Russell A. Smith, LMSW, joined Austin Child Guidance Center in November 2010 as Executive Director. He takes the reins from Dr. Don Zappone, who served Austin’s children, youth and families for almost thirty years as Executive Director of the center.
Russell is a non-profit leader with over twenty years of experience running non-profit and governmental organizations in Houston and Austin, including five and a half years running a Head Start program in Houston that served over 1,100 children and their families. He has worked across the age spectrum, from early childhood to school reform to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Russell holds a Master’s degree in Business from the University of Texas at Austin, as well as a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Houston. He inherited his passion for working in the public sector from his grandmother, Bert Kruger Smith, an Austin icon who was active in philanthropy for over fifty years.
Russell has held many volunteer positions, from Runaway Hotline Volunteer to Management Consultant for the United Way to Chair of the Austin Local Advisory Board for First Book. He currently is on the board of the Austin Groups for the Elderly, the organization his grandmother started 24 years ago, and teaches a class at the graduate school of social work at the University of Texas on grant writing and fund development. He and his wife live in north Austin with ten-year old twin daughters Abby and Alexis, and daughter Kaileigh (20) lives in Northwest Austin.
Susanne Matthews, Director of Administrative Services/CFO, joined Austin Child Guidance Center 35 years ago with a background in nonprofit services and activism. In prior employment she worked as a Research Associate at the University of Texas at Austin, Department of Psychology, Behavior Genetics Laboratory which resulted in the publication in 1970 of D. Thiessen & S. Goar (Matthews), Stereotaxic Atlas of the Hypothalamus of the Mongolian Gerbil, Journal of Comparative Neurology. She has been awarded Public Citizen of the Year from the Austin Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, received the Volunteer Service Award from the Austin Tenants Council, and is recognized for serving on the Travis County Juvenile Court Advisory Board. Ms. Matthews currently supervises the administrative staff, oversees budgeting and financial activities, and serves on the management team, as well as participating in project planning and development.
Seanna Crosbie, LCSW, Director of Program Services, has been at the Austin Child Guidance Center since 2001. In her current position, Seanna oversees the clinical services and projects that the Center offers. Prior to this position, Seanna oversaw the juvenile court grants at ACGC, and provided individual/family/group therapy to clients as well as clinical supervision to social workers. Before her time at ACGC, Seanna worked with preschool and elementary aged children in a school-based program, served as a Shift Supervisor for Austin-Travis County Integral Care’s Crisis/Suicide Hotline, and also worked at the Texas Department of Children and Family Services.
Seanna, who spent much of her childhood in Saudi Arabia, is particularly interested in multi-cultural counseling and therapy with diverse populations. She has a passion for working with teens, and thoroughly enjoys family therapy work with kids on probation as well as providing clinical supervision. She obtained her MSSW from the UT School of Social Work in 2000.
Seanna is a member of the Travis County Model Court Collaborative Council as well as Community Partners for Children, serves on the St. Edwards Social Work Advisory Board, and is a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Seanna has presented workshops at both the NASW Texas and Texas School Social Work Conferences. In her free time, Seanna enjoys travel, yoga, her adorable niece, and her two amazing dogs, Archie and Amigo.
Julia Hoke, Ph.D., Director of Psychological Services, has a 13-year history with the Austin Child Guidance Center. Her introduction to ACGC came in 1997 when, as a first-year graduate student at UT-Austin, she volunteered as a “play leader.” Julia returned in 1999 as a practicum student and again in 2002 as a pre-doctoral psychology intern. She earned her Doctorate in Educational Psychology from the University of Texas. After five years providing assessment and consultation services in public schools, Julia returned to the center in 2007 on a contract basis, providing psychological assessment to children and adolescents. In 2008, she joined the staff at the center. While continuing to provide psychological assessment, Julia has also served as a child and family therapist, coordinated staff development, supervised trainees, and taught a weekly “student seminar.” She moved into the Director of Psychological Services position in March 2011. In this role, she supervises staff and contract psychologists, psychology students, and trainees; coordinates the provision of psychological assessment at the center; and provides psychological consultation to other clinicians on staff. Julia enjoys teaching and supervision, and in the past, she has taught assessment and practicum classes to master’s-level psychology students at Texas State University.
Julia and her husband live in North Central Austin with their two daughters. She serves on the board of her daughter’s preschool and volunteers for the Fig Leaf ministry, which operates a “free store” for Austin’s homeless population. In her free time, Julia enjoys gardening and cooking.
Renée Hanson, Director of Development, joined Austin Child Guidance Center in January of 2011. In this position she directs the fundraising and communication activities for the agency. She has over seven years of fundraising experience, raising over $3,000,000 and growing for various local non-profits. Her greatest strengths are: grant writing, corporate giving, special events, donor development, program development and public relations. Prior to her employment at ACGC, she was the Grants Development Specialist at Easter Seals Central Texas, and served as Education Program Director and Grant Writer for Manos de Cristo. Renée received her M.A. in Latin American Studies and was employed as a Lecturer by the Latin American Studies and Spanish Departments at the University of Kansas. She is bilingual and has traveled extensively throughout Latin America. She has a rich understanding of Latino culture and much of her work in Austin has been dedicated to expanding resources for the Hispanic community. She is passionate about improving outcomes for underserved populations and has expertise in raising funds for: mental health, disability services, education, health, the environment and the arts.
In her free time, Renée is an artist and often shows her paintings in galleries, community art shows and restaurants throughout the country. She enjoys traveling, gardening, dancing, swimming and hiking on the Austin greenbelt trails. She is extremely proud of her daughter Savannah, who is a talented writer, artist, singer and humanitarian.