Executive Team

Jon Kerschner, MA

Executive Director

Jon holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. He came to Sierra Family Services in 2000 versed in both the clinical and administrative aspects of mental health. He has over 23 years experience in substance abuse treatment and mental health services in residential, outpatient and private practice settings. Management of multiple mental health and substance abuse offices while with The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center rounds out the experience Jon brings to Sierra Mental Wellness Group. Jon enjoys scuba diving and tactical training in his off time.

Breeann Miller

Director of Finance and Human Resources

Breeann or Bree as her friends call her, has over 12+ years’ experience working in the small business arena. She has been a part of many areas of business from food service, to property management, manufacturing, and now the Not-for-Profit sector. Bree has her BA in business with special focus in operations management that she received from AIU. Small business for Bree isn’t just a job but a passion, her passion for seeing businesses thrive and succeed and exceed their goals. Bree’s strengths are in Human Resources and Finance, with years of experience and proven track record for process improvement, she is excited to have found her home in Sierra Mental Wellness Group. Bree is known for her electric personality, her drive and her ability to inspire those around her. Bree’s favorite quote to live by is “Nothing is impossible when the word itself says “I’m Possible”. Audrey Hepburn

Nicole Vannerman, LMFT

Director of Program Operations

Nicole is a highly accomplished licensed marriage and family therapist with over a decade of distinguished service at Sierra Mental Wellness Group. Throughout her tenure, she has excelled in leadership roles, particularly in program supervision and coordination. Nicole’s collaborative approach shines through her work with county partnerships, where she innovates therapeutic services while ensuring regulatory compliance and upholding high-quality standards. Her strong communication skills, exceptional time management, and organizational abilities consistently drive her towards success. Nicole’s self-motivated drive and focus on delivering excellence have made invaluable contributions to the agency’s success and positive outcomes for clients.

Bethany Shakespeare, LMFT

Assistant Director of Program Operations

Bethany is a dynamic and engaging licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a proven track record of cultivating meaningful relationships across various domains. With over five years of dedicated service to the agency, she brings invaluable experience and insight to her role. With a focus on community liaison, client engagement, and team planning, she excels in fostering collaboration and driving positive outcomes. Bethany possesses strong skills in administration, organization, and communication, which enables her to provide effective oversight of behavioral health crisis service programs. Her areas of expertise include mobile crisis services, crisis stabilization units, peer support services, and behavioral health crisis dispatch centers. Through her leadership and dedication, Bethany consistently ensures the delivery of high-quality services that meet the diverse needs of individuals and communities.

Suzanne Garafolo, LCSW

Clinical Director

Suzanne is a licensed clinical social worker and has been practicing in the mental health sector for almost 15 years. Before moving to California, Suzanne had worked for a decade as a program therapist treating adolescents and families in an inpatient hospital setting in Chicago. Her clinical background includes crisis intervention, private practice, utilization review, quality assurance, and trauma informed program development. She believes strongly in building collaborative relationships with the community and education to combat the stigma of mental illness. Suzanne earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work with a concentration on Mental Health Practice and Policy from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She enjoys exploring the great outdoors, running, and cooking.

Ryan Walsh

Crisis Services Director

Ryan, a highly analytical and results-driven professional, has dedicated 15 years to SMWG. He specializes in managing analytics and statistics teams to propel data-informed decision-making. With a profound grasp of statistical modeling, data mining, and predictive analytics, Ryan uncovers actionable insights. He excels in developing data strategy, implementing analytics frameworks, and ensuring data accuracy. Ryan’s leadership prowess is evident in his track record of building and guiding high-performing teams. He adeptly translates complex data into clear recommendations for stakeholders, committed to leveraging data for growth opportunities and business optimization.

Roseville Office

Michelle Bailey

HR Manager

Bio coming soon. 

Katrina Steiner

Accounts Payable Specialist

Currently serving as the Finance Specialist, Katrina manages all aspects of Finances, such as accounts payable and receivable, budgeting, financial reporting, and ensuring compliance with financial regulations. In this role, she demonstrates meticulous attention to detail and a commitment to financial integrity, contributing to the efficient operation of the organization. Having faced personal challenges with mental health, Katrina brings a unique perspective and empathetic understanding to her work, fostering meaningful connections with those in need. Driven by the desire to give back to the community, Katrina finds fulfillment in her work, combining her expertise in finance with her compassionate nature to make a positive impact on the lives of others.
Beyond her professional endeavors, Katrina is a devoted parent to two children, two cats, a dog and a loving partner to her husband.

Sophie Wakoli

Program Operations

Sophie Wakoli brings a wealth of experience from her previous bedside healthcare practices to her role as the Program Operations Specialist at Sierra Mental Wellness Group. Known for her dedication to patient care and advocacy, Sophie has been recognized with multiple awards throughout her career.

Outside of her professional achievements, Sophie is an avid athlete who has played rugby, soccer, and tennis. She maintains an active lifestyle and enjoys singing and traveling in her free time. Her diverse interests and commitment to excellence make her a valuable asset to the Sierra Mental Wellness Group team.

Alexa Sierra, LPCC

Staff Clinician

Alexa is an Professional Clinical Counselor working toward her licensure. She holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Alexa has experience working with mandated clients as well as domestic violence survivors. She practices a solution focus, person-centered approach. In a judgement free space, Alexa uses a non-authoritative approach that allows clients to take more of a lead in discussions so that, in the process, they can discover their own solutions. She is a compassionate facilitator, listening and acknowledging the client’s experience. Alexa is present to encourage and support the client and to guide the therapeutic process without interrupting or interfering with the client’s process of self-discovery.

Lauren Lorge, LCSW

Staff Clinician

Lauren is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California. Lauren uses a client-centered, non-judgmental, and genuine approach that focuses on addressing the issues that are getting in the way of clients being able to live the life they want to live. Lauren promotes a growth and empowerment mindset within clients and believes that clients already have the capacity within them to heal and be the best version of themselves. She also worked over 2 years with SMWG to provide crisis intervention services to individuals in the area. In her free time, Lauren loves being outdoors, spending time with her dogs, baking, reading, and watching live music.

Lisa Williams, MA, LMFT

Staff Clinician

Lisa is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who earned her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from William Jessup University in March 2020. She has experience working with children, teens and adults in a variety of settings including schools, outpatient offices and homeless programs. Lisa has training and experience using a wide range of therapy modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Internal Family Systems (IFS), and Motivational Interviewing (MI). She uses her calm demeanor, non-judgmental approach and authentic interest in the human experience to connect with clients and meet them wherever they are at on their journey towards wellness. Having grown up in Placer County, she is grateful for the opportunity to give back to her community. In her free time, Lisa enjoys swimming, cuddling with her cat, sipping good coffee and watching true crime shows.

Ashleigh Montanino

Office Administrator

Ashleigh is our Office Administrator at the Roseville headquarters. While her journey into mental health services was not conventional, her passion for making a difference is relentless. As a parent to a lively 10-year-old son she understands the importance of a nurturing and supportive environment for growth and well-being. Her passion is fueled by a genuine love for helping others navigate life’s twists and turns. She is dedicated to ensuring that individuals in our community have access to the resources they need to thrive and enjoys her role making that happen. When she’s not saving the world one appointment at a time, you can find her lost in a good book or exploring virtual worlds through gaming. She always brings a dash of humor and a warm smile to the office.

Sandra Toste

Technical Services Specialist

Sande is a vital member of the SMWG team who prepares billing, accounts payable, gathers statistical information, tracks grant funding and usage, and ensures quality assurance of client files. Sande loves Golden Retrievers and volunteers for Homeward Bound and enjoys travel and reading. Sande has worked for SMWG for over 30 years!

San Luis Obispo Office

Josh Simpson, LPT

Regional Manager of
Program Operations

Josh, our Project Manager for the Crisis Programs RFP is an accomplished professional with 18 years of comprehensive experience across state, county, and private sectors in behavioral health services and has been with Sierra Mental Wellness Group for the past 3 years. Specializing in project management, he possesses a deep understanding of behavioral health laws and regulations, ensuring compliance and excellence in service delivery. Josh has a proven track record of developing and executing the implementation of state-mandated specialty mental health services across multiple counties. As a seasoned leader, he has successfully led, trained, and managed psychiatric service teams, driving efficiency and efficacy in clinical operations. With a commitment to quality and innovation, Josh consistently achieves outstanding results in the dynamic field of behavioral health.

Heather Bailey, LCSW

MCT/ MHET Supervisor

Heather is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has been with Sierra Mental Wellness Group since 2018. She has worked in crisis intervention in hospital emergency departments as well as in private practice settings. She obtained her BA in Psychology and Master’s in Social Work from California State University, Northridge. Heather is passionate about reducing the stigma around mental illness and using her voice to encourage and uplift others. 

During her free time Heather loves traveling, spending time in the ocean, and going on adventures with her pug Peanut.

boone Tucker

MCT/ MHET Assistant Supervisor

Bio Coming Soon

Savannah Williams

CSU Supervisor

Savannah has been an integral member of Sierra Mental Wellness Group since 2022, bringing with her a wealth of expertise as a licensed psychiatric technician. In her role as CSU supervisor, Savannah has consistently demonstrated her commitment to excellence, guiding her team with a combination of motivation, adaptability, and a strong work ethic. Her exceptional interpersonal skills foster a supportive and collaborative work environment, essential for providing high-quality care to our clients. Savannah’s dedication to her role ensures that our Crisis Stabilization Unit operates smoothly and effectively, contributing significantly to our mission of promoting mental health and well-being in our community.

Melissa Frietas

Glenn County & CAD Supervisor

Melissa Freitas is a seasoned mental health professional with 15 years of community experience, specializing in trauma and crisis response. She’s known for her leadership in guiding crisis teams through growth and fostering a culture of motivation and change. As a professor at the University of San Francisco, she shares her expertise and passion for education. Outside work, Melissa enjoys scuba diving and spending quality time with her family and standard poodles.

Bretney Padilla

Regional Crisis Dispatch Supervisor

Bretney is a highly skilled dispatch supervisor who plays a critical role in maintaining seamless communication channels with our community partners. With a focus on promoting safety and the well-being of our clients, Bretney excels at ensuring prompt and effective responses to all inquiries and incidents. Her experience as a licensed psychiatric technician, coupled with her tenure with the agency since 2022, has equipped her with the knowledge and expertise needed to navigate complex situations with poise and efficiency. Bretney’s dedication to excellence and her commitment to fostering strong relationships with community stakeholders make her an invaluable asset to our team.

Tahoe Office

Paula Lauer, MA

Staff Clinician – Bilingual/Bicultural Therapist

Paula obtained her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology in 2000 from Universidad de Belgrano, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Paula joined Sierra Mental Wellness Group in June, 2011 as the bilingual and bicultural therapist working directly with the diverse population of North Lake Tahoe. Paula works with children, adolescents, adults and families. She has experience with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma, parenting and relational problems. Paula is dedicated to serving the community where she lives and believes everybody deserves to have a balanced, joyful and fulfilling life. She enjoys skiing, camping, water activities and playing field hockey.