Board of Directors

Melissa Skarbeck
Melissa Skarbek, LMSW

President
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I graduated Summa Cum Laude from Western Michigan University in 2014 with a bachelor’s in liberal arts. My focus was multi-faceted to include Gender and Women’s Studies, Social Work, Business, Sociology and Psychology. I previously worked for the Office of Children’s Services in both urban and rural offices to include Wasilla, Nome, Bethel, Fairbanks and St. Mary’s. Realizing that I desired a more proactive and person-centered approach within my community, I went back to school and obtained my MSW. I graduated magna cum laude from Arizona State University in 2021. It was then that I joined The Office of Public Advocacy as a Guardian ad Litem. After recognizing my inherent desire for “boots on the ground” social work, I knew I would only achieve that by working for myself. It was then that I resigned from the Office of Public Advocacy and formed Reunify Alaska. With Reunify Alaska, I am nationally certified as a custody investigator, parent coordinator and forensic social worker.

If elected for President, I pledge to utilize my skills in practice, ingenuity, and academic experience for the betterment of our profession, communities and state. I am committed to our work and wholly believe in the mission of our profession. I am eager to work with chapter leadership across the state to address social, environmental and economic injustices that adversely impact our work as social workers, the families we serve and the communities we live in. Additionally, it is also my belief that ensuring our association has an apparatus of skills we need to strengthen our presence in our states socio-political arena is of the utmost importance. With continued association efforts, I believe we as social workers have the strength and ability to construct our profession to fortify effectiveness and tenacity.


Ruddy Taylor
Dr. Ruddy Taylor, LCSW, PhD

President-Elect
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I am Ruddy Taylor, graduate from the University of Alaska, Anchorage with a BSW, MSW, Masters in Psychology, and most recent with a PHD in Clinical/Community Psychology. I am actively involved in the community serving in both psychology and social work organizations. Additionally, I have served on the Women’s Commission for the Municipality of Anchorage. My involvement in my professional organizations include serving on convention committee, leading the diversity committee, finance committee, and serving on the governing body representing the State of Alaska. My work with Alaska Head Start’s allowed for the opportunity to travel statewide to a number of rural and remote communities. I have been employed by the State of Alaska for 17 plus years in a variety of roles and a resident of the State of Alaska for 35 years. I am married to my best friend and the mother of two amazing children.

I am seeking your vote to serve in the role of President-Elect. I commit to utilizing my training and experience to advance the mission of the Alaska Chapter of NASW. Specifically, using my skills to work with our diverse membership and our state-wide population to address the current needs. In addition, I will continue my work to promote social justice issues while celebrating diversity as it is promoted within our profession. Finally, as part of my platform it is my goal to bring a heighten awareness of the value of mental well-being individually, collectively, and environmentally. If given the opportunity to serve as the Present-Elect, I look forward to meaningful collaboration and enhanced growth in the Social Work field.


Sarah Switzer
Sarah Switzer, LCSW

Vice-President


My name is Sarah Switzer and I’ve been a social worker since getting my BSW in 2000. Following that, a volunteer year of AmeriCorps*VISTA brought me to Sitka, doing domestic violence advocacy, and then working at SEARHC Raven’s Way. I volunteered for Planned Parenthood over many years and three cities. During grad school, I received the Virginia Insley Award for Academic Excellence in Child, Adolescent and Family Health. Upon moving to Anchorage, I’ve worked at Southcentral Foundation the past 17 years in primary care doing integrated behavioral health continuing my passion with serving the AN/AI community. While at SCF I’ve received Living Our Values and Honoring Our Successes awards. I received my LCSW in 2007 and my Board Approved Supervisor in 2009, providing supervision for dozens of clinicians. I recently served on my first board, the municipal Library Advisory Board, and hope to serve on the NASW-AK Board.

Over my time as a social worker the past 22 years, I’ve realized that a big part of what keeps me grounded in my career is continuing to come back to my social worker roots. This is a foundational part of my fabric, and how I show up in the world, whether at work or in our community. I would like to reinvest energy, time, and space back into this foundation, by serving on the NASW Alaska Chapter Board. I hope to help with our platform of social justice advocacy, learning/continuing education, and building social worker connections in our communities and state. I’m curious how we can keep social workers involved and engaged and help build and grow this professional community for new social workers as well. I’m eager to support NASW efforts to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in our current and future chapter work as well.



Kelly Campbell
Kelly Campbell, LCSW

Secretary
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Currently I work for Southcentral Foundation’s Primary Care as a Behavioral Health Consultant (BHC). My specific position is housed in a clinic at the Covenant House Shelter, where we see individuals ranging in age from 13-25 years old. I have worked with Southcentral Foundation for 10 years, four years in my current role, and the previous 6 years in an adolescent residential treatment program. I have a strong passion for working with young adults and empowering them to see the potential within themselves. Over the last 10 years, I have been focused on learning about the impacts of trauma, latest therapy models and incorporating these tools into my practice. In addition to my work with Southcentral Foundation, I am a certified Trainer for the Living Works ASIST Suicide Prevention Training program and have traveled in Alaska providing this training free to the community as suicide is a significant issue in the state of Alaska. Recently, I have also started to become more involved with the Alaska Victim Assistance Partnership (AVAP).

I have always had a passion for helping people see the strength and resilience they have within themselves and walk with them through their healing journey. Since I began working with the homeless population, my eyes have become more opened to how significant the trafficking issues are in the state of Alaska as well as the rest of the United States. Over the last four years, I have attended numerous conferences on trafficking issues as well as Trauma across the lifespan and have become more impassioned to bring awareness around these issues, how they impact the homeless and vulnerable populations and the community as a whole.



Vacant

Northern Regional Representative



Tracey Eason, MSW

South Central Regional Unit: Seat 1
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I am currently employed as a trainer at the University of Alaska, Anchorage Child Welfare Academy. The Child Welfare Academy provides training to the State of Alaska, Office of Children's Services as well as other organizations, as requested, to provide a variety of training in child welfare. I am currently on the board for Sounthcentral Therapeutic Riding, INC, and participate in equine assisted activities and therapies with several groups.

I recently graduated with my MSW and am passionate about ensuring that social workers in Alaska have access to ongoing quality continuing education about topics relevant to the families that we are working with every day. I am proud to be a member of NASW and the Alaska Chapter and the commitment the association has to meeting the education needs of the members. As a veteran, I am also passionate about increasing information about military and veteran services as well as advocating for additional services for veterans in their home communities.


Luvenia Johnson Headshot
Luvenia V. Johnson, LMSW

South Central Regional Unit: Seat 2
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Luvenia Johnson, LMSW, andd graduate of USC School of Social Work, 2014. I have 15 years of experience working in the field of social work, including 6+ years in supervisory roles and leading multi-diciplinary teams. I am pursuing a LCSW and Trauma Specialist Certification. I am a strong believer in remaining current with best practices using evidence based techniques. I provide consultations to patients by providing leadership in patient care planning and caseload management which ensures improved efficiency and effectiveness in services delivered. I actively promote patient/family autonomy by ensuring their participation in the planning, decision-making, and development of problem-solving abilities. I enjoy building relationships and providing much needed resources to enable patients with tools for success.

My vision of NASW-AK would be that all social workers have the opportunity for affiliation, engagement and membership to their professional organization. I will contribute to the vision by maintaining active membership, actively participating on the NASW-AK board, attending board meetings and participating on one or more committees, and engaging in opportunities to share information of the profession organization while networking with other social workers and other professions.



Vacant

Southeast Regional Unit


Erika Noll
Erika Noll, LMSW

Western Regional Unit

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Originally from NYC, I obtained my MSW form Yeshivah University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work in 1997. My concentration was GROUPWORK, my minor Ethics within their Generalist Practitioner program. I have been employed in a variety of settings since, but all related in some way to loss for Adults and their Families, Health and Healing. Currently, I have the privilege of being the Long-Term Care Social Worker for YKHC’s ELDER’s HOME located in Bethel, Alaska. I have been here for about two years now. Prior to this position, I have worked primarily in Health Care settings such as Hospice, Dialysis, Transplant, Discharge Planning, Traumatic Brain Injury, Substance Abuse, and Geriatric Psychiatry not only in and out patient but for Incarcerated Adults and their Families. In that time, due to my inability to satisfy the requirements in whatever State I resided in, and despite over 20 years’ experience, I do not yet obtain an LCSW. One of my goals for my time here in Bethel was to finally do that, but I haven’t been able to find a Supervisor within my current organization. I hope to make Alaska my home. I am uncertain if I will be able to make this a reality but nevertheless, I will need to (and want to) obtain my LCSW wherever my path leads me. I am seeking someone qualified as A SUPERVISOR per Alaska’s State LCSW regulations to provide me with supervision hours remotely and help me in obtaining the approval for remote supervision. In addition, I welcome any opportunity to contribute to Alaska Chapter of NASW.


Becky Pletzer
Becky Pletzer, LCSW, DSW

CCNLI

Dr. Becky Pletzer, LCSW is annoyingly passionate about the practice of social work and the practitioners that foster linking, monitoring, coordinating, and advocating of community members in their communities. Dr. Pletzer's professional passions include building the professionalism platform of social work practice, particularly in Alaska, practicing in and empowering social workers to be Macro minded, and leading/educating the future social workers in building a strong foundational practice. Dr Pletzer has served as Southcentral representative for NASW-AK, volunteered with NASW-AK activities, and believes strongly in NASW's ability to continue to propel the profession forward.
Dr. Pletzer currently practices with Alaska Native population in delivering intensive case management and behavioral health service in Anchorage, teaches adjunct social work classes for University of Fairbanks, and provides professional licensing supervision for area social workers.


Lindsay Bothe Culverhouse, LCSW

Ethics/Non-Voting


Amber Winkle
Amber Winkle

MSW Student

Amber Winkle is a MSW student at Walden University and she has obtained her Bachelor of Management Studies from University of Maryland. She is currently an Active-Duty, MSgt/E-7, with 15 years’ time in service as a Mental Health Technician, and Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor. Her current position is the Senior Enlisted Leader for 354 Operational Medical Readiness Squadron, Medical Group. Amber is an active member of the Eielson AFB Community Action Board where she advocates for the needs of Active-Duty members and their families. The next event she will be involved with is “Veterans Stand-down Day 2022.” This event involves the local community and agencies such as the Cohen Clinic, the Vet Center, and 168 ARW. She has won many awards since being in the military (i.e. PACAF Mental Health NCO of the Year, 2021 SNCO of the Year, and numerous other awards). However, her goal is to strengthen professional affiliation and become more involved in NASW activities and events in her entire community.
I am honored to be considered as a candidate for the MSW student board position. If elected, my goal is to bridge the gap between the different social work specialties, and I will continue to help the organization move towards a diverse and inclusion platform. During this time when social workers are deeply needed, I would hope to lead the way in the state of Alaska by continuing to work towards the NASW mission and goal of advocating and serving our community. My military career has led to variety of experiences that has enhanced my leadership skills, organizational skills, people skills and grit. I hope to represent MSW students in the state of Alaska and nationally (if the opportunity presents itself.)


Leigh Smith
Leigh Smith

BSW Student Representative

My name is Leigh Smith. I was born, raised, and currently live in Fairbanks, Alaska, and I absolutely love it. I am headed into my final year of the Social Work program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and in late August I will start my practicum at a youth homeless shelter. In May 2023, I will graduate with my BSW and a minor in Psychology, with an interest in pursuing my MSW. Currently, I work at the Fairbanks Native Association as the Project Manager for two outpatient programs addressing the opioid crisis. Before this position, I worked with special needs children for five years in a high school setting. I serve on the Parent-Teacher Association at my son’s school, the Steering Committee for the Fairbanks Reentry Coalition, and the Organization of Student Social Workers as the Co-Secretary at UAF. In addition, I served on the local softball board for eight years. During my own time, I enjoy watching crime shows and football, playing softball, and laughing with friends and family. Cheers!

My determination to support and advocate for others comes from a place of deep sensitivity to vulnerable and unprotected populations, as well as lived experience. While the homeless community has a special place in my heart, I am passionate about the well-being of all groups. Additionally, I feel connected to the Alaska Native community and recognize culture as a means of healing and building resilience. I believe in the purpose of social work, to guide others towards a path of love, peace, and happiness; while fostering self-determination and accountability for people to have control of their journey. My goal is to build compassionate communities through education, addressing barriers, and being involved.



Tonie Protzman Headshot

Tonie Protzman, MS, LPC, CDC, PSP III

Executive Director

Tonie Protzman, whose Native name, Yethnhahnilats, means “makes her life strong,” is an enrolled descendant in the Turtle Clan of the Oneida Tribe in Oneida, WI. Tonie was raised and remains in Anchorage, Alaska with her Iñupiat Eskimo daughter, Paisley. 

Protzman holds a Master of Science (MS) degree in Clinical Psychology and a bachelor’s degree in Justice and Psychology both degrees from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She was a PhD Candidate with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Clinical Community Psychology Program with rural and indigenous emphasis, as well. Since graduating with her MS, Protzman has worked in the nonprofit and public sectors of behavioral and mental health. Currently, Protzman is the Assistant Operations Manager at the non-profit Christian Health Associates (CHA), where she is also the Program Director at Cornerstone Recovery (CHA is the parent company). In addition, she is also the Executive Director of the Alaska Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Prior to NASW, Protzman was the Executive Director with the Alaska Psychological Association (AK-PA). 
Protzman shares she has a vocation to work with individuals and communities struggling with alcohol use disorders (AUD). She is passionate about reducing stigma associated with alcohol misuse and disseminating information/access to AUD services and care to Alaska communities. Protzman is a Governor Dunleavy appointee to the State of Alaska Mental Health Board. She also sits on the Anchorage Behavioral Health Coalition. 
Protzman’s role as NASW Executive Director will be to increase membership, develop the chapter’s strategic/succession plans and to advocate for social workers in both traditional and non-traditional roles in Alaska and Washington, D.C. She plans to expand continuing education resources that address cultural trainings specific to social worker licensing requirements and to strengthen local presence and impact around the state of Alaska through development of relationships with statewide prevention program partners. 
As a first-generation college graduate, Protzman is a devoted mentor, supporting historically underserved populations in Alaska studying higher education. Protzman mentors’ students and professionals new to the behavioral health field with the University of Alaskan Anchorage and with the Women’s Power League of Alaska. 
Protzman is a dynamic and powerful American Native woman who is passionate about reducing stigma in Alaska communities regarding receiving behavioral/mental health services. She dreams of one day to have a world stigma free of receiving such services – “it should be the same as going to your routine medical appointment.” Protzman has solid business expertise serving in association management and advocacy while networked throughout the State of Alaska and beyond. Tonie is active in her community, serving on several national and statewide boards and committees that address stigma associated with alcohol misuse.  

Publications (PEN NAME: Quaintance) 

Rivkin, I.D., Lopez, E., Trimble, J., Johnson, S., Orr, E., & Quaintance, T. (2018). Cultural values, coping, and hope in Yup’ik communities facing rapid cultural change. Journal of Community Psychology, 45(1), 1-17.

Rivkin, I., Johnson, S., Lopez, E., Trimble, J., Quaintance, T., & Orr, E. (2017).  Yup’ik understanding of stress within the context of rapid cultural change. Journal of Community Psychology, 45(1), 33-52.

Rivkin, ID, Lopez, EDS, Quaintance, TM, Trimble, J, Hopkins, S, Fleming, C, Orr, E, & Mohatt, GV (2012). Value of community partnership for understanding stress and coping in rural Yup’ik communities: The CANHR study. Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice.

Committees

Please contact your regional representative for committee volunteer opportunities and more information.

Committee 

Members

Ethics Lindsay Bothe Culverhouse, LMSW
SHARP Counsel Rep Luvenia Johnson 
Nominations and Leadership Identification Dr. Becky Pletzer
Social Action Committee
Conference Planning Rachel Gearhart, Luvenia Johnson, Dr. Ruddy Taylor

Leadership

board members at table

Be an advocate for your community and yourself. Get involved today! 

Learn more about the board member roles and responsibilities with our Board Manual.

Are you interested in advocating for change? Are you interested in the legislative process? If so then we would love for you to join our Social Action Committee. We are currently gearing up for 2022-2023 and need your input. Please contact Tonie Protzman, MS for more information. 


2023 Board of Directors and Committees Election

Election results published to membership June 30
Term Starts: July 1, 2023
Questions: Contact Tonie Protzman
Learn more about our elections process and procedures

Read our Board Manual to Learn More


NASW-AK Redistricting

Based on member feedback and concern, a committee developed a new regional map to better reflect the diversity and population distribution of NASW-AK members. The regional map adds a representatives and will allow for more equitable representation of the membership.

Alaska Regions


Board Meetings

Members are welcome and invited to participate in NASW Alaska chapter board of directors meetings!

Please contact your Representative to participate in the next teleconference.


Committee Regional Report Guidelines

Read an example of the content that should be shared from regional committee meetings


NEXT BOARD MEETING:

December 10th, 2022
10am

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 530 829 2124
Passcode: NASW


Committee Meetings

Please contact your regional representative for committee volunteer opportunities and more information.


National Committees

Interested in serving in a national leadership position? Review the list of national committees to determine where your knowledge, skill sets and competencies may be best suited, then submit a nomination form.
Learn about national committees


Are you interested in advocating for change?


Are you interested in the legislative process? If so then we would love for you to join our Social Action Committee. We are currently gearing up for 2022-2023 and need your input. Please contact Tonie Protzman, MS for more information.