National Safe Place Network Staff

Laurie Jackson, EMBA – President/CEO

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 Safe Place for more than 15 years. She recently served as Associate Executive Director for Synergy Services, Inc. in Kansas City, Missouri. Laurie was with Synergy Services, Inc. for 16 years and prior to that worked for several years with Cedars Youth Services in Lincoln, Neb. She has been active with local, regional, state and national efforts in the areas of runaway and homeless youth, child welfare and domestic violence.

Laurie 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

Tammy Hopper is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has supervised youth programming for almost 25 years. 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 the 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. Tammy is also a member of the first class of Certified Grants Professionals, recognized by the American Association of Grant Professionals.

She 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.


Isabel Gomez – Chief Operating Officer

Isabel Gomez holds a degree in Business Administration from Miami-Dade College in Miami, Florida. She has managed the logistics for multiple national conferences, regional trainings, and site-based events and has extensive experience managing databases; list serves; websites; and, learning management systems, including on-demand distance learning. Isabel has more than 30 years of experience managing logistics and contractual requirements.


Susan Harmon – Director of Safe Place National Operations

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.

Susan 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, Susan 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.


Sherry Casey – Safe Place Program Coordinator

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. Sherry 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 – RHYTTAC Technical Assistance Director

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. TC 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.


Kim Frierson – RHYTTAC Training Specialist

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. Kim 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, Kim 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.


Rachel Hurst – Development Associate

Rachel M. Hurst is the Development Associate for National Safe Place Network. She joined the organization in February 2016. Rachel has 20 years’ experience as a grant writer / development officer, public relations officer, human resources manager, and capacity builder. Most recently she was CEO of the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund. She has written and received over $18 million in grant funds from foundation, corporate, government, and individual donors. She has written proposals for youth services, housing and homelessness, the environment, civil rights, health and human services, education, veterans services, and faith-based programs. Her fundraising skills also include leading over 400 trainings around the U.S. on fundraising strategies and techniques and serving as an evaluator of grant proposals for the national Funding Exchange. Rachel is a former teacher, and holds a Master’s degree in human services / nonprofit administration from Murray State University and a Bachelor’s degree in English and education from Ball State University.


Tella Jones – RHYTTAC Logistics Specialist

Tella Jones assists with the provision of logistics for the RHYTTAC, including the creation of training and technical assistance schedules, travel arrangements for staff and consultants, and location management for RHYTTAC events. He also assists with the acquisition of consultants and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) for RHYTTAC trainings and events. Tella has 13 years of experience in banking, including audits, operations, underwriting, quality assurance, and inventory control. He hold a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration Management from Sullivan University in Louisville, Kentucky.


Hillary Ladig – Communications Coordinator

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, Hillary 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.


Stacy Meadows – RHYTTAC Evidence-Based/Outcomes Specialist

Stacy Meadows is a Certified Social Worker in the state of Kentucky. She has an MSSW from the University of Louisville and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work from Spalding University where she completed the Public Child Welfare Certification Program. Prior to working with runaway and homeless youth, Stacy worked for the local Department for Community Based Service conducting intake and investigations on allegations of child abuse and neglect for children birth to 12 years of age. She then spent two years working in Dudley, West Midlands, United Kingdom as a social worker for Children’s Specialist Division Referral and Assessment team working with families in need and child protection cases. For the past 6 years, Stacy was a case manager for the YMCA Safe Place Services street outreach program in Louisville, Kentucky. In her role with RHYTTAC, she is responsible for keeping up with current trends in the field of runaway and homeless youth, evidence-based practices, and research relevant to that population and the agencies that provide services. In addition to her role with RHYTTAC, Stacy is an independent, contracted social worker for Jefferson County Mental Inquest and Guardianship Court.


Elizabeth Smith Miller – Communications Coordinator

Elizabeth Smith Miller is a product of positive youth development in action. At the age of 9, she was volunteering in a runaway shelter. By the age of 16 she was the Chair of the Youth advisory Board for that shelter and now she has joined the NSPN team. Elizabeth has worked at grantee agencies in Tennessee and Florida and has specific program expertise in substance abuse assessments and prevention; volunteer management; and skills groups with youth. She is also proud to be an AmeriCorps VISTA Alumni. She has a Master’s Degree in Business and an undergraduate degree in Digital Arts and Design. Elizabeth has been blessed to care for several children throughout her life and is planning to open her home again as a foster parent in the very near future.


Eric Tadatada – RHYTTAC Technical Assistance Specialist

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, MSW – RHYTTAC Training Director

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, Mark 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. Mark 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.


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