Cherise Fanno Burdeen
Chief Executive Officer
Cherise Fanno Burdeen, PJI’s CEO, has spent more than 20 years working to improve public safety policies and practices across the country. After earning a bachelor’s in public administration from Miami University (Ohio) and a master’s in criminal justice from Indiana University, she began her career with the DOJ's National Institute of Justice. After fieldwork that included time with the Safer Foundation in Chicago and post-9/11 federal service with the Department of Homeland Security, Cherise joined PJI.
Since 2006, Cherise has developed innovative strategies to raise awareness of pretrial justice issues, amassed a broad constituency of criminal justice stakeholder groups, provided technical assistance and training on policy reforms, and engaged in communications and media efforts. She has extensive experience with strategic planning, initiative management, and change efforts across the criminal justice system. She serves as an issue expert for legal and correctional professionals, national and community advocates, the media, influencers, and artists.
Vice President, Innovation & Impact
As the vice president of innovation and impact, Meghan Guevara leads PJI’s learning communities and technical assistance efforts. She has spent nearly 20 years providing training and professional development to criminal justice and human services professionals who seek to advance their work using the latest research and to improve outcomes for individuals and communities.
For the past decade, Meghan has focused on local- and state-level systems change and has also worked extensively at the county level to build collaborative, data-driven justice systems. Meghan began her career as a health educator working with youth in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. She received a Master of Public Health degree in social and behavioral sciences from Boston University.
Vice President, Mission Support Services
As the vice president of mission support services, Tenille Patterson is responsible for and oversees the activities and processes that provide core mission support to PJI. Tenille's accounting career began 16 years ago when she worked as an auditor for the global professional services firm PwC. To align her professional aspirations with her spirit of advocacy and social justice, Tenille transitioned into the nonprofit field, working with and for organizations serving the most underserved and disenfranchised.
In her most recent nonprofit leadership experience, Tenille served as chief operating officer of the Center for Urban Families, a human services organization dedicated to supporting fathers and families suffering from the effects of systemic and institutional inequality. Tenille has a bachelor of science degree in accounting from Morgan State University and is a certified public accountant.
Manager, Outreach & Engagement
Dianne Beer-Maxwell, who comes from a law enforcement family, has built her career around evidence-based public safety and criminal justice system practices. As PJI’s outreach and engagement manager, Dianne applies her skills to building relationships and creating fun spaces and experiences conducive to sharing and learning.
Previously, Dianne provided training, resources, and policy guidance to public safety leaders throughout the country as a program manager for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). Dianne also managed IACP’s Pretrial Justice Reform Initiative; her accomplishments included raising awareness and engaging law enforcement leaders in pretrial reform through the Pretrial Justice Champions Group and helping the IACP earn the Partner Award from the National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies. Dianne holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration/marketing and a bachelor of arts in anthropology from Colorado State University, as well as a master’s in applied anthropology from the University of Maryland.
Manager, Grants, Contracts & Events
Senior Manager, Technical Assistance
John Clark is a Senior Manager for Technical Assistance at the Pretrial Justice Institute (PJI). In over thirty years at PJI, John has provided technical assistance to thousands of entities around the country on implementing evidence-based pretrial justice practices. He has authored numerous articles relating to pretrial justice in such publications as: the American Bar Association’s The Improvement of the Administration of Justiceseries; The Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice;the Journal of Court Innovation; and Judicature.
He began his career in the pretrial justice field in the 1970s as a pretrial services officer in the District of Columbia. He has a Master’s Degree in the Administration of Justice from American University. He is the recipient of the Ennis J. Olgiati Award from the National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies for lifetime commitment to pretrial justice.
Manager, Technical Assistance
Sue Ferrere lives and works in Evergreen, Colo. As the technical assistance manager, Sue helps communities improve the outcomes and fairness of their pretrial justice systems. Before joining PJI, Sue was a criminal justice planner in Jefferson County, Colo., and was instrumental in developing the Colorado Improving Supervised Pretrial Release project, a 10-county effort that was the predecessor of the CPAT (Colorado Pretrial Assessment Tool).
Sue, who also specializes in developing coordinated justice system responses to individuals with behavioral health challenges, helped start the Jefferson County Recovery Court. In a previous life, Sue was a renewable energy scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo. Sue especially enjoys the fusion of law and science necessary to transform our pretrial justice system.
Senior Specialist, Communications
Manager, Learning Innovations
Beth Oprisch has worked in the juvenile justice field for more than 28 years. In her role as PJI’s learning innovations manager, Beth carries out the work of the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) through in-person events, by providing technical assistance, and by overseeing JDAI’s online community platform, JDAIconnect.
Before coming to PJI, Beth was the state JDAI coordinator for Ohio. She is a former superintendent at the Indian River Juvenile Correctional Facility and former executive director for the Belmont Harrison District. She is a past president of the Ohio Juvenile Detention Directors Association and former chair of the Disproportionate Minority Contact Committee of the Governor’s Council for Juvenile Justice. Beth served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Sierra Leone, West Africa. She has a bachelor of science in social work from Bowling Green State University and a master of arts in counseling from West Virginia University.
Associate, Research & Communications
In her role as a community manager with PJI, Toni Shoola focuses on community engagement and provides technical assistance and training to entities around the country on implementing evidence-based pretrial justice practices. Toni began her nonprofit career by providing direct service to low- income individuals in her community. Most recently, she assisted hundreds of nonprofit organizations in capacity building, professional development, and program evaluation through technical assistance, workshops and additional resources.A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Toni holds a bachelor of arts in international studies and a master of public administration. During her studies, she focused primarily on social justice issues in sub-Saharan Africa and is a published author on the topic. Additionally, she earned her green belt in Lean Six Sigma in 2017 from Owens-Illinois.
Her special interests include, social justice, racial and gender equity, investing in others, and making the world a better place. When she is not working or volunteering, Toni enjoys playing board games, spending time with her friends, family and pets, and exploring her artistic side.
Specialist, Mission Support
Manager, Technology Innovation
Anne VanDercook serves as PJI’s accounting manager. Before joining PJI, she had 16 years of experience in accounting, 10 of them in the nonprofit arena. Throughout her career, Anne has managed the administration of grants and contracts at all levels of government, as well as grants and contracts from private foundations. Her primary responsibilities at PJI are managing the day-to-day finance and accounting operations and serving the Mission Support Services team as needed.
Manager, Learning Community
Auri Whitaker serves as Learning Community Manager at PJI. She focuses on community engagement, strategy, and data analytics. Auri is a native of Los Angeles, California who received her degree in psychology with an emphasis in research methodology from Hampton University. Prior to joining PJI, she worked extensively in education policy focusing heavily on restorative justice practices and strategies for overhauling the school-to-prison pipeline. She also directly served students from marginalized communities in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, as a behavior therapist and community interventionist. Additionally, she conducted social science research in collaboration with Children Defense Fund, private research firms and school districts. She believes that intentional collaboration outperforms individual intelligence; and together we can accomplish our goals with innovation, style, and enthusiasm. In her free time, Auri enjoys dancing salsa, practicing mindfulness, and attending comedy shows.