Staff

Staff


Misty Leitsch, BBA, BSW

Executive Director

Misty Leitsch is in charge of overseeing statewide implementation of the Zero Suicide Initiative by TSPN and community partners. Before joining TSPN’s staff, she served for five years on the TSPN Advisory Council, having been appointed to this post by the Office of the Governor of Tennessee. As chair of TSPN’s Mid-Cumberland Region, Misty organized the region’s first Annual Memorial Walk and conducted numerous suicide prevention training sessions for crisis centers, behavioral health facilities, schools, businesses, and civic groups.

These duties were carried out strictly on a volunteer basis, outside of her professional involvement in the mental health field. This included her work as the Statewide Education Coordinator at the Mental Health Association of Middle Tennessee (now Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee), where she coordinated depression screenings and mental health education sessions for people across Middle Tennessee, including K-12 school staff. She also created and produced several public outreach workshops and curricula while in this position. Misty has also worked with other TSPN partners and allies, including New Transitions, Inc., Rolling Hills Hospital, and the Mental Health Cooperative.

Misty double-majored in Social Work and Business Administration while working on her bachelor’s degree at Belmont University in Nashville, graduating in 2007.

Morgan Tubbs, MASJE

Deputy Director

Morgan Tubbs serves as TSPN’s Deputy Director. Morgan grew up in the Mississippi Delta and received her Bachelor’s degree in Communication from Mississippi State University. After spending some time working and teaching in South America, she moved to Denver to pursue a Master of Arts in Social Justice & Ethics from the Iliff School of Theology. Morgan moved to Middle Tennessee shortly after completing her degree and loves calling Tennessee home.

Morgan has extensive experience in the nonprofit world and has worked in educational, creative, and recreational settings, with a specific emphasis on youth and children’s advocacy. Morgan previously served as TSPN’s Data & Communications Director and has been on board with TSPN since August 2020.

Justin Johnson, MSW

Memphis/Shelby County Tennessee Regional Director

Justin is from Millington, TN, he served in the United States Marines Corps for five years with two combat deployments to Iraq in support of Operation Iraq Freedom. He also served as a police officer for five years as a patrolman. He brings a skill set from his law enforcement background of applied crisis intervention skills, to deal with situations that he encountered in this profession that ranged from domestic violence to mental health issues.

He is a graduate of the University of Memphis where he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in social work. For graduate school, his field placement was at the Memphis Veterans Affairs Hospital as a Suicide Prevention Case Manager Intern. Justin has a  professional work history which gives him the unique cultural insight and experience needed to effectively work within the mentioned communities and the general population. Justin has extensive experience helping the most at-risk populations with the highest rates of suicide.

While he was employed at Veterans Affairs, he was personally responsible for providing counseling to veterans who had been flagged for suicidal ideation. He was also responsible for conducting suicide prevention training to nursing homes and colleges throughout the Mid-South for Veterans Affairs.

Justin conducted a program evaluation of suicide prevention programs, at Veterans Affairs for suicide prevention efforts. His program evaluation was recognized amongst his peers and selected to be the standard-setting example for the University of Memphis social work graduate classes of proper program evaluation.

Justin is an avid runner and uses running to raise money each year for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to fight childhood cancer, he also is a Crossfitter. Justin is a life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Post Commander of Collierville VFW Post 5066.

Justin hopes to bring his dedication, education and practical skill set to the position of TSPN Regional Director for Memphis/Shelby County, TN.

Emily Oswald, BSN

Northwest Regional Director

Emily Oswald is proud to be from the hometown of Frog Jump, TN in Crockett County. Emily graduated from Union University with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2015. Her passion for all things prevention, especially suicide and overdose, comes from a background in both nursing and public health, as well as personal experience caring for loved ones dealing with mental health and being a survivor of both suicide and overdose loss. Emily was Public Health Educator for Crockett County for three years before coming on board with TSPN. During that time, she started the Crockett County Prevention Coalition focusing on substance misuse, mental health resources, and bullying/suicide prevention. She also piloted the Be Nice Program and Be Nice Concert for Crockett County Middle and High School empowering students to share their struggles and triumphs over mental health, bullying, substance misuse, and suicide. Emily believes faith and family is everything and enjoys spending quality time at home, singing, and doing sign language. Emily is excited to join the TSPN family and looks forward to spreading the message of hope to those in need in the communities she serves.

Lindsey Carr, BS

Southwest Tennessee Regional Director

Lindsey Carr is a Jackson, Tennessee native. Originally believing engineering was her path, Lindsey quickly realized she had passion to serve people in a different capacity. After graduating from Bethel University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services, Lindsey first became a Health Coach under a state-funded grant program called My Health, My Choice, My Life. She was able to travel the grand region of West Tennessee to various peer-support centers, teaching self-management skills to those with lived experience in mental health or substance misuse.
When the program ended, Lindsey went on to become the Project Director for the Jackson-Madison Prevention Coalition, which focuses on the prevention of drug misuse among youth. She was able to cultivate and grow the Youth Advisory Council, comprised of high school students from all major high schools in Jackson. Their focus was developing peer-led strategies for drug prevention, giving youth a voice in the types of messaging being delivered. After two successful years with the Coalition, Lindsey went on to become the Coordinator. In that role she was able to oversee four state-funded grants, all focused on the prevention, treatment, and recovery from substance misuse. Lindsey has been happily married since October of 2015 to her husband and best friend Tyler, and you can often find them spending time with friends and family, riding roller coasters, and catching the latest new releases at the local Redbox.

Michael Anderson

Upper Cumberland Regional Director

Michael is a native of the Upper Cumberland region. He studied Mechanical Engineering at TTU before finding his passion for the field of human services working as a volunteer with the Children’s Miracle Network, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, St Jude Children’s Research Hospital and later, serving persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the roles of Program Compliance Director and Executive Director for Pacesetters Incorporated. He has stayed active in the community through civic outreach programs like Leadership Putnam and the Citizen’s Fire Academy of Cookeville. He is also accredited through the Crisis Prevention Institute, the American Safety & Health Institute, the TN Safety and Health Council, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, LivingWorks and the Jason Foundation. He has experienced loss from suicide twice in his lifetime and is resolved to be a resource to the Upper Cumberland by raising public awareness of the issue and working to reduce the number of suicides and suicide attempts.

Mary Anne Christian, Ed.S.

South Central Tennessee Regional Director

Before joining the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, Mary Anne worked as an educator before transitioning to a school administrator in both private and public schools in Tennessee and Alabama. Since beginning her career in education, she experienced a need for working with the mental and emotional issues faced by students. As a school leader, she worked closely with the school counselors to coordinate behavior plans and improve the mental health of the students and the staff. She has also experienced several students who had suicidal ideations. She has witnessed the increased need for mental healthcare in communities, as well as, the need to educate communities about mental health and eliminate the mental health stigma.  Her experiences have helped her to realize her passion for the health and mental health of the students, parents, staff, and communities she has served.

Through her desire to learn more and work towards bringing awareness to mental health, she was selected as one of the inaugural members of the School Counseling Advisory Team for the state of Tennessee. She also served on the AWARE Advisory committee in Lawrence County. She has completed several trainings in Youth Mental Health and First Aid, Restorative Practices, Jason Foundation, and Youth Protection.

Mary Anne holds a master’s degree in K-12 Administration and Supervision and an Education Specialist degree in curriculum and instruction, both from Middle Tennessee State University. Mary Anne enjoys spending time with her husband and five children and staying active for her overall health and mental health.

Emily Hager, PhD

East Regional Director

Emily was born and raised in Knoxville and graduated from Johnson City’s East Tennessee State University with a B.S. in Biology/Biochemistry. Upon completion of her degree, Emily joined the United States Navy for four years of service to our country where not only did she learn leadership and professional development skills but was also exposed to a variety of mental health concerns. After service, Emily returned to Knoxville and began a pursuit of my PhD in Nutritional Science at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

A survivor of suicide loss, Emily has served in several suicide prevention awareness and advocacy roles in East TN. Emily also worked with TSPN prior to hire through Vet to Vet Tennessee and collaborated with TSPN’s Veterans task force. Emily and her husband have four incredible children.

Kayla Sharpe, BSPH

Northeast Regional Director

Kayla Sharpe is a proud Johnson City native. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Public Health with emphasis on Community and Behavioral Health and Family Studies from East Tennessee State University.

Prior to coming on board with TSPN, Kayla served as a Health Educator for Washington County’s Health Department focusing her efforts on teen/adolescent pregnancy prevention and violence prevention. Her passion for improving access to mental health supports is underscored by her personal struggle with depression and suicide loss, as well as her belief that mental wellness is the foundation for healthier families and stronger communities. She believes that all communities and people are affected by suicide and that open, honest communications about the pervasiveness of suicide is critical to reducing its incidence.

Having watched family members and close friends struggle to get the help they both needed and deserved, Kayla has devoted her career to helping those struggling against the barriers of racism, discrimination, poverty, and rural community access. In her free time, Kayla enjoys spending time with her cat and two dogs, hiking, kayaking, curling up with a good book, cooking meals for friends, and serving her community as a board member for her local Children’s Advocacy Center.

Christopher Edwards, M.Div.

Southeast Regional Director

Chris Edwards’ journey to TSPN was long and arduous but sculpted him into the person he needed to be to make a difference. After accomplishing his undergraduate education from UTC, he sought out the American dream and launched his own marital arts school. This produced much joy and impacted the Chattanooga area positively. He taught classes, workshops, and seminars that gave confidence to the fearful, fitness to the out of shape, self-defense to the helpless, and empowered those without direction. Sadly, after many years he had to close his doors and this left him in a dark place, struggling with hopelessness. This experience taught him to dig deeper in his faith, engage in resiliency to try again, and realize there is always hope.

Chris has also served in ministry for the last 18 years, 10 of which as an Associate Pastor. He has worked with inner city youth, lead volunteer teams, managed community outreach events, and provided pastoral care for those struggling spiritually. He has led bible studies, preached sermons, performed weddings, and funerals with the foundation of providing hope. His passion began to shift towards suicide prevention which led him to join the U.S. Army Reserves as a Chaplain Candidate. He began pursuing a Master of Divinity in fulfilment of the requirements to complete chaplaincy training. He is on a mission to be there for soldiers struggling to offer a judgement free compassionate support.

He brings a unique perspective to TSPN with more than 6,000 hours of public speaking, a vast array of leadership experience, multiple martial arts black belts, 2 World Records, published his own book, and brings a calm, yet confident presence to even the most stressful situations. He is committed to building partnerships with community stakeholders to collaboratively eliminate suicide in Tennessee and ultimately bring hope to the hopeless.

Kearee Jackson

Good Behavior Game Director

Kearee is a native of Byhalia, Mississippi, and moved to Nashville after serving as a Creative Writing Instructor. After moving, Kearee began working with at-risk youth as a Coordinator, Social Worker, Program Auditor and most recently a Behavior Coach. Throughout his professional career, Kearee has focused on serving underprivileged youth and their families. His goal is to help every child know they can succeed, despite any obstacles they may encounter.

Kearee brings experience working with youth Pre-K through 12th grade. He also works with various non-profit organizations that serve youth and provide resources that aid in their academic success. Kearee has created programs within agencies including Dad’s Table Talk, a program created for fathers to connect, learn more about the importance of their role in their children’s lives and how to continue to be positive role models for them.

Kearee is excited to bring his experience to TSPN and continue to bring awareness to the importance of mental health in the lives of children in Tennessee. He looks forward to working with the team and utilizing the Good Behavior Game as an early intervention practice throughout the state.

Monika Hauck

Zero Suicide Initiative Director

For over 10 years Monika Hauck has worked in the suicide prevention space. Prior to her current position with Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network as the Zero Suicide Director, she served as the East Tennessee Zero Suicide Coordinator for Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee.

In 2016 Monika graduated with her degree in Psychology from the University of West Florida, in Pensacola Florida. Her passion for mental health awareness and suicide prevention developed early in life due to personal struggles she faced. Monika’s passion for community outreach, education, and prevention efforts started in high school where she fought for and implemented the first Gay-Straight Alliance organization to educate her classmates, teachers, and administrative leaders about the mental health and prejudices facing LGBT+ students. Monika continued her pursuit and passion in college by joining Students for Suicide Awareness, which she later helped transition into Active Minds at UWF. Monika regularly collaborated with community partners, different university student groups, and institutional departments to educate and implement change surrounding the stigma of mental health and suicide. Monika coordinated the yearly Seeds of Hope walk and openly shared her struggles with mental health, attempted suicide, and the courageous steps it takes everyday to work on one’s mental health and wellbeing.

As an undergraduate assistant, Monika found a passion for research informed practices and interventions while she worked on the Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention Grant. This work included organizing focus groups, collaboration with healthcare organization, conducting independent research projects, gathering data on the depression rates of UWF students along with pre and post test data for the QPR trainings administered to faculty, staff, and students. After graduation from University of West Florida, Monika began working for Baptist Hospital in Pensacola FL, an inpatient psychiatric hospital, as a Psychiatric Technician II and later a group counseling leader.

Monika will graduate in June of 2022 with her Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from Columbia Southern University where she has refined her skills in Crisis Communication Management, Managing Project Teams, Grant Writing and Administration for Public Health initiatives, the need for Social and Behavioral Science in Public Health, as well as the Psychological Foundations needed by all persons holding leadership roles within organizations.

She is passionate about being involved in the change that is possible within various communities she is part of. Although now in Tennessee, Monika serves as a board member on the EscaRosa Suicide Prevention Coalition, a group in the panhandle of Florida focused on improving the lives of their community members through enhancing awareness and prevention efforts surrounding suicide. When not working on her degree or the coalition, Monika enjoys using her free time to travel, spend time outdoors, and hang out with her puppy, Leo.

Vladimir Enlow, MTS

Executives’ Assistant

Vladimir Enlow serves as the Executives’ Assistant serving both TSPN and TAADAS.

Vladimir previously served as TSPN’s Executive Assistant from 2002 to 2017, so he brings with him a wealth of historical knowledge about the earlier days of the agency. Vladimir also has extensive experience with NAMI Tennessee as Coordinator of Special Projects and a perennial member of its Vision of Hope Gala Committee.

Before rejoining TSPN, Vladimir worked as the Information Coordinator/Assistant to the CEO for You Have the Power (YHTP), a statewide nonprofit that assists crime victims and educates communities on risk reduction. His most recent project on behalf of YHTP involved the development, production, and hosting of a virtual Crime Survivors Roundtable as part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

We look forward to working with Vladimir to coordinate tasks at the statewide level and in partnership with TAADAS.