Coalition Board Members
Lou Ann Tanner-Jones, Ph.D., NCSP
I was born in Kansas City, KS, but my parents soon returned home to Centralia and I’ve lived in Boone County all of my life. Many generations of my family have lived in the mid-Missouri area and I have a profound respect and appreciation for these deep roots—that’s one reason the Coalition work is so important to me.
My family and extended family were farmers, businessmen and educators in the Centralia area so I grew up very connected to small town and rural life. I moved to Columbia in the 70’s to attend college and earned my degrees from MU. I married an alternative farmer 32 years ago and we live just south of Columbia. We have owned and operated a farm and wholesale greenhouse operation west of Ashland for over 28 years.
I’ve worked in mental health since 1980. I began my career in a private school and have worked in a residential facility, a hospital, a private clinic, in nearly all Columbia public schools, and have taught at the university level. I’ve worked with infants to elders, and with individuals with the most profound disabilities to those who are highly gifted. I’ve been a direct care worker, a behavior specialist, a psychological examiner, a school psychologist, and have held several administrative positions in different organizations. I have a Ph.D. in School Psychology and am a Nationally Certified School Psychologist. With 35 years of work behind me, I recently retired from the Columbia MO Public Schools where I was the Director of Special Services and Section 504 Coordinator.
My husband, Terry, aka “Farmer Jones”, is a Vietnam veteran who enjoys plant production and traveling with our son, Walker, in southeast Asia. I like to read, attend farmer’s markets and I am a fan of progressive bluegrass, 60’s Celtic groups, handmade pottery and unique plants. A greenhouse friend once told me that I have a “begonia problem” and I have to admit, he’s right. Even though I have no artistic talent whatsoever, I’ve managed to raise an artist in my daughter, Rachel.
The work of the Boone County Schools Mental Health Coalition is the culmination of my career. I care very deeply about the supports and resources we will bring to teachers, students and families in our schools. Boone County has been home to generations of my family and I am privileged to have the opportunity to give back to the community that has given so much to me.
Sarah Owens, Ph.D., NCSP
While a Missouri native, most of my childhood was spent in Overland Park, Kansas. With deep connections to Missouri, I returned to complete my undergraduate degree at Drury University in Springfield, MO. From there my education took me to Illinois where I received my Master’s degree in Clinical Child and School Psychology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE).
After completing my masters I found myself back in Missouri, where I completed my Ph.D. in School Psychology at the University of Missouri. Currently, I work as the Associate Director of the Coalition and as an Assistant Teaching Professor in School Psychology at Mizzou. Throughout my career I have worked as a Behavioral Health Specialist in East St. Louis Head Start Centers, provided individualized ABA therapy to children with autism in the home, worked in residential treatment facilities and provided cognitive behavioral therapy to children and families across settings. My career trajectory has been driven by my passion for working with school systems to prevent the development of severe behavior disorders and mental health concerns in children.
Outside of my work I enjoy visiting my friends and family across Missouri and Kansas, spending time with my husband, reading, and working out at CrossFit Fringe. I was raised to root for my favorite sports teams, the Missouri Tigers and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Chelsea Clark, Ed.S.
I was born and raised in small-town Aledo, Illinois. Although I am an Illinois native, I love the St. Louis Cardinals! My passion for helping children started at Iowa State University where I studied as an undergraduate in the psychology program, and was an athletic coach in the evenings. When I graduated, I knew I wanted a career that combined my love for the two. This led me to the University of Missouri’s School Psychology graduate program, where I received my Educational Specialist degree (Ed.S.) in May 2015. I am very excited to be back with the Coalition for my fourth year as the Director of Assessment. I’ve enjoyed getting to work and collaborate with school staff and families in Boone County, and am looking forward to switching gears working behind the scenes this school year. As a new mom, one of my favorite things to do is play with my daughter. We love being outdoors and reading (a lot!). When I’m not chasing my little one around, I enjoy spending time with my husband and two dogs; as well as crafting, baking and designing/decorating my home.
Lindsay Oetker, LCSW
Born in Texas with a mid-western spirit, you’ll often find me out cycling the trails or having some good eats at Uprise Bakery; I have a great appreciation for the outdoors and our artisan community. While I was born in Texas, I moved to Columbia at a young age, therefore I was a Fairview Falcon, a Smithton Wildcat, a West Viking, and a Hickman Kewpie! I then received my Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Missouri State University. Post my degree, I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Eastern Mongolia where I lived in a yurt for two years and developed lasting friendships with the locals. I came back to the states and wanted to continue to develop my knowledge of community empowerment, therefore, I received my Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Missouri. I then worked for a community rehabilitation agency that specialized in connecting clients to the community and supporting their independence through highlighting their skills and strengths. I now have the privilege of being part of the Boone County Schools Mental Health Coalition where I can continue my passion of collaborating with our community.
Tara Collier, MSW
I was born in a small town, Atchison, Kansas (nope, not a Jayhawk fan… GO TIGERS!). My family and I moved to Columbia, MO in 1981, that is when I entered into second grade at Columbia Public Schools as a Fairview Falcon. I continued my CPS journey through West Jr High and finished in 1992 as a graduating senior at David H. Hickman High school. (Go Kewpies!) I started the next leg of this journey as a freshman at Missouri Valley College in Marshall, MO on an athletic scholarship playing both softball and basketball. While at Missouri Valley I played softball for 4 years and graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor Degree in Psychology and a minor in Alcohol and Drug Studies. After college, I began my career at Charter Behavioral Health working in the Intake/Needs Assessment department. It was during this time that I realized my passion for helping and working with children and families. In 1999, I began my graduate work at the University of Missouri School of Social Work. In May 2001, I received my Master’s Degree in Social Work. Most of my career has centered around helping/working with children and families in various capacities. I worked 5 years at University Behavioral Health and ended my time there as a supervisor for the CPRC program. Additionally, I spent 9 years as a Home School Communicator with Columbia Public Schools.
In all my free time, I am also the mother of three amazing daughters, Madalyn (16) and twin girls Kyndall and Kyndra (11). We spend our time playing, watching sports, camping, swimming and enjoying our immediate and extended family. I am very excited and have enjoyed the journey that has led me to becoming a Regional Coordinator for the Boone County Schools Mental Health Coalition.
Becky Hart, LCSW
Born in Upstate, New York, I have been calling Missouri “home” since the age of 5 when my family and I moved to O’Fallon. Growing up in a suburb outside of St. Louis, I spent my days swimming competitively, writing for the school newspaper, and having fun with friends. In 2007, I made my way to Columbia to attend the University of Missouri for my undergraduate studies. It was during this time that my passion for mental health began to bloom. I obtained my Bachelor’s in psychology and even spent my last semester studying abroad in Amsterdam in order to experience another culture. After graduation, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do with my degree moving forward. Therefore, I took a few years and worked an office job outside of St. Louis as I tried to pinpoint exactly how my passion for mental health could benefit others. It was then that I realized pursuing a Master’s degree in social work could help me to achieve my dreams. I packed up and headed back to Columbia in order to attend graduate school at Mizzou. During my last semester of the MSW program, I was fortunate enough to work alongside the Boone County Schools Mental Health Coalition as a practicum student within Southern Boone. As luck would have it, the coalition was hiring around the time of my graduation and I was able to earn a position with this wonderful organization. In my free time, I enjoy doing crafts, spending time with family and friends, and snuggling up with my two cats!
Jenna Strawhun, Ph.D.
Having called St. Louis, Missouri, Jerseyville, Illinois, and Lincoln, Nebraska “home” throughout my life, I am excited to now be sharing my Midwestern spirit here in Columbia. I was originally born and raised in St. Louis and have missed the Cardinals, Ted Drewes Ice Cream, and Gus’ Pretzels while attending college in Nebraska. I obtained my undergraduate degree in psychology from Creighton University in Omaha, NE. While attending Creighton, I developed a clinical and research interest in at-risk youth, victimization, and trauma. Wanting to address these issues from a prevention perspective, I entered a graduate program in School Psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) in order to further investigate how schools can approach bullying and victimization. During my time at UNL, I worked for five years in the Empowerment Initiative research lab focusing on reducing bullying and improving students’ social-emotional competence through the use of cognitive behavioral individual and group-based strategies. After receiving my doctorate degree, I completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Munroe-Meyer Institute where I delivered therapy and assessment services through an integrated care model in urban and rural locations.
I look forward to further multi-disciplinary collaboration with school staff and community resources through my position with the Boone County Schools Mental Health Coalition! In my spare time, I enjoy running, watching scary movies, going to concerts, and playing with my puppy.
Christa Copeland, Ph.D.
I am originally from St. Louis, MO, but have been a resident of Columbia since beginning my undergraduate degree at Mizzou in 2006! After receiving my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, I began my career path in education, earning Master’s Degrees in Teaching, Educational Leadership, and School Psychology. Prior to working with the Coalition, I have experience teaching at the secondary level in both Alternative and Special Education settings, as well as providing outpatient therapeutic interventions to families and children.
It was from my teaching experience that I was able to gain valuable insight into the needs of teachers and schools, and develop a passion for building the capacity of educational institutions to support students mentally, behaviorally, and academically.
Currently, I am in my final year of the School Psychology doctoral program at the University of Missouri. My clinical and research interests involve teacher and administrator development in the areas of effective behavior management, and intervention planning and implementation, in addition to system-focused intervention evaluation. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, admiring nature on beautiful days, and spending always-needed quality time with my husband and two fur babies!
Dennisa Divine, LMSW
Born and raised here in Columbia, I believe that once a Tiger, always a Tiger! Growing up here in Columbia, I naturally gained a love for this city. Beginning at a young age you could find me tailgating and attending Mizzou football games with my family. I attended Columbia Public Schools for all of my school-aged education, and then went on to obtain my Bachelors and Masters Degrees at the University of Missouri. In my free time I enjoy being in nature, hiking, spending time with friends and family, and of course Netflix.
In addition to my love for the tigers, I grew up in a family that worked in education. I witnessed the passion and love they had for helping students. As I have grown to carve out my own path, I have always had an interest and passion for mental health. I witnessed families and students struggling without a place to turn for help. Children spend so much of their time in the schools, which creates an amazing opportunity for people in education setting to make a positive influence on each student’s life. I am so excited to be part of the Mental Health Coalition team and look forward to making a difference!
Jessica Burbridge, M.Ed.
I grew up in Harrisburg, MO the daughter of an elementary principal and a high school English teacher. I am a Mizzou graduate and later earned my Master’s degree from Stephens College. My entire career has been dedicated to working with children and families. I started out working for Coyote Hill Children’s Home, a home for abused and neglected children. I then spent the next 16 years working for the Harrisburg School District, the last nine as a professional school counselor. As a school counselor I have been involved with the Boone County Schools Mental Health Coalition from the very beginning stages. I have seen firsthand the impact of the Coalition’s work on students and schools. I am excited to be a part of that.
My husband Brad and I have two daughters, Abigail and Lindsey. We stay busy keeping up with all of their activities, and wouldn’t want it any other way.
Kayla Kilpatrick, Ph.D.
I was born and raised in Eureka, Missouri (home of Six Flags Saint Louis!). I received my undergraduate degree in Psychology at Mizzou and just graduated with my doctorate in School Psychology. I completed my pre-doctoral internship training in Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District in Houston, Texas this past year. Although I didn’t particularly miss our Missouri winters while I was away, I felt my love for the Midwest pulling me back to be closer to loved ones and I am so excited for the opportunity to be a Regional Coordinator with the BCSMHC! My professional interests include supporting schools in the implementation of a tiered school mental health model, including evidence-based social-emotional interventions. I love doing yoga, biking, reading, cooking new recipes, and spending quality time with family and friends.
Sandy Miller, LCSW, MAT
I grew up in the small Mennonite town of Middlebury, Indiana and moved to the East Coast after obtaining my BA in Psychology. After working in the field of outdoor education for four years, I pursued a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) from Towson University and, eventually, my Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Maryland. I have worked in schools since 1992, beginning as a special educator and then becoming a counselor in 1999. While living in Baltimore, Maryland, I worked in non-public schools that focused on educating youth with behavioral needs, many of whom were on the Autism spectrum. In 2007, I was recruited to lead the Family Support Unit at the Shafallah Center for Children with Special Needs in Doha, Qatar where I created programs and support groups for national and expat families. Prior to becoming a Regional Coordinator with the Coalition, I worked as an Outreach Counselor in Columbia Public Schools when I moved to Columbia in 2011. When I am not working, I enjoy gardening, traveling, reading, and making homemade popcorn!
Chynna McCall, Ph.D.
I have the privilege of being part of the Boone County Schools Mental Health Coalition where I can continue my passion of collaborating with the community. When I’m not chasing my sugar glider (Breyer) around, I enjoy spending time with my partner and the rest of my brood of pets; as well as crafting, doing yoga, reading, cooking new recipes, baking, and making homemade popcorn!
Through mothering my three other amazing pets, Phoebe (chinchilla), cat (Gideon) and dog (Bella), my little family spend our time playing at the dog and cat park, watching squirrels from the bay window, camping on the couch, swimming in the pools on dog days, gardening, digging and hunting bugs. An everyday occurrence it seems like in my home is some type of craft, and a snuggle with one of my brood or my partner! If I have the luxury of even more time I also enjoy trying to run, I will run some sort of marathon someday, watching scary movies, going to try new activities around town. When I can during the summer, I enjoy traveling, admiring nature on beautiful days, and taking a day trip to nearby places.
I am so excited to be part of the Mental Health Coalition team and look forward to making a difference!
Affiliated MU Faculty
Wendy Reinke, Ph.D.
Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology- ESCP
Dr. Wendy Reinke is a Professor at MU in the School Psychology program. She is also a licensed psychologist and co-director of the Missouri Prevention Center. Wendy earned her doctoral degree in School Psychology from the University of Oregon. She has training and expertise in implementing school-based prevention interventions, consultation with teachers and parents, and working with children and youth with social emotional and behavioral challenges. She completed her clinical internship at the Kennedy Krieger Institute working with youth with severe social, emotional, and behavior disorders and their families. Before coming to MU, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in prevention science at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and worked in the Baltimore City schools implementing evidence-based interventions. Wendy has interests in prevention and evidence-based interventions in schools to promote the social-emotional and behavioral health of all students. She is also an expert in teacher consultation models in classroom management and is the developer of the Classroom Check-Up. She teaches courses in prevention science, evidence-based therapies for children and youth, and supervises graduate students working in schools.
Keith Herman, Ph.D.
Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology- ESCP
Dr. Keith Herman is a professor in the School Psychology and Counseling Psychology programs at the University of Missouri. He is also a licensed psychologist and co-director of the Missouri Prevention Center. Keith earned his doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Florida and retrained in School Psychology at the University of Oregon. He also completed postdoctoral fellowships at Brown University and Johns Hopkins University. Prior to coming to MU he was a faculty member in Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Keith’s expertise is in school and family preventive interventions for youth showing early signs of emotional or behavior problems. He routinely provides trainings and consults with teachers and families about a range of topics including parenting, behavior supports at home and school, stress management, and cognitive behavior therapies for youth problems.
Aaron Thompson, Ph.D.
School of Social Work-SSW
Dr. Aaron Thompson completed his PhD in Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to this, Dr. Thompson worked as an therapist in a wilderness adventure program, as an educator and counselor in a juvenile detention facility, as an educational diagnostician in a clinical setting, and as a school social worker before developing and becoming the principal of a public school for children with social, emotional, and behavioral disorders.
Currently, Aaron is an Assistant Professor at the University Of Missouri School Of Social Work where he teaches Clinical and Program Evaluation, Adolescent Antisocial and Aggressive, Behavior, and Theory of Group and Program Leadership. Aaron also supervises social work practicum students working in school settings. Aaron’s research interests including the developing and testing school-based and scientifically supported intervention strategies to prevent and treat the social, emotional, and behavioral health disorders among youth.