PAXIS Institute

About Paxis

Our Perspective

PAXIS Institute identifies and connects the best science and wisdom to maximize the peace, productivity, health and happiness of individuals, families, organizations, and communities everywhere.

PAXIS Institute seeks to identify tools and strategies that have both rapid and long-term benefits for all our futures, not just the few or one group over another.

PAXIS Institute searches for ways to improve all our futures, since our individual futures during our lives hinge the actions of people near and far, many of who we will never now.

PAX Institute encourages and supports people of every age, of every walk of life to become an “everyday scientist” of their world—not just a passenger of life. By becoming an “everyday scientist”, then we can each become a conscious creator of the futures we seek for ourselves and the people we love.

Founder

Dennis Embry, Ph.D.

Dennis D. Embry, Ph.D. is senior scientist at PAXIS Institute in Tucson and a co-investigator at Johns Hopkins Center for Prevention as well as co-investigator with the Promise Neighborhood Research Consortium, the University of Manitoba, University of South Carolina—overseeing 50 major prevention projects in the US and Canada.  He is a member of the SAMHSA/CSAP experts group, and a nominee for the President’s Advisory Council on Prevention for Health Care Reform. Current publications emphasize achieving sustainable, cost-efficient population-wide prevention effects across physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. He is an emeritus National Research Advisory Council Senior fellow of New Zealand.

He has personally created multiple interventions using both cultural wisdom and leading edge science to prevent multiple problems including ATOD. He is one of the few scientists to demonstrate such prevention scientifically across whole states, communities or countries.

Dr. Embry has engaged in work with First Peoples in New Zealand, the United States and Canada. He uses cultural wisdom and anthropology to inform choices of scientific strategies to better the lives of children, adolescents, families and groups. Many of his projects focus on simple strategies for families. Dr. Embry marries that cultural wisdom with findings from evolutionary sciences, from his association with the National Science Foundation initiative called the EVOS Institute.

Growing up in considerable adversity and evaluated as educably mentally retarded, he uses his experiences to inform his work and tell the story of possibility for prevention for all.

Staff

Claire Richardson

School, Community and State Program Director, Lead international Trainer for the PAX Good Behavior Game

Claire is one of the co-authors of the PAX Good Behavior Game™.  She provides frequent workshops and lectures along with Dr. Dennis Embry on children’s brain development, prevention and social policy using low-cost or no-cost practices.  She also gives workshops and presentations on low-cost or no cost ways to prevent the harmful things that are impacting our children.  In addition to her 20+ years of experience in prevention, Claire has extensive experience in parent education and support.  She is accredited in Triple P (Positive Parenting Program) and has been working with Triple P International to expand their work in the United States. 

Claire served as a board member for AVIVA Children’s Services, a non-profit agency providing for the unmet needs of children in foster care.  She was an active member of the Marketing Committee for AVIVA Children’s Services.

Contact Claire

Miriam Willmann

Director of Technology, Tobacco and Alcohol Programs Coordinator

Miriam Willmann has a BA in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin -Madison.  Miriam has been with PAXIS since 2005, but worked collaboratively with them for 3 years as Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator for the WI Wins program, a Reward and Reminder™ campaign designed by PAXIS.  She has over ten years experience implementing local and statewide campaigns to stop illegal sales of alcohol and tobacco to underage persons.

Miriam also oversees all technology projects for PAXIS, including but not limited to web design, distance learning and data collection and analysis. She manages the data for clients working on Reward and Reminder™ and the PAX Good Behavior Game.

 

Contact Miriam

Bea Ramirez

Director of Marketing

Bea began her professional life as a classroom teacher at an inner city high school in El Paso, TX followed by a few years teaching Language Arts at the junior high level. From the classroom she segued into financial services where she spent the next 20 years, the last five years of which were spent with UBS. A lucky break (and a good social network) brought her to PAXIS Institute where she has been blessed to be a member of the team for several years.

Bea was born and raised in Santa Clara, NM, a small dusty mining community in southwest New Mexico.  From childhood she knew she was a teacher at heart and when it came time for college there was no doubt what she would study. She graduated with a degree in secondary education from Western New Mexico University in 1974 and moved  to the big city. What she wouldn’t have given to have PAX Good Behavior Game when she was in the classroom!!

Contact Bea

Timothy Heidebrecht

PAX Canada Community & Schools Liaison

Tim has worked with children with autism as well as children with severe behavioral and emotional challenges for over 20 years. His roles have included front-line therapist, classroom support specialist, program supervisor, and treatment coordinator. These roles entailed considerable collaboration with parents, educators, and multidisciplinary teams of professionals and government agencies. Tim has provided consultation services throughout Western Canada and parts of the United States as well as multi-day training workshops and presentations at conferences. After completing a Masters in Public Administration, Tim worked for the Manitoba provincial government, including the Healthy Child Manitoba Office. He is currently involved in coordinating and implementing a multi-year Randomized Control Trial research study involving the PAX Good Behavior Game and the Triple P parenting program in the province of Alberta.

Contact Timothy

Erin Roepcke, LMSW

Development Manager

Erin brings a varied background to her work at PAXIS including experience in performance, education, program development, parenting and parent education, integrated health and family therapy. Erin began her college career in vocal performance, but ultimately earned a BS in Family Studies and Human Development and served 2-years with Teach for America in Washington, DC. While her focus since 2003 has been parenting her own and “bonus” children that have entered her life, she also worked to develop and implement community and private programming for children, youth and family.

Prior to officially joining the PAXIS team, Erin worked as a Child and Family Therapist focusing on assessment and treatment of young children who have experienced abuse, neglect or family violence; and providing therapeutic services and supports to children, the adults who care for them. Erin is passionate about making tools and resources accessible to caregivers, including teachers, to help these children heal from their histories and to create safe, Nurturing Environments in homes, schools, and communities for all children.

Contact Erin

Jan Wiebe

National Trainer and Consultant of the PAX Good Behavior Game

Jan Wiebe is a National Trainer and Consultant of the PAX Good Behavior Game. Jan served as the first Pax GBG coach in 1999 when, employed by the Cook County Department of Public Health, she led a team of Prevention Specialists in the implementation of Pax GBG in 300 Chicago-area K-6 classrooms. She has a Master’s Degree in Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She led two Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative projects in the Chicago area, after writing grants to fund them. She has also directed programs in sexuality education, teen dating violence prevention, and community lay health promotion. She writes grants for local government, school districts, universities, non-profit and international organizations, and has obtained over $20 million in funding for her clients. She is the mother of 3 boys and lives in Ohio. 

Anya Senetra

National Trainer and Consultant of the PAX Good Behavior Game

Anya Senetra has worked with PAXIS Institute since 2006 and is a National Trainer and Coach for PAX GBG. Anya is an Independently Licensed Social Worker and Certified School Social Worker.  She has worked in the field of mental health for 23 years. Anya has also been an Adjunct Instructor at Wright State University in the Department of Social Work since 2002.   Anya has been the Program Supervisor for the School-based Mental Health Program of the Greene County ESC in Ohio for the past 16 years.

For the past six years Anya has been conducting PAX GBG workshops, and providing coaching and consultation.  She is currently heading up two federal grants that significantly expand the use of PAX GBG in Greene County Ohio, as well as several community based contracts to expand PAX into three additional counties in southern Ohio. 

Mike Muempfer

NATIONAL TRAINER AND CONSULTANT OF THE PAX GOOD BEHAVIOR GAME

Mike Muempfer is a National PAX trainer, consultant, and a PAX Partner.  Currently, he is the Lead Specialist for Student Behavior and School Climate for the Maryland State Department of Education.  He has worked in education in a variety of capacities at the school, university, district, and state levels.  He has worked with or consulted for over 500 elementary, middle, and high schools in Maryland specializing in the PAX Good Behavior Game, Multi-Tiered System of Support, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, Youth Mental Health First-Aid, CPI: Non-Violent Crisis Intervention, Restorative Justice, bully prevention, student/staff engagement, school safety, and school environment.  He has also consulted with schools/districts in California, Illinois, Kansas, New Jersey, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Washington DC.  He has also worked as a Behavior Management Coach for teachers in Baltimore and a Social Emotional Learning Curriculum Coach while working at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Department of Prevention and Early Intervention.  Mike began his career in education as a classroom teacher in the Baltimore City School District for ten years.  He is a graduate of Penn State University.  

Cathy Crockett

National Trainer for the PAX Good Behavior Game

Cathy is a National Trainer for the PAX Good Behavior Game. After graduating from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Cathy worked for over 30 years in public education. She taught multiple content areas in grades spanning 1st-8th, served as a Career Ladder Facilitator, Instructional Coach, Reading Facilitator, School Improvement Specialist, and School Administrator.  Cathy has a Master’s Degree in Education Leadership and was Nationally Board Certified in Early Adolescent English/Language Arts. During her career, she also worked for the Arizona K-12 Center scoring Master Teacher Portfolios and providing in-services for teachers partnering with businesses. Cathy has worked for the Arizona Department of Education on state committees developing reading and writing standards and Pearson Testing Centers writing and reviewing test questions for standardized tests.  In addition to enjoying her work with PAXIS Institute, Cathy also supervises student teachers for the University of Arizona. 

Tabatha Hahn

Certified PAX GBG Trainer

Tabatha Hahn is a certified PAX GBG training. Tabatha was a PAX GBG trainer and coach for the LEGACY together Project. The legacy together project was a research project conducted though Penn State College of Health and Human Development. The project was an applied research project to understand how to help afterschool programs promote citizenship, skills, and positive youth behavior that may ultimately lead to preventing delinquency and substance use and PAX GBG was the program behavioral support used in the study. In that role Tabatha provided training to after school staff as well as on site coaching to implement PAX GBG in after school programs throughout Pennsylvania.

Tabatha received her Master’s in Community Psychology from Penn State. She is a Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST) Supervisor in Central Pennsylvania, which is an intensive family and community-based treatment program that focuses on addressing all environmental systems that impact youth.  

Jack Legg

PAX trainer and PAX partner

Jack Legg lives and works in Springfield, OH. Jack serves at a mental health agency which provides a variety of services to individuals and families in an under-resourced setting. In addition to providing PAX trainings, Jack is a PAX Partner in collaboration with schools throughout Clark County. Jack also administers a home-based prevention program, in which he visits households with preschool-aged children to provide lessons and activities from an evidence-based curriculum designed to help parents take an active role in the education of their children.

Prior to serving in this capacity, Jack taught pre-K children for a number of years and also served as the administrator of a preschool facility. He has worked with at-risk youth in a variety of settings, including schools, after-school clubs, non-profit organizations, and juvenile detention facilities. Jack has served on various boards, committees, and organizations, including his current role as a member of the Human Relations Board for the City of Springfield, which seeks to eliminate discrimination within the city. In his spare time, Jack likes to write. He has published a novel, along with various short stories and articles. Jack lives with his wife, Rachel, who is also in the clinical mental health field.

Stacey Whittaker

PAX trainer and PAX partner

Stacey has worked in the education field for 26 years with experiences in preschool through higher education. She became a PAX partner for the Greene County Educational Service Center in 2014. She has worked with teachers and students to help and support the implementation of the PAX Good Behavior Game in over 100 classrooms. She is a licensed teacher and has served as an adjunct instructor at Wright State University in the Department of Teacher Education.

Dr. Hannah Pazderka

InterNATIONAL TRAINER FOR THE PAX GOOD BEHAVIOR GAME

Dr. Hannah Pazderka is a senior research consultant working with the PAXIS Institute, and most recently served as the project manager for the Alberta Collaborative for Child Development, responsible for implementing a randomized controlled trial of a school-based public health intervention (PAX Good Behavior Game with the addition of the Triple P parenting program) in 30 elementary schools across the province. She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta. She received her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Alberta in 2004, looking at numerous indices of cocaine and alcohol craving. Hannah’s primary research interests are in the regulation of impulsive and risk-taking behavior via the frontal lobes and subcortical reward structures, particularly in the course of childhood development and in pathophysiological conditions such as addiction. Helping individuals find positive ways to channel their impulses is a main driver of her academic interests. She has worked with a number of different methodologies, including structural equation modeling, electrophysiology (ERPs and skin conductance), neuropsychological assessment, and epidemiology.