Board of Directors: Positions & Qualifications

To be eligible for consideration by the Nominating Committee, a candidate must be a Certified Child Life Specialist and an ACLP member in good standing, with demonstrated leadership abilities and a record of active engagement in ACLP and/or the child life profession in general. Attributes that will be part of the selection process for all board members:

  1. Demonstrated leadership commitment and involvement with ACLP and the child life community.
  2.  Active ACLP membership in good standing.
  3. Active Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) credential.
  4. Position of earned respect by other key stakeholder group members.
  5. Demonstrated understanding of the differences between oversight and supervision.
  6.  Earned reputation for emotional maturity, personal integrity, and honesty.
  7. The ability to think strategically and analytically and to effectively communicate thoughts and rationale.
  8. Ability to work well with others as a member of a collaborative group with group decision-making authority and an understanding of the fiduciary duties of loyalty, care, and obedience.
  9. Commitment to creating diverse, equitable, and inclusive environments.

Read a list and description of each Board of Directors position here.


Board of Directors: Bylaws

The Articles within the Board of Directors Bylaws are as followed:
Article I: Name
Article II: Purpose
Article III: Membership
Article IV: Nominations & Elections
Article V: Board of Directors
Article VI: Officers
Article VII: Executive Committee
Article VIII: Duties of Officers
Article IX: Committees and Task Forces
Article X: CLC Certification Commission
Article XI: Annual & Special Meetings
Article XII: Fiscal Year
Article XIII: Staff
Article XIV: Parliamentary Authority
Article XV: Amendments to Bylaws
Article XVI: Contracts, Checks, Deposits, and Funds
Article XVII: Books and Records
Article XVIII: Indemnification
Article XVIX: Non-profit Status Dissolution

The full Bylaws can be found here.

2022-2023 ACLP Board of Directors

Lindsay Heering, MS, CCLS  – President 

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.

View the ACLP Past Presidents


Alisha Saavedra, MA, CCLS – President-Elect

Alisha Saavedra (she/her) is an Assistant Professor and the Director of Clinical Training for the Master of Science in Child Life Specialist program at Loma Linda University. She began her career 23 years ago as a child life assistant in the Hematology-Oncology unit at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital. Alisha has since held a CCLS position in the Hematology-Oncology, Acute Care, and Surgery areas in addition to coordinating practicum and internship programming. Her high regard for educating and providing mentorship to aspiring professionals led her to pursue a position in academia and she has been a full-time educator since 2014.    

Working in conjunction with students, developing community partnerships, and providing service to others have been focal points of her professional pursuits. Alisha has partnered in the development of the child life program at The Children's Hospital, Zhejiang University, P.R. China and continues to be a consultant. Her involvement in local and global partnerships has allowed her to take part in expanding the reach of the child life profession and sharing the importance of psychosocial care for children and families. Alisha has a decade long history of service with ACLP, where she has held the Chair position for the Internship Accreditation Oversight Committee (2021-2022) and Chair-Elect for the Practicum Task Force (2021). In these leadership roles she contributed her perspectives from an academic viewpoint and as an advocate on behalf of student needs. This also influenced her style in building a collective teamwork approach among members who encompass diverse experiences and knowledge. Additionally, she served as a subject matter expert for the Internship Readiness Practice Analysis and Alignment Study (2021-2022), participated in strategic planning (2021), the Think Tank (2020), and has been involved in various DEI efforts. As a co-leader of the Priorities workgroup, participant in the DEI Summit, and RCC leadership series, Alisha engaged in collaborative work that reflects her strong value for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. This inspired her to pursue her Collaborator Certification™ through Racially Conscious Collaboration in 2021.

Alisha holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Child Development, Child Life Concentration from the University of LaVerne and a Master of Arts in Psychology, Child Development Concentration from California State University, San Bernardino. She was the recipient of the 2019 Faculty Scholar Educator Award (School of Behavioral Health, Loma Linda University) and values lifelong learning in and outside of the classroom.


Quinn Franklin, PhD, CCLS – Past President

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.


Cristie Suzukawa Clancy, MS, CCLS – Secretary

Cristie is a Certified Child Life Specialist, educator, curriculum reviewer, and course developer with over two decades of clinical, leadership, and program development experience in the hospital setting. Her clinical practice encompasses a wide range of diagnoses and diverse patient populations, spanning the medical continuum of care from emergency medicine to long-term rehabilitation. As a child life leader, Cristie has piloted services in new patient care areas and has worked as a program director, department supervisor, and internship coordinator. 

Cristie is currently working as an Adjunct Professor at Nova Southeastern University, where she strives to guide graduate students toward their professional goals. Cristie has a passion for mentoring and supporting child life students by helping them bridge the gap between theory and practical application.

Cristie has presented at several regional and national conferences, published in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing, and was honored to write a book review for the first volume of the Journal of Child Life. As an active member of the ACLP, Cristie has served as a mentor, Chair of the Mentor Program and Volunteer Recognition and Engagement Committees, and currently sits on the Journal of Child Life Review Board, Conference Abstract Review, and Conference Program Committees.

Cristie earned her bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Studies from California State University, Long Beach, and her master’s degree in Child Life from the University of La Verne. She is currently working toward her PhD in Education with a Leadership Studies emphasis from Chapman University, focusing her research on the homogeneity of the child life profession and the healthcare disparities experienced by marginalized populations. Her goal is to become a better leader and educator for the next generation of child life practitioners through her educational pursuits. 

Teresa A.P. Schoell, MA, CCLS – Treasurer

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.


Sarah Patterson, MSc, CCLS  Director

Sarah Patterson is an Assistant Professor and the Curriculum Coordinator for the Master's of Science in Child Life and Pediatric Psychosocial Care Program at McMaster University.   

Sarah’s child life career has spanned over 28 years, providing care to children in a number of clinical areas, with a specialization in solid organ transplant care. Sarah has been an educator, teaching at several North American universities since 2001.

Sarah is a subject matter expert consultant for international child life and pediatric psychosocial training.  Within her career, Sarah has been involved in ongoing pediatric psychosocial training and education initiatives in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Sarah has been involved actively within the ACLP, holding a number of committee leadership roles, journal reviews, mentorships, leadership and partnership developments and involvement internationally providing pediatric psychosocial training.

Sarah is grateful to all child life leaders that have pioneered and paved the way for her career.  Sarah believes that the child life profession continues to thrive and flourish in novel and innovative areas.  Emotional safety and clinical simulation based learning are initiatives Sarah is excited to be involved in. Sarah is also thankful to the ACLP for championing leadership within DEI initiatives and the training she is involved with.

Riley Hammond, MS, CCLS – Director

Riley is a passionate creative with a heart for people and programs that facilitate growth.  Riley completed her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Texas A&M University in 2011 and her master’s degree in Family & Child Studies at Texas State University in 2013.  Over the past 8 years, Riley has worked in a variety of clinical settings at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio and Texas Children’s Hospital.  Currently, Riley is the Child Life Specialist Coordinator for Dream Big Studio at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.  Riley supported the opening of the radio/TV studio in 2020 and continues to manage the daily programming and operational needs.  Riley has served as the chair for the ACLP Web and Online Networking Committee and is currently a member of the ACLP Education and Training Committee.  She also served on the Texas Association of Child Life Professionals Board and coauthored an ACLP Bulletin article.  Riley has given presentations at regional and national conferences including the Child Life Annual Conference and the Texas Pediatric Palliative Care Consortium.  Riley love crafting, goals, and do-goodery.


Cassandra James, MS, CCLS, CPXP – Director

Cassandra currently serves as the Manager of Family Support Services at Our Children’s House at Children’s Health, in addition.  She is also an adjunct professor of child life at Dallas Baptist University.   Cassandra holds her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, both with a focus on child life, from the University of Alabama.  She has been certified for 18 years, and has worked in various clinical areas at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, where she served as Student Program Coordinator and Lead Child Life Specialist.  Cassandra has also had the opportunity to serve as an adjunct professor at University of North Texas and Texas Women’s University.

Cassandra has participated in the ACLP mentorship program, served as Co-Chair of the ACLP Advanced Professional Development subcommittee, as well as participated as a member of the ACLP’s Patient Experience Committee and Member Advisory Group.  At the regional level, Cassandra served on the inaugural board of the Texas Association of Child Life Professionals (TACLP) as Professional Development Chair.  She had the opportunity to work alongside a small group of child life specialists from Texas to form the TACLP.  In 2020, Cassandra received the designation as a Certified Patient Experience Professional from the Patient Experience Institute.

Cassandra has a passion for leadership and mentoring.  When not working, Cassandra is a busy wife and mom of three.  She is an avid University of Alabama football fan, and enjoys crafting as a mode of self-care.


Victoria Isaacson, MA, CCLS, NCC – Director

Since 2010, Victoria has served as a child life specialist at the Yale Child Abuse Clinic at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital (YNHCH), a partner of the South Central Child Advocacy Center in Connecticut. In this role, she provides support and education to patients and their families during forensic evaluations conducted at the clinic and collaborates with community professionals involved in the investigative process that follows an allegation of abuse. Victoria is also co-coordinator of the accredited Child Life Student Internship Program at YNHCH and has been an adjunct faculty member of Southern Connecticut State University since 2019. She has volunteered with the Association of Child Life Professionals for over 10 years, serving on committees and participating in various think tanks and work groups. Victoria has experience presenting at past conferences, including the Child Life Annual Conference and the San Diego International Conference on Child and Family Maltreatment.

Victoria has an undergraduate degree in Biology and a graduate degree in Counseling. She began her child life career at YNHCH in 2005, but left her position two years later to live in Geneva, Switzerland with her husband. While spending four years abroad, Victoria worked at an English-speaking nursery school and volunteered for a non-profit support organization as a child and adolescent counselor. The majority of her work for the support organization focused on serving children of adult cancer patients but Victoria also presented to various audiences about helping children cope during stressful events. Supporting children during healthcare related experiences started during Victoria’s adolescent years as she has volunteered at a weeklong summer camp for children with cancer and related blood disorders since she was 16 years old. She directed the camp for over 10 years and now fills the role of the child life specialist for campers during the week.


Sandy Baggott, CCLS – Canadian Liaison

Sandy has 30 years of experience in the Child Life profession working at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary, Canada.  She completed a bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation before pursing her career in child life.   In 2006, Sandy was responsible for the development of the Therapeutic Arts Program at the hospital encompassing art therapy, music therapy and horticultural therapy.  Her current role provides clinical leadership for child life specialists, recreation therapist and the therapeutic arts team. 

Sandy is a strong advocate for pediatric pain management.  As a member of the hospital Pain Committee, she developed and led many of the Commitment to Comfort initiatives including resource development, educating staff, and working collaboratively with community and provincial partners, such as public health, lab services and the COVID-19 taskforce.  Sandy has served on the national working group to develop the first Pediatric Pain Management standard in Canada with the Health Standards Organization of Canada and Solutions for Kids in Pain (SKIP), to improve pediatric pain management at hospitals serving children and adolescents across the country.


Monica Gibson, MS, CCLS –CLCC Liaison

Monica Gibson has been a child life specialist for 13 years.  She received her Bachelor of Science in psychology from Millsaps College (2007) and a Master of Science in Victim Services Management from Sam Houston State University (2017).  In 2008, she began her child life career working at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.  Monica is currently the Team Lead at University Health in San Antonio, TX.  Monica has worked for University Health since 2013.  She currently chairs the hospital wide Bereavement Council.
For over 10 years, Monica has been helping with the child life certification process.  Monica is dedicated to serving members through our certification and recertification process.  Within the Child Life Certification Commission, Monica has served in a variety of roles including item writing and reviewing, recertification audits, and exam assembly.  Monica is the current Chair of the Child Life Certification Commission.  
During her free time, Monica enjoys spending time with her husband, Joe, and their young two children, Annabelle and Dean.

Alison E. Heron, MBA, CAE, Chief Executive Officer, ACLP

Alison E. Heron, MBA, CAE serves as the Chief Executive Officer and is a Certified Association
Executive (CAE) with 27 years of diverse association sector experience and 21 years in leadership
roles. Alison holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Maryland
University College (UMUC) and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Strayer University. She is data-driven and a high-achieving visionary leader committed to advance an organization’s strategic goals diversity, equity and inclusion strategies, transformational leadership, trend/data analysis, and high-level customer service experience.

Before joining ACLP, she served as the Senior Director of Membership and Customer Relations at the
Water Environment Federation. Prior to WEF, she served as the Senior Director of Membership and
Units at the Council for Exceptional Children. Alison is an active member of the American Society of
Association Executives (ASAE) and a 2008-2009 ASAE Diversity Executive Leadership Scholar.

She is the proud mother of two thriving sons in college and enjoys spending time with her family,
traveling by planes, trains and automobiles and considers herself a life-long learner.


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