Executive Leadership Team
Dr. Laura Heintz is the Chief Executive Officer of Stanford Sierra Youth & Families. For nearly 25 years, Dr. Heintz has worked tirelessly to help nonprofit health and human service organizations grow and expand their ability to serve children and families.
With more than 20 years of nonprofit experience to her credit, Jovina Neves has played a crucial role at Stanford Sierra Youth & Families since joining the staff in 1997. In addition to serving as CFO, she also manages and directs several departments including Accounting, Facilities, and Information Technology. She earned her bachelor’s degree from UC Davis.
April Ludwig began her journey with Stanford Sierra Youth & Families in 2013 after having worked in multiple communities serving youth and families. April has held diverse positions within the Mental Health field, and she is currently an Adjunct Faculty at the University of Phoenix where she has taught in the College of Social Services since 2007. April graduated with her Bachelor of Arts Degree from UC Davis, and received her Master of Science Degree in Counseling from the University of Phoenix. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and member of the
An employee of Stanford Sierra Youth & Families since 2004, Ebony leads all Family and Youth Partnership initiatives in addition to facilitating Cultural Competency training, Family Centered Practices, and Intensive Relative Searches for families. Ebony brings both professional and personal life experiences to her work as a mother who has worked through crisis with her own child that received mental health services. Prior to her role of Chief Family and Youth Partnership Officer, Ebony served as Family Partner Manager, Family Partner, and Family Specialist in the organization’s Wraparound Program.
Ontson joins Stanford Sierra Youth & Families as the Chief Program Officer (CPO). He brings over 30 years of experience in Mental Health and Social Services, including program development, administrative systems development, and financial and quality assurance development. Ontson has been at the forefront of the creation of many innovative youth and family programs. Ontson served as the Administrator for one of the country’s largest Wraparound programs.
As the Director of Development for Stanford Sierra Youth & Families, Christie brings over almost a decade of experience in fund development. Christie’s history of exceeding fundraising goals as well as effective development of fundraising initiatives and recruitment of board members are among some of the many strengths she brings to the organization. In addition to her experience working in the nonprofit sector, Christie developed and owned a successful national telecom company, is a National Training & Leadership Director for entrepreneurs, and served on the ACRE Board of Directors as the Chair of the annual Broker of the Year (BOYA) event.
Christina brings many years of experience to Stanford Sierra Youth & Families’ Executive Leadership team. As Director of Family and Youth Partnership, Christina oversees the organization’s Family and Youth Partnership program. Her major accomplishments include establishing a behavioral intervention group for direct care staff across all programs to support and share ideas, as well as a vicarious trauma group for those in the family and youth partnership team to process their work and use self care to prevent burn out. Additionally, Christina is an accomplished trainer for the organization, providing training to staff under multiple topic areas.
Danielle Vanaman joined Stanford Sierra Youth & Families in 2022 as director of the Nevada County Family Preservation program. Prior to joining SSYAF, Danielle served as Program and Clinical Director of a school-based Counseling Enriched Classroom program that works to ensure special-education students receive the mental health support needed for them to succeed on mainstream public school campuses.
Deborah has been leading social service programs in Northern California for more than 10 years. Deborah received her master’s degree in social work from CSU Long Beach, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude and received an award for outstanding community service to children, youth and families in 2001. She received a bachelor’s degree in social work from CSU Humboldt in 1989. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Practitioner of the Healing Arts as well as a Certified Group Home Administrator and Authorized 5150 Site Coordinator and Designee.
Gibrán joined Stanford Sierra Youth & Families in 2013 as a FIT Clinician, immediately following graduation from graduate school. He brings many strengths to the agency including being a Certified Agency Trainer in Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). Gibrán is also an Adjunct Professor at University of San Francisco’s Sacramento campus in their Counseling Marriage and Family Therapy program.
Jacquenette Michael was originally hired in 2010 as a Therapist in Stanford Sierra Youth & Families’ FIT program. During her tenure at the organization, she has worked in a variety of programs and leadership roles. Jacquenette is trained in multiple Evidenced Based Practices including being a trainer for Parent-Child Interaction Therapy.
Kimberly Woods-Burch has more than 20 years of experience helping businesses and their employees grow and develop. As the Director of Employee Relations, she sees her department’s role as the “caregiver for the caregiver” and is working hard to develop a well-trained workforce. Making sure the staff at Stanford Sierra Youth & Families is secure and well taken care of is critical, and the first step toward effectively serving the children and families in the Sacramento community.
Richelle became the Director of Administrative Services at Stanford Sierra Youth & Families in 2020. She has worked in social services since 1998 and brings over 30 years of expertise and career accomplishments in administrative and facility management, finance, and fundraising to the organization. Richelle oversees a team of 14 individuals and is responsible for the oversight of the organization’s Information Technology, Facilities, and Administrative Support departments.
Terrell Thomas is the Strategic Initiative Officer at Stanford Sierra Youth & Families and is responsible for identifying business and grant funding opportunities to support areas of program growth and innovation designed to improve health and well-being outcomes for vulnerable children and families.
Thomisha began her journey with Stanford Sierra Youth & Families in 2018, as the Coordinator for the Career Pathways Program. Thomisha’s passion to provide effective mental health services to at risk youth is what drives her to establish strong community relationships with local universities and stakeholders in an effort to develop college students into future mental health service providers.
Tonya joined Stanford Sierra Youth & Families in 2016 to develop the School Based Services Program and has since moved into leading the Therapeutic Behavioral Services, Juvenile Justice Intervention Services, and Wraparound programs. Her background includes extensive mental health treatment for children with severe emotional disturbance and she has been a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist since 2004.
Yuri began her tenure with the organization in 2007 as a Social Worker in the Foster Care Program. She has over 20 years of experience working with youth and families in various settings. Yuri also served as the Clinical Program Manager for the Foster Care Program and later, the Juvenile Justice and Crime Prevention Program prior to her current leadership role.