A passionate team of cross-sector specialists committed to helping at-risk children, youth, and families.
Self-proclaimed Data Dreamer
TERI A. GARSTKA, PHD
Teri is an associate director at CPPR and oversees an awesome team of smart professionals who carry out multiple center projects in data science and research/evaluation. Teri feels a responsibility to make a difference for children and families by bringing the best data science practices and research/evaluation methodologies to bear for community and state partners working with families. She likes to ask the right questions and loves the challenge of solving complex problems, especially if it involves how to use data for social good. Teri has been involved in many large scale multi-partner data initiatives, helping use shared measurement approaches and solid implementation to support collective efforts to optimize the well-being of at risk children, youth, and families. She leads the strategic direction of two software applications (DAISEY, IRIS) designed to make life easier, not harder, when it comes to serving families and demonstrating the impact of investments in high quality programs. Teri received her Ph.D. in Social Psychology in 1997 from the University of Kansas.
Dream Realizer, Problem Solver
RANDI HARMS, MS
Every dreamer needs to be paired with a doer, someone who can take visionary ideas and make them a reality, through research, development, and implementation. As IRIS Co-Director, Randi is a problem solver who uses her aptitude for understanding data and policy, and her expertise at navigating systems, to turn big ideas into big change for children and families.
She is passionate about the impact that data tools can have on practice and she believes that everyone can embrace technology if it can make their work easier; technology should be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Randi believes in using both data and technology to align policies to support systems at all levels for the greatest social impact. With IRIS, she strives to harness what is unique about a community to improve communication between partners and families.
Harmonizer, Project Manager, Extreme Muffin-Maker
LORETTA SEVERIN, BA
Loretta is a project manager extraordinaire and has her finger on the pulse of it all. She serves as the point person for coordinating the implementation of IRIS in communities. Formerly, as coordinator of the Kansas Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems project, Loretta ensured implementation of goals and objectives in harmony with state and local partners. This, along with her experience working with communities, non-profits, and service providers, makes her uniquely qualified to understand the needs of IRIS users. Loretta has a BA from the University of Kansas and maintains passion for her alma mater’s basketball team. Loretta loves time spent in her kitchen (cooking–not cleaning!) and, as her colleagues will attest, has perfected the ultimate pumpkin chocolate chip muffin.
Capacity Builder, Data Explorer, Greatness Grower
JACKLYN BIGGS, PhD
Jacklyn believes in the potential of all of us and delights in designing ways for people and programs to grow. She picks up on even the smallest steps of progress, encouraging others and documenting—with data and solid research—the journey toward greatness.
As an Associate Researcher, Jacklyn leads program evaluations for state agencies and nonprofits that aim to improve the lives of women, children, youth, and families. She is skilled at helping programs build capacity for data collection and evaluation as they work to demonstrate program efficacy, efficiency, and effectiveness. She has served as the principal investigator and the lead evaluator on a number of community-based projects, including an evaluation of statewide healthy relationships training programs for foster parents and youth as well as a number of home visiting evaluation projects. Jacklyn is also involved with community-level initiatives to build capacity for program implementation and scaling. She brings this extensive experience with program evaluation, data support, and implementation to her role on the IRIS team leading the evaluation and data work.
Outside of work, Jacklyn is just as curious when it comes to finding ways to enrich her personal life. She’s always trying something new, challenging herself to expand her sphere. It might be learning to play guitar, trying her hand at paper mache’, or completing both a full and half-marathon.
Data Translator, Music Lover
JOE COBURN, MSW
There’s only one thing Joe wishes he could change about his career at CPPR: he would like to pick up Lawrence and move it closer to the ocean. Other than that, he’s thrilled to be a part of a forward-thinking team that is developing products that provide our partners with mounds of helpful data. Data with which they can use to make well-informed decisions about how to shape their programs to better serve children, youth, and families.
As a member of the business analyst team, Joe is well versed at making mock-ups of conceptual enhancements and translating needed features to the developers of IRIS. He specializes in complex syntax development for data transformation and visualization, quality assurance testing across applications and reports, and interpreting design use cases.
When he’s not working, you will find Joe hanging out with his family. Whether they’re spending time together out doing stuff or just having downtime on the couch, Joe’s wife, kids, and dog are what bring meaning to his life. When he can, Joe loves sneaking in some time to watch basketball and soccer. And, regardless of where Joe is, there’s always a soundtrack to go with the mood.
Super Organizer, Team Player, IRIS Grower
MARY OREM, BA
Mary doesn’t do anything part way. Whether it’s helping at-risk families access the community resources they need to thrive, or training for a marathon, she is all in. As a Research Project Coordinator at CPPR, she’s focused on implementing and evaluating IRIS, and helping community partners master the system so they can better support the families they serve. Her personal goal is to help our partners see the “why” of their work – the impact they are having on the lives they touch.
In her 10 years working with at-risk youth and families in both educational and case management settings, Mary knows firsthand how important it is to be able to see the big picture of your work and sometimes to simply have fun. One thing Mary has in common with the children she serves is her love of play. If a sport involves a ball, she’s in, whether its kickball, basketball or sand volleyball. She‘s a runner and a cyclist, and she is always up for a board game. Right now, she’s adding another skill to her considerable list of talents: playing the guitar.
Virginia Musser and Erika Gray
Virginia and Erika thrive on the challenge of supporting and anticipating the team’s needs, from coordinating work flow to finding just the right supply on short notice. Outside of work, Erika runs as quickly as she takes notes, and Virginia wrangles two children, including a Girl Scout troop and a Lego robotics team.