Meet The Parenting Program Staff

Parenting Program Director, Christina Rodrigues, M.S. in Education with specialization in Early Literacy and has been part of Forty Carrots Parenting Program since 1998. Since 2009, Christina is responsible for overseeing the Parenting Education and Mental Health Programs. She has developed the Child & Family Therapy Center and has initiated many new partnerships, including SPARCC, SOLVE Maternity Homes, Salvation Army, Teenage Parent Program (TAPP) in Manatee County Public School System, Selah Freedom and the Manatee County Public Library System. Christina led the expansion of the Parenting Program in 2014, increasing over 45% of services. She continues to show her passion for her work, supporting families in the Sarasota and Manatee communities and a talented group of Parenting Educators and Therapists.

Contact: christina.rodrigues@fortycarrots.com 941.365.7716 ext. 307

Clinical Supervisor, Carla Johanns, M.A., LMHC, is part of Forty Carrots since 2016 and is overseeing the Child & Family Therapy services; supporting the expansion of mental health services throughout the community. Carla has Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from New York University and a Master's of Arts in Counseling from Montclair State University. She has a Post-Master’s specialization in substance abuse counseling. Carla has worked in the counseling field since 1999, primarily with children and adolescents. She is licensed in Florida as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, LMHC.

Contact: carla.johanns@fortycarrots.com 941.960.2565 ext. 328

Alisa, B.A. Alisa has extensive knowledge in early literacy and community outreach. Her prior experience includes developing literacy programs and parenting education classes for families with young children through the Sarasota County Public Library System’s Born To Read Program. She joined the Parenting Program in 2014 as an Early Literacy Specialist. Alisa visits all of the Partners In Play groups at the Sarasota and Manatee libraries, as well as in the Parenting Center, bringing special literacy materials, activities and information for families. 

Diana, M.S.W., LCSW, CCM, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Case Manager. Diana earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Bucknell University and Master of Arts degree in Clinical Social Work from New York University. She has been working with children and families for over 15 years in both a counseling and case management role. Diana is joining the Parenting Program team in 2017, and will be co-facilitating Partners In Play groups at Sarasota and Manatee libraries, and will be part of the team of Therapists at the Child & Family Therapy Center.

Elizabeth, B.F.A., in Fine Arts from Ringling School of Art and Design. Elizabeth started in the Parenting Program in 2002 as a Parenting Educator. She joined Forty Carrots with a background in Elementary and Middle School Education. Elizabeth has over ten years of experience facilitating classes at many of our community locations, piloting many of our original partnerships working with families from all walks of life. Elizabeth currently co-facilitates Partners In Play (PIP) classes at Sarasota and Manatee County libraries.

Emily, M.S., in Child and Family Studies and a B.S. in Psychology. Emily was raised in Sarasota and returned to the area after completing her Master’s Degree at the University of Tennessee. She has over five years of experience working with children and families in the child welfare system. Her passion has always been working with families and helping mothers and fathers feel empowered in their role as parents. As a Parenting Educator, she updates our Facebook page, keeping everyone informed with the latest research in child development and parenting. 

Erika, M.S., LMHC is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. She earned her Master of Science degree in Applied Clinical Psychology from the University of South Carolina - Aiken and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of South Florida. After having gained several years’ experience working as a therapist in a community mental health center and as an adjunct professor teaching at the undergraduate level, Erika joined the Forty Carrots team as both a Parenting Educator and as a Mental Health Therapist. Aside from providing individual and family therapy services, she co-facilitates parenting education classes for the CYESIS Teen Parent Program at both North Port and Riverview High Schools in addition to groups at the Teenage Parenting Program (TAPP) in Manatee County. Erika also helps co-facilitate Partners In Play groups in Manatee County libraries.

Heather, LMHC, NCC, MA is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, National Certified Counselor.  She earned her Master of Arts degree in Community Counseling and her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with a minor in Family Studies from Campbell University in North Carolina. She has over ten years of experience in private practice providing individual and family therapy to all ages, focused on children and adolescents with various emotional and behavioral issues. Heather began working as a Parenting Educator in the Parenting Program in 2010, most recently, as a Therapist, she facilitates a therapeutic support group at SPARCC, and is part of the Child & Family Therapy Center.

Jamie, M.S., LMFT, RDT, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Jamie joined the Parenting Program in 2011 and is a Therapist in the Child and Family Therapy Center at Forty Carrots. Her B.A. is in Musical Theatre Performance and she has performed on different stages around the world. In addition, Jamie is a Registered Drama Therapist and a registered Circle of Security Parenting (COS-P) Program Facilitator. She also facilitates Divine Mommy 8-week series in the Parenting Center. 

Jody, M.S.W, LCSW. Jody is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has worked in the mental health field since 1984. Jody’s focus for the past 21 years has been with children and families working as a Mental Health Therapist at Child Protection Center. She was first involved at Forty Carrots as a parent with her twins and now, as a Therapist, is facilitating parenting education groups at First Step Mothers and Infants Program, SOLVE Maternity Homes, and a therapeutic support group at Salvation Army and Selah Freedom. 

Katie, M.A in the Art of Teaching and a B.A in Strategic Communication. Katie joined the Parenting Program in 2015 with a background in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. Katie taught overseas in Cambridge, England as an Elementary School Teacher and also in the Sarasota County School District. She has a passion for educating children and families in our community and will continue to support them through the parenting education groups at Forty Carrots. Katie co-facilitates Partners In Play at the libraries in Sarasota and Manatee counties, as well as Welcome to Our World, newborn group, and Partners In Play series in the Parenting Center. 

Laura, M.A., in Early Childhood Education and Childhood Education and a B.A. in Fine Art and Education. Laura came to the Parenting Program in 2012 with a background in Early Childhood and Middle School Education. As part of her position as a Graduate Assistant, Laura was part of the editorial team on a nationally recognized educational publication. In addition she obtained her Child Development Associate Accreditation and was inducted into the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education. Laura co-facilitates Partners In Play groups at Sarasota and Manatee libraries. Laura is currently attending Infant Family Mental Health Graduate Certificate training at FSU.

Melissa C., M.A in Curriculum and Instruction and B.A in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education.  Melissa was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA and just recently relocated to Bradenton with her family. Before relocating Melissa worked for Pittsburgh Public Schools in various early childhood education roles, her most recent role was as an Early Childhood Education Delivery Manager. In this role she oversaw the comprehensive education program addressing aspects of children’s growth and development, assisted with curriculum writing and implementation, and conducted both formal and informal observations to support teachers growth and development. Melissa joined the team of Parenting Educators in 2016 and she co-facilitates Partners In Play (PIP) groups at various library locations in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.

Melissa M., B.S. in Liberal Studies and Elementary Education. Melissa taught for eleven years at the middle school level prior to moving to Sarasota. As a teacher she received many honors, including “Building Level Teacher of the Year” and “First Year Teacher Award.” She became involved with Forty Carrots by attending Partners In Play groups with her children. In 2014, she joined the Parenting Program and co-facilitates PIP groups at four different library locations in Manatee county. Melissa also facilitates PIP Squeaks, PIP Toddlers and PIP Twos series in the Parenting Center. Another group that she dedicates her time to is Welcome to Our World, our free newborn group for mothers and babies in the Parenting Center. 

Rebecca, M.S. in Guidance and Counseling and a B.S. in Psychology. Rebecca joined the Parenting Program in 2013 as a Parenting Educator and most recently, has joined Child & Family Therapy Center as a Therapist. Rebecca is a registered Circle of Security Parenting (COS-P) Program Facilitator. Rebecca offers support to the families at SPARCC, where she co-facilitates a therapeutic evening group. In 2016, Rebecca received the Maternal Mental Health Professional Certificate Training.

Sonia, B.A., in Early Childhood and Elementary Education.  Sonia has over 30 years of experience in the early childhood field and has presented at the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Annual Conference. She was one of the original staff members of Forty Carrots Family Center when it was founded 23 years ago; she served as a Preschool Teacher and Preschool Director. As our Bilingual Parenting Educator, Sonia is facilitating Partners In Play groups at Sarasota and Manatee Libraries. Sonia is certified in “Abriendo Puertas”, an evidence-based parenting program for Hispanic families, and she facilitates this series at Alta Vista Elementary – Eagle Academy Parent University. She shares engaging cultural activities and Spanish songs to children and their families during her visits to Partners In Play.

Tylar, M.A., LMHC/S, RPT in Counseling and B.S. in Psychology. Tylar is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor/Supervisor and Registered Play Therapist. She has worked with young children and families throughout Sarasota County since 1996, also as a Mental Health Therapist at Child Protection Center, and served as an Adjunct Professor at Argosy and Webster Universities. Tylar co-facilitates a therapeutic support group at Salvation Army and Selah Freedom. Tylar is also a Certified Itsy Bitsy Yoga Instructor. 

Wendy, M.S., in PreK/Primary Education and B.S. in Communication. She began working as a Parenting Educator in 2008, and holds The Happiest Baby on The Block certification and is a registered Circle of Security Parenting (COS-P) Program Facilitator. Wendy co-facilitates parenting education classes at First Step Mothers & Infants Program, SOLVE Maternity Homes, and the CYESIS Teen Parent Program at North Port and Riverview High Schools. Wendy also co-facilitates parenting groups at Teenage Parenting Program (TAPP) in Manatee County.  In 2016, she started Infant Family Mental Health Graduate Certificate training at FSU.