Our Team

At Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas, our staff is dedicated to providing hope and healing to the community. Take a look at the wonderful people who are the heart of our mission!

Executive Leadership

Marian Sokol, PhD, MPH

Chief Executive Officer

It may be hard to find someone with a heart to match Marian’s. Always an advocate ensuring that every child has a fair chance in life, Marian leads by example in showing love and compassion to every family that walks through our doors. When she’s not at the Center, you can usually find her spending time with her family and her Great Pyrenees, Jack.

Kristina Hernandez, MNM

Chief Development Officer

While she can’t sing or play a single instrument, Kristina has an almost obsessive love of music. A former client of the Center, Kristina is passionate about the work we do and feels privileged to be a part of such a rock star team. Her little known talent is her ability to communicate only using movie quotes “so I’ve got that goin’ for me, which is nice.”

Marcella Hayes, LPC-S

Chief Program Officer

Marcella, a certified TF-CBT, EMDR, and TGCT trained therapist, has spent over 20 years relocating with the military as a service member and spouse, now calling our "military city" home. With a heart dedicated to service and a democratic leadership style, Marcella fosters a team environment in which our staff is always ready to serve our bereaved families with compassion and dedication from their first steps into our center’s peaceful pathway to their final therapy sessions in our themed counseling rooms.

Sylvia Montemayor, CPA

Chief Financial Officer

A San Antonio native, Sylvia has had quite a career in the countdown city. At the Center, Sylvia helps ensure every dollar and donation is accounted for. Her role ultimately helps us continue to fuel our mission of hope and healing. We’ve got our runners-up for her job well done! Meep, Meep!

Program

Lisa Buendicho, LPC

Director of Clinical Services

Whether she is in the office with a client or soaking up the sun with her family, Lisa always wears a kind and welcoming smile that makes everyone she meets feel comfort and compassion. You are most likely to find her in our drama room guiding children through play therapy to express their grief.

Emily Price, LPC

Director of Grief Support Services

o Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) o Credentialed as a Certified Clinical Sandtray Therapist Trainer (CCST-T) o Oversee Center’s grief camps and peer support group programs o Utilize expressive art and nature-based interventions in my therapeutic work

Tami Logsdon, LPC-S

Grief Education Specialist

The community created at the center can be hugely attributed to the imagination and creativity of Tami! Always one for decorating and dressing up, Tami can be found planning out her Halloween costumes when she isn’t seeing clients and managing our team of counselors. Although she doesn’t have a favorite book or movie, Tami will happily share a list of her favorites.

Kayla Davis, LPC

Internship Coordinator

Kayla Davis is a LPC, in her native state of Texas, and has worked in many capacities over the course of her licensure; 5 years of which are relative to grief services. She has been trained in various theoretical approaches, some of which include TGCT (Trauma and Grief Component Therapy), Person-Centered therapy, Expressive Arts therapy, and even Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy. Kayla enjoys providing a warm, nonjudgmental, and expressive space for her clients to share their grief journey in a way that feels cozy for them.

Lauren Jefferies, LPC

Program Therapist

Lauren is a Licensed Professional Counselor who has been with The Children’s Bereavement Center in various capacities since 2018 and was drawn to the work through a personal connection to grief. Through use of a Person-Centered approach wherein individuals feel seen, safe, valued, and accepted, she believes that healing is possible. She is passionate about Expressive Arts, mindfulness practices, and engaging the body in processing grief and trauma - as many of us know such experiences often leave us disconnected from our bodies and from our selves.

Mario Salgado, LPC Associate

Supervised by Ryan Curran, LPC-S
Program Therapist

Anything is paw-sible with Mario on our team! As one of our Program Therapists, Mario enjoys guiding clients through their own personal grief journey. While he loves all of our therapy rooms, the art room seems to call his name the most seeing as he enjoys drawing. When he’s not at the Center he can be found at home with his wife, maybe wrestling with his doggo, or watching lip sync battle - got a favorite song y’all can sing together?!

Kaelin Dubbels, LPC

Program Therapist

Meet Kaelin, our coffee-loving, Taylor Swift enthusiast, and dedicated program therapist at the Children's Bereavement Center! With a heart as big as her fur baby Maggie, Kaelin brings joy and compassion to our team every day. She's pawsitively passionate about providing families with access to quality mental health services, making a real difference in their lives. So shake off the stress and join her for some fun at the Center.

Keaton Scarff, LPC

School-Based Program Manager

Keaton Scarff combines strong, trauma-focused clinical skills with over 20 years of dance experience to provide a creative counseling approach, specializing in movement and music. Through implementing her strengths of empathy and advocacy, she strives to provide increased access to counseling services for children and adults within our community. In her leisure, she enjoys reading, playing board games with her husband, and cuddling with her dogs, Daisy and Ivy.

Shannon Holliday, LPC

School-Based Therapist

Shannon Holliday combines her 28 years of experience teaching in public schools with her strong clinical skills. Empathy is one of her strengths, and she is equally comfortable counseling adults or children, with a special emphasis on special needs. In her free time, she loves to listen to live music with her husband and take her dog Winnie for walks.

Sharol Mejia, LPC

School-Based Therapist

Sharol's warm, empathetic presence shines through her work in community mental health. She is dedicated to advocating for access to services, offering bilingual counseling, and creating a cozy, welcoming environment for those beginning their counseling journey. In her free time, she loves going on walks, writing poetry, and spending time with family and friends.

Paola Misteli, LPC

School-Based Therapist

Paola is a bilingual, licensed professional counselor, who strives to create a compassionate and safe environment for navigating grief and healing. As a school-based program therapist, she loves being able to meet her clients where they’re at and inspire hope in those who have lost it. When she’s not at work, Paola enjoys immersing herself in nature, exploring the world through travel, or whipping up some sweet desserts.

Ana Ezeta, LMFT Associate

Supervised by Claire C. Loucka, PhD., LMFT-S
School-Based Therapist

Ana Ezeta is a bilingual Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist - Associate dedicated to supporting families and young children through their journey. With a passion for providing hope and fostering joy, Ana infuses her sessions with warmth and empathy. Outside of her clinical work, she finds solace in baking, taking walks, and being a devoted Taylor Swift enthusiast.

Marleen Garza, LPC Associate

Supervised by Michelle L. Jacinto, LPC-S
School-Based Therapist

Marleen is a holistic counselor. Integrating her experience as a Board Certified Life Coach, Psychosynthesis Life Coach and Grief Recovery Method Program Specialist, she offers therapy that considers the whole person (mind+body+spirit). Trained in EFT and TFT ("Tapping") she enjoys sharing about cognitive somatic energy practices. In her free time, you'll often find her strumming a guitar.

Diego Montoya, LPC Associate

Supervised by Cecilia Segura-Paz, LPC-S
School-Based Therapist

Diego is stirring up lots of fun at the Center as one of our school-based counselors! When he isn’t listening to Taylor Swift (yes a true Swiftie) he’s dedicating time to supporting clients through very difficult situations. When he’s not at work you can catch him watching Netflix with a sweet tea in hand!

Lizette Salcido, LPC Associate

Supervised by Cecilia Segura-Paz, LPC-S
School-Based Therapist

Lizette’s strengths include creating safe spaces and healing through connection. She is passionate about serving clients through a multiculturally conscious lens and has supported both children and adults in English and Spanish speaking families. During her free time, she always has a book around, enjoys working out, and connecting with loved ones over coffee and food.

Kristy Gonzalez, LPC Associate

Supervised by Catrina Drinning-Davis, LPC-S
Intake Coordinator

Much like Gonzo the Great, we think Kristy is pretty fantastic! As one of our Intake Coordinators, Kristy understands the pain and grief families are feeling when they first connect with us. It’s like compassion that has guided her to the Center. While Kristy believes the Center to be the happiest place on earth, one day she may pack her bags and move to the second happiest place on earth (in her opinion) Disney World!

Anita Garcia

Intake Coordinator

Anita loves nothing more than being such a vital part of our work at the Center. As Intake Coordinator, she is tasked with welcoming families as they begin their grief journey. Originally from Corpus Christi, Anita loves Selena and feels the music in her soul even while at work. She definitely adds a little “bidi bidi bom bom” to our space!

Brenda Faulkner, LPC-S

Uvalde Center Director

Despite retiring in January 2022, we knew we had to have Brenda on our team in Uvalde. Her invaluable experience helps ensure all runs smoothly for our staff and grieving families in Uvalde. It is Brenda’s belief that people often do not know how to grieve, but guiding them can help them heal in ways they never thought they could. While she loves being in the office, she's got lots of travel plans so her bags are always packed!

Elizabeth “Liz” Martinez

Operations Manager - Uvalde

Being with the Center for five years, two of which have been spent in our Uvalde office, Liz loves nothing more than the work being done and shares the passion to our mission. She understands no one grieves the same and gives her all while supporting our therapists and clients. As Operations Manager Liz has to juggle many hats but manages to streamline the many to do’s

Development & Administration

Julia Anderson, M.Ed.

Special Events Manager & Friend Board Liaison

When she’s not in the carpool line, Julia is at the Center bringing with her endless amounts of positive energy. Although an office on the beach might be a dream come true, she believes that she is living the dream being part of a team that feels like a family. At work, you can usually find her buried under a pile of sponsor forms and silent auction items!

Chloe Galvan, MSB

Marketing & Communications Manager

Meet Chloe, our resident Slytherin and true crime enthusiast, who brings a touch of magic to the team with her love for Harry Potter and Hogwarts adventures. When she's not checking out a local coffee shop, Chloe is busy spreading joy and laughter to everyone around her. With a mischievous grin and a keen eye for details, Chloe adds a dash of Slytherin charm to our team, making every day feel like a magical adventure!

Ben Sanchez

Community Engagement Manager

Our professional Pickleball player Ben is ready to play ball! Coming from a family of nonprofit professionals working at the Center was a natural transition for this Texas State Bobcat. As our Community Engagement Manager, Ben is tasked with finding meaningful ways for individuals to get involved with our mission. Much like Spiderman, Ben knows that with great power comes great responsibility, and he’s up for the challenge.

Connie From

Assistant Director of Operations

At the center of the work we do, there’s Connie - making sure everything is smooth sailing! Through all the hustle and bustle, Connie manages to keep it cool and collected and complete a seemingly endless to-do list. Outside of the office, her role as a grandma helps form the loving atmosphere she helps to create at the Center.

Yolanda Flores-Capelo

Receptionist

Meet Yolanda, the friendly face at our front desk! She loves to find ways to make people smile and ensures our lobby is warm and welcoming. You will likely catch her juggling many tasks at once, but she always handles these situations with grace. Yolanda is so loved and we are grateful that she is able to contribute to our atmosphere of “healing hospitality”.

Bridget Dupnick

Receptionist

Our avid soccer player Bridget sure is "goal"-oriented! As one of our receptionists, Bridget juggles it all. Whether she is answering the phones, welcoming families, or helping our staff she does it all with a smile. When she isn't in the office doing a million things at once, Bridget enjoys relaxing with family and reffing soccer - GOOOOOOOAL!

Frances Gonzalez
Chair

Gonzalez Professionals

Lauren Ferrero
Immediate Past Chair

McCall, Parkhurst, & Horton

Chris Rulon
Past Chair

Attorney

Yonnie Blanchette
Secretary

Carver Community Cultural Center, Retired

Candace Tottenham
Vice Chair

American Bank, N.A.

Cecilia Velasquez
Treasurer

San Antonio Water System

Elizabeth Bowhay-Carnes, MD

UT Health

Shaunda Campos

Community Volunteer

Cody Cruthirds

NuStar Energy

Tom Coyle

Pacific Mobile Structures, Inc.

Dana Deaton

Uhl, Fitzsimons, Jewett & Burton

Lisa Helling

Wellmed Medical Management

Mary Ullmann Japhet

Japhet Media

Lillian Jones, MD

Retired Physician

Manda Kelley

Retired Attorney

Scotty Macdaniel

Opt In Experts

Sonia Montero Poyo

Community Development Consultant

Eric Shipp, Ph.D.

UT Health Science Center SA

Ryan Sullivan

Reichman Jorgensen Lehman & Feldberg LLP

Jenny Trefzer

Zachry Group

Debra Weems

Valero Energy Corporation

F. Michael & Jodi Wood

Chairmen

Janie & James Worth

Vice Chairmen

Margaret Berton, Ph.D.

Patricia Bose

Carolyn Brown

Laura Nell & Trace Burton

Sallie & Barry Chasnoff

Linda Fugit

Susan & Bill Galbreath

Julianna Hawn Holt

Andrew & Ann Himoff

Janet & Boxy Hornberger

Susan & John Kerr

Kitty & Rich Lange

Paula Loring

Camille & Clark Mandigo, III

Nancy Martin, Ph.D

John E. Newman, Jr.

Jacqui Peace

Trey & Angela Rabke

Sally & Robert Sohn

Eliza Sonneland

Pam & Dave Thomas

Barbara Wood

Mertie Wood