Meet the Board of Directors

Tracey Raquepaw, Chairperson

Tracey Raquepaw currently chairs the Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority (SCCMHA) Board of Directors. She has been a civil servant with the State of Michigan, Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) for the past 20 years, and she is a licensed mental health counselor, the last two years at CrossRoads Counseling Ministries in Frankenmuth. She also worked as a teacher, substitute teacher and assistant speech activities coach for many years. 

Tracey and her husband have two children. Born and raised in Flint for the first two years of her life, She has also lived in Tuscola, Frankenmuth and Bridgeport Township. 

She has a bachelor’s degree in communication/theatre and secondary education from Saginaw Valley State University and a master’s degree in counseling from Central Michigan University. She has many interests and hobbies, but works hardest at handmaking greeting cards, sending Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas cards yearly. 

She serves on the Midstate Health Network Board of Directors, representing SCCMHA, and chose to serve on the SCCMHA Board of Directors because, “in my role with the MDOC, I serve as the Warden’s designee co-chair to various steering teams for Offender Success, formerly MPRI,” she said. “SCCMHA was previously an administrative agency for the Saginaw-Bay-Midland region of MPRI and, as an MDOC co-chair, I regularly attended SCCMHA board meetings. I was very impressed with SCCMHA and its community involvement, in addition to second to none service to consumers. Being a therapist, I wanted to be involved in the mental health of those living and working in Saginaw County, so I expressed an interest in serving on the board when an opening became available. I hope my experience with those who are justice involved and my time as chair has brought a viewpoint and leadership which aids the board in consumer centered decisions.” 

Jill Armentrout

Jill Armentrout has served on the Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority (SCCMHA) Board of Directors for eight years and is currently Chair of the Ends Committee.

A former reporter for several newspapers, including The Oakland Press and The Saginaw News, Jill was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and raised in Cincinnati and Grand Rapids and she has a bachelor's degree from Central Michigan University.

The recipient of the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan's Jim Neubacher Media Award, she, and her husband, are the parents of two daughters. Jill serves on the Bay County United Way Board of Directors, and she enjoys kayaking, music, and writing.

After writing about health issues for The Saginaw News, Jill said, I was asked to serve and agreed. I want to be an advocate for mental health services. I continue to learn and understand the system and the people served.

Mike Cierzniewski

Mike Cierzniewski was asked to serve on the Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority (SCCMHA) Board of Directors as a consumer in 2016, and he has been very involved with the agency, including chairing the Governance Committee, serving on the Citizens Advisory Committee, and having a hand in starting the Consumer Leadership Group. 

Born in Lansing, Mike moved to Saginaw when he was three years old and graduated from Grace Baptist High School. He received an associate degree in broadcasting from Delta College. 

His hobbies include taking care of his cat, watching sports on TV, reading all types of books, and following politics. Mike is currently working on the campaign of Donna Brandenburg, a U.S. Taxpayers Party of Michigan candidate for Governor, and he serves on the board of Mid-State Health Network. He is the first recipient of the SCCMHA Everyday Hero Award, receiving the recognition in 2003, and he was honored in 2005 with a Partners in Excellence Award from the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan. 

“Being on the SCCMHA board is important,” Mike said, “since my input needs to be heard. At first, I was very hesitant, but now I’m able to be the eyes and ears of the consumer and share what’s going on.” 

Lisa Coney

Lisa Coney joined the Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority (SCCMHA) Board of Directors in April 2022. Originally from Montgomery, Alabama, she has lived in Saginaw for almost 40 years and works as a school social worker and mental health practitioner. 

Lisa earned her master’s degree in social work and has also worked as a project manager of Safe Schools Health Students and a school social worker for Saginaw Public Schools. She is the mother of two daughters and has one grandson. 

She enjoys spending time with her family, reading and shopping, and she serves on the Jury Board, Saginaw Housing Commission, and the Saginaw Valley State University Alumni Board of Directors. She has received numerous recognitions, including the YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region Woman of Achievement Award, Member of the Year of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Eta Upsilon Omega Chapter, and a Community Service Award from Omega Psi Phi Inc. Chi Xi. 

Lisa is glad to serve on the SCCMHA Board of Directors for the “opportunity to ensure SCCMHA is meeting the mental health needs of the community,” she said. “I’m excited to have been selected to serve on the board.” 

 Maria Vela

Maria Vela has served on the board of the Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority since March 2024.

She was born in Texas and moved to Saginaw in 2021, where she currently lives with her four children.

She received her licensed vocational nursing degree in 2017 from Rio Grande Valley College’s School of Nursing, located in Pharr, Texas.

Maria also serves as the Director of Community Outreach for the Mexican American Council of Saginaw, as well as running a local business and working with nonprofits in Saginaw County.

One of the things Maria prides herself on in her position with the SCCMHA board is her ability to represent the Hispanic community of Saginaw County, finding ways to inform and encourage mental health care among them.

Cherie Long

Cherie Long has served on the board of the Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority since 2023. 

She was born and raised in the Saginaw area and currently lives in Saginaw County with her husband and two children. After completing her associate degree at Delta College, she went on to Saginaw Valley State University to pursue a bachelor's degree in social work, graduating in 2024.

Cherie is the founder of the Heart of the City Development Center Board. She has been honored with multiple accolades for her contributions to service and education, including the Newman Civic Fellowship Award at SVSU, the Social Service Award at Delta College, and a nomination for the City of Saginaw's 2024 nonprofit Heart of the City award. She finds great pleasure in her involvement on the SCCMHA board, as it allows her to actively observe and gain knowledge about the various services provided in the community. Additionally, she can contribute her input on services that promote the inclusion and empowerment of individuals with intellectual developmental disabilities. Nevertheless, she also values the opportunity to contribute to the enhancement of the Saginaw area.

Deb Nagel 

Debora (Deb) Nagel became a member of the Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority (SCCMHA) Board of Directors in April 2022. The lifelong Saginaw resident enjoys serving as a consumer on the board, offering her viewpoint and “keeping my finger on the pulse of what’s going on with the possible privatization of community mental health services.” 

Deb is a graduate of Arthur Hill High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Northwood University. She has held several jobs over the years, including a year as MICHCare Coordinator for the Saginaw County Public Health Department. MICHCare is a program which provides prenatal care services to women who are not enrolled in Medicaid. 

Deb is the mother of two children and three grandchildren. She serves on the SCCMHA Recipient Rights Committee, Ends Committee and Consumer Leadership Group, and she’s also a board member for Mid-State Health Network and treasurer for the TTI Friends for Recovery Center. 

She stays active with jewelry beading, fishing, camping, and hanging out with her cat and her two miniature African frogs. Deb said she likes to stay involved “and know what’s going on within the mental health community.” 

John Pugh

John Pugh has the longest tenure currently on the Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority (SCCMHA) Board of Directors, having served 38 years. The former Board Chair is also a member of the Executive Board, and he originally got involved with SCCMHA “to serve the community in the area of mental health,” he said. John feels his major contribution to the Board has been to advocate “for community mental health, with emphasis on the underserved and underrepresented.” 

Born and raised in Mississippi, he served four years in the U.S. Air Force and lived in Mississippi, Florida and California before moving to Saginaw in 1970. He earned a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) in economics from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical (A&M) University in Tallahassee and his master’s degree from the University of Toledo in Ohio, and he attended Tougaloo College in Mississippi. 

John worked for 36 years at Delta College as a professor and administrator, retiring in 2007. He has three daughters and five grandchildren.  

John enjoys helping people, philanthropy, spending time with family and traveling. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 1998 American Association of University Professor (AAUP) Award; the 2003 Delta College Spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. Award; the 2017 Iota Chi Lambda Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc “Unity Award;” the Florida A&M University 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award; and the 2020 Whitney M. Young, Jr. Service Award from the Boy Scouts of America. 

Kathleen Schachman

Kathleen Schachman joined the board of directors of the Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority in September 2023.

Originally from Marquette, Michigan, Kathleen has lived in the mid-Michigan area for the last seven years. Prior to living in this area, she lived all over the United States, as well as spending some time in Japan with her Marine husband of 40 years.

She received her Bachelor’s of Science and Nursing degree from the University of Michigan, her Master’s of Science and Nursing degree from Albany State University and her PhD from the University of Missouri. She earned her Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) certification from Johns Hopkins as well.

Currently, Kathleen works as an Endowed Professor at Saginaw Valley State University and is the coordinator of their PMHNP program.

She appreciates the opportunity to serve on the board of directors to make meaningful impacts on mental health policy, services and the overall well-beings of individuals in need.

Joan Williams

Joan “Joanie” Williams joined the Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority (SCCMHA) Board of Directors in 2022, and she considers herself an “advocate for people,” she said. The lifelong Saginaw resident believes in the work SCCMHA does, having served on the Citizens Advisory Committee for several years before joining the board, and enjoys making decisions that have an impact on people’s lives. 

Earning degrees in psychology from Delta College, communications from the University of Michigan-Flint and education from Saginaw Valley State University, Joanie has also taken online courses from Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa. The majority of her career has been spent teaching a variety of ages, from kindergarten through middle school, in Buena Vista Township, Bridgeport and Saginaw, and she now works for a private company operating charter schools in Arizona, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. She has taught at two of the company’s schools. 

Joanie enjoys all sports, shopping and being involved in the music ministry of her church, and she has coached pom pom and cheerleading squads in the past. She has one biological son and seven biological grandchildren, but she also raised several nieces and nephews and considers them a close part of her family. She tutors students on the side, and she has served as a board member for the Bridgeport-Spaulding Community Schools and the Chosen Few Arts Council, a nonprofit organization working to fill the void in high quality arts instruction in Flint area schools. 

“I like staying active and I like helping a lot of people,” Joanie said. “This is important work and I’m a fighter. I know how to get things done.” 

Cynthia Winiecke 

Cynthia Winiecke was appointed to the Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority (SCCMHA) Board of Directors by the Saginaw County Board of Commissioners, where she has represented District 1 since April 2021. 

Cynthia retired as Deputy Treasurer for Tittabawassee Township, and she currently serves on the Saginaw County Community Corrections Advisory Board, Saginaw Local Emergency Planning Committee, Rules Committee, and the Advisory Board of Saginaw-Tuscola Medical Control Authority. 

She and her husband, Roy, are the parents of three children and six grandchildren. Cynthia enjoys scrapbooking, crafting, her dogs, gardening and reading. She has served on the SCCMHA Board’s Ends Committee, and she currently serves on the Board’s Recipient Rights and Executive Limitations Committees. 

Although she was appointed by the Board of Commissioners to serve on the SCCMHA Board, she said she has a passion for mental health and substance abuse issues of Saginaw County. “I believe that communication between SCCMHA and the Saginaw County Board of Commissioners is an important role,” she added. 

Robert Woods

Robert “Moe” Woods Jr. has served on the Saginaw County Community Mental Health Authority (SCCMHA) Board of Directors since 1994 and, in 2012, the agency named one of its facilities after him. The Albert and Woods (A&W) Professional Development and Business Center, located at 1 Germania Plaza in Saginaw, honors Moe and Raymond Albert, a former SCCMHA Board member who passed away in 2021. 

The longtime owner and operator of the House of Styles barbershop in Saginaw, Moe is married to has five children, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. One of his sons, was developmentally disabled and passed away in 2018. He said he chose to serve on the SCCMHA Board because of his son's diagnosis. “I have significant insight and understand the challenges of caring for someone with special needs,” he said. 

Moe has spent most of his adult life in politics, serving in numerous roles over the years on the Buena Vista Township Board of Trustees, the Saginaw County Board of Commissioners and the SCCMHA Board. Born in Blytheville, Arkansas, he came to Saginaw as an infant and has lived here since. He graduated from Saginaw High School and Bay City Junior College (now Delta College). 

With nearly 50 years in politics, he enjoys continuing to serve the residents of Saginaw County as a member of the SCCMHA Board. "I’ve been in a position to help people a lot of times and I really enjoyed that," he said.?"I've enjoyed every bit of it."