Leadership Team

Lisa Thurau

Executive Director

In 2004, Lisa initiated a training with 180 officers in the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) Transit Police to improve police/youth interactions, to increase officers’ skills in working with youth, and to support officers’ development of innovative approaches to policing large groups of teens in public transit areas. Full bio »

Contact Lisa at:

David Walker

Training Director

In his role as COO/Training Director, David manages the day-to-day operations of Strategies for Youth while also leading the Policing the Teen Brain program efforts. In addition to his law enforcement experience, David has global business development experience in the for-profit world. Full bio »

Contact David at: dw@strategiesforyouth.org

Kristen Wheeler

Staff Attorney

As Staff Attorney, Kristen leads the Juvenile Justice Jeopardy game development and implementation, and also coordinates the Youth Policies Initiative. She brings her experience and perspective as a public defender and trial attorney to SFY’s work. Full bio »

Contact Kristen at:

Program Staff

Arlene Bryer

Director of development

Arlene grew up in Montreal, Canada and has a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing from Concordia University, and a MBA in International Studies from Temple University. She began her career in the non-profit world after moving to Boston in 1997. Arlene has worked for several nonprofits,  including Boston’s Morgan Memorial Goodwill, where she served as a Job Development Manager. Full bio »

Contact Arlene at:

Amina Scott

Consulting Accountant

Boston native Amina, received her B.S. in accounting at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She is currently pursuing her Certified Financial Planner (CFP) accreditation through Boston University. Amina has held the role of Controller, Grants and Finance Manager, and Director of Finance for multiple nonprofits throughout Massachusetts. Amina has served the greater mission of the nonprofit world by providing financial direction and strategy for grassroots organizations. Full bio »

Contact Amina at:

Johanna Wald

Communications and Policy Specialist

Johanna Wald is a writer and researcher who has written and presented extensively about issues related to criminal and juvenile justice reform, educational equity, and implicit bias. Full bio »

Contact Johanna at:

Samantha Fontanez

Program Administrator

Born and raised in Cambridge, MA, Samantha has a B.A. in Psychology from UMass Boston. Samantha previously worked as an After School Program Director. Prior to that, she held a several positions focusing on providing accessible and equitable programming for young people in and around the City of Cambridge. At SFY, Samantha handles administrative functions and manages the annual Youth Voices Contest. On the weekends, you can find Samantha at a local Plant shop.

Contact Samantha at:

Law Enforcement Consultants

Jim Golden

Police Training

Jim Golden has worked in law enforcement for more than 40 years. As a partner of the ADG Law Enforcement Training Group, LLP,  Jim currently provides advice to communities and police departments seeking to build trust and strengthen the relationship between police officers and the citizens they are sworn to serve and protect. Full bio »

Shane Gardner

Police Training

Shane worked as a Patrol Officer and Narcotics Detective before being promoted to Sergeant. He has also served as the Community Outreach Sergeant supervising five School Resource Officers from four different school districts. Shane is currently the Director of Safety and Security for a public school district in Southwest Washington, with an enrollment of over 26,000. Full bio »

Brian Lowe

Police Training

Brian Lowe has over 20 years law enforcement experience serving the City of West Lafayette, IN and the Tippecanoe County Indiana Sheriff’s Office, where he is currently assigned as a Lieutenant in Patrol. Full bio »

Heidi Pihl-Buckley

Heidi Pihl-Buckley has worked in the juvenile justice field for over 30 years. Heidi has extensive experience in direct service work with youth. She spent 8 years as a Shift Administrator at a secure detention unit for girls and has worked in the majority of programs for boys as a member of an On-Call Team. In these roles she collaborated to ensure the safety and security of both the youth and staff members.

Full bio »

Psychologist Consultants

Dr. Jeffrey Aaron

Training Consultant

Jeffrey Aaron, Ph.D. is a clinical and forensic psychologist. Currently the Juvenile Justice and Behavioral Health Program Manager for the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services, he previously spent almost 18 years at the Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents (CCCA), Virginia’s only public psychiatric hospital for children and adolescents. Full bio »

Dr. Matthew Aalsma

Training Consultant

Matthew Aalsma, PhD, is a Professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Director of the Adolescent Health Research Program. He is a child and forensic psychologist with over 20 years of experience conducting research, clinical work, and teaching focused on adolescent health behavior. Full bio »

Dr. Jeff Q. Bostic

Training Consultant

Jeff Bostic, MD, EdD, is a member of the child psychiatry faculty at Georgetown University Hospital, active in the intake clinic, DC MAP consultation program to primary care clinicians, and consultation to local DC schools. He remains affiliated with Harvard/Mass General Hospital, where he was the Director of School Psychiatry from 1997-2016. Full bio »



Short bio. Full bio »

Dr. Brittany Parham

Training Consultant

Dr. Parham is an Assistant Professor with the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), and is a faculty member with the national Center for School Mental Health at UMSOM. 
Full bio »

Dr. Linda Watt

Training Consultant

Linda Watt PhD is a licensed psychologist specializing in treatment of adolescents. She received both her Bachelor of Arts degree and Masters in Psychology from Boston College. Full bio »



Short bio. Full bio »

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