Board of Directors

The NACG is governed by a Board of Directors elected by a majority of the membership.

Board of Directors

Tashel Bordere, PhD, CT
NACG Board President - Researcher and Adjunct of Center for Family Policy & Research, University of Missouri-Columbia

Dr. Tashel Bordere, CT is a Researcher and Adjunct Professor in the Center for Family Policy & Research, Human Development and Family Science at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She currently serves as Board Member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, Board Member of the National Alliance for Grieving Children, and Advisory Council Member of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). She has specialized education and training as a Certified Thanatologist (Death, Dying, and Grief). She has served as Editor of the ADEC Forum publication. Dr. Bordere’s research program assumes a contextual approach focusing on trauma, loss (homicide loss, assaultive violence – sexual assault), suffocated grief and Black youth and family bereavement. She studies cultural practices that promote healing and survival. Dr. Bordere has done numerous workshops, consultations, keynotes, and published research relating to social inequities and culturally responsive practices in loss including her co-edited/co-authored book, Handbook of Social Justice in Loss and Grief (Routledge). She recently completed a Forward Promise Fellowship through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focusing on the promotion of healing, growth, and thriving among boys and young men of color. Dr. Bordere has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the Ronald K. Barrett Award (2018) from the Association of Death Education and Counseling for research on Black adolescent and young adult grief, 2022 Excellence in Engagement in Outreach Award at the University of Missouri, and the CASE Award for outstanding faculty mentorship to underrepresented college students. She has been featured in multiple media outlets including USA Today, New York Times, Legacy.Com, Psychology Today, Houston Chronicle, Philadelphia Inquirer, NPR (WPSU Take Note), on national and international podcasts (Grief Outloud - Dougy Center), and webcasts (National Alliance for Grieving Children), and the Open to Hope Cable Show – Saving At Risk Youth. Dr. Bordere developed the S.H.E.D. Loss and Grief Tools Training.

Daniel Layman
NACG Board Vice President - Community Liaison Manager of Blood Cancer Foundation of Michigan

Dan Layman served as President and CEO of Ele's Place Michigan for 7 years.  His work focused on transitioning the organization from a regional provider of peer support services to an integrated, statewide organization with the vision of reaching all grieving families in Michigan. Prior to Ele's Place, he worked for several Michigan based hospices, leading their community outreach and business development programs. He served over ten years as a member of the Hospice of Michigan management team and helped grow the organization into one of the largest hospice providers in the country. Dan‘s passion for non-profit work stems from his time supporting grieving families and witnessing the pain and distress unresolved grief can have on individuals, families, and the larger community. Dan recently joined the Blood Cancer Foundation of Michigan as Community Liaison Manager, where he works to advocate and improve access to support for children and families facing blood cancer.  His interests are grief support advocacy and education, as well as DEI and community engagement.

Jim Santucci, CPA
NACG Board Treasurer - Executive Director of Kara

Jim Santucci, CPA, is a graduate of the U.S Military Academy. Jim served four years in the active duty Army as an Infantry officer with the 25th Infantry Division and later commanded the 227th Engineer Company while a member of the Hawaii National Guard. After his 10-year-old daughter died in 2008, he received support from Kara, a non-profit grief services agency in Palo Alto California. Soon after he began volunteer work for organizations advocating for pediatric palliative care (Children's Hospice & Palliative Care Coalition, Coalition for Compassionate Care of California) and supporting bereaved parents and individuals (Kara, Lucile Packard Family Partners Group). In November of 2013, Jim became the Executive Director of Kara. In addition to his daily chief executive responsibilities, he is a peer group facilitator for parents who have suffered the loss of a child and serves annually as a counselor at Camp Kara (a weekend bereavement camp for children and teens). His non-profit service also includes time with Children's Health Council in Palo Alto and over 19 years of operations management for two faith- based organizations. He is a Certified Public Accountant.

Michaeleen (Micki) R. Burns, PhD
NACG Board Secretary - Chief Clinical Officer of Judi's House/JAG Institute

Michaeleen (Micki) Burns, PhD, is the Chief Clinical Officer at Judi's House/JAG Institute and adjunct faculty at the University of Colorado. JH/JAG is a comprehensive family bereavement center in Denver. A Licensed Psychologist with two decades of experience providing therapeutic assessment and support to families facing adversity, Micki has witnessed the lasting impact of unaddressed grief. She is dedicated to ensuring appropriate care is available for all and raising childhood bereavement to a level of critical public importance. At JH/JAG she oversees the direct service, research, and training departments working towards a vision where no child is alone in grief.

Bethany Gardner
NACG Board Immediate Past President - Director of Bereavement Programs at Eluna

Bethany Gardner is Director of Bereavement Programs at Eluna, a non-profit organization with a mission to support children and families impacted by grief or addiction. She has worked with children, young adults, and families in a variety of settings, and has supported youth and families who are grieving since 2008. She holds a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology and is a proud member of the Board of Directors for the National Alliance for Children's Grief. Bethany has also served as adjunct faculty at the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology focusing on vocational, leadership, and interpersonal skills development.

Kevin Carter, MSW, LCSW
Social Work Clinician, Educator and Advocate

For the past 40 years, Kevin Carter, MSW, LCSW, has spent his career working in several formal and informal capacities focused on helping families heal after facing a traumatic event in life. Kevin has worked in a range of human service and academic institutions across the country and is a highly respected and nationally known clinician, administrator, and educator. This long-spanning career in service, combined with his natural lived experience in service, has allowed Kevin to develop a perspective that very few practitioners can obtain.

Kevin has a strong belief that his approach to accomplishing his established goals starts with examining the impact of childhood loss and grief experiences from the lens of his psychosocial development as an African American male growing up in the South and as a social work practitioner. Kevin believes that despite growth in understanding African American grief, there is a need for developing approaches to education and intervention that inspire hope and courage to make a change. He further believes that the emphasis on perceived pathology and the problem-focused approach has led social workers to shy away from advocacy and prosocial approaches to healing in communities of color.

Kevin feels that the clinical field has had a long history of practice with African American individuals, families, and communities who are coping with grief and trauma. A foundational element of this practice is to challenge social injustice. He hopes that his approach to issues through his consulting platform will help participants to develop historical and contemporary frameworks for understanding how African American children and families cope with grief and ongoing injustices related to death, dying and living by exploring systemic and relational approaches that honor the unique cultural and historical experiences of African Americans.

Cathy Fox, MSW
Assistant Professor and Field Education Director of Creighton University Social Work Program

Cathy Fox, MSW serves as Assistant Professor and Field Education Director for the Social Work Program at Creighton University. As an alum of the program herself, she enjoys educating and supporting students as they prepare to become future helping professionals. Prior to moving to academia, she served over eight years as the Program Director and Director of Operations at Grief’s Journey, a center for grieving families in Omaha, NE. Her expertise includes social work practice in the field of grief and loss, grounded in trauma, child development, and family systems, with a strong background in mental health, suicide, and nonprofit administration. She formerly served on the Board of Directors for NASW-NE (National Association of Social Workers); is an active member of NASW, NACG Education Committee, Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors (BPD), and Council on Social Work Education (CSWE); and regularly presents at national conferences for these organizations. As a college faculty working with rising professionals, she has a particular interest in self-care, trauma-informed classrooms, and mental health among young adults.

Catherine Alicia Georges, EdD, RN, FAAN
Professor at Lehman College

Dr. Catherine Alicia Georges, RN, FAAN, a professor and chairperson of the department of nursing at Lehman College is a leader in academic nursing, health policy development, community engagement, organizational development, and healthy aging. Her leadership in these areas is known nationally and internationally through her service as a member of health policy boards, health care delivery boards, professional organizations, governmental boards, and the world’s largest consumer organization board of directors. She is committed to assuring social justice and equity for marginalized and vulnerable communities. Dr. Georges served as the national volunteer president of AARP from 2018-2020. AARP is the world’s largest consumer organization. She served as the fifth president of the National Black Nurses Association and is the president of the National Black Nurses Foundation. She is a Lifetime member of the National Black Nurses Association and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. And an honorary member of Chi Eta Phi Nursing Sorority. In October 2021 Dr. George became Chair of the National Easter Seals Board. She is the first Black female volunteer to serve as Chair in the 100-year history of the organization. Dr. Georges is a fellow of the NY Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Nursing. In 2019 she was named a Living legend by the American Academy of Nursing. In June 2020, Dr. Georges received the Distinguished Alumna Award from Seton Hall University. In October 2021 she received the Academy of Nursing Lifetime Legacy Achievement Award Dr. Georges received a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree from Seton Hall University College of Nursing, a Master of Arts degree in community health nursing administration and supervision from New York University School of Education, Division of Nursing, and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Vermont.

Ryan Loiselle, MSW, LICSW
Program Director of FRIENDS WAY

Ryan Loiselle, MSW, LICSW is the program director for FRIENDS WAY. In his role, Ryan manages the day-to-day operations including intake, referrals and community outreach, as well as supervising the volunteer facilitators. In 2001, Ryan began his tenure at FRIENDS WAY as a volunteer group facilitator. He has been the program director since 2011. Prior to joining FRIENDS WAY, he worked at Merrimack Valley Hospice with a concentration in pediatric palliative care and children’s bereavement. He also served as the program director of “Jeff’s Place”, a bereavement center in Wayland, MA created by FRIENDS WAY founder, Jenny Kaplan. Ryan studied at the University of Rhode Island and received his degree in Human Development and Family Studies, with a minor in Thanatology (the study of death, loss, grief, and bereavement). He went on to Simmons College in Boston, MA and received his master’s in social work. Ryan also has a private practice, Rhode Island Grief Counseling, LLC in Providence, RI. Additionally, he has presented at several conferences for NASW (National Association of Social Workers) and for NACG (National Alliance for Children's Grief) on children's bereavement. He joined the board of directors for the NACG in January 2022.

Annette R. March-Grier, RN, CFSP
President, Co-Founder of Roberta's House, Vice President of March Funeral Homes

Annette R. March-Grier, RN., C.F.S.P., is a native Baltimorean, and Vice President of a family business; March Funeral Homes located in Maryland, Washington DC and Virginia. She is a registered nurse, a mortician and the visionary of Roberta’s House Inc., a non-profit Family Grief Support Center founded in 2007, by the March family in honor of their matriarch, Julia Roberta March. Annette is the President, and has lead the way for grief education and support for grieving children and families in Baltimore for more than 38 years. A teacher, counselor, trainer and leader, with her compassionate staff, provides a safe place for children and adults to heal and recover from the death of someone close. Roberta’s House provides trauma informed care and addresses grief as a public health service through education and over 15 peer support programs. Children, adults, and families suffering the loss or death of a loved one receive support and a safe place to heal and recover. To date Roberta’s House has provided support services to

more than 10,000 children and adults and trained over 800 community volunteers that support their programs. Roberta’s House conducts grief support programs for individuals of all ages and types of death losses as well as professional workshops for the community. It is the first bereavement center to be founded by African Americans in the U.S. to address the inequities for people of color with grief and mental health resources.

In January of 2021, March-Grier fundraised and successfully completed the construction of the first bereavement center in Baltimore Maryland to serve children and families. The center is located on the same landmark that her parents operated the funeral home from 1957-1980. The 22,000 square foot facility is a state of the art bereavement center that is one of a kind in the US to provide bereavement care and counseling for the underserved and people of color.

Annette is a recipient of numerous awards and achievements. She received the National Caring Award in October, 2016 which includes her induction into the Caring Hall of Fame located in the Frederick Douglas Museum on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. In addition, she was selected by CNN, the world leader in news, as one of the top ten CNN heroes, 2014 for changing the world.

Debbie Meyer
Executive Director of Erin’s House for Grieving Children

Debbie Meyer has extensive background in leading nonprofits as the present executive director for Erin’s House for Grieving Children the past 15 years and, prior to that, the leader of Children’s Hope Hospital Hospitality House. She also spent time as the marketing director for a winning Indianapolis 500 race car driver and has over 20 years’ experience as an executive in corporate marketing.

Debbie is an adjunct professor at Huntington University since 2014 teaching classes in grant writing, nonprofit management, and leadership. Most recently, she participated in the Foellinger Foundation Leadership Lab—a one-year program comprised of twelve Northeast Indiana leaders and designed to develop adaptive leadership skills.

Debbie is proud of her time as former board member and secretary on the executive committee for the National Alliance for Children’s Grief (NACG). She has also served as a board member for Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana, Visiting Nurse, and Leadership Fort Wayne.

She has a bachelor’s degree in business management from Indiana Wesleyan University and a master’s degree in nonprofit administration from University of Central Florida—obtaining these while working full-time and raising a family. In April 2021, Debbie became a Certified Leadership Coach through the International Coaching Federation and Certified Coaches Alliance.

In her spare time, she loves to read, travel, cheer on Indiana University basketball and Notre Dame football with her family, and help at her church.

Fun fact: Erin’s House and Debbie are a featured chapter in American Spirit by Taya Kyle and Jim DeFelice, 2019 – Pages 164-172

Michael Milward
Senior Advisor at National Partnership for Hospice and Healthcare Innovation

Michael Milward has been an attorney since 1981 and has worked in the end-of-life care and bereavement field since 1997. He did his legal studies at Santa Clara University and his graduate work in Theology and Spirituality at the Graduate Theological Union at UC Berkeley. He has worked with and been committed to grieving children and teens his entire career. He has also been a hospice chaplain since 2000. In 2012 he became the CEO at Hospice of Santa Cruz County on the central coast of California and served in that role until 2020. He currently serves as the CEO of the California Hospice Network and as a senior advisor to the National Partnership for Hospice and Healthcare Innovation (NPHI), a national collective of almost 100 nonprofit community-based hospices, all of whom have robust community grief support programs for children, teens and adults. He sees a necessary and natural intersection with and between these hospice programs and the collective mission of NACG.

Brianne (Brie) Overton, FT, LPC, NCC
Chief Clinical Officer of Experience Camps

Brianne "Brie" Overton, FT, LPC, NCC,  is the Chief Clinical Officer of Experience Camps, a national nonprofit that provides no-fee, clinically informed programs for kids who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling or primary caregiver – as well as resources and advocacy so all grieving children can live a life rich with possibility. Brie received her MA in Thanatology from Hood College, her M.Ed in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from University of Missouri - St. Louis, and is a doctoral candidate in counseling at the University of Missouri - St. Louis. She has spent 13 years in the field of thanatology providing grief education, support, counseling, death education, suicide prevention and intervention, and consultation.

Jim Price
Senior Vice President of Industry Relations at Johnson Consulting Group

Jim Price has over 50 years of experience in the funeral profession and is a graduate of the California College of Mortuary Science. Knowing now that 1 out of 5 children in North America are grieving based upon the loss of someone that is very close and significant in their lives, he is hopeful that as a director in the NACG he will be able to better connect those in his profession with regard to how very important it is to have the appropriate conversation with children’s parents. Jim believes it is critical to understand the importance of reaching out to bereavement counselors in communities as well as supporting the wonderful efforts of NACG.

Leila W. Salisbury
Executive Director of The Kentucky Center for Grieving Children and Families (KCGCF)

Leila W. Salisbury is the executive director of The Kentucky Center for Grieving Children and Families (KCGCF), which she founded in 2020. She currently serves on the Membership Committee of the National Alliance for Children’s Grief. She is trained on the Peer Healing Curriculum as part of a pilot program with the University of Chicago Medical School; the KCGCF is one of two pilot sites in the country for this teen-led, evidence-based grief support curriculum. She has also worked as a volunteer with the McClean Fletcher Center (a children’s grief center in Jackson, MS) and raised a grieving child after her husband died when her daughter was 5. Prior to founding the KCGCF, she spent 25 years in scholarly publishing, serving as director of the University Press of Mississippi and the University Press of Kentucky. In these roles, she was also active in the Association of American University Presses, serving on its board of directors and numerous committees. She is a graduate of Davidson College (NC) and has a MA from the University of Kentucky.

Adam D-F. Stevens, MA, RDT
Drama Therapist, Bereavement Counselor, Clinical Supervisor, Educator

Adam D-F. Stevens (they|them), MA, RDT are a Registered Drama Therapist (RDT) who works primarily with adolescents in the Tri-state area. They have worked with the Hetrick-Martin Institute and Cooke School & Institute in NYC. Adam's role includes supporting queer, POC, and neurodiverse youth in transforming their loss, grief, and trauma into unapologetic, abundant joy and empowerment. Adam serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Creative Arts Therapy Programs at Antioch University in Seattle, and New York University and Marymount Manhattan College in NYC. Adam currently sits on the Board of Directors for the National Alliance for Children's Grief (NACG). They have sat on the Board of Directors for the North American Drama Therapy Association (NADTA) as Chair of the Cultural Humility, Equity, and Diversity Committee, and now as the President-elect. Adam works to support theatrical productions on and Off-Broadway as an emotional wellness consultant. They were named Artistic Director for the Collideoscope Repertory Theatre Company (CRTC) by NYU in 2020. CRTC’s mission is to advance racial justice and healing through artful affinity and performance. They were recently awarded the NADTA Raymond Jacobs Memorial Diversity Award and the NADTA Performance Award for their work with CRTC and in recognition of their outstanding dedication to diversity in the field of drama therapy, through advocacy, championing a diverse membership, and working to increase skill, awareness, and cultural humility. Their research focuses on offering space for Black clients to reclaim racialized roles and deconstruct stereotypes connected to generational and historical trauma and grief. Adam's superpowers are rooted in the fantastical forces of creativity and love.

Lindsey Whissel Fenton
Senior Producer and Director at WPSU

Lindsey Whissel Fenton (she/her) is an Emmy award-winning storyteller who is passionate about using media to build empathy and connection. She currently works as a senior producer and director at the PBS/NPR affiliate station WPSU, where she uses her experience as a creator, outreach strategist, fundraiser, and learning designer to develop and deliver meaningful content to local, regional, and national audiences. For the past five years, Fenton has focused her work almost exclusively on projects related to grief awareness and mental health. She produced and directed Speaking Grief, a multiplatform initiative that works to create a more grief-aware society; the initiative received three Emmy® nominations (Mid-Atlantic Chapter). Fenton continues to manage Speaking Grief’s social media presence (@wpsugrief). She has presented served as a panelist on cultivating successful outreach and engagement to a variety of organizations, including the National Alliance for Children’s Grief (NACG), the Association for Death Education Counseling (ADEC), the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA) Education Foundation, the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA), American Public Television (APT), the PBS Annual Meeting, and Comic Con San Diego, among others. Fenton earned her bachelor’s degree in Cinema and Digital Arts from Point Park University and her master’s degree in Learning, Design, and Technology from Penn State. She is a dog-mom, an avid reader, and a rock climber.

Jennifer Wiles, MA, LMHC, BC-DMT
Director of HEARTplay Program at Good Shepherd Community Care

Jennifer Wiles, MA, LMHC, BC-DMT, is the Director of the HEARTplay Program and Camp Erin Boston at Good Shepherd Community Care in Newton, MA. She has directed these programs since 2012, and has overseen their growth and expansion during this time. During her tenure, HEARTplay has been the recipient of several grants from both local and nationally-based organizations. Jennifer has taught and trained people in the field of children’s bereavement and expressive therapy locally, nationally and internationally. Her current project, Expanding the Language of Grief, is focused on providing access to compassionate grief support services to people of all abilities. Jennifer is a board-certified dance movement therapist/licensed mental health counselor and is on the adjunct faculty at Lesley University’s Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences where she also serves as a clinical site supervisor. She has taught grief counseling and dance movement therapy at the Apollo Institute, Beijing, China. She was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Alliance for Children’s Grief where she also chairs the Education Committee. She received a certificate in Nonprofit Management from The MetroWest Nonprofit Network/Framingham State University in 2021. She is a professional member of the New England Children’s Bereavement Network, the MA Mental Health Counselors Association, the MA Coalition for Serious Illness Care, The American Dance Therapy Association, The National Alliance for Children’s Grief, and the Association for Death Education and Counseling.

Brennan Wood
Executive Director of The Dougy Center

Brennan Wood has served as the Executive Director of Dougy Center: The National Grief Center for Children & Families based in Portland, Oregon since 2015, where she has been on staff in various roles since 2004. Brennan’s professional background and expertise are grounded in fundraising, strategic planning, organizational development, and capacity building. She is the author of, A Kids Book About Grief and is a member of the National Advisory Council for the COVID Collaborative as well as the Advisory Council for Hidden Pain. She was the 2020 Light-a-Fire Award Extraordinary Executive Director and a 2022 Women of Influence Award recipient. Brennan is passionate about Dougy Center’s mission to provide grief support, resources, training, and community response to children, teens, young adults, and their families who are grieving before and after a death, and those who support them. Brennan walked through the doors of Dougy Center for the first time in 1987 when her mother, Doris, died three days after she had turned 12-years-old. Her experience in a peer support group at Dougy Center shaped her life and she has strived to provide the same opportunity that she had to other children and families who are grieving in her community, across the country, and around the world ever since. Under Brennan’s leadership, Oregon Business named Dougy Center as a “Best Nonprofit to Work For” for the past six years, and local CEOs voted Dougy Center as a “Most Admired Company” for the past four. Since becoming Executive Director, Brennan has championed Dougy Center’s commitment to equity and inclusion and has brought innovative partnerships, programs, and resources to the field of childhood bereavement. Brennan is committed to making the world a more grief-informed place where we all can acknowledge grief as a natural and normal response to loss that is interwoven into a sociocultural context.

Call for Nominations

The NACG always welcomes nominations of leaders to potentially serve on the NACG Board of Directors.

Do you know someone who has . . .

  • Passion about childhood bereavement and committed to improving the lives of children and teens who are grieving a death.
  • A commitment to and understanding of the mission of NACG, preferably based on experience.
  • Personal qualities of integrity, credibility, strong ethics, with high standards, and a commitment to improving the lives of children and teens who have experienced a death.
  • Enthusiasm about building and managing relationships, anti-racist values, and dedication to operating from an anti-oppression lens.
  • National experience.
  • Willingness to share time, talent, and resources.
  • A positive track record of nonprofit board experience.
  • A natural affinity for cultivating relationships.
  • Achieved leadership stature in business, government, philanthropy, or the nonprofit sector.
  • Accomplishments that enhance the ability to attract other well-qualified, high-performing board members.

If you know this person, or if you are this person, we want to know. The leadership of NACG is in the process of assessing board competencies and defining future needs to create a large candidate pool. Candidates must agree to be nominated.

If the individual is elected as an active NACG Board Member, there will be a requirement to attend bimonthly Board meetings, serve on a committee, participate in Board education and events, and contribute to the sustainability of the National Alliance for Children’s Grief.

Once the nominations have been received, they will be reviewed by the NACG Nominating Committee. Candidates identified as meeting the organization’s current needs will be invited to complete a NACG Board Member application.

We currently are not accepting board member applications. Check back for more information.