Virginia Cruz, M.S.W., D.S.W.
Dr. Cruz has been a professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver for 19 years and until recently was the Chair of the Department of Social Work. Since 1994 she has provided child welfare training specializing in developmental disabilities and early intervention.
Dr. Cruz has been instrumental in working with a group of people nationwide to establish The Association for Successful Parenting (TASP) - an organization formed to promote education and policy change around supporting parents who have intellectual disabilities.
Dr. Cruz’s passion is advocating with and for people with developmental disabilities. Her trainings are interesting, inspiring, and offer participants innovative new techniques and ideas.
Larry Curry, Ph.D., M.S.W., L.C.S.W., CACIII
Assistant Professor of Social Work at Metropolitan State University of Denver, Dr. Curry brings more than 38 years of training and direct practice experience.
He is an expert in behavioral management strategies for children and adolescents with a variety of mental health issues, including ADHD.
Kathy Clark, M.S.W.
Kathy Clark is the Case Aide Family Support Certificate of Completion Coordinator at the Metropolitan State University of Denver Department of Social Work. She brings extensive knowledge of the child welfare system, policies, and procedures to her classes and has years of direct experience training Case Aides.
C. Elizabeth Mendez-Shannon, L.M.S.W., Ph.D
Dr. Mendez-Shannon is an Assistant Professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She is originally from New York where she served the Harlem community for ten years in the areas of child welfare, community activism, and immigrant rights advocacy. She helped mobilize New York City with disaster relief during the 9/11 attacks in New York assisting families and communities with recovery, relief and healing. While in Colorado she worked at the Mental Health Partners (MHP) Boulder County for one of their community clinics, Clinica Campesina/People’s Clinic as a Behavior Health Specialist. Until recently Elizabeth worked for MHP pursuing a passion for integrative services so that patients could benefit from holistic care.
As a consultant for various organizations such as foundations, health care centers and grass-root organizations, Elizabeth conducted specific trainings in the areas of leadership, community organization, immigration education, asset-mapping for Latino communities and health care initiatives.
Elizabeth’s life experiences inspired a passion to blend meditation and self-care. She hopes to continue integrating social work and self-care in her professional career.
Louis Montoya, M.S.W.
Louis Montoya is an assistant professor of social work. In various positions over 23 years, he has provided training and supervision to support staff, direct case providers, master’s level clinicians, and Case Aides.
Robert Slay, M.S.W.
Robert has over 30 years experience in supporting adults and children who have intellectual disability and/or chronic illness and their families.
He served on the Colorado Medicaid Program advisory board as consumer representative for 6 years; as Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council’s Planner; Director of Chapter Development/Adult Advocacy for The Arc in Jefferson County; and Developmental Disabilities Resource Center's Family Support Services Program Manager. He served on advisory boards at The Children's Hospital, Jefferson County Schools, and the Health Care Program for Children with Special Needs.
His major interests are in working with families with children who have disabilities or chronic illness and the systems supporting them; researching issues surrounding parents who have an intellectual disability and the lack of systems supporting them; and systems change in supports for people with disabilities.
Kristi Alles-Serrant, M.A.
Kristy is currently the Juvenile Standards Coordinator for the Sex Offender Management Unit within the Division of Criminal Justice, Colorado Department of Public Safety. In this role she is considered the lead authority on juveniles who have committed sexual offenses for the State of Colorado. She also coordinates the trainings for SOMB. Kristy trains caseworkers, guardians ad litem, CASA’s, Victim Representatives, Probation and Parole on the Juvenile Standards, as well as issues related to working on teams.
Kristy also speaks Nationally on Empowerment of Families When Working With Juveniles Who Have Committed Sexual Offenses. Kristy has many years of experience working with the Department of Human Services with juveniles who have committed sexual offenses, as well as with the foster care system, judicial services, and community corrections. In addition to these experiences, Kristy has been involved in public speaking, training, and policy and program development. Kristy has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, and a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice.