Speaker Biographies – 2016

Amy Burgoon began her service to Kansas Child Support in 1999 in clerical and after a short time became a caseworker.  She continued in a caseload carrying position until 2005 when she became a trainer/quality assurance specialist in the Performance Improvement division for the Kansas City Metro Region.  In August 2010, she joined KS CSS Administration as part of the Self-Assessment/Training unit.  Amy currently serves as a Public Service Administrator, overseeing the CSSI program, Self-Assessment unit, and statewide training coordination for the State of Kansas CSS program.

Alyson Campbell retired from state government in June 2015 after 31 years of service with the Missouri Department of Social Services.  Throughout her career, Alyson held a variety of positions in the child support program including front line casework and supervision, training, policy, automated systems and executive level positions. In her last six years with the Department she served as the Director of the Family Support Division, the agency that administers Medicaid, SNAP, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Child Support, Rehabilitation Services for the Blind and other public assistance programs.  Upon retirement, Alyson started a consulting company, works part-time and serves as a volunteer Community Educator for the Alzheimer’s Association – Greater Missouri Chapter.

Michelle Coleman has served the State of Missouri, Department of Social Services as an administrative hearing officer, for nine years,working directly with the Family Support Division and parents, explaining the child support calculation process and establishing or modifying child support obligations, balancing the best interests of the children with their parents’ abilities to provide for their children.  Michelle conducts hearings and issues decisions for approximately 800 – 900 child support hearings each year.  She served on the 2012 Child Support Guidelines Review Advisory Group.  Michelle earned her J.D. from St. Louis University, and her LL. M. in Alternative Dispute Resolution from the University of Missouri-Columbia.  Over the last eighteen years, she has worked in all three branches of state government, including Law Clerk to The Honorable Duane Benton of the Supreme Court, Assistant General Counsel to Governor Mel Carnahan, and Legislative Assistant to Senator J.B. “Jet” Banks.

Thania Fitzgerald is a Senior Benefit Counselor and an Education and Training Specialist for the Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System.  She has worked for MOSERS for three and half years counseling employees on their MOSERS’ benefits as well as delivering new employee orientation and pre-retirement seminars to Missouri state employees. She holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology and a Certificate of Achievement in Public Employee Pensions from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

Michael Flynn began is his career with the Training and Development unit in 2014. His work history is in the education field where he’s worked for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as well as two not-for-profit educational agencies. He’s had the pleasure to work with students from pre-school through adults and has trained adults in a number of topics, in a wide variety of settings.

He enjoys working with DSS staff from across the state as they strive to help children and families. He believes the work is valuable and endeavors to provide the instruction so you accomplish your job a little more easily.

Michael and his bride have been married for more than 35 years and they have two grown children. He enjoys gardening, lawn work, and church activities.

Lara Fors is a First Assistant Prosecuting Attorney of Greene County and currently serves as the Director of a multi-county prosecutors’ office in Springfield, MO where her staff judicially establishes and enforces IV-D child support orders in Greene, Christian and Taney counties.  Lara has spent her entire legal career in the IV-D program, and all but six months has been in the state of Missouri.  She has worked in the Kansas City, Jefferson City and Springfield areas.  Before returning to this Office in July 2011, she served as the IV-D Deputy Director of the Missouri Family Support Division.

Lara currently serves on the Honorary Board of the Eastern Regional Interstate Child Support Association (ERICSA) and is a past president of ERICSA and of Missouri’s state association, MCSEA.  Lara has presented to numerous conferences and events including the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association, the Christian County Bar Association, the Missouri Bar, ERICSA, Western Interstate Child Support Enforcement Council (WICSEC), National Tribal Child Support Association (NTCSA) and the National Child Support Enforcement Association (NCSEA).  Lara also serves as Treasurer of the Southern Missouri Women Lawyers association and is the Chair of the Child Support Best Practices Committee of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.  Lara has been awarded the Springfield Business Journal’s 40 under 40 Award, the MCSEA Honorary Life Member, and the Missouri Lawyer’s Weekly Women’s Justice Award for Public Service Practitioner of the Year.  Lara received her undergraduate degree at Central Methodist College (now University) in 1992 and received her J.D. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1995.  She is a member of both the Missouri and Kansas Bars.


Darlene Fritz graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Management.  In 2013, Darlene joined the Department of Social Services Human Resource Center Training Unit.  Her 20+ years experience in training, consulting, and leadership provide great background for her current role as a Training Technician.

Julie Gibson is the Director of the Missouri Family Support Division.  Julie began working for the Family Support Division as the Designated Principal Assistant in January 2015.  She came to the Family Support Division from the Missouri Department of Economic Development, where she served as the Director of the Division of Workforce Development since March 2009.  Julie has dedicated much of her career to government and public service.  She has served as chief of staff to three statewide officials, including Governor and Treasurer Bob Holden, and Lieutenant Governor Joe Maxwell. Julie has extensive knowledge of employment and training policy and programs, having worked in the Clinton Administration as a special assistant to U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich and from her experience in serving as Director of Job Development and Training and Deputy Director of the Department of Economic Development during Governor Mel Carnahan’s administration.

Leigh Ann Hale is a college instructor at Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield, Missouri. She teaches the class Keys to College Success.  She was an elementary school teacher in Rogersville, Missouri for over 10 years.  She has her bachelor’s degree in marketing from MSU and her master’s degree in elementary education from Drury University.  Most recently she received her certification in mindfulness and is an outside provider where she presents an overall understanding of having a mindfulness practice and how to develop ones own personal mindfulness practice.

David Hartsfield is a Child Support Outreach Coordinator for the Missouri Family Support Division, and has been with the Division for 18 months.  Prior to joining the state, he served as a Political Science Professor at Truman State University and a local pastor for the United Methodist Church.  His work with FSD focuses primarily on Responsible Parenting Initiatives.

Paula Hernandez-Johnson has served as Special Counsel for the Missouri Child Support Program, for the last five years. She has a Juris Doctorate from St. Louis University and has been a member of the Missouri Bar since 1997. She has devoted most of her legal career to providing public service through various government agencies and public interest law firms including the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, the Division of Legal Services, Missouri Protection and Advocacy Services, and the Saint Louis Public School’s Board of Education. Much of her legal career has been focused on the legal issues involving children, those with physical and mental disabilities, employment issues, and the needs of Missouri families.

Jason Howell

Melissa Johnson completed her Juris Doctorate degree from Washburn University School of Law in 1999.  She spent almost 6 years as the Neosho county attorney handling criminal prosecution and serving as the county counselor over all civil issues as well.  She joined the Kansas Department for Children and Families in 2006 as an attorney for the IV-D program.  Since 2006, she has served the IV-D program in both legal establishment and enforcement roles.  In 2011, she joined the Child Support Services Central Office in Kansas and was soon named the deputy director for the program.  In March, 2015 she joined the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement as the Region VII Program Manager.

Brian D. Kinkade was appointed Director of the Department of Social Services (DSS) by Governor Jeremiah (Jay) Nixon in April, 2014.  The Department is an umbrella agency consisting of the Children’s Division, the Family Support Division, the MO HealthNet Division, the Division of Youth Services and is responsible for a broad array of services to protect children, to provide access to health care, to rehabilitate troubled youth and to promote strong and self-supporting families.  DSS serves over two million Missourians annually with a budget that exceeds $8.8 billion and 7,154 FTE in 182 offices across the state.  Brian was appointed Director from his position as Department Deputy Director.

Prior to the Department Deputy Director position Brian was the DSS Director of the Division of Budget and Finance.  Brian has also served as Executive Director for the Missouri Public Service Commission as well as the DSS Director of the Division of Child Support Enforcement.  He began his career with Missouri Senate Appropriations committee as a budget analyst.

Brian holds BSBA and MA degrees in economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Amy Markel is a native of Columbia, Missouri, and a Hickman High School honors graduate. Amy received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia – graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1996.  She earned her University of Missouri School of Law Juris Doctor degree in 1999.  During law school, Amy served one year as the Journal of Dispute resolution’s Assistant Managing Editor and had two articles published in the Journal.

Immediately following her 1999 graduation, Amy obtained her license to practice Missouri law and joined a prominent Columbia law firm.  During her tenure, she assisted with the employment matters and litigation of a major Missouri Corporation.  She simultaneously obtained the training necessary to serve as Guardian ad Litem in the 13th Judicial Circuit and began juvenile court representation of both adults and children.  Her close working relationship with the Family Court, the Juvenile Office, the Children’s Division and community resources gained Amy an invitation to the 13th Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Coordination Committee.

In 2002, Amy opened Markel Law Offices so she could focus on the representation of Mid-Missouri families in both juvenile, family and probate court matters.  Since then, Amy has practiced throughout  Mid-Missouri, and made appearances in Cole, Callaway, Cooper, Howard, Randolph and Boone Counties.

After successfully practicing as colleagues in family and juvenile court for more than 10 years, Amy and Anna Lingo merged their complimentary practices in 2008, and now serve the Mid-Missouri area as Markel and Lingo, Attorneys at Law.

Amy has proudly served on the boards of local community non-profit agencies, various committees and organizations promoting family interests.  She has also spoken at Mid-Missouri juvenile & family law conferences and training classes.   Amy currently is a member of the Missouri Bar Family Law Committee and the Boone County Bar Association, where she served as BCBA Treasurer in 2004-2005 and as Chair of the BCBA Family Law Committee for 2008-2009 and 2015-2016.

Kerensa Morrow-Kempf began working with the Department of Social Services in February 1999. She promoted from Clerk Typist II to Child Support Technician six months later. She worked as a specialist for eight years. Her experience as a specialist prepared her for her current position as Training Technician II. Her experience in the field of Child Support includes, but is not limited to, one year as a Medical Support Enforcement Technician, Enforcement Specialist and Financial Specialist before becoming a Training Technician. At the end of 2000, she left FSD for six weeks to work for the United States Postal Service. There, she learned that “money isn’t everything,” and she truly enjoys working with and helping people. Her goal as a trainer is to help you, help others. She joined the board of MCSEA because she is passionate about the child support program and the opportunity to make learning enjoyable.

She has been married to Brandon Kempf since October 2001. Gabby and AnnaBeth are their two entertaining daughters. Dottie and Dash are their two mutts. When she is not training, Kerensa enjoys playing a wide variety of board games with family, watching movies, and singing, just for fun.

Richard (Rick) Pierce graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia with a B.S. in Food Science and Human Nutrition in 1996 and received his Juris Doctorate degree in 1997 from the University of Missouri-School of Law, Columbia.  Rick has served as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in the Cooper County, Missouri, Prosecuting Attorney’s Office since 1996. Rick started his work in the area of Child Support in 1997 with a division of duties as assistant prosecutor, child support prosecutor, and attorney for the Cooper County Juvenile Office.  In 2000, he became the Administrator of the Boonville Regional Child Support Project working to establish paternity and enforce existing child support orders in the central Missouri Counties of Cooper, Howard, Chariton and Randolph.

Dr. Arminta Phelps is dedicated to the natural health and wellness of her community.   She is the owner of Achieve Balance Chiropractic in Columbia MO. Completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri and earning her doctorate from Palmer College of Chiropractic-Davenport. With extensive wellness training she was hand selected to represent The Wellness Champions in the Mid-Missouri region. She is on a mission to help as many people as she can to achieve optimal health and wellness with specific chiropractic care and wellness education.   As a Wellness Champion, her purpose is to inspire, promote and celebrate healthy lifestyles by guiding you to a better experience of life you all deserve.

Sam Phillips is Deputy Chief Counsel for the Missouri Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel. Sam has served on the Board of Directors of the National Organization of Bar Counsel and was that Board’s liaison to the ABA’s Lawyer Competence Committee.

In addition to attorney discipline and private practice, he has served as Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney and been the Executive Trust Officer for a regional bank.He also chaired The Missouri Bar’s Law Practice Management Committee.

Dan Pingelton, Esq. is an attorney in private practice in Columbia, Missouri, concentrating on civil litigation and family law. From 1986 to 1998, he was a contract and part-time staff attorney for the Division of Child Support Enforcement.  He graduated from Arizona State University in 1981 with a degree in Journalism, and received his law degree from the University of Colorado in 1984. Mr. Pingelton wrote the first state-level administrative hearing decision for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to be published in the national Education of the Handicapped Law Reporter. He served for 18 years as a hearing officer pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Some of Dan’s reported cases include Dye v. Missouri Division of Child Support Enforcement, 811 S.W.2d 355 (Mo.banc 1981) [constitutionality of administrative child support enforcement statutes]; Baird v. Baird, 843 S.W.2d 388 (Mo.App.E.D. 1992) [first Missouri case confirming use of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to seize ERISA retirement funds for child support and maintenance arrears]; McCreary v. McCreary, 954 S.W.2d 433 (Mo.App.W.D. 1997) [multiple issues including proper standard for modification of custody; proper use of remedy of equitable accounting in a fiduciary relationship for child support; mandatory award of attorney fees; and liability for medical expense reimbursement]; and M.D. v. J.J., 30 S.W.3d 215 (Mo.App.W.D. 2000) [established Missouri precedent that an unmarried person can recover damages for negligent transmission of the herpes virus].

Dan has presented continuing legal education seminars for The Missouri Bar as well as child support professionals both in Missouri and throughout the country, including national IV-D law reviews for the NCSEA in 2002 (New Orleans), 2003 (Orlando) and 2004 (Palm Springs). He wrote two chapters for Missouri Family Law, 6th ed., published by the Missouri Bar: Marital Settlement and Separation Agreements and The Division of Child Support Enforcement. He has just completed the seventh edition of both chapters, including an extensive revision of “Family Support Division.” He is a Past President and Honorary Life Member of the Missouri Child Support Enforcement Association.

Jan Raffauf is a State Technical Support Liaison for the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) for federal regions V and VII. Prior to joining Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) in 2014, Jan worked as a business analyst and project manager for the Indiana Child Support Bureau for 8 years, focusing on Income Withholding, the Federal Case Registry interfaces, implementing the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) Portal, and special projects with other agencies. Jan began her thirty-seven years in child support as an Indiana county child support administrator and later joined the private sector developing and implementing child support enforcement systems for various companies in eleven states. For 8 years she managed a development team as co-owner of a child support software development company. Jan resides in Nashville, Indiana.

Tasha Reinkemeyer is the Senior Plan Manager at MO Deferred Comp. Tasha has served the state of Missouri employees for 15 years through MO Deferred Comp (formerly State of Missouri Deferred Compensation Plan), is FINRA securities licensed and have five years of banking experience.  Her past work experience, academics, and continuing education have been based around financial education and promoting all retirement resources.

Jon Sabala is the Veterans Services Director with the Missouri Department of Mental Health. Jon is responsible for the statewide policy and program development, implementation and operation of supportive services for service members, veterans and their families. He currently serves as the Co-Chair for the Missouri Behavioral Health Alliance which is a collection of federal, state and community behavioral health resources assisting the military community. Jon is a retired U.S. Army Infantryman with 22-years of service whose deployments include: Operation Desert Storm, Kosovo, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn.

Brenda Sites earned a bachelor of social work from Columbia College and a master of social work from the University of Missouri – Columbia.  She previously worked for the Boone County Juvenile Justice Center, Boone County Adult Court Services, and the National Association of Social Workers – Missouri Chapter.  In August 2007, she was hired by the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office as the first program manager for Safe at Home.  Since that time, she has not only managed the daily operations of Safe at Home, but has provided training for victim services professionals, law enforcement officers, and government employees throughout Missouri.  She currently serves on the board of directors for the National Association of Confidential Address Programs, the Missouri Victim Assistance Network, and the Department of Public Safety Crime Victim Services Unit Advisory Committee.

Jeanne Sparks is an Outreach Coordinator for the Missouri Family Support Division, and has worked with the Division for over 18 years.  She also serves as the FSD liaison with the Department of Veterans Affairs Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) staff to assist veterans enrolled in the CWT program with their child support issues.

Martha Stewart joined the Iowa State University Child Welfare Research and Training Project in 2003.  As an ISU Trainer, she has worked closely with the Iowa Child Support Recovery Unit to develop both online and in-person training resources, focusing primarily on customer service-related issues.

Larry Swall is a family law attorney in Liberty, Missouri, with Swall Hutchings & Associates LLC. He also serves as Executive Director of M.A.R.C.H., Inc., (Mediation Achieving Results for Children). His private practice is concentrated in areas of family law and domestic relations, including domestic mediation.  In 2009, Mr. Swall was twice honored by the Missouri Bar Association, first as the Roger Krumm Family Law Practitioner of the Year Award; and , second with the distinguished President’s Award for extraordinary service to the Bar.

He is a member of the Missouri Bar Family Law Section, serving as Chair, as well as serving on the Family Law Legislative Review Committee and the CLE Committee. He was Planning Chair for the Missouri Bar Annual Family Law Conference for seven years beginning in 1999; and a member of the Missouri Supreme Court Child Support Guideline Review Committee in 2008 and 2009. He is a member of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, in both the Family Law Section and Juvenile Law Committee, and the Clay County Bar Association.

Mr. Swall is a past President and founding member of the Missouri Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, serving as Chair of the Parenting Coordination Task Force. He is a member of the American Bar Association Family Law Section, and a General Member of Association of Conflict Resolution.

He is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law, 1990, and San Diego State University, BA-Philosophy, 1987. Mr. Swall was formerly a Professor with Drury College (Springfield, Missouri) where he taught in areas of law, including family law, and philosophy, and at Maple Woods Community College (Kansas City, Missouri) in the Department of Social Science, Philosophy.

Vicki Turetsky is the Commissioner for the Office of Child Support Enforcement. As Commissioner, her priorities include implementing family-centered strategies to support parental employment and involvement, modernizing federal and state technology to increase program efficiency, expanding the tribal child support program, and preparing for generational change.

Video: Vicki Turetsky, “Our vision is that children can count on their parents for the financial, medical, and emotional support they need to be healthy and successful.”

Ms. Turetsky brings more than 30 years of experience as a public administrator and advocate for low-income families. She is a nationally recognized expert in family policy, and is instrumental in efforts to boost child support payments to families and establish realistic child support policies that encourage fathers to work and play an active parenting role. Prior to her appointment, she served as the Director of Family Policy at the Center for Law and Social Policy, and was a visiting lecturer at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

She also has held positions at the U.S. Corporation for National and Community Service, MDRC, Union County Legal Services in New Jersey, the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, and the Minnesota Department of Human Services. She received her B.A. from the University of Minnesota and her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.

She has received a number of honors, including the 2014 Burton Award for Government Service, 2006 NCSEA “Champion of Children” Award, and the 2000 OCSE “Lifelong Achievement” Award.  In 2013, she was named by Newsweek as one of “30 Leaders in the Fight for Black Men.” She also received one of the first Minnesota “STEP” Awards in 1987 cited by Osborne and Gaebler,Reinventing Government.

Bonita Vaught began her child support career as an enforcement specialist in the Interstate Unit in 1995. Since that time, she has been a supervisor, a trainer and now the manager of the MACSS Unit. She has a B.S. in Family Studies from Southeast Missouri State University. She resides in Jefferson City Missouri with her husband and two daughters.

Jolon Wickern is currently the Manager of the FSD Training & Development Unit. She began her career with the former Division of Child Support Enforcement in 1999 and has steadily advanced in several capacities in the policy, systems, training and field offices to her current position. Her expertise in the area of training is diversified. She has facilitated and led work groups for process improvement, provided technical training for child support and income maintenance programs, and taught soft skills and leadership training for the Department of Natural Resources. She also served as Training and Quality Assurance Manager in the private sector.

Jolon has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and enjoys spending free time with her husband, three children and two dogs. She has a passion for training and truly believes the work we do in FSD is important and life changing. Her experience in the private sector quickly taught her there is a difference between presenting information and teaching it. Her vision for the training unit is to provide the best learning experience through blended learning, so you can do the best you can do!

Tyler Wilke is a native of Highland, Illinois and is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University, Class of 2008 and Saint Louis University School of Law, Class of 2013. He is licensed to practice both in Illinois and Missouri. Tyler is a member of the Illinois Bar Association and the Madison County Bar Association, and was a Board Member of the Illinois Family Support Enforcement Association. Tyler is currently the Child Support Division Chief in the Madison County State’s Attorney Office and has held that position since December 2015. Before joining the Child Support Division in 2014, he prosecuted cases in the Misdemeanor/Traffic Division at the State’s Attorney Office. Tyler lives in Maryville, Illinois with his wife Jamie and their daughter Nora.