Board of Directors
Kerry Wrenick, President, is the McKinney-Vento Liaison with Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools. Kerry strives to assist youth in accessing educational services to ensure they are college and career ready. She is a firm believer that education is the foundation for a strong future. Kerry is an advocate for homeless services within the Kansas City community and was a key facilitator in creating the first bi-state Continuum of Care in the nation. She currently serves as the Vice-Chairman for the Greater Kansas City Coalition to End Homelessness. Kerry is a Licensed Master Social Worker having completed her graduate studies at the University of Kansas. She has almost 20 years of combined experience within the fields of education, mental health, and homelessness.
Carie Bires, Secretary, is currently a Policy Specialist at the Ounce of Prevention Fund in Chicago. As a member of the Illinois Policy Team, she works to improve the quality of and access to early learning programs and services for at-risk children, with a special focus on issues related to child care, community systems development, and vulnerable populations. She is active in several statewide early care and education initiatives, including the Illinois Early Learning Council. Prior to her work at the Ounce of Prevention Fund, Carie held the position of Systems Integration Manager at Heartland Health Outreach, and also previously managed a program for children at a long-term transitional housing program. Carie holds a B.A. in music therapy from Western Illinois University (2004) and earned her graduate degree in social work from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2009. Carie also serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors for the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign School of Social Work Alumni Association.
Jeff Blanford, Treasurer, is the Chief Financial Officer for the Colorado Department of Education. Jeff is a CPA with 20 years of experience in industry and governmental accounting. He currently works at the Colorado Department of Education as the Chief Financial Officer. Before arriving at CDE, he worked in private industry doing cost and financial accounting for publicly traded and privately held companies in manufacturing, real estate, and aviation.
Barb Dexter, NAEHCY Scholarship Committee Chair, is the Secondary Specialist with the Anchorage School District's Child In Transition/Homeless Project. She has been with the program since 1993, working as a McKinney-Vento Liaison in a school district of nearly 50,000 students. She began her career as a social worker in Oregon and continues to work with youth experiencing homelessness, as well as youth in the child welfare system in the Anchorage, AK, community. She has provided trainings at the national, state, and local levels on unaccompanied youth, homeless children and youth in the child welfare system, migrant and homeless youth, as well as statewide trainings for local liaisons on McKinney-Vento legislation. Barb is co-founder of Partners In Homeless Education, a fund to support educational and recreational opportunities for homeless children and youth. Barb earned a BA in Classics at the University of California, Berkeley, and an MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching) at the University of Alaska, Anchorage.
Bettye Poole, Conference Committee Co-Chair, serves as Family Engagement/Student Support Coordinator, for homeless and at risk students- Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation in Evansville, Indiana. In her role, Bettye works closely with school personnel, the student’s family or guardian, and community partners to develop programs and activities designed to engage families and communities in the academic and social success of the student.
Bettye serves as Executive Board Vice President for the University of Evansville African-American Alumni Association, Executive Board President for Boom Squad Inc., a non-profit organization serving homeless and at-risk students. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Southwestern Behavioral Healthcare Organization. She holds an Associates- Mental Health Technician, a BA in Liberal Studies, an MS in Public Service Administration, and a Licensed Real Estate Agent.
Dave Schrandt, Conference Committee Co-Chair, serves as the Local Homeless Education Liaison for the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District in Houston, TX.
Shirley Fan-Chan, At-Large Member, is the Director of U-Access at the University of Massachusetts Boston since 2012. She oversees the office that offers student services on campus that are in need of non-academic support. The office is one of its kinds among the higher education institution across the Commonwealth. Before Shirley joined the staff at the Division of Student Affairs, she was the Chief Training & Technical Assistance Officer at Horizons for Homeless Children (HHC), a non-profit organization working with homeless young children and their families. At HHC, she oversaw the Training and Technical Assistance Program and raised awareness on special needs of young homeless children across the country. Shirley brings to UMass Boston community a wealth of knowledge related to serving homeless families, including those impacted by domestic violence. Her leadership experience includes serving as Executive Director of Asian Task Force against Domestic Violence, a domestic violence service agency over 6 years in Boston. Her active participation on immigrant issues, women’s issues and children’s issues led her to her appointment as one of the commissioners to the former Governor’s Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence, and member of the Immigrants and Refugees Committee; and the Advisory Council of Today’s Girls Tomorrow’s Leaders of United Way of Mass. Bay. Currently, she is serving on the advisory council of the Commonwealth Compact, an organization to promote diversity of leadership in the Commonwealth. She has recently joined as an at-large board member of the National Association of Education for Homeless Children and Youth, a national organization advocating for homeless children and youth succeeding in public education. In her role at UMass Boston, she has created a statewide network, MA Homeless Post-Secondary Students Network, to address the issues and barriers homelessness post-secondary students facing in the Commonwealth.
Shirley is an alumni of the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at UMass Boston with a master degree in Public Affairs. She completed her undergraduate degree in Human Services at Lasell College. She is recently appointed as the Board of Overseers at her alma mater Lasell College.
Larissa Parrott-Dickinson, At-Large Member, is a social worker with the Mobile County Public School System's Homeless Education Program in Mobile, AL. Larissa also serves as Co-Homeless Liaison for the District. She began her social work career in her hometown of Athens, GA. While interning and later working for a local homeless shelter, she discovered her love and compassion for the homeless population. Larissa earned her BA and MA degrees in Social Work from the University of Georgia. She occasionally teaches master’s level social work courses for the University of Alabama's School of Social Work and serves as a Field Placement Supervisor for MSW Interns. Additionally, she serves as Board Secretary for the Family Promise/Interfaith Hospitality Network of Coastal Alabama.