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.
As the vice president, 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.
As the vice president, 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.
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.
Dr. Zaria Davis
Senior Associate, Innovation & Impact
Dr. Zaria Davis began her career in social work over 20 years ago with experience in mental health and social services in various settings. She has also worked in K-12, higher education, and out-of-school time settings. Zaria served as Executive Director for a local nonprofit in Lincoln Heights, OH for two years, working to move families towards self-sufficiency. In addition, Zaria has worked with various initiatives to support higher education access for those currently and formerly incarcerated. She is passionate in her community advocacy in the areas of pre- and post-incarceration reform.
A graduate of Wilberforce University, Zaria holds a bachelor of the arts in sociology. She obtained her master of social work degree from the University of Cincinnati and doctor of social work degree from Capella University. Zaria is a participatory action researcher and believes that those who are an active part of the community are the voices that lead to change. She is a 2019 Leading with Conviction Fellow with JustLeadershipUSA, and a board member of Dress for Success Cincinnati and the Robert O'Neal Multicultural Art Center (ROMAC).
Her interests include mentoring, social justice, and coaching individuals in their life journey. She enjoys spending time with family, traveling, sci fi, and the arts. Zaria continues to support reentry efforts for women returning home from incarceration and children impacted by mass incarceration.
Director of Impact
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
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.