Ted Ryle is the Clinical Director for Juvenile Rehabilitation (JR), Department of Children Youth and Families. He has served JR since 2002, where he began as a Clinical Consultant for Naselle Youth Camp, and then moved into the role of Clinical Training Administrator from 2003 until 2016, when he became the agency's director of clinical services.
After earning his Bachelor's in Social Work from the University of Washington in 1997, Ryle went on to earn Master's degrees in Social Work and Public Policy & Management from the Ohio State University in 1998 and 1999. Before joining JR, he worked with Comprehensive Mental Health, Puget Sound Hospital, and the Cornerstone Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Program with Aacres Allvest, serving clients with co-occurring intellectual disabilities, as well as adolescent support programs since joining JR.
"As a social worker who is focused on the rehabilitation and flourishing of young people in the juvenile justice system, I see the unique leadership and education opportunity UWT can play as a combined social work and criminal justice program. Educating social workers to serve justice-involved clients and justice professionals to deeply understand the importance of disparity and equity, and the impact of human environments on social behavior, is vital to the exciting advancements currently underway in the field. I hope to support UWT to maximize its role and continue contributing to the development of well-rounded, outcomes-driven, human-centered social workers and justice professionals."
FELICE DAVIS, BOARD VICE-CHAIR
Felice Davis consistently looks to build statkeholder relationships and to learn about initiatives globally that are working well. Davis worked in Washington State Department of Corrections in a wide range of roles and last held the role of Associate Superintendent of Programs at the Washington Corrections Center for Women for five years. Davis has worked in both sexual assault and domestic violence advocacy and has a well-established rapport with stakeholders in the Pierce County area, including nonprofit organizations, law enforcement, other government agencies, and private businesses.
Her drive to help at-risk populations extends to her volunteer activities as well. Davis is an active community volunteer who is currently serving as the Board Chair for Rebuilding Hope, The Sexual Assault Center of Pierce County, as well as being the Vice-Chair of the Advisory Board for UWT's School of Social Work and Criminal Justice. Davis is also a Husky Alum and a proud mom.
"I chose to be on the Board because I know from my own experience in the field that understanding the fundamentals of both criminal justice and social work allows you to better serve the community. When the two are at odds, we are less effective."
JUDGE SABRINA AHRENS
Pierce County Superior Court, Department 14
Judge Ahrens has more than 19 years of legal experience in Western Washington. She recently served as Court Commissioner for the Pierce County Superior Court where she presided over a variety of civil and criminal hearings. She also worked for the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney's Office for 14 years as Deputy Prosecuting Attorney and served as Pro Tem judge for the Olympia and Lakewood Municipal Courts.
In addition to her legal work, Judge Ahrens is an active member of her community. She has served as Vice Chair for the March of Dimes South Sound Board of Directors and sat on the Girl Scouts Totem Council Board of Directors.
She received her law degree from Seattle University School of Law and her bachelor’s degree from University of Washington.
Judge Ahrens was appointed by Governor Inslee on September 3, 2019 and she currently presides over Department 14 in the Pierce County Superior Court.
ROCIO CHAVEZ DE ALVARADO
Guardian ad Litem- Pierce County Juvenile Court
Rocio Chavez de Alvarado is a Guardian ad Litem at Pierce County Juvenile Court. As a Guardian ad Litem, Rocio advocates in the best interest of children in the foster care system.
Throughout her career, Rocio has offered direct services, through different capacities, to the Tacoma and Pierce County communities. One of the main objectives in Rocio’s career has been to advocate for the rights of individuals who have experienced violence.
Rocio is originally from Mexico City, Mexico. As an immigrant, Rocio experienced a process of acculturation to the American society that initiated with the learning of the English language. Rocio also experienced the raising of her children in a multicultural environment. These experiences, along with her formal education and training, inform Rocio’s practice as a Social Worker.
Rocio earned a Bachelor’s degree from The Evergreen State College-Tacoma and a Masters in Social Work with concentration in Child and Family Welfare from the University of Washington –Tacoma. Rocio is a graduate of the Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program (CWTAP), also from the University of Washington-Tacoma.
As a student, Rocio focused her research on the topics of Immigrants and Immigration to the United States and in 2013 she developed a curriculum titled “Hispanics, Acculturation and Parenting”. This curriculum is located in the digital library of the University of Washington-Tacoma.
During her career as a Social Worker, Rocio has volunteered as a Field Instructor for Social Work students as a way to give back to the community and contribute to the preservation and development of the social services network.
Attorney, Pierce County Department of Assigned Counsel
"As a public defender for the Department of Assigned Counsel for the past eight years, I have dedicated my career to serving the needs of some of the most vulnerable members of our community.My passion is working with clients that suffer from serious mental health conditions to ensure that they receive not only equal access to justice, but also access to appropriate community-based mental health treatment.Currently, I represent individuals in Felony Mental Health Court where the judge, defense, prosecution, court coordinator, and mental health professionals work collaboratively as a team to improve the lives and legal outcomes of participants.Our goal is to help prevent the disproportionate incarceration of the mentally ill in Pierce County.I also represent individuals in the Assisted Outpatient Behavioral Health Treatment Court. Participants receive mental health treatment in the community with the hope of preventing the cycle of repeated involuntary inpatient hospitalizations.I believe my knowledge and experience highlights the intersection of social work and criminal justice.
I was raised in Parkland, WA and attended Franklin Pierce High School. I graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in Law & Diversity and received my juris doctor from Seattle University School of Law.I am happily married to my college sweetheart and the proud father of two young daughters."
Deputy Director, YWCA of Pierce County
Karin White has been with the YWCA Pierce County for 19 years. She oversees public funding contracts and administers the YWCA’s residential service programs for survivors of domestic violence. These services include the YWCA’s emergency shelter and housing programs, as well as facility operations and capital projects. She works closely with the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence on the Just Futures Project leadership cohort, Shelter Rules, and Building Dignity projects and has written guest blogs on CanYouRelate.org.
White has served on the Executive Committee of the Pierce County Commission Against Domestic Violence and a community collaboration project with the Tacoma Urban Network, Puget Sound Educational Service District, and Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department to address trauma and adverse childhood experiences, and implement models of trauma-informed care. Karin provides training and technical assistance to other domestic violence, social service, and housing/homeless service organizations on the topics of advocacy, domestic violence, ethics, confidentiality, and trauma-informed practices. She currently serves on the University of Washington Tacoma Criminal Justice and Social Work Advisory Council and the Pierce College Criminal Justice Department Advisory Board.
"Serving on this board is important to me because of the far-reaching impacts that the criminal justice and social service systems have on individual people and the community as a whole. In the course of one’s career in either of these fields, an individual practitioner will touch thousands of lives, and how that happens either creates healing and relationship or furthers experiences of harm. The UWT School of Social Work & Criminal Justice is a place where students get a deep understanding of those intersections and how they can make a positive difference, and I am honored to serve in this capacity."
Executive Director of Interfaith Works
Meg Martin is the Executive Director of the Interfaith Works Homeless Services, a Certified Peer Counselor and a Social Worker. She earned her Bachelors of Social Work Degree from University of Montana Missoula, and later her Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Washington, Tacoma in 2013. Meg overcame personal challenges with mental health and addiction to support the most vulnerable in her community. As a founding member of the Interfaith Works Homeless Services Program and appointed Executive Director of Interfaith Works, she was instrumental in the creation of the first formalized trauma informed, harm reduction based low barrier shelter in her town. She worked with a community that was deeply entrenched in fear-based biases and strongly opposed to the shelter opening. Early iterations of this program were based on the implementation of her UWT MSW Capstone project.
Her political will, persistence, collaboration, negotiations, support from fierce advocates on the front lines and the street community willed the creation of the shelter. Since then, the program has grown from 12 to 70 staff and now provides 61, 24/7 low barrier supportive shelter beds and a continuum of services between two programs -- the Supportive Shelters Program, and the Navigation Team case management program. She is working with many community partners on the construction of 65 permanent supportive housing apartments and a custom designed shelter space opening in late 2021. She and the Homeless Services staff team know that all people are valuable, deserve love, respect, connection and a community who believes in them.
Social Worker, Multicare
Ren Winnett has served as a Clinical Social Worker with Tacoma General Hospital, Multicare Health System for the past seventeen years. In the past ten years, he has also served as a lecturer with UWT's School of Social Work & Criminal Justice. Winnett is a graduate of UWT's Master of Social Work (MSW) program. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Queen's University, Canada, and is currently pursuing his doctorate with Rutgers University.
Winnett is the co-editor and chapter author of Health Care Social Work: A Global Perspective (Oxford, 2019).
"The most pressing issues of social diversity and justice are ultimately what define us - as do our responses to them. Social work and criminal justice education is critically important in this regard because it prepares advocates, guardians, and innovators for the difficult work they do. Places like the University of Washington, Tacoma, are incubators for those who make a difference."
JUDGE GRANT BLINN
Pierce County Superior Court, Department 8
Judge Blinn was elected as a Superior Court Judge in 2016. He previously presided over Felony Mental Health Court and currently presides over family court cases. Prior to being elected, he served as a Municipal Court Judge for the City of Lakewood, where he started a Veteran’s Treatment Court. He has also served as a Pro-Tem Judge for Thurston County District Court. Prior to becoming a judge, he worked as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Pierce County for over 17 years after serving as a public defender in Island County and San Juan County.
He is currently a board member for Tacoma Youth Chorus, and has previously served as a Fire Commissioner for West Pierce Fire and Rescue and a policy board member for South Sound 911.
Judge Blinn received his law degree from Seattle University in 1995.
DR. MARCIE LAZZARI
Professor Emerita, School of Social Work and Criminal Justice
Dr. Lazzari came to the University of Washington Tacoma in 1998 as the Founding Director of the then Social Work Program. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Denver in 1989, was tenured as an Associate Professor at Colorado State University, having held several practice and academic positions in Colorado before coming to UW Tacoma. She is grateful for the many opportunities and positions she has held at the University of Washington Tacoma and as well with the Council on Social Work Education. Having retired in 2016, she served an additional three years at UW Tacoma, the last two being in leadership positions in the School of Social Work and Criminal Justice (SSWCJ). Dr. Lazzari remains committed to the SSWCJ and is most appreciative of her colleagues and the students with whom she has worked. She is a firm believer in the power of shared leadership and shared responsibility as foundations for building and maintaining social justice structures and processes.
Marcie is most appreciative of her family and friends, including those with four legs. who have shared their wisdom and supported her over the years.
DR. JEFF COHEN
Associate Professor, School of Social Work and Criminal Justice
Jeff joined the School of Social Work and Criminal Justice faculty in 2012, earning tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in 2017. He currently serves as Executive Director of UW Tacoma’s Office of Global Affairs, which includes International Student and Scholar Services, Fellowships and Awards, and Study Abroad. Jeff was selected as a 2020-21 Presidential Fellow with the Association of International Education Administrators. He also currently serves as President of the American Men's Studies Association, an international organization dedicated to the critical study of men and masculinities through a (pro)feminist lens. Jeff is a first-generation college student who earned a doctorate in criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2009. He has taught courses across the criminal justice curriculum and in the Global Honors and Core programs. He has co-taught multiple criminal justice focused study abroad programs, including to South Korea, the Netherlands, and Ireland and Northern Ireland. Jeff's scholarship focuses on the criminalization of school bullying, intersections of gender, masculinities and crime, Integral theory, and the transformative impact of study abroad. His recent co-authored book "Criminology Explains School Bullying" (University of California Press) explores the application of criminological theory to school bullying, and is part of a 10-book series for which he serves as co-editor. He lives in Tacoma with his partner, two dogs, and chickens. In his spare time Jeff enjoys traveling, gardening, smoking delicious BBQ, hosting cookouts, and playing Catan.
DR. KEVA MILLER (Ex-Officio)
Dean & Professor, School of Social Work and Criminal Justice
Dr. Keva Miller is the inaugural Dean for the School of Social Work and Criminal Justice and a nationally recognized scholar in the areas of child welfare and criminal justice. Prior to joining the University of Washington Tacoma, Dean Miller was the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor at Portland State University School of Social Work. She also held academic appointments at the University of Texas at Austin, Fordham University, and Columbia University. She earned her doctorate in social work from Fordham University and master and bachelor degrees in social work from the University of Texas at Austin.
As a leader, Dean Miller seeks to maintain and enhance the University of Washington Tacoma’s reputation as a distinctive urban-serving institution and partner with faculty and staff to prioritize social justice and organizational excellence through elevating student success; advancing teaching and research excellence; promoting organizational sustainability; enhancing community engagement and partnerships; and creating a shared identity. Dean Miller believes that multi- and interdisciplinary scholarship through research, instruction, and community outreach are critical to the overall mission of the University and School.
Dean Miller’s scholarship challenges linear discourses and conceptualizations on contributors to adverse outcomes among system-involved, vulnerable, and historically marginalized and minoritized populations. Her scholarship also examines risk, protection, and resilience among BIPOC and highly stressed populations. Dean Miller works in partnership with criminal justice and child welfare systems to evaluate program effectiveness and enhance service delivery. Her research, policy advocacy, and practice recommendations have contributed to the preservation of family-based, system-focused prison programs and culturally-responsive practices within child welfare systems.
Dean Miller enjoys spending time with her family on the Oregon coastal shores and at Disney parks.