I was born in Detroit, Mi and lived there for seven years before moving to Chattanooga. I attended Howard Elementary School, Elbert S. Long and Tyner Jr for middle/junior school, then graduated from Tyner High in 1983. Upon graduation, I moved back to Detroit, got married, and had three beautiful children. I became a bus driver in '99 and currently have 22yrs of CDL driving.
Michelle Orr is a Family Forward Specialist. She obtained a degree in Family and Children Studies at Chattanooga University of Tennessee. She has spent her career dedicated to helping families. She gained her experience throughout her career from doing Case Management and Early Childhood education as a Daycare Teacher, Assistant Daycare Director, Supervised Visitation Monitor and Employment Specialist. She has worked with children, parents, and Families First participants. She continues to strive to help families to the best of her ability. It is a passion that drives her to be more and do more for each family she serves.
I was born and raised in New York City during the late 1970’s-1990’s in the South Bronx. During that time span New York was crime and drug infested but my parents taught me I didn’t have to be a product of my environment. In elementary school I was diagnosed with a speech delay but thanks to my parents and some amazing teachers I was given supports to help me to successfully compete with other students. It is because of my parents strong will, love for education, and the educators who encouraged me along the way I am where I am today. Education has been a protective factor and grace in my life. I am the first in my immediate family to receive two undergraduate degrees (Science and Psychology) and obtain a master’s degree in Professional Counseling. I’ve been working in the field of mental health and social services since 2003 and have experience in working with the elderly, intellectually disabled, children and adults.
Floyd Davis is the Fatherhood Specialist at Family Forward. Floyd works directly with fathers, providing intensive case management and coaching around the importance of fatherhood involvement throughout early childhood development. Floyd is a native of Jackson, Mississippi and he grew up in Michigan. He served in the United States Army and has an Honorable Discharge. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resource from the University of Tennessee of Chattanooga. He is a certified facilitator from CBI in Knoxville Tennessee. Prior to coming to Family Forward, he was a Chaplain of Corrections, and he volunteers at the local jail and a prison in Georgia. He has nineteen years of experience of helping ex-offenders getting reestablished back into society through CEI. He has a beautiful wife and five children, two grandchildren and two great nieces. He looks forward to helping young men in the Family Forward Fatherhood program to become great fathers and as he helps them, they will also be helping him to become a greater father also.
JaMecia Johnson is a Family Forward Specialist. JaMecia is proud Tennessean, born and raised in Chattanooga. JaMecia is a mother to a beautiful baby girl, Tru’, so she understands the importance of motherhood. She obtained a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in Human Development and Learning at East Tennessee State University. Prior to starting her journey with Family Forward, for the past four years, JaMecia worked as a case manager for the Department of Children’s Services in Bradley, Polk, and Hamilton County. JaMecia has a passion to serve underprivileged communities and she plans to continue helping her community throughout all aspects of life. JaMecia believes it is not where you come from that determines your future.
Joyce Jackson is the Deputy Director of Family Forward at Signal Centers. Joyce holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology from Georgia College and State University in her hometown of Milledgeville, Ga. Joyce began her career as a house parent working with clients with developmental disabilities while in graduate school. She later was employed at Central State Hospital in Milledgeville where she held various positions in the developmental disabilities program to include Behavior Specialist, Unit Team Leader and Nursing Home Administrator for an ICR/MR nursing home. Joyce also worked several years in community based behavioral health services as Service Center Director, DD Division Director and Executive Director. She has also worked in juvenile justice as a Center Director. Prior to coming to Family Forward, Joyce worked in workforce services with MAXIMUS as the Sr. Project Manager for nine years.
Layly Ramirez holds a Bachelor of Science in Clinical Psychology degree from Southern Adventist University and a Master of Social Work degree from Campbellsville University. She has a drive and passion for serving and supporting others. Layly has been with Signal Centers since June of 2016. From Assistant Teacher to Lead Teacher, she is now with Family Forward as a Bilingual Case Manager. She helps her clients, including teen parents and families with young children, take the necessary steps to become more self-sufficient and resilient to achieve their goals.
Jennifer Richards is the Administrative Assistant at Family Forward. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in public administration/Non-Profit Management from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Jennifer began as a phlebotomist and later becoming Quality Assurance Assistant at Blood Assurance. Her interest in the non-profit sector began there.
Patricia Chastain has been working for Family Forward as a Bilingual Specialist for two years. She was born in the United States but lived in Barcelona and Buenos Aires for most of her early life where she earned her degree from Manuel Belgrano in Early Childhood Education. Before Family Forward, Patricia worked for the State of Georgia for twelve years. In her free time, she loves crafting and spending time with her two sons as well as her dog, Paco, and her pig, Lola.
Elizabeth Cotellese is the Director of Family Forward at Signal Centers. She holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Social Work. Elizabeth began her career with the Relative Caregiver Program serving relatives raising children where she acted as case manager, support group coordinator, and director. Elizabeth has also worked as the Housing Coordinator at the Southeast Tennessee Development District, a discharge planner for Erlanger Hospital, and an adjunct instructor for The University of Tennessee School of Social Work Distance Education MSSW program. Elizabeth currently serves on the Mayor’s Council for Women – Health Committee, Purpose Point Community Health’s Care Coordination team, Southern Adventist University’s Social Work Advisory Board, and the Tennessee Conference on Social Welfare Board.