Summer B. Brancoccio is the President and CEO of The National Center for Advocacy and Recovery for behavioral health (NCAAR-BH), a leading organization promoting recovery through advocacy and education for over 40 years. Prior to assuming her position in July 2022, she served as the Clinical Director for the Substance Abuse Initiative and Behavioral Health Initiative (SAI/BHI), overseeing a statewide cohort of clinicians providing comprehensive care management services to the GA and TANF population in New Jersey.
Summer has dedicated her career to serving individual, families, and communities affected by behavioral health concerns as a clinician, supervisor, and advocate for equitable and accessible services. She served those with mental health, substance use, and co-occurring disorders at Mount Sinai Hospital, Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital, Family Connections, West Bergen Mental Healthcare, North Charles Institute for the Addictions, and SAI/BHI. Her extensive experience providing treatment and care management informs her work in public policy, supporting the implementation of a full continuum of evidence-based care, harm reduction principles, and legislation and policy that honors the humanity of those being served.
Summer obtained her BA in Psychology from Boston University and her Masters of Education and Masters of Arts in Psychological Counseling from Columbia University.
Laura Videtti is the Chief Financial Officer and has been with NCAAR for over 22 years. Laura received her Master’s in Accounting from the Business School of Rutgers University and her undergraduate degree from The College of New Jersey. Under her leadership, she and her staff have received clean annual financial audits each year insuring that our grantors can trust our agency is a good steward of financial resources.
Laura is the pawrent of her furbaby Rylee, a six year old black Labrador Retriever and enjoys taking her for walks and training classes for nose work. Although she was born and resides in New Jersey, when not working Laura enjoys spending time on a quieter shore. The Eastern Shore of Virginia is where she spends her down time boating, fishing and relaxing with family and friends.
Stacey Wolff, NCC, LPC, LCADC, ACS Director of Care Coordination Services email@example.com
Director of Care Coordination Services
Stacey Wolff, NCC, LPC, LCADC, ACS
Stacey’s career in the behavioral health field spans almost 30 years! She is passionate about the work she does with strong convictions to advocate and help others with their goals for meaningful change. Stacey has worked in various clinical and supervisory positions and with very challenging populations. She began her career working with young adults with intellectual disabilities, and adults with moderate to severe disorders transitioning to the community from long-term psychiatric hospitalizations. She has provided therapeutic services to adolescent girls with trauma and co-occurring disorders, children in high-risk families, and most recently with the complex and challenging WFNJ GA/TANF population. With advancing positions within NCAAR she became the Director of Care Coordination Services for NCAAR in 2010. When she is not working, you can find her outside photographing nature.
Robert K. Hightower, BS Director of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
Robert K. Hightower, BS
Robert earned an Industrial Engineering & Operations Research degree from Rutgers University in 1995 and has over 25 years of Systems Manager experience. Robert began his journey with NCAAR in 1998 as a subcontractor, enlisted to manage the hardware and software needs of the then six person agency. As a key leader in the organization, Robert helped build and maintain all databases while meeting the networking needs for several multimillion dollar grants. In addition, he manages the IT Department who supports over 100 employees stationed in all 21 counties within the state of NJ. Robert serves as a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) Compliance Officer and volunteers on the Fundraising Committee for NCAAR.
Gina Wilkins LPC, LCADC, ACS, CCS Clinical Director, Work First NJ Substance Abuse Initiative and Behavioral Health Initiative email@example.com
Clinical Director, Work First NJ Substance Abuse Initiative and Behavioral Health Initiative
Gina Wilkins LPC, LCADC, ACS, CCS
Gina Wilkins is the Clinical Director for the Substance Abuse Initiative and Behavioral Health Initiative (SAI/BHI). In the role of Clinical Director, she oversees a team of clinicians providing statewide comprehensive assessment and care management services to the Work First New Jersey population. Gina joined the agency in 2018 as a Care Coordinator and was promoted to the Lead Care Coordinator position in 2019 in order to provide clinical support and supervision to her staff.
Gina began her career in 2012 as a case manager and counselor for the Women and Children’s Residential Substance Use program at Straight and Narrow, Inc. She continued to serve the men, women, and children affected by mental health, substance use and co-occurring disorders for the next six years in various levels of care. As a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor in the state of NJ, Gina has worked with youth ages 3-21 and their families as an Intensive In-Community Counselor; a tele-health therapist for an employee assistance program (EAP); and a private clinician/consultant.
Gina is passionate about providing an open and welcoming environment where people can learn from one another, grow in their personal and professional goals, and create change within themselves and their community.
Ciara Guile, NCC, LPC, LCADC Director, Work First NJ Family Violence Option firstname.lastname@example.org
Director, Work First NJ Family Violence Option
Ciara Guile, NCC, LPC, LCADC
Ciara Guile is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology at Towson University and received her Master’s degree for mental health counseling at Monmouth University. Ciara began her work in 2009 by providing services to individuals eligible for parole through the Department of Corrections. Ciara has experience with mental health, substance use, domestic violence and has worked with diverse groups including children, at-risk adolescents, adults and families in a variety of settings including outpatient and in-home services.
Ciara came to work at NCAAR in 2015. She quickly advanced to become a Lead Care Coordinator and then was promoted to become the Director of the WFNJ Family Violence Option in 2018. Ciara is a dynamic and active leader. In her current role, Ciara is dedicated to empowering survivors of domestic violence to more secure income support, autonomy, and safety without placing them at risk of further abuse.
Lisa Schmitter is the Director of Human Resources & Administration and has been with NCAAR. for over 19 years. Previously she worked in staffing and recruiting. Lisa is a graduate of Buffalo State College and a certified HR professional. Until several years ago, she served many years in the role of ‘HR Department of One’. This has provided her the opportunity to work in all areas of HR including recruiting, onboarding, employee relations, performance management, and benefits to name a few. She is always happy to assist a staff member in any way possible.
Lisa enjoys lengthy runs in the woods, has raised four hairless cats and loves The Muppets. She was born and raised in the Buffalo, NY area and relocated to Portland, OR before settling here on the east coast.
Andora Hightower has been a loyal employee with NCAAR since 1998. Her journey began with the birth of the SAI/BHI program as an Assistant Care Coordinator. Her responsible and versatile nature earned her promotions throughout the first decade of her tenure at NCAAR. Upon finishing her undergraduate degree with Thomas Edison State University, she ventured into the Public Policy Unit as the Communications Specialist in 2012. In this role, Andora would oversee the public facing website, social media platforms, and traditional media requests. She would also produce desk top publishing for the organization.
Since then, she has taken on management responsibilities as well as a keen interest in the development of the organization. As someone who is seasoned in both Public Policy and Care Coordination, she was promoted to the Communications and Development Manager where she also takes part in a strategic development plan and leads the fundraising committee. She holds a graduate certificate in fundraising and development at Thomas Edison State University.
Her long lived inspiration to be part of the mission is woven in great part by the loss of a loved one to addiction.
Mr. Waldman has served as a Visiting Professor and Lecturer and Executive in Residence at the Rutgers University School of Social Work since January 2001 to July 2019. From July 1998 to December 2000 he was the Executive Director of the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) in Washington, DC. APHSA is a non-profit organization whose members include the health and human service agencies in the 50 states, as well as many agencies in counties, municipalities and US territories. Its purpose is to develop, promote and assist its members in the implementation of sound public human services policies.
Mr. Waldman was employed by the State of New Jersey from July 1987 to June 1998 during which time he served as a Director of the Division of Youth and Family Services – the state’s child welfare agency, as Deputy Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services and as Commissioner of the Department and a member of the cabinet for three Governors of New Jersey.
The Department of Human Services is the largest public agency in New Jersey and his responsibilities included administering a $7 billion budget, managing a workforce of 19,000 employees and serving over one million residents of the state. The Department encompassed seven (7) operating divisions which included the Medicaid program, services to the mentally ill and developmentally disabled, the child welfare program, all public welfare programs as well as services to the blind and visually impaired and the deaf and hard of hearing. He also had responsibility for eighteen (18) institutions including psychiatric hospitals, developmental centers, children’s residential facilities and a residential program for the blind.
From May of 1975 until July of 1987 Mr. Waldman directed the Middlesex County, New Jersey Department of Human Services. In this capacity he was responsible for the administration of numerous county- based human services programs, managed a staff of sixty-five (65) employees, and administered a budget in the amount of $8 million.
Mr. Waldman was employed from October of 1965 to May of 1975 with the Essex County Welfare Board in Newark, New Jersey. He began as a caseworker and advanced through a series of progressively responsible supervisory and administrative positions including the administration of the County’s food stamp and employment and training programs.
Mr. Waldman has been the recipient of numerous awards throughout his career, serves on various boards of directors of community agencies, has made numerous presentations at
professional conferences, the New Jersey Legislature, the US Congress, foundations and business and industry groups; and, consulted for both government and private agencies.
Patricia has been in the field of Substance Use/Mental Health for approximately 32 years. I feel as though I have been Divinely guided to work with the individuals I work with. Patricia continues to work towards receiving my license as Professional Counselor (LPC)
Patricia has been trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Gambling Issues.
She has worked within the men’s prison system in NJ and mental health facilities. She currently working as a Group Facilitator at Legacy Healing Center in NJ with individuals seeking recovery from substances as well as recovery in managing any mental health symptoms they may be experiencing.
Dr. Manuel Guantez is President and CEO of Behavioral Health Consulting Group and business consultant to Rutgers UBHC. He recently served as Vice President of Outpatient and Addiction Services at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care where he oversaw adult partial hospital programs and outpatient/addiction services. He was instrumental in the implementation of the Interim Managing Entity, NJ’s central access point for public sector care and transition to fee-for-service /managed care for substance use disorders.
Dr. Guantez served as Chief Executive Officer at Turning Point from 2001 to 2015, one of NJ’s largest short-term residential treatment programs. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Montclair State University and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Long Island University followed by a Post Doctoral Fellowship at New York University.
In his very early career, Dr. Guantez worked in residential and outpatient addiction treatment conducting individual, group and family therapies, and coordinating programs for some of the more challenging treatment populations, including adolescents and persons with co-occurring disorders.
During his graduate and post-doctoral work, Dr. Guantez treated patients in acute psychiatric services, adult, geriatric and adolescent populations. Following his studies, Dr. Guantez served as the Coordinator of Addiction Studies at Montclair State University and as Assistant Professor taught all core graduate and undergraduate courses in addiction and mental health. As a consultant, he has worked with a variety of behavioral health and managed care entities to improve service delivery and treatment outcomes for various populations.
Dr. Guantez is an international speaker and consultant who has worked with the United Nations to help other countries achieve the gains in combating addiction that we have seen here in the United States. He has been singled out as an important contributor in shaping statewide policy and practices in mental health and substance abuse, and has served on the New Jersey Division of Addiction Services- Residential Licensure Standards Revision Committee, the Residential Treatment Services Committee, the Quality Standards Substance Abuse Treatment Committee, Chair of the State Professional Advisory Committee on addictions, and the co-chair of the state mental health and addictions association co-occurring disorders committee. In addition, he served in various capacities at the New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addictions Agencies having chaired a number of committees and served in various governance and leadership roles on the board. He was appointed by Governor Christie to the NJ State Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board and the NJ SAFE Task Force to provide recommendations on Violence Prevention with Comprehensive Review of the Intersection of Gun Control, Addiction, Mental Health and School Safety Issues. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of NCAAR-BH.
A former U.S. Marine and Presidential Honor Guard, Dr. Guantez brings a wealth of diverse knowledge and experience.
Donald F. Starn, M.A.T., M.Div., C.P.S., received his Bachelors Degree, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Kansas, his Master of Arts in Teaching from Wesleyan University and his Masters of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary. His background and experience include hospital administration, public and private school teaching, and 15 years of pastoral experience serving Presbyterian congregations in Missouri, Illinois and for nine years as Senior Minister in Cherry Hill, NJ. He is the founding Executive Director of Prevention Plus of Burlington County, Inc. and served in that capacity since 1991 up to his retirement in June, 2021.
During his service with Prevention Plus, Mr. Starn was active in the Burlington County community serving as President of the Board of Trustees for Partners for Kids and Families, the care management organization serving Burlington County, Chair of the Burlington County HSAC, Chair of the Burlington County CIACC, and held memberships on numerous additional task forces and committees. He is a Past President of the New Jersey Prevention Network (NJPN), the Chairman of the NJPN Statewide Childhood Drinking Coalition and continues to serve as the Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of NCARR and is on their Executive Committee. He is the father of three children, Luke, Jason and Rachel and has a partner of twenty six years.
Ed Brazell is the father of two sons (35 & 30), one of which is in recovery. Married to his beautiful wife Robynn of 35 years. He manages a software company from Demark.
Over 4 years ago he realized that he couldn’t fix my sons addiction even though he tried for two years. After seeing the shame and stigma that families faced, he decided to get involved within the recovery community and learn what addiction really was. He joined several Family support groups and quickly realized that there were many suffering out there. His passion for helping others has quickly grown and he realized that he would need professional training.
After completing several accredited courses he now serves the community has a Recovery Coach, Recovery Coach Trainer, Ethical Considerations and Trainer, Crisis Interventionist, Co-facilitator in two family groups and radio host in the Soul Solution Recovery radio show. At the age of 56 went back to college to get certified as a counselor.
In January 2015 he got tired of spending so much time looking for resources so he developed the National Substance Use Search Tool (NSUST). Spent a year gathering data on every business that offers services, in every category. Currently there are over 200,000 listings and still growing. The tool was released in June 2015 and is free to use by anyone. Currently there are on average 250 users a day on the site and it’s been a blessing in disguise for him because now he can help people find resources faster.
In 2015 he created ‘The Silent Epidemic’ non-profit company that help families and those looking for help. The Silent Epidemic assigns Recovery Coaches to folks that are suffering with substance use disorder and helps them navigate the system. They also with funding for those in recovery trying to get into a recovery house, flights to rehab, covering doctor visits and provide transpiration in NJ for anyone that needs transport.
He also likes to reflect in both the happiness of recovery and the sadness of addiction in poems. His past times are traveling the country on his motorcycle with his wife.
Mr. Trojan is an international policy expert on pre-arrest diversion/deflection, drug addition, disruptive tech and lending, and is a thought leader and speaker in these areas. He informs advocacy efforts for the C4 Recovery Foundation and PTACC (Police Treatment and Community Collaborative) and is a Board member of the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws (NAMSDL) and an Advisor to The Foundation For Drug Policy Solutions.
He is Founder and CEO of DC Insights and Token Insights, which specializes in global strategy, regulatory/legislative affairs, particularly addressing such issues as justice and health reform, data privacy/security and secured transactions. He is also a Senior Advisor for the International Law Institute and Mentor with several FinTech/RegTech accelerators. Mr. Trojan also serves as official Observer on three UN Working Groups, was appointed to advise the US Secretary of Commerce on its Trade Finance Advisory Council and engages regularly with the international community including the World Bank, among others.
Previously, Mr. Trojan held various senior positions at CIT, a global $65+ billion secured/asset-based lending, factoring and equipment leasing company, including chief of staff and senior operations advisor to the Vice Chairman. In addition, Mr. Trojan has worked closely with the American Financial Services Association (AFSA) on management and policy issues, and has been a Board member of the AFSA Education Foundation since 2006, promoting innovative financial literacy.
From 2012-2017, Mr. Trojan was the CEO of the Commercial Finance Association (CFA), the global trade organization representing 250+ banks and finance companies in the asset-based lending, supply chain finance, trade finance and factoring business.
Anne Marie Bramnick, Esq., a former judge of Superior Court for New Jersey, is a passionate and fierce advocate for families needing assistance in the legal system. She specializes in all legal matters involving family violence, custodial issues, parenting time, and divorce, especially when an imbalance of power or other forms of abuse are present. Anne Marie brings her non-profit and volunteer background to her legal practice to give families a unique perspective coupled with her delicate handling of family law matters that also involve dynamics of substance abuse, narcissistic abuse, emotional and financial control. As a co-founder of the Family Justice Center in Union County as well as a current board member for Monmouth Medical Center Hospital and other community organizations serving families in this State, the entire health and safety of the family she is working with through the legal system is a top priority to her in each case.
Following a clerkship in Superior Court Criminal and Chancery Divisions, Anne Marie served as an Assistant Prosecutor in Union County for years where she restructured Domestic Violence prosecution and law enforcement for the County and twenty-three police departments as the Domestic Violence Supervisor. While working as an Assistant Prosecutor, Anne Marie also tried to conclusion over twenty jury trials and dozens of bench trial, thereby becoming a Certified Criminal Trial Attorney by the Supreme Court in less than ten years of practicing law. Anne Marie has also handled many cases before the Appellate Division prior to taking the bench as a Superior Court judge in the Family Division in 2018. After sitting as a judge, Anne Marie realized she could use her skills and passion more effectively in directly helping more families as an attorney in private practice. Thereafter, she decided to leave the bench and pursue her family such advocacy described above in 2020.
Bruce Stout has held numerous positions in government and academia. In academia, Bruce has taught at The College of New Jersey, where he was the Chair of the Department of Criminology. He has also held faculty positions at the Rutgers Graduate School of Criminal Justice and at Penn State-Abington. He was also Executive Director of the Violence Institute and the Behavioral Research and Training Institute at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, where he was a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
In government, Bruce has served as Deputy Chief of Policy and Planning for Governor Whitman, Executive Director of the Juvenile Justice Commission, Director of the Division of Child Behavioral Health Services and Research Director for the Juvenile Delinquency Commission. Bruce is also a public member of the New Jersey Sentencing Commission.
Bruce also worked for the office of Governor Corzine, where he chaired the reentry working group that developed the reentry component of the Governor’s crime plan and where he worked with the Government Efficiency and Reform Commission on sentencing and corrections reform. Bruce, who earned his doctorate at the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice, has dedicated his career to using data and research to develop sane, equitable and effective policies to address crime and addiction.
Chris Schroeder in his capacity as a recovery advocate has been a Board Member of C4 Recovery Solutions and the NCADD-NJ. Chris has hosted XM Satellite radio shows, hosted the web based show Afflicted and Affected – interviewing leading figures in addiction and alcoholism treatment, worked as a Media Director and hosted cable TV shows.
Chris has lectured at and consulted with treatment centers for over 20 years on best practices and recovery philosophy.
Chris has a true calling to help those suffering from addictive illness and alcoholism and those having difficulty achieving sobriety. Chris has a way of communication that will inform anyone of the nature of this illness and how it can be overcome. He lives with his wife Andrea in Blairstown NJ.
Born and raised in Paterson, New Jersey, Kimberly is a woman in long term recovery since 2006. She became interested in working in the recovery field, with a special interest in non-clinical recovery support, on her educational path toward clinical practice. She is a National Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist (NCPRSS) and Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS) and has been trained in Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT).
Kimberly has had the honor of being the Director of a regional Recovery Community Organization (RCO) in southern New Jersey and has trained many individuals to embark upon careers within the recovery support sector. She currently works at Faces and Voices of Recovery.
Kimberly has received various awards for her commitment to advocacy and working towards solutions in the community including an NCADD-NJ (now NCARR-BH) Advocacy Leader award and the Courage and Compassion Outstanding Peer Leadership award from the New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addictions Agencies (NJAMHAA).
Kimberly is a member of various county addiction task forces and boards and remains committed to encouraging, individuals, families and communities to seek help for substance use disorder and the associated consequences that affect the individual and society. Kimberly is anticipating completing her educational requirements for a bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Health Sciences in spring of 2023. Her motto, based upon hope, is Recovery is Possible for Everyone!
Dr. Harry Shallcross has over 40 years of experience working with adults, children, families, and organizations as a consultant, therapist, coach, and teacher. He has delivered, organized, administered, and managed a wide range of substance abuse and mental health services in a variety of settings. He is licensed as a clinical psychologist in New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, and is also an ordained American Baptist minister.
Dr. Shallcross received his Ph.D. from Syracuse University; and holds an M. Div. from Union Theological Seminary; and a B.A. from Wesleyan University. He has been trained in substance abuse treatment at Johnson Institute and Hazelden Foundation, and has also had extensive training and experience in executive coaching, spiritual direction, and organizational development.
Since 1991, he has operated his own independent consulting and coaching practice, serving health care providers, managed care organizations and insurance companies, employer purchasers of health care benefits, and a wide range of public agencies. Since 1996 his practice has focused primarily on public sector children’s services, including child welfare, juvenile justice, and children’s mental health. He has worked with over 100 clients in 42 states. Much of his work has involved strategic initiatives for systemic change and reform. He has also developed and delivered courses in substance abuse and mental health for the University of Wisconsin system, and for the Johns Hopkins University. He is currently an adjunct faculty at the Rutgers University Graduate School of Social Work.
Dr. Shallcross is an active volunteer with programs for the homeless and incarcerated. He serves on a number of not-for-profit boards and advisory councils. He is an environmental activist who loves the outdoors, and enjoys hiking, kayaking, biking, and canoeing near his home in the Pinelands of South Jersey.
Dr. Shallcross diverse background provides him a comprehensive, and rather unique, understanding of the relationship between leadership, management, organizational structure, and direct care. He brings to his work a deep and broad array of counseling, coaching, teaching, management, and organizational development skills.