Our Staff & Board

Our Staff


Tabitha Damron, Executive Director

Tabitha, a native of Blount County, has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Maryville College, a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Tennessee, and has received a certificate of completion from the Consortium for Social Enterprise Effectiveness Certification program through the Haslam College of Business. As the Executive Director of New Hope, she oversees operations and programs implemented at New Hope and works to ensure quality services and access for children in the community.

Tabitha has been with New Hope for over a decade.  She began as Clinical Director, working with sexually abused children and has received extensive training in the area of sexual abuse and trauma. Tabitha has provided individual counseling and has worked with parents on how to understand and cope with their child’s behaviors.

Tabitha is a member of the Child Protective Investigative Team and provides consultation on cases reviewed by the team and also coordinates the  Child Protective Investigative Management Team, working in collaboration with leaders from other Child Protective Agencies.  She also represents New Hope on the Sexual Assault Review Team and Child Fatality Review.

Contact Tabitha at tdamron@blountkids.org

Vanessa Painter, Development Director

Originally from Middle Tennessee, Vanessa has called Blount County home since childhood. She holds an A.S. in business management from Roane State and worked in the property & casualty insurance field before following her passion for non-profit work. Vanessa brings the experience and knowledge needed for this role having previously served as the development director for Blount County Habitat for Humanity. She currently volunteers with both the Junior Service League of Maryville and the Blount County Chamber of Commerce in various capacities and has served on the Board of Directors for both organizations. She also serves as the Division Director of Individuals and Non-Profits for the Chamber of Commerce Board. Vanessa is delighted to apply her skills and experience at New Hope to develop and foster donor relationships and deepen community partnerships.

Contact Vanessa at vpainter@blountkids.org

Danielle Reggio, Director of Finance & Administration

Danielle is a 2002 Maryville College graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and a minor in business and sociology. She brings with her over 10 years of experience as an office administrator and a passion for non-profit work.  She has volunteered at Trinity Dental Clinic in various capacities for 5 years including serving on their Board of Directors.  Danielle is excited to share her passion, experience, and knowledge in an effort to assist New Hope and its mission.

Contact Danielle at dreggio@blountkids.org

Ashley Fontenot, Marketing & Events Director

Ashley grew up in Maryville, TN, earning her B.S. in Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Her passion has always been event planning and marketing – bringing people together and advocating for a good brand.

She has worked with Chick-fil-A for 12 years in various marketing and public relations roles. Most recently, she served as New Restaurant Planner for Chick-fil-A, Inc., traveling to help open new restaurants across the country – leading opening week events and working to ensure positive first impressions within new communities. She also volunteers as the Marketing Specialist for non-profit organization, Women in Apologetics.

Ashley is excited to be a part of the New Hope team and to help advance the mission of restoring hope to the children of Blount County.

Contact Ashley at afontenot@blountkids.org

Direct Services

Christina Copland, Forensic Interviewer

Christina received a BS Ed. from Ashland University in Ohio, a MS Ed. at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and her Paralegal Studies Certificate from Roosevelt University in Chicago IL. Christina has worked with abused and neglected children since 1993 when she was a case manager/placement manager for medically fragile children at Maryville Academy’s Emergency Shelter in Chicago IL. Christina left Maryville Academy in 1995 to become a mother and wife and reentered the field of abused and neglected children in 1998 as the first ever hired Forensic Interviewer at Child Network in Kankakee IL. During her time in IL, Christina was a member of the original faculty of Finding Words Illinois that trained other professionals in Forensic Interviewing until leaving IL in 2007 to come to Blount County and continue interviewing children regarding allegations of abuse or neglect at New Hope.

When allegations of severe child abuse are received, the Forensic Interviewer is the first person of the Child Protection Investigation Team to talk with alleged victims regarding the details of the allegations that have been reported. Christina has been cross-trained in RATAC, NCA and the Childhood Trust Forensic Interviewing Protocols and she utilizes these methods to conduct developmentally appropriate, neutral, fact finding interviews with children in a child friendly setting that are legal defensible in a court of law. Appointments for forensic interviews are accepted only from investigators/detectives assigned to a case after an official report of alleged abuse or neglect has been received by the Department of Children’s Services or law enforcement agency.

Contact Tina at ccopland@blountkids.org

Lindsay Preskenis, LCSW, Clinical Director

Lindsay grew up in Knoxville, received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Criminal Justice from East Tennessee State University and a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Tennessee. She comes to New Hope with extensive experience working with youth in various settings as well as program development.  

Following graduation, Lindsay moved to Alabama where she was employed with Indian Rivers Behavioral Health from 2012 to 2018. She held multiple positions starting as the Juvenile Court Liaison, School-Based Mental Health Therapist, and finally the Children’s Services Coordinator.  In 2018, she moved back to Knoxville where she began work with Safe Harbor CAC. In March 2021, she became the Clinical Director at Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center.   

Lindsay is licensed by the state of Tennessee as a Clinical Social Worker and received training in Trauma Focused – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Integrative Attachment Trauma Protocol for Children (IATP-C), Trauma Play, Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment (SMART), and Sand Tray Therapy.  

Contact Lindsay at lpreskenis@blountkids.org

Liza Varlan, LCSW, Therapist

Liza is a Master’s Level Therapist working under the supervision of the Clinical Director as she pursues her licensure. She also brings 5 years experience working with children and adults that have been exposed to sexual trauma. Prior to employment with New Hope, she worked at the Sexual Assault Center of East Tennessee providing therapy. Liza has been trained in EMDR, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

Contact Liza at lvarlan@blountkids.org

Hailey Schorsch, MSW, Therapist

Hailey recently graduated from University of Tennessee with her Master of Science in Social Work and is currently under supervision working toward her LCSW. Hailey has worked with teenagers in residential and IOP settings and was the program director of Hoof and Harness before coming to New Hope. She is trained in DBT, TF-CBT, EMDR, and is working toward certification in play therapy, ARC, and SMART. She is excited to be a part of the New Hope team and help children in Blount County heal and thrive. 

Contact Hailey at hschorsch@blountkids.org

Cydney Cudzilo, LPC-MHSP-t, Therapist

Cydney grew up in Knoxville, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Studies, Community Outreach at University of Tennessee and a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a Trauma Counseling Certificate at Richmont Graduate University in Chattanooga, TN. Cydney is currently a Master’s Level Therapist working under the supervision of the Clinical Director while pursuing licensure.

Prior to starting at New Hope, Cydney has had 3 years of experience working with children and young adults in outpatient settings. She has also been trained in TF-CBT and ARC. Cydney is excited to be a part of the New Hope team working to help the children and families of Blount County. 

Contact Cydney at ccudzilo@blountkids.org

Challye Nunn, Forensic Interviewer & CPIT Coordinator

Challye, a Maryville native, received a Bachelor of Science in Human Services from East Tennessee State University. Before working at New Hope, Challye was a case manager for children and youth at Mental Health Cooperative of Nashville, TN.  Working to improve the lives of young people has always been a passion of Challye’s, where even as a college student Challye took part in several child-centered mission trips and spent two summers serving at-risk children with Project Transformation in the Antioch area of Nashville, TN.  Challye began her journey with New Hope as a Child and Family Advocate.  She dedicated her time to engaging with families, connecting them to needed resources in the community, and working side by side with co-workers and other community agencies to best serve the needs of this very important population in Blount County.

As CPIT Coordinator, Challye works with the Multi-Disciplinary Team of Blount County to establish and maintain relationships with community partners, ensure that every client receives services that are aligned with their individual needs, to track cases seen at New Hope from initial referral to the prosecution outcome, and to actively participate in all aspects of the Investigative Team.

Challye received training in the ChildFirst protocol in 2018 and currently divides her time between Forensic Interviewing and CPIT Coordination.

Contact Challye at cnunn@blountkids.org

Sarah Cruze, Child & Family Advocate

Sarah is an East Tennessee native with a Bachelor of Arts in History from Maryville College. While in college, she volunteered with New Hope as a Bonner Scholar from 2007 to 2008. Sarah has always been a volunteer at heart, working with numerous non-profit organizations since middle school. Her passion for service work has fostered diverse experiences in East Tennessee, Middle Kentucky, Ecuador, and Nepal. Prior to working with New Hope, Sarah worked with Habitat for Humanity for several years, serving over 70 families that needed a better place to call home. Through those partnerships, she helped empower families and individuals to find strength and determination within themselves.

As a Child and Family Advocate with our therapy team, Sarah is happy to be back at New Hope where she can share her skills and positivity. It is vital to continue providing support for children that have experienced trauma, and she is committed to connecting our clients to enriching opportunities and much needed resources in Blount County. Sarah is very excited to be on the New Hope team to work toward strengthening our community, empowering our families, and helping our children in need.

Contact Sarah at scruze@blountkids.org

Hannah Grant, Child & Family Advocate

Hannah is originally from Waxhaw, North Carolina. She received her Bachelors of Social Work from Appalachian State University, as well as a minor in General Business. Hannah has always wanted to work with children and help with the needs of families. During college, Hannah worked in a child development center caring for children and assisting teachers with lesson plans. Hannah also worked as an intern for Child Protective Services in North Carolina, helping social workers ensure the safety of children. Hannah is a Child and Family Advocate at New Hope. She guides children and families through the forensic interviewing process, as well as assisting children and families with any needs they may have by connecting them with resources to help meet their needs. Hannah, along with the team, helps to create a welcoming environment to make the Forensic Interviewing process as easy as possible.

Contact Hannah at hgrant@blountkids.org

Becky Rials, Prevention Coordinator

Becky was born and raised in York, PA, and graduated from York College with a BS in Health Records Administration then becoming a Registered Health Information Administrator. Becky and her husband, Tim, moved from San Francisco, CA to Pineville, LA and then to Maryville in 2001.  Becky served on the New Hope board for 8 years with 2 of them as president and 2 of them as past president. After coming off the board, Becky chose to stay with New Hope as a front desk volunteer. Becky and Tim have one daughter, Hannah.

Now, as the Prevention Coordinator for New Hope, she strives to educate, along with her team of facilitators,  Blount County adults on how to prevent, recognize and respond appropriately to child sexual abuse. In 2019, she helped Blount County reach our tipping point by training 5% of our population in how to recognize and prevent child sexual abuse. Becky also networks with local organizations and community members that could benefit from this Stewards of Children training program.

Contact Becky at brials@blountkids.org for more information on how to obtain this free training.

Board of Directors

Ken Cooper, President

Jimmy Morgan, Vice President & Treasurer

Allen Rathbone, Secretary

Jeremy Waldroop, Past President

Jaina Castro

Donna Coulter

Julie Elder

Kent Everett

Jane Groff

Travis Jacques

Steve Jenkins

Melanie LaFollette

Angela Luckie

Penny McIntosh

Lindsey Plyler

Dr. Keri Prigmore

Allen Rathbone

Nathan Robinette

Rhonda Stinnett

Chase Whitmire

Tim Threatt