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Leadership Team

Dr. Rulien, President and CEO
Theresa Rulien, Ph.D.

Jaime Hernandez

Angela Mulkey
Outpatient Director
Karon Ivey, LMHC
Full Service Schools Director
Community Family Services Director
Ariadna Hoots, LMHC
CAT Program Director
Donna Thomas, M.Ed.
Case Management Director
Beth Oberlander, LCSW
Quality Assurance Director

Stacy D. Sechrist, LCSW

Stacy Sechrist is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, originally from Pennsylvania, Stacy obtained two undergraduate degrees from Western Maryland (now McDaniel) College in Westminster Maryland and a Masters in Social Work degree with a specialization in substance abuse from the University of Maryland in Baltimore Maryland. Since 2001 and prior to moving to Florida in 2009, she worked in a variety of settings providing therapy to clients ages 3 through adult in schools, homes, agencies, the community, residential programs and private practice on a variety of issues including mental health, delinquent and deviant behavior, developmental delays and situational adjustment problems, ultimately ending up specializing in psychological trauma.

In addition to providing therapy services, Stacy has taught at the college level, created and implemented vicarious trauma programs for child protection and victim advocate workers and forensic interviewers. She also developed a trauma informed mental health program for a Child Advocacy Center that specializes in providing forensic, medical and mental health services to clients and families reporting sexual, physical and emotional abuse as well as, neglect. She has created many different curriculums ranging from psychoeducational groups to psychotherapy groups and holistic models of individual therapy for adolescents and adults. Stacy began two private practices, partnering with child serving agencies to provide specialized trauma informed services for victims of trauma, including but not limited to families of murder victims, victims of sexual and/or physical abuse, car accidents, animal attacks, children of divorce, and house fires and became certified as a trauma specialist through a national trauma organization. Stacy also provided consultation to schools and families as a behavior specialist and consulted with first responders through her involvement in Critical Incident Stress Management.

In 2009, Stacy and her family moved to Florida and she immediately established several private practice offices as well as, worked for Child Guidance Center for eight (8) months while establishing herself as a professional in the community. Stacy’s private practice quickly “took off” and she began to provide therapy services to all ages for a variety of issues for private clients and through multiple EAP companies. Stacy continued her work in Critical Incident Stress Management on a contracted status, often providing onsite intervention for large companies in the Jacksonville area as well as, first responders in the five county region. She was contracted for her various levels of mental health program experience for a private substance abuse program for opiate addicted patients and developed a holistic model of care for pediatric palliative patients for one of the largest hospice programs in the Northeast Florida.

Stacy’s passion for program development in the field of behavioral health has led her to rejoin the Child Guidance Center team as the Chief Programs Officer. As Chief Programs Officer, Stacy oversees all programs of Child Guidance Center, while ensuring the highest quality of clinical care for clients. In addition to overseeing existing clients, Stacy’s position affords opportunity to be creative and work closely with the CEO in developing programs that meet the needs of the community child, adolescents and their families.


Padma Rajan, CPA, CFO

Padma Rajan is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and has a Masters in Elementary Education. Padma has worked with several local nonprofits in Duval County, including: Guiding Stars of Duval, Early Learning Coalition of Duval, Head Start and Early Head Start and Jacksonville Children’s Commission.

Below are a few of Padma’s accomplishments:

• Fully immersed in all different federal regulations pertaining to CCDF – Child Care Development Fund, Head Start and Early Head Start standards, Child Care Resource and Referrals and Quality Rating Improvement Systems across the U.S. to inform the work of Early Learning Coalition of Duval.

• Worked with the local public schools’ management and data team based on a data sharing agreement to measure kindergarten readiness; analyzed disaggregate data to connect up the work of early learning in the preschools to the readiness of children who entered kindergarten.

• Managed annual federal grant of $31 million for school readiness programs and state grant of $20 million for voluntary pre-kindergarten programs; Analyzed the utilization of federal funding received for subsidized child care which enabled the organization to stay within funding levels and enroll as many children as possible annually.

Padma’s passion is working with children. Padma taught fifth grade for a few years in the mid-1990s, at Penn Wood Elementary School, West Chester, PA. Currently she volunteers regularly at many different agencies which serve children or non-profits related to education and health care, either as a board member or direct volunteer work.

You can reach Padma at 904-448-4700 ext. 177 or


Annette Vajda, SPHR, Human Resources Director

Annette is a FL native, born in South Florida where she attended Dade County Public Schools for her primary and secondary education. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from the University of GA and a certificate in Human Resources Management from the University of New Mexico. She is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) through the Society for Human Resources Management., a designation she has held since 2008.

Previously, Annette worked as a human resources consultant to Teledyne Economic Development, after working as an on-site Human Resources Manager for the company at various Job Corps centers. Other employment included vocational and life skills counseling for young adults in a residential setting and working with at-risk youth in one of Outward Bound’s special programs.

With extensive human resources generalist experience, Annette was hired by Child Guidance Center in 1997. As their Human Resources Director, she is especially skilled in the areas of strategic management, employee relations, affirmative action, compensation and benefit administration and employee training and development. She excels at creative problem solving.

Without reservation, she believes that the staff at Child Guidance Center is amazing: that they are passionate about the work they do, committed to the agency’s mission and expert in delivering mental health and behavior health counseling to the children and families they serve.


Beth Oberlander, LCSW, Quality Assurance Director

Beth Oberlander has been the Quality Assurance Director for Child Guidance Center since 2013. She joined the Center as a school-based therapist in 1998 and was promoted to Licensed Clinical Supervisor in 2002. She is responsible for ensuring compliance with CARF accreditation requirements, Medicaid guidelines, third party contracts, Federal HIPAA regulations, and internal policies and procedures. Beth is also responsible for the agency’s Quality Improvement Program and the credentialing of licensed staff. Another part of her duties is to oversee the agency’s internal training program.

Beth is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and received her Master of Social Work degree from Florida State University in 1998. She completed her clinical internship at the Women’s Center of Jacksonville.


Karon Ivey, LMHC, Full Service Schools Director, Community Family Services Directorr

Karon Ivey is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, originally from Delaware and moved to Florida as a child. Karon was awarded the Presidential Scholarship from Jacksonville University, where she earned a degree in Marketing/Management in 1991. Karon realized what intrigued her about the field of Marketing was the area of psychology, so she attended the University of North Florida to earn her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology in 1996. After completing her Master’s Degree, she began working at Child Guidance Center in a school based treatment team in 1997 where she worked with a team of professionals with severely emotional disturbed elementary school aged children. She transitioned into a community therapist providing individual and family treatment in the home and schools and later joined the CGC Outpatient Program.

Based on these varied service deliveries, Karon developed a passion for the Full Service Schools Program, which Child Guidance Center helped develop with collaborating partners in 1990. Karon believes in meeting clients and families where they are, and the Full Service Schools Program allows staff to do that. Karon was promoted to Program Director of the Full Service Schools Program in 2008. Building on Karon’s experience of delivering services in the community, she became the Director of Community Based Services in 2015, overseeing other community based programs in addition to Full Service Schools. She leads the community Infant Mental Health programs, in addition to home based behavioral health services, with an emphasis on collaboration with community partnerships to further reach Jacksonville’s families in need of mental health support.

Karon is a qualified licensure supervisor and provides clinical supervision and mentoring to mental health therapists new to the field. She finds inspiration in being able to pass on the valuable experience she received from her mentors and supervisors during her time in the profession. Karon has extensive training in trauma informed care and interventions, such as Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, EMDR, Dialectal Behavior Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, play therapy as well as family system interventions.


Theresa Thweatt Rulien, Ph.D., CEO

Theresa is a native of Jacksonville, having attended Duval County Public Schools for her primary and secondary education. She earned her Associates degree (AA) from Florida Junior College, Jacksonville, continuing her post-secondary education at the University of Florida, Gainesville, receiving her Bachelors degree (BA) in Psychology, her Masters (MEd) and Specialist (EdS) degrees in Counselor Education specializing in Agency, Correctional and Developmental Counseling and her Doctorate (PhD) also in Counselor Education with a specialty in Marriage and Family Therapy. Theresa is dually licensed in the state of Florida as a Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and a Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).

After graduation, Theresa was employed by Mental Health Services, Inc. in Gainesville as an outpatient therapist, working primarily with children and families involved in the Florida HRS system. She continued with MHS at the Alachua County Juvenile Detention Center as an assessment and referral specialist. After moving to Jacksonville, Theresa joined Psychological Associates (later Baptist Behavioral Health System) as an outpatient family therapist before opening a private practice with offices in the Arlington and Mandarin areas of Jacksonville.

Theresa joined Child Guidance Center in February, 2005 to coordinate the development of the then Crisis Response Team (now Rapid Response Team). She was later promoted to Program Director adding the Comprehensive Assessments and the Community Family Services teams to her direction. Theresa has been the Chief Executive Officer of Child Guidance Center since July, 2010.


Laurie Truog, M.D., Medical Director

Dr. Truog joined Child Guidance Center in July, 2009 as a staff Psychiatrist and was recently promoted to Medical Director. Dr. Truog has worked with severely mentally ill children in many different settings, including outpatient, inpatient, residential and day treatment programs. She is responsible for providing psychiatric evaluations and medication management for clients. Dr. Truog also participates in a team approach, working jointly with therapists for clients’ needs.

Prior to joining the Child Guidance Center, Dr. Truog completed her fellowship training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth University/Virginia Treatment Center for Children in Richmond, VA. Prior to fellowship, she completed her Adult Psychiatry residency training at Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Truog has also been a member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists for the past ten years.

Dr. Truog received her undergraduate and medical doctor degree from the University of Missouri. She maintains board certification in both Adult and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.


Donna Thomas, M.Ed., Case Management Director

Donna Thomas was hired by Child Guidance Center as a therapist for the Intensive Crisis Counseling Program and was later promoted to Team Leader. This program was an in-home counseling program with the goal of maintaining the child in their home and preventing their removal. Donna transferred to the Targeted Case Management Team as a Supervisor and later was promoted to Program Director. She is responsible for overseeing the daily operation of the Case Management Team ensuring that the department meets the Agency’s financial and programmatic objectives.

Donna is the chairperson for the agency’s Utilization Review Committee ensuring that services rendered are clinically and medically necessary. Donna verifies that the level of care is appropriate to the needs of the client. In addition she chairs the Duval County Family Planning Intervention Team (FSPT).