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John Woods is the executive director of TSET. Woods has experience in business and policy at the state and national level. Woods previously worked as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Norman Chamber of Commerce, serving on the Board of Directors of the Norman Economic Development Coalition and the Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau. Woods was a political and policy advisor to two Speakers of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and worked as the District Director for U.S. Rep. Tom Cole. While working with U.S. Rep. Cole, Woods oversaw the operations of three district offices and Oklahoma-based staff. He was the liaison with military installations, hospitals, universities and major employers within the 4th Congressional District. Woods also held several roles within former U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts’ in-state and congressional operations. Woods holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Oklahoma. Woods is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma Class XXVI and was selected as Journal Record’s Achievers under 40 in 2012. Meet John Woods.
Assistant to the Director/Board Secretary
Kathie Darr is the Assistant to the Director/Board Secretary for TSET. Before coming to TSET, Darr worked as a legislative staffer in both the Oklahoma House of Representatives and in the Oklahoma State Senate. While working at the Capitol, Darr assisted lawmakers from various parts of the state in managing constituent concerns and relationships. During Darr’s time at the Capitol, she worked for two committee chairman and assisted with legislative initiatives and committee hearings. Darr attended the University of Oklahoma and has been an active leader in staff wellness initiatives.
Director of Programs
Jonás Osio Mata is the Director of Programs. Mata received his bachelor's and master's degrees in social work from the Jane Addams School of Social Work at the University of Illinois. His master's degree is in social work administration and planning. Mata was TSET's first Director of Grants and Programs. Mata has also served as the Director of Operations for the Latino Community Development Agency in Oklahoma City and as a top-level manager for the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs. For more than 25 years he has designed, implemented and evaluated policy efforts dealing with children and youth, as well as programs related to delinquency prevention and justice system reform.
Director of Health Communication
Sjonna Paulson, APR, is the Director of Health Communication for TSET. She is an accredited public relations counselor and holds a bachelor's degree in journalism/public relations with an emphasis in accounting from the University of Oklahoma. For more than 25 years, Paulson has had an active career in public relations and marketing with a diverse array of for-profit and nonprofit organizations receiving both local and national professional awards.
Director of Public Information and Outreach
Julie Bisbee is the Director of Public Information and Outreach for TSET. Bisbee has experience working on policy efforts, publications and communications. She has served as the policy director for the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy and worked as a newspaper reporter for more than a decade. Bisbee worked in The Oklahoman’s Capitol Bureau, and covered a variety of beats including aerospace, transportation, courts, southern Oklahoma and state agencies. She has also worked for The Associated Press in Oklahoma City and The Monitor in McAllen, Texas. Bisbee has a degree in journalism from Ball State University and completed the legal assistant program at the University of Oklahoma College of Law.
Program Manager Healthy Communities, Incentive Grants
Connie Befort is the Program Manager for Healthy Communities Incentive Grants for TSET. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing from the University of Central Oklahoma. For the past 35 years, Befort has held leadership positions in both profit and nonprofit organizations. At the American Lung Association, she served as the Director of Advocacy for Oklahoma and as Chairman of the Oklahoma Alliance on Health and Tobacco and Smoke Free Oklahoma.
Jessica Davis is a Program Officer at TSET. She has significant consulting experience and knowledge about tobacco control programs and policy efforts at the local level. She previously served as a Communities of Excellence Program Consultant with the Oklahoma State Department of Health. She also worked at the the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) for nearly five years, first as a Prevention Services Specialist providing technical assistance and consulting services to Area Prevention Resource Centers and Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities, then as a Prevention Program Field Representative working with Regional Prevention Coordinators to implement evidence-based prevention strategies related to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Community Health from the University of Central Oklahoma.
Public Information and Outreach Specialist
Whitney Dinger is the Public Information and Outreach Specialist for TSET. She graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration. At the University of Central Oklahoma, she served as Vice President of Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society, and concentrated on healthcare policy. She has experience in grants management and 6 years of experience in banking and finance. Whitney will begin teaching as an adjunct professor of political science in the spring of 2017.
Contracts & Acquisitions Officer
Steve Hagar is the Contracts & Acquisitions Officer. Steve has over three decades of experience in procurement and most recently directed procurement for the State of Oklahoma. In his position, he established policy for all statewide purchasing employees. A+ Certified in the Performance Information Procurement System (PIPS), Steve is a published expert on the process, which has resulted in substantial and ongoing savings to the State. He developed and presented State of Oklahoma training for Certified Procurement Officers and also has extensive experience in the private sector. Steve has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Central Oklahoma.
Program Manager Healthy Schools, Incentive Grants
Sharon Howard is the Program Manager for Healthy Schools Incentive Grants. Howard has over 30 years of experience in hospital, outpatient and education settings. A registered nurse, Howard was the health services coordinator for Norman Public Schools, the senior nurse at Moore Public Schools, a telephone triage nurse at Children’s Hospital and clinic manager for pediatric gastroenterology at Children’s Hospital. Howard is president of the School Nurses Association, adviser to the State Certified Healthy Schools Committee and a member of the Cleveland County Fitness and Nutrition Coalition, Healthy Community Coalition, Cleveland County Tobacco Coalition and Cleveland County Turning Point. She was named Oklahoma School Nurse Administrator of the Year in 2011. Howard holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Oklahoma and a Masters of Health Occupation Education from the University of Central Oklahoma.
Health Communications Manager
Elyse Maxwell is the Health Communications Manager for TSET. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Public Relations and holds a Masters in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from Georgetown University in Washington, DC. During her time in DC, Maxwell worked for a national nonprofit and later joined a public relations agency after moving back to Oklahoma City. There she managed community relations, strategic communications and public affairs efforts for local and national corporate, government and nonprofit clients.
Samuel McClendon is a Program Officer at TSET. He brings over 10 years of consulting experience in the implementation of evidence-based prevention and control strategies related to tobacco, alcohol and other drugs. Most recently, he was a Communities of Excellence program consultant with the Oklahoma State Department of Health. McClendon has also served as a Prevention Services Specialist with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) providing technical assistance and consulting services to local grantees under the Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grants. McClendon has also served as a child protective services worker and a mentor for young adults in a community-based transitional living program. Samuel received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Oklahoma Baptist University and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Central Oklahoma.
Sr. Program Officer
Sharon Neal is a Sr. Program Officer for TSET. She earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational administration – information processing from Oklahoma State University. She is a Certified Procurement Officer (CPO) for the State of Oklahoma. Neal also completed a training and development certificate program from the University of Oklahoma College of Continuing Education. Prior to joining the TSET, she worked in both the private and public sector in various IT-related positions.
Director of Grants Management
Tessa North is the Director of Grants Management. She previously worked as the Client Services Manager at the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology for the past seven years. In her position there, she spearheaded the move from paper applications to full automation and was responsible for all grants management tasks, including external review, RFP development, applicant workshops, project management for OK Grants, data analysis and reporting and provision of grantee technical assistance. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology/Criminology and a Master of Arts in Sociology, both from the University of Oklahoma.
Kelly Parker is the Grants Manager for TSET. She started her career working in the medical field before graduating from the University of Central Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in Community Health and from the University of Oklahoma with a Masters in Public Health. Previously, she worked as a TSET grant supervisor at the Oklahoma Health Care Authority focusing on reducing smoking and obesity rates among Oklahoma Medicaid members.
J. Lance Thomas
Sr. Health Communication Consultant
J. Lance Thomas is the Senior Health Communication Consultant for TSET. He has previously served in state government for the Department of Rehabilitation Services, Oklahoma Insurance Department and at the University of Oklahoma's Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Thomas has worked in public relations for the past 20 years, serving clients and organizations in healthcare, consumer products, financial services, insurance and education. He has been responsible for writing/editing, media relations, events, strategic planning, plan implementation and evaluation. Thomas has a bachelor's degree in journalism with an emphasis in public relations from the University of Oklahoma.
Jennifer Treadwell is the Business Analyst at TSET. Treadwell is a graduate of the University of Central Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Treadwell has diverse experience in state government. She began her career with the State of Oklahoma as a Revenue/Budget Account with the Department of Transportation in 2004. In 2010, she was promoted to Business Enterprise Program accountant with the Department of Rehabilitation Services, earning the Department's Visual Services Employee of the Year Award.
Health Communication Consultant
James S. Tyree is a Health Communications Consultant at TSET. Tyree has worked as a newspaper reporter for more than 19 years. He covered a variety of beats that ranged from politics, education, police and courts, to the arts, religion and sports. Tyree reported for newspapers in Oregon, Illinois, Kansas City and his native Janesville, Wisconsin, and locally at The Oklahoman, Norman Transcript and Edmond Sun. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor's degree in journalism and currently is president of JayMac, the alumni association of OU’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. He also has spent the past five years teaching part-time at the Gaylord College as an adjunct instructor.
LeaAnn Williams is a Program Officer at TSET. Williams has worked as a grant manager, programs officer, financial coordinator and grant writer at the University of Oklahoma. She has managed state, federal and foundation grants from receipt of proposals to implementation of the grant program to closure. In her role as a programs officer, she has collaborated with a large number of university departments in involving research grants. Prior to that, she was the executive director of a nonprofit United Way agency for several years, and as a community partner assisted in the completion of the first Communities of Excellence in Tobacco Control, Comprehensive Community Programs application for Jackson County. Williams received her Bachelor of Science from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and a Masters of Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma.