Meet our Team

Tia Holiday

Education Program Manager

Before joining the John Burton Advocates for Youth staff, Tia oversaw the Skyline College Guardian Scholars, EOPS/CARE, and CalWORKs Program. Her experience in direct service and education spans over 11 years, from working at Sacramento State’s Guardian Scholars Program, creating College Readiness curriculum at Summit Public Schools to a college counselor for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District in Cleveland, Ohio. Her passion for foster youth is personal, as she is a former foster youth from San Bernardino County. She uses her experiences in foster care to guide her passion when she is working with students, child welfare partners, colleges and universities. Tia is currently working on her Master’s in Learning Design and Technology at the University of Southern California and holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California State University, Sacramento.

Anna Johnson

Senior Project Manager of Housing and Health

Anna Johnson is a Senior Project Manager working on housing and health policy for John Burton Advocates for Youth. Previously, Anna focused on reducing over medication and hyper-incarceration of youth and improving access to community and therapeutic services. Anna works with young adults and current youth in care to ensure their voices influence policies that affect them. Providing services, care, and attention to youth who live under the daily stress of violence, poverty, and other forms of abuse can help young people build resiliency and thrive in the short and long term. Anna holds degrees from UC-Berkeley (MPP), UW-Madison (BA-Social Work) and U-Penn (Urban Ed). Follow @AnnaMaureen83 on Twitter.

Passion for this work originated from 6 years of classroom experience in public schools. Prior to working in policy, Anna taught at Urban Promise Academy in Oakland Unified School District, at Potter Thomas Bilingual Academy in Philadelphia, and in Madison, Wisconsin serving youth and families experiencing homelessness in the CASPER program. As a teacher, Anna witnessed how traumatic experiences, stress, poverty, and environmental factors impact children’s development and relationships. Creating and maintaining a safe, supportive classroom environment was the primary focus of their work as an educator. Anna remains proud of her students’ accomplishments and leadership in their communities.

Simone Tureck Lee

Director of Housing and Health (Acting)

Simone Tureck Lee is a Bay Area native with a Master’s Degree in Social Welfare in the Management and Planning Concentration from UC Berkeley. Simone spent a decade doing direct practice in the foster care, mental health and youth development fields before transitioning into advocacy and systems-improvement work. Simone worked for John Burton Advocates for Youth from 2009 to 2014, where she supported AB 12/Extended Foster Care implementation, the Homeless Youth Capacity Building Project and the THP-Plus Statewide Implementation Project. Simone was the Executive Director of the Alameda County Foster Youth Alliance from 2014 to 2016, before returning to John Burton Advocates for Youth where she currently serves as the Director of Housing and Health.

Amy Lemley

Executive Director

Amy Lemley is the Executive Director of John Burton Advocates for Youth. Her areas of special interest are child welfare policy and services, affordable housing, the special needs of transition-age youth, public benefits and youth homelessness.

Ms. Lemley co-founded and served as the Executive Director of First Place for Youth, a nationally-recognized nonprofit organization providing affordable housing and supportive services to current and former foster youth. In her role at John Burton Advocates for Youth, she has led the organization’s policy advocacy, resulting in the passage of key reforms, including extending foster care to age 21, increasing financial aid for foster youth and improved access to affordable housing.

Ms. Lemley was awarded an Ashoka Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurship, the Peter Hass Public Service Award, the Do Something Brick Award and named the UC Berkeley Goldman School Alumnus of the Decade.  She received a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.A. from the University of Chicago.

Jessica Petrass

Senior Project Manager

Prior to joining John Burton Advocates for Youth, Jessica worked as a Program Manager at Hillsides Youth Moving On, serving transitional age youth (TAY). Jessica joined Hillsides in 2010 as a therapist in the Full-Service Partnership program where she provided intensive community-based mental health services to children and TAY. In 2012, Jessica transitioned to the YMO department where she could continue to fulfill her passion and commitment to serving young adults. Jessica received her Masters in Social Welfare from UCLA and her bachelor’s degree from the University of San Diego in Psychology and Communication Studies.

Debbie Raucher

Director of Education

Debbie Raucher has a Master’s Degree in Social Work and currently serves as John Burton Advocates for Youth’s Project Director, providing leadership and strategic visioning for our Education initiatives. In this role, Ms. Raucher provides technical assistance and training designed to improve post-secondary educational outcomes for foster youth along with implementation of a statewide advocacy agenda crafted to better address the needs of foster youth attending college.

Ms. Raucher has worked in the social services field for over 20 years including extensive work in the areas of implementation of Extended Foster Care and developing solutions to homelessness. Prior to her role developing the post-secondary education program California College Pathways, she worked with the John Burton Advocates for Youth’s Homeless Youth Capacity Building Project. Her previous positions include serving as the Deputy Director of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic where she oversaw all program operations for over 1500 units of supportive housing in San Francisco.

Suzil Sciancalepore

Office Manager

Suzil serves as the Office Manager for John Burton Advocates for Youth. A bay area native, she has spent the past four years exploring other parts of the US, living in Chicago, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles, and is happy to be home and working with JBAY. Her background is in Event Production, Bookkeeping, and the Performing Arts. She has experience helping produce and execute a large variety of events throughout the USA including WE RISE in Los Angeles, Thinx in Chicago, and a wide variety of Immersive Theatrical Productions.

Monique Vieira-Huestis

Event Planner

Monique Vieira-Huestis serves as the Event Planner for John Burton Advocates for Youth. She was the former Special Events Director at the California Democratic Party. Ms. Vieira- Huestis has managed major donors for both state and national conventions, planned fundraisers, special retreats, and was responsible for the success of all California Democratic Party events. Ms. Vieira-Huestis has also worked on political campaigns; such as No on Proposition 6.

Previously, Ms. Vieira-Huestis served 10 years as account executive at the Rooney Tate Group providing account management services including all aspects of event planning, finance, and project execution as well as community and public relations.

She has experience working on large-scale events such as the California Tribal Business Alliance Back-to-Session Bash, Women in California Leadership and for Social Justice and Animal Advocacy groups. Ms. Vieira-Huestis’ clients include public/private sector, non-profits, and political interest groups. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from Sacramento State University.

Youth Advocates

Alexis Barries

Youth Advocate

Alexis Barries is a Youth Advocate at John Burton Advocates for Youth. In this role, she advocates for policies to improve the lives of foster youth, homeless youth and youth involved in the juvenile probation system. Alexis was formerly in foster care and was part of the first cohort of youth to participate in extended foster care to age 21. She is a full-time student at Sacramento City College. In September 2018, Alexis Barries was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council.

Ajanique Dunlap

Youth Advocate

Ajanique Dunlap is a student at ​California State University, Sacramento​. Ajanique’s goal is to major in Criminal justice. After graduation Ajanique will be pursuing a career in the criminal justice field. Ajanique has experienced foster care and homelessness and has a passion to work for youth and on behalf of youth who have experienced the same.

Cody Van Felden

Youth Advocate

Cody Van Felden is a student attending Cosumnes River College and is on her way to graduate in Spring of 2020. Her goal is to transfer to Sacramento Sate in the Fall of 2020, and work towards a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She has experienced foster care and adoption and has a passion to work with youth, using her experiences to advocate for ways of prevention of similar experiences for other youth.

Kista Holani

Youth Advocate

Kista Holani is a student at Modesto Junior College. Her goal is to transfer to Fresno State, and work towards a masters in Macro-level social work. She is focused on advocacy work that includes seeing state legislation pass and connecting that to local practice amongst those that work in the system. Kista has experienced foster care and homelessness and has a passion to work for youth that have experienced the same.

Nathenial Goguen

Youth Advocate