Board & Staff
Tamika Curtis-Holloway is a seasoned HIV Program Director at Jackson Hinds Comprehensive Health Center. With over 20 years of experience in HIV, she is currently responsible for the oversight of the HIV Intervention and Prevention Services (HIPS) department at each of the Jackson Hinds locations in Copiah, Hinds, and Warren Counties. She is also accountable for all the department's programs' performance and outcomes, including all quantitative and qualitative funder and organization's deliverables. She develops, revises, and implements program-specific policies and procedures as needed to streamline processes and procedures and address barriers to achieving outcomes and efficient service delivery.
A native of Mississippi, Tamika, grew up in a rural community of Louise, MS. Tamika is the proud wife of Southern Soul Singer, Mark Holloway, and mother of 3 sons and 3 bonus daughters. Tamika has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Alcorn State University, a Master of Science in Public Health from Jackson State University and is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Public Health from Jackson State University.
Dr. Tonitrice Wicks, Senior Program Officer in Winrock International’s U.S. Programs unit, has more than fifteen years of experience in entrepreneurial education and grants management. She is responsible for implementing economic development projects focusing specifically on entrepreneurial development. Dr. Wicks works directly with startup companies and entrepreneurs to ascertain the level of technical assistance required to enable those companies to move toward the ultimate goal of commercialization. She also acts as a liaison between program subcontractors and the program office, overseeing budgets, managing subawards, and researching and implementing client tracking systems.
Dr. Wicks has worked as an assistant professor of healthcare administration at Jackson State University, Miss.; grants and contracts officer at the Neuroscience Institute of the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and as a community resource development agent at Alcorn State University, Miss. She is a certified health education specialist and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Jackson State University, as well as a Ph.D. in clinical health sciences from the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Judith Mitchell Wiener is a native of Winston County, Mississippi, and graduate of Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi School of Law. A retired attorney, she worked with several law firms in Jackson and finally as a partner with the Wiener Law Firm. She has been an active volunteer and leader of a number of civic, cultural and religious organizations, including the Women’s Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson, University Press Book Friends, Mississippi Opera, Hinds/Jackson Library Friends, Jackson Zoo, Parents For Public Schools, Beth Israel Tikkun Olam committee, Institute for Interfaith Dialogue, and the City of Jackson Housing Authority and Planning Board. She and her spouse, Joshua Wiener, have three children and one grandson.
Beverly Ray is a Tupelo native and long-time Jackson resident. Beverly has served on the board of Parents for Public Schools of Jackson and has served several terms on the session of Fondren Presbyterian Church, where she focuses her ministry primarily on children and youth. She regularly volunteers at Stewpot Community Services and has been involved with Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, and the Mississippi Museum of Art. Beverly worked in marketing at the University Press of Mississippi and currently provides paralegal-type support for an accounting firm. Beverly earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi and a Juris Doctor from Mississippi College School of Law.
Tammy Golden joined the Growing Up Knowing family in January of 2020. She brings with her eight years of experience with The Greater Jackson Arts Council as the Special Events Director and three years of experience as the Interim Executive Director and Office Manager for VSA Mississippi. Recently she has been the Office Manager for Killebrew Psychological Services and the Office & Billing Administrator for Wilkins Patterson Smith Pumphrey & Stephenson, P.A. You may have run into her at The Fairview Inn, where she has worked part-time since 2012. Tammy grew up in a military family and credits her work ethic and personal drive to that upbringing. She has lived in Mississippi since 2006 and is empowered by the wealth of creative energy that flows throughout the state. Tammy is the proud mother of one daughter who shares her passion for grass roots activism and inspiring positive change in Mississippi.
Zaria Bonds is a native of Byram, MS, and a graduate from Millsaps College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with a minor in Nonprofit Management. Throughout her time at Millsaps, Zaria was an active volunteer in the Midtown Jackson community. She planned and led various community and civic engagement events. Zaria also was an afterschool volunteer teacher for Operation Shoestring at Brown Elementary and Rowan Middle schools. Zaria has received many awards for her community engagement including the Don Fortenberry Award and Darby Ray Souls Afire award. Zaria is the program manager for Growing Up Knowing and has three years of communications, marketing, and volunteer organizing experience. She attends New Stranger’s Home M.B Church in Jackson.
Cheequanda McDonald is a native of Lauderdale, Mississippi, and a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Social Work. She has the pleasure of being an investigator for vulnerable adults that have experienced abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Her past careers have involved working with multiple generations, mental health patients, and substance abusers. She continues to strengthen the linkage of healthcare and resources to community members. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering with multiple organizations and reading her favorite novels. Cheequanda is thrilled to be an advocate for change and make a difference throughout the state with Growing Up Knowing.
A native of the MS Delta, Tierra Fountain grew up in Drew, MS, and she is a graduate of Drew High School. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Delta State University. She is an advocate for her community and is an active voulnteer for organizations that focus on families and children. She is the Executive Assistant for We2gether Creating Change, a nonprofit organization in her hometown that focuses on providing educational, cultural and historical experiences to children and youth. She is a facilitator, educator, coordinator, project manager, decorator, and the list goes on as she finds new opportunities to increase her skill set while strengthening her connections to the work that she loves. Tierra serves on the board for many coalitions and collaboratives throughout Sunflower County. She is committed to uplifting and empowering her community and being a champion for children and families to live a healthy and successful lifestyle.
Gabrielle Banks, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and primarily serves as a psychologist at their Center for Advancement of Youth (CAY). She is a Jackson, MS native and earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Memphis. She completed a pre-doctoral internship and a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Pediatrics at Texas Children’s Hospital/Baylor College of Medicine. As a pediatric psychologist, Dr. Banks’ research and clinical work focuses on culturally responsive assessment and intervention to improve emotional and behavioral outcomes in children and families. She specializes in working with children with and without medical complexity. At CAY, Dr. Banks provides diagnostic evaluations and intervention to youth ages 18 and under with specific focus on addressing disruptive behaviors in youth ages 2-6. Dr. Banks also serves as Director of Education for the Center for Gender and Sexual Minority Health.
Inglish was a gallery director in New Orleans before moving to Jackson in 2000. She previously served as Program Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity, as an African art consultant for Disney, and as owner of Little Cook Lab, cooking enrichment classes for Jackson area children. Inglish has volunteered with several community organizations including serving on the Boards of AmeriCorp of Jackson and the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi. She was an extended active for the Junior League in youth/community programs as well as a committee member of MSPAN, JDRF, and 2°C Mississippi. Inglish served as the Community Liaison for Arts on the Green and the St. Andrews Parent Association Board where her two sons presently attend. Inglish graduated with a Bachelor’s in Sociology and Minor in African and Diaspora Studies from Tulane University.
Born and raised in rural Mississippi’s Yazoo City, Kenneth L. Jones is the middle of five children born to Ms. Thelma M. Jones. From a young age, Kenneth’s goals and charismatic personality exceeded the scope of his small hometown.
Kenneth received both a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in Health Services Administration from top state institution, Mississippi College while working at Apria; balancing his career and inspiring his community, family and friends by becoming a first generation college graduate. Kenneth used his newly acquired skills to advance in his profession, taking a position as Senior Marketing Executive at major pharmaceutical company, LabCorp. His track record for excellence continued at LabCorp.
Kenneth’s hobbies include community service and mentorship. He was one of the top fundraising participants in American Cancer Society’s city-wide 2018 “Real Men Wear Pink” Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, raising over $7,000 dollars during the four-week duration of the campaign. He is also the certified advisor to both collegiate and high-school, minority males under the Canton-Madison Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. “Guide Right” program and spends many weekends chaperoning college tours, financial literacy courses and ACT prep events hosted to enhance the learning experiences of the young men enrolled. Kenneth lives by the words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King “If I can help someone as I pass along, If I can free someone with a word or a song, if I can show a man that he is traveling wrong, then my living is not in vain.”
Jason McCarty serves as the Executive Director of Capital City Pride and is a Public Health Care Consultant/Activist. He serves on the Board of Directors for the American Red Cross, Growing up Knowing, MS Department of Mental Health Planning Council, Mississippi HIV Planning Council, MS Center for Justice's HIV Council, Human Rights Campaign Jackson Advisory Board, Founding Director of the Pearl Community Theatre, the Co-Founder of MS Positive Network and was the first openly gay candidate for the MS Legislature. Jason also represents Mississippi on the White House Political Outreach Committee.
Donna McLaurin is a retired school counselor/social worker. She served as the Social Worker/Director of the Exchange Club Parent Child Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse.
The non profit agency provided parenting classes and supportive services for parents who were identified as abusive through Youth Court. She most recently worked as a high school counselor in the public school system. Although she is retired, she is employed as an elementary school counselor at Ambition Prep Charter School.Donna graduated from Jackson State University and received her Masters in Community Counseling from Mississippi College.
Donna is the proud parent of two sons, Mark and Malcolm McLaurin and the grandmother of four.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Susan Hulick Rockoff graduated from Wellesley College. She later earned a master's in social work from the University of Texas and worked at Safeplace, a domestic violence shelter. After moving to Mississippi in 2002, Susan worked as a school-based therapist in Jackson Public Schools with Hinds Behavioral Health Services. She was director of the Beth Israel Preschool for 15 years. She is currently the membership director for the Mississippi Bar Association. A leader in the Jackson Junior League, Susan headed the league’s community grant program for two years. and served on the Board of Directors She lives in Jackson with her husband Stuart and two daughters, both of whom are graduates of Jackson Public Schools. Her interests include baking, cooking, exercising, traveling, quality time with family and friends, and working to make Mississippi a better place for all.
JR Rubinsky, MSW (they/them) currently serves as the Assistant Director of Sexual Violence Prevention and Education at the University of Houston in Houston, Texas. They also consult through their company I Believe You, LLC, focusing on sexual violence prevention and LGBTQ+ inclusion as a way to end violence.
They are a white, queer, nonbinary Jewish activist originally from Jackson, Mississippi who has worked in the field of sexual and relationship violence prevention for the past seven years. JR attempts to center the importance of the role of oppression and systems of power in all of their work, believing that all oppression is connected. They received Bachelor's in Psychology and Marketing from Tulane University and a Master’s in Social Work with a focus on Violence and Injury Prevention from Washington University in St. Louis. When not engaging in violence prevention work, JR enjoys playing board games, exploring Houston's art markets, and playing with their cat, Lilith.
Julie Jackson Thompson has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Mississippi State University. She is also a licensed but not practicing Certified Public Accountant.
In addition to being a sustaining member of the Junior League Jackson, Julie is active in local league tennis. She currently serves as director on the board for the Kelly Gene Cook, Sr. Foundation and is a long-time member of First Presbyterian Church of Madison, MS. Julie enjoys running and hiking. She is married to Todd Thompson, and they reside in Canton, MS.
Keisha Varnell serves as Director of Program Operations at Methodist Children’s Home in Jackson MS. As an advocate for children in the child welfare system Keisha is passionate about empowering foster youth to become change-makers in the child welfare system because she believes they are the experts whose voices should be at the center of trauma-informed care and services.
In addition to her role at MCH, Keisha is a certified forensic interviewer and has served as a training and technical assistance consultant with the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) for the past 12 years. Her areas of expertise are trauma-informed training and services, interpersonal violence, and human trafficking. Keisha sits on the Jackson Field Office FBI Civil Rights Taskforce and is a member of the Mississippi Council on Human Trafficking Taskforce training committee. Keisha serves on the Board of Directors for Attachment & Trauma Network, a national organization focused on providing support, education, and advocacy to families and professionals and MACCA – Mississippi Association of Congregate Care Agencies.
Keisha is a native of Jackson MS, and loves spending time outdoors with her grandson, whom is affectionately referred to as “Boss-Baby”
Jehrod is a native of Jackson, Mississippi, but considers himself a global citizen of the world. He believes in the power of storytelling to not only heal, but to transform lives. He is a yoga teacher, motivational speaker, transformation coach, and digital content strategist. You can often find him reading a good book at a local coffee shop or on the scene supporting all things Jackson.
Betti Watters has served as a professional social worker in numerous capacities in both public and private settings in a career spanning almost fifty years. She received an undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and did graduate work at Tulane University School of Social Work and received a master’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. Betti’s social work at Catholic Charities focused on helping children in foster care, placing many of those children in adoptive homes. Her work followed adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents, many times bringing them all together. Upon retirement she saw the great need for teen pregnancy prevention. She founded our nonprofit organization, Growing Up Knowing, and served as board president for several years. Betti continues her volunteer work with her church, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral, Meals on Wheels, Stewpot Food Pantry, and Springboard for Opportunity. Teaching water aerobics is also her passion. Betti is married to Walker and they have four children and eight grandchildren.