Starr Commonwealth Executive Leadership
President & Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Martin L. Mitchell serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Starr Commonwealth which provides state, national and international leadership to programs serving children, families, communities and professionals. Founded in 1913, Starr’s philosophy is rooted in seeing something good in every child, which serves as the guiding principle in its strength-based approach. For over 40 years, Dr. Mitchell has served as a youth care worker, teacher, program administrator, vice president, and in 2004 became the fourth president in Starr’s 97-year history. He has trained and written extensively in the areas of teamwork, leadership, and group dynamics. He served as Director of the XII World Congress of the International Association of Workers for Troubled Children held in New York City which involved participants from twenty-three countries. In addition, Dr. Mitchell frequently provides legislative testimony on behalf of youth, and is often interviewed by the media on topics impacting youth and families in today’s society. Marty is co-author of the books:
- “Deep Brain Learning – Pathways to Potential for Challenging Youth”
- “No Disposable Kids”
- “In Whose Best Interest: One Child's Odyssey, A Nation's Responsibility”
- “Connectedness, Continuity, Dignity and Opportunity: Principle-based Action for Kids”
In addition, he is a contributing author to the books: “Teamwork in Human Services” and “Re-educating Troubled Youth: Powerful Environments for Teaching and Treatment." His professional affiliations are many and include serving on the boards of the International Association of Social Educators, the National Alliance for Children and Families, the Michigan Federation of Private Child and Family Agencies, the StarrVista Care Management Organization, and the National Resource Center for the Healing of Racism. Locally, Dr. Mitchell serves on the board of Monarch Community Bank. He and his wife, Shirlee, are the proud parents of three daughters and six grandchildren.
Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
Chris Smith has held several roles since joining Starr Commonwealth in 1979. In those 30 years, Mr. Smith has served as Controller, Treasurer and currently Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. His responsibilities include the accounting, financial reporting, budgeting, purchasing and investment management for the organization, as well as key support for trust management and personnel benefits administration. Chris also has served as Director of Planned Giving and continues to provide essential support for these services in his present role. Chris has been instrumental in the Healing of Racism initiatives at Starr Commonwealth and in the community. He serves on the Oneness of Humankind Council for the Healing of Racism at Starr Commonwealth and is certified as a facilitator in the Healing of Racism process. Chris is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and is a Certified Public Accountant. Chris has also served on the Battle Creek Community Foundation Finance Committee. Chris and his wife, Cathy, reside in Ceresco, Michigan and are the parents of five daughters.
Executive Vice President & Chief Clinical Officer
With more than 20 years tenure, Chuck Jackson has served troubled youth and their families in the Detroit metropolitan area for Starr Commonwealth since 1988. Because of that dedication, he was appointed Executive Vice President & Chief Program Officer in 2008. Jackson has worked in a variety of roles during his service and has been a pioneering staff member for programs in Starr’s Detroit office, including the Supervised Independent Living and Bridges Toward Responsible Adulthood programs. Jackson has been heavily involved with Starr's strategic plan, helping to outline a future of success for the organization. He is also Executive Director of StarrVista, Inc., a Care Management Organization serving the at-risk and delinquent population of youth residing in the greater Detroit area. In addition to his service at StarrVista and Starr Commonwealth, Jackson has been instrumental in the development of Starr Detroit Academy, a K-5 charter school in Detroit. Jackson is also a certified facilitator for Starr’s racial healing initiative, Glasswing. Jackson is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology. He earned his Master of Arts degree from Wayne State University and is working toward his Doctoral degree in Sociology from Wayne State University with 2013 as his anticipated graduation date. Jackson and his wife reside in Van Buren Township and have a son and a daughter.
Executive Vice President & Chief Strategy and Administrative Services Officer
Ms. Carey joined Starr Commonwealth in 2010 with almost two decades of experience in the field of social and human services. In her new role at Starr, Elizabeth provides leadership and direction for the organization on implementing the strategic plan and achieving a dynamic strategic direction. In addition to the role of chief strategy officer, she helps shape the future of a number of administrative functions such as Starr's talent management initiatives, Information Technology advancements, Risk Management, Accreditation, Evaluation and Research and she spearheads the business strategies for the Starr Institute for Training. She has a comprehensive professional background that includes social work, government relations, statewide and national association leadership and operations. She served as Executive Director of the Michigan Federation for Children and Families, a statewide organization located in Lansing, Michigan for nonprofit social service providers, and most recently as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the Alliance for Children and Families, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has contributed on local, state and national issues, boards and committees and presented all across the country on the issues and trends affecting nonprofit human service organizations. She earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in social work at Michigan State University, and began her career as a social worker in Michigan. She and her husband, Mike, reside in Jackson, Michigan and have two sons.
Executive Vice President & Chief Development Officer
Mr. Tester joined Starr Commonwealth in 2011 with an extensive background and experience in the social and health services fields. In his role at Starr, Gary oversees fund development efforts, marketing, public relations, business development and advocacy.
With a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling, Gary began his career with children and families nearly 30 years ago as a juvenile probation officer and later became an adolescent therapist at The Toledo Hospital Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center. He also served for more than five years as Executive Director of Toledo/Lucas County C.A.R.E.S and previously served as Director and Chief of Prevention at the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, Director of Advocacy and Development for St. Anthony Villa, and Executive Director of the Toledo Youth Commission. Gary brings to Starr considerable experience in volunteerism, having given his time and talents to numerous boards and committees since the early 1990s. He currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for the Michigan Federation for Children and Families, which unites private, nonprofit human service providers like Starr and influences funding, programs and operations to ensure the highest quality programs for children and families in the state. Gary and his wife, Lynn, reside in Dundee, Michigan and have six children at home as well as two adult sons and their families.
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