2020 ACLP Board of Directors

Kim Stephens, MPA, CCLS – President

Kim is the Child Life Manager at Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas. With over 28 years of clinical and leadership experience as a child life professional, Kim has worked previously at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas; Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio; and Golisano Children’s Hospital formerly known as Strong Children’s Medical Center in Rochester, New York prior to moving to Texas in 2009. Kim received her bachelor’s degree from Wheelock College in Boston, Massachusetts in 1989 and then completed her master’s degree in Public Administration in Health Care at the State University of New York in Brockport, New York in 1996. Kim is currently finishing a term as Treasurer, Finance Committee Chair, and Executive Committee member for ACLP.  Additionally, Kim has served as an ACLP Mentor, two terms as a Child Life Council FocusReview member, two terms as a Child Life Council exam writer, and served on the Child Life Council Vision to Action Committee that served as a planning board to provide a vision and action plan to guide the future of the child life profession. She has given presentations at local, regional, and national conferences, including the National Hemophilia Association’s Annual conference, the Child Life Annual Conference, the Texas Pediatric Palliative Care Consortium, and the Texas Pediatric Society. Kim is committed to continuing to work to support ACLP and its membership in ensuring that every child and family has access to comprehensive services provided by a child life professional to overcome life’s most challenging events. You may contact Kim at president@childlife.org 

Quinn Franklin

Quinn Franklin, PhD, CCLS – President Elect

The psychosocial needs of children and their families carries so much importance in the work that Quinn Franklin strives to support and enhance. Quinn started her career as an Emergency Center Child Life Specialist working directly with patients in a high acuity, fast-paced environment. Between her internships and the Emergency Center environment, Quinn learned that she wanted to help children in ways that partnered with clinicians, researchers and academicians. Over the years, Quinn transitioned into utilizing evidence - based practice, teaching and leadership to help shape the psychosocial care being delivered to children in healthcare settings through various roles ranging from being an adjunct instructor to a leader. Quinn has nearly 20 years working as a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) and considers this to be one of the greatest gifts, personally and professionally.

Quinn has been involved in many different aspects of the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) spending the majority of her time working with the Child Life Certifying Commission (CLCC; 2006 to 2014) and continues to sit on the Appeals Committee.  During her tenure with CLCC, Quinn participated in Exam Assembly, co-chaired the Recertification Task Force, and chaired the Child Life Course Description Working Group. As chair of the CLCC, Quinn served on the ACLP Board. This is the time frame where Quinn gained an increased understanding and true appreciation for how evidence-based practice touches each decision we make as CCLS’ and how impactful it is to the work we do at the bedside and away from the bedside, as the field of child life continues to evolve.

In 2018, Quinn had the privilege of representing ACLP on the Disney Hospital and Wishes Advisory Group and participating in the Strategic Planning Summit. Currently, Quinn is the chair of the Scientific Advancement of Professional Practice Committee and the Assistant Director of the Psychosocial Division in the Cancer and Hematology Centers at Texas Children’s Hospital (Houston, TX). Quinn’s current role brings the world of evidence-based practice, education, and leadership together to support the psychosocial needs of children and their families, in addition to the faculty and staff that are working with them. Quinn is committed to ensuring that children and families receive the psychosocial support that they need, when they need it.

Jill Koss, MS, CCLS – Past President

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.


Shawna Grissom, MS, CCLS, CEIM – Treasurer

Shawna Grissom earned her Master of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of North Texas in 2000 and became a Certified Child Life Specialist in 2000. She carries a certification in Infant Massage. Shawna previously worked as a clinician and served as a supervisor at Children’s Medical Center Dallas before joining the child life team at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, where she provided child life services. Shawna has also served as adjunct faculty at Dakota County Technical College teaching child life courses. 

Shawna joined St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 2007 and had the pleasure of serving as the Director of Child Life for eleven years where she worked alongside a team of child life specialists and music therapists. Shawna is an active member of the Association of Child Life Professionals where she has served on the Nominating Committee, chair of the Professional Development Mega-Committee and most recently as a planning member for the Program Leaders Collaboration Conference Series.    

In 2017, Shawna and her colleagues won the Association of Child Life Professionals - Professional Research Award for their work with Play-Based Procedural Preparation and Support Interventions for Cranial Radiation. Her current research interests include mindfulness and procedural interventions as well as increasing efficiency and enhancing value. Recently, Shawna accepted a position as the Director Family Services at Children’s Hospital Colorado, Colorado Springs.  When not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband Richard and their three children Jackson, Mason and Maddy.

Kate Shamszad Photo

Kate Shamszad, MS, MPH, CCLS – Secretary

As Senior Program Officer with the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute’s Medicaid Policy Center (MPC), Kate Shamszad works to advance Medicaid policies that increase access and affordability to high-quality health care. Kate works to identify emerging challenges in payment, service delivery, and program administration and provide leading-edge strategies, with particular focus on maternal, infant, and child health in the state.

Kate previously served as a Clinical Director of Child Life and Integrative Care at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center — and her leadership there and in other clinical settings gives her valuable insight into the delivery of care, and the connection between health policy and implementation. At the MPC, Kate works in partnership with the State and stakeholders. She identifies best practices in Medicaid delivery, analyzes existing state practice and performance, reviews analytics and data, and convenes multi-stakeholder groups to work toward innovative solutions.  A primary focus of her current work is on implementing a CMS-funded pilot program, Integrative Care for Kids, that focuses on universal social and behavioral health screening for kids and wrap-around support (including child life) for children at high risk for health complexity in the community.

Kate has a Bachelor of Science in biology from the George Washington University, a Masters of Science in Child Life from Bank Street College of Education, and a Masters of Public Health degree from the University of West Florida.

Lindsay Heering, MS, CCLS, CTRS – Director

Since July 2017, Lindsay has served as the Administrative Director for the Department of Child and Family Life at Michigan Medicine’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. In this role, Lindsay provides leadership for child life specialists, music therapists, art therapists, recreation therapists, school teachers, and education specialists. Through interdisciplinary collaboration, Lindsay continuously advocates for the developmental, psychosocial, and emotional needs of patients and families along with a patient and family-centered approach. For the previous 14 years, she was employed at the Children's Hospital of Michigan, most recently serving as the Director of Service Excellence. Prior to this role, she was the Manager of Child Life and Volunteer Services and started her career as the child life specialist for their inpatient Burn/Surgical and Rehabilitation Unit. 

Lindsay also served as an adjunct professor teaching child life courses for Central Michigan University and the University of Michigan – Dearborn. She has remained actively involved with the Association of Child Life Professionals and Great Lakes Association of Child Life Professionals and is passionate about child life, making a difference for patients and families, inspiring and teaching others, and advocating for the best pediatric healthcare experience. Lindsay earned her undergraduate degree in Therapeutic Recreation from Central Michigan University and her graduate degree in Health Psychology from the University of Michigan – Dearborn.

Teresa Schoell, CCLS – Director

After completing her master’s degree at Syracuse University and internship at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Teresa launched a one-person child life program at Rochester General Hospital, an adult hospital with pediatric services in western New York.  In the near-decade since, Teresa’s program has expanded to a two-person program providing child life services to the pediatric emergency room, pediatric inpatients, NICU, ambulatory surgery center, and children of adult patients, as well as a wide range of staff-education classes and in-services. Teresa currently serves on the ACLP Benchmarking & Data subcommittee, and previously served as a peer-reviewer for Focus, as well as a committee member then co-chair of the ACLP Professional Resources committee. At the ACLP 2018 Strategic Summit, Teresa was an invited participant for her insight and experience with small programs and community hospitals. Teresa wrote the chapter on one-person programs in the new edition of The Handbook of Child Life, authored several Bulletin articles on a variety of subjects, and presented at several ACLP conferences over the past decade on the topics of grants, metrics, one-person programs, two-person programs, and staff education.
Rene Guilbeau

René Guilbeau, CCLS – Director

René Guilbeau considers herself a passionate advocate for children and families. In 2017, after working at Tulane for 22 years she accepted a position as the Director of Child Life and Creative Therapies at Children’s Hospital New Orleans. She has experienced much change and growth over the past three years and is now also the Director of Patient Experience and Arts in Healthcare.  

René truly believes that you should do what you love and love what you do. René loves to share her passion for child life by improving the lives of patients and families, providing evidence-based programming, creating educational opportunities for staff development, and contributing to the growth of the child life profession. The past 10 years have been both challenging and rewarding as she has been a member of the ACLP benchmarking committee and has been the Committee Chair for the past year. 

René attended Wheelock College and has been a Certified Child Life Specialist since 1994. Throughout the years she has challenged herself to meet the needs of the patients, families, staff, and community she serves. Whether it was becoming a Certified Infant Massage Instructor to help support babies and parents, a Child Passenger Safety Technician to help build an injury prevention program, or a Resolve through Sharing Trainer to help build a palliative care team, she is always committed to the needs of the patients, families, and colleagues she works with.    

Korie Leigh

Korie Leigh, PhD, CCLS – Director

Korie started her child life journey 15 years ago, graduating from Wheelock College with a BA in human development. Since then, she has worked as a child life specialist in hospital and community-based settings holding clinical and administrative roles. Obtaining an MA in Thanatology & Death Studies, Korie developed passion and expertise towards working in pediatric palliative and hospice care, including at the George Mark Children’s House. As her curiosity in areas of child life intervention at the end of life expanded, she obtained a PhD in Integral and Transpersonal Psychology. Then in 2015, she began teaching at the graduate level at Mills College in the early childhood and child life program. Currently, Korie is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Human Development & Family Science at the University of Georgia, where she coordinates the undergraduate and graduate child life programs. 

Tracy Akitt

Tracy-Lynn Akitt, CCLS – Canadian Liaison

Tracy Akitt has been a part of the Child Life profession for 25 years, contributing in both a teaching and clinical capacity. She has worked in Canada and the United States. Presently, she is the Clinical Leader of Child Life, and Family Engagement Lead at McMaster Children’s Hospital, in Ontario, Canada.

Sherwood Burns-Nader

CLCC Liaison – Sherwood Burns-Nader, PhD, CCLS

Dr. Sherwood Burns-Nader is an associate professor and coordinator of the child life program at The University of Alabama. Sherwood has been a CCLS since 2006 and started her current position at The University of Alabama in 2011. Sherwood is a researcher who examines the psychosocial issues impacting children and families in the medical setting, the benefits of child life interventions during medical procedures, and the value of play in children’s development and coping. Sherwood began volunteering on the Child Life Certification Commission in 2013. She has served on the item writing, item reviewing, recertification audit, ethics, and certification communications committees. Currently, Sherwood is the chair-elect- of the commission. For fun, Sherwood loves spending time with her husband, Philip and their five-year-old son, Trip and cheering on the Crimson Tide in any sports.
Dr. Jennifer Jewell

Jennifer Jewell, MD, MS, FAAP

Jennifer Jewell graduated from Knox College and Boston University School of Medicine. She is a pediatric hospitalist in Portland, Maine at The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital. She is interested in child advocacy and quality improvement.

Jen serves on the Maine Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics Board of Directors and on the National American Academy of Pediatrics Committee Forum Management Committee. Some of her favorite people are Child Life Professionals, and she is honored to be a Public Member on the Association of Child Life Professionals Board of Directors.

Kari Mastro

Kari A. Mastro, PhD, RN, NEA-BC

Kari A. Mastro is the Director of Practice, Innovation and Research at Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center. In this role, she is responsible for patient care excellence initiatives across Penn Medicine Princeton Health, driving innovation and leading the Center for Innovation and Excellence. Additionally, she serves as faculty teaching evidenced-based policy development in the Nursing PhD program at Rutgers the State University of New Jersey.

Dr. Mastro has served in many senior leadership roles as Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer of Nursing & Patient Care Services at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and the Sloane Hospital for Women of New York-Presbyterian and as Assistant Vice President, Nursing and Patient Care Services for Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. She began her nursing career Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and joined the staff of Robert Wood Johnson in 1991 where she held several nursing leadership roles.

Making a difference in the lives of children and their families is her passion. For over thirty years, she has focused on ensuring that the care provided to children is of supreme quality regardless of where the care is provided and who is providing that care. Her impact to children’s health has been far reaching. 

She has received many awards for her work and has been recognized for her leadership by the March of Dimes as Nurse of the Year, the NDNQI Award for Outstanding Nursing Quality in the Academic Medical Center, the Magnet Prize Honors for Innovation, and the HRET Community Outreach Award for Improving End-of-Life Care.

Dr. Mastro is well published in the field of Nursing Leadership, Children’s Healthcare, and Patient- and Family-Centered Care and speaks nationally and internationally on these topics. She has extended her influence in improving the care of children internationally as the key note speaker at the Beijing International Forum of Pediatric Development where she presented how nursing in the United States is leading children’s healthcare into the future. While in China, she organized a collaborative in which China’s nursing leaders came to the United States and partner with U.S. nursing leaders in an effort to bridge the gap in care and improve the quality of care for children in China. 

Dr. Mastro received her undergraduate degree in Nursing from Catholic University of America and a Master’s degree in Nursing from Seton Hall University and her Ph.D. in Nursing at the University of Colorado with a focus on Patient- and Family-Centered Care and the impact of patient and parent partnership in care on quality, safety, and satisfaction outcomes. 

Bailey Kasten

Chief Operating Officer & Interim CEO - Bailey Kasten, CAE

Bailey serves as the Chief Operating Officer, as well as the Interim CEO, roles in which she works to align resources and strategic initiatives to reach ACLP's strategic goals. She works with staff, volunteers, vendors and strategic partners to ensure the successful implementation of the Association’s goals and objectives. Bailey is committed to ensuring the organization reflects the strength, professionalism, creativity, and compassion of the child life community we serve, support, and champion.  She is a proud graduate of American University in Washington, DC, and has over 13 years of association management experience. Bailey is the proud mother of two young children and the grateful recipient of child life services herself. When not at work, you can find her either playing outside with the kids, working in her beloved gardens, or helping with her family business, a chocolate company. 

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