Choose a language

About US

Our Mission

The mission of the Austin Child Guidance Center is to improve the mental health of children and their families through early intervention, diagnosis and treatment to help develop the emotional skills to face life's challenges.

A multidisciplinary team of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, family therapists and professional counselors provides individual, family and group; psychiatric and psychological services; parental education; presentations and community consultation; and training for current and future mental health professionals.

What We Value

Assessing and treating children not in isolation, but as part of a family and community system. Sometimes children act out or develop problems as a result of living in chaotic situations, and therefore, part of any solution developed must take into account the role of the family and the greater community on the child’s emotional well being.
Providing services that are responsive to the needs of clients. This does not mean that we can be all things to all people, but it does mean we will remove barriers or obstacles that may be preventing a child or family from participating in a recommended course of treatment. We will also work collaboratively with other agencies in order to better serve our clients when we alone are unable to meet their needs.
Serving our clients in a manner that takes into account cultural differences. In order to effectively work with children and families we must recognize the continuing diversity of clients seen by staff and deliver services in a manner that is culturally sensitive and appropriate.
Adhering to the highest standards developed by the field to assure quality and to regularly assess the effectiveness of services delivered. The Center has a commitment to meeting nationally recognized standards of treatment and services as expressed in such bodies as the Joint Commission. We are also committed to an ongoing process for collecting and analyzing data regarding the effectiveness of the services we deliver and to make the necessary modifications in order to improve client outcomes.
Being good stewards of the money and resources that have been given to us to operate the Center. Accordingly, we express our gratitude to our donors not only by making sure that they are properly thanked and recognized, but that we spend their money wisely and maintain all buildings and property in a responsible, cost-effective manner.


Sarah Swords, LCSW, President
John Harcourt, Vice President
Sherrill Morales, Treasurer
Sarah Farley, Secretary

Board of Directors

Jessica Boston, LMSW
Denise Hoos
William Jackson
Suzon Kemp
Cassie LaMere
Casey McPherson
Rich Parsons
Richard Pushkin
Eagle Robinson
Erin Rodriguez, Ph.D.
Nakia Scott, M.D.

Russell A. Smith, LMSW
Executive Director

Laura Tweedie
Director of Finance and Operations

Seanna Crosbie, LCSW
Director of Service Programs

Julia Hoke, Ph.D.
Director of Psychological Services

Renée Hanson Malone, MA
Director of Development

Russell A. Smith, LMSW
Executive Director

Laura Tweedie
Director of Finance and Operations

Seanna Crosbie, LCSW
Director of Service Programs

Julia Hoke, Ph.D.
Director of Psychological Services

Renée Hanson
Director of Development

Mohammad Khan, M.D.

Sara Baird, LCSW
Jill Chrisman, Ph.D.
Andrea Ciceri, LCSW
Sarah Fankhauser, LCSW
Effie Faske
Chrissy Fegan
Brittany Golden
Kaitlyn Haney
Julie Hsu, Ph.D.
Stephen Kolar, Ph.D.
Lea Kruger, LCSW
Rachel McCarthy, Psy.D.
Catalina Mancera
Eddie Martinez
Iliana Martinez
Serena Messina, Ph.D.
Molly Meyer, LMSW
Jose Miranda, Ph.D.
Becky Morales, LCSW
Molly Norwood, LMSW
Amy Pezzotti, LPC
Agustina Ponce
Delia Quilumbaqui
Kelley Roberts, LMSW
Janet Saul, Psy.D.
Arnie Slive, Ph.D.
May Taylor, Ph.D.
Louise Tedford, Ph.D.
Earley Ullrich, LCSW
Joanna Vega
Sara Walters

Paula Aaronson
Erasmo Andrade
Cherry Bartlett
Margene Beckham
James L. Boynton, M.D.
Johnnie Cavanaugh
Dale Chrisman
Charles Cleland, Ph.D.
Jon N. Coffee
Maggie Coleman, Ph. D.
J. Chrys Dougherty
Jim Evans
Susan Holman
Ira Iscoe, Ph.D.
David Jaso
Lynn Roth Jordan
Kathryn Kramer, Ph.D.
John B. Lay
Beth Marsh
James Maynard, M.D.
Missy McCarroll
Bruce Mills
Jim Myers
Sherry Morgan
Phyllis Nelson, LCSW
Thomas Oakland, Ph.D.
Ruthie Oliver
Paul Paulsen, M.D.
Beeman Phillips, Ed.D.
Phyllis Richards, Ph.D.
Philip Sanders
Frances Schenkkan
Michael J. Schless
Arthur Shelton
David Springer, Ph.D.
James Steed
Calvin Streeter, Ph.D.
George Villalva
Lynn Walker
Janet Zimmerman, Ph.D.
David Zodikoff

Code to Initials
LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker)
LMFT (Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist)
LMFT-A (Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist-Associate)
LMSW (Licensed Master Social Worker)
LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor)
LPC-I (Licensed Professional Counselor-Intern)
M.D. (Medical Doctor)
MSSW (Master of Science in Social Work)
Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)
Pys.D. (Doctor of Psychology)

Para mi todo esta bien y todo el personal son buenas personas

— Anonymous

Meet Our Board

Nici Huff

Sarah Swords

Mirna González

John Harcourt

Sarah Farley

Denise Hoos

William Jackson

Suzon Kemp

Cassie LaMere

Casey McPherson

Sherrill Morales

Rich Parsons

Eagle Robinson

Erin Rodriguez

Nakia Scott

Jessica Boston

Richard Pushkin

Meet Our Management Staff

Russell SmithExecutive Director

Russell is a non-profit leader with over twenty-three 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 served on the board of the Austin Groups for the Elderly, the organization his grandmother started 25 years ago, and teaches a class at the graduate school of social work at the University of Texas on grant writing and fund development. In 2015, Russell joined the Austin ISD School Health Advisory Council, and was recently appointed chair of the Social, Emotional and Behavioral Health Committee. He developed and teaches continuing education classes on a variety of non-profit leadership topics with two Executive Director colleagues.

Laura TweedieDirector of Finance and Operations

Laura Tweedie, MBA, joined Austin Child Guidance Center in March 2014. Her employment at ACGC came upon the retirement of Susanne Matthews, a community icon, who served as CFO for 35 years.
Laura brings over thirteen years of professional experience in both corporate and not-for-profit environments. During her first job, as a high school teacher, she nurtured her passion for children and advocacy, and also discovered her desire to impart change from an administrative level. Her experience as business manager for a large corporation and then as Controller for a not-for-profit provided the opportunity to develop a strong business foundation. Laura holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master’s degree in Business from Baylor University.

Seanna CrosbieDirector of Service Programs

Seanna Crosbie, LCSW is the Director of Program and Trauma-Informed Services and has been with ACGC since 2001. In her current role, she oversees the therapeutic services/staff and provides leadership for ACGC’s trauma-informed initiatives. Seanna, a certified trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapist (TF-CBT), has extensive experience providing mental health treatment to children and families; her area of expertise is evidenced-based treatments for children impacted by trauma and abuse as well as working with mandated populations. Seanna, who grew up in Saudi Arabia, also has a passion for multi-cultural counseling.

Seanna initiated and led Austin Child Guidance Center in becoming one of the first trauma-informed agencies in Central Texas. She has trained nearly a 2,500 professionals on trauma-informed care and has presented at both local and statewide conferences on a variety topics including: implementation of trauma-informed care within complex delivery systems, trauma-informed schools, how trauma impacts the developing brain as well as TF-CBT and other trauma treatments. She is the chair and founder of Trauma-Informed Care Consortium (TICC) of Central Texas ( which is comprised of nearly 70 child-serving agencies. She is the past co-chair of the Children and Youth Mental Health Planning Partnership and participates on six child-serving partnerships and collaboratives. Additionally, she serves as the vice president on board of directors for YWCA Greater Austin. In her spare time, Seanna enjoys spending time with her dogs, yoga, cooking and travel.

Julia HokeDirector of Psychological Services

Julia Hoke, Ph.D., Director of Psychological Services, has a 19-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, and in 2011, she became Director of Psychological Services. While continuing to provide psychological assessment, Julia also serves as a child and family therapist, supervises trainees, and coordinates a weekly “student seminar” for all trainees at the center. As the Director of Psychological Services, 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 is passionate about providing psychological services to low-income and other underserved populations. She continuously seeks to improve the quality of the services her staff provides, believing that a quality psychological assessment serves as an intervention in itself and opens the door for other important interventions. 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.

Renée Hanson MaloneDirector of Development

Renée Hanson Malone, MA, Director of Development, joined Austin Child Guidance Center in January of 2011. In this position she directs all fundraising and communication activities for the agency. She has over ten years of fundraising experience, raising millions of dollars for various local non-profits. Her greatest strengths are: donor development, corporate giving, special events, grant writing, program development, marketing 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. Renee has been a member of Impact Austin since 2015 and served as lead in the international matching grants program for the Rotary Club of Austin downtown. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Vela (formerly known as Growing Roots), a local non-profit serving families with children with disabilities.

We're Accredited by the Joint Commission

Austin Child Guidance Center adheres to nationally recognized standards as evidenced by our accreditation status with The Joint Commission and receiving a Gold Seal of Approval™. The Joint Commission is the nation’s leading accrediting body of health care organizations. We voluntarily chose to be reviewed by the Joint Commission because it stands for quality health care, and so do we. It sets high standards of care and evaluates health care organizations against over 1,500 standards. As the demand for greater accountability for quality and costs grow, it is more important than ever to have the quality distinction – Joint Commission Accreditation. Achieving accreditation makes a strong statement to the Austin community about our organization’s efforts to provide mental health services of the highest quality. Austin Child Guidance Center has held this accreditation since 1986. For more information about The Joint Commission visit their website.

About the Joint Commission

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve the safety and quality of care provided to the public through the provision of health care accreditation and related services that support performance improvement in health care organizations. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits nearly 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States , including more than 8,000 hospitals and home care organizations, and more than 6,800 other health care organizations that provide long term care, assisted living, behavioral health care, laboratory and ambulatory care services. An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care.

Improving mental health through early intervention, diagnosis, and treatment


Clients Improving on Goals


Families Satisfied with Services


Families Who Would Return to ACGC


Low Income Clients