Board of Directors

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

Board of Directors

Bethany Gardner
NACG Board 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 member of the Board of Directors for the National Alliance for Grieving Children. Bethany is also adjunct faculty at the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology where she focuses on vocational, leadership, and interpersonal skills development.

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

Dr. Tashel Bordere is an Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Science and State Extension Specialist in Youth Development 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.

Blair Thompson, MDiv
NACG Board Treasurer - Chief Executive Officer of Roy Maas Youth Alternatives

Blair Thompson is an ordained elder (1998) in the United Methodist Church (UMC) and currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Roy Maas Youth Alternatives, a 45-year-old nonprofit organization in San Antonio and Boerne that serves abused and neglected children and youth in crisis. Prior to his installation as CEO at RMYA, Blair spent 9-years as the Managing Director of the Children’s Bereavement Center – a San Antonio nonprofit specializing in expressive art therapies to help children who are grieving the death of a loved one. Blair has also held senior management and executive-level nonprofit development/fundraising positions with Alpha Home and Family Service Association. Before transitioning his career to the nonprofit sector, Blair served the United Methodist Church for 15 years following his graduation from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He was the founding Pastor of Spring Creek United Methodist Church in Fair Oaks Ranch, TX from 1998-2006.

Daniel Layman
NACG Board Secretary - Community Liaison Manager at Blood Cancer Foundation of Michigan

Dan 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.

Tina Barrett, EdD, LCPC
NACG Immediate Past President - Executive Director at Tamarack Grief Resource Center

Tina Barrett, EdD, LCPC, is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Tamarack Grief Resource Center in Montana. Since 1994, Dr. Barrett has specialized in nature-based support following grief, trauma, and attachment disruptions. She launched A Camp to Remember over 25 years ago. As a nonprofit leader and educator, Barrett brings experience and inspiration from her work in schools, psychiatric hospitals, treatment centers, group homes, private practice, and grief centers. She serves on the Advisory Committee for the National Bereavement Camp Standards of Practice; on the Advisory Board and as a Senior Consultant for Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS); on the Leadership Team for Project Tomorrow; and on the NAGC Board of Directors.

Michaeleen (Micki) R. Burns, PhD
Chief Clinical Officer at Judi's House/JAG Institute & Adjust Faculty at the University of Colorado

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.

Sydney Ford
Development Director at Charleston Pro Bono Legal Services

Sydney Ford is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a degree in Public Relations, and a graduate of the Emory University School of Law where she obtained her juris doctorate degree. She was formerly a juvenile defense attorney and followed this path because of the number of grieving children involved in the juvenile justice system. Sydney’s article on trauma-informed pretrial diversion programs for our grieving youth in the juvenile justice system was published by the Northwestern Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology Online. She has also testified for the South Carolina Joint Committee on Children about getting grief resources for children into South Carolina schools and was selected to give a TedX talk on grief in the juvenile justice system. Sydney wrote and published her own children’s book, “Grief Came to Visit Today,” and created a nonprofit, “Hope After Grief Inc.,” that provides scholarships to high school seniors who have had a parent or sibling die. Sydney lost her dad when she was 10 years and became an advocate for grieving children at age 16 when she began going into elementary schools and talking to classes about the emotions associated with grief. Since that time, she has found ways to support grieving children by becoming a board member for the National Alliance for Children’s Grief, becoming a buddy and ambassador for Kate’s Club, and meeting with Senators and the South Carolina Superintendent of Education to advocate for our grieving youth.

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

Catherine Alicia Georges, EdD, RN, FAAN Dr. Catherine Alicia Georges 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 at FRIENDS WAY

Ryan Loiselle, 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 NAGC (National Alliance for Grieving Children) on children's bereavement. He joined the board of directors for the NACG in January 2022.

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 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, Industry Relations, Park Lawn Corporation

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.

Jim Santucci, CPA
Executive Director at 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.

Adam D-F. Stevens, MA, RDT
Program Manager, Bereavement & Mental Health Services at the Hetrick-Martin Institute

Adam D-F. Stevens (they|them), MA, RDT are a Registered Drama Therapist (RDT) who works at the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a non-profit organization that serves LGBTQAI+ youth in NYC. Their role includes supporting queer youth in transforming their loss and grief into unapologetic, abundant joy and empowerment. Previously, Adam worked at the Cooke School & Institute, NYC, guiding young people with developmental and intellectual differences. They are alumni of Marymount Manhattan College and New York University where their areas of study included Theatre Arts and Drama Therapy respectively. 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. 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. Adam is a political and social justice practitioner who supports organizations and schools worldwide amplifying diversity, equity, and inclusion. Adam's superpowers are rooted in the fantastical forces of creativity and love.

Darcy Walker Krause, LSW, J.D.
Founder at Good Grief Gal

Darcy Walker Krause, MSW, LSW, J.D. (she/her), is the Founder of Good Grief Gal and is a non-profit and grief consultant, specializing in non-profit management, leadership, capacity building, and transformational growth. Having experienced the loss of her mother at the age of 15, Ms. Krause has spent the last thirteen years researching, advocating on behalf of, and supporting grieving children and their families. From 2013 through 2022, Ms. Krause was the Executive Director at Uplift Center for Grieving Children in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In this role, Ms. Krause led Uplift through transformational growth, including Uplift being recognized as a national thought leader and award-winning organization for its innovative Philly HopeLine. Ms. Krause has presented nationally for the Association for Death Education and Counseling and the NACG on a variety of topics, including human resources, partnering with government and local agencies to combat violence, research studies, and attachment in grief therapy. Ms. Krause is a frequent guest lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania and has been featured on a variety of media outlets, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, Trinity Broadcasting Network, Fox29, and podcasts (including the Dead Parents Society at the University of Pennsylvania). A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Policy and Practice and the Duke University School of Law, Ms. Krause has served as Secretary, Vice-President, and President of the NACG Board of Directors, and is Secretary of the Philadelphia Duke Alumni Board.

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 at 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 the issue of childhood bereavement?
  • A commitment to and understanding of the mission of NACG, preferably based on experience?
  • Personal qualities of integrity, credibility, and a passion for improving the lives of children who are grieving?
  • National experience?
  • Willingness to share time and talent?
  • Track record of board leadership?
  • A natural affinity for cultivating relationships?
  • Achieved leadership stature in business, government, philanthropy, or the nonprofit sector?
  • Accomplishments that will allow him/her to attract other well-qualified, high-performing board members?

If you know this person, we want to know about them. Please submit their name and information at the link below.