Directors & Staff Leaders
Board of Directors and Staff Leaders
TESSA's Board is responsible for making decisions in a manner consistent with that of a prudent person. This means Board members act in a reasonable way, like that of any "ordinary" person. TESSA's Board acts in good faith and in the best interests of the organization. They ensure the organization operates within legal parameters, and TESSA's own rules, regulations, mission and bylaws.
TESSA's Board of Directors (as of October 2012)
Molly Miles, President
Diana May, Vice President
Aracelly Guillen, Secretary
Kathy Wilson, Treasurer
Dona Harris, Member at Large
Alex Dumas, Immediate Past President
Janet Kerr, Interim Executive Director
Janet Kerr has worked for the prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence since 1986. Ms. Kerr is a consultant providing training and technical assistance to law enforcement, prosecutors, advocacy agencies and other professionals about issues related to Domestic and Sexual Violence. This training has been provided on state, national and international levels, with such agencies as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, and the State Department. She broadened her focus in 2006 to Gender-Based Violence issues in the humanitarian aid context, working with Doctors Without Borders and the International Rescue Committee in Darfur, Sudan.
Prior to her work as a consultant, Ms Kerr served as the Executive Director of the Center for Prevention of Domestic Violence (aka TESSA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado. As the Executive Director of The Center, Ms. Kerr worked with staff, volunteers and Board Members to provide for the agency’s administration, financial management, and human resources management. She oversaw programs for adult and child survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, including an emergency Safehouse, a 24-hour Crisisline, a Child & Youth Program, and Counseling and Sexual Assault services. She was also involved with The Center’s Resource Development Program, including Training, Volunteers, and Fundraising. Ms. Kerr was instrumental in the development of the Domestic Violence Enhanced Response Team (DVERT), a nationally recognized multi-disciplinary domestic violence initiative. In July 2012, she returned to TESSA as the Interim Executive Director.
Ms. Kerr has served on the Board of Directors for several local and state organizations including: Victims Assistance and Law Enforcement, Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Joint Initiatives for Youth and Families, and the Pikes Peak Domestic Violence Coalition. Ms. Kerr is an adjudicated expert providing testimony in domestic violence and sexual assault court cases throughout Colorado.
Amber Besse, Development Director
Amber joined TESSA in the spring of 2011 as the Community Outreach Liaison. After 6 months, she parlayed those relationship building skills into a position as TESSA’s Development Director. Amber is a transplant from Arlington, Texas and holds a Bachelor of Social Science from Colorado State University. She and her husband are very active in local social and environmental advocacy and instill those same principals in their three children.
Dani Francis, Chief Operating Officer
Ms. Dani Francis has worked as an accountant and financial manager for over 15 years. As a staff accountant, financial analyst, and financial manager, she has performed a variety of audit, financial and accounting functions. She holds a B.A. in Business, summa cum laude, from Colorado College.
Alison Gerbig, MSW, Confidential Victim’s Advocate and Safehouse Manager
Alison joined the TESSA staff in July 2010, after working over sixteen years as a social worker. Alison holds her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Work and has worked withindividuals, groups, children, geriatrics, community and systems advocacy, in-home wrap-around services, program development, early childhood education, and staff development. Alison is thankful to now have added working with individuals who have experienced domestic and sexual violence as another facet to her training and work experience. As the Safehouse Manager, Alison works with victims and survivors who identify as women (and their children) often totaling 36 individuals. Alison strives to operate an environment that is confidential, inclusive, safe, respectful, and allows the space to heal and move toward a life free of violence. Alison also enjoys her role as coach and mentor for her eight staff members, plus her amazing volunteers and flex staff pool. Alison believes in not only empowering the survivors to pursue safety and reach their goals, but also empowering her staff and volunteers to achieve their training and education goals. Alison works to guide her staff and volunteers to align their words and actions with trauma-informed methods and core values within the Safehouse.
Alison states that, “TESSA is the only agency in El Paso and Teller Counties that truly understands the dynamics within the violence and the methods for prevention and she is happy to be a part of this much needed community agency. Not only as an employee, but as a mother to a young child, a sister, an aunt, and a friend, I value the work TESSA provides in our community and I want our community members to think about their own family, friends, co-workers, child’s classmates, and neighbors who might be experiencing domestic and sexual violence in their lives. Even though the violence might be happening in your home, it will affect you in some manner so I ask for your support in joining TESSA’s mission to end the cycle of domestic and sexual violence. Together, we truly can make a difference in our community – and in our own lives.”
Charity Richardson, MA, LPC, Clinical Services Program Manager
Charity Richardson, MA, LPC is the current Clinical Services Program Manager at TESSA. She has been with TESSA in various roles including managing the advocacy and children’s departments since March 2010. She joined TESSA with strong experience in curriculum development, education and trauma therapy. Charity has provided visionary leadership to grow TESSA's programs and services with special attention given to developing TESSA's DoVE curriculum and parent training. She has also been in private practice for five years with Wings of Grace Counseling, specializing in child and adult trauma. Charity came to Colorado from Kansas City, MO where she worked as the Director of Education, Service Excellence Coordinator and Children's Program Manager at Two Rivers Psychiatric Hospital. She served at Two Rivers for five years training and developing staff to work with clients with severe emotional and behavioral issues. She is highly trained in neurobehavioral disorders and the psychobiology of brain functioning. She is a certified EMDR therapist through the EMDRIA institute. Charity is a proficient speaker, providing PTSD training to SANE nurses through the Memorial Healthcare System and has presented on trauma and the brain across the state.
María P. Guerra, BSW, DV Program Manager
I have worked in the field of domestic violence for over 12 years at TESSA, Colorado Springs, Colorado. I have knowledge about the problems and am a tireless advocate for when challenged by domestic violence, poverty, immigration, and communities of color. During my journey with TESSA I have worked in the main office as a victim advocate, then traveled to case managed clients at TESSA’s Safehouse, and currently hold the position of TESSA DHS DV Program Manager. I enjoy collaborating with the Department of Human Services in Colorado Springs to organize and build power to end violence against women and children. I am fluent in Spanish and English and have an active involvement in the Latino community; I am becoming a resource for Latina women in crisis who face barriers accessing services due to language, culture or information. As a result I am collaborating with community agencies/allies to provide education, support, and empowerment to the Latina women. I continue to work frontline because the insights I gain through the voices of battered women and rape survivors continue to inform and inspire my vision as well as TESSA’s (A Community without Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault).
Nancy Duke, Advocacy Program Manager, Confidential Victim Advocate
Nancy has worked in the field of domestic violence and sexual assault as a victim advocate since 1993, and has been with TESSA for 13 years. Nancy has worked in many capacities at TESSA including Safehouse, Crisis Line, and Advocacy, specializing in high lethality cases. Nancy has worked collaboratively with many community agencies/members and has served thousands of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. She has served on the CCADV Board of Directors and has been qualified as an expert in the field of domestic violence, testifying in multiple jurisdictions. Nancy has presented at national conferences, trained local law enforcement officers, district attorney’s, forensic nurses and community members on domestic violence and sexual assault.