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We have developed a team that represent a range of parenting experiences, cultural backgrounds, and expertise in various child and family issues. A key value at Family SkillBuilders is that much of our staff are successful parents themselves. We also value hiring highly professional, highly educated staff that incorporate trauma informed practice into every facet of their work. Every member of our team is responsible for on-going professional development, per the ethical guidelines of our profession, that meets the complex needs of our services and the families we serve and contributes to the healthy development of our organization.

While there are clearly defined roles at Family SkillBuilders, each position is intended to be supportive of the next. We believe that all our team members offer unique strengths and experiences that benefit the entire organization. This team approach creates an environment where creative ideas, encouragement to use a different approach when stuck, and support from directors, supervisors, and support staff contribute to the quality that each family receives with services.

Click on a team name above or a staff member’s photo below and get to know us!

Our in-home consultants have the perfect blend of educational and real-life experience that equips them for success with their families. A high level of flexibility, integrity, consistency, independence, communication skills, commitment, patience and self-care are important traits of our Family SkillBuilder Parenting Consultants. We also strive, whenever possible, to match families with consultants who share a common background; we are committed to assuring that the cultural, spiritual, and lifestyle values and practices of our families are honored.

Our Directors work closely with our Board to ensure that Family SkillBuilders is maintaining its reputation for excellence with our clients, partners, donors, and our community. They incorporate relevant and current research to ensure that interventions are as effective as possible, and inform decisions made for agency and client best practices. The Directors strategize and plan for agency development, including collaboration and development of new and ongoing partnerships as well as provide internal leadership, fiscal management, coaching and development to the Supervisor and Development teams.

Our supervisors are an integral part of the Leadership Team at Family SkillBuilders. They provide insight, wisdom, and feedback that shapes each facet of our work. Each of our skilled supervisors also manage a team of parenting consultants and provide oversight, direction, coaching and support to the consultants on their respective teams. From training and documentation oversight to support and assistance in complex cases, our supervisors help our consultants provide excellent service to the families they serve and the partners we work with. Our supervisors are the critical link to keep our agency always changing to reflect the needs of our staff and the families we work with.

Our Families Forward Parenting Groups facilitators provide a key role in modeling and coaching for the parents in the groups and assisting with strategizing and goal-setting for each parent. Our Families Forward assistants provide transportation for children in foster care to and from the groups, giving the parents and children valuable family time supervised by our group facilitators.

Our support staff help ensure that Family SkillBuilders functions smoothly in its day-to-day operations and continues to meet and exceed the standards of our agency partners. Our goal is to take the administrative details off our Parenting Consultants’ plates so that they can focus on their complex and difficult work with families. The support staff’s attention to detail and organization helps the rest of the team do the best work they can and spurs on our agency’s growth, allowing us to help more families in our community.

Dezarae Boyd-France - Executive Director

Dezarae Boyd-France

Executive Director

As the Executive Director at Family SkillBuilders, Dezarae leads the implementation of overall strategy, resource development, and operations of the agency including working with the Board to create and implement a shared vision. She leads the staff to work together to create a positive impact in the community and ensure the highest quality of service to children and their families, engages in fundraising and community partnering, and manages the organization in a way that upholds our mission, values, goals, policies, and procedures.

Dezarae has often considered how her life might have been different if her parents had a Family SkillBuilder parenting consultant to support them when she was growing up. Her firsthand experience with Child Welfare and an unstable family situation motivated her to do what she could to make the experience better for other children. When she heard about the unique services Family SkillBuilders provides, she knew had to be part of making sure Oregon children are safe and healthy.

Dezarae earned a BS in Social Science with a focus on Social Work and Psychology and has worked in social services for eight years. Dezarae feels her greatest work accomplishment was overseeing the conversion of Family SkillBuilders to a nonprofit business, building a more diverse and flexible staff, and developing critical partnerships in the community.

Lara Lunsford - Supervisor

Lara Lunsford

Supervisor

As a Family SkillBuilders Supervisor, Lara leads, models, coaches, mentors, and collaborates with our Family Support Specialists while they work with participating families in the field, providing essential support to ensure child safety and guiding each team member to be valuable partners to parents.

Lara felt a true calling to join people on their journeys of healing, particularly those on the margins, and to utilize some of her natural gifts in service to others. She loves supporting our field staff as they team with families working toward their unique goals. It excites and encourages Lara to know that Family SkillBuilders is partnering with and supporting families with a trauma-informed framework to address their challenges and bear witness to their successes.

Lara has a Master’s degree in Marriage Couple and Family Counseling (MCFC) and has worked in social services for ten years. Her favorite activities are being outside -- hiking, walking, being in nature, sitting on the beach, swimming in the river, or just hanging out in the yard with family and friends -- activities that calm and rejuvenate her. Lara has a lifelong love for music and finds joy in playing her violin and making music with others.

Alyssa Pankratz - Families Forward Groups Supervisor

Alyssa Pankratz

Families Forward Groups Supervisor

As the Groups Program Supervisor, Alyssa is responsible for leading, coaching, mentoring, and collaborating with the Groups team members to ensure child safety and support exemplary service delivery.

Alyssa’s favorite part of working with families is seeing them reunited and watching parents overcome obstacles. She enjoys experiencing parents being teachable alongside their children. Alyssa has worked in social services for over 12 years and never grows tired of the opportunity to encourage people to see their value and receive validation for both their worth and their accomplishments.

Outside of work, Alyssa extends her care to her dogs to ensure they are also living their best lives.

Colleen Sims - Supervisor

Colleen Sims

Supervisor

As a Family SkillBuilders’ Supervisor, Colleen leads, models, coaches, mentors, and collaborates with our Family Support Specialists while they work with participating families in the field, providing essential support to ensure child safety and guiding each team member to be valuable partners to parents.

Colleen’s longtime interest in children’s mental health evolved over time to wanting to work with parents to support the well-being of whole families. She believes that when parents are supported and given tools to engage in nurturing parenting practices, not only does that impact children’s well-being but it often helps to reduce generational trauma and supports the emotional lives of the entire family system, building on strengths to support sustainable healthy family functioning.

Colleen holds a B.S. in Psychology, and she is a Certified Family Life Educator. She has worked with families for over 20 years in various capacities. Her first in-home work was as a caregiver for five foster and adopted children being raised by a single father. That experience gave her solid grounding in trauma and resilience as she learned from both the children and the team of providers working with them.

Outside of work, Colleen can typically be found at home reading, talking to family, or art journaling. She finds great joy in listening to music and dancing.

Sarah Granstra Bizer - Family Support Specialist and Groups Facilitator

Sarah Granstra Bizer

Family Support Specialist and Groups Facilitator

As a Family Support Specialist, Sarah delivers Family SkillBuilders’ core services including one-on-one parent coaching and mentoring in the homes and communities of the families we serve, developing healthy family functioning that keeps children safe, teaching household management skills, and addressing safety issues for families with children at home or returning to the home.

Sarah also serves families as a Groups Facilitator. Groups Facilitators coordinate, plan, and lead group parent training to increase parenting skills including teaching core skills, guiding parent visitation with their children, modeling parenting skills, and providing activities, equipment, and supplies.

Sarah began her 10-year career in social services when she was volunteering with children who had a history of adverse experiences and saw the positive impact that spending time with them had on their social and emotional development. Her experience with these children led her to complete her bachelor’s degree in Child, Youth, and Family Studies at Portland State University.

Sarah most enjoys working alongside parents and families when she is providing positive support as they continue developing strong, nurturing, and safe interactions and environments.

For relaxation and fun, Sarah loves spending time with her family, playing and cuddling with her dog Mabel, going to concerts, knitting, and spending time outdoors.

Elena Castilla - Safe Visitation and Exchange Facilitator, Bilingual in Spanish

Elena Castilla

Safe Visitation and Exchange Facilitator, Bilingual in Spanish

As a Safe Visitation & Exchange Facilitator, Elena helps provide a safe, secure, and inviting environment for individual families with a history of domestic violence to visit and maintain valuable relationships between all parents and children.

Elena began supporting families when she was 17 in an Early Childhood Migrant program where she quickly became invested in supporting children and their parents. She came to believe that no one should feel alone navigating the many challenges that arise when raising a family.

Elena has been working in social services for 27 years, including working with migrant families, prenatal to five years of age in a wrap-around program, an Early Head Start home visitation program in Alaska, and Healthy Families home visits in Oregon. She is still in awe of the strong resiliency caregivers and children demonstrate in their journey to live full, safe, and healthy lives.

When she is not working with Oregon families, Elena loves to explore new trails to hike with her family, visit National Parks, and take short road trips.

Krista Chin - Database Administrator

Krista Chin

Database Administrator

As the Database Administrator, Krista is responsible for storing and managing data in the Social Solution Efforts to Outcomes (ETO) software to provide a seamless flow of information throughout the organization, considering both backend data structure and frontend accessibility for end-users. In the day to day, this position creates service and evaluation reports that guide the measurement of agency impacts, monitors system health and security, assures the ease of data entry, analysis, and reporting, and provides training and technical support as needed to fine-tune ETO’s effectiveness.

As part of the preceding agency management team, Krista helped shape the structure and processes of FSB and supported the succession plan including the transition to non-profit in 2021. She also helped spearhead our movement toward being a fully inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible service provider and employer. She has worked in social services for 16 years.

Krista quotes Desmond Tutu when describing the meaning of this work. “We need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.” She believes that Family SkillBuilders’ mission is upstream work.

When not working, Krista enjoys listening to non-fiction audiobooks, being in nature, and spending time with family. She is passionate about continued learning in areas such as systemic equity, trauma awareness (E.g. historical and religious), permaculture, and women’s personal finance.

Mary Clark - Board Member

Mary Clark

Board Member

Mary retired from the Oregon Department of Human Services after 40 years of service. During the last several years of her career, she coordinated and administered programs for Child Welfare and Self Sufficiency in Clackamas County along with representing the agency in collaboration and community development.

Mary worked closely with Family SkillBuilders to implement in-home safety and reunification services for families and gained great respect for the work of the agency. Mary was excited to continue her collaboration as a member of the Family SkillBuilders board.

Mary’s passion for advocating, supporting, and working on behalf of vulnerable individuals and families has continued into retirement. Mary co-chairs the Clackamas County Children of Incarcerated Parents committee focused on community education and programing for corrections involved families and enjoys a delightful friendship with a 13-year-old girl she has mentored for three years. In addition, she is a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for three families in the foster care system in Multnomah County and serves as board secretary for NAMI Clackamas. She is driven by the fundamental belief that children and parents love each other, and strengths can be found in all.

Mary loves entertaining, decorating, good movies and books, and time with friends and family, particularly her three grandchildren.

Dr. Jessica Dahlgren - Board Secretary

Dr. Jessica Dahlgren

Board Secretary

Jessica is a Research Associate and Project Director for NPC Research. Jessica serves as Family SkillBuilder' Board Secretary, responsible for all meeting documentation, planning, and ensuring all actions are in line with the agency bylaws.

Jessica joined the Family SkillBuilders Board because she is passionate about promoting child safety and wants to support the important work we do. She recognizes that Family SkillBuilders staff share her passion for the work and loves to see such selfless people working together to promote child wellbeing. Jessica is excited to see Family SkillBuilders grow, not just in terms of the number of families we are able to serve, but also moving into prevention service areas where we are able to provide services to families before they have an open case with ODHS.

Jessica earned a BA in Psychology, an MS and PhD in Human Development and Family Studies specializing in Child Development. She has worked in social service research for seven years.

Jessica loves outdoor activities including hiking, camping, backpacking, and walking her dogs. She also enjoys cooking and baking. Jessica volunteers as co-chair for the Clackamas County Children of Incarcerated Parents Committee where they help bring together community partners and volunteers to participate in community education efforts around children with incarcerated parents.

Tonya Deisner - Groups Facilitator

Tonya Deisner

Groups Facilitator

As a Family SkillBuilders Groups Facilitators, Tonya coordinates, plans, and leads group parent training to increase parenting skills including teaching core skills, guiding parent visitation with their children, modeling parenting skills, and providing activities, equipment, and supplies.

Tonya watched teen parents struggle to understand life and what healthy parenting may look like. She loves helping parents from all backgrounds and ages understand the beautiful connection between mother and child. Her passion comes from deep inside to help parents become the best they can be during both good and bad times.

Tonya has worked in social services, specifically supporting families, for 22 years. She loves being in the middle of everything right alongside her families, helping them to navigate through the trenches of the child welfare system and all other obstacles they may face.

When she has time to relax, she loves reading a good book and working on DIY projects. Tonya really enjoys home interior decorating.

Ryan Faherty - Board Member

Ryan Faherty

Board Member

Ryan is a Producer in Commercial Lines at Brown & Brown Insurance and Risk Management. Ryan was inspired to join the Family SkillBuilders board because of the mission of the organization, as well as the passion and commitment of the Executive Director and board members. He is excited to be part of the agency’s journey and believes his sales and marketing experience in the corporate world will help FSB reach new audiences and develop philanthropic partnerships to serve more families.

While he has not formally worked in social services, he has volunteered with many social service agencies. Ryan currently volunteers with hospice patients at Hopewell House in Portland and Paws For Love Therapy Dogs of McMinnville, doing hospice and well-being visits. He also volunteers in education through programs like the Oregon Business Academy, a weeklong program that provides high school students from all over Oregon the opportunity to develop business, professional, and other job skills that will help them excel as they enter the workforce. Ryan has served on the advisory board for The Children’s Center of Clackamas County and worked with the Rotary Club of Portland as a counselor at Enterprise Academy, a three-day program that helps high school students develop business, leadership, and entrepreneurial skills. Additionally, Ryan serves on the board of The LaRiviere Scholarship Fund, which provides tuition assistance to families in underserved areas of Southern California.

Ryan holds a BA degree in Business Administration from Carroll College in Helena, Montana. When he is not working or volunteering, Ryan enjoys lifting weights in his home gym, hiking in Forest Park, and reading. Additionally, he enjoys training his Newfoundland dog to participate in hospice, carting, water work, confirmation, challenging tricks, and general “good dog” behavior.

Jake Frostick - Intake Coordinator

Jake Frostick

Intake Coordinator

The Intake Coordinator is the main customer service point of contact for Family SkillBuilders and is responsible for all referrals, optimal staffing, directing inquiries, supporting scheduling and data entry, and contributes greatly to quality assurance in reporting and follow up.

Jake comes to this work with a mission to build and foster community. He has worked to bring grace and care into this work to assist families, no matter their needs. His favorite part of working with families is the unique dynamics parents and children bring to accomplishing goals. His combined direct service and administrative experience offers the right mix for his role as Intake Coordinator.

Jake holds two BAs in Political Science and International Studies. He has eight years in direct service work with a focus on safety and social service. One of his favorite positions was working as a Red Cross Instructor to teach swim safety to families as well as Lifeguarding and CPR/First Aid courses.

Outside of work, you may find Jake on the many nice hiking trails of the Pacific Northwest or rock climbing. He is also a devout fan of the Portland Thorns and Portland Timbers and can be frequently heard cheering in the fan section.

Elizabeth Goodrich - Family Support Assistant

Elizabeth Goodrich

Family Support Assistant

Family Support Assistants support our Parenting Groups by providing transportation, snacks, meals, and emotional support to participating children and parents and assisting our Groups Facilitators with parenting training and group activities.

Elizabeth joined Family SkillBuilders with a strong belief that only by helping others can she help herself. She is moved positively by working with children and families. Her favorite part about the work is seeing the resiliency and joy within the parent-child connection.

Elizabeth has worked in the social services field in Portland Metro for 20 years. She received her MA in Counseling Psychology from Lewis & Clark College with a focus on children and adolescents and her BA in Psychology from Southern Illinois University.

When she is not working, Elizabeth enjoys stand-up paddle boarding. She and her dad built her own wooden board! She loves to run and take in the Oregon splendor year round. Elizabeth also enjoys weekly volunteering at her local library and enjoys hanging out with her family.

Leanne Hartman - Office Manager

Leanne Hartman

Office Manager

As the Office Manager, Leanne supports Family SkillBuilders’ mission by assisting staff as they work with families and children in crisis and providing administrative services to the agency including human resources, accounting, operations, development support, and resource acquisition.

Leanne joined Family SkillBuilders after working in the public schools for many years and seeing how children and families thrived when they were supported and mentored. She most enjoys finding resources for families and FSB consultants. Leanne holds graduate degrees in business and teaching.

When she is not working, she enjoys volunteering at Hoyt Arboretum, sharing meals, travel, and dog walks with family and friends.

Brandon Johnson - Leadership Coach & Clinical Consultant

Brandon Johnson

Leadership Coach & Clinical Consultant

The Leadership Coach and Clinical Consultant is a critical advisory role providing clinical supervision on mental health issues, crisis, addiction, and behavior management consultation, training and professional growth advice to our leaders and evaluation administration.

Brandon joined Family SkillBuilders after spending time working with youth on probation. He has always been drawn to supporting people and making a difference in their lives, whether professionally or as a volunteer or friend. He connects with people who have not received the support they need in their lives from family, authorities, systems, and institutions.

As Leadership Coach, he believes that relationships and belonging are the heart of what it means to be human and where we all learn we can trust ourselves, our world, and all the people in our lives. By showing parents they have value and that they can do things differently for their children than what experienced as children, we help them make meaningful connections as a family, meeting the needs of parents and children.

Brandon holds a Masters in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling and is a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Associate with the State of Oregon. Outside of work, he loves to build connections with friends and family, having meaningful conversations, hiking, or playing games. He loves to explore ideas with others who have similar interests so they can explore and learn together.

Alex Monroy-Benitez - Family Support Specialist, Bilingual in Spanish

Alex Monroy-Benitez

Family Support Specialist, Bilingual in Spanish

Family has always been an important aspect of Alex’s life. Her upbringing and personal experiences have taught her resiliency, empathy, and the importance of supporting others in her community. Alex has had the opportunity to work with diverse populations throughout her educational and career journey. Being able to learn, connect, and support families is what drives her to continue in this field.

Alex graduated from Portland State University with a BS in Social Science and a focus on Child, Youth, and Family Studies. She’s worked in the social service setting for three years and has had the privilege of working as a youth mentor and a Milieu Counselor. Fostering a safe and pro-social environment for children awaiting unification with their families has been one of the most rewarding experiences Alex has been a part of.

When she’s not working, Alex is most likely spending time with her family and two dogs. Alex also loves baking sweet desserts and watching reality TV shows.

Magdalena Quiroz - Family Support Assistant, Bilingual in Spanish

Magdalena Quiroz

Family Support Assistant, Bilingual in Spanish

As a Family Support Assistant, Magdalena supports our Parenting Groups by providing transportation, snacks, meals, and emotional support to participating children and parents and assisting our Groups Facilitators with parenting training and group activities.

Magdalena originally became interested in supporting families because she wanted to have a positive impact on vulnerable populations. From a very young age, she has strived to make the unheard feel heard and the unseen feel seen; this line of work has allowed her to make this a reality. Magdalena continues her career in social services because she finds hope, resilience, and opportunities for change in the work. Her brightest moments are when hope, resilience, and change seem to be out of reach, and she may feel defeat. It’s during those times, she finds the drive to collaborate with families to defy those negative feelings.

Magdalena previously worked at a residence for unaccompanied minors, most of whom were arriving from South America, Central America, or Afghanistan. During her time there, she learned the value of making connections with people. The teens with whom she worked valued the time she spent sharing meals, playing cards, or watching a movie, simple but positive interactions that created a space full of mutual respect and trust. Experiencing their development and growth was an incredible and rewarding experience for her.

When she is not busy working with families, Magdalena enjoys practicing Jiujitsu, a martial art she promptly fell in love with. Her personal goal is to compete and expand her skills in this sport.

Guille Resendez - Family Support Specialist, Bilingual in Spanish

Guille Resendez

Family Support Specialist, Bilingual in Spanish

As a Family Support Specialist, Guille delivers Family SkillBuilders’ core services including one-on-one parent coaching and mentoring in the homes and communities of the families we serve, developing healthy family functioning that keeps children safe, teaching household management skills, and addressing safety issues for families with children at home or returning to the home.

Guille’s favorite part of working with families is recognizing their need to be represented, to have a voice, and to be supported in the face of difficult cycles and changes in their daily lives. Family SkillBuilders gives her a platform to support the community and be able to provide families support in their times of need.

Over her six years in social services, Guille has enjoyed the experience of seeing families positively impacted by successfully keeping families safe and whole, out of the danger of narcotics, alcohol, domestic violence and with better management of mental health concerns. Being bilingual and bicultural, Guille believes she is privileged to use her knowledge of many Latin American cultures and provide the opportunity to highlight parents’ craft and work skills.

In her spare time, Guille volunteers for the Oregon Conference, supporting the children’s ministry, home and family, and the youth group.

Dr. Karen Rush - Board Treasurer

Dr. Karen Rush

Board Treasurer

Karen is the Executive Director of The Children's Center. Karen is the Family SkillBuilders' Board Treasurer whose primary duties are leading the preparation of the annual budget, reconciling accounts, reviewing all financial statements and activities, ensuring legal forms are filed on time, and reviewing the annual audit and presenting it to the Board.

Karen believes that helping to build strong families that support and nurture children is vital to the overall health and well-being of the children in our community. She admires the work done by the team at Family SkillBuilders and feels especially proud that they often work with families in their homes, where parents are most likely to experience success. She wants to do all she can to support the agency’s efforts.

Karen has worked in education and social services for 30 years. She began her career as a teacher and was a psychologist and principal in public education for over 20 years. Karen currently serves as a director of a non-profit that supports children and families impacted by child abuse or neglect.
Karen loves to be outdoors and spends most weekends hiking in sun, rain, or snow. She also loves to read, spend time with her dog, and watch movies and play games with her husband and kids.

Brian Smith - Family Support Specialist

Brian Smith

Family Support Specialist

Family Support Specialists deliver Family SkillBuilders’ core services including one-on-one parent coaching and mentoring in the homes and communities of the families we serve, developing healthy family functioning that keeps children safe, teaching household management skills, and addressing safety issues for families with children at home or returning to the home.

Brian was drawn to working at Family SkillBuilders because he recognizes that families are where we grow people, and those people determine whether the world works well or not. Ultimately, the success of families is vital to the world functioning in a healthy way. He loves watching parents and children from difficult or hopeless backgrounds discover the possibilities for life that they never knew were possible. Sometimes they thought “living the dream” of a healthy family was for someone else. But with the right support, they surprise themselves and discover it’s for them as well.

Brian has worked with families for more than 20 years, as a pastor, then as a parenting consultant. He loves reading, especially fiction, as well as gardening and hiking. He’s currently working on conditioning for his fourth Mt. Hood ascent. This time around he’ll be joined by his son.

Miriam Won - Board President

Miriam Won

Board President

Miriam is a Co-Founder at Kizimani. As Co-President of the Family SkillBuilders' Board, Miriam is a primary contact for the Board, presides at board meetings, helps create agendas, appoints committees, sets goals and objectives, and supervises all business and organizational affairs.

Miriam is excited that Family SkillBuilders will continue to do amazing work with children who find themselves in challenging situations through no fault of their own. She is equally delighted that Family SkillBuilders can provide the necessary parenting skills and support to parents involved in the child welfare system as they work at being healthy physically and mentally so they may care for their children.

Miriam worked as a Parenting Consultant for Family SkillBuilders for 12 years and is the cofounder of Kizimani, a nonprofit that does development work among marginalized communities in Kenya. Kizimani supports education and investment in small scale sustainable income-generating projects that break the cycle of poverty.
When she is not working, Miriam enjoys going out to coffee with friends.

Adreanna Young - Social Media Coordinator

Adreanna Young

Social Media Coordinator

As Family SkillBuilders' Social Media Coordinator, Adreanna manages Family SkillBuilders’ accounts and engages with our online community of donors, clients, partners, and supporters to build awareness of our mission and encourage conversation around Oregon family education and advocacy.

Adreanna is passionate about making positive and long-lasting changes in the lives of others. Working with families fills her heart with hope for a wholesome future for our society. Adreanna's favorite part of working with families is the ability to watch them grow stronger and develop the tools they need to be successful, healthy, and happy. She also finds that kids are fun and adventurous, and she is always learning about life through them as well. Adreanna is motivated to utilize her compassion, empathy and skillset to impact her community in positive ways.

One experience that Adreanna really values was working with children in a residential psychiatric facility as a skills trainer. Her job was to identify lagging skills, then assist with building those skills. Her team focused on social, cognitive, communication, and emotional skills. Adreanna played an important role in supporting clients’ self-regulation through trauma-informed care – a powerful skillset she brought with her to Family SkillBuilders.

Dezarae Boyd-France - Executive Director

Dezarae Boyd-France

Executive Director

As the Executive Director at Family SkillBuilders, Dezarae leads the implementation of overall strategy, resource development, and operations of the agency including working with the Board to create and implement a shared vision. She leads the staff to work together to create a positive impact in the community and ensure the highest quality of service to children and their families, engages in fundraising and community partnering, and manages the organization in a way that upholds our mission, values, goals, policies, and procedures.

Dezarae has often considered how her life might have been different if her parents had a Family SkillBuilder parenting consultant to support them when she was growing up. Her firsthand experience with Child Welfare and an unstable family situation motivated her to do what she could to make the experience better for other children. When she heard about the unique services Family SkillBuilders provides, she knew had to be part of making sure Oregon children are safe and healthy.

Dezarae earned a BS in Social Science with a focus on Social Work and Psychology and has worked in social services for eight years. Dezarae feels her greatest work accomplishment was overseeing the conversion of Family SkillBuilders to a nonprofit business, building a more diverse and flexible staff, and developing critical partnerships in the community.

Lara Lunsford - Supervisor

Lara Lunsford

Supervisor

As a Family SkillBuilders Supervisor, Lara leads, models, coaches, mentors, and collaborates with our Family Support Specialists while they work with participating families in the field, providing essential support to ensure child safety and guiding each team member to be valuable partners to parents.

Lara felt a true calling to join people on their journeys of healing, particularly those on the margins, and to utilize some of her natural gifts in service to others. She loves supporting our field staff as they team with families working toward their unique goals. It excites and encourages Lara to know that Family SkillBuilders is partnering with and supporting families with a trauma-informed framework to address their challenges and bear witness to their successes.

Lara has a Master’s degree in Marriage Couple and Family Counseling (MCFC) and has worked in social services for ten years. Her favorite activities are being outside -- hiking, walking, being in nature, sitting on the beach, swimming in the river, or just hanging out in the yard with family and friends -- activities that calm and rejuvenate her. Lara has a lifelong love for music and finds joy in playing her violin and making music with others.

Alyssa Pankratz - Families Forward Groups Supervisor

Alyssa Pankratz

Families Forward Groups Supervisor

As the Groups Program Supervisor, Alyssa is responsible for leading, coaching, mentoring, and collaborating with the Groups team members to ensure child safety and support exemplary service delivery.

Alyssa’s favorite part of working with families is seeing them reunited and watching parents overcome obstacles. She enjoys experiencing parents being teachable alongside their children. Alyssa has worked in social services for over 12 years and never grows tired of the opportunity to encourage people to see their value and receive validation for both their worth and their accomplishments.

Outside of work, Alyssa extends her care to her dogs to ensure they are also living their best lives.

Colleen Sims - Supervisor

Colleen Sims

Supervisor

As a Family SkillBuilders’ Supervisor, Colleen leads, models, coaches, mentors, and collaborates with our Family Support Specialists while they work with participating families in the field, providing essential support to ensure child safety and guiding each team member to be valuable partners to parents.

Colleen’s longtime interest in children’s mental health evolved over time to wanting to work with parents to support the well-being of whole families. She believes that when parents are supported and given tools to engage in nurturing parenting practices, not only does that impact children’s well-being but it often helps to reduce generational trauma and supports the emotional lives of the entire family system, building on strengths to support sustainable healthy family functioning.

Colleen holds a B.S. in Psychology, and she is a Certified Family Life Educator. She has worked with families for over 20 years in various capacities. Her first in-home work was as a caregiver for five foster and adopted children being raised by a single father. That experience gave her solid grounding in trauma and resilience as she learned from both the children and the team of providers working with them.

Outside of work, Colleen can typically be found at home reading, talking to family, or art journaling. She finds great joy in listening to music and dancing.

Sarah Granstra Bizer - Family Support Specialist and Groups Facilitator

Sarah Granstra Bizer

Family Support Specialist and Groups Facilitator

As a Family Support Specialist, Sarah delivers Family SkillBuilders’ core services including one-on-one parent coaching and mentoring in the homes and communities of the families we serve, developing healthy family functioning that keeps children safe, teaching household management skills, and addressing safety issues for families with children at home or returning to the home.

Sarah also serves families as a Groups Facilitator. Groups Facilitators coordinate, plan, and lead group parent training to increase parenting skills including teaching core skills, guiding parent visitation with their children, modeling parenting skills, and providing activities, equipment, and supplies.

Sarah began her 10-year career in social services when she was volunteering with children who had a history of adverse experiences and saw the positive impact that spending time with them had on their social and emotional development. Her experience with these children led her to complete her bachelor’s degree in Child, Youth, and Family Studies at Portland State University.

Sarah most enjoys working alongside parents and families when she is providing positive support as they continue developing strong, nurturing, and safe interactions and environments.

For relaxation and fun, Sarah loves spending time with her family, playing and cuddling with her dog Mabel, going to concerts, knitting, and spending time outdoors.

Elena Castilla - Safe Visitation and Exchange Facilitator, Bilingual in Spanish

Elena Castilla

Safe Visitation and Exchange Facilitator, Bilingual in Spanish

As a Safe Visitation & Exchange Facilitator, Elena helps provide a safe, secure, and inviting environment for individual families with a history of domestic violence to visit and maintain valuable relationships between all parents and children.

Elena began supporting families when she was 17 in an Early Childhood Migrant program where she quickly became invested in supporting children and their parents. She came to believe that no one should feel alone navigating the many challenges that arise when raising a family.

Elena has been working in social services for 27 years, including working with migrant families, prenatal to five years of age in a wrap-around program, an Early Head Start home visitation program in Alaska, and Healthy Families home visits in Oregon. She is still in awe of the strong resiliency caregivers and children demonstrate in their journey to live full, safe, and healthy lives.

When she is not working with Oregon families, Elena loves to explore new trails to hike with her family, visit National Parks, and take short road trips.

Krista Chin - Database Administrator

Krista Chin

Database Administrator

As the Database Administrator, Krista is responsible for storing and managing data in the Social Solution Efforts to Outcomes (ETO) software to provide a seamless flow of information throughout the organization, considering both backend data structure and frontend accessibility for end-users. In the day to day, this position creates service and evaluation reports that guide the measurement of agency impacts, monitors system health and security, assures the ease of data entry, analysis, and reporting, and provides training and technical support as needed to fine-tune ETO’s effectiveness.

As part of the preceding agency management team, Krista helped shape the structure and processes of FSB and supported the succession plan including the transition to non-profit in 2021. She also helped spearhead our movement toward being a fully inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible service provider and employer. She has worked in social services for 16 years.

Krista quotes Desmond Tutu when describing the meaning of this work. “We need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.” She believes that Family SkillBuilders’ mission is upstream work.

When not working, Krista enjoys listening to non-fiction audiobooks, being in nature, and spending time with family. She is passionate about continued learning in areas such as systemic equity, trauma awareness (E.g. historical and religious), permaculture, and women’s personal finance.

Mary Clark - Board Member

Mary Clark

Board Member

Mary retired from the Oregon Department of Human Services after 40 years of service. During the last several years of her career, she coordinated and administered programs for Child Welfare and Self Sufficiency in Clackamas County along with representing the agency in collaboration and community development.

Mary worked closely with Family SkillBuilders to implement in-home safety and reunification services for families and gained great respect for the work of the agency. Mary was excited to continue her collaboration as a member of the Family SkillBuilders board.

Mary’s passion for advocating, supporting, and working on behalf of vulnerable individuals and families has continued into retirement. Mary co-chairs the Clackamas County Children of Incarcerated Parents committee focused on community education and programing for corrections involved families and enjoys a delightful friendship with a 13-year-old girl she has mentored for three years. In addition, she is a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for three families in the foster care system in Multnomah County and serves as board secretary for NAMI Clackamas. She is driven by the fundamental belief that children and parents love each other, and strengths can be found in all.

Mary loves entertaining, decorating, good movies and books, and time with friends and family, particularly her three grandchildren.

Dr. Jessica Dahlgren - Board Secretary

Dr. Jessica Dahlgren

Board Secretary

Jessica is a Research Associate and Project Director for NPC Research. Jessica serves as Family SkillBuilder' Board Secretary, responsible for all meeting documentation, planning, and ensuring all actions are in line with the agency bylaws.

Jessica joined the Family SkillBuilders Board because she is passionate about promoting child safety and wants to support the important work we do. She recognizes that Family SkillBuilders staff share her passion for the work and loves to see such selfless people working together to promote child wellbeing. Jessica is excited to see Family SkillBuilders grow, not just in terms of the number of families we are able to serve, but also moving into prevention service areas where we are able to provide services to families before they have an open case with ODHS.

Jessica earned a BA in Psychology, an MS and PhD in Human Development and Family Studies specializing in Child Development. She has worked in social service research for seven years.

Jessica loves outdoor activities including hiking, camping, backpacking, and walking her dogs. She also enjoys cooking and baking. Jessica volunteers as co-chair for the Clackamas County Children of Incarcerated Parents Committee where they help bring together community partners and volunteers to participate in community education efforts around children with incarcerated parents.

Tonya Deisner - Groups Facilitator

Tonya Deisner

Groups Facilitator

As a Family SkillBuilders Groups Facilitators, Tonya coordinates, plans, and leads group parent training to increase parenting skills including teaching core skills, guiding parent visitation with their children, modeling parenting skills, and providing activities, equipment, and supplies.

Tonya watched teen parents struggle to understand life and what healthy parenting may look like. She loves helping parents from all backgrounds and ages understand the beautiful connection between mother and child. Her passion comes from deep inside to help parents become the best they can be during both good and bad times.

Tonya has worked in social services, specifically supporting families, for 22 years. She loves being in the middle of everything right alongside her families, helping them to navigate through the trenches of the child welfare system and all other obstacles they may face.

When she has time to relax, she loves reading a good book and working on DIY projects. Tonya really enjoys home interior decorating.

Ryan Faherty - Board Member

Ryan Faherty

Board Member

Ryan is a Producer in Commercial Lines at Brown & Brown Insurance and Risk Management. Ryan was inspired to join the Family SkillBuilders board because of the mission of the organization, as well as the passion and commitment of the Executive Director and board members. He is excited to be part of the agency’s journey and believes his sales and marketing experience in the corporate world will help FSB reach new audiences and develop philanthropic partnerships to serve more families.

While he has not formally worked in social services, he has volunteered with many social service agencies. Ryan currently volunteers with hospice patients at Hopewell House in Portland and Paws For Love Therapy Dogs of McMinnville, doing hospice and well-being visits. He also volunteers in education through programs like the Oregon Business Academy, a weeklong program that provides high school students from all over Oregon the opportunity to develop business, professional, and other job skills that will help them excel as they enter the workforce. Ryan has served on the advisory board for The Children’s Center of Clackamas County and worked with the Rotary Club of Portland as a counselor at Enterprise Academy, a three-day program that helps high school students develop business, leadership, and entrepreneurial skills. Additionally, Ryan serves on the board of The LaRiviere Scholarship Fund, which provides tuition assistance to families in underserved areas of Southern California.

Ryan holds a BA degree in Business Administration from Carroll College in Helena, Montana. When he is not working or volunteering, Ryan enjoys lifting weights in his home gym, hiking in Forest Park, and reading. Additionally, he enjoys training his Newfoundland dog to participate in hospice, carting, water work, confirmation, challenging tricks, and general “good dog” behavior.

Jake Frostick - Intake Coordinator

Jake Frostick

Intake Coordinator

The Intake Coordinator is the main customer service point of contact for Family SkillBuilders and is responsible for all referrals, optimal staffing, directing inquiries, supporting scheduling and data entry, and contributes greatly to quality assurance in reporting and follow up.

Jake comes to this work with a mission to build and foster community. He has worked to bring grace and care into this work to assist families, no matter their needs. His favorite part of working with families is the unique dynamics parents and children bring to accomplishing goals. His combined direct service and administrative experience offers the right mix for his role as Intake Coordinator.

Jake holds two BAs in Political Science and International Studies. He has eight years in direct service work with a focus on safety and social service. One of his favorite positions was working as a Red Cross Instructor to teach swim safety to families as well as Lifeguarding and CPR/First Aid courses.

Outside of work, you may find Jake on the many nice hiking trails of the Pacific Northwest or rock climbing. He is also a devout fan of the Portland Thorns and Portland Timbers and can be frequently heard cheering in the fan section.

Elizabeth Goodrich - Family Support Assistant

Elizabeth Goodrich

Family Support Assistant

Family Support Assistants support our Parenting Groups by providing transportation, snacks, meals, and emotional support to participating children and parents and assisting our Groups Facilitators with parenting training and group activities.

Elizabeth joined Family SkillBuilders with a strong belief that only by helping others can she help herself. She is moved positively by working with children and families. Her favorite part about the work is seeing the resiliency and joy within the parent-child connection.

Elizabeth has worked in the social services field in Portland Metro for 20 years. She received her MA in Counseling Psychology from Lewis & Clark College with a focus on children and adolescents and her BA in Psychology from Southern Illinois University.

When she is not working, Elizabeth enjoys stand-up paddle boarding. She and her dad built her own wooden board! She loves to run and take in the Oregon splendor year round. Elizabeth also enjoys weekly volunteering at her local library and enjoys hanging out with her family.

Leanne Hartman - Office Manager

Leanne Hartman

Office Manager

As the Office Manager, Leanne supports Family SkillBuilders’ mission by assisting staff as they work with families and children in crisis and providing administrative services to the agency including human resources, accounting, operations, development support, and resource acquisition.

Leanne joined Family SkillBuilders after working in the public schools for many years and seeing how children and families thrived when they were supported and mentored. She most enjoys finding resources for families and FSB consultants. Leanne holds graduate degrees in business and teaching.

When she is not working, she enjoys volunteering at Hoyt Arboretum, sharing meals, travel, and dog walks with family and friends.

Brandon Johnson - Leadership Coach & Clinical Consultant

Brandon Johnson

Leadership Coach & Clinical Consultant

The Leadership Coach and Clinical Consultant is a critical advisory role providing clinical supervision on mental health issues, crisis, addiction, and behavior management consultation, training and professional growth advice to our leaders and evaluation administration.

Brandon joined Family SkillBuilders after spending time working with youth on probation. He has always been drawn to supporting people and making a difference in their lives, whether professionally or as a volunteer or friend. He connects with people who have not received the support they need in their lives from family, authorities, systems, and institutions.

As Leadership Coach, he believes that relationships and belonging are the heart of what it means to be human and where we all learn we can trust ourselves, our world, and all the people in our lives. By showing parents they have value and that they can do things differently for their children than what experienced as children, we help them make meaningful connections as a family, meeting the needs of parents and children.

Brandon holds a Masters in Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling and is a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Associate with the State of Oregon. Outside of work, he loves to build connections with friends and family, having meaningful conversations, hiking, or playing games. He loves to explore ideas with others who have similar interests so they can explore and learn together.

Alex Monroy-Benitez - Family Support Specialist, Bilingual in Spanish

Alex Monroy-Benitez

Family Support Specialist, Bilingual in Spanish

Family has always been an important aspect of Alex’s life. Her upbringing and personal experiences have taught her resiliency, empathy, and the importance of supporting others in her community. Alex has had the opportunity to work with diverse populations throughout her educational and career journey. Being able to learn, connect, and support families is what drives her to continue in this field.

Alex graduated from Portland State University with a BS in Social Science and a focus on Child, Youth, and Family Studies. She’s worked in the social service setting for three years and has had the privilege of working as a youth mentor and a Milieu Counselor. Fostering a safe and pro-social environment for children awaiting unification with their families has been one of the most rewarding experiences Alex has been a part of.

When she’s not working, Alex is most likely spending time with her family and two dogs. Alex also loves baking sweet desserts and watching reality TV shows.

Magdalena Quiroz - Family Support Assistant, Bilingual in Spanish

Magdalena Quiroz

Family Support Assistant, Bilingual in Spanish

As a Family Support Assistant, Magdalena supports our Parenting Groups by providing transportation, snacks, meals, and emotional support to participating children and parents and assisting our Groups Facilitators with parenting training and group activities.

Magdalena originally became interested in supporting families because she wanted to have a positive impact on vulnerable populations. From a very young age, she has strived to make the unheard feel heard and the unseen feel seen; this line of work has allowed her to make this a reality. Magdalena continues her career in social services because she finds hope, resilience, and opportunities for change in the work. Her brightest moments are when hope, resilience, and change seem to be out of reach, and she may feel defeat. It’s during those times, she finds the drive to collaborate with families to defy those negative feelings.

Magdalena previously worked at a residence for unaccompanied minors, most of whom were arriving from South America, Central America, or Afghanistan. During her time there, she learned the value of making connections with people. The teens with whom she worked valued the time she spent sharing meals, playing cards, or watching a movie, simple but positive interactions that created a space full of mutual respect and trust. Experiencing their development and growth was an incredible and rewarding experience for her.

When she is not busy working with families, Magdalena enjoys practicing Jiujitsu, a martial art she promptly fell in love with. Her personal goal is to compete and expand her skills in this sport.

Guille Resendez - Family Support Specialist, Bilingual in Spanish

Guille Resendez

Family Support Specialist, Bilingual in Spanish

As a Family Support Specialist, Guille delivers Family SkillBuilders’ core services including one-on-one parent coaching and mentoring in the homes and communities of the families we serve, developing healthy family functioning that keeps children safe, teaching household management skills, and addressing safety issues for families with children at home or returning to the home.

Guille’s favorite part of working with families is recognizing their need to be represented, to have a voice, and to be supported in the face of difficult cycles and changes in their daily lives. Family SkillBuilders gives her a platform to support the community and be able to provide families support in their times of need.

Over her six years in social services, Guille has enjoyed the experience of seeing families positively impacted by successfully keeping families safe and whole, out of the danger of narcotics, alcohol, domestic violence and with better management of mental health concerns. Being bilingual and bicultural, Guille believes she is privileged to use her knowledge of many Latin American cultures and provide the opportunity to highlight parents’ craft and work skills.

In her spare time, Guille volunteers for the Oregon Conference, supporting the children’s ministry, home and family, and the youth group.

Dr. Karen Rush - Board Treasurer

Dr. Karen Rush

Board Treasurer

Karen is the Executive Director of The Children's Center. Karen is the Family SkillBuilders' Board Treasurer whose primary duties are leading the preparation of the annual budget, reconciling accounts, reviewing all financial statements and activities, ensuring legal forms are filed on time, and reviewing the annual audit and presenting it to the Board.

Karen believes that helping to build strong families that support and nurture children is vital to the overall health and well-being of the children in our community. She admires the work done by the team at Family SkillBuilders and feels especially proud that they often work with families in their homes, where parents are most likely to experience success. She wants to do all she can to support the agency’s efforts.

Karen has worked in education and social services for 30 years. She began her career as a teacher and was a psychologist and principal in public education for over 20 years. Karen currently serves as a director of a non-profit that supports children and families impacted by child abuse or neglect.
Karen loves to be outdoors and spends most weekends hiking in sun, rain, or snow. She also loves to read, spend time with her dog, and watch movies and play games with her husband and kids.

Brian Smith - Family Support Specialist

Brian Smith

Family Support Specialist

Family Support Specialists deliver Family SkillBuilders’ core services including one-on-one parent coaching and mentoring in the homes and communities of the families we serve, developing healthy family functioning that keeps children safe, teaching household management skills, and addressing safety issues for families with children at home or returning to the home.

Brian was drawn to working at Family SkillBuilders because he recognizes that families are where we grow people, and those people determine whether the world works well or not. Ultimately, the success of families is vital to the world functioning in a healthy way. He loves watching parents and children from difficult or hopeless backgrounds discover the possibilities for life that they never knew were possible. Sometimes they thought “living the dream” of a healthy family was for someone else. But with the right support, they surprise themselves and discover it’s for them as well.

Brian has worked with families for more than 20 years, as a pastor, then as a parenting consultant. He loves reading, especially fiction, as well as gardening and hiking. He’s currently working on conditioning for his fourth Mt. Hood ascent. This time around he’ll be joined by his son.

Miriam Won - Board President

Miriam Won

Board President

Miriam is a Co-Founder at Kizimani. As Co-President of the Family SkillBuilders' Board, Miriam is a primary contact for the Board, presides at board meetings, helps create agendas, appoints committees, sets goals and objectives, and supervises all business and organizational affairs.

Miriam is excited that Family SkillBuilders will continue to do amazing work with children who find themselves in challenging situations through no fault of their own. She is equally delighted that Family SkillBuilders can provide the necessary parenting skills and support to parents involved in the child welfare system as they work at being healthy physically and mentally so they may care for their children.

Miriam worked as a Parenting Consultant for Family SkillBuilders for 12 years and is the cofounder of Kizimani, a nonprofit that does development work among marginalized communities in Kenya. Kizimani supports education and investment in small scale sustainable income-generating projects that break the cycle of poverty.
When she is not working, Miriam enjoys going out to coffee with friends.

Adreanna Young - Social Media Coordinator

Adreanna Young

Social Media Coordinator

As Family SkillBuilders' Social Media Coordinator, Adreanna manages Family SkillBuilders’ accounts and engages with our online community of donors, clients, partners, and supporters to build awareness of our mission and encourage conversation around Oregon family education and advocacy.

Adreanna is passionate about making positive and long-lasting changes in the lives of others. Working with families fills her heart with hope for a wholesome future for our society. Adreanna's favorite part of working with families is the ability to watch them grow stronger and develop the tools they need to be successful, healthy, and happy. She also finds that kids are fun and adventurous, and she is always learning about life through them as well. Adreanna is motivated to utilize her compassion, empathy and skillset to impact her community in positive ways.

One experience that Adreanna really values was working with children in a residential psychiatric facility as a skills trainer. Her job was to identify lagging skills, then assist with building those skills. Her team focused on social, cognitive, communication, and emotional skills. Adreanna played an important role in supporting clients’ self-regulation through trauma-informed care – a powerful skillset she brought with her to Family SkillBuilders.