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HEATHER TODD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
The Teen Court of Sarasota, Inc., Board of Directors recently announced the selection of Heather Todd as the new Executive Director. Ms. Todd succeeds Katie Self who had served as the Executive Director since 1988. An integral part of the organization for 16 years, Ms. Todd was a natural fit for the role.
For 28 years, Teen Court has served as a juvenile court alternative. A nonprofit organization, Teen Court also provides a range of educational and counseling services for juvenile clients, and is a source of law education for offenders and volunteers alike. Ms. Todd has been instrumental in expanding and targeting Teen Court's services to address the evolving needs of our clients and their families. She also served as events manager, teen court session facilitator, volunteer coordinator, and trainer for referring agencies and student volunteers. Ms. Todd looks forward to creating new opportunities to collaborate with community organizations as well as strengthen relationships with referring agencies.
"I have been fortunate to have worked with Teen Court for the past 16 years and I look forward to moving into my new role as Executive Director. It is an exciting time to start the next chapter with the young people, staff and Board of Directors as we continue our mission and develop new relationships in our community." Heather Todd, Executive Director
Ms. Todd has deep community ties and a successful track record in collaborating with the legal and law enforcement leaders throughout the county for the benefit of Sarasota's teens. Her education includes a Bachelor of Social Work and a Master of Social Work form the University of South Florida.
Lori came to Sarasota, Florida in 2002 from the state of Michigan where she received her Bachelor’s Degree from Oakland University.
In addition to Lori’s extensive experience related to accounting and financial responsibilities, she is a Licensed Health & Life Insurance Agent in the state of Florida, and a former certified substitute teacher for the Sarasota County School District.
She has been a dedicated volunteer to many local organizations including the United Cerebral Palsy of Southwest Florida, Children’s First Head Start Program, Loveland Center, Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, the Humane Society of Sarasota, the Bond of Love Adoption Agency, and the C.A.R.E. Foundation.
Lori Moran was appointed by the Governor of Florida as a Trustee for the State College of Florida Sarasota-Manatee, serving for over six years (two as Vice Chair).
Lori is a mom of two adult children and has been married to her husband, Mike, for 29 years.
Lashelle Williams is our Sr. Client Coordinator. She joined the Teen Court team in November 2017 and oversees the North County Teen Court program as well as the other Client Coordinators.
Lashelle is a native Texan and a graduate of Southwestern University . She was recognized nationally by the Boys and Girls Club for her final thesis on, The Impact that the Boys & Girls Club has on the Children In Our Community'. This experience gave her a strong sense of devotion and passion for the non-profit sector and the youth of our future.
Lashelle’s purpose is to uplift, encourage, empower, and educate the youth on how to navigate life, while giving them the resources and support that they need to be successful. Also, encouraging them to use their voices and always advocate on what they believe- whether volunteer or a client. She believes change in this world starts with our youth and she loves to empower and inspire them to be that change that we need and wish to see. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, mentoring, playing/watching sports and spending time with her family and friends.
Devin Epps is originally from Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Devin moved to Lehigh Acres Florida at age 11. Devin graduated from Lehigh Senior High School in 2005; then immediately joined the United States Navy where he was stationed overseas in Japan. After serving in the military, Devin worked for the department of corrections (Hendry CI). Devin then continued his corrections career at Glades County Sheriff’s Office, where he was promoted to the rank of sergeant. While in corrections, Devin received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Hodges University.
After receiving his degree, Devin decided to further his career at Sarasota Police Department by becoming a police officer. While employed at Sarasota Police Department, Devin has worked such positions as patrol, foot patrol, and as a school resource officer for Sarasota High School.
Devin has also assisted with several youth programs to include the Boots for Badges Program at the Boys and Girls Club in Newtown, in addition to assisting with Teen Courts Camp X-Rayd Program.
Throughout Devin’s tenure at Sarasota Police Department he has been recognized for several awards/medals to include CO-sworn officer of the quarter award, Preservation of life award, distinguished service medal, and meritorious service medal. Devin’s greatest passions are helping the youth excel in life in addition to spending time with his family.
I was born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. I moved to Sarasota, Florida when I was 2 years old. I graduated from Booker High School in 2006. I was the first in my family to go to college and got my degree from State College of Florida.
In 2013, I was sponsored by the Sarasota Police Department to attend the Police Academy at Suncoast Technical College. I graduated with the 123rd Class in December 2013. I was a police officer with the Sarasota Police Department from 2013-2018. While at SPD I worked patrol, bike patrol, walking beat, and was a School Resource Officer at Brookside Middle School (my alma mater). During my time at SPD I was also involved with the community, assisting with youth programs to include Boots for Badges at the Boys and Girls Club in Newtown, and Teen Court’s Camp X-Ray’d program.
In 2018, I accepted a position with the newly started Sarasota County Schools Police Department. I held the position of School Resource Officer and was the SRO at Taylor Ranch Elementary in Venice, FL.
While being involved with youth programs and being a School Resource Officer, I found my passion; Helping the youth and just being a positive role model in their life. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family and traveling.
EMILY SAVOCA - SOUTH COUNTY CLIENT COORDINATOR
Emily Savoca is a native Floridian and was raised in Sarasota. She graduated from Riverview High School in 2001 and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Presbyterian College. She is a proud Tennessee Volunteer and graduated with her Master’s Degree from The University of Tennessee in Child and Family Studies.
At the University of Tennessee, she studied family systems and attachment. Upon graduating, she returned to Sarasota to continue working with children and families in the non-profit sector. Emily began her career working as a Case Manager in the Foster Care System and soon discovered her passion for working with families in preventive services. She became a certified Circle of Security Trainer in 2016 and taught parenting classes for four years to families in Sarasota County.
Emily joined the Sarasota Teen Court team in January 2022 and is the Client Coordinator for Venice, Osprey, and Nokomis. She currently serves students at Venice High School, Venice Middle School, Laurel Nokomis School, and Pine View School.
In her spare time, Emily enjoys spending time with her husband of ten years and three young children.
Tonia Miller has grown up in the Sarasota/Bradenton area. She graduated from Southeast High School and received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of South Florida.
Tonia was working for a local accounting firm when she was introduced to Teen Court. In 2004, she ventured out on her own professionally to provide bookkeeping services to a variety of local businesses. She has worked with many small business owners and several non-profit organizations over the last 18 years. Tonia has been involved with Teen Court since 2002 in several different capacities: board member/assistant treasurer, bookkeeper, and now in quality assurance.
Tonia is married and lives with her husband and two daughters in Sarasota.
Missy Velez joined Teen Court of Sarasota, Inc. as the bookkeeper in May, 2020. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelors in Accounting and has worked in the accounting industry for 20 plus years. She has experience in governmental, public and private accounting.
Missy is a native Floridian, born and raised in Manatee County. She currently resides in Manatee County with her husband Jason and her two children.
Naomi Gomez officially joined the Sarasota Teen Court staff in March 2022 as our Office Assistant. She started volunteering with Teen Court in 2014 and was the 2018 Jena Hellman recipient.
Naomi is a native Floridian, born and raised in Sarasota. She graduated from Sarasota Military Academy in 2018. She joined the Florida Army National Guard in 2020 where she is currently a Combat Medic. Naomi is a National Certified Emergency Medical Technician and is working on her National Certification for Medical Interpreting.
Naomi has previously worked with Girls Inc and helped run a soccer little league with her parents for underserved children in the Hispanic community. Naomi is now a proud mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Naomi enjoys spending time outdoors and traveling. She also values spending time with family. When she's not in the office, you can often find Naomi playing soccer, deep sea fishing, and learning about different cultures, history, and medicine.