"Nothing is more powerful than a group of dedicated individuals focused on achieving the same goal."

— Jennifer Gilley, Executive Director

Board of Directors

David  O’Brien, President

Dale Watson, Vice-President

Trey Penny, Treasurer

Lyn Willis, Secretary

Nancy Gordon, Community Relations

Felix Wong, Programs

Mary Margaret Clay

Carey Cockerell

Mary Ann Contreras

Kelly Loftus

Angela Taylor

Jennifer Gilley, BS M.Ed

Executive Director

Jennifer Gilley has been involved in prevention for over 20 years. She has extensive experience in mobilizing stakeholders to create broad based community collaborations to address public health issues.  She has served on numerous planning groups charged with assessing community need and providing viable plans to achieve change.  Jennifer has served on both state and local advisory boards charged with developing implementation strategies to address issues relating to substance abuse prevention, intervention and treatment.

John Haenes, LMSW, ICPS

Chief Operating Officer

John Haenes is a Licensed Master’s level Social Worker and an International Certified Prevention Specialist with 22 years of experience with substance abuse issues, juvenile delinquency, and child welfare issues.  Mr. Haenes is a recognized expert in addiction and adolescent brain development, and served as the Deputy Assistant Director for Specialized Programs at Tarrant County Juvenile Services.  Mr. Haenes has been a trainer for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) the Texas Center for the Judiciary, the Texas Justice Court Training Center, the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, Department of Family and Protective Services, Court Appointed Special Advocates of Tarrant County, and numerous Local Independent School Districts and police departments.

Tiara Nugent, MPA, CPS

Director of Community Engagement

and Prevention Programs

Tiara earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English with an emphasis in Writing and a minor in Sociology from Texas Wesleyan University. She received her Master of Public Administration Management from the University of Texas at Arlington. Prior to joining Challenge and TCU in 2013, Tiara worked for the City of Benbrook Planning and Zoning Department and The Fort Worth Business Press.

Alicia Allen, MPH

Program Director - Power 2 Choose

Alicia is the Coordinator for TCU’S Alcohol and Drug Awareness Coalition and the campus social norming campaign, Power2Choose. Alicia earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Science from Western Illinois University and received her Master of Public Health from the University of North Texas Health Science Center. Alicia has always had a passion for helping others which is what motivated her to pursue a career in public health. She believes that prevention and education are key approaches to enhancing the quality of life for the entire community.


The people closest to Alicia describe her as a “human form of sunshine.” In her spare time, she enjoys dancing, reading, and embarking on exciting and new adventures.


Abbie Byrd, MSW

Program Director - SMART Arlington

Abbie Byrd received a bachelor’s of social work degree and holds a master’s of social work degree, both from The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA).  Ms. Byrd is a certified peer educator and was the social work undergraduate intern for the Relationship Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention (RVSP) program at UTA.  While at RVSP, Ms. Byrd designed and implemented a program entitled, Take Back the Night, which is an emotionally charged, demonstrative march on campus that symbolizes the resiliency and strength that survivors of sexual and domestic violence possess by allowing them to unite with other survivors to publicly reclaim their power.


Ms. Byrd also was a social work graduate intern for the Department of Veterans Affairs at the Fort Worth Outpatient Clinic where she assessed Veterans’ overall health both mentally and physically and served as a case manager and link to resources either within the VA or through the surrounding community depending on the nature and severity of the Veteran’s presenting problem.  During both practicums, Ms. Byrd was able to observe the direct impact and implications that drug and alcohol abuse and misuse have on both the individual who chooses to imbibe, as well as, the surrounding community and nation as a whole.  Ms. Byrd is currently the new program director for the SMART Arlington, Drug-Free Coalition, which is a program of Challenge of Tarrant County.

Erica Castillo, MSW

Program Director -  SOAR

Erica Rena Castillo has 14 plus years of social work experience. Mrs. Castillo has considerable knowledge and experience in child protective services, and working with children, youth, and families.  She has worked with clients dealing with substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence and homeless.  Her professional experience includes working with the school, law enforcement, court, and correctional system. Mrs. Castillo was employed with the State of Connecticut, Department of Child and Family, as a Social Worker for 10 years. She received her Masters in Social Work with a concentration in Community and Administrative Practice at the University of Texas Arlington, where she gained advance knowledge in conducting program evaluations, program design, community mobilization, and grant writing. Her accomplishments at UTA includes: Member of UTA Social Work Council, Vice president of UTA Graduate Student Council, President of the UTA Social Work Honor Society, Outstanding Achievement for Student Leadership Recognition by UTA School of Social Work 2019, Outstanding Achievement for Graduate Student Council Member by UTA Student Government 2019, scholarships, and nominations.


Mrs. Castillo is a member with the National Association of Social Work, NASW. She serves as the Communications Committee Chair for NASW Texas—Fort Worth Area Branch.


Mrs. Castillo recently entered the authorship arena. She is an impressive co-author in the Women’s Anthology titled, "Emerging."

Suzanne Lofton, LCDC, ADC, SAP

Family Drug Court Coordinator

Suzanne Lofton is Coordinator of the Family Drug Court, a collaborative program administered through Challenge of Tarrant County.  Suzanne has been actively involved in the recovery community for over 26 years, and has worked the last 20 years in the field of addiction. As the Past President of the Fort Worth Chapter of the Texas Association of Addiction Professionals and the President of the State Board of the Texas Association of Addiction Professionals, Suzanne has extensive experience in all facets of addiction treatment and recovery support.


During her career Suzanne has supervised multiple treatment programs, including a 91-bed facility for men and women coming from Substance Abuse Felony Punishment prison and a women and children's treatment facility, as well as directing the Access to Recovery for Recovery Resource Council.  Suzanne holds numerous credentials including Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC); Alcohol Drug Counselor (ADC); Substance Abuse Professional (SAP), Certified Recovery Coach (CRC) and a Certified Life Coach (CLC) as well as a being a “ train the trainer” for Recovery Coaches and Life Coaches.

Katherine Neale, BS

Program Director - Follow Our Lead

Katherine Neale is the Program Director for the Follow Our Lead drug and alcohol abuse prevention program at Weatherford College. Katherine has a nurturing spirit which fueled her studies toward her Associates Degree in early childhood and education, and her passion for caring for others drove her to complete her Bachelors of Science in Rehabilitation Studies with a minor in Substance Use and Addiction from the University of North Texas.


Katherine has excellent interpersonal skills which have helped her with her prior endeavors which include her Prevention Services internship with Challenge of Tarrant County working with Tarrant County Drug Courts and several substance abuse prevention community coalitions. In this role, she assisted with client drug screenings and judicial reviews, participated on several coalition advisory boards, and helped facilitate youth prevention activities, including events related to Great American Smoke-Out and Red Ribbon Week activities. Katherine also has experience in working in rehabilitation service through Garden Terrace of Fort Worth, a skilled nursing facility; she served as a volunteer and then administrative assistant before being promoted to an admission and management position. She also served as a patient advocate in making sure that residents were being treated properly. This role required that Katherine collaborate with patients, their families and facility staff to ensure optimal care was given and protocol was followed throughout the center.


Claudia Perkins, BA

Program Director -  SMART

Claudia Perkins, program director for UTA SMART, is an alumnus of UT Arlington with a degree in communications. While at UTA she was a member of Alpha Phi sorority and was Shorthorn editor. She currently serves on the Greek Alumni Advisory Council. She is also part of the Hazing Prevention Week and National Night Out committees along with Phi Delta Theta’s Soberfest and Student Activities Halloween Casino Night.


She is a member of the board of directors for Arlington 4th of July Parade Association, Arlington Historical Society and Sam Houston High School Alumni Association. Last year she received the “Long Tall Texan Award” from the school, which recognizes the outstanding SHHS alumni. She is also a trustee at New World United Methodist Church in Arlington. She is one of four founding members and on the board of Keep Bolivar Beautiful, an affiliate of Keep Texas Beautiful.


Kierra Woods, MSW

Program Director -  Stay on Track

Kierra Woods, MSW is the Program Director for Stay on Track, a community coalition serving Northeast Tarrant County. Stay on Tracks mission is to increase awareness of the risks of substance use and engage residents in education that provides youth with the knowledge, confidence, skills and environmental support needed to live a healthy, substance free life.


Kierra received her Bachelors of Social Work degree from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and her Masters in Social Work from The University of Texas at Arlington. As a Social Worker she has dedicated her work to community prevention in the areas of Teen pregnancy and Substance abuse. In addition, she has had roles working with individuals with Mental and Intellectual Disabilities in Tarrant County.



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