We’re Passionate About Protecting the Educational Rights of Students and Families Across Michigan
Peri Stone-Palmquist, LMSW, MPP
Peri has been Executive Director of the Student Advocacy Center since 2012. An active advocate for children and youth since 2005, Peri is a statewide expert in school discipline and the educational rights of homeless children and youth. Previously, she led Washtenaw County’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Education project, served as the Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at the Michigan Association for Children with Emotional Disorders and was a journalist for many years. She has been trained and certified as a trauma specialist, and she implemented Check & Connect, a nationwide, evidence-based education mentoring model. She holds a master’s degree in social work and public policy.
Jacorey Brown, BSW
Check & Connect Mentor
Jacorey came to Student Advocacy Center in 2018, while in the last few months of obtaining his Bachelor of Social Work from Eastern Michigan University. Jacorey has gained experience interning with the Adolescent Diversion Program at the Washtenaw County Court, mentoring youth who have committed first time offenses. Jacorey is a strong advocate for education, helping youth understand their educational rights as students and obtain goals they’ve set for themselves throughout the academic school year.
Angelina Camilleri, MSW, MA
Angelina joined the Student Advocacy Center in 2020. She has a bachelor’s in anthropology and gender studies with a focus in social justice from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Angelina earned two master’s degrees from the University of Michigan, in social work and educational studies, and she is certified in trauma-informed practice. In her career, she has focused on working with children, youth and families who have experienced trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). She has also worked with students to build social-emotional skills to bring to their daily lives and into education, particularly through arts-based learning. She has a passion for advocating for students’ rights and needs and working with students to develop the skills they need to succeed in school and beyond.
Larry Cantlin, BS ED, MA Spec Ed
Larry’s career as a teacher spanned 36 years, with the past 29 years as a special education teacher in Jackson, Michigan. Larry is a certified as a science teacher for grades 7-12 and as a special education teacher for grades K-12. Larry is also certified to teach social studies, mathematics and elementary education.
Check and Connect Mentor
Al attended Central Michigan University and graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Arts. Most recently he completed his graduate certificate from Pennsylvania State University with a focus in community and economic development. He came to the Student Advocacy Center in 2018 after working for nonprofit organizations in both Michigan and Pennsylvania. Through his experience, Al facilitated a variety of school-based programs in the field of youth development. During his off-hours, Al enjoys playing video games, practicing jiujitsu and watching sports.
Danielle Flint, LMSW, SSW
Danielle is a former child welfare worker, with experience in foster care, adoption and family preservation. Danielle’s commitment to trauma-focused, culturally-responsive and youth-driven social justice work brought her to Student Advocacy Center in February 2014. Danielle graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Master of Social Work, with a focus on children and families, and a school social work certification. Danielle has been a lifelong advocate for people living with disabilities and followed her passion to the field of social work nearly 10 years ago.
Check & Connect Mentor
Myron has made a career of teaching and mentoring youth, primarily through public education and the arts, and joined us in 2019 as a Check & Connect Mentor. He graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor of Arts and California College of Arts with a Master of Fine Arts. When he isn’t teaching or mentoring, he enjoys reading nonfiction, listening to music and playing chess.
Tina Jurries, LLMSW
Tina became a Programs Manager, overseeing Check & Connect and Youth Action Michigan, in September 2019. She started at the Student Advocacy Center in November 2017 as our Education Advocate for Court-Involved Youth. She serves on the federal review team for JBS International and the Children’s Bureau for National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD). Tina served on the board of our Student Rights Project at University of Michigan, where she earned her Master of Social Work. Tina earned her Bachelor of Social Work at University of Kansas, where she was a research assistant for the Kansas Serves Substance-Affected Families Project. Tina served on the Kansas Youth Advisory Council for six years, serving as president for two of those years. In that role, she helped to advocate for the rights of youth in care and supported work on Senate Bill 23, which established specific graduation requirements for youth in care. She helped to write a bill of rights for youth in care, presented to the Kansas Governor’s Conference and represented Kansas in Washington, D.C., several times.
LaKeya Martin, BS
LaKeya started working with Student Advocacy Center in March 2019. She has been dedicated in working with children and families to create positive change for 19 years. LaKeya has been an education advocate for 14 years and is currently the Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) Chairperson for Southfield Public Schools. She is a parent of a child with autism.
Ben Murphy-Smith, JD
Ben joined the Student Advocacy Center in 2018. Previously, Ben worked for the Ypsilanti Community Schools district both as an administrator and an elementary school librarian. He also has worked with the Bright Futures after-school program in Ypsilanti. Ben is an attorney who taught middle school social studies and coached debate in Baltimore. Ben has a bachelor’s in political science from Concordia University in Montreal and a law degree from Vermont Law School.
Fund Development Director
Melanie joined the Student Advocacy Center in 2021, after working as a consultant for corporate social responsibility and nonprofit management clients in the greater Metropolitan Detroit area. She has a master’s in philanthropic studies and a certificate in nonprofit management from Indiana University. The majority of her career was in the corporate sector and working in the financial services industry. In her last position as V.P. National Civic Affairs Manager at Comerica Bank, she oversaw relationship management with nonprofit, foundation and civic partners; volunteerism and financial literacy programs. Melanie also worked in the pharmaceutical industry as a marketing consultant for Eli Lilly & Company’s philanthropic patient assistance programs and patient privacy compliance. While in the corporate sector, Melanie earned an Advanced Management Corporate Community Involvement designation from Boston College. She is a graduate of Leadership Detroit Class XIV and New Detroit’s Multicultural Leadership Program. She served as president of United Way of Southeast Michigan’s Corporate Volunteer Council, relaunching the council after a several-year hiatus and is a founding committee member of Money Smart Week. She was also an inaugural honoree of Who’s Who in Black Detroit, has received many civic awards, and continues to serve on boards and committees of nonprofit organizations in greater Detroit. Melanie is an ardent social justice advocate. Her mantra is, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Jenna Pickman, LMSW, SSW
Jenna’s passion for education and advocating for at-risk youth is what brought her to the Student Advocacy Center in 2018. She has a bachelor’s degree in comparative cultures and politics from Michigan State University. Jenna received her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan in 2018 with a focus on children, youth and families, and a school social work certification.
Shakel Raiford, MaEd.
Shakel started at the Student Advocacy Center in November 2017. Shakel is a former child welfare worker who also has experience working in mental health and multiple education programs. Shakel’s passion is advocating for the educational and academic rights of at-risk youth. Shakel has a bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Florida and a master’s in educational psychology from Eastern Michigan University.
Brianna Slavens, BS
Brianna joined Student Advocacy Center in 2019. She formerly worked for Washtenaw Community College, Dawn Farm and Pittsfield Charter Township as an administrative assistant. She graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Criminology from Eastern Michigan University in 2018 and is pursuing her graduate degree in sociology.
Andrea Watts, BSW
Andrea came to the Student Advocacy Center in September 2020. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work from Eastern Michigan University. Andrea’s experience includes facilitating peer support groups at her church and creating a project called “People Need To Be Heard,” which created a space for those who needed an outlet by using motivational interviewing and empowering speech. She has served as a volunteer in the restorative justice center at Ypsilanti Community High School.
Amy Wilhelm, BSW, MSW
Amy oversees our statewide Students Rights Helpline and Education Advocacy in Washtenaw and Jackson counties. She worked in Lincoln Consolidated Schools, on and off, between 2003 and 2015, in a variety of roles, including as a McKinney-Vento School Ally, behavior specialist, Title I Parent Coordinator, assistant secretary and substitute teacher. She is a former school-based at-risk social worker, children’s ministry director and in-home daycare owner.