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The Teen Court of Sarasota, Inc., Board of Directors recently announced the selection of Heather Todd as the new Executive Director. Ms. Todd succeeds Katie Self who had served as the Executive Director since 1988. An integral part of the organization for 16 years, Ms. Todd was a natural fit for the role.

For 28 years, Teen Court has served as a juvenile court alternative. A nonprofit organization, Teen Court also provides a range of educational and counseling services for juvenile clients, and is a source of law education for offenders and volunteers alike. Ms. Todd has been instrumental in expanding and targeting Teen Court's services to address the evolving needs of our clients and their families. She also served as events manager, teen court session facilitator, volunteer coordinator, and trainer for referring agencies and student volunteers. Ms. Todd looks forward to creating new opportunities to collaborate with community organizations as well as strengthen relationships with referring agencies.

"I have been fortunate to have worked with Teen Court for the past 16 years and I look forward to moving into my new role as Executive Director. It is an exciting time to start the next chapter with the young people, staff and Board of Directors as we continue our mission and develop new relationships in our community." Heather Todd, Executive Director

Ms. Todd has deep community ties and a successful track record in collaborating with the legal and law enforcement leaders throughout the county for the benefit of Sarasota's teens. Her education includes a Bachelor of Social Work and a Master of Social Work form the University of South Florida.


Lori came to Sarasota, Florida in 2002 from the state of Michigan where she received her Bachelor’s Degree from Oakland University.

In addition to Lori’s extensive experience related to accounting and financial responsibilities, she is a Licensed Health & Life Insurance Agent in the state of Florida, and a former certified substitute teacher for the Sarasota County School District.

She has been a dedicated volunteer to many local organizations including the United Cerebral Palsy of Southwest Florida, Children’s First Head Start Program, Loveland Center, Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, the Humane Society of Sarasota, the Bond of Love Adoption Agency, and the C.A.R.E. Foundation.

Lori Moran was appointed by the Governor of Florida as a Trustee for the State College of Florida Sarasota-Manatee, serving for over six years (two as Vice Chair).

Lori is a mom of two adult children and has been married to her husband, Mike, for 29 years.

Isven Chavez - NORTH Sarasota Client Coordinator

I was born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. I moved to Sarasota, Florida when I was 2 years old. I graduated from Booker High School in 2006. I was the first in my family to go to college and got my degree from State College of Florida.

In 2013, I was sponsored by the Sarasota Police Department to attend the Police Academy at Suncoast Technical College. I graduated with the 123rd Class in December 2013. I was a police officer with the Sarasota Police Department from 2013-2018. While at SPD I worked patrol, bike patrol, walking beat, and was a School Resource Officer at Brookside Middle School (my alma mater). During my time at SPD I was also involved with the community, assisting with youth programs to include Boots for Badges at the Boys and Girls Club in Newtown, and Teen Court’s Camp X-Ray’d program.

In 2018, I accepted a position with the newly started Sarasota County Schools Police Department. I held the position of School Resource Officer and was the SRO at Taylor Ranch Elementary in Venice, FL.

While being involved with youth programs and being a School Resource Officer, I found my passion; Helping the youth and just being a positive role model in their life. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family and traveling.

Sarah Harding - North County Client Coordinator

Sarah Harding is a native Sarasota resident, graduated from Pine View School for the Gifted and volunteered with Teen Court Sarasota throughout high school. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a minor in Professional and Technical Communications from the University of South Florida; Sarah graduated at the top of her class and is an active member in Phi Beta Kappa.

Alongside case management, Sarah is an expert in college and career advising. She has assisted Sarasota high schoolers in receiving admissions at institutions such as the State College of Florida, Suncoast Technical College, the University of South Florida, the University of Florida, Rollins College, the United States Military Academy at West Point, the United States Naval Academy, and Yale University.

Sarah believes in the power of an education and is a strong advocate for equity and access. She is confident that every student can receive a postsecondary education, hopes to empower them with access to resources, and values the power of positivity.

Sarah joined the Sarasota Teen Court team in 2023 as the Client Coordinator at Sarasota High School and McIntosh Middle School. In her free time, Sarah enjoys exercising, traveling, and volunteering to assist high schoolers with the college application process.


Born and raised in New Jersey, Kara always had ties to Florida through her family. In NJ, Kara earned a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and Psychology and later became a certified Exceptional Student Education teacher, specializing in meeting the diverse needs of students. 

Kara's professional journey took a meaningful turn when she joined the Youth Consultation Services. There, she worked several years with students on the autism spectrum, providing comprehensive and therapeutic services through this nonprofit behavioral health agency Years later, Kara contributed to the public school system in New Jersey, teaching middle school exceptional student education for 18 years.  

Relocating with her family to Sarasota, Kara transitioned into the Sarasota County School District, serving as a truancy worker collaborating with schools and families all over the county.  

Subsequently, Kara embraced a new opportunity at Teen Court as a Client Coordinator, where she continues with her passion for making a positive impact on young lives. 


Beyond her professional commitments, Kara enjoys embarking on new adventures with her husband and four children. 


Emily Savoca is a native Floridian and was raised in Sarasota. She graduated from Riverview High School in 2001 and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Presbyterian College. She is a proud Tennessee Volunteer and graduated with her Master’s Degree from The University of Tennessee in Child and Family Studies.

At the University of Tennessee, she studied family systems and attachment. Upon graduating, she returned to Sarasota to continue working with children and families in the non-profit sector. Emily began her career working as a Case Manager in the Foster Care System and soon discovered her passion for working with families in preventive services. She became a certified Circle of Security Trainer in 2016 and taught parenting classes for four years to families in Sarasota County.

Emily joined the Sarasota Teen Court team in January 2022 and is the Client Coordinator for Venice, Osprey, and Nokomis. She currently serves students at Venice High School, Venice Middle School, Laurel Nokomis School, and Pine View School.

In her spare time, Emily enjoys spending time with her husband of ten years and three young children.

Jenelle Beckford - SOUTH COUNTY CLIENT Coordinator

Jenelle is originally from Brooklyn, New York and relocated to Florida in the early 2000’s. After losing close friends to violence as a teenager she became passionate about working with youths to prevent youth violence. Jenelle graduated from Argosy University where she majored in Psychology and since then has dedicated most of her career to working with the younger population. Jenelle previously worked in a mental health/substance abuse facility, a moderate risk lockdown facility, the foster care system, as a juvenile probation officer and in the school system before joining the Teen Court team.

Jenelle is also currently working on building Empowered 4 LYFE where the mission is to empower youth to foster things like self-love and self-discipline within themselves as well as, educate youth on the juvenile system so they can achieve a more successful and productive life. Jenelle is passionate about assisting youth in believing in their infinite potential. She believes that if we can equip our youth with the right information and healthy coping techniques early on, it may promote a more positive outcome despite the barriers and encourage youth to empower other peers along the way. Jenelle enjoys spending time  with her family and friends, traveling, swimming and listening to many genres of music. Being a mother to her child and dog is her greatest blessing.

DEVIN EPPS, South County Client Coordinator

Devin Epps is originally from Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Devin moved to Lehigh Acres Florida at age 11. Devin graduated from Lehigh Senior High School in 2005; then immediately joined the United States Navy where he was stationed overseas in Japan. After serving in the military, Devin worked for the department of corrections (Hendry CI). Devin then continued his corrections career at Glades County Sheriff’s Office, where he was promoted to the rank of sergeant. While in corrections, Devin received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Hodges University.

After receiving his degree, Devin decided to further his career at Sarasota Police Department by becoming a police officer. While employed at Sarasota Police Department, Devin has worked such positions as patrol, foot patrol, and as a school resource officer for Sarasota High School.

Devin has also assisted with several youth programs to include the Boots for Badges Program at the Boys and Girls Club in Newtown, in addition to assisting with Teen Courts Camp X-Rayd Program.

Throughout Devin’s tenure at Sarasota Police Department he has been recognized for several awards/medals to include CO-sworn officer of the quarter award, Preservation of life award, distinguished service medal, and meritorious service medal. Devin’s greatest passions are helping the youth excel in life                                                                                      in addition to spending time with his family.


Naomi Gomez officially joined the Sarasota Teen Court staff in March 2022 as our Office Assistant. She started volunteering with Teen Court in 2014 and was the 2018 Jena Hellman recipient.

Naomi is a native Floridian, born and raised in Sarasota. She graduated from Sarasota Military Academy in 2018. She joined the Florida Army National Guard in 2020 where she is currently a Combat Medic. Naomi is a National Certified Emergency Medical Technician and is working on her National Certification for Medical Interpreting.

Naomi has previously worked with Girls Inc and helped run a soccer little league with her parents for underserved children in the Hispanic community. Naomi is now a proud mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Naomi enjoys spending time outdoors and traveling. She also values spending time with family. When she's not in the office, you can often find Naomi playing soccer, deep sea fishing, and learning about different cultures, history, and medicine.

Tonia Miller – Quality Assurance

Tonia Miller has grown up in the Sarasota/Bradenton area. She graduated from Southeast High School and received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of South Florida.

Tonia was working for a local accounting firm when she was introduced to Teen Court. In 2004, she ventured out on her own professionally to provide bookkeeping services to a variety of local businesses. She has worked with many small business owners and several non-profit organizations over the last 18 years. Tonia has been involved with Teen Court since 2002 in several different capacities: board member/assistant treasurer, bookkeeper, and now in quality assurance.

Tonia is married and lives with her husband and two daughters in Sarasota.

missy velez - bookkeeper

Missy Velez joined Teen Court of Sarasota, Inc. as the bookkeeper in May, 2020. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelors in Accounting and has worked in the accounting industry for 20 plus years. She has experience in governmental, public and private accounting.

Missy is a native Floridian, born and raised in Manatee County. She currently resides in Manatee County with her husband Jason and her two children.

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