CJJA Staff
& Board Officers

CJJA Staff Members

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Michael P. Dempsey

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Mike is CJJA’s Executive Director. He previously served as Executive Director of the Indiana Department of Corrections, Division of Youth Services from 2009 to 2015. He began his work with the Indiana Department of Corrections as Superintendent of the Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility in June 2006.

Prior to moving to Indiana, he served as the Superintendent of the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex for approximately two and a half years. He began his career in corrections with the Missouri Department of Corrections, starting as a Corrections Officer at the Missouri State Penitentiary in 1985. Since that time, Mike has held positions as a Correctional Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain and Major. He has also held positions as Correctional Training Officer, Internal Affairs Investigator, Assistant Superintendent and Associate Superintendent.

He has extensive experience with CJJA and Performance-based Standards (PbS). He has been a member of the CJJA Board of Directors for four years and served for two years (2012-14) as president. Mike was an active member of CJJA while he was director of Indiana DYS.

Mike holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration and Criminal Justice and has been actively involved with the American Correctional Association as a member and certified auditor. He mostly served as the President/COO of Youth Opportunity Investments and brings a unique experience and perspective in both the public and private sectors in the juvenile justice field.

Mike follows the first Executive Director Edward J. Loughran for CJJA, who founded the national organization of youth correction chief executive officers in 1994.

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Wendi Davis

Assistant Executive Director

Prior to joining the Council of Juvenile Justice Administrators, Wendi served as Deputy Director of the Division of Facility Support for the Ohio Department of Youth Services. She was responsible for security, classification, operations, unit management, treatment and programming within the DYS facilities. The division also included Medical Services and the Buckeye United School District.

Before this role, she served as the Bureau Chief of the Office of Quality Assurance and Improvement for the Ohio Department of Youth Services. She was responsible for agency quality assurance efforts to include policy, research, auditing, and process improvement.

In addition to this considerable responsibility, Wendi also had oversight of the agency’s Office of Information Technology Services which involved networking, telecommunications, desktop computing, application development, project management services, and unified communications such as email and calendaring. Serving as a trusted advisor, Wendi serves as a mentor to those who work under her leadership.

With over 23 years of experience in criminal and juvenile justice, Wendi has served on numerous national and statewide policy committees and councils. During her career, she has presented to various audiences on a wide range of criminal justice and juvenile justice topics. Her breadth and scope of the criminal justice and juvenile justice fields, specifically correctional administration, makes her not only a leader but also a subject matter expert.

Wendi received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration with a Leadership concentration from Franklin University.

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Natalie Walker

DIRECTOR OF ADMINISTRATION

Prior to joining CJJA, Natalie spent over 20 years with the Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC). Natalie started her career with IDOC as a correctional officer. The last four years of her tenure was spent serving as Assistant Director for IDOC Division of Youth Services. In that role, she aided in overseeing operations, treatment and re-entry at Indiana DYS facilities. Natalie oversaw the implementation of evidence-based programming, monitored compliance with Division’s policies, and provided support to facility and agency heads. During her career, Natalie participated as a panelist for presentations regarding juvenile justice practices.

Natalie has experience with Performance-based Standards (PbS) as a Site Coordinator and State Coordinator. Indiana PbS sites consists of DYS facilities, three detention centers and one community-based program. Natalie supported the sites with the PbS cycle of data collection, reviewing reports and development of facility improvement plans.

Natalie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from DePauw University, Indiana.

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Kevin Shepherd

PROJECT MANAGER

Kevin recently retired from the Ohio Department of Youth Services where he spent nearly 28 years serving in a variety of positions. He has worked for more than 30 years in the juvenile justice arena.

Most recently, Kevin served as the Bureau Chief of Unit Management where he oversaw nearly all interaction on the living units to include programming, youth incentives, youth discipline, visitation, recreation, property, sanitation, etc. Kevin previously served as the Deputy Director of Release, Parole, and Reentry, having responsibility for the Release Authority, Bureau of Parole, Office of Reentry, and Office of Victim Services. As the Chief of Parole, he was instrumental in reshaping the bureau to partner with other child-serving agencies and to function as an empirically driven, family-friendly entity.

Kevin has presented on numerous juvenile justice issues at national, state, and local levels. He has a tremendous passion to create, improve, and streamline juvenile justice efforts to do everything possible to ensure youth leave the system at a far better level than when they entered.

Kevin received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kent State University, with a minor in Sociology.

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Diane McLevedge

CONTROLLER

Diane is CJJA’s controller and handles all areas of the organization’s financial operations. Diane has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Newbury College and has worked in non-profit organizations for over 20 years.

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Stacy Browning

PROGRAM COORDINATOR

Stacy is responsible for assisting with program management, fiscal matters, marketing and development. She previously served as an executive assistant with the Ohio Department of Aging and recently retired from the State of Ohio after working in similar positions for more than three decades in the public sector.

Her tenure included working for three Ohio governors’ cabinet-level agencies specializing in the fields of youth services, aging, and transportation. Throughout her career, Stacy has worked as an assistant to agency directors and leaders in their daily roles, while also assuming leadership responsibilities for key projects, event planning, problem resolution, customer service, human resource, and office manager and business functions.

While at the Department of Aging, Stacy also served as a meeting and event planner for a variety of events, was an office manager for the 100-person agency, and represented the director to a variety of constituencies. While at the Ohio Department of Youth Services, Stacy assisted with a number of special programs, including the GED and High School Diploma programs, conducted audits for the school lunch programs at juvenile correctional facilities, and supervised the director’s office executive secretaries.

She began her state career working at Ohio Department of Transportation where she researched and assisted in investigation of allegations of theft in office, sexual harassment, misuse of state funds, computers and equipment for Investigative Section.

Stacy is a Summa Cum Laude graduate from the Ohio Christian University with both an Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

Officers

The Officers of the Council of Juvenile Justice Administrators (CJJA) govern
through the leadership of its executive director and serve as a consultative
and advisory body for the direction of the Council’s policies and affairs. The
contact information is presented below.

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Steve Lafreniere

PRESIDENT
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF YOUTH SERVICES

Steve has extensive experience in providing leadership in the design, implementation and oversight of community-based service systems. While employed with the Department of Mental Health he served as the Director of Community Services for the Division of Developmental Disabilities. This position was responsible for supervising the operations of five Regional Community Services Offices across the state, Early Intervention, Autism and Children’s Services within the Division.

He offers skill and experience working on state juvenile justice issues, development of non-residential diversion programs, and in the day-to-day operation of state institutions for delinquent children. He served for 11 years as Director of Children’s Services for the Department of Mental Health.

During that time, Steve also served on the DYS Board as proxy for ten years for three different commissioners. He is very familiar with the transformative initiatives and direction the department has taken over this time. He also served on the Youth Services Board’s Education Committee and is very familiar with the unique challenges and successes the Youth Services School District has experienced.

Steve holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Auburn University and a Master’s of Science/Clinical Psychology from Auburn University Montgomery.

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Brett Peterson

VICE PRESIDENT (INTERIM)
DIRECTOR, UTAH DIVISION OF JUVENILE JUSTICE SERVICES

Chris serves as the Executive Director for the Division of Youth Services. She oversees all areas of the juvenile division, including operations, case management, programs and re-entry.

Chris began her career working for the Department of Correction in 2000 as a Psychiatric Social Service Specialist III at the Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility. She served as a Program Director 2 and was promoted to Program Director 1 at Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility. Chris was then promoted to Program Director/Assistant Director of the Division in 2008 where she was the State Coordinator for Performance Based Standards (PbS) and Community based Standards (CbS).

She was also responsible or program implementation, Comprehensive Case Management and re-entry services before being promoted to the Chief Operations Director of the Division in 2014. Chris is a member of the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA) and a member of the American Correctional Association (ACA). Chris is also a certified PREA auditor for juvenile facilities. Prior to working in corrections, Chris held positions of Youth Care Worker, Youth Manager and Case Manager at the Henry County Youth Center. Chris holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology from Indiana State University.

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Christine Blessinger

TREASURER
Deputy Commissioner, Indiana Division of Youth Services

Christine Blessinger serves as the Executive Director for the Division of Youth Services. Chris oversees all areas of the juvenile division to include; operations, case management, programs and re-entry. Chris began her career working for the Department of Correction in 2000 as a Psychiatric Social Service Specialist III at the Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility. She served as a Program Director 2 and was promoted to Program Director 1 at Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility. Chris was then promoted to Program Director/Assistant Director of the Division in 2008. In that role, she was responsible for program implementation, Comprehensive Case Management and re-entry services before being promoted to the Chief Operations Director of the Division in 2014. Chris is a member of the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators (CJCA) and a member of the American Correctional Association (ACA). Chris is also a certified PREA auditor for juvenile facilities. Prior to working in corrections, Chris held positions of Youth Care Worker, Youth Manager and Case Manager at the Henry County Youth Center. Chris holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology from Indiana State University.

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Tyrone Oliver

SECRETARY (INTERIM)
COMMISSIONER, GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF JUVENILE JUSTICE

Tyrone Oliver was named Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice in July 2019 by Governor Brian P. Kemp. He is responsible for the daily operation of the multi-faceted agency of more than 3,500 employees that holds youthful offenders accountable for their actions through probation supervision and secure detention.

Tyrone is a 20-year veteran of law enforcement who, in 1999, began his career as a detention officer with the Newton County Sheriff’s Office. In 2013, Tyrone was one of the first employees of the Brookhaven Police Department when the new city was formed. In January 2016, Commissioner Oliver was named Chief of Police for the City of Social Circle and in November 2018 he was designated by the Social Circle as Deputy City Manager.

Tyrone is a graduate of Columbus State University’s Law Enforcement Professional Management Program, completed the FBI’s Law Enforcement Executive Development Program and Leadership Trilogy and attended the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange to Israel.

A long-time resident of Newton County, Georgia, Tyrone is married to Aimee and has five children and one granddaughter. He exceptionally active in his community, serving on several youth-focused organizations as a board member.