Born and raised in rural northwest Oklahoma, Suzanne L Williams graduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 1994 and then went on to receive her Masters in Criminal Justice from New Mexico State University in 1996. She began her career in corrections in New Mexico serving as a director of a community corrections center for two years before moving to Arizona where she served as a director for a day treatment facility for juvenile offenders and for an inner-city youth program before taking a year off to develop educational curriculum. In 2001, she and her family moved back to Oklahoma where she began her career working with homeless populations serving as Housing Director for Red Rock Behavioral Health Services managing and developing services and programming for ten housing facilities providing permanent supportive housing, transitional supportive housing and emergency shelter for homeless veterans, criminal offenders, and other individuals living with severe mental illness and HIV/AIDS. She left in 2007 to be a self-employed consultant to local governments, faith-based organizations, school districts and non-profit organizations providing grant and proposal writing, staff training, and program and policy development and implementation. In 2016 she joined the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services where she is providing leadership in developing homeless, housing and employment initiatives for the State. She currently serves on the Governor’s Interagency Council on Homelessness where she co-chairs the employment, education, and training subcommittee; the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council and the Oklahoma City Housing Authority Family Self-Sufficiency Program Coordinated Committee.
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Janelle Bretten is the director of strategic planning and engagement for the Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA). Ms. Bretten began her career with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice as a parole officer. She moved to Oklahoma where she worked in the non-profit sector providing services to youth and families involved in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Ms. Bretten joined OJA in 2000, as a juvenile justice specialist. Since that time, she has served as an assistant district supervisor, a program field representative monitoring the agency’s case management services, and in 2006 was promoted to a district supervisor. In 2013, she served as the agency’s chief of programs overseeing community-based and residential programming. Ms. Bretten served as interim executive director for OJA. In her current role, Ms. Bretten represents OJA on multiple councils and committees engaging in partnerships and collaborative projects. She currently serves as vice-chair for the Governor’s Interagency Council on Homelessness and co-chair for the Systems of Care Children’s State Advisory Workgroup. In addition to her work regarding juvenile reform efforts, grants, training, and quality assurance she also serves as the agency’s tribal liaison. Ms. Bretten holds a bachelor’s in criminal justice and a master’s in public administration. Ms. Bretten is a member of Georgetown University’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform Fellows Network.
Greg Shinn received his MSW from New York University in 1993 and for 8 years he was the Director of a homeless shelter for people with mental illness on Wall Street. In 2001, Greg relocated to Oklahoma. As Associate Director and Chief Housing Officer for the Mental Health Association Oklahoma, he oversees planning and development of an affordable and supportive housing portfolio that encompasses 1,500 units in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. He also provides technical assistance to communities and units of government through his firm Creative Housing Solutions. Greg is a past Chair of the Oklahoma Governor’s Interagency Council on Homelessness and the past President of the Oklahoma Coalition for Affordable Housing.
Originally from Edmond, OK, Jerod received his Bachelors in History and International Studies from Oklahoma Christian University. Upon completing his undergraduate education, he performed volunteer work overseas before returning and attending graduate school at the University of Oklahoma. At OU Jerod obtained dual Master’s degrees in Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning. He began working in the Community Development Division of the Oklahoma City Planning Department while still in graduate school. Soon after completing his graduate education he was tasked with managing the City’s homeless services programs and coordinating services.
The Oklahoma City Planning Department is the lead organization for the Oklahoma City Continuum of Care homeless assistance system. Since becoming manager of this system, Jerod has made it a goal to better educate citizens on homelessness in Oklahoma City and homeless issues in general as well as help foster coordination among homeless service agencies and streamline services.
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James Carter is a Licensed Professional Counselor. He has worked the in-patient Unit at Children’s Medical Center, residential programs at Job Corps Center, and is currently the Executive Director of Northern Oklahoma Youth Services. During his tenure with Youth Services, he has served in multiple roles from clinical therapy, supervision, program development, writing policy as well as executive duties for agency programs including the youth emergency homeless shelter. James has served on a number of local and statewide committees and taskforces including Advisory Boards for the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Child Abuse Prevention Task Force, Regional Planning Boards, Workforce Investment Act Planning Board, Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth Sub-committee on Homeless Youth and Continuum of Care Regional and State Boards.
Linda Love is the Director of Planning and Development for the KI BOIS Community Action Foundation, Inc. in Stigler, Oklahoma, where she has worked since 1991. She has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and minor in Botany from the University of Oklahoma, and is a Certified Community Action Professional. Linda has served as secretary for the Governor’s Interagency Council on Homelessness on more than one occasion. She is married with one son who is a 2022 graduate of the University of Oklahoma and a dog.
Nicole Poindexter grew up in California's Central Valley and is an Oklahoma transplant, moving here in 2008. Her longest career is mom to her four children Lukas, Logan, Ella and Wyatt. She currently serves as the Fundraising Director of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy. Her previous role was Operations Manager of Women Lead Oklahoma. Nicole brings her varied experience and passion for women and children to all her roles. When not working, she spends her time crafting and attending concerts.
Dan Straughan (pronounced STRAWN)
A lifelong resident of central Oklahoma, Dan was born and raised in Oklahoma City and currently lives in Norman. He attended Putnam City Schools and got both his degrees from the University of Oklahoma.
Dan spent ten years as a manager at the Federal Reserve Bank of Oklahoma City before joining United Way in 1997 where he served as Vice President for Agency Relations, Allocations and Community Investment.
Dan became the founding Executive Director of the Homeless Alliance in 2004 to build the community’s capacity to better care for the homeless.
Dan has served as President of the Governor’s Interagency Council on Homelessness (GICH) and president of the United Way of Central Oklahoma Agency Directors Association. He is currently a member of the Criminal Justice Advisory Council (CJAC) and co-chairs the Facilities Committee of the Council.
Marshall Vogts is the Director of Community Development at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. He has worked in various aspects of community, workforce, and family development since 2004. In addition to his appointment to the Governor’s Interagency Council on Homelessness, he serves on boards and committees related to transportation, Head Start, and agriculture. Marshall also enjoys being an adjunct instructor of sociology at several colleges in the Oklahoma City area, including the University of Central Oklahoma.
Millicent Newton-Embry began her law enforcement career as a police officer with the Muskogee Police Department. She later joined the Oklahoma Department of Corrections as a probation and parole officer in Oklahoma and Canadian Counties. She was promoted through the ranks and served as district supervisor of Probation and Parole and Community Corrections. In 2004, Ms. Newton-Embry was appointed as warden of the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center. In 2012, she accepted the position of agency Prison Rape Elimination Act coordinator in the Internal Affairs Unit. In 2016, she was promoted to regional director for Region I Institutions with oversight of 10 prisons, including Oklahoma State Penitentiary.
She most recently served as the director of Health and Offender Services. In addition, she oversaw Programs, Education, Classification and Population, Central Transportation, Sentence Administration, Sex Offender Registration, and the agency's COVID 19 medical response.
Currently, Ms. Newton-Embry serves as the chief of strategic engagement, responsible for outward-facing engagement between the agency, the public, and the community with oversight of Community Outreach, Programs Services, Training, Professional Development, and Recruitment and Retention units.
Ms. Newton-Embry is a member of the American Correctional Association, Oklahoma Correctional Association, National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, National Association of Women Executives in Corrections, and Oklahoma Committee of One Hundred. In addition, she is a current board member of the Department of Public Safety Federal Credit Union and the Governor's Interagency Council on Homelessness.
She and her husband are the proud parents of two children and she enjoys mentoring youth and collaborating with others to improve the lives of those in her community and our state.
Ms. Newton-Embry earned her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Northeastern State University.
She is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma Class #33.
Tim Shackelford has worked in the affordable housing industry at both the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency and the Louisiana Housing Finance Corporation for more than two decades. Shackelford holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Central Oklahoma. He serves as a member of the Oklahoma Disaster Housing Task Force and the Governor's Interagency Council on Homelessness (GICH).
Erin Turner is currently the Community Health Worker Program Manager in Community Development for Oklahoma State Department of Health. She has worked in the public health field for over 10 years including working for DHS, Tulsa Health Department, ODMHSAS, and at the Oklahoma State Department of Health for the last 6 years. She also is an adjunct professor for introductory classes into Health Education and Promotion. She received both her Bachelors and Masters from Oklahoma State University. She loves to help bridge the gap between state programs and local communities and seeing communities grow.
Cale Powers graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2008 with a Masters of Social Work. He started his career at NorthCare working in a homeless focused case management team, screening/triage and hospital discharge team. He has also worked as an inpatient mental health therapist. Since 2015, Cale has worked with the Homeless Program at the VA and has served as the Homeless Program Coordinator at the Oklahoma City Healthcare System since 2019.
Paula A. Brown, Oklahoma’s Head Start Collaboration Director, has 37 years of experience in Head Start and the world of young children and families. She previously completed 23 years as the Disabilities Services Manager for United Community Action Head Start. She earned her BS in Psychology from Oklahoma State University in 1985, her Master’s in Special Education from Ashford University in 2013 and is working on her PhD in Human Development & Family Sciences from Oklahoma State University. She has been a Governor’s appointee to Oklahoma’s Coordinating Council on Early Childhood Intervention (ICC) since 1998, currently serves as the chair of the Infant Mental Health Committee for the ICC, has recently been appointed by the Governor to the GICH and serves on the Employment (Education/Training) Sub Committee, is on Oklahoma’s Pyramid Model Leadership Team, Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness’s Board of Directors, OSU’s Institute for Building Early Relationships (IBEaR)’s Advisory Board, Autism Foundation of Oklahoma’s Early Childhood committee, and Oklahoma’s Clearinghouse on Early Childhood Success.
She is the proud mother of 2 Head Start Alumni. Her oldest, Michael, has developmental disabilities and was one of the first children to be fully included in his school. Her youngest, Daniel, is a Fellow in Pulmonary Critical Care at OU Medical Center. She is also the proud Mee-maw of Vivienne, age 2 and Harper, 6 months and makes her home in Stillwater, OK with her husband and biggest fan, Bob.
Tonya Garman has been working within the Oklahoma public service system as both a contractor and employee for the past 30 years as a Nationally Certified Sign Language Interpreter. This work has provided a variety of diverse experiences, expanding her understanding of not only the Deaf Community, but the Disability Community as a whole.
Most recently, she has been working as an Executive Division Coordinator for the Department of Rehabilitation Services, where she is responsible for the development and coordination of multiple projects. In addition, she represents DRS with several statewide committees and initiatives. Tonya strives to utilize her experience and abilities to advocate for the issues that face individuals with disabilities, as well as providing services to promote equality for the Disability Community.
Tammy Smith has been with the Oklahoma State Department of Education since July 2017. She is the Assistant Director of Finance and Audit in the Office of Federal Programs, providing technical assistance to local education agencies (LEAs) on federal guidelines, laws, and regulations. She has served as the Homeless State Coordinator since July 2018. In this role, she provides professional development opportunities for local homeless liaisons and other LEA personnel, provides technical assistance, and conducts monitoring of LEAs for compliance with the McKinney-Vento Act. She responds to inquiries from parents and guardians of children and youth experiencing homelessness and unaccompanied youth, to ensure that each child or youth receives full protections and services in the McKinney-Vento Act.
Bio coming soon.
Shelley Zumwalt started her state service almost a decade ago in an entry-level position as a budget analyst at the Office of State Finance, overseeing the Health and Human Services Cabinet. She has held many positions in the years since that start, including serving the Office of the Governor as Public Affairs Director and as Chief of Communications and Strategic Engagement for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. Her most recent position before coming to OESC was as the Chief of Innovation for OMES, the agency that oversees the state’s technology services.
Since joining OESC in late May 2020, Zumwalt has been overseeing a $50 million business process technology transformation, named BT40, which is transforming the agency and its 40-year-old manual processes and mainframe to vastly improve the claimant and employer experience when interacting with the agency.
In addition to the BT40 transformation, Zumwalt has led the agency in paying out over $5 billion in federal and state benefits during the pandemic, helped to drive down the unemployment rate that was at nearly 15% when she arrived in May of 2020, to 2.3% with more citizens in the workforce than at any other time in state history at over 1.8 million.
Zumwalt lives in Oklahoma City with her husband John and daughter Lilly. She enjoys running, reading and cherishes spending time with her family. She’s a member of several civic and professional organizations including Oklahoma City Rotary and The Governor’s Interagency Council on Homelessness.
Brian Hendrix rejoined the District Attorney's Council Victims Services Division in March 2019 as the State Tribal Crime Victim Liaison & Special Projects Outreach Coordinator. Following the retirement of Oklahoma’s first and only Director of Victims Services in May 2021, Brian was selected as the Director of Victims Services and Compensation Fund Administrator. He transitioned to his new position in June 2021. From 2015-2019 he served as Deputy Assistant of Native American Affairs with Oklahoma Secretary of Native American Affairs Chris Benge.
An enrolled member of the Muscogee Nation, Brian has a great deal of experience in working with Oklahoma tribes and federal grants. Before joining the Secretary of State & Native American Affairs, he was the first State-Tribal Crime Victim Liaison with the Oklahoma District Attorney’s Council. In 2011, the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council, Victim Services Division received a grant award from the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) for the Oklahoma State-Tribal Crime Victim Liaison Demonstration Program. The project, the only one of its kind in the nation, was developed to provide outreach to American Indian crime victims in Oklahoma.
Mr. Hendrix also worked ten years as the Executive Director for the Payne County Drug Court Program and served for three years as a board member for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. During his tenure at the Payne County Drug Court, Mr. Hendrix also served as a faculty member for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals Tribal Training Initiative and the Native American Alliance Foundation. His role as a faculty member afforded him the opportunity to interact with tribal leaders from Oklahoma and other states across the nation while assisting them in the development and implementation of Healing to Wellness Courts. Prior to his work in Payne County, Mr. Hendrix delivered and coordinated children’s protective services first as a Child Protection Worker and then as the Indian Child Welfare Coordinator for Muscogee Creek Nation. Brian was appointed to the Governor’s Interagency Council on Homelessness in 2018 and was recently elected to the NAVAA Board. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a BA in Psychology.
Bio coming soon