Dr. Stephen Sroka grew up in poverty in a housing project in a single parent family. His third grade report card read, “Parent notified boy is retarded.” In the ninth grade, after being involved in a school fight, he had two hip operations and was told that he may never walk again. The doctor told him he better start to listen to his teachers. And, as he tells students today, the more he listened, the smarter the teachers became. Today, Dr. Sroka is an internationally recognized speaker, trainer, author, teacher and educational consultant on health education, school safety, bullying, brain-based learning, at-risk students, alternative education, parenting, dropout prevention and leadership building for schools and communities. He is an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, and president of his company, Health Education Consultants. He has worked in schools worldwide for over 30 years.
Alcohol Tobacco & Other Drugs
Heather Faverino earned her bachelor of arts in criminal justice from New Mexico State University and started working for the State of New Mexico’s Children, Youth and Families Department as a Juvenile Probation/Parole Officer in Farmington. She is currently acting chief for the 11th Judicial District which includes San Juan and McKinley County. During her time in this field Ms. Faverino has become a leader in her community in the Juvenile Justice area. She also sits on the San Juan County Compulsory School Attendance Task Force, the State Gang and Terrorism Task Force, CYFD Gang Workgroup and the San Juan Safe Communities Initiative, which focuses on the gang and methamphetamine crisis.
Kimberly Mangan is a native New Mexican and has coordinated numerous state-wide programs focused on alcohol and drug abuse including “Teen Alcohol and Drug Awareness,” “To Save a Life” and the “Every 15 Minutes” program. She currently handles a formal case load averaging 40 clients that include DWI offenders. During her time in this field Juvenile Parole Officer (JPO) Mangan has become a leader in her community in the juvenile justice arena and for her work with alcohol and drug awareness. JPO Mangan is passionate about making a difference in young peoples’ lives when it comes to alcohol and drug problems and has volunteered a considerable amount of time dealing with these issues.
Kim Rutley is a health educator for the New Mexico Department of Health Tobacco Use Prevention and Control (TUPAC) Program. She has been involved in tobacco education since 2001 when she lived in Roswell, NM. Kim was actively involved in Roswell’s 2004 clean indoor air campaign as well as youth advocacy projects in Chaves County. Currently, she oversees nine TUPAC contracts with schools, or entities that collaborate with schools. One of her primary responsibilities with TUPAC is to provide input on youth tobacco prevention strategies for the state. As a TUPAC contractor, Kim implemented substance abuse prevention curricula in high schools for thousands of students and draws heavily on that experience in program planning with TUPAC.
Dr. Stephen Sroka Please refer to Dr. Sroka's biography at the top of the page.
Kristine Gracey has been a health educator for twenty-nine years. She has been recognized numerous times for her innovations in health education and has been nominated for the Crystal Apple Award, the Golden Apple Award and Disney’s American Teacher’s Award. She was recently selected for the National Honor Roll for Outstanding Teachers. In 2006, she was named as the Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction by the National Society of High School Scholars. Highly respected by her students, she has been included in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers numerous times. Ms. Gracey has her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Central Michigan University and her Master’s Degree in Health Education from the University of New Mexico. She currently teaches Health Education at La Cueva High School.
Derek Irion, BS, MA Ed, is the Physical Education/After school Coordinator for the School and Family Support Bureau in the New Mexico Public Education Department. Derek is a native New Mexican born and raised in Hobbs. Mr. Irion graduated from the University of New Mexico where he also played baseball. His first teaching job was in Truth or Consequences, NM where he taught Physical Education to sixth, seventh and eighth graders while he coached football, basketball, baseball and golf. In 1994, his baseball team brought Truth or Consequences an AA state championship, it’s first in over 30 years. Mr. Irion moved back to Albuquerque in 1999 where he taught Physical Education at Ernie Pyle Middle School. He is married to Denise and they have two children, Haiden who is 8 and Zane who is 6. Derek enjoys being outdoors camping, fly-fishing, and playing golf and family recreation.
Penny Madanick, MS, ATC, LA., NSCA-CPT, a native of Albuquerque, is a health educator currently with Albuquerque Public Schools where she teaches nutrition, sports medicine, personal trainer preparation and health careers at Cibola High School. She received her bachelor's degree in health education from New Mexico State University and her master’s degree in exercise science from the University of New Mexico. She maintains a certification and license as an athletic trainer with the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, and certification as a personal trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Ms. Madanick has worked in a variety of settings—health clubs, rehabilitation centers, universities and high schools. She has had the opportunity of working with Olympic and professional athletes. She enjoys educating others and keeps her CPR and First Aid instructor’s certification current. She has been involved with community outreach programs such as Habitat for Humanity, People Living Through Cancer and the American Diabetes Association.
Laurie Mueller is the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Coordinator for the School and Family Support Bureau in the New Mexico Public Education Department. After working for fifteen years in the Dental Program of the New Mexico Department of Health developing and implementing a statewide sealant program, Ms. Mueller entered the school health arena. Since that time she has held several positions at the Department of Health ending with her retirement as the School Health Director with over 26 years of public health work. In 2005 she returned to state work at the New Mexico Public Education Department to continue working in school health capacity building, policy development and program implementation.
Caroline Enos is a volunteer educator for the Mid-Rio Grande Chapter of the American Red Cross where she coordinates Community Prevention Education Programs. She has been doing community education for the Red Cross for 15 years, serving in Virginia and Texas prior to moving to New Mexico. She specializes in providing preparedness and prevention education for volunteers and the community at large. Recently, her focus has been in providing culturally sensitive HIV/AIDS prevention education, injury prevention and disaster preparedness. She is a certified preventionist for the State of New Mexico, and is an active member of the New Mexico HIV Community Planning and Action Group.. She is also a member of the Albuquerque Community Emergency Response Team.
Sally Kosnick spent the last 12 years of her 29 year teaching career in the GRADS classroom and was named executive director of GRADS in August of 2008. Throughout her last years as a teacher, she was the southern regional mentor and curriculum committee member for the New Mexico GRADS statewide program. She worked with her students to develop their leadership and presentation skills on topics ranging from FAS/FAE disorders to STD/HIV awareness through peer educator trainings. Ms. Kosnick brings a wealth of insight and experience with pregnant and parenting teens from the classroom to the state level.
Michelle Scarpulla provides training for staff at schools and community based organizations to help them learn the knowledge and skills needed to teach comprehensive sexuality education. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and holds a master's degree in Public Health from Temple University in Philadelphia. Ms. Scarpulla’s experience includes managing a Title X funded family planning clinic, serving as a case manager for teenagers who had dropped out of school, and most recently, providing health education in a middle/high school, focusing on pregnancy, STDs and drug use prevention. She has also worked in Atlantic City, New Jersey developing and implementing adolescent pregnancy prevention curricula and in Camden, New Jersey providing health education to pregnant and postpartum women. Ms. Scarpulla is currently an adjunct faculty member at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia where she teaches graduate courses in the Health Education department.
Martin Walker is the newly hired HIV Prevention Linkage to Care Coordinator for the NMDOH HIV Prevention Program. Mr. Walker has worked in the field of HIV Prevention for the past decade, where he has managed programs for Families and Youth Inc. and Camino de Vida in Las Cruces, NM, International AIDS Empowerment in El Paso, TX, and Santa Fe Mountain Center in Santa Fe, NM. He is a former presenter at the 2009 Circle of Harmony Conference as well as the United States Conference on AIDS 2009. Diagnosed with HIV in 2003, Martin combines his personal passion with a background in behavioral theory and group facilitation to empower school health educators and teachers by providing them with fun experiential activities which help students learn and understand issues around HIV/AIDS.
Dan Green Please refer to Dan Green's biography in the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs section.
Nancy Kirkpatrick is the youth suicide prevention program coordinator for the New Mexico Department of Health, Office of School and Adolescent Health. Ms. Kirkpatrick is a certified trainer for the QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Suicide Gatekeeper Program which is designed to help participants identify and refer suicidal persons to professionals who can assess, manage, and treat the underlying illnesses that promote suicidal behavior. Ms. Kirkpatrick oversees suicide prevention program contractors state-wide, provides technical assistance, and coordinates resources where needed. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist with a bachelor's degree from University of New Mexico.
Jenn Jeverston, MS, is a program manager at the Santa Fe Mountain Center and oversees their New Mexico Gay Straight Alliance Network program. She is well versed in issues of bullying, including bullying towards LGBTQ students, and has presented at local, national and international conferences. Ms. Jevertson has over 12 years experience providing experiential programs to LGBTQ and at-risk youth and has developed anti-bullying curriculum and programs for elementary through high school students.
Michelle Scarpulla Please refer to Michelle's biography in the Sexuality/HIV section.