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rcpa new hire

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RCPA is pleased to announce the hiring of Kristen Houser as the new director for its Drug and Alcohol Division. Kristen will be working on policy and regulatory issues on behalf of RCPA Drug and Alcohol member providers and will be based in Harrisburg. She brings extensive experience in coalition building, legislative and policy advocacy, media and public relations, and public speaking to RCPA.

Most recently, Kristen worked for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) and National Sexual Violence Resource Center as Chief Public Affairs Officer, where she served as chief spokesperson, promoting both organization’s strategic and policy goals, including raising awareness of the issue and solutions to address it. She is experienced in making complex topics more relatable to the general public, which served her well when meeting with legislators and staff, the Office of the Governor, and other government officials to promote public policies, and when speaking with the media. She is a Governor Appointed member of the PA Commission for Women, and has an array of experience in training, business development, and nonprofit management.

Kristen worked in several other key positions that have intersected with the issues of drug and alcohol treatment and public policy. She served as Executive Director for Centre Volunteers in Medicine, a clinic providing free medical and dental care and case management to qualified residents of Centre County, PA; and as Co-Occurring Task Force Manager for Community Alliance, a project to coordinate care among providers of drugs and alcohol, mental health, and other human services for people with co-occurring disorders who were homeless in Douglas County, Nebraska. She worked on federal legislation, including the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2004, as President of the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, and on statewide policies during her tenure as Director of Programming & Sexual Assault Program Coordinator for the Nebraska Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Coalition.

In addition to her bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University, Kristen holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Nebraska. With many prior commitments, Kristen will begin her full-time position with RCPA in October but will be transitioning into the position beginning in August. On behalf of the RCPA Board of Directors, members, and staff, we welcome Kristen to RCPA.

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RCPA is pleased to announce the hiring of James (Jim) Sharp as the new director for its Children’s Division. Jim brings 30 years of systems expertise to RCPA; most recently working for Merakey in several key positions, including Executive Director of Operations for Pennsylvania, Delaware, & Maryland; Executive Director of Behavioral Services and Development; and as the Regional Executive Director for NHS Northwestern Academy. Prior to his work at Merakey, Jim served as the Chief Juvenile Probation Officer at the Philadelphia Family Court Juvenile Probation, the nation’s fourth largest juvenile probation department. In his tenure as Chief P.O., he aided in the implementation of national and statewide models for violence prevention, aftercare reintegration, and juvenile drug and graduated sanctions courts.

Jim began his career as a juvenile probation officer in Montgomery County before joining George Junior Republic as Court Liaison and Admissions Director.

In addition to his bachelor’s degree from Mount Saint Mary’s University, he holds a Master of Administration, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Shippensburg University.

Jim will begin in this position on May 13. Please join us in welcoming Jim to RCPA!

It is our great pleasure to announce that Carol Ferenz has accepted the position of Director of the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Division of RCPA. Carol comes to RCPA with 36 years of experience providing services and supports to individuals with special needs and their families. This came through several positions at The ARC of Cumberland/Perry Counties (CPARC), where she served as the Director of Residential Services since 1986. Carol oversaw a great expansion of services in this area and has a solid understanding of the system and regulations.

Most recently, Carol served as one of the RCPA provider representatives on the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) work group to revise the Chapter 51 regs and create the newly proposed 6100 regs. She has also served on the RCPA Annual Conference Committee since 2015.

Carol is a committed and dedicated individual and has done a great deal of volunteer work in her community. We look forward to her work and leadership at RCPA and within the IDD Division. She will begin on January 02, 2018. Please join us in welcoming her!

Robena Web Edited

RCPA is pleased to announce the hiring of Robena Spangler as the new director for its Children’s Division. Robena has worked for NHS Human Services for many years in several key positions, including operations resource specialist, regional director – children’s services, director of out of home services and gender responsive services, and children and youth program specialist. In addition to her bachelor’s degree in sociology/human services, she holds an MS degree in leadership and professional advancement from Duquesne University.

Robena will begin in this position on September 26 – just in time for the RCPA Annual Conference. As many of you know, Connell O’Brien serves as the current children’s services director and will be retiring. Connell will remain with RCPA to assist in the transition and to continue with select initiatives. Please join us in welcoming Robena to RCPA!