SPEAKER BIOS - Faith Communities Protecting Children
The Rev. Dr. Darrell L. Armstrong is a native of South (Central) Los Angeles, California where he was born and raised. He is the proud father of Amaris Kayla (14 yrs.) a future concert pianist and veterinarian and Daniel LaRue (12 yrs.), a future professional soccer player and engineer. The Rev. Armstrong is in his 19th year of service as the pastor of the historic Shiloh Baptist Church of Trenton, NJ. Shiloh is a thriving community of faith rooted in the rich and diverse worship traditions of the African Diaspora. He is only the church’s third pastor in the last 115 years! During his tenure, Shiloh has more than tripled its budget and nearly tripled its membership to more than 820-plus families. He is leading his congregation in building a new $7M Family Life Center, which is the first phase of a comprehensive, community revitalization effort that anticipates $50-plus million in tangible and intangible investments into a blighted urban area to create a "Strengthening Families-Life Empowerment Campus." His policy training at Stanford University (BA in Public Policy), theological training at Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and therapeutic/clinical training at The College of New Jersey (Ed.S. in marriage & family therapy), current doctoral work in Trauma-Informed Care at Liberty University (D.Min. In Pastoral Care & Counseling), have ALL uniquely prepared Rev. Armstrong to be a respected voice in the national and international child welfare/family strengthening communities. CONTINUED HERE
Barbara L. Bonner, PhD, a Clinical Child Psychologist, is a Professor of Pediatrics and the CMRI/Jean Gumerson Endowed Chair in Clinical Psychology, Director of the Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (CCAN), and Associate Director of the Child Study Center (CSC) at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. She graduated from OSU in 1984 with a degree in Clinical Psychology, completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at OUHSC, and joined the faculty in 1987. Her clinical and research interests include the assessment and treatment of abused children, interdisciplinary education, prevention of child fatalities, and treatment of children and adolescents with problematic sexual behavior. Dr. Bonner has received numerous state and federal grants to conduct research and evaluate programs serving maltreated children and their families. She is Past President of the International Society to Prevent Child Abuse (ISPCAN), Past President of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC), and has received awards for her research and advocacy from the Oklahoma Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, APSAC, US Department of Justice, University of Central Oklahoma, OUHSC Regents, and the Oklahoma City Pan-Hellenic Alumnae Foundation.
Tricia Gardner, JD, is an Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in the Department of Pediatrics, and a licensed attorney. She currently serves as the Administrator and Director of Professional Education for the Section of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. She also serves on the Oklahoma Children’s Hospital Child Protection Committee.
Debra B. Hecht, PhD is a clinical child psychologist and an Associate Professor at the Center on Child Abuse and Neglect at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Clinical and research interests include the implementation of evidence-based practice into the field and the development and evaluation of appropriate assessment and treatment programs for children who have
been abused and neglected and their families. She currently is involved in programs to help children and families involved in the foster care system.
Melissa Morgan, B.S. graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a Bachelor’s in Family Life Education and has worked for Certified Community Behavioral Health Center, NorthCare since 2009 providing home-based services to children and families. Melissa has worked with foster and adoptive families since 2011 and is currently the Program Manager for Family KINnections, Home Studies, and SWIFT Adoption Services. These programs all work with prospective foster, kinship, and adoptive families.
Rep. Cyndi Munson is originally from Lawton and developed her passion for public service at an early age. Her father’s military service taught Cyndi and her sister, Sandra, the importance of giving back. Cyndi has spent a decade working and volunteering in Oklahoma City’s non-profit community. She spent the last five years working with Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma, providing leadership programs for thousands of girls in low-income schools, juvenile detention and public housing. Cyndi is an alumni member of Leadership Oklahoma City’s LOYAL Class VIII, a skill-based leadership training program for young adults beginning their civic lives. In the community, she serves as chair of the Infant Crisis Services Young Professionals Group, member of the Oklahoma Messages Project Board of Directors, and member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma City Resource Board. Cyndi is a 2006 graduate of the National Education for Women’s (N.E.W.) Leadership program through the University of Oklahoma, a program for undergraduate women interested in public service..centers In her free time, Cyndi enjoys running, reading, mentoring young women, trying new local restaurants and attending events in Oklahoma City, and spending time with her family and friends. Cyndi is also an active member of Crestwood Vineyard Church in Oklahoma City. Elected in September of 2015, Cyndi became the first Asian-American woman elected to the Oklahoma Legislature. Rep. Munson is Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and co-chair of the OK25by25 Early Childhood Caucus
The Rev. Chris Moore was born and raised in Oklahoma, The Rev. Chris Moore was ordained into the UCC in 2009, after many years in the I.T. Management industry. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon and Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa. He has served at First Congregational UCC Church of Norman, Mayflower Congregational UCC in Oklahoma City, and has been the pastor at Fellowship UCC in Tulsa since late 2013. He currently resides on the board of JustHope, working collaboratively in Nicaragua, ACTION, a broad-based community organizing effort and Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry, an 80-year-old interfaith advocacy organization. He also participates extensively in the social justice efforts of Tulsa. His wife, Kathy, is a speech pathologist and they have two boys.
Reverend Lee E. Cooper, Jr., a native Oklahoman, has held leadership positions in the ministry, government and in his community for more than 32 years. He is the Senior Pastor at Prospect Church where he has been for 31 years. During these years he built a state of the art sanctuary and a youth and education facility. His membership continues to grow over 1500 members. In his role as a pastor, he has been the president of The Progressive Oklahoma Baptist Convention, served on Oklahoma’s Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, served on the One Church One Child State Advisory Board from 1989-2002 and has been the chairman of the Oklahoma City Wide Martin Luther King Jr. Service for the past 15 years. He continues to be the Social Action Chairman of The Concerned Clergy for Spiritual Renewal as he has for the past 11 years. A graduate of Southeast High School in Oklahoma City, he earned his B.A. at Bishop College in Dallas, Texas and his Master of Divinity at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia. He has attended the Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for post-graduate courses.
He is married to Katherine N. Cooper and has three children, Lee III, Derrick, Kaci and granddaughter, Leiah. His parents were the late Lee and Dorothy Cooper.