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Our Staff

Executive Director

Kim Newell, M.S.

Ms. Kim has been with The Shafer Center since 1991. Before she started with us, she got her master’s degree in counseling psychology from USM in 1986. Ms. Kim is an integral part of The Shafer Center and helps keep our agency running.

Counselor/Support Group Coordinator

Lisa Mann, LMSW

Lisa got her bachelor’s in social work in 2000 and returned to get her Masters in social work in 2014, both obtained at USM. She started at the Shafer Center in 2000 and stayed for ten years before transitioning to another job. She didn’t stay away too long, though, because she came in 2019, where she became an integral part of the Homicide Survivors division of our agency, seeing individual clients and running support groups for homicide and sexual assault survivors.  

Volunteer Coordinator/Victim Advocate/Educator

Teressa Elzey, BSW

Teressa has been with the Shafer Center since 2011. She obtained her bachelor's degree in social work from USM. Been to an event where the Shafer Center was featured? You more than likely have seen Teressa behind the table, as she enjoys interacting with people and learning about their stories, and promoting services that the Shafer Center offers in rural areas outside of Lamar and Forrest County. She is also our Volunteer Coordinator.

Victim Service Coordinator

Vicky Franks, LCSW

Ms. Vicky has been with The Shafer Center for over 20 years. She graduated with her master’s in social work from USM in 2002 and began at The Shafer Center that same year. She is the supervisor for the staffed counselors and our victim coordinator.

Counselor/Prevention Educator

Ashton Thompson, M.S., PLPC

Ashton has been with the Shafer Center since 2014. Her educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in criminal justice from USM, as well as a degree in counseling psychology from William Carey University. Ashton is one of our therapists that is here to support you in your time of healing. 

Health Equity Coordinator

Ashelie Blankenship, BSW

Ashelie started with the Shafer Center in 2023. She received her bachelor's degree in social work at Southeastern Louisiana University in 2014 and is currently working on her Master's degree in social work at Capella University. Ashelie helps to get our services to underserved populations in the eleven counties we serve and helps with the prevention of sexual assault 

The Shafer Center is hiring!

We are currently searching for a full-time Counselor/Victim Advocate to work with survivors of sexual violence and co-victims of homicide. An LMSW, LPC, or LMFT is required for this position.

For more information and a complete job description, contact our Executive Director, Kimberly Newell, at


To apply, please send a letter of application and resume to Kimberly Newell at the email above.

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