Staff Listing

When someone joins the People Places family, they tend to stay with us. Nearly half of our staff members have been with us for a decade or more. In the list below, you’ll see staff members from every office alongside the number of years they’ve been part of our team—testaments to the strength of our community and our commitment to families.

Key Leadership

Nancy Strang, Executive Director and Interim Regional Program Director for Staunton

Nancy joined People Places in 2010 and was instrumental in the development of a community-based services program for the entire agency.  She has served as Executive Director since April of 2016 and is the acting Director of the Valley office sites.  Nancy has an extensive background in the child-welfare field, having previous involvement with residential, clinical, treatment foster care, adoption, and community based service programs.

She received her master’s degree in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1998 and has been a licensed clinical social worker since 2000. Nancy has over 25 years of experience working with children and families, including 20 years of senior management experience with nonprofit organizations.

Michael Blinn, Chief Operating Officer

Michael began working at People Places in 1998 where he focused primarily on Information Technology, finance, and operations. He grew up in Augusta County and graduated from Riverheads High School then Eastern Mennonite University. Michael has served as both a Director and an Officer on several nonprofit boards.  He is most passionate about bringing best-in-class technology and financial tools to the community.  In his spare time, Michael enjoys basketball, being outdoors, and eating really good food.

Brad Wentz, Regional Program Director for Charlottesville

Brad has been working in the field of Child Welfare for the last 25 years.  He has worked in Orange County, Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville as a Child Protective Services Worker and Supervisor.  He received his undergraduate degree in psychology from Mary Washington College and earned a master’s degree in social work at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Commonwealth of Virginia.  In recognition of his impact on the community and commitment to the field, Brad was named the John L. Snook Child Advocate of the Year for the Charlottesville area in 2009.

Brad joined People Places in 2016 where he trains staff and teaching parents on Trauma Informed Care and where he recently assumed the role of Regional Program Director for the Charlottesville office.

Katherine Robinson, Director of Education, Pygmalion School

Dr. Katherine (Kitti) Robinson is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral level (BCBA-D), Licensed Behavior Analyst, (LBA), and licensed Special Education Teacher. She received her Master’s in Teaching and Learning and a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders in 2009 from Virginia Commonwealth University.  In 2010 she completed her coursework for BCBA certification from Florida Institute of Technology and her Doctorate in Educational Psychology in 2018 from West Virginia University.

Since 2006, Dr. Robinson has worked in various settings including private day schools, public schools, and in-home therapy settings. Providing staff training, parent training, and serving on multidisciplinary assessment teams, Dr. Robinson has a breadth of knowledge in the field of special education. She was a member of the Virginia Department of Education’s Aspiring Special Education Leadership Academy, cohort 12, where she was nominated and selected as one of 20 special educators across the Commonwealth to participate in this year-long, intensive professional development, sponsored by the VDOE and the Assistant Superintendent of Special Education for the state of Virginia. Dr. Robinson has served as adjunct faculty at James Madison University and currently teaches as an Adjunct Professor in Capella University’s Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program. Dr. Robinson also stays connected to her community through various community service and professional organizations including Virginia Autism Council, and previously serving as Secretary of the Board of A Global Voice for Autism, and has traveled and worked internationally training teachers and families of children with disabilities, in refugee communities and countries where no services are available. Dr. Robinson has been working at the central office level of a local Shenandoah Valley school division for the past 9 years, providing teacher training and ongoing coaching support around the use of Evidence-Based Practices in classrooms, and assisting the Director of Special Education with organizational behavior management plans and program development for the divisions specialized programs. She is excited to join the staff of People Places and serve as Director of the Pygmalion School.

When Dr. Robinson is not at work; she enjoys traveling the world and spending time with her husband Courtland and her daughter Gabriella.

Douglas D. Johnson, Assistant Regional Director for Charlottesville

Douglas has been involved with fostering for most of his life.  His parents fostered over 20 children and he has seen firsthand the importance fostering can play in the lives of both foster children and foster families.  That early experience inspired him to devote the last 25 years of his career to working with People Places.  After graduating from Buffalo Gap High School and James Madison University, Douglas joined People Places in 1996 as a youth mentor and became a family consultant in 1999.  He has been in leadership positions at People Places since becoming a supervisor in 2015. In his current role, he is responsible for providing oversight of agency case management activities for youth placed in the Therapeutic Foster Care Program.

Holly Edwards, Human Resources Manager

Holly joined the People Places Business Office in 2012.  As the agency continued to grow, the need for a Human Resources Manager became evident and, with her passion for payroll, benefits, compliance, and supporting employees, Holly was a natural fit for the position. A member of the Society for Human Resource Management, she became a Certified HR Professional in 2015 and joined the Executive Management Team in 2018.  

A lifelong resident of Staunton/Augusta County, Holly is proud to be a part of an organization that serves children and families in our area.  She enjoys traveling, reading, and training her Labradoodle, Charleigh.

  • (0-3 years)
  • (4-8 years)
  • (9-14 years)
  • (15-25 years)
  • (26+ years)

26+ Years

  • Ann Barnett
  • Missy Berry
  • Sally Koch

15 – 25 Years

  • Melissa Blinn
  • Michael Blinn
  • Kim Higgins
  • Douglas Johnson
  • Michelle Truslow

9 – 14 Years

  • Tina Bosserman
  • Emily Davis
  • Richard Doyle
  • Ray Leavitt
  • Donna Schindler
  • Nancy Strang
  • Frankie Waalewyn
  • Amy Wilt

4 – 8 Years

  • Avan Batten
  • Kristi Brooks
  • Holly Edwards
  • Mirela Serifovic
  • Barbara Station

0 – 3 Years

  • Kristina Blakely
  • Kristen Burns
  • Jason Critzer
  • Mary Cummings
  • Spencer Eavers
  • Sarah Gibson
  • Will Hagy
  • Emily Harris
  • Hayley Henderson
  • Karen Herrell
  • Terry Hey
  • Bridget Mahoney
  • Sharvonne Mobley
  • Affton Quick
  • Katherine Robinson
  • Michelle Shifflett
  • Kristie Shuey
  • Angie Veach
  • Kennedi Walker
  • Matthew Walters
  • Ellen Webb
  • Brad Wentz
  • Tekia Wicks
  • Kayla Wiencek
  • Cheri Wilhelm
  • Jennifer Williams

People Places Board Members

Erin Garcia

Erin was born and raised in Albemarle County, and spent her formidable years at home watching her parents live lives of service. She attributes ​her parents’ example to her passions in giving back to the community today. After attending James Madison University and obtaining an degree in social work, Erin spent several years in the human services field. For two years, she worked at People Places as a Family Consultant. She joined the People Places board of directors in 2017.

Throughout the past decade, Erin transitioned from human services into real estate where she now serves clientele in the Charlottesville/Albemarle and surrounding counties.​ She loves this work as it combines her desire to help others with a fast-paced environment, full of many details and challenges. In her free time with her husband and two children, she enjoys exploring new places, travel​ing, trying new restaurants and recipes, drinking strong coffee, and having good conversation.

Charlie Rogers

Charlie joined the Board of Directors in 2017 after years of working with the agency as both a Teaching Parent and adoptive parent. As the founder and CEO of Innovative Software Solutions (ISS), Charlie has extensive experience running all facets of his business. Charlie holds a B.S. in computer science from Old Dominion University. When not working, Charlie pastors, reads, golfs, and gives back to the community that helped him, his wife, and eight children.

Rebecca Simmons

Rebecca graduated from James Madison University with her undergraduate degree in sociology and a master’s in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University. She worked in the criminal justice field as a Probation Officer and later worked with at-risk children and families in a clinical setting. In 2015, Rebecca joined the Valley Children’s Advocacy Center as their Executive Director. Her experience in the criminal justice field, and her work with children who have experienced trauma, has helped guide the Children’s Advocacy Center in serving even more children in our community who are impacted by abuse,

Rebecca lives in Churchville with her husband and son. She enjoys spending time with friends and family and traveling to new places.

Brandon Tankesley

Brandon was born and raised in Augusta County and has lived in Stuarts Draft his entire life. He attended Riverheads High School where he graduated in 2004. Upon graduation, he attended Bridgewater College, graduating in 2008 with a Business Administration degree with a concentration in Accounting. Brandon started working at the Staunton accounting firm of Elmore, Hupp & Company in May of 2008, where he has maintained continuous employment since graduation. In January 2017, he was promoted to partner at the firm. Brandon has spent five years coaching JV football at Riverheads High School. He and his wife, Brittany, continue to reside in Stuarts Draft.

Laura Desportes

Laura is a professor at JMU with a Masters in School Psychology and a Doctorate in Educational Psychology. Her professional interests include Intervention Outcome Assessment, Teacher Resilience and Efficacy, and Inclusive Models of Education Globally. She has worked as a clinician and a researcher with individuals with disabilities and at-risk from birth to geriatrics. Her human services career began as a practicum student at our Pygmalion School and then on to teaching at Woodrow Wilson Rehab Center, where she continued to serve our clients. From there she has served as a research and evaluation specialist focusing on treatment outcome assessment for a state human services agency, been a regional human services director, an inpatient pediatric clinician, and a special educator across a wide variety of settings. She has traveled extensively studying models of inclusive education as a means for enhancing social justice. She is looking forward to serving on the board as it feels full circle since her human services career as a practicum student at the Pygmalion school. She and her sociologist husband Carl are happy “empty nesters” living along the South River with their many critters and love working together on shared research interests.