"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
Lyn Willis, Vice-President
Trey Penny, Treasurer
Dale Watson, Secretary
Carey Cockerell, Programs
Nancy Gordon, Community Relations
Mary Margaret Clay
Jennifer Gilley, BS M.Ed
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. Mrs. Gilley currently serves as the Executive Director of Tarrant County Challenge, a non-profit agency whose mission is to confront substance abuse by identifying needs, educating the community, mobilizing resources, promoting collaborations and advocating for sound public policy.
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. Mr. Haenes currently serves as the Chief Operations Officer of Tarrant County Challenge, a non-profit agency whose mission is to confront substance abuse by identifying needs, educating the community, mobilizing resources, promoting collaborations and advocating for sound public policy.
Suzanne Lofton, LCDC, ADC, SAP
Family Drug Court Coordinator
Suzanne Lofton is Coordinator of the Family Drug Court, a collaborative program administered through Tarrant County Challenge. Suzanne has been actively involved in the recovery community for over 24 years and has worked the last 18 years in the field of Addiction. As the President of the Fort Worth Chapter of the Texas Association of Addiction Professionals and the President Elect 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.
Casi Darst, BA
Casi Darst is a graduate from Texas A&M University with a degree in business management. For the past three years, she served as Volunteer Coordinator for the Salvation Army Angel Tree Program which provides Christmas assistance to thousands of families and senior citizens throughout Tarrant County. Casi was born and raised in Arlington, Texas and is well-connected in the Arlington community. She has a passion for youth and service and is enthusiastic about her position as Program Director for the University of Texas at Arlington S.M.A.R.T. Coalition.
Tiara Nugent, MPA, CPS
Tiara directs The Bottom Line, a community coalition and campaign unique to TCU that is made possible through a partnership between TCU Alcohol & Drug Education and Challenge of Tarrant County. The Bottom Line works to reduce risky alcohol consumption by empowering students to make wise choices for life. Tiara also serves on the TCU Health & Wellness Committee and is a regular contributing writer for the TCU Parent & Family Magazine.
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.
Mahogany Henderson, MHSA
Mahogany Henderson directs the Texas Youth Tobacco Awareness Program. The Texas Youth Tobacco Awareness Program helps teens better understand the behavioral and social influences that lead them to use tobacco. TYTAP discusses how friends and family use nicotine, and how the tobacco industry manipulates a targeted youth market through advertising.
Mahogany earned her Bachelor of Arts and Science degree in Sociology from The University of Tennessee. She received her Master’s in Health Service Administration from Strayer University. Prior to joining Challenge in 2014, Mahogany worked as an Intervention Specialist in various school districts around the Dallas Ft Worth Metroplex.
Abbie Byrd, MSW
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.
Craig Cornish, BS
Craig Cornish is the Program Director for the Follow Our Lead drug and alcohol abuse prevention program at Weatherford College. He has a Bachelors of Science in Child Development, and loves working with youth and young adults. His hobbies include exercising, running half marathons, Tough Mudder obstacle course races, biking, and rock climbing.
When he was 14, he was diagnosed with cancer. He knew there had to be a reason why he fought to make it through all of his pain and torture. His reason for living now is to live life as a positive role model and letting everyone know what survivors can do. A positive attitude and great work ethic go a long way and can get you through anything!