ACLP Board of Directors Elections

The ACLP Board of Directors provides governance and oversight for ACLP operations and initiatives. The role of each board member is to act in the best interest of the organization as a whole and to exercise the legal and financial duties of stewardship. It is vital to the growth and success of the organization that strong and committed individuals are elected to leadership positions. 

ACLP follows a best practice approach to board elections, in which the Nominating Committee undertakes a formal process to review candidates and develop a final recommended slate to present to the membership. This slate of candidates included one recommended individual for each available position. 

For the 2018 election, the ACLP Nominating Committee considered all candidates whose names were put forward during the nominations process. In order to be eligible for consideration, a candidate must be a Certified Child Life Specialist and an ACLP member in good standing, with demonstrated leadership abilities and a history of active engagement in the organization and/or the child life profession. 

2018 Board of Directors Positions & Responsibilities

All ACLP Board of Directors candidates must accept certain responsibilities and possess key qualifications to be considered for a position on the Board. For the elections in 2018, there were six available positions: President-Elect, Secretary, two Director positions, Canadian Liaison, and CLCC Chair-Elect.


2018 Board of Directors

The following candidates were approved by ACLP membership:

  • President-Elect: Jill Koss, MS, CCLS
  • Secretary: Jenaya Gordon, MA, CCLS, NCC
  • Director: Jen Sciolla, MS, CTRS, CCLS
  • Director: Cara Sisk, PhD, CCLS
  • Canadian Liaison: Lois Wolgemuth, CCLS
  • CLCC Chair-Elect: Sherwood Burns-Nader, PhD, CCLS


President-Elect: Jill Koss, MS, CCLS

When Jill discovered child life in graduate school in 1988, she realized she had found her career, and hasn't looked back since. She started as a child life specialist at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas, and 27 years later is the Director of Family Support Services there. She has been involved in many aspects of ACLP over the years, from Vision-to-Action in 1996; to years of work with Certification, serving as Senior Chair from 2008 to 2009 and still currently sitting on the Appeals Committee; participating in the Leadership Development Mentor Program; to being on the Board of Directors from 2014 to 2016. She also had numerous opportunities to be involved in International Child Life and Child Friendly Healthcare initiatives over the years, for which she is very thankful. Driving values for Jill are holding a growth mindset, owning accountability, and having integrity.

She has been fortunate to have been mentored by many strong child life leaders, as well as opportunities to work side-by-side with phenomenal child life professionals. She believes the child life profession is thriving even in the face of changes in healthcare because we are strong professionals who are committed to making the psychosocial/emotional needs of children and youth a priority. She is as committed as ever to working hard towards this goal as all children and youth should have access to child life services.


Secretary: Jenaya Gordon, MA, CCLS, NCC

Jenaya Gordon is the Child Life Manager at Children's Hospital Colorado. Her child life career began in 2001 at Children’s Medical Center Dallas where she worked on the inpatient surgical/trauma and neurosurgery units. Jenaya moved to Colorado in 2004 to pursue her graduate degree in counseling psychology. She was an individual and family therapist for 4 years, working with at-risk children and adolescents. In 2008, she joined the child life team at Children’s Hospital Colorado, furthering her experience by working in the inpatient surgical/trauma unit, the emergency department, and in the pediatric intensive care unit before moving into management.
Jenaya presents locally and nationally on the importance of creating an emotionally safe environment in pediatrics, facilitating trauma processing, and providing trauma-informed care. She has presented webinars and conference sessions for the Association of Child Life Professionals, the Beryl Institute, and multiple EMS outreach conferences. Jenaya is a contributing author of a chapter on trauma focused medical play in a newly released book on medical play written by child life specialists and play therapists.

Jen Sciolla

Director: Jen Sciolla, MS, CTRS, CCLS

Jennifer earned her Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation from Temple University and her Master of Science from Nova Southeastern University. For over 20 years, Jen has worked in many the Delaware Valley region’s premier healthcare systems as a clinician and leader. Her professional passions include autism, trauma and programming. She is a longtime adjunct instructor at Temple University. Jen serves on the Program Review & Development Service as well as Benchmarking & Datacenter Subcommittee. She has shared her expertise and knowledge about child life, family centered care and therapeutic recreation, giving many presentations and lectures across a wide variety of audiences and forums. In 2014, Jen assumed the role of Director at Nemours Alfred I duPont Hospital for Children. She provides leadership to the Child Life, Creative Arts Therapy and School Programs and the Integrative Medicine Program.

Cara Sisk

Director: Cara Sisk, PhD, CCLS

Cara Sisk earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Harding University and a Master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies with a concentration in Child Life from the University of Missouri. Cara has eleven years of clinical practice experience as a Certified Child Life Specialist serving children and adolescents with various diagnoses in both inpatient and outpatient health care settings.  She is dedicated to family-centered care and was privileged to work with the parents and siblings of the pediatric patients she served. This work as a psychosocial practitioner was critical in Cara’s professional development and is foundational to her academic interests. 
In 2011, Cara became the Child Life Program Director for the School of Human Ecology at Tennessee Technological University where she currently teaches undergraduate students as a tenured instructor. A career transition to academics has been an excellent fit for her strength of educating people while also allowing her to share the mission of child life. Cara enjoys her role teaching in higher education to prepare future child life specialists. 
Cara earned her Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Exceptional Learning with a concentration in Young Children and Families from Tennessee Technological University in 2016. She is dedicated to doing research to positively impact the health care of children with special health care needs and disabilities. Cara’s dissertation research is titled Children with Special Health Care Needs and Disabilities: Perceptions of Health Care Experiences. This research integrated her interests of children in health care with therapeutic tools she used in her practice as a child life specialist. 


Canadian Liaison: Lois Wolgemuth, CCLS

Lois has worked as a Child Life Specialist for over 33 years, with a diploma in Early Childhood Development, a bachelor's of arts degree and a certificate in play therapy as well as several specialized trainings in grief and loss, trauma informed care, and leadership. Her career includes frontline work specializing in pediatric oncology (20 years), programming for adolescents (7 years) and a private practice providing child life services in the community (7 years). In 2014 she transitioned into a leadership position and currently manages child life services at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton Alberta, Canada. This hospital is one of the largest and most specialized children’s hospitals in Canada and serves the most geographically diverse areas of any children’s hospitals in the world serving over 20% indigenous patients and families. She is passionate about the field of child life and has dedicated her life’s work to enhancing pediatric psychosocial care for children, youth and families.

Sherwood Burns-Nader

CLCC Chair-Elect: Sherwood Burns-Nader, PhD, CCLS

Dr. Sherwood Burns-Nader is an Assistant Professor and coordinator of the child life program at The University of Alabama. Sherwood has been a CCLS since 2006. Sherwood is a researcher who is examines the psychosocial issues affecting children and families in the medical setting, the benefits of child life interventions during medical procedures, and the value of play in development and coping in children in her research. She has been on the Child Life Certification Committee for 5 years. For fun, Sherwood loves spending time with her husband, Philip and their four-year-old son, Trip.

Nominating Committee Members

Kristin Maier, MS, CCLS - Committee Chair
Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital

Chris Brown, CCLS
NYU Langone Medical Center

Eileen Clark, MSM, CCLS 
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

Jessica Correnti, MS, CCLS, CEIM
Greater Baltimore Medical Center

Christina Dellibovi, CCLS, CBIS, CFLE
Children's Specialized Hospital at New Brunswick

Ellen Good, CCLS

Chantal LeBlanc, MHS, CCLS
IWK Health Centre

Rechelle Porter, CCLS
Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital New York Presbyterian

Anita Pumphrey, CCLS
Louisiana Tech University

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