Jennifer Drake-Croft, MSSW, IMH-E®, is the Director of Early Childhood Well-Being with the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth. Sitting on multiple state and local committees, Jennifer has helped lead and shape macro-level initiatives and policies to promote healthy child development, prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and support resilient communities. Most notably, she was a founding member of All Children Excel (ACE) Nashville, a 400-member collective impact initiative seeking to reduce ACEs and promote resilience at the population level using a public health approach. Jennifer holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Berry College, a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Tennessee, received Endorsement® as an Infant Mental Health Mentor in Policy, and has expertise in child development, child trauma, and child abuse prevention.
Richard Kennedy was appointed to be TCCY executive director beginning June 16, 2018. Kennedy began with the agency in 2000 as an ombudsman, and he served as the associate director of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth since January 2011. He was promoted to director of field operations before becoming associate director. Kennedy has spent his entire professional career working directly with and advocating for children and youth. Prior to joining state government, Kennedy worked with the Davidson County Community Services Agency, Camelot, Hermitage Hall and the Greater New Orleans Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. A native Middle Tennessean, Kennedy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Lambuth University in Jackson, Tennessee, and a Master of Arts degree in counseling from Trevecca University in Nashville, Tennessee.
Mary Rolando is the ACEs Innovations Director in the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. In that role she manages and staffs the Three Branches Institute and Building Strong Brains Tennessee, the state’s array of public and private activities to address, prevent and mitigate adverse childhood experiences. Mary, who has a Master’s Degree in Behaviorism from Southern Illinois University, has held a number of leadership positions in state government that resulted in development and implementation of a Master Plan for Mental Health Services; a rewrite of Title 33, the state’s mental health law; restructuring of Tennessee’s Early Intervention System; resource mapping of Substance Abuse Services for Children and Adolescents; and an analysis of the Quality Service Review processes, among other policy and system issues.