Children’s Trust Leadership
Jennifer Valenzuela, MSW, MPH, LICSW
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Jennifer brings over 20 years of experience in the fields of public health and social work with specialties in program development and implementation, community engagement, racial health equity with respect to clinical and organizational practice, building and supporting teams, and executive leadership. Most recently at Health Leads, Jennifer served as the Chief People and Equity Officer and Executive Director, Massachusetts.
As a public health clinical social worker, Jennifer directed the Young Parents Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, a specialty primary care clinic dedicated to teen parents. She also worked in the emergency departments of BCH and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, providing psychiatric and social crisis intervention.
Currently, she is the Vice President for Membership and Diversity with the National Association of Social Workers, Massachusetts Chapter. She graduated from Portland State University with a BS in sociology and Boston University with an MSW in Clinical Social Work and MPH in Policy and Management.
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Chief Financial Officer
As the Chief Financial Officer, Shandra oversees the finance team and manages the Children’s Trust budget of approximately $24M, covering state, federal, and trust spending.
Shandra joined the Children’s Trust in 2023 and brings over 16 years of experience in state budget and fiscal management, having previously held several roles within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Her background also includes experience in retail banking and investments.
Shandra holds a master's degree from Suffolk University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska – where she is originally from. In addition to her professional work, Shandra is proud to have been elected Board Treasurer at two non-profits and hopes to do so again in the future, when her children are a bit older.
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Chief Operating Officer
As Chief Operating Officer, Emily oversees human resources, information technology, facilities, board governance, and internal operating procedures that support agency functioning and programmatic execution. In addition, she provides strategic direction and leadership to execute agency-wide goals.
Joining the Children’s Trust in 2023, Emily brings vast knowledge and experience in building community-based, wrap-around support services for children, youth, and families in both the public and private sectors. Emily’s leadership in public school districts resulted in the creation of more equitable environments by addressing barriers, prioritizing parent voices, creating partnerships, and leveraging resources. A background in public board service, data analysis and advocacy round out the value she adds to the Children’s Trust team.
Emily earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Rhode Island College. She currently lives in Rhode Island with her husband and two sports-loving children.
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Chief Program Officer
Sarita joined the Children’s Trust in 1997 and in 2019 assumed the position of Deputy Director of Programs, overseeing all Children’s Trust programs.
Sarita served as the Director of Home Visiting for 22 years, leading the Healthy Families Massachusetts Implementation Team (HFMIT). Under Sarita’s leadership, Healthy Families Massachusetts (HFM) has twice successfully completed Healthy Families America accreditation and has been the subject of a longstanding randomized trial evaluation that has demonstrated the positive impacts of HFM in the short and long-term.
In addition to experience as a home visitor and NCAST rater in Hawai’i Healthy Start, she holds the degrees of Bachelor of Arts in History from Kansas State University and Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, as well as a certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Boston University Institute for Nonprofit Management and Leadership. Sarita is a proud mother and grandmother and lives in Somerville with her husband and their hedgehogs.
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Director of Family Support Training and Parent Education
As the Director of Family Support Training and Parent Education, Rayna oversees the Family Support Training Center, including our annual View from All Sides conference, Safe Kids Thrive and Keeping Kids Safe training programs, Parenting Education programming, and our online parenting websites onetoughjob.org and allbabiescry.com.
Rayna has worked for the Children’s Trust in various roles since 2000, including managing the Healthy Families Massachusetts training program for over ten years. Most recently, Rayna was responsible for our efforts to engage moms and dads online.
Rayna holds a Master of Business Administration and a graduate certificate in non-profit leadership and management from Boston University. She is also the proud mother of a 16-year-old daughter and the wife of a retired Army soldier who is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. Rayna and her family live in Merrimac.
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Director of Family Support
As Director of Family Support, Anna oversees the Children’s Trust Family Centers and takes a lead role in developing, strengthening, and sustaining efforts to create SAFE Child Communities.
Early in Anna’s career, she was one of the first Healthy Families Home Visitors when the Children’s Trust launched Healthy Families Massachusetts. Since then, she has worked in the fields of adult education, youth and adult workforce development, public health education, strategic planning, and grant writing. Prior to joining the Children’s Trust in 2021, she was the Director of SomerPromise, the City of Somerville’s cradle to career collective impact initiative.
Anna attended Bryn Mawr College for her undergraduate degree and the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University for her graduate degree. She enjoys being active outdoors and lives in Somerville with her family.
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Director of Home Visiting Training and Professional Development
As the Director of Home Visiting Training and Professional Development, Meg oversees all initial and ongoing professional development for home visiting staff across the Commonwealth.
During her tenure with the Children’s Trust, Meg has developed partnerships to strengthen and advance home visiting at the state and national levels. For seven years, Meg coordinated the Healthy Families Massachusetts training program. Prior to joining the Children’s Trust, Meg directed early literacy programs for young children and worked as a preschool teacher.
Meg received her master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts and has extensive experience in early education, adult learning and integration, and instructional design.
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Director of Marketing and Events
As Director of Marketing and Events, Liz is responsible for overseeing the daily operations and management of the Marketing and Communications Team and provides leadership on fundraising and awareness events.
Liz joined the Children’s Trust in 2019 as a Marketing and Communications Specialist with a background in development communications, project management, and events. She received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Rhode Island and lives in Boston with her husband and twin boys.
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Director of Home Visiting
As the Director of Home Visiting, Steven leads the Healthy Families Massachusetts Implementation Team (HFMIT) who provide support and technical assistance to the statewide network of Healthy Families Massachusetts (HFM) programs serving first-time young parents. Aside from ensuring the evidence-based HFM programs are implemented with fidelity, he regularly collaborates with local non-profits, state agencies, and universities on private, state, and federally funded initiatives and program enhancements.
Steven joined the Children’s Trust in 2007 as a HFM Program Specialist having previously worked in the areas of elementary and higher education, specialized foster care, juvenile justice, and workforce development.
Steven holds a Bachelor of Political Science from Salem State University and a Master of Urban Affairs from Boston University. He is certified by the National Alliance of Children’s Trust & Prevention Funds to provide trainings on the Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework.
Children’s Trust Staff
Taylor Achin, Marketing and Communications Specialist
Debra Balzarini, Executive Assistant
Tammy Bernardi, Prevention Training Coordinator
Charlene Best-Brown, Program Team Administrative Assistant
Kate Bullock, Family Support Coordinator
Marissa Daley, Assistant Director of Home Visiting
Jessica Dautruche, Healthy Families Resource Specialist
Kathleen DiBona , Healthy Families Program Specialist
Carlos Huaman-Dioses, Graphic Designer
Alexia Edwards, Events Specialist
Michael Holmes, Operations Analyst
Brandon Jimenez , Family Support Administrative Assistant
Jennifer Lee, Contracts Manager
Lee MacKinnon, Home Visiting Training Specialist
Shakira Mahmoud, Development Associate
Delbar Mamedzade, Parent Content and Prevention Specialist
Judy McInnis , Fiscal Business Officer
Dan McGinnis, Healthy Families Program Specialist
Jenn Reed, Healthy Families Resource Specialist
Haley Riley, Training and Technical Support Coordinator
Alli Rossetti, Healthy Families Training Coordinator
Ayesha Shah, Healthy Families Program Specialist
Julia Scherer-Hoock, Manager of Donor Relations and Stewardship
Claire Toole, Administrative Assistant, Healthy Families Home Visiting Training Team
Christopher White, Fatherhood Initiative Coordinator
Zoe Wright, Marketing and Advancement Assistant