Volunteer Profiles

Consuelo Foundation 2012 Peer Reviewer of the Year

Ulysses Arteaga

Miami-Dade County Community Action and Human Services

Volunteer Roles: Commissioner; EPPA; Marine Reviewer; Military Reviewer; Peer Reviewer; Team Leader


In his ten years as a COA volunteer, Mr. Arteaga has served in a variety of important and meaningful capacities: Peer Reviewer, Team Leader, Commissioner, Española Peer Advisory, Marine Reviewer, and Volunteer Advisory Committee member. Mr. Arteaga conducts two to three site visits a year, often volunteering for visits that require a Spanish-speaking peer. A passionate advocate for the disenfranchised, Mr. Arteaga’s effective leadership and vast knowledge and expertise have proven to be invaluable to COA, his colleagues, and the human services field.

Mr. Arteaga joined the social work profession in 1989 as a social worker for Florida’s  child welfare system after graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Florida International University. He later went on to receive a master of social work degree from Barry University in 1992. Since 1990, Mr. Arteaga has worked with Miami-Dade County.  During his tenure with the county, he has served in various capacities and fields, including drug and crime prevention, domestic violence, child abuse prevention, adoption, and family preservation. In 1996, he was promoted to supervisor of a refugee youth program, where he oversaw a team of social workers and support staff.  In 2006, Mr. Arteaga was promoted to Director of the Miami-Dade County Refugee Services where he currently supervises youth prevention, youth employment and afterschool programs, a therapeutic summer camp, and farm worker training. In addition to his professional responsibilities, Mr. Arteaga still finds time to present at conferences on youth, Hispanic, and family preservation issues. 

Miami-Dade County Department of Human Services, now Miami-Dade County Community Action and Human Services, was the first public agency in Florida to achieve COA accreditation.

Volunteer Profiles

Rochelle Haimes, ACSW

Volunteer Roles: Commissioner; Peer Reviewer; Standards Panel Member; Team Leader


Rochelle is a Consultant working with a variety of private organizations to become accredited. Her primary area of expertise is in facilitating the development of PQI systems and activities. Her previous experience with both small and large organizations is the cornerstone for her long-standing volunteer activities as a Peer reviewer and as a Team Leader. She is currently a COA Commissioner and a member of the PQI Advisory Panel that is crafting the revisions of those standards. Her work as a Team Leader continues to provide positive and challenging opportunities to collaborate with other peers, to mentor new peers and team leaders and to continually learn about how organizations serve children, youth, adults and families contextually and in challenging environments.

Annamarie Appel, MS

McQuade Children's Services

Volunteer Roles: Military Reviewer; Peer Reviewer; Team Leader


Annamarie most recently spent 3 years as President & CEO of an accredited multi-service agency, where she was the VP of QA prior to assuming the CEO position. She became an advocate and supporter of accreditation when she served as Executive Director of a post secondary education accrediting agency for 12 years. Annamarie is a dedicated peer reviewer who has participated in more have 40 on-site reviews.

Debra Schmidt, M.Ed.

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fort Wayne - South Bend, Inc.

Volunteer Roles: CC Reviewer; Commissioner; Endorser; Evaluator; Lead Endorser; Lead Evaluator; Military Reviewer; Peer Reviewer; Team Leader


Debbie Schmidt has worked with Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Ft Wayne South Bend in various positions since 1989. In 2002, she became the Executive Director. Debbie has been a reviewer for COA since 2002 and has volunteered in various other areas for COA. Her agency currently has 4 COA Peer Reviewers.

Edward French, MSW

United Way of Eastern Maine

Volunteer Roles: Peer Reviewer, Team Leader, Lead Endorser, Military Reviewer, Volunteer Advisory Committee


Ed retired as Vice President of Community Impact at United Way of Eastern Maine. Prior to that he held positions as a clinician and administrator for several organizations in Connecticut and Maine. Ed has been a COA reviewer since 2005, and has completed over 33 accreditation reviews. Ed was Peer Reviewer of the Month, July 2013.

John Schweitzer, MSW

Illinois DCFS: Northern, Woodstock Office

Volunteer Roles: Peer Reviewer


When John first heard about COA in the late 1990’s, he was eager to see his agency achieve accreditation as validation that Illinois was seeking the best possible outcomes for children and families. He began as a COA reviewer in 2002 and says he has learned a lot from the process and has met some very dedicated people.

Currently he is in the Division of Quality Assurance and Research for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). In previous roles with DCFS over the past 23 years, he has served as a caseworker, supervisor and program manager for Child Protection, Foster Care, and Preventative Services. He enjoys his work and continues to strive to see his agency do the best they can for children and families. He has been married for 27 years and has 4 children. John was Peer Reviewer of the Month, July 2013.

Audrey Coleman, RN-MSN

Mountain Youth Resources, Inc.

Volunteer Roles: Military Reviewer; Peer Reviewer; Team Leader


My first experience with COA was in 1999 with what was a NC Area Program. I started as a peer reviewer in 2005, doing two to four site visits a year. I am also a team leader and have recently been approved to be a military reviewer. My background is nursing and hospital accreditations. I have an extensive background in quality improvement and have had managed four hospitals as a regional QM director. In my current position I am a regional director for QI and training. When not at work I enjoy walks with my dog, being outside, sewing, church activities and singing with a community chorus.

Judy Kay, LCSW

Child Saving Institute, Inc.

Volunteer Roles: Peer Reviewer; Team Leader


In administration for 22 of 24 years at Child Saving Institute, a COA-accredited not-for-profit child welfare agency in Omaha, Nebraska.  Retired approximately two years ago, I moved to Tucson, Arizona, where I advocate for children's rights as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer to three young children.  This and my COA site visits keep me involved in the work I loved for so many years, but also give me the time to share special weekends with my two daughters and adorable grandson, and pursue my addictions to drawing and travel.  Life is good!

Mike Angstadt, M.A.

Twin Cedars Youth and Family Services, Inc.

Volunteer Roles: Commissioner; Hague Evaluator; Lead Evaluator; Peer Reviewer; Team Leader


Serving as a Team Leader for COA has been an enriching experience in many ways. Utilizing the Contextual Accreditation process to discern the means in which agencies, offering a variety of services, located throughout the US, Canada ,the Philippines and other countries provide best and most promising practices to their consumers has been particularly rewarding. In addition, collaborating with team members during the site visit has been meaningful. The travel, too, is enjoyable. Consider offering your time and talents as a Peer or Team Leader, your rewards will be bountiful!

Bonnie Bagley

Catholic Charities Maine

Volunteer Roles: Evaluator; Lead Evaluator; Peer Reviewer; Team Leader


I have found that being a COA Volunteer builds my professional skills and experience in ways that more traditional workshops do not. The opportunity to learn about best practices through the COA standards and then see how agencies implement them is truly a growth experience. Being a Team Leader challenges me to utilize my strengths to help make the COA process a positive experience for all involved. . It is humbling to share with other organizations the experiences that impact the lives of the families we serve. I enjoy the networking that comes from working with other Peer Reviewers and accredited agency staff.

Jane Bonk, Ph.D., LCSW

Volunteer Roles: Commissioner; Evaluator; Lead Evaluator; Peer Reviewer; Team Leader


Dr. Jane Bonk is a team leader, evaluator, and commissioner who has led over 25 site visits for COA.  She currently lives in Georgetown, Texas. Jane was Peer Reviewer of the Month, February 2013.

Anita Paukovits

The Children's Home of Easton

Volunteer Roles: Peer Reviewer


Being a COA peer reviewer has clearly played a role in my professional development and has made me a better administrator at my own agency as a result!  To be part of a professional network that is on the cutting edge of program, practice, fiscal responsibility, and insuring Best Practice across the field is an amazing opportunity.  I am honored to be part of this team and share in the experience that clearly has an impact on all the children, youth, adults, and families we all serve.  I am very proud to be a COA volunteer!

Harry Hunter, MSW, MBA, Ph.D.

Volunteer Roles: Peer Reviewer; Team Leader


Harry Hunter hails from Detroit, Michigan, and has been volunteering for COA since 2005, conducting five site visit reviews.  He specializes in EAP reviews and is a new team leader. Harry was Peer Reviewer of the Month, January 2013.

Nicole Deprez-Garrity, M.Ed.

Youth Development Specialist, US Army Installation Management Command Europe

Volunteer Roles: Endorser, Lead Endorser


Nicole Deprez-Garrity is a lead After School Endorser based in Germany.  She is employed by the US Army and specializes in Child, Youth, and School Services. Nicole was Peer Reviewer of the Month, February 2013.

Barry Gourley

Family Service Association of Lincoln

Volunteer Roles: Endorser; Peer Reviewer


It is an honor to be a COA volunteer. I’ve had a great opportunity to work with fabulous COA volunteers, I’ve grown professionally in the COA accreditation process and I’ve met some wonderful people across this nation who are working hard to help and support children and families.

Peter Andres

Communitas Supportive Care Society

Volunteer Roles: Endorser; Peer Reviewer


Being a COA volunteer has broadened my understanding of the many ways that services to adults and children can be provided, especially services that can be provided well. My experiences have taught me that people with disabilities are not served best with programs that are rich in funding, but where the people who provide services are "rich" in heart and who see their work more as vocation and less of a job.

Akia Phillips

SCO Family of Services

Volunteer Roles: Peer Reviewer


COA has allowed me the great opportunity to learn from, and volunteer with other great professionals from all over. It's been a pleasure to observe how other great organizations meet, and in many cases, excel the standards.

Karen Smith Rotabi, PhD, MSW, MPH

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work

Volunteer Roles: Commissioner; Endorser; Hague Evaluator; Lead Evaluator; Peer Reviewer


Volunteering for COA has been a great opportunity to grow as a professional as I reflect on practices and collaborate with other volunteers as we evaluate agencies. I always learn something new and I am frequently impressed by fellow volunteers who share their perspectives on standards of practice.

June Cairns

Volunteer Roles: Endorser; Peer Reviewer; Team Leader


Being a COA volunteer has taught me to be a better team member, explore ideas beyond a surface explanation, and grow in my professional knowledge base. I always learn something new about service delivery or administration and have been honored to deeply share in the lives of families and children touched by our service systems around the country. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything!

WHO IS ACCREDITED?

Private Organization Accreditation

Southeastern Regional Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services is a Local Management Entity, covering the geographic areas of Bladen, Columbus, Robeson, and Scotland counties. SER ensures continuity of care to consumers through access to a quality of care system available 24/7/365 days a year through management of our network provider services.
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VOLUNTEER TESTIMONIAL

Barry Gourley

Volunteer Roles: Endorser; Peer Reviewer

It is an honor to be a COA volunteer. I’ve had a great opportunity to work with fabulous COA volunteers, I’ve grown professionally in the COA accreditation process and I’ve met some wonderful people across this nation who are working hard to help and support children and families.
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