Our Team

We are a group of mental health and educational experts dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children and the future success of our society.

Jerrie Jacobs-Kenner Ph.D, LCSW

Senior Director, Community-Based Programs


Jerrie Jacobs-Kenner has worked as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, social work educator and administrator in the child and family services arena for over 25 years. She has been with Crittenton Children’s Center since March 2015. In addition to other community-based programs, Jerrie works closely with the Trauma Smart® Directors and other staff members to ensure ongoing, high-quality programming.

Susan Pinné LSCSW, LCSW



Susan Pinné has been with Trauma Smart since its inception in 2008. Her career has been centered on therapy for preschool-aged children who have experienced trauma and coaching for their families and teachers. She has served as a therapist, coach, and manager in the Trauma Smart Program. Susan is currently a Trauma Smart Director.

LeAnn Keck LCSW, RPT

Project Director


LeAnn Keck joined the Trauma Smart team in 2014. She has over ten years of clinical experience working with children, adults, and families in a variety of settings such as community trauma education and prevention, early childhood education, counseling, palliative care, and military services. LeAnn has expertise in play therapy and attachment work with children ages three-thirteen years old. She is currently the Trauma Smart Director of Projects.

Jennifer Weiss Friedman M.S. CCC-SLP

Project Director Trauma Smart NYC


Jennifer Weiss Friedman is a licensed bilingual speech-language pathologist with over twenty years of experience in education. She has worked in public schools, early intervention, and speech-language and educational consulting. She also served for ten years as co-founding director of a dual language preschool. Jennifer joined Trauma Smart in January of 2017 to lead a team of consultants in bringing Trauma Smart to New York City.

Laura Niederer LPC, RPT

Manager, Trainer and Consultant


Laura Niederer joined the Trauma Smart team in 2015. Laura has over 6 years of clinical experience working with families, adults, and children in a private practice setting. She has over 12 years of experience providing support, advocacy, and empowerment to women and children in domestic violence shelters. In addition, Laura has a certification in Play Therapy working with children ages 3 and up. She is currently a Manager and Trainer at Trauma Smart of Crittenton Children’s Center in Kansas City.

Marcia Weseman Ed.D

Manager Community Programs and Prevention


Marcia Weseman spent more than three decades in Kansas school districts as a teacher, elementary and middle school principal, and district administrator.  She did her undergraduate and master’s work at Washburn University, Topeka and earned her doctorate from the University of Kansas in 1995.  Her passion has long been mentoring educators to do whatever it takes to make a positive difference for students.  She now tries to achieve that goal by helping educators become Trauma Informed.  

Brit Visser LCSW

Manager, Trainer, and Consultant


Brit is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She's passionate about early intervention and prevention work within communities to empower children to thrive. For the past seven years, her experiences have focused on working with children and families that have experienced trauma. She's had opportunities to work within several school settings; providing therapy to children and families, coaching teachers, and educating caregivers. Brit is trained in Play Therapy, EMDR, and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy. She is currently a Manager, Trainer, and Consultant at Trauma Smart.

Deborah Grantham LPC, PLPC



Deborah Grantham joined Trauma Smart in 2010 as a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Master’s Level Psychologist. For over ten years, Deborah’s experience includes working for a family preservation agency, as well working for an agency counseling children and adults. During She's had opportunities to work within agencies and schools, providing therapy to children, training staff, coaching teachers, and educating caregivers. She is currently a Trauma Smart Therapist.

Jeannie Thurston LPC

Therapist, Trainer and Consultant


Jeannie Thurston is a Licensed Professional Counselor. She joined the Trauma Smart team in 2013. She has over 12 years of experience working with children, adults, and families. Her experiences include working in mental health, substance abuse, community education and counseling. She has a passion for increasing caregiver’s knowledge of the impact of trauma on individuals through education and clinical services. She is currently serving as a trainer and consultant for the Trauma Smart program.

Melinda Stroda LCSW

Trainer and Consultant


Melinda Stroda joined the Trauma Smart Team in 2015. Melinda has over 12 years of experience working with children, adults and families who have experienced various forms of trauma. She has served in a variety of settings including child abuse pediatrics, medical social work, school social work, child & family therapy, and early childhood education.

Cheryl Step LPC

Trainer and Consultant


Cheryl is a Licensed Professional Counselor whose experience includes working in a residential treatment center for abused girls, in a community mental health center with children and adolescents, and in public schools as a counselor. She spent twelve of those years employed at one elementary school where her interactions and relationships with students and staff helped create a trauma-informed school. The school staff helped children create positive relationships and learn self regulation so they could develop resiliency to trauma in their lives.

Mimi Bachman LMSW

Trainer and Consultant


Mimi Bachman joined the Trauma Smart Team in 2017. Before joining the team, Mimi provided therapy to children and families in a residential setting and home-based program. She has also worked in multiple educational settings such as elementary schools and community education programs. Mimi has a passion for trauma-informed care and desires to build resilient communities through inclusive education and empowerment.

Cortney Ray PLPC

Trainer and Consultant


Cortney Ray is a Provisionally Licensed Professional Counselor and a Nationally Certified Counselor. Before joining Trauma Smart, Cortney worked in schools as a Family School Liaison as well as mental health facilities. Cortney has a passion for serving children and families that suffer from the impacts of trauma. Cortney is hopeful that she will be able to reach many teachers, administrators, and school personnel through Trauma Smart to help create a new narrative and help build resiliency in the lives of their students and families.

Britney Waterworth PLPC

Trainer and Consultant


Britney is a Provisionally Licensed Professional Counselor and has worked with children teenagers, and adults. Prior to joining the Trauma Smart Team, she was a school counselor at both the elementary and middle school level. Britney has a passion for working with children and enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience with others to help them create a trauma-informed environment.

Grace Aron MA

Trainer and Consultant NYC


Grace Aron is a Mental Health Counselor. She joined the Trauma Smart Team in 2017. For the past 13 years she has provided program development, counseling (in English and French), advocacy, case management, forensic interviews, forensic evaluations for domestic and foreign-born survivors of child sexual and physical abuse, teen dating violence, sexual assault, rape, sex trafficking, labor trafficking and intimate partner violence. She has provided consultation and conducted training on the topics of intimate partner violence, teen dating violence, sexual assault, sex trafficking, multi-abuse trauma, vicarious trauma and childhood trauma. She currently trains and consults for Crittenton Children’s Center’s Trauma Smart program in New York City.

Kendall Bassard M.A., Ed.M

Trainer and Consultant NYC


Kendall Bassard holds a Masters of Arts and Masters of Education in Psychological Counseling. She has worked in private practice, non-profit organizations, and consultation. Kendall's work has included providing direct therapy, curriculum development, coaching and professional development in areas related to mental health, domestic violence, incarceration, trauma, and early childhood social-emotional development. Kendall joined the Trauma Smart team in New York City in August 2018.

Shaughna Bishop MA

Trainer and Consultant NYC


Shaughna Bishop joined the Trauma Smart team in 2017. Shaughna has 14 years of experience working with children, adults, and families. She has served in a variety of settings, including a child abuse clinic, substance abuse outpatient clinics, and community mental health settings. Shaughna is also trained in community psychology, including needs and resource assessment and program evaluation.

Jessica Hayes LMSW

Trainer and Consultant NYC


Jessica joined the Trauma Smart team in January of 2017 as part of the New York City team of trainer/consultants. She is a licensed social worker with experience doing trauma-focused therapy and assessment with children in a variety of settings.

Jamie Hernandez Ed.M

Trainer and Consultant NYC


Jamie Hernandez joined the NYC Trauma Smart Team in 2017. Before joining the team, Jamie worked in early childhood education as a special education teacher. She has also worked with children in home-based settings and adults with developmental disabilities as a vocational trainer. Jamie has a desire to continue helping communities become a more trauma-informed environment through diversity and inclusion.

Siena Whitham PhD

Trainer and Consultant NYC


Siena joined the Trauma Smart team in 2017. She has over 10 years of experience working with children and families from diverse backgrounds. Before joining Trauma Smart, Siena oversaw the intensive outpatient treatment of preschool-aged children with social, emotional, developmental, and behavioral differences. She is committed to helping children, families, and educators build resilient communities. Siena holds a PhD in Human Development and Psychology from UCLA, where she studied relationship building and emotional development in children and young adults with developmental differences.