Meet Our Team

We are a small group of professionals with a diverse set of competencies and academic and career experiences, working toward a common goal: safe and healthy youth.


Reconnecting Youth Inc. has Trainers in Washington, California, and Texas, all available to train nationally and internationally. Our Trainers receive extensive preparation by our Program Developers and our Director of Training and spend years advancing their skills. Testimonials reflect the ability of our Trainers to earn the trust of diverse clients from wide-ranging settings, engage trainees in challenging learning activities and discussions, and deliver memorable and rewarding experiences.

Beth E. McNamara, MSW – Director of Training

Ms. McNamara is the Director of Training for Reconnecting Youth Inc. She worked first with the Reconnecting Youth Prevention Research Program at the University of Washington, when RY and CAST were being developed and tested. Beth has trained nationally and internationally for Reconnecting Youth Inc. since 2002 and has taken the lead on training development and instructional design for the last decade. Beth enjoys leading comprehensive, engaging, and unforgettable trainings, supporting her team of national trainers, and researching cutting-edge learning design and training solutions.

  • Social-Emotional Learning
  • Risk and Protective Factors
  • Youth Suicide Prevention
  • Best Practices
  • RY Implementation
  • CAST Implementation
  • Coordinator Training
  • Fidelity Monitoring
  • Remote Program Delivery
Nicole Franklin-Jones, MA, CPLC – Lead Trainer

Ms. Franklin-Jones, a native Houstonian, holds degrees in Child Psychology (BA) from Texas Southern University and in Art and Organizational Management (MA) from the University of Phoenix. She has 30+ years of experience working in and founding community efforts to broaden opportunities for today’s at-risk youth. Nicole currently serves at the Director of Youth and Outreach for Aids to Victim of Domestic Abuse, educating the community on the effects of domestic violence in an effort to end intimate partner abuse for adults and youth. Nicole has been a national trainer for Reconnecting Youth Inc. since 1999 and flourishes as our Lead Trainer now.

  • Best Practices
  • RY Implementation
  • CAST Implementation
  • Relationship Development
  • Adult and Youth Domestic Violence
  • Anger Management
  • Conflict Resolution and Coping Skills
  • Human Trafficking
Selena Rockwell, MA, MFT – National Trainer

Ms. Rockwell, a bilingual English/Spanish speaker, is an accomplished non-profit mental health leader with more than 20 years’ experience working with youth, families, school personnel, and community and government agencies. Selena has been a national trainer for Reconnecting Youth Inc. since 2007 and is passionate about empowering others to help teens and their families overcome challenges. She believes in building resilience and has strong therapeutic counseling abilities with a sensitivity to cultural diversity and a depth of understanding of interpersonal familial relationships, emotional disturbances, and substance and behavioral addictions. She is compassionate, with the ability to motivate, train, and work collaboratively with diverse populations.

  • Best Practices
  • RY Implementation
  • Therapeutic Counseling
  • Interpersonal Familial Relationships
  • Substance and Behavioral Addictions
  • Trauma-informed approaches to building resilience
Gustavo Ramirez – National Trainer, RY & CAST Facilitator

Mr. Ramirez is a bilingual (English/Spanish) tenured K-12 teacher with over 22 years’ experience working with Outdoor Education Leadership Academies, serving adults and 6th-12th grade youth from a variety of organizations. Gustavo has enjoyed 15 years in leadership positions with after-school programs in California. His direct classroom teaching style has earned commendations for his innovative approach to engaging all students. Gus has taught over 50 sections of CAST in middle, high school, and court community school settings and is highly sought as a Trainer and Facilitator due to his modeling of best practices. Gustavo has been a national trainer with Reconnecting Youth Inc. since 2019.

  • Best Practices
  • Coping and Support Training (CAST) – Currently, virtually only
  • Reconnecting Youth (RY) – Currently, virtually only

Owner – Mr. Adam Valencia, MSE

Mr. Adam Valencia, MSE, has over 25 years of experience working in the areas of community and school-based prevention. Mr. Valencia has extensive experience in Evidenced-Based Practices and has provided various training to school districts, community-based organizations, and youth-serving agencies. He has served as a Statewide Regional Lead for Safe Schools, After School, and Mental Health.

His experiences included overseeing all Federal and State Programs in the areas of Health and Wellness, Prevention, Intervention, and Family and Community Engagement. Mr. Valencia has also worked on School Improvement plans and served on Statewide Technical Assistance and Compliance teams. He has been recognized nationally for efforts in utilizing a Multi-Tiered System of Support for Tier I, II & III. He continues to provide training and technical support to districts, youth-serving agencies, and communities throughout the US and Canada.

In addition, Mr. Valencia has been coaching student-athletes for over 28 years and continues to lead athletes in the areas of academics, leadership, character development, and volunteerism. He has been instrumental in introducing some additional training platforms for male and female student-athletes with Coaching Boys into Men and Athletes as Leaders.

Program Developers

Dr. Leona L. Eggert,  Co-Developer – PhD, RN, FAAN

Dr. Leona Eggert co-developed Reconnecting Youth: A Peer Group Approach to Building Life Skills (RY) and Coping and Support Training (CAST) with Ms. Liela Nicholas. During her years as a member of the faculty at the University of Washington School of Nursing in Seattle, WA, Leona received extensive funding from NIDA, NIMH, and the U.S. Department of Education to test RY (Reconnecting Youth) and CAST (Coping And Support Training: A Road Map for Teen Groups). Leona’s work experience includes child/adolescent psychosocial nursing, and she is a certified health educator and school nurse. Leona is the author of Anger Management for Youth: Stemming Aggression and Violence, and the principal author of the RY and CAST curricula, as well as The Youth Suicide Prevention Plan for Washington State. She has authored numerous journal articles and book chapters about her work with at-risk youth. Leona is a University of Washington Professor Emeritus and is co-owner and President of Reconnecting Youth Inc. Leona’s work exemplifies a life dedicated to helping at-risk youth, their families, and their communities.

Liela J. Nicholas,  Co-Developer – BSc, MEd

Ms. Nicholas is the co-developer of the RY and the CAST curricula. Liela worked as a high school counselor for more than 25 years with adolescents, their parents, and teachers. Her success with at-risk youth and their parents is reflected in the many publications that she has co-authored with Dr. Leona Eggert. Liela has presented nationally and internationally on topics related to the Reconnecting Youth (RY) Program and for many years was the Lead Trainer for the RY program.