Steering Committee

Darrell Yater, Steering Committee Chair

Northwest Local School District, Superintendent

Darrell Yater has worked for Northwest Local Schools for over 20 years and has served in the roles of teacher, curriculum specialist, assistant principal, director of special education services, and assistant superintendent. Darrell is a Milken Educator of the Year award.  Over his years of experience, he has created partnerships with a variety of providers in the areas of special education, mental health, and school leadership. In his role as a district administrator for special education, he partnered with community agencies to bring mental health services to students within the school setting.  As Assistant Superintendent, Mr. Yater added additional partnerships with community agencies to provide comprehensive wrap around services such as student mentoring, individual counseling services, parent training, and job embedded trauma training for teachers.  Throughout his career, Mr. Yater has worked to develop and align systems that provide services and supports to ensure success for students.

Julie Herrmann, Steering Committee Vice- Chair

NewPath Child & Family Solutions, Director of Outpatient Services

Julie has served as the Regional Director of Outpatient North services for St. Joseph Orphanage since 2019. Julie has been in the community mental health field since 2007 and finds purpose and passion in meeting the mental health needs of children, youth, and families in our community. In addition to providing leadership to the Outpatient team of St. Joe’s, Julie serves on the Joining Forces for Children Steering Committee and co-leads the Early Childhood Channel. Julie has dedicated her career to meeting the mental health needs of the community, specifically focusing on decreasing the impact of toxic stress and ACES.

Carolyn Brinkmann

The Children’s Home of Cincinnati, Director of  Early Childhood and School Age Services

Carolyn Brinkmann is a licensed social worker in the State of Ohio with over 30 years of experience in the early childhood and mental health fields.  Throughout her career, Carolyn has provided, developed and directed services designed to improve the wellbeing of children and families residing in the Greater Cincinnati area. Carolyn began her work as a child and family therapist and for the past 20 years has served in various leadership roles at the Children’s Home of Cincinnati, 4C for Children and Beech Acres Parenting Center. Carolyn is an advocate for young children and serves on several local initiatives focused on promoting children’s early learning and development by addressing community and family wellness.

Kevin Jamison

Princeton City School District, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources

Dr. Jamison has over 25 years of experience in educational administration having worked mostly for Princeton City Schools and Cincinnati Public Schools. He has also worked for alternative, specialized school settings serving students with disabilities and mental health needs at Lighthouse Youth and Family Services and St. Aloysius Orphanage. Dr. Jamison is licensed in Ohio as a superintendent, professional clinical counselor and social worker. He currently supervises the areas of human resources, mental health contracts, and district wellness among other key areas of district operations. Dr. Jamison is an Ohio Department of Education Special Education Leadership award recipient. He served on the steering committee for improving outcomes for students with disabilities at the Ohio Department of Education. Dr. Jamison has also served on special education program review teams for the Council of the Great City Schools.  He has extensive experience working to support students who are multi-system involved including students in the child welfare system. Dr. Jamison also brings his 17 years of agency-based and private practice clinical counseling experience to add to perspectives in student level, program level and system level problem solving.

Tom Lottman

Learning Grove, Research Director

Tom Lottman is the Senior Director of the Innovation Lab at Learning Grove. The Innovation Lab is charged with developing, testing and disseminating disruptive innovations in the early childhood field. Tom has had a long history of work in social and emotional learning, especially emerging character strengths in early childhood. He is currently overseeing a federal grant to enhance family engagement with schools.

Dena Cranley

University of Cincinnati, Program Director for Urban Health Pathway

Before her role on the Steering Committee, Dena was an active member of the Community Connections Channel of Joining Forces for Children. She is currently working on many local projects that address equity and well-being. Her experience and expertise led her to create a local nonprofit organization, First Ladies For Health, focused on the health disparities in African-Americans and Hispanics. In addition, Dena is the Program Director of the Urban Health Pathway at the University of Cincinnati.

Dena earned her Masters in Arts from Xavier University and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Cincinnati. Dena has served on the boards of Tender Mercies, Ohio Innocence Project, and Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s Women’s Fund Leadership Council, Cradle Cincinnati Advisory Board.  She has over fifteen years of global experience specializing in consultation, training, facilitating, management, research and analysis in the areas of global diversity & inclusion, talent management and development, conflict resolution, and mental health.  She has led teams by guiding organizations and people to a new level of diversity awareness and understanding.  She has worked for UNICEF in the Middle East & North Africa region, conducting an identity development cross-sectional study at the University of Jordan, counseling, and volunteering.

Jim Mason

Beech Acres Parenting Center, President & CEO

Over his 31 years as CEO of Beech Acres Parenting Center, Jim Mason has led the former General Protestant Orphan Home through its evolution from a 19th century orphanage to the 21st century parenting center it is today. Each of several transformations under his stewardship had the effect of deepening and expanding its mission, while shifting the approach from fixing children’s deficits to building on their strengths.

Anita Shah, MD

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Dr. Shah is an assistant professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Hospital Medicine at UC Department of Pediatrics. She has a strong background in pediatric advocacy and health policy. Dr. Shah is a PEDSnet Scholar through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) which currently supports her research interests. Her research has focused on the association of parental adversity and resilience with outcomes after pediatric discharge. She serves as the lead for the Healthcare Channel within Joining Forces for Children.

April Gallelli

Avondale Development Corporation, Project Manager for the Avondale Quality of Life Neighborhood Plan

April Gallelli has been active in addressing ACEs and resilience with Avondale residents. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Administration of Justice from Arizona State University and Masters degrees from University of Cincinnati and Walden University in Criminal Justice and Forensic Psychology respectively. While pursuing her bachelor’s degree April interned at the Phoenix office of the United States Federal Probation Department. After graduating April was employed as an Inmate Classification Counselor at the Maricopa County Madison Street Jail.

Upon relocating back to Ohio, April began a career working with youth who were court involved and at risk of expulsion in the public school system’s Alternative Learning Centers. At the end of the contract with the schools April was recruited under the Global War on Terror Act for a position as the Administrative Outreach and Care Coordinator at the Mental Health Unit at Wright Patterson AFB.

Dustin Gehring

Assistant Director of Student Services, Northwest Local School District

Dustin is the administrator in charge of student services at Northwest Local School District.  Prior to his current position, he was the principal at White Oak Middle School for just about five years. In the time before his principalship began, for five years he was an assistant principal at Colerain High School and for five years before that, he served as a teacher, wrestling and track coach for CHS as well. He resides in the NWLSD with his wife Jo and their five children, Christian, Grace, Simon, Lila, and Isaac. He brings extensive knowledge and understanding of the school organization change process, trauma-informed programming, and Restorative Practices to the leadership team.

Michelle Cox

Executive Director, GLAD House

Michelle Cox has served as GLAD House’s Executive Director since October 2016. She has 21 years of experience as a child mental health therapist, supervisor, and administrator in community mental health. Michelle is trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and has attended numerous trainings on the impacts of trauma on the brain and attachment. Michelle has provided psychotherapy to children, ages 4 to 23 years old, who presented with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and behavioral disorders. Michelle has supervised social workers since 2002 and has been in involved in upper management for the last eleven years.

Joining Forces Staff

Bob Shapiro, MD

Division Director, Mayerson Center for Safe & Healthy Children, CCHMC

Dr. Robert Shapiro is Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and the Director of the Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. He has worked and published in the field of child abuse and neglect for over 25 years and has taken his work upstream to help families improve childhood outcomes by addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences. Dr. Shapiro is a principal leader within Joining Forces for Children, a community-wide collective impact initiative which aims to improve child health and development by reducing the effects of toxic stress.

Erin Saul

Erin Saul is a Community Engagement Specialist at the Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children. She joined the Joining Forces for Children backbone team in 2018 after working in a variety of roles at family and youth serving organizations. Erin first learned about ACEs and toxic stress while working at a sexual violence prevention and advocacy agency in Portland, Maine. Since then, she’s been working to bring strengths-based, community driven solutions to the forefront of the conversation on ACEs, toxic stress, and resilience. Erin is a 2020 YWCA Rising Stars and serves on several nonprofit boards including Upspring and Mission2Move. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Denison University and is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Business Leadership and Innovation at Northern Kentucky University.

Jodie Short

Jodie Short is the Program Manager of the Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She provides operational and strategic management for the Child Advocacy Center as well as the Joining Forces for Children initiative. In addition, she provides technical assistance to local schools and PBIS/TIC teams to better understand, design and integrate trauma informed approaches that create resilience building environments for our children, families and staff. Through a variety of roles in the fields of human services, home visitation and child maltreatment, Ms. Short has more than 20 years of experience in creating collaborative support systems that address childhood adversities, build promising practices and implement evidence-based interventions.

Ms. Short received her Bachelor of Science degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences: Psychology from Indiana University and her Master of Science degree in Health Service Administration from Xavier University.  She holds a certification in Trauma Responsive Care.  She received the YWCA Career Women of Achievement Rising Star award and the Award of Excellence from the CCHMC Research Foundation. She has contributed to several publications and presentations in the healthcare and home visitation fields. Her primary areas of interest include data driven decision making, trauma informed care approaches and rural access to care.

Sarah Zawaly

Sarah Zawaly is a Senior Specialist at the Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Serving as a Joining Forces for Children team member Sarah educates, trains, and supports divisions to engage in trauma-informed care practices, protocols and policies. Her passion for trauma-informed care is rooted in increasing our awareness of life experiences to decrease barriers to care so every patient is able to live the healthiest life possible, no matter who they are, where they live or what they’ve been through.  As a past teacher and clinical social worker she provides effective, yet practical and simple interventions to foster opportunities for organizations to enhance well-being for staff and the families they serve.