Meet the NJAPA Board
Connie Ducaine, NJAPA President, has been a mental health professional for more than a decade. Ducaine has a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision, is a Clinical Supervisor, a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor, and a Licensed Professional Counselor. Through her clinical work, Ducaine has witnessed the benefits of client engagement using Motivational Interviewing and Reality Therapy. She is recognized as a visionary leader and trusted advisor with long-term executive relationships focused on providing support and programming for health plans, counselor educators, and supervisors in the state of NJ. She is a Past President of the New Jersey Counseling Association. Ducaine is currently the Senior Vice President of Strategic Solutions at Vital Decisions and started her career with the organization 10 years ago working directly with health plan members who were approaching end of life. Over her tenure with the company, she has held positions in implementations, clinical account management, account management, and business development.
Michael L. Williams Jr., CADC, CRPS, NJAPA Regional Director, is the Founder/President of Minor Adjustments Group Inc. and a 10-time published author. He is one of the most sought-after motivational speakers, ministers, and teachers when it comes to recovering from substance use disorder and criminal lifestyles. Williams himself has been through the struggle of recovering from substance use disorder and with his exceptional speeches and the inspirational journey he has the evidence of individuals he has helped to bring extraordinary changes in their life. His teaching and words of wisdom empower people to take the tough, yet rewarding, route to recovery. As many describe, his style of teaching touches the hearts and souls accrediting his personal experience and convincing skills.
Lisa Ellis, NJAPA Treasurer, is a Clinical Specialist in the same department where she found success early in her career. She graduated from Montclair State University with a Master’s Degree in Counseling with a focus on Addiction and is licensed as a Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC) and an Associate Counselor (LAC) in the state of New Jersey. Ellis has worked in various levels of care, treating an array of clients with a special focus on co-occurring clients. She has worked in detox, short-term residential treatment, outpatient services, and referral agencies. Ellis is an advocate for the de-stigmatization of substance use disorders, process/behavioral disorders, and mental health disorders.
Rose Marie, NJAPA Secretary, has worked in the field of substance use disorder treatment for over 30 years. She has worked in OP, IOP, Short-term Residential treatment. She has also worked as a Student Assistance Counselor and has taught graduate level counseling courses. Marie currently works as the Clinical Director of the COPE Center – a Division of Oaks Integrated Care in Montclair, NJ. She was recently appointed to the state PAC. Rose has been an active member of NAADAC for many years and was a Commissioner for NCC AP for 10 years. She is currently chair of the NAADAC Ethics Committee. She is excited to be part of the formation of the New Jersey affiliate.
Sandy Gibson, PhD, LCSW, LCADC is a Professor with The College of New Jersey. She received her masters and PhD from the University of Maryland with a specialization in addictions. She worked as an addiction counselor for six year in Alexandria, Virginia before completing her PhD in social work and becoming a Study Director at a research institute at Temple University for seven years. There she developed and evaluated addiction prevention and treatment programming, including a Center for Substance Abuse Prevention model program Across Ages.
In 2010 she became faculty at TCNJ in the Department of Counselor Education where she teaches addiction counseling, research and statistics, measurement and evaluation and practicum/internship. She also received a grant to provide recovery support for students and promote environmental change strategies on campus. During her tenure at TCNJ, she received a contract from Mercer County to become director of the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center and recently developed a new curriculum that is now used statewide. She is now contracted to draft a new curriculum to bring harm reduction strategies into NJ OORP and IRTS programs. Dr. Gibson now works actively to promote harm reduction and promote a shift away from a criminal justice approach to drug use towards one of public health that centers on the decriminalization of drug use. She is also a practicing addiction counselor (25+ years), her private practice, Crossing Wellness, focuses on harm reduction psychotherapy.
Kathleen Dennis, Clinical Issues Committee Chair, has a master’s degree in Counseling with an emphasis on Addiction Counseling. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC) and has worked in the field of substance abuse and disorders for 25 years, primarily serving underserved and indigent clients. Dennis has worked in numerous levels of care, including outpatient, intensive outpatient, short and long term residential, and detox, as both a primary counselor and clinical supervisor. Dennis works from the perspective that strengthening counselors’ skills results in better client care, and ultimately an improved system of care. Dennis is credentialed as an Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS) and a Certified Clinical Supervisor (CCS). Currently working in private practice, Dennis provides individual counseling and supervision services. She holds designations as a Master’s Addiction Counselor (MAC), a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP), and is a Certified Grief Educator.
Dr. Tiffany M. Jenkins, NJAPA CE Committee Chair, is the founder of Awakening Change Counseling Services, LLC, located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. She earned a Bachelors in Psychiatric Rehabilitation before completing her graduate studies in Addictions Science and Professional Counseling and a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership with a Behavioral Health concentration. As a licensed therapist, Dr. Jenkins’ work centers around individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, and/or substance use. She blends Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Enhancement Therapy to create safe spaces for clients to share, learn, and grow. When not in the therapist’s seat, Dr. Jenkins enjoys working with supervisors and managers to improve leadership outcomes through her innovative coaching curriculum. Awakening Change is also an accredited continuing education provider and Dr. Jenkins enjoys creating workshops and training programs to help clinicians to develop their skills.
Carlita Singletary, NJAPA Peer Recovery Support Liaison, is a person of long-term recovery with over 29 years of abstinence. She has helped pave the way in the recovery community and more. Her social service skills and outreach experience have helped countless of others seeking recovery to find their own pathway and maintain a healthier lifestyle for themselves and families. She has been involved in various levels of service and has demonstrated those efforts through her community service acknowledgements since 1997. She has been the recipient of many awards. Most recently, in October 2019, she was the recipient of the “Outstanding Community Service Award” by Mercer County Women of Community and the State of New Jersey.
Ken Litwak is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC) with additional certifications in gambling (ICGC-II), trauma (CCTP), and psychological first aid (DRCC). Litwak was the first person awarded the International Gaming Disorder Certificate (IGDC). He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Management from City University of Seattle, a Master of Science in Professional Counseling specializing in Addiction Counseling from Grand Canyon University, and is pursuing a PhD in Psychology from Northcentral University in California. Litwak has presented workshops and trainings at a variety of events and conferences nationally and in his home state of New Jersey, and he is a U.S. Navy Veteran who has circumnavigated the Earth twice.
Ruth Jean-Marie, MBA/PA, LCADC, CCS, is a proven leader with over 20 years of experience in the Human Services field. She currently serves as the Chief Administrator Officer at Avatar where she provides administrative oversight of the facility, ensuring efficient and effective operations while meeting business goals. Her motivation in life, under her leadership, is to see lives restored.
She lives by this quote by the late Maya Angelo: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
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