Board of Directors

President - 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.

President-Elect - Kim Stephens, MPA, CCLS

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.


Past President - Stephanie Hopkinson, MA, CCLS

Stephanie’s journey in child life includes over 25 years of experience as a child life specialist, trainer, educator, and leader. She has been highly engaged in the ALCP serving in several capacities.  In May of 2013 Stephanie received the Mary Barkey Clinical Excellence Award from the ACLP in recognition of her exemplary child life work and high level of clinical skill. Stephanie has worked at several well-known hospitals and taught at two universities as adjunct faculty.  In the past four years Stephanie worked internationally in the Middle East to support child life program development and education.  Among her many accomplishments is the delivery of  international and national presentations on the topics of child life, leadership, reflective practice, professional care, resiliency, reflective supervision, race, ethnicity and culture.  In addition to her professional commitments Stephanie’s dedication to child life includes volunteering with Operation Smile traveling with a multidisciplinary team to provide child life services in Kenya, the Philippines, and Malawi. Stephanie is deeply committed to the advancement of psychosocial care, and this passion and profound commitment to children and families continues to inspire and motivate others. 


Secretary - Jenaya Gordon, MA, CCLS, NCC

Jenaya 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.


Treasurer -Shawna Grissom, CCLS, CEIM

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.

Canadian Association of Child Life Leaders Liaison - Lois Wolgemuth, CCLS

With a diploma in Early Childhood Development, a bachelor of arts degree, a certificate in Play Therapy and several specialized trainings in grief and loss, trauma informed care, and leadership, Lois has worked as a Child Life Specialist for over 33 years. 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.

Child Life Certification Commission Chair - Bindy Sweett, CCLS

Bindy's work with children and families began in 1969 as an Early Childhood Educator, and she completed her bachelor's degree at the University of Victoria (UVIC) in 1988. She has been cheerfully involved with the CLC/ACLP since gaining certification in 1989, when she attended her first CLC conference as a co-presenter. She enjoyed presenting for many years following, often with friends and colleagues she met through the Council, and has also presented for other organisations.

With the advent of the child life examination, Bindy served as an item writer, which stimulated her interest in more committee work. Since that time, she has served on the CLC/ACLP board of directors twice, once as the CLCC Chair and once as a Director. While she worked her entire child life career as a clinician, she also taught ECE for 15 years at Langley College and Child Life for 10 years at UVIC. She worked with the CLC Internship Task Force, contributing in partnership to the development of the internship modules and resources for supervisors, as well as with the Internship Accreditation Committee, the Program Review and Program Standards Committees, and others.

Bindy continues to volunteer with the Children’s Heart Network in British Columbia after retirement from BC Children’s Hospital, where she worked with outstanding child life and cardiac teams and many others. She received Excellence in Education Awards and was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Partners in Care at BCCH for her commitment to families, and received the Mary Barkey Clinical Award from CLC in 2010, for which she is forever grateful. Her commitment to students, families and children remains strong, as does her responsibility to ACLP and CCLS certification. She is the proud single parent of one loving son and the bereaved parent of a plucky and determined daughter, who both continue to motivate my volunteer work for the rights and needs of children.

Director - Lindsay Heering, MS, CCLS, CTRS

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.

Director - Teresa Schoell, CCLS

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.

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.

Director - Cara Sisk, PhD, CCLS

Cara 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. 

Jennifer Lipsey

CEO - Jennifer Lipsey, MA

Jen is proud to be ACLP's CEO, a role in which she works to align resources and strategic initiatives to reach ACLP's strategic goals. She has a bachelor's degree in Child & Family Development and a master's in Marriage and Family Therapy. Jen’s career ambitions have consistently led her to organizations with missions that involve advocacy for under-represented/marginalized populations, and she has found a home with ACLP. As a mother to two young daughters, Jen has a deep appreciation for the art and skill intrinsic to the child life profession and aims to support ACLP members who so generously give to others every day. She pursues rich conversations, meaningful outcomes and dynamics that result in long-term partnerships. Jen welcomes all opportunities to engage others in appreciating the depth of child life and increasing exposure to ACLP’s members.

Bailey Kasten

COO - Bailey Kasten, CAE

Bailey serves as the Chief Operating Officer and works with staff, volunteers, vendors and strategic partners to ensure the successful implementation of the Association’s goals and objectives.  In her role, she 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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