As the co-founder of notMYkid for the past 20 years, Debbie has elevated the conversation in our schools and families, shining a light on the harsh realities of youth mental health and the potentially life-derailing challenges facing young people today. In addition to her many volunteer activities and personal commitment to helping families across the Valley, Debbie is the former Director of Governor Ducey’S Office of Youth, Faith and Family. Debbie oversaw state and federal funds, as well as 8 statewide councils and commissions including, substance abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking, juvenile justice, faith based initiatives, youth, service and volunteerism. The Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family provides oversight, funding, technical assistance and resources to coalitions and non-profits throughout the state to support some of Arizona’s most vulnerable populations.
During her tenure in the Governor’s administration, Debbie served as the Co-Chair of Governor Ducey’s Substance Abuse Task Force along with AHCCCS, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sara Salek. After seven months of convening community stakeholders, the Task Force submitted 104 recommendations on prevention, access to treatment, medication assisted treatment and neo-natal abstinence syndrome back to Governor Ducey. Additionally, she served as the Co-Chair of The Arizona Substance Abuse Partnership along with Mr. Bill Montgomery, the Maricopa County Attorney. ASAP is the single statewide council on substance
abuse, prevention, treatment and recovery.
Debbie has personally presented substance abuse education programs to thousands of parents and faculties in Arizona, as well as numerous other states and internationally in Scotland, Thailand and Guatemala. She also has spearheaded two national annual drug awareness campaigns focused on educating hundreds of thousands of adults in cities across the United States. Previously, Debbie worked for ten years as an elementary classroom teacher and a special education resource teacher in Arizona, Ohio and Kentucky (1986-1996). Debbie volunteered as a librarian and was a board member and donor for the Thomas J. Pappas School for the Homeless (1996-1999). Debbie
continues to serve Young Life in a variety of roles, served on the Joe Foss Institute Board, and in 2010 was awarded the Social Venture Partners Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Debbie obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Northern Kentucky University (1985). In 2017, she was the university’s Inaugural Distinguished Alumni Award from her alma mater. In 2019, Debbie was the top finalist in the category of Mental Health Advocate in the Phoenix Business Journal’s 2019 Health Care Hero Awards.
Debbie has previously cited raising her two adult sons as both the greatest joy and challenge of her life. The past two years have brought three beautiful grandchildren into her life, now considered the greatest blessing of her life. Debbie and her husband Steve recently celebrated 42 years of marriage and look forward to many more. She continues to bring family members personal struggles with substance abuse as her primary source of motivation in all that she does on prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery. “There has been no greater teacher than my earned life experience on substance abuse”.