention Practitioner (TBRI). TBRI  is a therapeutic model that trains caregivers to provide effective support and treatment for at-risk children. I have over nineteen years of experience in the Child Welfare system, including ten years of leadership in local government including the areas of child protective services, policy, training, and permanency.  

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? 
I love to travel! Disney is one of my favorite places to go with friends and family! I love to read, get together with friends, swim, and go outdoors.  

Lisa Randall Sr. Staff Associate View Bio

Lisa Randall

Lisa Randall

Sr. Staff Associate

What is your background?
I am originally from New Jersey and have lived all over the U.S. I received a BA in Criminology from Florida Atlantic University and an MA in Intelligence Studies from American Military University. My first professional experiences, before moving into the child welfare field, include the United States Air Force and being a Licensed Private Investigator specializing in criminal defense. My child welfare experience involves various roles with the Florida Department of Children and Families to include Child Protective Investigator, Field Support Supervisor, Family Safety Specialist, and Critical Child Safety Practice Expert. In addition, I served on the implementation team and as a trainer of the safety model created by Action for several years, as well as a human trafficking trainer and liaison. My main roles with Action include case reviews and consultation, training development, and training delivery.   

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? 
Traveling (Scotland is my absolute favorite!), road trips, spending time with family, going out to eat, and binge watching Netflix, especially the historical dramas and BBC shows.  

Mary Pat Bohn Sr. Staff Associate View Bio

Mary Pat Bohn

Mary Pat Bohn

Sr. Staff Associate

What is your background?
I am originally from Chicago, IL. I currently live in Wisconsin with my husband and children. I have a B.S. in Social Work and a M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy. I have been working in child welfare for over 30 years as a Child Protective Services social worker, supervisor, manager, administrator and consultant.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
I enjoy spending time with my family, reading and taking short road trips.

Adell Bleskin Sr. Staff Associate View Bio

Adell Bleskin

Adell Bleskin

Sr. Staff Associate

What’s your background:
I currently reside in Great Falls, Montana. I earned my BSW from Carroll College of Montana and my MSW from Boise State University. I have more than 25 years of experience in child welfare. I retired from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, Child Protective Services Division, after working for 21 years in multiple capacities. My scope of work included direct service delivery to children and families, training, permanency planning, consultation, supervision and management. In 2015, I began working for ACTION for Child Protection. I have worked nationally with child welfare organizations as a consultant and trainer on implementation of child safety methodologies. I have experience in practice and program evaluation, case consultation and coaching, technical assistance, and curriculum development. While having experience in all areas of child protective services, my passion is centered on using a strength-based approach in caregiver engagement, safety intervention and safety management.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, outdoor adventures and traveling. I always look forward to experiencing new cultures and customs while traveling to new places.

Staff Associates

April Klein Staff Associate View Bio

April Klein

April Klein

Staff Associate

What’s your background? 
I am originally from Eugene, OR, but lived in Wisconsin for 20+ years. I currently reside with my husband, in Dorena, OR - a small rural community of around 1,000 people. I graduated from Mount Mary College in Milwaukee WI, with a B.S. in Social Work.  I work full-time with Action as a Staff Associate. In this role, I travel to different states and communities to assist with development, implementation, and fidelity reviews of their child welfare system. 

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?   
Spending time with family, working in the yard, camping, hiking, and exploring the mountains and the coast line.  

Michelle Kays Staff Associate View Bio

Michelle Kays

Michelle Kays

Staff Associate

What’s your background? 
I graduated from the University of New Mexico with a B.S. in Psychology and a B.S.  in Biology before beginning a 23-year career with the State of South Dakota Child Protection Services. I started as a CPS worker and held positions in supervision and management in Child Protection, Foster Care Services, and Adoption as well as part of the training unit and implementation teams. I completed Action’s Supervisor as Safety Decision Makers (SSDM) program to enhance the implementation of the safety model while working with SD CPS. I have worked on various projects for Action since February 2015.   

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?   
Reading and spending time with family, friends, and our dog Sassy.

Tara Muender Staff Associate View Bio

Tara Muender

Tara Muender

Staff Associate

What’s your background? 
I spent my childhood moving around the Midwest, but spent most of my time in Davenport, Iowa. I am currently living in Sun Prairie, WI. I received my undergraduate degree in Social Work from the University of Northern Iowa and am currently pursuing a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.  I have worked in the child welfare field for 22 years, in various private agency, county and state positions.  I have experience in direct practice, quality improvement, policy development, training, technical assistance and management.  My role at Action is providing training, coaching and consultation to our customers. 

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? 
Watching sports, reading, and spending time with family and friends. 

Toby Lester Staff Associate View Bio

Toby Lester

Toby Lester

Staff Associate

What’s your background? 
I am originally from West Virginia and currently reside in South Carolina. I have more than twenty years of experience in Child Protective Services in West Virginia, North Carolina and with Action for Child Protection. My responsibilities at Action include project design and management, program and practice evaluation, enhancement of supervisory effectiveness, training design and curricula development, and technical assistance related to practice and decision-making. While my focus includes all areas of child protective services, my area of emphasis is safety intervention, including safety assessment and decision making, safety planning effectiveness, provisional ongoing safety management, and caregiver engagement. I manage, implement, and conduct statewide training projects and have trained thousands of public child welfare professionals and stakeholders. 

What do I enjoy doing when I am not working? 
Spending time with my family, fishing, visiting the beach, and watching old movies. 
 

Todd Darling Staff Associate View Bio

Todd Darling

Todd Darling

Staff Associate

What’s your background? 
Prior to working for Action, I worked for the State of Florida’s Department of Children and Families and its contracted providers for 17 years. When I left the state of Florida, I was the Statewide Training Manager for the Department of Children and Families.  Prior to that, I was a trainer and designed curriculum for newly hired staff. My additional experience includes being a Foster Care Case Manager, Child Protective Investigator, Child Protection Team Case Coordinator, and Assistant Team Coordinator. I graduated from Georgia Southern University with a Bachelor’s in of Science in Psychology. 

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? 
I enjoy spending time with my family, golfing, and watching sports on tv.  

Business Management

Sharman Burnside Senior Business Manager View Bio

Sharman Burnside

Sharman Burnside

Senior Business Manager

What is your background? 
I’ve been employed by ACTION since July 1993, first as an Executive Assistant to and now Senior Business Manager of the organization. I am responsible for the collection and review of all time and expense reporting by staff and contractors, invoicing and budget tracking for projects, and assist in numerous accounting activities for the organization, including assisting auditors for the annual financial audit. I am a native of West Virginia, moved to North Carolina in 1988 and currently live in Concord, NC.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? 
When  not working I enjoy traveling and spending time with my family and friends. 

Lesley Shroyer Associate Business Manager View Bio

Lesley Shroyer

Lesley Shroyer

Associate Business Manager

What’s your background? 
I’ve been employed by ACTION since 2015, first as Administrative Assistant and now Assistant Business Manager of the organization. My responsibilities include invoicing and budget tracking for numerous projects, managing the collection and writing of articles for the quarterly newsletter, and providing any additional assistance required by any ACTION staff, contractors or customers, including overseeing the production of training materials and editing of any written content including PowerPoints and curricula. I was born and raised in Charlotte, NC and now live in Matthews, NC with my daughter Kailyn. 

What do you do when you are not working? 
When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my daughter, family and friends. I also enjoy making arts & crafts, especially jewelry, handmade cards and gifts, and painting. 

Reed Holder Information Technology View Bio

Reed Holder

Reed Holder

Information Technology

What is your background? 
I grew up in Albuquerque. I have a Bachelor of Arts from Wayland University, and a Master’s of Divinity. For the first part of my career, I was a minister, and for the last 24 years, I have worked for ACTION. I live in Aurora, Colorado, with the love of my life, Linda, and the best Border Collie in the world, Jesse.    

What do you enjoy when you are not working? 
I enjoy cooking and reading and taking road trips where there are mountains and oceans. 

Maddie Redmond Social Media Coordinator View Bio

Maddie Redmond

Maddie Redmond

Social Media Coordinator

What is your background? 
I am originally from Albuquerque, NM. I currently live in Tempe, AZ with my dog Charlie. I went to Arizona State University and received a B.S. in Marketing and a B.A. in Sports Business from the W.P. Carey School of Business. I work full-time for the Arizona Cardinals Football Club on the Business Development team. My role at Action is launching our social media platforms and managing the website.

What do you enjoy when you are not working?
Watching sports (especially football), going to spin class, playing with my dog Charlie, exploring new restaurants in Phoenix, drinking way too much coffee, and going on weekend trips with friends.

Independent Contractors

Diane DePanfilis, PH.D., MSW Professional Associate, Developer of Family Connections View Bio

Diane DePanfilis, PH.D., MSW

Diane DePanfilis, PH.D., MSW

Professional Associate, Developer of Family Connections

What is your background? 
I am a Professor of Social Work at the Silberman School of Social Work.  I have over forty-five years of experience in child welfare and have worked at the local and national levels supporting public and private programs to implement child maltreatment prevention programs and systems change to strengthen the quality of services received by children, youth, and families.  My research has explored the epidemiology of child maltreatment recurrences and evaluated the process, fidelity, and outcomes of child maltreatment related prevention and intervention programs.  My role with ACTION is to provide training, technical assistance, and coaching for programs replicating Family Connections.

What do you enjoy when you are not working? 
Going to Zumba and other exercise classes, fine dining, and playing with my dog Keiko. 

Dr. Sarah Kaye, PhD Principal Researcher View Bio

Dr. Sarah Kaye, PhD

Dr. Sarah Kaye, PhD

Principal Researcher

What’s your background? 
I have been a part of child welfare research and evaluation teams for almost 20 years.  Grounded in implementation science, I use innovative mixed methodologies to produce high-quality studies that meet the research needs of practitioners and policy makers.  From research design, through data collection, and analysis, I have had the honor of serving as the lead evaluator on evaluations of child welfare services in several states, counties, and private child welfare organizations. I am a strong advocate of practice informing research, and am currently supporting several interventions developed in practice to advance their evidence base.   

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? 
I enjoy my work a lot.  When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time with my family, outdoor recreation, yoga and eating good food. 

Dr. Sheryl Roach, PhD Independent Consultant/Facilitator View Bio

Dr. Sheryl Roach, PhD

Dr. Sheryl Roach, PhD

Independent Consultant/Facilitator

What’s your background? 
I am a NJ resident. I am a clinically trained Child Welfare veteran with over 25 years’ experience. I have a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Fielding Graduate University. My dissertation studied qualities associated with a Transformational leadership style, specifically examining trauma-exposure on leadership style. My professional areas of interest include Trauma-Informed practices and workforce sustainability. I am a New York Facilitator at Action.     

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? 
I enjoy traveling, kayaking with my husband, and watching sports with my son.

Linda Holder Editor View Bio

Linda Holder

Linda Holder

Editor

What is your background? 
I am from Pennsylvania. I was a Russian linguist for the Navy, and I have a B.S. in Biology from UC Davis, and an M.A. in Zoology from CU Denver. I taught high school biology and chemistry until I retired. I am certified as a Linguistically Diverse Educator. I live in Aurora, Colorado, with husband Reed and Jesse the Border Collie.  My job at ACTION is to edit everything they send me.  

What do you enjoy when you are not working? 
I read. Anything. No, seriously…and not just looking for typos and plot discontinuity. And I watch Jeopardy. And I like to do crossword puzzles and jigsaw puzzles, but not the easy ones.  

Charnell Neptune Consultant View Bio

Charnell Neptune

Charnell Neptune

Consultant

What's your background? 
I am originally from Rockland County, NY. I currently live in Newark, NJ with my amazing husband. For my undergraduate studies I attended Monroe College of New Rochelle for Criminal Justice in which I received my Associates and Bachelor’s degree. I received my Master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. I work full time for Help USA in a domestic violence shelter as a Child Care Clinical Coordinator/ Clinician. My role at Action as a consultant is to provide professional development training to child welfare professionals. 

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?  
I enjoy going to day spas, spending time with my family, writing in my journal, and small weekend getaways. 

Mary Jo Pankoke Associate View Bio

Mary Jo Pankoke

Mary Jo Pankoke

Associate

What is your background? 
I live in Lincoln, Nebraska with my dog Charley.  I received my undergraduate and graduate training at the University of Nebraska. I serve as President and CEO of the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, an organization focused on community-based prevention. Previous experience includes over 20 years as a caseworker, supervisor and administrator with Nebraska’s Child Welfare System. My role at ACTION is providing training and consultation and assisting with special projects.  

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? 
Reading, hiking, doing crossword puzzles, tending my meadow of native flowers and grasses, and spending time with my three daughters and three granddaughters. ​ 
 

George Ramos Independent Contractor View Bio

George Ramos

George Ramos

Independent Contractor

Danielle Rice Trainer/Facilitator View Bio

Danielle Rice

Danielle Rice

Trainer/Facilitator

What’s your background? 
I am from Long Island, NY and currently reside in Brooklyn, NY. I have a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a Specialization in Child Welfare: Children, Youth and Families. I have worked in Child Welfare for over 10 years as a Case Planner, Supervisor, FTC Facilitator in both Preventive and Foster Care Services. My role at ACTION is training and facilitating various learning programs for NYC Administration for Children Services. 

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? 
I enjoying spending time with my family and friends, traveling, listening to music and being involved in church activities. 

Kathy Simms Consultant and subcontractor to the Capacity Building Center for States. View Bio

Kathy Simms

Kathy Simms

Consultant and subcontractor to the Capacity Building Center for States.

What’s your background? 
I have worked for Child Welfare in many capacities including a state agency CPS worker, supervisor and administrator for CPS, In-Home Services, CW Training and Youth Development. Upon leaving the state agency, I have also worked as a consultant with the University of Oklahoma School of Social Work and as an expert witness for a class action lawsuit and other lawsuits facing Child Welfare Agencies.  I have worked as a consultant for Action since 2006 providing services for various states concerning Statewide Hotline development, child fatality reviews, and coaching.  Through Action, as the previous National Resource Center for Child Protective Services, I worked in collaboration with the Children’s Bureau for constituency group development.   

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? 
I really enjoy volunteering with the Sooner Golden Retriever Rescue organization and have my own Golden Retriever through that organization. She requires lots of exercise so she helps to keep me in shape. I travel frequently between my home state and Texas to visit my grandchildren and to enjoy all of their activities. In my downtime, I enjoy binge watching British crime shows.  

Megan Waldron Independent Contractor View Bio

Megan Waldron

Megan Waldron

Independent Contractor

Pam Freeman Independent Contractor View Bio

Pam Freeman

Pam Freeman

Independent Contractor