Meet Our Team

The professional team at Tanager Place is made up of compassionate care advocates, nurses, family support specialists and trained social workers. We’re 100% family-focused and driven to meet the unique needs of every child and family who walks through our doors.


Okpara Rice

Chief Executive Officer

Okpara Rice joined Tanager Place of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as executive director in July 2013, and assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer July 2015. Okpara is the first African American to hold executive office at Tanager Place in its more than 140 year history.

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He brings leadership experience to Tanager from his work at the Jewish Child Care Association in Pleasantville, New York, the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in Chicago, the Youth Campus in Park Ridge, Ill and Starr Columbus in Columbus, Ohio.

Okpara is active in the field and his community and currently serves on a wide number of boards and advisory committees locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. The issues that fuel his passion and involvement include juvenile justice, access to services, health equity, education and leadership development. Most recently he was appointed to Governor Kim Reynolds’ Children’s System State Board, formed to innovatively create solutions for youth in Iowa. Okpara also led the more than 60-year old Association of Children’s Residential Centers as its first African American Board President.

Okpara has presented internationally in Europe and Canada on issues that affect children. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois, and a Master of Social Work from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, where he was named a Distinguished Alumnus of the Brown School in 2018. He also holds an Executive Management certification from Georgetown University, Washington DC, and an Executive Scholar Certificate from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.

Okpara lives in Marion, Iowa with his wife Julie and sons Malcolm and Dylan.

Mike Hines

Senior Vice President of Programming

Mike Hines has worked at Tanager Place since 1986. Before becoming a full time caseworker for the sexual abuse program, he worked in the PMIC unit for two years. He soon became supervisor for the Community Based programs.

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Mike has been part of the Executive Administration team since 2010 and was named Senior Vice President of Programming in 2015.  He is also involved with many projects throughout Tanager Place, YouthPort, the Cedar Rapids School District, Mental Health Resource Committee, United Way Reading into Success, and other community organizations.

Kim Venner

Vice President of Operations

Kim Venner joined Tanager Place in 2013 as the Pediatric Integrated Health Administrator. Previously, she worked with various populations including pregnant and parenting teens, developmentally disabled children, delinquent adolescents, and preschool children.

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She has served as a peer reviewer for the Council on Accreditation for nine years, and has administrative experience in quality improvement; regulatory, accreditation, and technology management. Kim holds a MSW from The University of Iowa and a BSW from Mount Mercy University.

Bradley Thatcher

Vice President of Finance

Brad Thatcher joined Tanager Place in January 2016. Prior to starting at Tanager Place, Brad served for 4 years as the Controller for Four Oaks Family and Children’s Services, a year as the Controller for the University of Iowa Foundation, and 8 years as an …

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auditor of not-for-profit and governmental organizations at McGladrey & Pullen, LLP.

Brad graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a Master’s of Accounting degree in 2003 and became a licensed CPA in 2005. Brad was born and raised in Cedar Rapids and is committed to helping Tanager Place successfully navigate financially.

Tonya Hotchkin

Director of Clinical Care, LMFT, RPT, CTP

Working with children and families is inspirational to me. Passion is defined as any powerful or compelling notion or feeling. Denis Diderot once said, “Only passions, great passions can elevate the soul to great things.” In my soul …

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I feel that children and families are the most beautiful creatures on the earth. I believe that it is through human relationships, connections, nurturing and love that we open the door to inspire greatness; inspire
potential in the soul. I love being a part of a system that focuses on strengths, hope, well being and resiliency. I hope to be a stepping stone, a planted seed, a part of someone’s journey that invites them to see their reflection and feel their greatness.

Michelle Allmandinger

Director of Inpatient Services

Michelle joined Tanager Place in September 2018. Previously she was employed for 28 years at Four Oaks where she served as Program Manager for a variety of juvenile justice/child welfare programs.

Joan Hackbarth

Director of Advancement

Joan Hackbarth has been an active member of the team at Tanager Place since 1991. Working initially as a volunteer Joan helped to grow the annual Tanager Place Summer Fest. She was hired in the Department of Advancement in 2003.

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Born in Iowa City, and a graduate from Iowa State University, Joan has lived in Iowa all her life. She works hard for the mission of Tanager Place and leads the Department of Advancement to meet its goals in building awareness, advocacy and fundraising.

Lorrie Erusha

Director of Philanthropy, MOL, CFRE

Lorrie Erusha joined Tanager Place in November 2014. Prior to joining the staff Lorrie served in a variety of administrative and management roles as a consultant, business owner, …

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recruiter, trainer, and buyer.

Lorrie graduated from the University of Arizona and received her M.A. Organizational Leadership from St. Ambrose University. Lorrie’s passionate commitment to the Tanager Place mission helps facilitate relationship building and philanthropy. She works with donors in major gifts and planned giving.

Clinic Staff

Amber Cook

LMFT-t, Board Certified Music Therapist

Amber is a graduate from Wartburg College and holds a Bachelor’s in Music Education, having majored in music therapy.

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Amber specialized in developmental disabilities and Autism treatment, and works with clients through the Mental Health Clinic on an outpatient basis. Amber also works with the inpatient program on campus and facilitates music education opportunities through the Expressive Arts Program.

Andrew Beer

Clinic Therapist

Andrew received his degree from Mount Mercy University and his doctorate from the University of Iowa.

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Andrew’s leadership extends statewide as a member of the Governor’s Autism Council. Unlike many adults, being playful has never stopped being a part of my life. I am extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to freely apply that playfulness in the work that I do. This has allowed me to relate to and communicate with children and families in a way that I never thought was possible. The language of play allows me to bridge the worlds of adults and children, helping them connect, reconnect, or form entirely new fulfilling relationships that can help them thrive. Each day brings a new challenge. Some end in smiles, others in tears. In the end, I can only hope to fill their hearts in the way that they fill mine.

Angelo LaRocco

Clinical Psychologist

Angelo attended Western Illinois University where he gained a BS in Psychology. At the University of Iowa he earned both an Educational Specialist degree and Ph.D. in School Psychology.

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I want to help provide insight and data-based direction to families struggling to find answers in regards to their child’s cognitive, developmental, academic, or behavioral needs.

Bethany Gugliano

LMSW Clinic Therapist

Bethany earned her Masters in Social Work degree from the University of Iowa in 2014. I enjoy working with families and children who have …

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a history of trauma, anxiety, or depression. I understand that the family is a unit and whole has to be fit and functional in order for each part to be whole.

Bethany Roberts

LMSW Clinic Therapist

Bethany attended the University of Iowa where she earned both a Masters in Social Work and a BA in Psychology.

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I decided to join the Tanager Place team as a clinic therapist because I believe the mind is so complex and powerful, that those who have experienced trauma and overwhelming emotions or life events have the ability within themselves to create positive change in their lives, and embrace radical acceptance when they are given an opportunity to do so within a safe and nurturing environment. It is my mission to provide a safe space for people who are hurting, to build them up with unconditional positive regard and encouragement to move forward from their suffering and create a life worth living for themselves one step at a time.

Blake Stephenson

LMSW, BCBA ASD Program Supervisor

Blake is a graduate from Saint Louis University and holds a Masters of Social Work …

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with emphasis in applied behavior analysis.  Blake was appointed a member of the Governor’s Autism Council in 2019.

“Do good, take data.” – Dr. Todd Risley
Such a simple quote is, perhaps, the epitome of my life and the work I do. I was raised from a young age to learn the importance of service to
others. Whether it was through my time volunteering as a coach for the Special Olympics, or working at camps for children, adolescents, and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities, the mantra of “do good” was instilled in me.

“Take data” came when I started my journey into higher education. I was magnetically drawn to applied behavior analysis (ABA) and the science of human of behavior. It felt like the answer to my questions: It provided me with structure and the ability to know that when I am working with you or your child, what I am doing is effective and evidence-based. I take pleasure and pride in the work that I do and will always

Bridget Sicchio

MS, ATR Art Therapist

Bridget earned her Master of Science in Art Therapy from Mount Mary University and has a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa.

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She practiced art therapy for six years in Wisconsin, giving children with special needs and individuals with disabilities the opportunity to by using the art process as a way to heal. In 2012, Bridget joined the Expressive Arts program at Tanager Place where she works as a Registered Art therapist, helping at-risk children explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and develop social skills.

Courtney Davenport

ASD Social Skills Program

Darcy Koehn


Darcy attended the University of Iowa College of Nursing where she received her master’s of arts from the College of Nursing, as well as a Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner …

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Post-Master’s Certificate. She earned her bachelor’s of science in nursing from Coe College. Darcy has worked in the children’s mental health field since 2001 and brings experience as a Nurse Practitioner from Mercy Family Counseling and the University of Iowa. She offers her services in the Behavioral Health Clinic, seeing patients twice per week and has special interests in working with children with ADHD, ODD, anxiety and depressive disorders.

Dawn Neff

LISW Family Therapist

Dawn attended the University of Denver where she received her Masters of Social Work. I love being able to help others to grow and become

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their own kind of successful. It’s a true privileged to be a witness to their story and a part of their journey. I often find that I learn more from my clients about growth, strength, and perseverance than I teach them.

Deanne Drummy

ABA Technician

Erin Forbes

Clinic Therapist

Erin earned degrees at the University of St. Thomas for Clinical Social Work and …

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Mount Mercy University for Psychology and English.

I want to be a part of building a stronger community and helping the young people in this community truly experience opportunities to reach their full potential. Tanager Place’s mission and core values are very much in line with service to the community.

Jennie Null

LMFT, Clinical Supervisor/Therapist

Jennie received her Bachelors’ degree in Psychology and her Masters of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from Mount Mercy University.

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​I love when a child, parent, family, or staff are able to recognize their internal strengths and beauty. In turn to see that individual or family grow and blossom into their most authentic, confident, and resilient self.

Joining in relationships with people from all walks of life creates passion in my heart. I believe therapeutic relationships are built on trust, secure vulnerability and compassion. Brene’ Brown says “vulnerability is birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change” I believe that it is through these strong yet vulnerable relationships people can get to know themselves from all different angles and learn to appreciate all parts of their stories, thus created courage and change. I believe everyone has unlimited potential to take ownership and create change in their life’s story. Seeing growth in clients, interns, colleagues and myself through these relationships is the most rewarding and motivating outcome I experience.

Jillian Polaski

Clinic Therapist

Jillian earned a degree in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Iowa and her Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy …

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from Mt. Mercy University.

Prior to becoming a therapist, I studied and taught creative writing for many years, focusing on personal narrative writing. I found that what I loved so much about writing was the process of making sense out of my life, and the way that storying process changed me. I see therapy as also being a storying effort, one requiring imagination and play. Whatever age we are, we need to play and we need to imagine in order to generate possibility and hope, to overcome trauma, to tell ourselves stories that go beyond the self and embed us in some larger context. Our stories, and our selves, cannot exist in absolute isolation. We are marked by the people and the environments around us, and we need relationship. When we can integrate these relationships into a coherent narrative that makes sense to us and to the others around us, I think we can say we are on the path to healing.

Joella Gerber

Clinic Therapist

Joella earned a degree in Psychology at Cedarville University, and a Masters of Social Work from the University of Iowa.

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Clients always amaze me with their resilience and drive to keep working through hard life circumstances. I also love Tanager’s mission to compassionately and empathetically work with people with the most need.

Josh Sarnecky

Clinic Therapist

I chose Tanager Place because I believe in the organization’s commitment to children in our community. Through its combined focus on prevention, treatment, and outreach, Tanager Place is a dynamic network that I am proud to be a part of.

Lily Liggins

LMHC-t Clinic Therapist

Sonia recieved a B.A. in Psychology from Point Loma Nazarene University. She also earned a M.A. in Counseling Psychology and Latino Counseling

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from Santa Clara University. I am passionate about youth and family development and strengthening Latino communities through self-exploration, skill building, empowerment to advocate for personal needs, crisis intervention and prevention work. I am a graduate of Santa Clara University, and have a M.A. in Counseling Psychology with a Latino Counseling emphasis. While my professional background has been with children and adolescent mental health, I am also interested in exploring mental health work with other populations (e.g., adults, aging, palliative care, grief & loss, and women post-partum).

Furthermore, I have professional experience in alternative dispute resolution, group facilitation, after school and summer camp programming for elementary school age children, immigration issues and case management with Latino populations.

Kelly Mayer

LMSW Clinic Therapist

Kelly received her Bachelors of Social Work and Masters of Social Work from University of Iowa School of Social Work. Her therapeutic style includes Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Trauma Informed Care, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, and Adlerian Play Therapy techniques

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When I think what fills my bucket, I always come back to serving others. What this looks like has changed over time and serves as an anchor to ground me in times where I seek to re-center myself. Working alongside children and families as they grow and learn and mold into stronger more empowered versions of themselves is what keeps me coming back each day. While I hope to teach and lead by example, the real learning comes from the clients sitting across from me each day. Every client is unique and holds their own key to a fulfilling and resilient future. I am honored to be a part of their journey.

Kristen Mead


Working with children and families has lit a passion deep in my soul for helping others. I love being a part of something that makes a difference in the world simply by connecting with others on a basic human level. I believe connection is the ability to be vulnerable

Kirsten Pancione

Telehealth ARNP

Lindsey Swales

Clinical Supervisor/Therapist

Lindsey earned a MSW degree from St. Ambrose University. She also has a Bachelors …

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in Psychology with a minor in Human Relations from the University of Iowa.

I make a significant effort to create a healthy connection with my clients by utilizing my strengths of compassion, humor, and a non-judgmental approach to build a strong, trusting relationship.  I strive to create a warm and nurturing environment for my clients to experience feelings of safety and stability in order to heal and cultivate lasting change.  I utilize a variety of evidence based practices to provide  individualized treatment to my clients including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Adlerian Play Therapy, AutPlay, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).

Marie Villhauer

Clinic Therapist

Marie earned a degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of …

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San Diego. My friends and family have always referred to me as a “cheerleader” because I am always cheering them on and encouraging them to achieve their dreams and goals. I try to bring that enthusiasm to work with me with children and families. I feel inspired by the future of the children I meet and believe every child is full of potential. My goal in meeting your family  is to help create an environment that allows you to learn new skills that help you overcome challenges and explore existing strengths that you have within.

Megan Conrad

Clinic Therapist

Megan attended the University of Northern Iowa where she earned her M.A. in Mental Health Counseling. Megan draws from a variety of theoretical orientations for each client’s unique situations and believes that the client is the expert

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in their own lives so she works with the client to create a collaborative relationship. She also believes the client’s social connections are unique and important. Megan has special interest in working with children and teens.  Megan recently graduated with her MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and is working towards becoming a registered play therapist. Megan is also seeking training on animal assisted play therapy and EMDR.

Melia Ortberg

Medical Assistant

Melia started with Tanager September of 2016 in the outpatient psychiatry department. She loves knowing that she have an opportunity to improve life not just for the child but with the entire family as well.

Molly Chambers

Clinic Therapist

Molly received her Masters of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from Mount Mercy University.

I know that providing support, acceptance and knowledge to children and families, and working with them to reach their goals is essential to the growth, happiness and safety of the individual, as well as the family, and the community as a whole.

Monica Ryan-Rausch


Monica Walters

Clinic Therapist

Monica received her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Mount Mercy University.

Monica considers herself open, encouraging, and strength-based. She loves to get to know the person behind the presenting problem as …

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she believes everyone has inherent, unique strengths that can be used to overcome life’s obstacles.

As a therapist, I love working collaboratively with clients and getting to know them as individuals. My passion lies in enhancing people’s strengths and building flexibility and confidence. My ultimate goal for children and families is for them to utilize those inherent strengths and remain resilient through life’s barriers. At bare minimum, I wish for everyone to achieve some level of happiness and balance, and most of all, to know they are worth it!

Naomi Dopp

Clinic Therapist

Naomi earned her Masters in Mental Health Counseling from Capella University. Tanager Place offers a wide range of services to help not only the child function better, but for the family as a unit to function better.

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Having previously worked at Tanager Place as a Treatment Counselor in the inpatient unit, I always enjoyed helping children gain confidence and the skills needed to increase their independence and foster success.

Natasha Clark

Clinic Nurse Practitioner

Natasha received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, from Coe College, Cedar Rapids, IA; Master of Science in Nursing, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, 2012 from Frontier …

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Nursing University, Hayden, KY; Doctorate of Nursing Practice, Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, 2018 from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA.

Natasha is a nurse practitioner with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare field. After obtaining her master’s degree, she began working as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. Given her desire to care for both the physical and mental health needs of her patients, she recently returned to school to obtain her doctorate degree and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certification. While obtaining this degree, she rediscovered her passion for working with children and their families.

Pamela Moen

Clinic Therapist

Pamela earned her Masters of  Social Work from the University of Iowa. She enjoys building relationships and collaborating with her clients so that they can live out their best lives.

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I knew since I was very young that I wanted to be a therapist when I got older. I have always loved getting to know people, forming relationships and hearing people tell their stories. I believe it is my role as a therapist to create a safe place for people to share about themselves and tell their story. I want to collaborate with clients as they explore, discover and grow. I believe in a focus on the person’s strengths as well as areas they would like to see change in order to help them live the life they want for themselves. I have a lot of compassion and genuinely care about people. I feel grateful to be able to serve clients as their therapist here at Tanager Place.

Robin Hoffman

Clinic Therapist

From as long as I can remember I have enjoyed interacting and helping children. My interest in engaging with children grew into a passion that has blossomed as my career continues to unfold.

Shawn Grommon

ABA Technician

Shawn earned a BBA from Mt. Mercy University. I want ALL children feel included, loved, and valued, especially children with Autism. Teaching them the skills needed to boost their confidence, building relationships, guiding them through

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their frustrations, and witnessing their successes is very rewarding.

Whitney Paul

Clinic Therapist

Whitney attended St. Ambrose University where she received her Master of Social Work degree. My passion is to help children express their thoughts and feelings through play and art.

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I strive to create a calm, safe, and compassionate space for children to process and heal through trauma. I enjoy working with children of all ages and their families, while working collaboratively with the family to help them meet their needs and goals. Areas of focus include: art therapy interventions, abuse and trauma, as well as the development of self-esteem and identity. I feel everyone has the ability to change, heal, and grow as an individual. It is my hope that clients leave each session with a sense of empowerment to facilitate change within their lives.

School Based Therapists

Abby Seyfer

LISW Clinician Supervisor

Abby earned her Master of Social Work from University of Iowa and attended Luth College for undergraduate degree with a double major in psychology and sociology.As I work with children and their families, I strive to create a warm…

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and inviting environment in which all of our parts are welcome. The part of you that is motivated; the part of you that is hurt; the part of you that is doing whatever it needs to do to keep you safe.  I am most passionate about inviting the ‘inner child’ within each of us to “come out and play” in our work together, as this is a part of us that is not often valued or cherished in our society, but that holds significant truth and meaning. Through my work, I have realized my calling of nurturing and mending ‘old wounds’ that may have been forgotten about in everyday life but that are still ringing true in our hearts and in our beliefs about  who we are as an individual, as a child, as a parent, as a co-worker. My hope is that clients are able to walk out of my office knowing that they are valued, cared for, and possess endless resources within themselves to be their most authentic, healthy self.

Ashley Hart

LMSW School Based Therapist

Ashley attended the University of Iowa where she received a degree in Social Work. She also was a Social Work undergrad at Winona State University.

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I find value in working with youth and their families and supporting them as they work towards reaching their goals. I believe that everyone possesses traits that make them unique, valuable, important and wonderful individuals. It is my goal to assist others in recognizing and celebrating those aspects in themselves. I believe that everyone deserves to be seen as the unique and wonderful person they are while having supports to understand, believe in and be with them as they navigate life’s struggles. I hope to provide a space for youth to be themselves and feel comfortable as they grow towards their goals.

Laura Greening

LISW School Based Therapist

Laura went to the University of Michigan where she earned her Masters in Social Work. She also received a BSW degree from Loyola University in Chicago.

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I believe that every child has a story, and they deserve to share that story, have someone listen to that story, and help them to realize their goals and potential. Our world often teaches us that being strong is measured by how quickly we overcome adversity or hardship. Taking ownership of our stories allows us to rewrite the ending. Vulnerability is such a scary concept. Letting someone in is often a daunting task, although when we do let others in, the ending can be beautiful.  I feel so incredibly honored to work alongside children and families, and to be entrusted to assist them in navigating their stories. I feel so blessed to watch children grow and realize their goals, worth, and potential.

Valerie Westfall

LMSW School Based Therapist

Valerie attended Saint Louis University where she earned her Masters in Social Work. She also attended Mount Mercy University as an undergrad where she majored in Social Work and minored…

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in Psychology. As Alfred says to Bruce Wayne (AKA Batman) ” why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up”. This quote is one of my favorites and I too believe that we all fall at times, and sometimes we need support from others to help pick ourselves up. I would like to be that additional support for children to let them know it is ok to ask for help and acknowledge that things can be difficult to deal with. With this additional support hopefully we cant teach kids that they too can rise like Batman.

Maggie Hartzler

LISW, CTP Clinical Supervisor

Maggie attended St. Ambrose University where she earned her Masters of Social Work degree. She also received a BA in Psychology and Philosophy as an undergraduate at Coe College.

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I find great worth and value in working with children and families.  I feel that each person has talents, characteristics, and qualities that make them important and special and beautiful.  I believe that my own gifts allow me to easily and quickly see the strength and beauty in others.  Every person deserves to have someone who can see them for who they really are and who they are meant to be – someone to believe in them, connect with them, and sit with them in their struggles and successes.  I want to be that person for the children and families I serve.  It is my hope that each person who walks into my space can leave knowing that they are beautiful and worthy and filled to the brim with greatness and potential.

Holly Miller

LMHC-T School Based Therapist

Holly majored in Psychology at the Quincy University. She also attended the Liberty University where she received a Masters in Professional Counseling.

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She also earned a Masters in Forensic Psychology from Walden University. I did not grow up in a “normal” situation. I struggled with my upbringing for many years. I ended up a high school dropout and a teenage mother. Even though my family was somewhat supportive; they were at a lose for me. I found comfort in a local non-profit organization. They helped me to understand that I could be someone in spite of my background. I want to be able to do the same. I hope that I can inspire children and families that they define who you are. They have the tools to be able to heal.

Tawny Schafbuch

LISW School Based Therapist

Tawny earned her Masters of Social Work from the St. Ambrose University. She also received a BA in Social Work from Mount Mercy University. Children represent the future of the …

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world we live in. I am motivated to help encourage each child to become the best they can be, despite the adverse situations they may be faced with. In my own experience as a child, I did not have many options for support for the life situations my family was facing. I feel passionate about not letting children feel that they have no one to talk to or listen to them, as I did when I was their age. To me, it is important to recognize the uniqueness and diversity in every child and allow them to express this appropriately and in a safe place.

Amanda Vanis

LMHC School Based Therapist

Amanda has a Masters in Counseling and Human Services from the University of Colorado. She also has a BA in Psychology and a BS in Sociology from the University of Iowa.

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A graduate school professor once told me, “Just because the process hurts, doesn’t mean the results won’t be beautiful.” I promote this daily with the children and families I work with, always fostering safety, hope, and confidence in themselves. Giving children the tools and encouragement to navigate difficult situations and come out stronger on the other side, is nothing short of amazing, and what drives me to provide a supportive environment to all clients. I believe that a strong foundation is what gives children the ability to be resilient, overcome, and take charge, all which are pivotal in giving them a voice. And it is with that voice that they are able to value their true selves, and begin their journey, no matter what the path may hold.

Jennifer Vanscoy

LMHC School Based Therapist

Jennifer earned an MS degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Walden University. Everyone that I meet has a story to be told and heard.

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To me, the opportunity to build a meaningful relationship with individuals and hear them tell their story is the very best job I can think of.  Every person I meet has a past, a present, and a future.  Although our past is a part of us, the present and what we do with our past is what defines us in the present and in the future.  It is my job to hear and understand your story, and to help you build the skills you need to have the future you want.

Cassie Kehoe

LMSW, CTP School Based Therapist

Cassie attended the University of Iowa where she received her Masters in Social Work. She also has a BS in criminal justice and psychology at the College of Brockport in New York.

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It is my core belief that we are all trying to do the best with what we have. Sometimes, we get stuck, and sometimes we need someone to be able to show us that what we have is enough. It is my goal and my want to help children and families to be able to explore that potential within them. To help them see that they are enough, and that they are capable of what they want to achieve and be. I feel grateful for all the families and children I meet on a daily basis, as they teach me about overcoming challenges, as well as show me how resilient they are. My hope is to provide a safe, nurturing space for all those who visit, and can leave with the belief that they are enough, that their feelings are valid and that they can accomplsh their goals. “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. A. A. Milne”.

Chantelle Mobberley

LMFT-t School Based Therapist

Chantelle has her  Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. Her therapeutic style includes Internal Family Systems, Alderian and CBT. She’s also trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid.

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I believe a person is more than who is standing before us.Each person is a complex entity that still manages to share a wide range of emotions, or parts if you will. Each of us have happiness, joy, sadness, fears, insecurities, etc.  These parts are  shaped by not only our family we grew up with but also each and every decision we make. Through this process we are shaped and shape ourselves continuously. This includes how we should care for parts of ourselves, even ones we do not like. I believe all of our emotions and parts are inherently good. Even if some people only see those parts as bad, I invite curiosity and hope that we can learn from ourselves and those parts.

Katherine Parker

LMSW School Based Therapist

Katherine has her Bachelors degree in Social Work with minors in psychology and writing and her Masters degree in Social Work with an emphasis in Trauma Informed Care from the University of …

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Northern Iowa. I once read a quote that stated “I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say, because of you, I didn’t give up”.  To have the opportunity to help a child grow into their full potential is an amazing thing. It can truly only take one person to believe and encourage a child to let them know their full worth and value. Children are misunderstood, usually the children who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving ways. To be able to create a safe environment and space for a child to share their story with you is such a privilege. Letting a child know they won’t have to walk through their troubles alone, is more than worthwhile to me.

Molly Maxfield

LMHC-t, NCC School Based Therapist

Molly received her BA in Psychology and MA in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling from the University of Iowa. Her therapeutic style includes CBT, person-centered and trauma-informed.

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It has been a long time goal of mine to pursue a career focused on helping others to find a way to live more fulfilling and contented lives. Children and adolescents inspire me with their level of resiliency and strength, and I feel very fortunate to work in a setting where I am able to learn so much from the clients I interact with. I believe every person possesses unique traits and abililties, and sometimes it takes assistance to identify and utilize these strengths. My mission as a therapist at Tanager Place is to create a safe and nurturing environment where my clients can grow and recognize their worth and potential as individuals.

Deb Wiethorn

LMSW School Based Therapist

Deb has her MA in Social Work from the University of Iowa. Her therapeutic areas of focus include: art and play therapy techniques, trauma informed, as well as the development of self-esteem and self-worth.

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“One hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the type of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove…but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child” After I graduated from college, I was given a canvas with this quote printed on it. I have continued to carry this message with me over the 20 years I have worked in the mental health field. I enjoy the opportunity to work with children to help them work through difficult situations in their lives so they can heal and find their own inner strength. I feel we all have the opportunity to learn from those that enter our lives. I have found that I have learned a great deal from the children and families that I have had the opportunity to work with over the years. It is my hope that when children complete their time with me they leave with a greater sense of empowerment, resiliency, and self-worth to facilitate change within their lives.

Elizabeth Clark

LMHC-t School Based Therapist

Elizabeth received her Bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of Iowa and her Masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Walden University. Her therapeutic style incorporates CBT …

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and person centered techniques. I believe that children are extremely wise and that we all can learn important life lessons from them. When we can take the time to be present and listen to the stories of others, we are not only honoring the person who is sharing, but we are giving ourselves the gift of growth.

Tonya Goodburn

LMSW School Based Therapist

Tonya has a Bachelors degree in Family Services from UNI and a Masters of Social Work from the University of Iowa. She’s proud to be working for Tanager Place, because Tanager Place is a leader in therapy and trauma-informed care.

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As Elie Wiesel says “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”  As a social worker it is important for us to be empathetic to our clients and I am here to help them with their current journey.  We need to think about their environment and the trauma that they have/and or going through at the time.

Joe Hunt Wassink

LMSW School Based Therapist

Joe received his Masters in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis. He is certified in Cultural Compitency, Psychological First Aid, Training in Trauma Informed CBT, Motivational Interviewing, and Applied Suicide Intervention.

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I  grew up the middle of 5 children, so my most familiar family role became peacemaker, and I am no stranger to complex sibling and parent-child dynamics. I also experienced the life-giving power of that same loving and supportive family. Having benefited from that experience, it is my goal to help all individuals in the families I work with develop deep understanding and trust of one another. I have a life-long passion for working to liberate and empower children and a commitment to supporting them at every age and level of interaction; from the individual, to the family, to their participation in broader systems such as schools and friendship groups. I aspire to facilitate a future for the children I serve in which they grow up feeling the full support of their family and their community, and have all the resources they need to grow into successful and happy adults.

Daryl Byrd

LMSW School Based Therapist

Daryl works at Tanager Place because she wanted to have an opportunity to work with children to help them with issues they have with their mental health through a school environment to assist them and their families …

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with accessibility to therapy. While working with adults with mental illness, one of the most valuable things I learned was the importance of being listened to without the desire or need to solve their problems. Being able to provide a listening ear to my clients was a great way for them to feel comfortable and heard when they met with me. Through working with children and their families, I hope to be able to provide a space where children feel heard and we can work together to alleviate any issues they may be having that are affecting their performance in school and quality of life.

Jordan Bouzek

LMHC-t, NCC School Based Therapist

Jordan received her Masters degree in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling from the University of Iowa. She utilizes play and expressive arts therapy during her therapy sessions.

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I have always had a passion for working with children and families. I am constantly inspired by the resiliency and ability to thrive that I see in children on a day to day basis. It is such a special thing for a child and their family to be vulnerable and welcome you into their world. I strive to become a positive, empowering, and healing person within that world through a strong and meaningful relationship. I believe that every child is uniquely wonderful and has the ability to succeed in life. I hope to support each child in uncovering their strengths and abilities and empowering them to be able to overcome challenges that life may bring.

Jen Angus

LMSW School Based Therapist

Jen attended Northwestern College for undergraduate degree with a double major in social work and Spanish and has her Masters of Social Work from the University of Iowa.

I have an eclectic therapeutic …

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orientation incorporating a variety of therapeutic styles dependent upon client needs. Family systems theory is a large influencer as I feel it is essential to recognize the impact of outside factors. CBT is also very impactful due to the importance of one’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. In working with children I also feel the incorporation of play is essential as it is the way in which children best know how to communicate.

I have always had an incredibly strong passion for children and helping others. I was led to the field of Social Work when this simple question was posed to me: “If you never had to worry about money, what would you want to do with your life?” The response from my heart was to play with kids, and I am so grateful that I have been able to make that my life’s work. I am beyond blessed to be able to do this work and by all that I am able to learn and gain from the children and families I work with. It is my hope to provide them a place where they find safety, healing, empowerment, and know they are trusted, cared for, and valued for every part of themselves.

Elizabeth Heiar

LMFT School Based Therapist

Elizabeth has her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from and her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Mount Mercy University. Her therapeutic style includes Trauma-Informed-Care, Systems Theory, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, and is collaborative.

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As a single mother, my passion is in supporting and empowering other single parents. Parents and caregivers play one of the most important roles in a child’s life, therefore engaging families in the treatment of their children is equally important. I value the diversity and uniqueness of each family as a unit, in addition to each member of the family individually.

Kristin Cannon

LMSW School Based Therapist

Kristin received her Masters of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I approach therapeutic relationships with the belief that each person is the expert on their own lives.

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When I work with children and families, I want to help them find a place of safety, comfort, and empowerment in themselves and within their communities. I love being able to be a part of the stories of children and families and to help them be successful in all the things they can accomplish. I work to build a unique relationship with each person I work with, and I let them guide their own goals and the work they will do with me.

Alexis Erger

LMSW School Based Therapist

Alexis has her Masters of Social Work from the University of Iowa. In all experiences, I use a strengths-based approach, and include a combination of family systems therapy, …

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dialectical behavior therapy, and trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy. I utilize play in much of my work, which I believe enables children to foster skills and work through traumatic experiences. My days spent working with kids are embedded into my heart and rooted in my soul; they have provided me with precious opportunities to bear witness to strength, courage, trials and triumphs. I am honored to experience the vast richness and exquisite beauty found in human connection, and always strive to utilize this connection to foster hope. With each child that I work with, I seek to create a safe, nurturing space that promotes the child’s resilience, affirms their value, and empowers them to realize their inherent strengths.

Lanna Goodman

LMSW School Based Therapist

Lanna has her Masters of Social Work from the University of Iowa. She is trained in CBT, Trauma Informed CBT,  Person Centered Practice and QPR .

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Our hearts and minds can vary each day and through our lived experiences.  Sometimes these experiences are inspiring, other times they can be difficult.  How we respond and recover can be determined by the tools we have to build upon those experiences or repair what has been broken.  Our jobs is not to eliminate these these experiences but to help one gain an understanding, provide new tools when necessary, and sharpen those tools for use in the future.