Juvenile Justice recognizes instructors of excellence

Juvenile Justice General Instructors Meeting, 2018
Wednesday, March 14, 2018 - 3:05pm

The Juvenile Justice Section recognized five of its general instructors earlier this month during an awards ceremony held during the Section’s annual General Instructors meeting.

Kimberly Quintus, Director of the Juvenile Jurisdiction Reinvestment Act, led the awards ceremony, and Deputy Secretary William Lassiter presented awards to the following individuals during the March 2 event:

2017 Juvenile Justice Instructor of the Year: LaTonya Middleton
Court Counselor, District 11 (Harnett, Lee, Johnston counties)

LaTonya MiddletonHonored with an instructor award for the second year running (she was Court Services Instructor of the Year in 2016), LaTonya Middleton this year received the highest trainer honor that Juvenile Justice can provide: the 2017 Instructor of the Year. During the 2017 calendar year, Middleton provided more than 111 hours of in-service training for DPS as either the primary or secondary Instructor. During the past year, Middleton has taught more than 24 hours RCDT, in excess of 30 hours toward CRDT Adult Corrections and has instructed numerous hours in PREA, Suicide Prevention, Juvenile Minority Sensitivity Training, and abuse and neglect, to name a few.

Middleton leads all of District 11’s required annual training and is assigned to other districts within the Central Area to lead RCDT training. She also has devoted her time and energy as a General Instructor for Facility Operations training throughout the state.

Middleton began a career of public service in October 2000, and became a General Instructor in 2005. In addition to her current position as a Court Counselor, she has worked as a Correctional Officer and Probation Officer within the Department of Public Safety.

2017 Juvenile Facility Operations Instructor of the Year: Shalita Forrest
Nurse, Cumberland Juvenile Detention Center

Shalita ForrestShalita Forrest began her career with the N.C. Department of Public Safety in June 2008. She became a General Instructor in 2010 and since that time has distinguished herself with her efforts by being named the 2017 Juvenile Facility Operations Instructor of the Year.

In 2017, Forrest provided more than 139 hours of in-service training in topics such as RCDT, Fitness and Wellness, PREA, Suicide Prevention, new hire orientation and Medication Administration, just to name a few. She volunteered to be the project team leader for Cumberland Detention Center’s Annual Peer Review Audit, helping the center receive a score of excellence. Over this past year, Nurse Forrest has once again stepped up and volunteered to be the project team leader in our upcoming Federal PREA Audit. This initiative has resulted in her working countless hours during the day, after hours and on weekends to prepare our staff for the federal audit.

2017 Juvenile Court Services Instructor of the Year: Frank Ard
Court Counselor District 17 (Rockingham, Stokes, Surry counties)

Frank Ard

Frank Ard, named as the 2017 Juvenile Court Services Instructor of the Year, last year logged more than 74 hours of in-service training hours in topics such as RCDT, JMST, and Abuse and neglect just to name a few. He also served as the chairman of the Chatham Youth Development Center Training Advisory Committee, in which he coordinated instruction for employees, developed training plans and written reports, and evaluated other General Instructors. Ard created a lesson plan and developed and delivered training for Bullying Awareness/Violence Prevention and Restorative Justice Practices as well.

Ard began his career with Juvenile Justice as a Social Worker III at Chatham YDC, where he became a PREA Compliance Manager and Master Trainer, as well as a General Instructor, specializing in RCDT. He left Chatham to become a court counselor in the High Point Office of Guilford County, where he continued his work as a General and Specialty Instructor prior to his move to District 17 this past October. Ard spent 23 years in the U.S. Navy before moving back to his native North Carolina.

Special Recognition - 2017 Juvenile Justice Instructor: Dawn Thomas
Psychological Services Manager, Clinical Services and Programs Section

Dawn ThomasPsychological Services Manager Dawn Thomas has worked for Juvenile Justice since 2003, starting her career as a staff psychologist at Swannanoa Youth Development Center in Black Mountain.

Two years later she was selected from a competitive field of applicants to serve as the lone staff psychologist for the 16-bed Jackson Project – a randomized controlled trial comparing outcomes for committed youths assigned to the newly developed Model of Care vs. treatment at usual – at Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center in Concord. Thomas played a leadership role in the project, helping to refine policies and practices while the study was run from 2005 – 2008. After data established that there was a significant reduction in recidivism for youth in the Model of Care vs. treatment as usual, Thomas worked closely with others to ensure that staff in the newly opening YDS across the state in 2008 were trained in the implementation of Model of Care.

Thomas became Clinical Programs Fidelity Manager in 2012 to assist in monitoring and coaching YDC staff across the state in how to deliver the MOC in a way that was faithful to its design – this often included developing and delivering specialized trainings for staff and supervisors designed to meet facility-specific needs. She trained new hires and offered retraining to those who needed to sharpen their skills in the MOC programming, assisted by implementation team members she recruited and helped train from across the YDCs. As Psychological Services Manager Thomas also assists YDC-based licensed mental health clinicians in maintaining the skills needed for the high-fidelity delivery of evidence-based mental health treatments like TF-CBT and SPARCS.

Special Recognition – 2017 Juvenile Justice Instructor: Felicia Clark
(past) youth counselor, Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center; currently, Office of Staff Development and Training

Felicia ClarkFelicia Clark has worked for Juvenile Justice for 10 years as a youth counselor at Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center. In 2017, Clark was instrumental in instructing more than 295 hours of departmental in-service training as both the primary and secondary instructor. During the past year, she has taught numerous hours of training in topics such as HR New Hire Orientation, CPR/1stAid, Model of Care, RCDT, PREA, Personal Protection Equipment, Abuse /Neglect, Fitness and Wellness, and Unlawful Workplace Harassment, just to name a few.

During her time with Juvenile Justice, Clark has been awarded the Employee of the Month (twice) and has been nominated for both the DPS Badge of Excellence and the Dr. John R. Larkins Awards.

Diana Kees, Public Relations Manager