Board Member Bio’s

John P. Cocco, MSW LCSW has worked in mental health and substance use disorders since 2007. He originally joined Step Up in 2011 as the case manager for the re-entry services program. He received his Master of Social Work in 2014, specializing in mental health and substance use disorders. He left Step Up in that same year to begin his doctoral education in social work. He completed his coursework and returned to Step Up in 2017. He is an active member of the Marion County Reentry Coalition and is a CSWE fellow.

Dr. Stacey Hardy-Chandler served as the Director of Field Education for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Social Work for nearly 13 years. She developed the curriculum for UNLV’s forensic social work certificate program, which she also coordinated from 2005 to 2011. In 2011, she joined the faculty at George Mason University and later transitioned to Fairfax County. She is a past-president of the National Organization of Forensic Social Work and currently serves on the NOFSW Executive Board. She has also served on the Executive Advisory Council of the National Staff Development and Training Association (an affiliate of the American Public Human Services Association).  She proudly serves her local community as an appointee to the Commission for Women for the City of Fairfax (Virginia), and as an active member of the Fairfax Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Stacey is the recipient of numerous honors including National Association of Social Workers – Nevada “Social Worker of the Year”; Dean’s Honor Award for Service (University of Nevada Las Vegas, Boyd School of Law); and Innovation Award (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) for development the “Advanced Graduate Certificate in Forensic Social work”.
Dr. Hardy-Chandler’s current role is as the Director of the Center for Children and Families for the Alexandria, VA Department of Community and Human Services, and as the President and CEO of LEADS: Leadership Excellence & Adaptive Development Solutions, LLC providing transformative, individualized human services consulting. Her self-prescribed job description is simple: “to cultivate a culture of learning and to be a catalyst for individual and systemic and social change”.

Susan McCarter, PhD, MS, MSW, is an Associate Professor of Social Work at UNC Charlotte. Dr. McCarter’s career began as a juvenile probation officer, inner-city mental health counselor, and policy analyst and advocate in Virginia where she earned her MSW (Clinical) and her PhD (Social Policy and Social Work).  For over 20 years she has conducted research as a Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Scholar (now Racial and Ethnic Disparities (RED)) and forensic practitioner. Nationally, Dr. McCarter serves as the Vice-President of the National Organization of Forensic Social Work and Chair of the Society of Social Work and Research’s Criminal and Juvenile Justice Track/Interest Group.  Regionally, she serves on both the NC DMC Subcommittee (Co-Chair), the Charlotte Racial Justice Consortium (UNC Charlotte, Johnson C. Smith, and Queens University) (Co-Chair), and on the leadership team for Race Matters for Juvenile Justice (Data Chair).  With RMJJ, Dr. McCarter conducted Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s First Racial Equity Impact Analysis and she currently leads multiple funded research studies examining the School-to-Prison Pipeline (STPP), Juvenile Diversion, and Racial Equity.

David McLeod, PhD, MSW has spent the past two decades working to actively reduce violence, particularly that directed at people and communities with diminished capacities for self-protection. In addition to being an Associate Professor in the SSW he holds affiliate faculty status with the OU Department of Women’s and Gender Studies and the OU Center for Social Justice, and is the Director of the OU Knee Center for Strong Families. A former police detective who transitioned to become a forensic social worker, David has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in programs of social work, criminal justice, and preparing future faculty. His research is focused on the intersection of criminal behavior development, gender, and trauma. Some of David’s current professional activities include investigations of forensic psychopathology and differential criminal behavior development, female sexual offending, female incarceration, child sexual abuse, forensic social work, intra-professional and multidisciplinary collaboration, domestic and relational violence, and social work education. David is a board member of the National Organization of Forensic Social Work, the Co-Chair of the Oklahoma Children of Incarcerated Parents Advisory Committee to the Legislature and is currently working on multiple funded research projects. His most recent publications include works on female sexual offending, trauma, domestic violence, and social work education. He has won numerous teaching, service, and research honors and is a four-time recipient of the Ann and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work “Professor of the Year” award.

Valarie Mitchell earned a Master of Social Work degree from New Mexico Highlands University in 2003.  Upon graduation she relocated to Seattle, Washington where she worked as a case manager and sexual behavior therapist at Ryther Child Center, a residential treatment center for children ages 5 to 14 years old.  Additionally, Ms. Mitchell worked in private practice as an Affiliate Certified Sex Offender Treatment Provider, under the supervision of Timothy Kahn, providing specialized treatment services and forensic evaluations to the court.  She began her work as a Mitigation Specialist with King County Department of Public Defense in 2007.  She works primarily in the Juvenile Offender Unit and has extensive experience working with juveniles charged as adults.  She also works with young adults ages 18-24 years old in both felony, misdemeanor and civil courts.  She has been a member of NOFSW since 2008 and has held multiple board positions since 2010. 

Dana E. Prescott has been licensed to practice in Maine and Massachusetts since 1983 and is a partner with Prescott, Jamieson, & Murphy Law Group LLC, Saco, Maine. He is a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Attorneys and the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. He was awarded an MSW from Boston College and PhD in social work from Simmons College. Dr. Prescott holds an instructor appointment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and is adjunct faculty at Boston College School of Social Work. He is a frequent consultant, writer, and speaker on professional ethics and policy related to expert and forensic roles, family law and practice, and judicial systems. He is a rostered guardian ad litem and currently serves as Chair of Maine’s GAL Review Board.

Viola Vaughan-Eden, PhD, MSW, MJ is a clinical and forensic social worker, who serves as a consultant and expert witness in child maltreatment cases – principally sexual abuse.  Throughout her 30 year career, she has conducted more than 2500 child abuse evaluations and provided expert testimony more than 600 times.  She is Associate Professor and PhD Program Director with The Ethelyn R. Strong School of Social Work at Norfolk State University. Dr. Vaughan-Eden is President of the National Organization of Forensic Social Work, President of the National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence and President Emerita of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. She lectures nationally and internationally on child and family welfare to multidisciplinary groups of professionals.  She has authored several child abuse related articles and was co-editor of the 2012 APSAC Practice Guidelines: Forensic Interviewing in Cases of Suspected Child Abuse. Viola was an invited panelist on two Congressional Briefings – Spare the Rod, Protect the Child: A Reconsideration of Corporal Punishment of Children in Homes and Schools (November 2015) and Protecting Child Safety in Family Court (September 2016). She serves as Editorial Advisor for the Journal of Social Work Education and on the board of several research journals.  Viola is the recipient of several honors including as a 2019 Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) Leadership Scholar and the 2012 NASW – Virginia Chapter Lifetime Achievement.