Meet Our Board & Staff
Dick Fagnant, Board President and Treasurer Juneau, AK
Dick came to Alaska in 1971 as a Jesuit Volunteer teacher where he met his wife, Debbie. After 40 years of teaching, he retired to pursue other passions including volunteer work, travel, teacher mentoring, and ceramics. Dick and Debbie have three wonderful children and often go south to visit them and their grandchildren. Dick is a NAMI Family-to-Family teacher and state teacher trainer. He is committed to helping build community awareness, support, and compassion for those struggling with mental illness, knowing that there is hope for them to live fruitful and meaningful lives. He has served on the NAMI Alaska board since January 2015.
Shirley Holloway, Board Vice President Anchorage, AK
Dr. Shirley Holloway serves as President of the NAMI National Board of Directors, as well as the Vice President for NAMI Alaska. She has served on the NAMI Alaska board since December 2012. Dr. Holloway found NAMI after the loss of her daughter to mental illness. Through her work with NAMI, she hopes to improve access and quality of mental health services to underserved populations. Professionally, she provides consulting services through her business, Leadership for Excellence. Dr. Holloway's career also includes being a teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing, speech pathologist, principal, superintendent, college professor, college president, as well as the Commissioner of Education and Early Development for the State of Alaska.
Shirley’s area of expertise is developing and improving relationships, processes and policies for both governing boards and their executive leadership. She has also served as a member of the Alaska State Board of Education, Regent of Charter College, the President of Sheldon Jackson College and as a board member for the Blood Bank of Alaska, the Special Olympics, the CIRI Foundation, the Ilisagvik Foundation and NAMI Anchorage.
Dr. Holloway earned her Ph.D. at Gonzaga University. Dr. Holloway is also known as “Quvian”, meaning a "person of joy, the Inupiat name given to her by the people of Utqiagvik (previously known as Barrow).
Sharon Denton, Board Secretary Juneau, AK
Sharon is an advocate for peers after experiencing the debilitating effects of bipolar disease when she turned 60 yr. old. She has served on the NAMI Alaska board since March 2017. After ten years, through the help of doctors, family, friends, NAMI, and her own research, she's in recovery and able to reach out to her peers. She is the secretary of the Peer Council, Alaska's representatives to the NAMI Peer Leadership Council, and a facilitator for the biweekly Connection Support Group. She taught elementary education for 25 years and had to retire because of her illness. She's now working part-time teaching elementary students who struggle with reading. She especially enjoys being with her three grandsons and exercising almost every day. Wellness is wonderful!
Nick Hoefferle, Board Member Anchorage, AK
Nick is a lifelong Alaskan, born at Providence Hospital in Anchorage, raised in Dillingham, and currently living in Anchorage. He is a U.S Navy Vet, and holds a degree from UAA in English Education with a Minor in Dance. His experience includes working in the fields of domestic violence and sexual assault victim advocacy, early childhood education, and he is currently serving as an employee educator for a non profit that supports people who experience intellectual and developmental disabilities. Nick’s core belief is that all people have a fundamental right to be safe; physically, emotionally, and psychologically, and that they should have the ability to receive the support they need to live a life of their own choosing. He has proudly served on the NAMI Alaska board since 2018.
Veronica Babich, Board Member St. Mary's, AK
Veronica is the daughter of Emily and Moses Paukan, Jr., and the granddaughter of Moses and Martha Paukan Sr. and Victoria and Kelsey Babich. Veronica is the mother of 3 young children. She has served as a behavioral health aide with Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Center for three years. Her training includes crisis intervention and motivational interviewing and how to use a DSM book. She recently established two support groups in the St. Mary’s region of the state: a men’s group to address alcohol dependency; and a women’s group focusing on domestic violence. She holds certificates in group counseling and how to involve families in tobacco dependency. She would love to see our people break the stigma with mental health and hopes they see how substances affect not only themselves but the people they care about. Veronica joined the NAMI Alaska board in December 2020.
Lara Collis, Board Member Utqiagvik, Alaska
Born in Scotland, Lara has lived in numerous states, and has worked in Alaska since 2011. Lara's career experience includes six years at the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation in Seattle, seven years at the Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation in Dillingham, and most recently transitioned from the North Slope Borough Integrated Behavioral Health where she served in multiple capacities since April 2019. She earned her Master's in Systems Counseling from the Leadership Institute of Seattle, Bastyr University in Washington State. Lara is a Behavioral Health Counselor with Ilisagvik College, as a State of Alaska Licensed Professional Counselor. She joined the NAMI Alaska board in May 2021.
Colette Moring, Board Member Anchorage, AK
As the spouse of a veteran who served in the Alaska Air National Guard, she has a unique perspective of families who are citizen soldiers and airmen, and the families who support them. Colette continues to demonstrate her commitment to Veterans and military families through her work in the hospital & health care industry. She serves as a Community Military Liaison for North Star Behavioral Health Systems. Her family has Alaskan roots and she appreciates the diversity, complexity and beauty of the state and the people. Colette holds a bachelor's degree focused in Human Resources and Education from Alaska Pacific University. Colette joined the NAMI Alaska Board at the November 2020 meeting.
Travis Welch, Board Member At-Large member
Travis is the newest NAMI Alaska board member as of June 2021. He joined the Alaska Mental Health Trust in June 2018 as a Program Officer, focusing on the Crisis Now initiative, and adult and juvenile disability justice initiatives. He is currently working on many other programs and projects such as developing a concept for a statewide reentry website, finding additional police crisis response trainings which will augment Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training, and various programs for victims of violent crime who are living with mental illness.
His ten years of law enforcement experience includes service as the Chief of Police for the North Slope Borough. He holds a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice/Safety studies from Saint Joseph’s University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Brigham Young University. Travis has a particular interest in prevention, juvenile justice and substantial experience with rural communities.
Lily Werts, Board Member Anchorage, AK
Lily Werts is a lifelong Alaskan. As a person who experiences mental illness, she is honored to have the opportunity to give back to her peers. When she's not attending board meetings or coordinating training sessions, Lily designs sound for local theatre productions, enjoys creative hobbies, and plays a variety of games with friends. Lily has served on the NAMI Alaska board since October 2017.
Anisa Wiseman, Program Coordinator Oahu, HI
NAMI Alaska is collaborating with our neighbor NAMI Hawaii and sharing Anisa Wiseman 's talents. She started serving as NAMI Alaska's Program Coordinator in November 2020. She also currently works as Program Director and Walk Manager for NAMI Hawaii. She has a BA in Philosophy from University of Hawaii-West Oahu, served as a special education teacher where she focused on emotional intelligence in the classroom. As a peer herself, she is in recovery from PTSD, anxiety, and depression. As a daughter of a single parent diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Anisa has lived experiences in being without a home, addiction, domestic violence, etc. She lives on the North Shore of Oahu with her husband and 2 dogs and uses her own experiences of crisis to help others get through theirs.
Ann Ringstad, Executive Director Anchorage & Fairbanks, AK
Ann assumed the position of Executive Director of NAMI Alaska in September 2020. She has a strong background in community building, legislative advocacy, fund development, strategic communications, and leadership support, with a long career at the University of Alaska and several non-profit organizations in Alaska. She holds AA and BA degrees in business and history from UAF, and an MPA degree from the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy. She is a lifelong Alaskan whose personal mission is to make a difference in the lives of others.
Sheila Harris, NAMI Alaska Executive Director Emerita Anchorage, AK
For over 20 years, Sheila has worked and volunteered with NAMI Alaska. In August 2017, she was appointed as Volunteer Executive Director for NAMI Alaska. In addition, she continues to serve as the state-wide Program Manager, and handle the finances to ensure that NAMI Alaska can fulfill its mission of support, education, and advocacy. Sheila is a lifetime Alaskan and owns a small bookkeeping business that supports non-profit mental health organizations throughout Alaska. Sheila has a particular passion for NAMI's work as she has personally experienced the devastating impact that untreated mental health disorders can have on people directly affected, their family, friends, and loved ones.
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