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Our Staff

Kim Newell, M.S.

Executive Director

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.

Lisa Mann, LMSW

Therapist/Support Group Coordinator

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.  

Teressa Elzey, BSW

Volunteer Coordinator/Victim Advocate/Educator

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.

Vicky Franks, LCSW

Victim Service Coordinator

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.

Ashton Thompson, MS, NCC, LPC

Therapist/Prevention Educator

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. 

Ashelie Blankenship, LMSW

Therapist/Prevention Educator/Health Equity Coordinator

Ashelie started with the Shafer Center in 2023. They received their bachelor's degree in social work at Southeastern Louisiana University in 2014 and completed their Master's degree in social work at Capella University in 2023. Ashelie helps ensure The Shafer Center's services are equitably accessed to underserved populations in the eleven counties that is served, provides therapeutic services to sexual assault victims, and helps with prevention education. 

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